Hogwarts Legacy and the controversial author


Photos by Warner Bros

Hogwarts Legacy is the newest Wizarding World game which was released on 7 Feb. 2023.

In 1997, the world of literature was forever changed by the release of  ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ (or the ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’ in the US). Joanne Rowling, professionally known as JK Rowling, is one of the most well known authors of the 21st century. She is known all over the world for writing the number one highest selling book series of all time; a series that led to film adaptations starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson. However, the British author has been facing a fair amount of controversy over transphobic tweets that she posted in June 2020.

The bestselling series has not only been adapted into movies, but into video games as well. The first ‘Harry Potter’ game followed the release of the first movie in 2001, and the most recent being released 7 Feb. 2023. Hogwarts Legacy was first announced in September 2020 at a Playstation 5 event. Since its release, the open-world, action role-playing game has sold more than 12 million units with $850 million in sales globally and over 280 million hours played in its first two weeks of launch (source). 

“I kinda understand the controversy around it especially because there is a lot of controversy around JK Rowling herself, but I feel like, in general, there is not enough revenue going to her that it should deter people from playing the game,” said Gwen Peterson, sophomore.

The announcement of the game sparked controversy due to JK Rowling’s transphobic views. The controversy came back into light with the release of the game in February. Though the game was created and produced separate from Rowling, many potential players viewed buying the game as a moral issue and didn’t want to support Rowling or her views.

JK Rowling rose to fame with the release of her bestselling series, Harry Potter. (Photos by Daniel Ogren)

“I think that JK Rowlings is not a good person but she’s not going to get any richer so why not give the money to the people who created the game who are not transphobic,” said Wyatt Kocurek, senior. “She didn’t have anything to do with the game and it made lots of jobs so why not support those people who made it.”

This is not an issue unique to Rowling and Hogwarts Legacy. Similar controversies have come to fruition with musicians such as Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and Kanye West. Recently, cancel culture has been the driving force in the way the internet views certain people as well as their creations. While Rowling hasn’t lost much, other than followers on Twitter, people are upset over the influence that she has on the younger generations who read her work. 

“I feel like the person in question, in this scenario, can separate their work and their art. If whatever they have done is intrinsically part of the art then obviously people have to protest both the actions and the art because the art is part of the action,” said Peterson.