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The Harmful Tropes Causing Fans To Boycott 'Hogwarts Legacy' Were Always Hidden In 'Harry Potter'

Photo: YouTube / Warner Bros
Hogwarts Legacy, Harry Potter

On February 10th, the new action role-playing game based on 'Harry Potter' is set to release. To some, this game is a dream come true, but to others, 'Hogwarts Legacy' is much more like a nightmare.

Fans from across the world have expressed concern and frustration over the game, pointing out that the “goblin uprising” storyline fuels antisemitic stereotypes, and J.K. Rowling’s current attacks on the transgender community make her a dangerous person to support financially. 

Let’s talk about why people are criticizing 'Hogwarts Legacy', and how much of the bigotry was already hidden in the original books.

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Antisemitism and transphobia were always hidden in 'Harry Potter,' and now are even more evident in 'Hogwarts Legacy.'

In 'Hogwarts Legacy,' the game features an item resembling a shofar — a real-life Jewish musical instrument — that is described as a "goblin artifact" originating from a "1612 Goblin Rebellion."

It doesn't take a history expert to make the connection between this fictional rebellion and a 1612 organized massacre of Jewish people in Germany.

This antisemitism isn’t coming out of nowhere.

In the original books of Harry Potter, the goblins are introduced to us as bankers. These large-nosed, greedy, very clever but ultimately untrustworthy characters control all of the wizarding banks, and yet, are not allowed to carry wands or enroll in magical universities.

Many people, including political commentator Jon Stewart, have criticized these depictions in depth.

Goblins in historical folklore have long been untrustworthy creatures, but it wasn’t until Rowling that they appeared behind the desks of banks.

Throughout 'Harry Potter,' the goblins have little role aside from being mundanely creepy and maintaining the magical banks, but their presence exists to evoke suspicion from the viewer to expect betrayal.

We are never supposed to trust them, and we are supposed to accept their subservient role in wizard society as a moral good.

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There’s clearly a lot to unpack there, and it only gets worse in the new game.

HHogwarts Legacy' tells a story set in the 1800s during the goblin revolution, an event where the goblins of the wizarding world attempt to fight for their freedom against wizard suppression.

The major goal of the story is to stop the leader of the goblins from succeeding in his revolution.

In short, the story of the game is devoted to fighting and stopping a group of oppressed, hook-nosed characters from securing their rights in the wizarding world. Yikes!

Now, I’m not saying that 'Harry Potter' and 'Hogwarts Legacy' are directly responsible for real-life suspicion and mistreatment of Jewish people across the world.

There are a lot of people who don’t even realize the connection between this fantasy race and the real-world stereotypes. However, with antisemitic sentiment and even hate crimes on the rise, it’s definitely not helping.

This brings us to the second critique against the game: J.K. Rowling’s transphobia.

For years now, Rowling has put herself in the spotlight against the transgender community.

She has funded anti-LGBTQ political activity in the UK, wrote an essay falsely claiming that transgender people’s existence is harming and manipulating children, wrote an entire book based on a transmisogynistic premise, and has frequently claimed that trans people are dangerous to the gay community, and children.

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Rowling’s transphobia is more subtle in the original 'Harry Potter' books, but it is still there.

The character Rita Skeeter, for example, embodies many dangerous stereotypes about trans women.

Skeeter is a reporter with the secret ability to transform into a beetle, an ability she frequently uses to sneak into private areas and spy on characters, especially young women. She is also described as having “large, masculine” hands and a “heavy-jawed” face. Yikes.

Rowling’s words and actions against the existence of transgender people are devastating, given how much social and financial power she holds across the world. She is one of the richest women in the UK, and she is happy to put that money in the pockets of anti-LGBTQ lawmakers.

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Although Rowling wasn’t the creator of this game, she does still profit from everything with the 'Harry Potter' title, including Hogwarts Legacy.

In short, buying Hogwarts Legacy directly gives her the power to keep doing things like this.

The transgender and Jewish communities are asking us to do something meaningful, to stand behind them when their lives are used for cheap mockery and suspicion.

Now is a moment when we can make a difference.

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Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.