The New Harry Potter Game: A Legacy of Transphobia?

J.K. Rowling’s hateful comments rear their ugly head once again.


“Hogwarts Legacy” is the new game in the Harry Potter franchise.

Many have dreamed of being able to enter the mystical and magical world of the Harry Potter Universe, and with the new game, that is now possible. “Hogwarts Legacy” is the newest addition to the Harry Potter franchise, and was developed by Avalanche Software and is available to play on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. The game contains several eye-catching features, such as the ability to customize your own wizard or witch, and have your own pet dragon and broomstick. It has recently hit the top 10 games in both the US and the UK.

However, the game has not gone without controversy. When it was released earlier in February, it was met with intense backlash from the LGBTQ+ community due to J.K. Rowling, the original author of the Harry Potter books, having made transphobic and misogynistic comments. As a result of this, some players have begun to boycott the game and the platforms that advertise it, and many have criticized J.K. Rowling’s statements and voiced their support for transgender individuals.

The game has received thousands positive reviews including from Metacritic and IGN, and it has climbed the list of purchased online games on platforms such as Steam and the Epic Games Store. 

Some gamers and streamers have criticized the game on Twitch, a streaming platform that widely advertises the game, and YouTube, which also advertises it. Nikatine, a transgender YouTuber, announced on Twitter that she would boycott Twitch if they continued to advertise the game to the public, and she urged other users to do the same.

However, the game will feature the first known transgender character in the Harry Potter universe. But unfortunately the decision to add this character has also received backlash, as the character’s name, Sirona Ryan, sounds masculine due to the prefix sir and common male name Ryan. Some have retaliated and stated that the name instead refers to a Celtic Goddess. 

Critics have called J.K. Rowling transphobic due to her opinions on transgender rights and biological sex. In 2020, she criticized an article by Devex for using the phrase “menstruating people,” when referring to “creating a more equal post-Covid world” which Rowling stated was an incorrect term. This comment received heavy backlash from the transgender community, where many stated that Rowling’s anger was misled and unfounded. These comments were in the midst of the BLM protests following the murder of George Floyd, and many felt as though her comments were ill-timed and taking away the focus from African-American oppression. 

In her response essay to those calling her transphobic, she stated in an unrelated tangent that it is unsafe to allow people who believe they are a woman to enter public restrooms and changing rooms. She has been criticized by various LGBTQ+ rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign. Some of the actors from Harry Potter such as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson have also voiced their support for the transgender community and criticized Rowling’s comments.

According to the sales analytics, the game is being purchased mostly by teens and young adults. This raises a question, how do students who have bought the game feel about what has resurfaced about J.K. Rowling, and does this affect their thoughts on the game? We asked some students who have bought the game, including freshmen and juniors, who have purchased the game. “I bought the game and it’s single-handedly the best game I’ve ever played, I sunk like 3 days into it and didn’t put it down.” Said one student. When we asked the same students about J.K. Rowling’s comments, he replied “Oh, I had no idea about any of that.” This possibly means that many of Rowling’s actions have managed to fly under the radar of many consumers, and are not being made aware of.

A similar situation occurred with another game entitled “High on Life”, which was created by “Rick and Morty” creator Justin Roiland. In recent months it has come to the public’s attention that he was a domestic abuser, who would frequently threaten and abuse his partners. As a result of this, “High on Life” sales dropped and viewership of “Rick and Morty” did as well. This has already proven to possibly be the case for “Hogwarts Legacy”, as sales in the UK began to drop last month, when streamers and content creators spoke out about Rowling’s comments. 

Many are raising awareness about J.K. Rowling’s comments on social media in recent years, but it may be falling on deaf ears. If you plan on buying “Hogwarts Legacy”, or any other game that may have some controversy behind it like “High on Life”, we implore you to research its background and creators.