The JK Rowling controversy rages on, which we suspect might have something to do with Hogwarts Legacy (2023), the open-world game that was released onto major consoles a few weeks ago. Hogwarts Legacy sparked debate when it was first announced two years ago, and since then, some Harry Potter fans have tried to boycott it due to its ties to author JK Rowling.
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The game, which serves as a prequel to the Harry Potter books and films, has shone a new light on JK Rowling, who stirred more than just cauldrons a couple of years ago when she shared a tweet addressing her concerns with an article that used the term “people who menstruate” instead of “women”.
Despite a tsunami of backlash from the trans community and beyond, Rowling refused to go quiet. Since then, she has repeatedly denied that she is transphobic, and more recently, she appeared on brand-new podcast The Witch Trials of JK Rowling in an attempt to finally set the record straight, while also calling out the vitriolic backlash she has received.
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Last year, in the wake of the attack on fellow controversial author Salmon Rushdie, Rowling became the target of death threats. Warner Bros. wasted no time in announcing their full support of Rowling, which also came after rumors that the studio had cut ties with her.
Although it would seem that many actors from the Harry Potter films have cut ties with her instead, as Harry Potter “trio” Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) have each condemned Rowling’s views.
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However, there are a number of other actors from the films who have shown their support of Rowling, calling the backlash “disgusting”. Among them are Ralph Fiennes (Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Miriam Margoyles (Professor Sprout), and Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange).
And now, yet another Harry Potter actor has joined those ranks in defending the author. Evanna Lynch, best known for playing quirky fan-favorite Ravenclaw student Luna Lovegood, and who, in 2020 described the Harry Potter fan culture as being “unhealthy”, recently spoke with The Telegraph about the controversy surrounding Rowling.
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Explaining how she is able to empathize with members of the trans community, Lynch, 31, said that she has “great compassion for trans people”, and how she doesn’t “want to add to their pain”. Here’s what she said:
“I was very naïve when I was dragged into that conversation,” Lynch reveals. “I didn’t even know there were two sides. I had a view of, like, good and bad. I do have compassion for both sides of the argument. I know what it was like to be a teenager who hated my body so much I wanted to crawl out of my skin, so I have great compassion for trans people and I don’t want to add to their pain. I understand being too triggered to be able to have a conversation. If you put me in a room with one of my doctors who treated me in the past, ooh, I’d kick off. Like, I would want to scream and yell names.”
She then went on to talk about Rowling specifically, saying that she now feels comfortable enough to engage in the oftentimes divisive and difficult conversations surrounding the author, while pointing out that Rowling is an “advocate for the most vulnerable members of society”:
“I do also think it’s important that JK Rowling has been amplifying the voices of de-transitioners. I had this impulse to go, ‘Let’s all just stop talking about it’, and I think probably I’m a bit braver now about having uncomfortable conversations… I just felt that her character has always been to advocate for the most vulnerable members of society. The problem is that there’s a disagreement over who’s the most vulnerable. I do wish people would just give her more grace and listen to her.”
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While many members of the trans community and beyond will view Hogwarts Legacy as another way to line the pockets of an alleged “transphobe”, the game does feature the Wizarding World’s first ever trans character (as pictured below).
Along with Simon Pegg (Phineas Nigellus Black) and Luke Youngblood (Everett Clopton), other Hogwarts Legacy actors are Sebastian Croft and Amelia Gething (the main character/Fifth Year student), Lesley Nicol (Deputy Head Professor Matilda Weasley), Kandace Caine (Divination Professor Onai), Sohm Kapila (Astronomy Professor Satyavati Shah), Asif Ali (Ravenclaw student Mahendra Pehlwaan), and Jason Anthony (Nearly Headless Nick and the Sorting Hat).
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As per the official Hogwarts Legacy website, here’s the synopsis for the game:
Hogwarts Legacy is an immersive, open-world action RPG set in the world first introduced in the Harry Potter books. For the first time, experience Hogwarts in the 1800s. Your character is a student who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart. Now you can take control of the action and be at the center of your own adventure in the wizarding world. Your legacy is what you make of it.
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PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Hogwarts Legacy are on sale now. PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and PC versions will be released on February 10, while the Nintendo Switch version will be released on July 25.
What do you think about Evanna Lynch’s comments? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!