The Hogwarts Legacy controversy summarized: where does this collective refusal come from?

A few days before the release of the coveted game, the tension is at its height. Fans of the Harry Potter universe are faced with a major challenge: that of continuing to support J. K. Rowling by buying the game despite the discriminatory remarks of the author on the public road, or to make a complete boycott of the game and the franchise in general. Here is a summary of what you need to know about the current debate.

First, what is Hogwarts Legacy? It is nothing less than one of the most anticipated games of the year. The role-playing game allows the player to explore the universe of the Harry Potter franchise in the 1800s through an immersive and personalized experience: the characters are modifiable and it is possible to choose his favorite house.

Transphobic remarks

Since 2019, the popularity of author J. K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter franchise, has plummeted. After being the subject of significant scrutiny from the public following transphobic remarks published on Twitter, the author has chosen to reiterate her point of view many times since, leaving fans of the franchise in disarray. In 2020, his clearly anti-trans remarks and in support of Maya Forstater, a British researcher who lost her job due to transphobic publications, shocked. On June 10, 2020, Rowling posted a tweet posting “TERF Wars” (TERF is an acronym for Trans-exlusionary radical feminist, or feminist activist that excludes trans women in women’s rights struggles).

As if to add fuel to the fire, the author’s 2020 novel Troubled Blood tells the story of a detective looking for a serial killer (cisgender male) who dresses in typical feminine clothes in order to trap and kill cisgender women. The moral of the book, according to Pink News: “A man in a robe should never be trusted.” A bit ironic, if you ask me, since that’s all Harry Potter is required of throughout the franchise, to trust men in dresses.

With a pinch of racism

To add to the problem, many critics have also pointed to the anti-Semitic connotation associated with the Goblins rebellions, a historical segment that has been little explored so far in the franchise, but is integral to the narrative of the game Hogwarts Legacy. The characters, described as anti-Semitic caricatures by many, will be omnipresent in the game.

All abandon ship

Many of the actors and actresses involved in the franchise, including the trio of Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), as well as Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) and Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) to name a few, have publicly voiced their support for the trans community and their refusal to endorse J.K. Rowling’s discriminatory comments. The International Quidditch League even announced, in July 2022, a name change in order to dissociate itself from the problematic author; the sport is now called Quadball.

What Warner Bros. says.

Warner Bros. clarified that J. K. Rowling was not directly involved in the creation of the game. Transinclusive character customization options are even to be expected, according to the developers. The source of the hesitation for many fans lies in the fact that the author herself says she interprets the success of her franchise as a collective support for her cause. It is this statement, coupled with the implementation of Denuvo anti-piracy technology in the game Hogwarts Legacy, that invites players to seriously ask themselves: will I buy or will I boycott?


Image credit featured @ Warner Bros.

About Myriam Baulne

Traductrice agréée aussi détentrice d'un DEC en animation 3D et synthèse d'images, Myriam est constamment à la recherche d'opportunités afin d'allier ses passions pour les jeux vidéo, les TTRPG et la rédaction. Armée d'un solide bagage journalistique, elle est outillée pour vous rapporter toute l'actualité et l'information sur vos jeux favoris.

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