Hello, fellow aspiring wizards and witches!
My fiancée and I finished Hogwarts Legacy(HL), and I can not wait to tell you how great the story was.
Stories are a combination of world-building, character-building, plot and themes. HL did a fantastic job with all of these.
While many people will probably say, world-building? Is not this something JK Rowling did? The answer is more complicated than you would expect. In my opinion, if a new creative or group of creatives take over a franchise, like Disney did with Star Wars and Marvel, the quality of the work can suffer greatly. The original creative had a vision that only they have, and while some can attempt to honour the art, it will not be the same. After all, that person or group will have different experiences than the original creator.
Everything Portkey Games could do to make you feel like this was the Wizarding World, they did it and did it well. From the sorting hat to the end-of-the-year ceremonies after, you feel like you finally got that acceptance letter to Hogwarts that you wanted 20 years ago. Their focus on world-building was so immersive you never questioned why you never did Expecto Potruium. They did not slap Hogwarts on a title; it was a passion project to let all the fans that wanted their letters 20 years ago experience the Wizarding World!
World-building and immersion aside, what impressed me the most was the character arcs, themes and plot. All good writing feels like a loaf of bread, where everything works together to make something tasty.
If you plan to play the game, stop reading.
To understand the story of HL, Isadora Morganach and Sebastian Swallow are crucial to the theme. They both have similar arcs that show the dangers of playing with things that are better to left alone. And it also reflects some of the actions some people took because of this game.
The theme is you can not save the world or others by meddling with things beyond your control. You will only make things worse.
Isadora’s wound was seeing her father in pain. She lost her brother and could not stand seeing her father wasting his life in despair. She took her gift in ancient magic to remove his pain. In the end, that destroyed her father. He became an empty shell as she absorbed his grief. The more she did it, the more addicted she became to imbibing the power from the absorbed trauma. She tried to take the pain from all her students and even wanted to absorb the pain of the world which would have endangered all had the Keepers not stepped in. She was on a crusade to take all the pain from the world, playing God!
Like Sebastian, he wants to take away his sister’s pain, a curse from Victor Rookwood. She randomly feels the pain of his curse at any time. Sebastian wants to heal her so much that he learns the unforgivable curses and would eventually kill his uncle Solomon Swallow with the killing curse. He lost his sister, and if you turn him in, he is likely to be in Azkaban right now. But Sebastian has also seen what Isadora could do, what will his desire to heal his sister and that knowledge take him in the future. I would love to see what will happen, perhaps in game 2.
More importantly, Isadora created the problems that unfold in HL. Ranrok’s, the main antagonist of the game, hatred for wizardkind was twisted further by Isadora’s repositories. He wanted to destroy every last wizard and witch in the world. And hardly anyone could stop him because he had the power of ancient magic. Again, be careful about crusades. Without Isadora, Ranrok would never have been powerful enough to threaten Hogwarts. Her mistake created ripples for hundreds of years.
Crusades and their consequences are what will define HL. Even in the real world, many people fought about this game in their ever-lasting culture war crusade. Everything from naming your character Imma Biggit or Twitter keyboard warriors trying to boycott the game.
We all know that certain people wanted to see this game fail. Their hatred for JK Rowling for her “Transphobia” lead them on a crusade to help “Trans” people. If you bought and played the game, you were a bigot. They created search engines to allow people to find out if a streamer was playing the game on Twitch. They were doing this to prevent “harm” to Transgendered people, acting like Isadora and Sebastian.
I am not saying I endorse transphobia, but it is important to note there is a fine line between fighting for justice and trying to prevent a crime from happening in the first place. Fighting for justice brings people together, but when it turns into “we must prevent the crime from happening”, all hell breaks loose. You have just crossed a line that turned your goodwill into oppression. Anyone can be an oppressor. Perhaps, those who attacked streamers for playing the game should take a moment to consider where this will take them. Sebastian lost his sister (through estrangement) and uncle in his efforts to reverse the curse, and Isadora lost her life because of her obsession to “heal the world!”
I think the story rocked. The theme is rock solid for the times. Too many fanatics fight in culture wars, trying to prevent pain and suffering. It is impossible. The only good thing to do is acknowledge the addictive quality of getting on your phone and fighting against the “enemy”, firing all those dopamine receptors. It is just like Isadora consuming the pain from Niamh Fitzgerald!
Of course, I have similar themes in my book, Webtastic Stories: Fear and Loathing on the Internet (Buy from Amazon). People who decide to get too involved in Internet crusades will end up with nothing or worse. How many people have died for Internet crusades? I know of at least three. How many people face incarceration for Internet crusades? Too many to count. How many people lose jobs because of Internet crusades? Even more, than getting arrested. Be careful about your good intentions.
Again, how many ripples will your crusade have? What negative consequences will it have? Ranrok rose to power because of Isadora’s crusade, just like many influencers climb to prominence because of fighting on the Internet. What consequences will Internet fighting have in 100 years?
Overall, I enjoyed the story. It could not be better at showing the consequences of meddling with things you do not understand to create a “better world”. Like Red Dead Redemption 2, do not become blindly loyal to some idea that will save the world. Dutch and Isadora’s plans never work out. Count the cost before you commit because it could destroy your life.
Feel free to connect with me on Twitter and follow my blog.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day, guys!
One thought on “Hogwarts Legacy Review”