Hogwarts Legacy Controversies


(Image Credits: Warner Brothers) laptopmag.com

Hogwarts Legacy is an upcoming open-world RPG set in the Harry Potter universe, scheduled to be released next month on February 10th. Promising an immersive experience in the Wizarding World, one might think this new game would receive nothing but an overwhelmingly positive response, being from such an incredibly popular book series. However, this game has been the subject of some controversy recently, mostly due to the controversies surrounding the author herself as well as the alleged anti-semitic themes in the game.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, first came under fire in 2019, when she publicly expressed her support for a British researcher who had been fired for making transphobic tweets. Rowling’s comments on gender since then have been called out for being transphobic and hurtful. For example, her 2020 novel titled Troubled Blood, featuring a male serial killer who dresses like a woman to kill women, has been accused of perpetuating tropes that vilify trans people. Several other pieces of her writing and social media tweets have also been cited as being transphobic.

As a result, this has caused many fans to feel conflicted on their love for the series. An anonymous student and a fan of the Harry Potter series said, “People would like to separate the art from the artist… Though I think respect for their valued works should be acknowledged for its influence, I do believe the author should take responsibility for their own personal afflictions that affect their audience.”

This debate is especially relevant to the new Hogwarts Legacy game, the newest addition to the media franchise. Some call to boycott the game to not support Rowling, who’ll receive royalties from it despite not being directly affiliated with the creation of the game. Others may still look forward to playing the release, after all, Harry Potter is still a classic book series beloved by many.

Besides J.K. Rowling’s controversies, the game has also been accused of using anti-semitic tropes, specifically in portraying the goblins in the game.  “The villains are hooked-nosed, beady-eyed goblin bankers, a well-known antisemitic depiction of Jewish people that dates back to medieval Europe and was capitalized on by the Nazis.” (opendemocracy.net) As the game follows the player as they stop a goblin rebellion, critics have also pointed out issues they have with the plot. A viral post by internet user Kevin Rhodes wrote, “The plot of the game is that there is a rebellion of goblins who are fighting against racial discrimination and prejudice by the Ministry of Magic and the wizarding community as a whole… And you, the hero, are a wizard whose ultimate task is to quash the rebellion and put these goblins back in their rightful place under the rule of the wizards.

Despite these criticisms and boycotting efforts, Hogwarts Legacy appears to be seeing great success and is already the top-selling game on platforms like Steam, PlayStation and Xbox despite still being in pre-release.