My thoughts on the wizard game

When I was around ten or eleven years olds I found myself reading this book about a young wizard boy and his friends. I was immediately enthralled by the concept and eventually got so impatient that I learned English just so I could read the second book that had not been translated yet. I don’t doubt there was a lot in there I didn’t fully grasp as a kid who’d barely started learning a language, but it’s no doubt that the Harry Potter franchise kick started my interest in reading, writing and the English language.

As time went on and the series became more mainstream I think I pretty quickly realized that it didn’t hold up all that well upon closer inspection. I still think they’re good books and if you want something light to read then they’re exactly what you want. But they started off as children’s books and that has always felt obvious to me. So as an adult, I found myself less interested in a lot of the story of Harry Potter. I will admit I never finished watching all the movies because I didn’t care to go through the story again after finishing the books. 

Having said all that, I enjoyed it for what it was and then never looked at it again. I do have friends that are big into the Harry Potter universe. It’s no wonder. It’s easy to get into, does a lot of things right and has managed to build an empire of merchandise and spin off material. It’s a solid franchise that makes a lot of people in the world very happy to be a part of. It always looked inclusive and friendly from an outsider perspective.

The same cannot be said for Harry Potter’s author. J. K. Rowling is what is known as a TERF. A trans-excluding radical feminist. This, in my basic understanding, is an offshoot of the feminist movement that doesn’t believe trans women should have the same rights as cisgender women. Talking about transgender people will always be tricky, since it’s a topic that’s still very divisive in this day and age. I sometimes forget that my personal circles are highly progressive and that seeing trans people as regular folk is not the norm outside of my friend groups. Now if J. K. Rowling just didn’t like trans people, I think a lot of people could just ignore that aspect of her and move on with their lives. The sad truth is that many people, especially the out-of-touch-with-reality billionaires, don’t really care about these kinds of issues. That’s always been the case in western history. We don’t care about the rights of people we don’t know nearly as much as we like to claim we do. But the reason why J. K. Rowling is so universally disliked for her beliefs, is because of how outwardly transphobic she is. If you take one look on her twitter timeline you instantly feel repulsed by her. At least I know I do.

There might be one or two of you who are still wondering why I’m bringing all of this up. Let me explain. The video game Hogwarts Legacy came out the other day. A chunk of the internet is boycotting the video game because of J. K. Rowling’s transphobia. Another chunk of the internet doesn’t care on bit about her transphobia and just wants to play the shiny new video game. Another group acknowledges that Rowling is a terrible person, but the game has been worked on by many other people as well, and playing a game you look forward to doesn’t immediately make you a transphobe.

Let’s zoom out a little bit. There are people on my twitter timeline who I respect a lot who are openly saying that you should not be playing this video game. If you play Hogwarts Legacy you are directly supporting a transphobe and you might as well be saying trans rights don’t matter to you. The fact that people I respect greatly have such a narrow view on this whole situation makes me quite sad. So like I said, let’s zoom out a bit. A 2020 study found that the following companies used Uyghur slave labor:

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Google
  • H&M
  • HP
  • Microsoft
  • Nintendo
  • Nike
  • Samsung
  • Oppo
  • Sony

There are a total of 83* major brands named in this article which you can find here. Microsoft, Nintendo & Sony combined own a lot of the video games on the market, including some of the more popular consoles. I can guarantee all of you have an operating system on your phone that is from either Google, Microsoft or Apple. I’ve bought clothes from several of the clothing brands on this list. My dad’s driven cars from companies on this list. My current computer runs Microsoft Windows, my previous phones were all a Samsung and they ran Google’s Android. The website I use to buy manga is a subsidiary of Amazon. Nestlé doesn’t think water is a human right.** Twitter is run by a transphobic billionaire.


What I’m trying to say is, you need to stop judging people who come home from a long day at work and really want to play the wizard game that reminds them of the characters they loved so much from their childhood. If you get off of twitter, uninstall windows, android and IOS from your devices, throw away your Nike and Adidas clothing and get rid of you Playstation, Nintendo and Xbox then, and only then, you can wag your finger at the people supporting the transphobic billionaire who’s still going to be a transphobic billionaire even if this game sells 0 copies.

I’m mad. It’s so hard to be progressive and care for the people around you without those who are supposed to be on the same side as you constantly shitting on you for making even the tiniest mistake. This is why the conservative movement is so much bigger. They don’t cannibalize each other for small disagreements. We do. We need to be better. We can play the damn wizard game and still acknowledge that trans men and trans women should be treated with just as much love and respect as the rest of us. Think a moment before you take out your pitchforks. Have some understanding that the world is a complicated mess in which ethical consumption has died a long time ago.

As for me, I won’t be playing Hogwarts Legacy. Not because of some ethical reason, not because I think it’s bad to put money in Rowling’s gnarled claws but simply because I was never planning to play it to begin with. I hope that those who play the game enjoy it as much as they hoped they would. And I hope we can all acknowledge that trans rights are important and that a video game won’t change a thing about that. Thanks for reading.

*I’m linking an article that lists the 83 brands. Some of these brands have – supposedly – changed their ways or denied their involvement since, but you be the judge of that.

**Nestlé’s stance on water has changed since the publishing of this article, but who knows what they say behind closed doors.

One thought on “My thoughts on the wizard game

  1. Conservative actually do cannibalise each other “for not being conservative, or rather not being right-winged enough” thing is, most don’t bother paying attention to it, as they’ve been doing it to themselves for years. Reason why the conserv get the upper hand is as you said, progressives turn on each other, conservs not only highlight, but mock it as well. Fun fact: years ago, I use to enjoy the HP books and didn’t mind JK. BEFORE, her own downfall, I jumped off the series and found her to be foolish.


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