The protagonist fights a dragon, or something akin to a dragon
The protagonist fights a dragon, or something akin to a dragon https://www.hogwartslegacy.com/en-us

Is J.K. Rowling Profiting From the ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ Game?

Not so magical, after all.
The protagonist fights a dragon, or something akin to a dragon
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Recently, Playstation State of Play held a gameplay showcase for Warner Brother’s upcoming title, Hogwarts Legacy. The video was half gameplay, and half the developers telling us how much love and heart went into this title. There’s no doubt that they put a lot of work into the game, as it looks stunning, but one would be remiss to overlook the insidious shadow looming over the Harry Potter world.

For the last few years, author J.K. Rowling has been less of an arbiter of childlike joy, and more a source of harm for many of her readers—predominantly the trans and non-binary communities and their allies. As such, it’s only natural for one to wonder if this game is supporting her in any way, and whether or not it would be amoral to buy it regardless.

Does J.K. Rowling get royalties from Hogwarts Legacy? Short Answer: Yes, She Profits

j.k rowling still the face of hp
No matter how involved, she’ll always be attached to the series as its creator.

Although Rowling had absolutely nothing to do with the development of this game, the fact remains that, as long as she owns the rights to her own IP, she will profit off anything made under it. How much, exactly, has yet to be disclosed, but considering she makes millions in passive income every year (and how expensive the base game will be), the amount she’ll get from game sales won’t exactly be a drop in the bucket.

It’s disappointing and frustrating, to be sure. While yes, she did create a franchise that once touched the hearts of millions, she’s ultimately tarnished said franchise with her hateful, bigoted words. In a better world, the IP would be in the hands of someone who more clearly reflected several core values of the series: compassion, solidarity, and acceptance.

But as it is, this is simply not the case, even when considering the development of this game: one of its former lead designers was found to be using hate speech on his YouTube channel, and subsequently left when it all came to light. It’s worth mentioning that he left of his own volition—he was not asked to leave.

Should You Buy?

Promotional image for Hogwarts Legacy
(Portkey Games/WB)

Our official response, as a website and as individuals, is fairly simple: No Thanks.

But the fact of the matter is, nobody has the power to tell you what to do with your money, and if the game looks good, then far be it from us to tell you not to buy it. All the same, we implore you to understand the fuller implications of this transaction, namely that even in the barest way possible, you are playing an active role in Rowling’s lasting legacy.

I say this with no shame or malice, especially in regard to fans who are LGBTQ+ themselves and feeling conflicted about this whole thing. While I have never been a “Potterhead,” I understand that the series helped so many people find comfort in their identities, as well as the bravery to accept and own them. The process of flitting back and forth between morals and wants is a challenging one, especially for marginalized groups, so this is ultimately a decision that one must make based on their own set of values and beliefs.

Ultimately, two things can exist at once: one’s love for the franchise can be pure and true, and their desire to hold onto that love is a valid, understandable thing. AND, J.K. Rowling will continue to berate and bully marginalized groups with her increasing involvement in far-right politics, and purchasing even one copy of this game will still contribute to her ongoing “crusade.”

Beyond Hogwarts…

Concept art for Dragon Age 4 companions, as done by Matt Rhodes.
Instead of Hogwarts, you could be having a tryst with a cool assassin lady. The choice is clear, IMO. (Bioware)

Now, although I’m, again, not a Potterhead, I am a fan of good RPGs, and the only excitement I got from watching the gameplay trailer was in seeing that it very well might be a good RPG. Of course, the excitement didn’t last, and I found myself sighing in disappointment that one of the better gameplay reveals we’ve gotten in years was from that damn Hogwarts Legacy.

Do you find yourself in that camp, too? Well, don’t grumble too much: there are other good games to look forward to, such as the new Fable, which will hopefully revitalize the series after its last few romps in mediocrity. And there’s also Dragon Age 4, coming out next year, which will hopefully carry forward the chops of its predecessors while also being blessed with better writing.

Of course, for those who don’t want to wait, there are still plenty of good, fantastical RPGs out there to try instead of Hogwarts Legacy. There’s Elden Ring, Breath of the Wild, Baldur’s Gate 3, the aforementioned Dragon Age series … all of which won’t be putting coins in the pockets of a bigot.

And if you still want to play a wizard game … well, hey, can’t go wrong with Wizard 101.

(Featured Image: Portkey Games/Warner Brothers)


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Author
Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).