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How can so much drama surround a video game? Let us break it down for you.
Over the past few years, "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling has developed a complicated relationship with the trans community. As Politico puts it, "Rowling's views — and her willingness to exchange biting blows with her online critics — have been denounced by fans as transphobic, a betrayal of the values of tolerance they learned from her books."
Other issues have also come up. For example, an antisemitism controversy over the imagery of the goblins in the Harry Potter franchise, her habit of giving minority characters stereotypical names that don't actually match up with their ethnicities (Cho Chang?), and her depictions of elf slavery have all been brought up a lot of questions.
When asked over Twitter, "how do you sleep at night knowing you've lost a whole audience from buying your books," she replied, "I read my most recent royalty cheques and find the pain goes away pretty quickly."
With the new release of Hogwarts Legacy, an RPG videogame set in the Harry Potter universe, Rowling's views have caused problems. Is it possible to separate her from this video game? She had nothing to do with the game's development, but she does profit from its sales.
Many Harry Potter fans and gamers alike have already decided to boycott the game. And some popular review sites like Kotaku, Polygon and Eurogamer haven't released reviews of the game yet. It's unclear if they ever will. Jessie Earl, a transgender YouTuber and writer, tweeted in December, "Any support of the Harry Potter franchise current projects while JK Rowling is in charge of it and using her ongoing platform to target and also justify her continued targeting of trans people is harmful to trans people."
Meanwhile, the developers at Avalanche who built the game are trying to distance the game from Rowling. Hogwarts Legacy actually features Harry Potter's first trans character, a woman named Sirona Ryan. Is this enough to change anyone's mind?