A LGBT+ reader struggles with being a massive Harry Potter fan but not wanting to support a game that will benefit J. K. Rowling.
I’ve never been a big reader, especially as a kid. I was always far more interested in video games and films, but I do genuinely enjoying reading novels when I actually attempt them. As a child I barely read anything at all, until the book that every child of my generation was obsessed with came along: J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The book captured my imagination in so many ways, not only was I pretty close to Harry’s age in the books, by the time the films came around I was the same age as the actors playing the roles (Daniel Radcliffe is two months older than me). The magic of the stories enthralled me, this magical world felt like it almost could be real, the characters were all fully fleshed out, funny, conflicted, flawed – there was even a sport in it that I really wanted to play (why haven’t we invented flying broomsticks yet?).
I was one of those Harry Potter nerds that queued up in Asda to purchase the final book. Like so many in my age group Harry Potter was everything, I truly loved it; all my friends loved it, to say J. K. Rowling got a whole generation of children reading really isn’t an understatement and that achievement can never be taken away from her!
But unless you live under a rock, J. K. Rowling has been embroiled in controversary regarding her views on transgender rights – this is a hot button topic at the moment as the trans community strive for similar equality that the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community have received in the last decade. There’s been very similar pushback from some sections of society, where the arguments seem to mirror the excuses people gave with gay marriage equality, and the cycle of abuse of minorities continues again – just with a new target.
To me J. K. Rowling’s views on the matter aren’t as extreme as social media has painted, in the grand scheme of anti-trans rhetoric Rowling’s are very mild and seems to come from a misguided place of believing that to include trans women as part of women’s rights is regressive to the women’s rights movement, which to me is just fundamentally stupid.
She also liked a post in 2018 referring to trans women as ‘men in dresses’, which I think says more than her actual words ever have. But her language isn’t as derogatory as others have been and after having discussions with many people of different age groups about the topic, it seems to come from a generational divide and a lack of nuance and understanding on the subject.
Whether you align yourself with Rowling’s views or whether you align more with mine, the fact now remains that I’m a member of the LGBT+ community and playing Hogwarts Legacy would feel like a sort of betrayal. But words cannot describe how much my inner child wants to play this game… from the sounds of it, it’s literally my fantasy Harry Potter game, one I’ve always wanted but never got.
I think the fact that I keep trying to justify the purchase in my head is a good indication that I do truly think it’s wrong for me to buy the game, I don’t really want to give money and support to a woman I feel is harming the trans community. I keep thinking if I buy it second-hand or if it came to Game Pass or PS Plus then my support is much more limited. Maybe it’ll review badly and then I won’t want it anyway!
One thing that must be playing on the publisher’s mind, if the game is good and reviews well, this would have been an absolute sure fire hit (and I think it still will be) but now there’s this weird dark cloud hanging over the game (and everything involving Harry Potter) that seems unfair to the people that have worked on the game.
In conclusion, I still don’t know whether I can support this game. I keep talking myself in and out of it, but if you’re not bothered about this whole debacle, I really hope you enjoy the game.
By reader Jay Johnson
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