In addition to the boycott campaign sparked by J.K. Rowling‘s anti-trans views, Hogwarts Legacy is inspiring some good old-fashioned trolling. The game’s detractors are now spamming social media with a copypasta spoiling the end of the story—a spoiler that, needless to say, will be included in this post.
So far, Hogwarts Legacy has earned relatively positive reviews, marred by accusations of antisemitism in a goblin-related storyline and criticism of how it introduced Harry Potter’s first transgender character. However, the main backlash is less to do with the game itself, and more about the ethics of giving money and positive buzz to J.K. Rowling, who supports anti-trans activism in the UK.
Many of Rowling’s critics believe that buying the game sends a message of support for Rowling’s politics. Meanwhile, some diehard Potter fans argue that enjoying the game has nothing to do with trans rights. This debate has been raging for months now, including spinoff conflicts like whether it’s okay to buy the game and then donate to transgender charities as a kind of carbon-offset morality payment.
Now the game is actually out though, detractors have adopted more direct methods to oppose Hogwarts Legacy online, including spamming the game’s Discord server and trolling fans with spoilers for the ending.
Twitter and Tumblr are now full of variations on this spoiler copypasta, revealing that the main character’s mentor Professor Fig dies at the end, and that the human villain Rookwood takes credit for cursing Anne.
Depending on how you play out the game’s narrative, there are a few possible variations on the ending—but it seems like these particular details are the same no matter what. And now this ending is out there, it’s attracting its own criticism as an apparent example of Harry Potter‘s centrist politics, concluding the story in a way that maintains the status quo on a political and narrative level.
Since the goal of this meme is to circumvent people’s anti-spoiler blocks, it’s mostly spreading through image posts and tweets disguised as other topics, with some Tumblr users sending anonymous inbox messages to spoil users who mentioned playing the game. One of the most popular Hogwarts Legacy Tumblr posts right now (115,000 notes and counting) is a spoiler meme whose creator claims that Tumblr rejected their request for a paid “blaze” promotion, resulting in people organically sharing the post instead.
Older fans will find this situation very familiar because Potter fandom has a long history of spoiler trolls, most notoriously the “Snape kills Dumbledore” meme. Rowling’s critics are utilizing a vintage trolling technique to disrupt Hogwarts Legacy‘s online footprint, and while opinions are divided over whether this qualifies as meaningful activism, you can see how this kind of tactic might pay off.
Instead of witnessing a fandom dissolve into toxicity because people are spontaneously acting like assholes, this meme represents an intentional effort to make Hogwarts Legacy unwelcome on social media. It may not be organized in the same way as TV renewal campaigns, but it’s still an effective act of sabotage, chipping away at the idea that Harry Potter is still an acceptable thing to enjoy in 2023.