A hotly anticipated new video game set in the “Harry Potter” universe appears to feature a trans character, which would be a first for the franchise.
“Hogwarts Legacy” is an action role-playing game in which players explore Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the nearby village of Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and other iconic locations featured in the books and movies.
During one in-game quest, players meet Sirona Ryan, owner of the Three Broomsticks pub in Hogsmeade.
Though the character doesn’t specifically say she’s trans, a line of her dialogue leads players to make their own conclusion:
“Hadn’t seen him in years when he came in a few months ago,” Sirona says about a goblin the player is pursuing. “But, he recognized me instantly. Which is more than I can say for some of my own classmates. Took them a second to realize I was actually a witch, not a wizard.”
The game releases Friday, but players on some platforms got early access, and details about the game have already been teased by video game journalists and streamers.
Players and fans have definitely noticed the detail, and some have derided the name choice for the character, which they say has a decidedly masculine undertone. Others have pointed out the name “Sirona” refers to a Celtic goddess of healing and rebirth.
The revelation of a trans character is particularly noteworthy because of ongoing controversy surrounding “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling’s views on transgender people. Though Rowling has said she supports trans people, she also has expressed gender essentialist ideas and criticized mainstream transgender rights movements.
“When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman … then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside,” Rowling wrote in a 2020 essay defending her views.
In the same essay, she said she refused to “bow down to a movement that I believe is doing demonstrable harm in seeking to erode ‘woman’ as a political and biological class.”
Rowling is also known for periodically adding comment or context to the Harry Potter canon. So far, she has not commented on the “Hogwarts Legacy” character.
Rowling’s past comments have drawn criticism from “Harry Potter” actors like Daniel Radcliffe, and have deeply divided the vast “Harry Potter” fandom. Fans regularly debate how much and when they should invest in the franchise given Rowling’s views.
Such debate also has swirled around the “Hogwarts Legacy” video game.
“We know our fans fell in love with the Wizarding World, and we believe they fell in love with it for the right reasons,” the game’s director Alan Tewe told IGN. “We know that’s a diverse audience. For us, it’s making sure that the audience, who always dreamed of having this game, had the opportunity to feel welcomed back. That they have a home here and that it’s a good place to tell their story.”
CNN has reached out to Warner Brothers Games for comment.