The recent release of Hogwarts Legacy (2023) has caused a lot of unrest within the Harry Potter fanbase. But despite some fans trying to boycott it due to its connection to Wizarding World creator JK Rowling, the game is quickly becoming the biggest title of 2023.
JK Rowling is far better known these days for sharing posts on Twitter that have not been well received by members of the trans community and beyond. In 2020, the author criticized an opinion piece for using the phrase “people who menstruate” instead of saying “women”.
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She later doubled-down on her stance on gender identity and women’s rights by sharing the following tweet, in which she explains that “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction.” Check out the full Tweet below for context:
“If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
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Despite Rowling’s efforts to clear the air, her tweets have been widely regarded as transphobic by many Harry Potter fans who now condemn the author, so much that they appear to be severing all ties to their once-beloved franchise, starting with Hogwarts Legacy.
Rowling has since been labelled a “TERF”, which means “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”. That’s not to suggest she has no allies, though, as there are many Harry Potter fans, and even actors from the films, who don’t feel that her views are in any way bigoted.
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While Harry Potter “trio” Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson have condemned Rowling’s views, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Miriam Margoyles, and Helena Bonham Carter have defended her, calling the backlash “disgusting”.
Nevertheless, Rowling has become quite the pariah, and she even became the target of death threats following last year’s attack on Salmon Rushdie. But despite rumors that Warner Bros. had cut ties with Rowling, they announced their full support.
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Rowling has repeatedly said that she supports the trans community, but remains firmly grounded in her support of women’s rights. Now, she has addressed the ongoing backlash in the upcoming, aptly-named podcast The Witch Trials of JK Rowling, as shared via Variety.
Yes — JK Rowling is “on trial” in the latest podcast. Snippets of her comments have been revealed in the trailer, some of which you can read below:
“What has interested me in recent years, particularly on social media [is when fans say], ‘You’ve ruined your legacy. Oh, you could have been beloved forever, but you chose to say this.’ And I think: ‘You could not have misunderstood me more profoundly. I never set out to upset anyone. However, I was not uncomfortable with getting off my pedestal.”
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There’s no denying that JK Rowling’s previous comments have hurt many members of the trans community, and there’s also no denying that, when it comes to Twitter, she certainly likes to poke the hornet’s nest, with provocative tweets such as “Merry TERFmas”.
But will she be able to set the record straight? Or has the damage already been done?
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Well, despite the fact that the last two Fantastic Beasts films didn’t perform so well, the wider Wizarding World hasn’t sustained any real damage. Meanwhile, rumors of a reboot persist, but whatever happens, the IP will continue to be the gold mine it has been since 2001.
But it would seem that Hogwarts Legacy has, for now, saved the Wizarding World. In many ways, it serves as a Fantastic Beasts instalment in its own right, given the emphasis on magical creatures in the game. And though many fans continue to condemn the title, it includes the franchise’s first-ever trans character (as featured in the image below).
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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).
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.
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 of JK Rowling’s comments? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!