Hogwarts Legacy Gameplay Showcase: Return of the “Goblins are Jews!” Claim

Read about ‘Hogwarts Legacy,’ a role-playing computer game set in the Wizarding World of the 19th Century, at the Wikipedia page dedicated to explaining its ins and outs or just watch the video embedded in the tweet above. The game won’t be available for play until next February but it can be ordered before that time, whence the big news of the day: a ‘Gameplay Showcase’ debuts today to encourage those gamers interested in the product, a crowd estimated to number in the millions around the globe, to purchase it in advance.

As you might expect of anything involving J. K. Rowling today, the game already has its critics. Take a look at Did Hogwarts Legacy Seriously Just Make The Anti-Semitic Goblins The Villains? at the gamer.com or vice.com’s Hogwarts Legacy Imagines a Harry Potter Without JK Rowling. Each contends that, although Rowling was not involved in the evolution of the game as a creator or consultant, that her “bigotry” and “transphobia” by necessity inform it, based as it is on the Gender Critical and racial prejudices that permeate her novels. A touchstone argument for both critics is the risible chestnut that Rowling’s Goblins are caricatures of Jews, rapacious for money and privilege.

Beatrice Groves exploded this contention in March 2019 with two posts on the supposed anti-Semitism, Rowling’s Goblin Problem? and The Sword Until Recently Known as Gryffindor’s. To their credit, the creators of the game and its owners, a division of Warner Brothers-Discovery, have not redesigned the game to remove the Goblin Rebellion core of the narrative.

None of the HogwartsProfessor faculty and adjutants are ‘gamers’ so please be sure we welcome contributions from those of you who are — in the form of a Guest Post — about the Hogwarts Legacy Gamesplace Showplace to explain and critique what the big deal is. Let us know what we’re missing as well as the bugs and room for improvement in the game design and format!


‘Sorting Hat’ Pronounced Dead at 98; Requiescat in Pace, Leslie Phillips

Leslie Phillips, CBE, actor, voice artist, and UK legend, died yesterday, aged 98. Though a star in over 150 movies, mostly bawdy comedies, he is best known to Americans as the voice of the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter movies, a part he voiced in the film adaptations of Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and the second Deathly Hallows.

Phillips’ participation in the Potter movies was somehow very fitting. The repertoire company of UK greats that were assembled for the eight Hogwarts blockbusters, after all, was somehow reminiscent of the troupe that made the Carry On film series, 31 movies over forty years, one of the most successful franchises in British history. Only the adaptations of Ian Fleming’s James Bond adventures has gone on longer. Leslie Phillips starred in three of the first Carry On romps — Jim Dale, a voice much more familiar to American Potter-philes, was in eleven of these politically incorrect farces — and his “Ding-Dong!” “Well, hello!” and “I say” catch-phrases helped make the franchise as popular as it became.

At Phillips’ death, Dale is one of the only surviving Carry On stalwarts, Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Kenneth Williams, and Joan Sims having died years ago. Phillips refused to move to Hollywood even though he had had some success in a 1957 Gene Kelly musical because he feared becoming a “poor man’s David Niven.” He wound up instead after a long career in English comedies as the voice of Godric Gryffindor’s headdress, the iconic Sorting Hat at Hogwarts. No doubt his fans in the UK recognized his voice — “Ding Dong!” — and were delighted at his appearance in the Warner Brothers films, a link to the grand tradition of Pinewood Studios.

Read all about him in the Daily Mail obituary or his Wikipedia page and watch a documentary about the Carry On films made on the occasion of the 40th anniversary party for cast and crew in 1998. I couldn’t help but think while watching that of the much slicker productions made for the Harry Potter 20th anniversary reunion last year. If any of you have Leslie Phillips memories to share, please do — especially those who think, as I do, that his voice role in the Potter films was a hat-tip from Leavesden Studios to Pinewood.

Dobby’s Grave Pilgrimage Site Preserved

It turns out that Harry Potter fans believe they have found the location of Shell Cottage and Dobby’s grave on the coast of Wales — and turned it into something of a pilgrimage site. Read the Daily Star twitter thread above and follow the links there for the whole story.

If you find the idea of making pilgrimage to the real-world locations of fictional events where make-believe personages ‘lived,’ or, in the case of Dobby, ‘died’ exotic, peculiar, fascinating, or preposterous, check out this podcast, ‘So What Is a Harry Potter Pilgrimage?‘ featuring Beatrice Groves, who in addition to her other areas of expertise happens to know an astonishing amount about religious and literary pilgrimages.

And then go to PotterPilgrimage.com — I kid you not! — and schedule your own tour of the UK’s Hogwarts Saga principal points for homage, reflection, or imagination re-shaping. Enjoy — and let us know what you left as a token at Dobby’s grave on your visit!

Rowling Goes to War with Latest Anomie


Rowling today tweeted a six part take-down of Laura Elliot, a writer who accused Rowling of asking the Society of Authors to issue a statement about the “You’re Next” tweet she received consequent to the Salman Rushdie attack. While that tweeted bit of terrorism was never a credible threat in my opinion, Rowling was well within her rights to ask Twitter to take it down, which is to say, “to do their job,” at least as they understand policing their platform. In a nutshell, Elliot was slandering Rowling, Elliot had blocked Rowling from responding privately, Rowling gave Elliot both barrels in public, which unleashed that part of The Presence’s 14 million twitter followers who support her to dump on Elliot. Elliot retreated from the field of battle but did not retract her accusation or apologize. [Read more…]

J. K. Rowling and Ngaio Marsh

We know from Rowling’s interviews with fellow authors Val McDermid and J. J. Marsh that she both loves and re-reads Ngaio Marsh among the ‘big four’ of crime authors:

Ngaio Marsh; Canterbury Players at Conservatorium.Lynch.1949.01.14.PIX article 1951

Val McDermid: How did that love affair with crime start for you?

JKR: Probably…I know I was reading Christies when I was quite young. All of the Big Four – Marsh, Allingham, Christie and Sayers – I’ve read and loved….

Val McDermid Interviews Robert Galbraith at Harrosgate Festival

J. J. Marsh: Are there any books you re-read?

JKR: Lots and lots.  When I’m working, I find it incredibly difficult to read new books (although when I’m between my own novels, I devour other people’s).  So if I’m writing, I re-read.  I’ve re-read all of Jane Austen so often I can actually visualize the type on the page; I love Colette, Katherine Mansfield, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, E. F. Benson and P. G. Wodehouse, all of whom are always beside my bed.  I read a lot of diaries and biographies, too; Chips Channon’s also a fixture on the bedside bookshelves, as is the afore-mentioned Secrets of the Flesh, and everything by Frances Donaldson is eminently re-readable.

J. J. Marsh — J. K. Rowling Interview, August 2013

This post attempts to argue that we have some non-textual evidence to suggest that to Rowling, Ngaio Marsh is a special case, certainly among crime authors. Join me after the jump to find out more!

[Read more…]