Watch: Harry Potter Game 'Hogwarts Legacy' Features Trans Character

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday February 7, 2023

"Hogwarts Legacy" character Sirona Ryan is reportedly transgender
"Hogwarts Legacy" character Sirona Ryan is reportedly transgender  (Source:Screenshot/Hogwarts Legacy/YouTube)

The biggest surprise about the upcoming "Harry Potter" video game "Hogwarts Legacy" might be that it features a transgender character.

Variety reported that the game, which has been in development for the last several years, "introduces players to Sirona Ryan, the proprietor of the Three Broomsticks pub in the game's Hogsmeade Village — who informs players that her classmates took some time to realize that she "was actually a witch, not a wizard."

The entertainment news outlet went on to note, "The evident appearance of a trans character in the Wizarding World is significant, given that Rowling has generated widespread controversy over the last few years for making comments that many have perceived as anti-trans."

"J.K. Rowling is not involved in the creation of the game," according to the game's website.

The site adds: "While remaining true to J.K. Rowling's original vision, Portkey game developers chart new territory by creating fresh ways for fans to immerse themselves in the Wizarding World."

The site describes the game, which will be available Feb. 10, as "an immersive, open-world action RPG set in the world first introduced in the Harry Potter books."

"For the first time, experience Hogwarts in the 1800s," the site goes on to say. "Your character is a student who holds the key to an ancient secret that threatens to tear the wizarding world apart."

Before word broke of the game's transgender character, news dropped that "Heartstopper" star Sebastian Croft had worked on the game as a voice actor. Entertainment Weekly noted that fans of the hit Netflix series, which celebrates LGBTQ+ youth — and includes a prominent transgender character — "expressed their dismay at his involvement".

Croft, who plays Ben in the Netflix series, took to Twitter on Jan. 14 to send out an explanation and to offer his apologies, posting, "I was cast in this project over 3 years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me, was the magical world I grew up with."

"This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling's views," Croft added. Those views made headlines in June of 2020, when the author posted tweets that seemed to suggest that transgender women are not women at all.

"If sex isn't real, there's no same-sex attraction," one of Rowling's controversial tweets declared. "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."

Over the past several years, Rowling has restated those views periodically.

Croft stated unequivocally in his Jan. 14 tweet that he does not agree.

"I believe wholeheartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men," Croft declared.

The actor went on to add: "I'm really sorry to anyone hurt by this announcement. There is no LGB without the T."

Watch the official launch trailer for "Hogwarts Legacy" below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.