On Monday, the Harry Potter series’ Hogwarts Legacy game introduced a new character named Sirona Ryan. She would be the first transgender character to be introduced in the popular series. Though this might be something to celebrate, netizens were enraged as the name had masculine undertones.
In the Hogwarts Legacy game, Sirona Ryan works at the Three Broomsticks bar in Wizarding, London. She plays a key role in all goblin-related missions. According to Game Revolution, Sirona interacts with her friend goblin Lodgok.
It seems like the Hogwarts Legacy game introduced the transphobic character to stray away from J.K. Rowling’s anti-transphobic views. However, one cannot forget the author’s history of giving characters problematic names, including Cho Chang and Kingsley Shacklebolt, who are both people of color. Many noted that the names were racist and that there were significant cultural and linguistic errors.
Why are fans against the name Sirona Ryan?
The moniker is a unique name. In Celtic mythology, Sirona is the goddess of healing who is attributed to snakes and eggs. Her name is spelled in various ways, including Thirona, Sirona and Dirona amongst others. Those in the east-central Gaul, which is part of Western Europe, mostly pray to the goddess. She often wears long gowns and carries a libation bow and scepter.
The name Sirona has also been associated with wells and springs according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Since the character is the witch proprietress of a pub, the chosen name would make sense.
However, it seems like netizens were not pleased with the name of the transgender character. Many did not like that the first syllable of her name spells “sir,” which is mostly given to male knights or baronets in the UK. It also signals the ranking of men in other places.
Some other Twitter users noted that the last five letters of the name Sirona Ryan i.e., ‘A’ from Sirona and Ryan when placed together, form the word ‘Aryan,” which makes people mostly think of eugenics.
The second name of the character being “Ryan,” is also a conventionally masculine name which only added fuel to the fire.
The Sydney Morning Herald also revealed that despite the character being a woman in the game, she seems to be voiced by a cis-male voice actor.
Who came up with the name remains unclear. However, it is safe to say that J.K. Rowling was not behind the move. It was revealed recently that the character was solely introduced to “pivot the conversation away” from the disgraced author. In an interview with IGN, a representative from Portkey Games, who developed Hogwarts Legacy, shared that Sirona Ryan was included because:
“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.”
This is not the first time Hogwarts Legacy has faced criticism. Many felt that any money spent on products related to the Harry Potter series symbolizes an endorcement to the author’s political stances.
The developer of the game had not responded to the Sirona Ryan name controversy at the time of writing this article.