I used to read every Harry Potter book the day they came out. I completely lost myself in that magical world full of fun characters and exciting adventures. Still, I’m never going to play Hogwarts Legacy.
Hogwarts Legacy will finally be released later this year, a game designed to give Harry Potter fans what they’ve always wanted. An adventure where you become an apprentice at the magical school of Hogwarts and are given the freedom to create your own story before Harry Potter appears. You’d think I’d be eager to dive into this game, but it just gives me a really bad taste in my mouth.
It all has to do with the creator of the Harry Potter world: JK Rowling. Due to her fame, she has created a huge platform, including nearly fourteen million followers on Twitter. She could use that platform to do a lot of good in the world. Instead, she uses it to spread hatred.
You can call Rowling a TERF, which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The writer claims to be a feminist, but she does not recognize trans women as women and even sees them as a threat. She writes messages about it almost daily, full of misinformation and hatred.
The Harry Potter books are about not belonging, finding a family, having courage, and so on. It is a story about a boy who feels different and learns to accept himself. So many people in the LGBTQ+ community found these books a nice, accepting place to flee to. That Rowling is now acting like this feels like a slap in the face.
Now you can say that you should be able to separate art and artist, but I have a hard time with that – especially when it comes to books. Games and movies are made by huge teams, but books are an intimate conversation between the writer and the reader. I’ll never be able to read Orson Scott Card’s work like that, because he’s extremely homophobic.
Hogwarts Legacy is a game made by a large team of diverse people and Rowling is not involved in it. But any success will have little impact on the developers, as they’ve already had their paychecks. It does affect Rowling, who is likely to get money from every game sold or at least get a bigger platform as the Harry Potter brand grows.
Last year, 375 trans people were killed for being who they are. Nine out of ten were trans women. Violence against trans women is a major problem worldwide and is fueled by hateful messages like Rowling also spreads. I don’t want to contribute a cent to that.
It also doesn’t help that the world Rowling created is full of problematic things you didn’t realize as a kid. For example, the goblins, crooked-nosed creatures who control the banks and money. It’s an anti-Semitic stereotype that only gets worse the more you immerse yourself in it. Like how it seems like there are secret societies of these goblins that wield power over the world.
In Hogwarts Legacy, the goblins are presented as the bad guys. They want freedom from oppression and you have to stop that. I hope a twist in the story will eventually make you fight by their side, but I fear the worst.
I have fond memories of reading the Harry Potter books and even Rowling doesn’t take that away from me, but knowing now I can’t in good conscience spend money on Hogwarts Legacy.