Hogwarts Legacy, the widely anticipated open-world video game set in J.K Rowling’s wizarding world, has introduced the very first transgender character in the Harry Potter universe.
While expected to be one of the biggest games of the year, Hogwarts Legacy hasn’t been without its controversy - it has been subject to boycotts from the LGBTQ+ community after Rowling’s anti-transgender stance became the subject of public conversation, leading her to be criticised by organisations like Stonewall, GLAAD and Human Rights Campaign.
This is what you need to know about Sirona Ryan, the first transgender character to be introduced into the Harry Potter world.
Who is Sirona Ryan?
Sirona Ryan is a character in the new wizarding video game Hogwarts Legacy - and is the first transgender character to appear in the Harry Potter universe. Sirona runs the Three Broomsticks tavern, and players of Hogwarts Legacy encounter her fairly early on in the game.
The inclusion of Sirona in the game is particularly significant due to Rowling’s stance on transgender people - over the years she has made a number of statements which have been described as anti-trans, including writing in an an essay titled “TERF wars”: “When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman - and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones - then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.”
She also claimed that transgender activism was “seeking to erode “woman” as a political and biological class”.
As such, a number of stars from the Harry Potter franchise have spoken out against Rowling’s views, including Daniel Radcliffe (Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, The Lost City), who released a statement on the Trevor Project website which said that “transgender women are women” and that “any statement to the contrary erases the identity and dignity of transgender people and goes against all advice given by professional health care associations who have far more expertise on this subject matter than either [Rowling] or I”.
Emma Watson (The Bling Ring, Little Women), who portrayed Hermione Granger, also took to Twitter to write: “Trans people are who they say they are and deserve to live their lives without being constantly questioned or told they aren’t who they say they are. I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”
Rupert Grint (Servant, Knock at the Cabin), who played Ron Weasely, added in a statement: “I firmly stand with the trans community. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. We should all be entitled to live with love and without judgement.”
Speaking with IGN, a representative for Portkey Games said: “The team felt that it was very important to create a game that is representative of the rich and diverse world of Harry Potter as well as the groups of people who play games, which includes the LGBTQIA+ community. We have a diverse cast of characters that players will encounter throughout the game.”
When asked why Sirona wasn’t included in any of the promotional marketing for the game, the representative said that the aim for players is to “discover all of the different elements of the story and gameplay as they play through it”. They also added that the “best way to get to know any character is to delve into the game”.
Who is Sirona Ryan’s voice actor?
The voice actor for Sirona’s character has not been confirmed as it appears that they were not credited for the role.
While the end credits for the game provides a list of voice talent, their specific roles were not mentioned.
Is JK Rowling involved in Hogwarts Legacy?
Hogwarts Legacy has said that Rowling “is not involved in the creation of the game”, however the video game creators “collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it remains in line with the magical experience fans expect”.
On its FAQ page, Hogwarts Legacy explained: “J.K. Rowling is not involved in the creation of the game, but as creator of the wizarding world and one of the world’s greatest storytellers, her extraordinary body of writing is the foundation of all projects in the Wizarding World.
“This is not a new story from J.K. Rowling, however we have collaborated closely with her team on all aspects of the game to ensure it remains in line with the magical experiences fans expect.”
Has she said anything about Sirona Ryan?
As it stands, Rowling has not yet made any comments about the inclusion of Sirona in Hogwarts Legacy.