The highly controversial and divisive open-world RPG game Hogwarts Legacy has been exploding in viewership on Twitch and drawing a hardline in the sand between gamers on social media. Since the game has a connection to franchise creator J.K. Rowling, who has said harmful anti-trans comments in the past, many have resulted in boycotting the game through various means.
Developer Avalanche Studios stated Rowling was "not involved in the creation of the game" from the beginning. However, the ongoing popularity of the IP will ultimately benefit the author, which started the initial controversy of the game.
In response to that early wave of backlash, Avalanche reportedly added "a token trans NPC to pivot the conversation away from JKR," according to video game journalist Stephanie Sterling who spoke with an acquaintance who worked on the game.
The NPC in question appears to be Sirona Ryan, a bartender at Three Broomsticks within the game who players meet upon their first visit to Hogsmeade. Her introduction into the wizarding universe makes her the first transgender character in the franchise, but who's her voice actor? Here's what we know.
Who is Sirona Ryan's voice actor in 'Hogwarts Legacy'?
The official credit list at the end of Hogwarts Legacy shows all the voice actors for the game but doesn't specifically reveal who performed which roles. Because of that, it's not entirely clear who is Sirona Ryan's voice actor.
The Hogwarts Legacy page on IMDB gives a clearer picture of who voiced what characters, such as Jason Anthony as the Sorting Hat and Lesley Nicol as Professor Matilda Weasley, but the majority of actors are still missing their contributions.
Despite the lack of confirmation, Twitter users believe Rebecca Root, a trans woman and actor credited for voice acting on the game, likely voiced Sirona. "Rebecca Root, a trans woman, is in the credits. If you listen to clips of her acting, it's pretty clear it's her playing the specific character," said one Twitter user.
The actor has not confirmed publicly if that's true, but those familiar with Rebecca's work are certain it's her voicing Sirona.
Avalanche addresses the controversy over adding a transgender character in 'Hogwarts Legacy.'
In an interview with IGN, Avalanche Studios described the inclusion of Sirona Ryan as "a high priority throughout the development of Hogwarts Legacy to create a game that is representative and diverse."
The spokesperson continued: "The team felt 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."
After that statement, the outlet asked why Sirona never was shown in the promotional marketing, prompting the spokesperson to reply that the devs wanted "players to discover all of the different elements of the story and gameplay as they play through it."
As mentioned earlier, a source who helped develop the game alleged Sirona's inclusion was essentially thrown in to stand apart from Rowling.
Games reporter Liam Robertson corroborated the alleged shoehorned trans representation, according to what they heard from a source that described the situation as "performative bulls--t."
While Sirona Ryan's addition has brought the first-ever trans character to the series, her debut has been seen by some as an afterthought rather than a true inclusion for representation.
Hogwarts Legacy releases Feb. 10 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
If you or someone you know is a member of the transgender community and in need of support, call the Trevor Project's 24/7/365 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR. You can also use TrevorChat, their online instant messaging option, or TrevorText, a text-based support option. If you are looking for peer support, you can visit TrevorSpace from anywhere in the world.