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Hogwarts Legacy’s Trans Character Was Reportedly Created for a Sadly Predictable Reason

Can you hear our eyes rolling?

Hermione Granger looking annoyed Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans views have tainted all Harry Potter-related items to the extent that many former fans have decided they cannot, in good conscience, spend money on anything that would benefit Rowling financially or that would help her build her platform even more. This includes the upcoming wide release of the video game Hogwarts Legacy.

Rowling wasn’t directly involved with this game, but she is still going to make money off of it. And it seems like the developers of Hogwarts Legacy wanted to appeal to disillusioned fans but didn’t want to put much effort into doing so, so they tossed in a transgender non-playable character (NPC) as, according to all reports, a lip-service afterthought.

So everything is supposed to be magically better?

Hogwarts Legacy’s unveiling of their trans NPC seems to be a pretty direct response to the backlash facing the game. Sirona Ryan is the owner of the Three Broomsticks, the popular Hogsmeade inn and pub. But while the Three Broomsticks is an important location throughout the Harry Potter franchise, the character of Sirona reportedly isn’t in the game very much and seems to serve little purpose other than making it seem like Hogwarts Legacy is hip with fans, not like its totally uncool mom/creator.

Leaks on Twitter seem to confirm that the NPC is little more than “performative wokeness” and “bullshit,” and a deliberate move to try to “pivot the conversation away from JKR.”

Not only is the insignificant gesture predictable, but as pointed out in tweets by games researcher Liam Robertson, it is insidious. The developers are presenting an image of equality and acceptance with minimal inclusion and respect to make money. Some of that money and a large amount of clout are going directly to one of the most well-known TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical “feminists”) on the planet. It gives us no reason to believe that the company behind this game actually cares about the marginalized people it tosses into its games.

I know some people will use Sirona Ryan’s presence to justify the fact that they bought the game—to say the game can’t support Rowling’s transphobia because it has a trans character—proving that a lazy attempt to deflect from Rowling will work on a few. Others can see it for what it is: a tired ploy to avoid confrontation and pretend like her vile comments are removed from the game’s existence.

(via Gamer, featured image: Warner Brothers)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. She fangirls over the X-Men, folklore podcasts, and historical fantasy. When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse and offspring.