Hogwarts Legacy Players Are Already Finding More Troubling Antisemitic References
It’s not looking great for Hogwarts Legacy, the latest game set in the Harry Potter universe—in terms of early signs of antisemitism, that is.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s alleged anti-semitism is not new. There has been talk, for decades, that the series’ goblins evoked a number of antisemitic tropes, with plenty of evidence to back up the claim. There’s so much evidence that even Jon Stewart has spoken up about the shady depiction of the fantasy species.
It looks like Hogwarts Legacy already has its own sketchy parallel. As some have pointed out on social media, a “1612 Goblin Rebellion” is referenced in the game, and it turns out there was a real-life massacre that occurred against Jewish people during the 1612-1616 Fettmilch uprising—one of many strategically conducted attacks, called pogroms, in predominately Jewish neighborhoods over the course of history. The date feels too specific not to be a reference to hate crimes committed in our very, very real world.
As others have pointed out on social media, while it’s not impossible that’s a coincidence, the game has already drawn criticism for its plot involving goblins in general, and how it relates to real-world “Blood Libel.” As the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum explains,
Historically, blood libels often took place close to Passover, when Jews were charged with using the blood of Christian children to bake matzahs. The proximity of such charges to Easter was thus also often associated with the continuing belief that Jews were responsible for the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus. Blood libels, together with allegations of well poisoning, were a major theme in Jewish persecution in Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the modern period. They were a central component in the development of modern antisemitism in the 19th century.
It’s easy to see why, given the existing criticism of Rowling’s goblins and racist fantasy creatures in general, people are seeing parallels between that and the game’s plot, summed up in a tweet that reads, “Quick reminder that Hogwarts Legacy’s main plot involves a goblin-led faction who abduct kids and want to use the (child) main character’s blood for a ritual to destroy their enemies. When people said it was Blood Libel: The Game they weren’t exaggerating! At all!!”
With all of that history, it becomes hard to see the 1612 date as just a simple coincidence. Just when you think J. K. Rowling’s painful pattern of bigotry has reached its ceiling, the series just keeps piling more on top, even when she’s not the one leading the way.
(featured image: Warner Bros.)
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