New Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy criticised over name of series' first transgender character
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Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros. Games
New Harry Potter game Hogwarts Legacy has been criticised over the name of the series’ first transgender character.
Set in the 1800s - long before Potter’s time - the open-world game allows players to attend classes at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, while also exploring other beloved locations like Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forest.
Fans are already busy delving in after its release today (10 February) on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC, while others have vowed to boycott the game in reaction to Harry Potter creator JK Rowling’s views on the transgender community.
She tweeted in 2020: "If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction.
"If sex isn't real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.
"I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives."
Game developers have said Rowling was 'not involved in the creation of the game', with the official website saying: "While remaining true to JK Rowling’s original vision, Portkey game developers chart new territory by creating fresh ways for fans to immerse themselves in the Wizarding World."
The game also features the franchise’s first-ever trans character, but some people have criticised the name choice.
The inclusion of the character was kept out of any pre-release marketing material, with Avalanche opting to let players discover the character for themselves.
Sirona Ryan is the NPC [non-playable character] owner of the Three Broomsticks pub in Hogsmeade, who explains during one quest that she knows a goblin named Lodgok, saying she ‘hadn’t seen him for years’ but that a few months previously he recognised her ‘instantly’.
"Which is more than I can say for some of my own classmates,” she says.
“Took them a second to realise I was actually a witch, not a wizard."
However, many people have already criticsed the character’s name, pointing out that including the words ‘sir’ and ‘ryan’ - both of which hold masculine connotations – in the name of a transgender woman is inappropriate.
One tweeted: “They really put a trans woman in Hogwarts Legacy and named her Sirona Ryan. They literally put ‘sir’ in her f**king name. Are we really sure Rowling didn't ghost write this?”
Another said: “A name like Sirona Ryan for a trans woman is the most Harry Potter thing I've ever heard.”
Others compared the name to those of Cho Chang and Kingsley Shacklebolt, which have also been regarded as thoughtless by some Harry Potter fans.
A representative of Portkey Games - which is part of Warner Bros Games - told IGN that ‘it has been a high priority throughout the development of Hogwarts Legacy to create a game that is representative and diverse, aligning with our wonderful fan community’.
They continued: “The team felt that it was very important to create a game that is representative of the rich and diverse world of Harry Potter as well as the groups of people who play games, which includes the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We have a diverse cast of characters that players will encounter throughout the game.”
Tyla has reached out to Portkey Games for comment.