The Wizarding World saw a massive shake-up on Monday with the announcement of the first-ever transgender Harry Potter character. A trans woman allegedly appears in Hogwarts Legacy, an open-world video game set to release on February 10 on PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.
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Most Harry Potter fans never would’ve expected such an addition to Hogwarts Legacy, as the creator of the Wizarding World, J.K. Rowling, is known for transphobic views and rampant anti-trans tweets. Many are boycotting the franchise’s newest installment due to Rowling’s controversial statements and allegations of anti-semitic undertones in the game.
Nevertheless, the Harry Potter prequel will see the addition of Sirona Ryan, a trans witch. Ryan is the proprietress of the Three Broomsticks pub in Hogsmeade, a village nearby Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Though Ryan is allegedly named after a Celtic goddess, her first name alludes to the truth behind her character. Sirona Ryan is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt by Avalanche software developers to make up for negative publicity surrounding Hogwarts Legacy because of Rowling’s views. I mean… “Sir?” There wasn’t another goddess with a pretty name to give to a transgender woman that doesn’t allude to her transition?
I’m not alone in feeling this way. On Twitter, many vocal critics of J.K. Rowling offered little solace that this change would influence them to buy Hogwarts Legacy. @cooIboobs wrote:
this is so much more offensive than never having a trans character
this is so much more offensive than never having a trans character pic.twitter.com/jz9zyzhygo
— 𝘦𝘮 🧍🏻♀️ (@cooIboobs) February 6, 2023
Others suggested similarly offensive names for new characters in the Harry Potter universe. From @Vward98:
BREAKING: The upcoming Harry Potter universe game ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ will introduce the franchise’s first ever openly gay character, named “Homie McSexual”.
BREAKING: The upcoming Harry Potter universe game ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ will introduce the franchise’s first ever openly gay character, named “Homie McSexual”. pic.twitter.com/dRYcdTK9Fh
— vin! (@Vward98) February 6, 2023
I’m not saying you’re a terrible person if you play Hogwarts Legacy – it’s impossible to perform an ethics evaluation on everything you consume. But some things can be avoided. While J.K. Rowling didn’t develop the game, she will make money from it – money she could funnel into one of many anti-trans groups she proudly supports. Developers and Avalanche employees have already been paid for their work on the game, but Rowling’s cut depends mainly on royalties.
Unlike some unethically sourced products like smart phones and groceries, no one needs Hogwarts Legacy to survive. As a former lifelong Harry Potter fan, I find it more important to stand with the trans community than play a video game. If you choose to play Hogwarts Legacy and consider yourself an LGBTQIA+ ally, consider offsetting your purchase with a donation to one of the hundreds of organizations doing vital work to save trans lives.
Are you going to play Hogwarts Legacy when it comes out this month?
*Editor’s note: The opinions reflected in this article are those of the author and any quoted individuals. They do not necessarily reflect Inside the Magic’s views as a whole.