The latest teaser for Hogwarts Legacy depicts a magical realm that continues the Wizarding World’s controversial treatment of Goblins.
For 25 years, the Harry Potter series has been a significant part of popular culture, especially for those who grew up with it. Even though video games have had less impact on the fandom than books and movies, they have continuously delighted and intrigued enthusiasts. With the release of Hogwarts Legacy, a new open-world game that looks to offer everything fans have wanted for decades, that could change.
However, as the game approaches its release this winter, a slew of problems swirling around it. The latest stumbling block comes from the game’s State of Play trailer, which featured one of the Wizarding World’s most controversial elements: goblins. From the problematic history of one of the game’s designers to the portrayal of the Hogwarts’ house elves to the well-documented controversy surrounding Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, the latest stumbling block comes from the game’s State of Play trailer, which featured one of the Wizarding World’s most controversial.
Harry Potter’s goblins are one of the franchise’s more complex components. They’re characterized by attributes usually associated with Jewish caricatures, and their location at the Wizarding World’s central bank and their status as second-class citizens (which is never addressed in the series) have sparked lot of controversy over the years. Goblins in the novels and movies are often seen as an obvious parody of antisemitic clichés that have long been used to demonize Jews.
The Goblin Rebellions addressed throughout the franchise add to the problem. These battles between wizards and goblins are brutal and terrible, with the literature naturally favoring the wizarding side. The goal of the Goblin Rebellions, on the other hand, was for goblins to prevent wizards from enslaving them and denying them access to wands. These restrictions had previously been imposed on house-elves, who are portrayed as problematic in their way. As a result, the books describe goblins as sentient, ultimately magical beings who are both wrong and wrong for refusing to be enslaved. The Goblins from the literature are highly problematic because of this and their Jewish ties.
The goblins’ dilemma does not end there. Despite Hogwarts Legacy’s attempts to reflect the transgender community despite Rowling’s complicated history, the game appears to be perpetuating and, worse, emphasizing this ugly representation of goblins. The game’s principal enemies are goblins, who, given the game’s narrative background, cast players as oppressors’ hands.
Furthermore, the goblins are rumored to be abducting Hogwarts pupils. Though this was probably introduced to the game to make the goblins seem more wicked and minor, like a people fighting for their rights against an oppressive dictatorship, the real-world connection makes it extraordinarily careless or deliberate. This brings to mind antisemitic conspiracy theories from the late twentieth century, in which Jews were accused of stealing infants.
Ultimately, despite the numerous scandals and objectionable content, fans will have to decide whether Hogwarts Legacy is worth playing. It’s likely that the early glimpses of the game aren’t giving the complete picture and that the game will deal with goblins more deftly than has been revealed thus far. However, what has been shown does not inspire confidence, and it appears that the franchise’s long history of irresponsibly playing into antisemitic tropes will continue tragically.