Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

Hogwarts Legacy the game just released on Feb. 10 and is already facing backlash against J.K. Rowling for “attempting to credit herself” for past mistakes. As most fans of Harry Potter already know, Rowling got into trouble back in 2017-2018. She was seen liking multiple posts on Twitter with transphobic and offensive language towards the trans community and trans women, notes Fiona Ward in an article from Glamour Magazine. However, Rowling responded saying these likes were a “mistake.” In 2019, J.K. Rowling publicly defended Maya Forstater, a British researcher who was seen making transphobic remarks. She was also rumored to be a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. Even more controversies floated to the surface in 2020 over public statements made by Rowling.

Even before Hogwarts Legacy came out, there were already fans discussing whether they would buy the new video game. Allies are contemplating if they will support the game saying that “J.K. Rowling was the creator of the Harry Potter universe but not the creator of the video game.” According to Ward, the creators of the game have even spoken out saying in FAQs that “Rowling is not involved in the creation of the game… This is not a new story from J.K Rowling, however we have collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it remains in line with the magical experiences fans expect.”

Hogwarts Legacy features the first transgender character in the series and franchise, making many people believe this was an attempt to get rid of backlash against J.K. Rowling. Although Rowling only slightly collaborated, it is said she would still benefit from sales from being connected to the Harry Potter universe. Lots of fans have debated that looking past J.K. Rowling’s controversies overlook all of the offensive comments and people she supports to be able to enjoy the game.

Though this is upsetting, there is also a side of Hogwarts fans that admit they will be buying and playing the game purely because they are used to celebrities they admire releasing hateful comments and support. Even after defending the game and attempting to ease tension with a trans character, there has been backlash against the said character’s name, Sirona Ryan. Trans people are saying that it’s just ironic that the name chosen for the first trans character and what kind of insulting name would be given for a trans woman while also being stereotypical. According to Conor Murray from Forbes Magazine, the word “Sir” is immediately in the first name and that it would be the first way that this character as a trans woman would be misgendered. Though they were amused with the attempt that was created, they were unphased by the effort since they have had many other Harry Potter characters with offensive names like one of the only Asian wizards named Cho Chang or Kingsley Shacklebolt for a Black wizard. Though the game has just come out, it has already counted over 500,000 players on Steam in the past week. Will you be downloading the game or boycotting Hogwarts Legacy?

Lauren Flynn-Miller is a second-year Interdisciplinary Studies major with minors in Journalism and American Sign Language.

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