I’m probably gonna ruffle some feathers (owl feathers, in this case), but you know what? I’ve stayed silent long enough. Time for a rant.
To say Hogwarts Legacy is polarizing would be the understatement of a millennium. In fact, the game itself might be the most divisive game of all time.
I’ve seen many video game boycotts in my lifetime. One that stuck out was Left 4 Dead 2, being announced so soon after the first game that fans attempted to boycott it, only to instead have the game cemented as one of Valve’s best titles to this day. So seeing the boycott for Hogwarts Legacy crash and burn isn’t surprising, but the ramifications it’ll have will far outweigh any intended purpose.
To start off, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has become a divisive name over the past few years. Not just the writer space, but the media field as a whole. She has become heavily criticized for her anti-transgender views and has aligned herself with people like self-proclaimed “theocratic fascist” Matt Walsh, as well as targeting trans people for not just their identity, but also an advocate for numerous anti-LGBT laws in the UK, namely, but also elsewhere.
Her vitriolic behavior has become so unreal that even associating with her or Harry Potter in any capacity is equal to an endorsement. Whether you agree with her statements or not, having anything to do with HP or the author herself is nothing short of career suicide.
And that led to the infamous Hogwarts Legacy boycott.
Ever since the game’s announcement, those against Rowling’s harmful views, made it clear that buying that game meant endorsing her views, and in turn harming trans people and the LGBT community as a whole. Whether you ascribe to that is a different matter.
Personally, it’s definitely hard to ignore the elephant in the room. The more Rowling escalates her harmful rhetoric, the more unlikely it’ll be to support anything she does in the future. As for the game itself, if you want to buy it, then that’s your call alone to make.
You know what I don’t approve of? Not only the hostility against those who chose to play this game, but overall endorse this. Amounting to a “you brought this upon yourselves” mentality. And to go as far as making a search engine like the one below? Weeding people out for potential harassment bait?
Because of that, the boycott fell flat on its face the day it came out. It failed. Hard. There’s no way to sugarcoat that aside from stating the unfortunate truth. Even those who were playing review copies and giving donations to pro-LGBT orgs like the Trevor Project. Even when they try to do good, it wasn’t enough. Nothing short of outright cancellation and harassment would do. Anything less was unacceptable.
Do you know what is unacceptable? Making the trans community look like a violent mob.
Now, to be clear, not every trans person supports this harassment and bullying, and even more are still Harry Potter fans (whether out of franchise loyalty or spite, I cannot say). But when you have a website designed to target people who even play it (even to make fun of it), I have to wonder what the actual goal even was? Getting people to oppose JKR’s harmful views, or running a reckless campaign that spiraled so far out of control that there was no way to recover.
Look, I get it. The trans community is in a horrible place. I’m not ignoring their plights. Laws are being made denying them rights to simply exist and numerous people in politics flat-out want them dead.
I feel a reality check is in order for practically everyone. We can’t be making enemies over something like a video game, especially from a major franchise. This effort could have been spent on lobbying against anti-trans laws, but instead, it elevated a game that would have been good to a massive money-making machine.
If this feels too ranty, then let me explain this a little better.
Harry Potter fans should never have been targeted. Period. The moment the fandom was tied to the author’s transphobia, I knew this wasn’t going to work out.
This would have been any other game. It’s a pure Streisand Effect. Because of this, any effort actually helping the trans community was wasted. What’s happening now is not working. At all. Period. I’ve yet to see an internet-wide boycott actually work, and this one was no different. The fact that anyone had hope of this actually succeeding when the writing has been on the walls for months is stunningly asinine.
I can’t say I know how to fix this, also because I’d rather not speak over the trans community. We can’t brush this as a “well, guess there are more transphobes than we thought thanks everyone lol.” Everyone seriously needs to take a step back and think about how to go from here.
Otherwise, no progress will ever be made, despite our well-meaning efforts.
I think that about covers it. Whether you agree or not, I’m welcome for a civil discussion at the very least. If you’re absolutely not interested in supporting anything Rowling related, here are some LGBT orgs you can support:
That’s about it for today. If you want to see more posts like this or reviews in general, consider joining my Patreon where I give out sweet perks such as free ebooks, a chance to cameo in upcoming projects, early WIP previews, and plenty more. Don’t want to spend 8 dollars funding some billionaire on the internet? You get a lot more than some useless features on the birdsite.
Thank you for your support, and remember, we’re always here for you.