Hogwarts Legacy Draws Further Complaints Of Antisemitism
Fans of the Harry Potter books and films may have noticed that a lot of the minority characters are reductive and often just downright offensive. You've got a Black wizard named Kingsley Shacklebolt – an object used to chain slaves together – an Irish wizard called Seamus Finnigan who keeps blowing himself up – an obvious IRA parallel – and an Asian witch called Cho Chang – I'm not even going to explain why that's bad. Now add a trans character with a terrible name to that list. There are also the goblins, who embody negative Jewish stereotypes, and it seems Hogwarts Legacy has doubled down on the antisemitism.
What's this? A Hogwarts Legacy article that isn't about transphobia? I'm almost as shocked as you are. The new issue drawing ire from people is the inclusion of a shofar, a Jewish musical instrument in Hogwarts Legacy. It's a goblin artefact that's described as being "used by goblins during the 1612 Goblin Rebellion to rally troops and generally annoy witches and wizards."
In Germany, 1612 – in the real world, not the Harry Potter books – there was a pogrom in Frankfurt. Pogroms are organised massacres of Jews, and this instrument which looks exactly like a Jewish shofar was used during a Harry Potter rebellion in 1612 involving a race that for decades has been accused of being antisemitic.
One of these things taken on their own could be explained away as mere coincidence, but taken together, and combined with the history of claims of anti-Jewish tropes in Harry Potter, these inclusions are all pretty damning evidence of antisemitism within Hogwarts Legacy.
When the story for Hogwarts Legacy was revealed in a trailer, people immediately noticed how wrong it felt to have the plot revolve around crushing a rebellion led by an oppressed race. The game is about keeping those uppity Jews in their place. Even in the books, Hermione takes issue with the enslavement of the house elves and is mocked by just about everyone for it. It's really not as wholesome as people like to remember.
People have publicly criticised the depiction of goblins within the Harry Potter universe before, most notably Jon Stewart. He noted on his podcast that the goblins who run Gringotts Bank – also, c'mon, the goblins control all the money… – resemble antisemitic caricatures in the 1903 book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Even if you can separate the art from the artist and enjoy the game without considering the fact it's lending authority and cultural cache to JK Rowling and her transphobic views, how are you finding this game about crushing a clearly Jewish-coded uprising cosy and cute and fun?
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