Fans are in shock over a new video game that features the first trans character in the Harry Potter universe.
The highly anticipated release of the Harry Potter-themed Hogwarts Legacy video game has long been controversial due to Harry Potter author JK Rowling’s virulent anti-trans views. Throughout the game’s development, many have argued that anyone involved tacitly supports Rowling’s dangerous anti-trans rhetoric.
And now, the character of Sirona Ryan has led many to accuse the game creators of merely being performative and attempting to distract fans from Rowling’s problematic views.
Ryan is a female-presenting witch with a deep voice. She runs a tavern and, during her role in the game, reportedly speaks to the player about her identity, explaining in regards to a goblin, “Hadn’t seen him in years when he came in a few months ago. But, he recognized me instantly. Which is more than I can say for some of my own classmates. Took them a second to realize I was actually a witch, not a wizard.”
The game also allows players to create avatars beyond the gender binary, allowing witches to possess “male” body parts and wizards to possess “female” ones, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
But a lot of people are not impressed and have mocked game creator Warner Bros. for the allegedly fake support and for the character’s name. Despite Sirona being the Celtic Goddess of healing, people feel “sir” should not be in the name of the Wizarding World’s first trans character.
While outrage has been far more common, some were less quick to criticize.
Hogwarts Legacy is set in the 1800s, based on the fictional experiences of a student at Hogwarts, the same school from the Harry Potter storyline. WB Games’ website stressed that “J.K. Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game” and that “this is not a new story from J.K. Rowling.”
They added, “However, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World.”
As she still owns the publishing rights, she is credited on the game’s website. In addition to outrage over Rowling’s connection to the game, developer Troy Leavitt was caught running an “anti-social justice” YouTube channel that criticized feminism, cheered on alleged harassment, and allegedly participated in bullying of women and progressives in the video gaming world.
Heartstopper’s Sebastian Croft – who plays Ben Hope on the hit Netflix series – recently apologized to fans for his involvement in the game as a voice actor.
The game will be released on February 10.