Defining J.K. Rowling’s legacy cannot be ignored in the face of Hogwarts’ success. Since the day it was announced, Hogwarts Legacy has been surrounded by controversy, partly due to the animosity between Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and trans-rights advocates. Rowling has turned off substantial portions of her following and, in some ways, fueled an already heated discussion.
As I’ve said before, I find the whole thing strange, and the Harry Potter enthusiast in me wishes Rowling had kept out of the controversy. Somebody in her position should be a role model and hero for all her fans, not just some of them, so she could have backed whatever political causes she chose without blowing out on Twitter.
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Regarding Hogwarts Legacy, I believe many people have taken a stance that is too extreme, too loud, and too unreasonable in response to Rowling’s beliefs. Spending your money as a form of political expression is excellent, but labeling the entire gaming community as bigoted is ridiculous. Since many members of the LGBTQ community, including trans gamers, are looking forward to this game, the claim that they can no longer be an ally to that community is absurd.
Once a writer publishes their work, it belongs to the public. It belongs to the readers just as much as it does to the writer. While Tolkien is no longer among us, his stories inspire generations. George R. R. Martin’s Westerosi tales are no longer his property. As a result of his releasing them, we can also claim them. Shakespeare passed away centuries ago, yet we continue to remember his works, such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and many others, thanks to numerous adaptations and popular culture.
If I were to write a novel and have it published, and then have a bunch of fans write fan-fic in which they try to ship my characters, those fans would have equal ownership with me. This is how the process goes down. And even if your political views are opposed, or your sushi of choice isn’t served at the same restaurant, you can still appreciate a good narrative.
In the same way, Rowling and Harry Potter are a phenomenon. No longer are these merely her works. Her only connection to Hogwarts Legacy is that her books inspired the game’s plot and location. She can gain financially from this but already has enough money to be dumb about. She can afford to launch a rocket into orbit and still have enough of cash left over. You’re familiar with Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales. If Rowling decided to, she certainly could. If you want to convey a message to someone like that, a boycott will only do a little.
I have to say; even though I am not directly affected by this issue in the same way that members of the trans community are, I do believe that the broader ramifications of this debate affect all of us. However, I think the backlash against Hogwarts Legacy has been counterproductive. Harassing streamers who play the game, for example, is a horrible action that serves anyone in the trans community any favors, and I think it was a lousy hill to die on.
It makes much more sense to see this game as a win for the LGBTQ community and progress. After all, the game features a trans character with a significant (and positive) role. You can even take on the part of a trans protagonist. Unlike the movies, the game features a large cast of characters from various ethnicities and cultures. Hogwarts Legacy is, in many respects, the most progressive vision of the Potterverse ever conceived. Yet it also has received the most significant and vocal opponent of any Wizarding World intellectual property. That seems highly misguided.
To demonstrate how ineffective the boycotts have been — or how they may have even backfired by encouraging more individuals to buy the game than would have done so under normal circumstances —
I’d want to show you something that has never been done before: After over 1.2 million viewers tuned in to watch other players play Cyberpunk 2077 and Hogwarts Legacy on Day One, the last game was surpassed as the most-watched single-player game on Twitch. To think it’s still in Early Access! Nobody is listening to these complaints, or perhaps those who do hear them are just looking for an excuse to justify a spiteful game purchase. They say that if you live by the sword, you must die by the sword. The magic wand, for that matter.
Most individuals who enjoy this game probably aren’t aware of the controversy and don’t care about it.
Whatever the scenario, I will not back down from what I have spoken. I think it’s necessary to protect the most defenseless members of society, and I believe trans individuals deserve our respect, dignity, and utmost consideration. Also, it’s essential to separate the art from the artist, and fans should become involved with the things they love even if some of the people behind it aren’t exactly stellar. We have to accept it, whether it’s Justin Roiland and Rick & Morty or any other creative or renowned people who disappoint us (and some who are monsters, but that’s another matter).
People always warn you to avoid putting yourself in a position to meet your heroes. A world devoid of heroes may be preferable.
Check out my thoughts on the game and my observations on this blog, and subscribe to my channel on YouTube for even more content on the game and related topics.