JK Rowling is no longer the beloved and admired writer that the public remembers for having written the most popular fantasy saga of all time. In recent years, her image as a businesswoman with an unrelenting philosophy and ideology has been tainted by her outspoken hatred of the trans population, as she has become part of the “transgendered” radical feminism collective, which does not consider that anyone can choose how they feel.
This has caused thousands of Harry Potter trans fans to see their greatest benchmark of integrity and acceptance disappear, and has also caused the author to begin to be written off by the general public. It is something that the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them saga suffered directly, and now it is also affecting Hogwarts Legacy a lot.
Although no one doubts that it will be the hit of the year in the same way (no wonder; we have all dreamed of an RPG of the franchise at some point), Hogwarts Legacy has many detractors. The reason is not the game itself, much less its developers (Avalanche Software), but the fact that Rowling still won’t get off the bandwagon in her culture of hate and non-acceptance. In the end, she will get part of the proceeds from the game, so many prefer that she doesn’t see a penny to take a stand with the trans community.
However, the game features something no one expected, least of all the writer: an openly trans character. Sirona Ryan is a witch who runs the Three Broomsticks tavern in Hogsmeade. And, in talking to her about a goblin named Logdok, players have discovered a dialogue box in which she explains perfectly well that she is a witch and not a wizard:
“He was nice enough, but we weren’t friends. He has a pretty deep-rooted distrust of magicians. I hadn’t seen him for years until he came by a few months ago. Despite that, he recognized me instantly. That’s a lot more than I can say for my classmates. It only took him a second to realize I was a witch and not a wizard.”
Harry Potter: much more than its author?
Sirona is the perfect example that the ideology of the developers has nothing to do with Rowling’s ideology. In addition, the development of this same character, although very secondary, makes her look like a small reference for all those “wizards and witches” who do not see themselves represented.
This is not the only step Avalanche has taken to disassociate itself from the writer and advocate for inclusion. In the character editor, you can create your entire physical appearance as you wish, change your voice (there are two female and two male options) and finally choose whether your bedroom is that of a witch or a wizard, but without taking into account the rest of the aspects. That is to say, it doesn’t matter what you look like but how you feel; gender doesn’t exist in the editor, something that is being applied in more and more titles.
Despite what appear to be good intentions, much of the anti-Rowling public has seen this as an attempt by the developers to clean up their image and end the boycott that has been generated. In the end, the move has come just after the open season on her opinions, and it’s something that has caught the attention of gamers.
But, despite the fact that they will profit from the game, Avalanche tries to make it clear that the Harry Potter universe is much more than its author. In fact, Daniel Radcliffe, the main character of the film saga, did not hesitate to take a stand against Rowling and against embracing any gender identity. And so have many other members of the cast and the official technical team, even leaving the author out of the reunion they did last year.
Be that as it may, the videogame is generating very positive reviews and seems to be the definitive one for a franchise that, whether we like it or not, will always have an impressive success in its adaptations. Perhaps this is the definitive game or perhaps the beginning of a new Potter experience that will lead to more installments or even film adaptations. What is clear is that, whatever happens in the future, it will be without Rowling (at least actively) as long as she continues to propagate her anti-trans discourse.