To those who are not in the know (or have been living under a rock for the past decade), author J.K. Rowling is disliked by critics and fans alike. In my opinion, she has done a lot to deserve the criticism, but the latest controversy in the wizarding world actually has, reportedly, had little input from the writer herself. “Hogwarts Legacy” is an upcoming video game set in the wizarding world which has been heavily anticipated since its initial announcement. However, with the game’s plot being recently revealed, it has come under heavy heat, and for good reason.
In the world of the Harry Potter series, the goblin species is well-known for its history of holding rebellions against the wizarding kind, but “Hogwarts Legacy” takes it to a new level. For some context, the goblin as a folk creature holds its origin in anti-Semitic tropes and stereotypes which have long carried over into mainstream medias. Rowling’s goblins serve as the bankers of the wizarding world and are generally viewed as subservient to wizards. They are also forbidden from owning a wand or receiving a magical education despite being capable of magic. Additionally, in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone movie, a shot of a Star of David is captured on the floor of the goblins’ bank.
The game itself appears to dip heavily into these tropes, according to the gameplay trailer released in March. The main antagonist is a goblin rebellion, which has allied with a group of dark wizards (the demographic which Rowling had based off of Nazis in the initial book series), aiming to harness a lost magical power to overthrow the wizarding society.
While the controversial creative herself has, to my knowledge, remained disconnected from the creative process, the company behind “Hogwarts Legacy” has, wittingly or unwittingly, created a game with an uncomfortably suggestive plot. Whether this occurred as a result of ignorance or malice has yet to be seen, but either way, anti-Semitism has very real effects. With the Harry Potter series being one of the most well-known in the world, especially among children, addressing the bigoted history of a trope is important. To a minority group, every stereotype and trope that paints them as negative as a whole can lead to violence and deaths.