Hogwarts Legacy is an upcoming AAA game published by Warner Bros. Entertainment INC and developed by Avalance. The game will be the most recent of many games released under the Wizard World franchise, formerly known as Harry Potter. The franchise, originally spawning from a book series published in the 1990s, has become a franchise worth $32 billion and spanning many forms of media despite its age and waning fanbase. Hogwarts Legacy will be the first Wizarding World game not solely for IOS and Android since the 2013 release of Book of Potions for PlayStation 3.
Despite the Wizarding World still earning an immense amount of money from various pieces of its media, the fond regard for the franchise has decreased in recent years. This is largely due to the author JK Rowling being openly bigoted on her social media platforms, particularly on Twitter.
In the past few years, JK Rowling has become very active on her social media pages, especially Twitter, to promote her personal beliefs against transgender people. She has also attended meetings with so-called ‘gender critical’ groups and promoted the ideas of often very right-wing-leaning people such as Matt Walsch. JK Rowling’s ideology firmly pins itself on ‘Trans-Exclusionary-Radical-Feminism’, a form of radical feminism. This form of feminism is one which purposefully excludes transgender people from its platform. It also places the idea of being trans as oppositional to feminist goals. This brand of feminism (or TERFism as it’s also called) often fails at being inherently feminist. Since it often excludes not only transgender people but many others due to its underpinnings of bio-essentialism, its tendency to agree with conservative rhetoric, such as toward other minorities and its tendency to be antagonistic toward ideas of bodily autonomy.
Unlike many other franchises, which might be owned by multiple people or at least have creators that are far less active on social media, Wizarding World is connected with its creator’s viewpoints. However, JK Rowling’s conservative political beliefs are extremely evident now. To the point where, despite being the author of a best-selling book series, many think of JK Rowling’s politics as one of the most prominent things about her. She often makes news headlines and prompts discussion on other social media platforms about her viewpoints. A few more recent articles mention her ideas to build a trans-exclusionary service for victims of sexual violence and her tweeting ‘merry TERFmas’ instead of ‘merry Christmas’.
Hogwarts Legacy will be one of the most prominent additions to the Wizarding World franchise when it is released in February 2023. An open-world adventure game, and many who remain loyal to the franchise despite JK Rowling’s evidently problematic beliefs have been waiting for it since they read Harry Potter in their childhood.
However, JK Rowling’s political opinions have overshadowed even the good elements of the franchise as her platform is no longer used for building the world of Harry Potter but for preaching a conservative ideology. The franchise itself has become inexplicably connected to the beliefs of its writer and almost impossible to truly separate.
This has caused the game to cause a major stir across the internet. Such as on Reddit and Twitter, users have stated that buying the game and supporting a very vocal transphobe supports transphobia overall. Buying the game also gives more power and influence to an already powerful woman.
Twitter user @jk_rowling acting confrontational on Twitter towards those giving criticism
However, other aspects of Hogwarts Legacy have also spurred criticism, most notably the plot of Hogwarts Legacy.
The Goblins written within the Harry Potter novels, which have been further applied to other parts of the Wizarding World, have often been considered antisemitic stereotypes.
The story is set in the 1800s and will feature a plotline involving a Goblin rebellion. The goblins are against their treatment, such as being unable to carry wands in public. However, the goblins are portrayed as antagonists in this situation, and the player witch or wizard is tasked to stop them.
This plotline could easily be viewed as the player quashing an oppressed group and rising against those who oppressed them, with the player being part of the group doing the oppressing.
In a game where the author has already put forward a lot of negative views towards minority groups through several of her social media pages, this looks rather suspicious in terms of the ideas that she is getting across.
Even if JK Rowling had not voiced her beliefs which are tied to TERFism and plentiful conservative rhetoric, the themes outlined in the game would make many uncomfortable playing. Especially those who might belong to a minority group themselves.
With a lot of this taken into account, it’s quite easy to see why many won’t be buying Hogwarts Legacy. As well as why many will also be boycotting the Wizarding World franchise as a whole.
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