Let’s not beat around the bush — the Harry Potter The franchise has been tainted by JK Rowling’s problematic opinions about trans people that have raised many eyebrows. In fact, mine are dangerously close to disappearing in my hairline as she continues the “tradition” with a fresh comment every few days. While the decades-old adoration for the Boy Who Lived saved the books and films from getting a collective boycott, anything new in the Wizarding World universe is game for any and all vitriol that comes its way thanks to the author. And that brings us to the giant squid in the room — how to play Hogwarts Legacy Without feeling as if you are supporting Rowling or something?
Before we dive into why it is perfectly okay for you to enjoy the role-playing game even as you strongly refuse to board Rowling’s controversy train, let’s dissect the situation bogging down the expected excitement around Hogwarts Legacy‘s arrival.
Here is how JK Rowling is both connected and not connectedto Hogwarts Legacy
In an FAQ for the game, Warner Bros. Games has clarified that while the game is inspired by the Wizarding World from Rowling’s Harry Potter books, it is not created by her.
JK Rowling is not directly involved in the creation of the game, however, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World. This is not a new story from JK Rowling.”
The game is not Rowling’s creation, she has contributed nothing new to its conception or aided its developers with fresh ideas. It consists of original elements — like we will be visiting Hogwarts in the 1800s, long before the events of the books unfolded — created by Avalanche and Portkey Games and of course, the player who will be allowed to cook up their own scenarios and custom characters. .
But, as the game is, by extension, a part of the universe whose foundation was laid down by her, she will receive of a chunk of royalties, which is, quite understandably, a thoroughly disliked fact. While she is not the first, and sadly not the last, person to turn her fans against her, her questionable crusade has a more public and constant presence that has functioned like a Dementor sucking the soul out of the major hype that should have preceded the game.
But you can still play Hogwarts Legacy without wading through a sea of guilt
By understanding and accepting a simple fact — the world Rowling wrote about has grown and expanded way beyond her imagination.
It is thriving not because of Rowling—it is high time that we acknowledge that the credit goes to the imagination-rich minds that fell in love with it and choose to expand its limits beyond its author’s fictional boundaries. The series, technically, ended with Harry a married man with three children and a scar that didn’t hurt anymore. It only served to remind him of the battles he won—it didn’t hold the power to define him anymore.
That’s exactly why Rowling penning the books doesn’t deserve the credit for the forever breathing, thriving, and existing Wizarding World, for the story she started, has been retold a million times, in countless different ways, and continued to go places that she probably wouldn’t have taken them. It is like how Joseph Aspdin, a 19th-century British stonemason, created cement but what is remembered is the myriad of architectural wonders that have been established since then. I know, that’s one boring example but you get the picture.
Yes, Hogwarts Legacy is built on the universe Rowling established. But the reason the world of Hogwarts is still relevant and enticing because it was kept alive by fans who re-interpreted, defined, and renovated it in their own unique ways, whether in their budding imaginations that still roam the moving staircases and mysterious libraries of the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, intent on finding original wonders of their own or via magnificent fanfictions that continue to build the fantasy.
On that note, here is a quote for you, not from the books, but from a beautiful one Harry Potter fanfiction I read years ago:
But you must remember that in this life, no matter how much we wish, in the end we cannot truly change the world; nor can we truly change other people. We can change only ourselves.”
You have to acknowledge that there is no making Rowling stop her increasingly transphobic online snafu. But anyone wanting to play the game can get rid of the gnawing guilt by understanding that what you are supporting is the inclusive and accepting wonderland you and a million others with a magically vivid imagination tirelessly built and stoically expanded for decades. That’s all you. Not Rowling, not WB, just you.