OPINION: Magic of Hogwarts Legacy undermined by bigotry

Game stereotypes Jewish people; shows how culturally ingrained antisemitism is



Hogwarts Legacy is set to release in Feb. 2023.

JARED GRACE, Evergreen columnist

Harry Potter is one of the most popular franchises to ever exist, with well over 500 million projected fans according to Pottermore, Harry Potter’s official website. The books and subsequent material that came afterward have had a huge effect on many people’s childhoods all around the world. 

The series is written by J.K. Rowling, and what was originally what put her in the limelight. It was not until afterward that her many controversies began. 

In recent years, Rowling has been known to tweet and blog about her offensive personal views, using her platform to spout transphobia, misogyny and body shaming.

Many people have written stories, music or movies while having bigoted views and were able to create their art without implementing them into their work. However, Rowling has consistently tied them in with the stories that she would write.

Rowling’s most well-known controversies usually involve her blatant transphobia, but she has also spent her career perpetuating unabashed antisemitism, notably with her goblin creatures. 

In the books and movies of the series, goblins were portrayed as crooked, penny-pinching little creatures – essentially, a caricature of untrue and very offensive stereotypes about Jewish people. 

Hogwarts Legacy is a highly-anticipated open-world video game that takes place in the HP universe, but its release has been marred by its perpetuation of the series’ antisemitism by making the goblins the main villain of the game.

Many of the conflicts throughout are goblin rebellions; here, goblins are portrayed as second-class citizens, in most cases slaves, who are rebelling because of their constant mistreatment from the wizarding world. 

This, of course, is topped with the fact that they sided with the Death Eaters in the wizard war, portraying them as truly villainous for just wanting freedom from their captors. 

In an article written by Noah Berlatsky, a Jewish atheist working with NBC’s THINK team, he discusses the prevalence of antisemitic tropes in many of pop culture’s most iconic franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings and even classic characters such as Ebeneezer Scrooge. 

While Berlatsky does not believe that the authors that made these stories were necessarily antisemitic themselves, he points out that these tropes are still very harmful and can change the perception of the communities they represent. 

According to NBC’s THINK, around 63% of people did not even recognize that there were even antisemitic tropes in these stories before reading their article, which speaks to how subtle they can be. 

It is a shame because what could have been a beautiful fantasy world is riddled with slavery, antisemitism and transphobia, while also being one of the most diversity-lacking series you can find – and no one seems apt to make any actual changes to it or examine any sort of social nuance in the world.

At the end of the day, it is really your choice as to whether you would like to support this game or not. I just hope with this information you can make an educated decision and support what you truly believe in.