‘Hogwarts Legacy’ game sparks conversations about prejudice


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The “Harry Potter” franchise is one of the most profitable in the world, with the films alone grossing a total of $9.7 billion.

With the release of “Hogwarts Legacy,” the newest “Harry Potter” game developed by Avalanche Software, the conversation about J.K. Rowling’s prejudice and controversial beliefs continues. In recent years, Rowling has proclaimed not only her disbelief in the existence of trans people, but an outright hatred of transgender women, seeing them as predatory men rather than vulnerable women.

With the massive popularity of the “Harry Potter” series in the mid-to-late ‘90s and into the 2000s, there are few who do not know at least something about the series, and it is very nostalgic for many millennials and other generations.

Some see the newest installment in the “Wizarding World” franchise as another nostalgia-laden cash-grab.  Avery Reuter Lorenzana, a junior at Guilford, is well aware of the many criticisms surrounding both the creator and the game. 

“Obviously it is a money-making machine for J.K. Rowling, who is a billionaire who funds trans-hate and trans genocide across the Anglo world,” she said.  Lorenzana also called the ex-developer of the game, Troy Leavitt, a “neo-Nazi and misogynist.” According to  Polygon, while he left Avalanche in 2021, Leavitt still participated in  producing the game.

Lorenzana believes that the sale of the game “very directly financially benefits J.K.R., and she has said that the continued financial support of people is a mandate of her views; she takes it as a mandate regardless of what people think they’re doing.” 

Also, as far as I’ve seen, it’s also just a bad game,” Lorenzana said.

Guilford students Andy Li and Taheerah McKinney agreed with Lorenzana, commenting that the game is “just alright.”  Both are well aware of the awful things Rowling has said and done, and, as people of color, also are aware of her racism in the series.

Cho Chang, the only Asian character in the “Harry Potter” books and films, has a name composed of two surnames from different cultures, and Kingsley Shacklebolt, one of the few Black characters in the entire series, has a name that many fans find insulting. 

Along with the racist stereotypes in the original source material, Lorenzana pointed out that “all of the non-human creatures are literally and legally subhuman, with the goblins in particular being Jewish caricatures.” 

According to Lorenzana, the base plot of the game is an anti-Semitic blood-libel story, and “has a whole thing endorsing the house-elf slavery, which is just… crazy.”  She added that, to those aware of stereotypes and prejudices against anyone who isn’t Anglo-Saxon, cisgender or white, “it’s kinda explicit.” 

While there are certainly some consumers of the game who are unaware of Rowling’s bigotry, there are allies of the LGBT+ community and other at-risk groups who are  aware of her beliefs and policies, but still play the game. Despite the many controversies and criticisms surrounding it, the newly released “Hogwarts Legacy” is still currently in vogue. 

The likes of IGN (formerly known as Imagine Games Network) gave “Hogwarts Legacy” a 9/10 rating, so it is likely that there will be expansions and downloadable content for the game. Past that, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for the game’s longevity. 

Like so many other games with pop culture connections, such as “Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl” and “Multiversus,” “Hogwarts Legacy” seems to be a momentary fad and passing fancy. The people who are targeted by Rowling and her beliefs can only hope that the game’s popularity fades quickly and that Rowling herself passes into obscurity.