Hogwarts Legacy release prompts more antisemitism allegations

A goblin in Hogwarts Legacy

Hogwarts Legacy is having a hard time getting out of hot water following further accusations of antisemitism.

The Harry Potter spin-off game has already been criticised for continuing the franchise’s depiction of goblins, long accused of relying on antisemitic tropes.

Legacy’s main story sees the player attempt to squash an 1800s goblin uprising by finding its leader Ranrok, one of the main antagonists of the game.

Depicting an enslaved race’s rebellion against its oppressors as something to be stopped has led to plenty of criticism since the game’s announcement in 2020.

But after Hogwarts Legacy was officially released on Friday (10 February), criticism has only grown.

Players have shared images of a “goblin artefact” found in the game which some say looks similar to a Shofar – a Jewish instrument used in religious practices. Both are long, curved horns used to make sound.

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The 'goblin artefact' in Hogwarts Legacy.
The ‘goblin artefact’ in Hogwarts Legacy. (Warner Bros)
A woman rabbi holding a shofar, a long curved horn, to her mouth
Rabbi Carolyn Braun plays a shofar. (Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty)

The item’s description reads: “Horns like this were used by goblins during the 1612 goblin rebellion to rally troops and generally annoy witches and wizards.”

In the Harry Potter world, goblins run the wizarding bank, Gringotts.

As Noah Berlatsky wrote for NBC, the character design looks “a lot like the hook-nosed, greedy Jewish caricatures that have been a hallmark of antisemitic propaganda from the Middle Ages to Der Stürmer”.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism has said that the portayal of goblins within the series “is of a piece with their portrayal in Western literature as a whole”, and is “the product fo centuries of association of Jews with grotesque and malevolent creatures in folklore, as well as money and finance.”

It didn’t place blame with JK Rowling, who it described as a “tireless defender of the Jewish community”, but rather with “centuries of Christendom’s antisemitism”.

Instead of evading the years-long controversy, Hogwarts Legacy developers Avalanche Software decided to make the goblins integral to the main plotline.

This and so much more about the game – including a very poorly received attempt at trans inclusion – has left some players stunned.

Commentators have observed that, as JK Rowling is said to have had no involvement in Hogwarts Legacy, the issues need to be addressed by Warner Bros Interactive.

“I’ve heard JK Rowling had very little involvement in this game which means the writers seriously need to take accountability for this,” wrote one gamer.

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