There’s an online backlash for the inclusion of the shofar in Hogwarts Legacy which many use as evidence to draw comparisons to antisemitism. While Hogwarts Legacy has been gathering a lot of backlash even before its release, most complaints centered around what many considered to be transphobic comments from the author of the game’s original source material.
Is the Shofar in Hogwarts Legacy anti-Semitic?
There’s a lot of points to be made that the Hogwarts Legacy shofar is indeed anti-Semitic. However there’s also another strong argument that it may just be a poor coincidence.
For the uninitiated, the shofar is an instrument used by Jewish communities for religious purposes. So portraying this as an ancient goblin artifact isn’t a good look. It lends more evidence to the accusations that the goblins, a race entirely subservient to humans, are a caricature for Jews.
This is especially more so the case when the main plot of Hogwarts Legacy is to stop the goblin rebellion being lead by the game’s antagonist, Ranrok. There’s a lot of negative stereotypes associated with the goblins in the Harry Potter lore such as being portrayed as greedy bankers and craftsmen who are considered second class citizens by most of the wizarding community.
The fact that what looks to be a shofar in Hogwarts Legacy is portrayed as an ancient goblin artifact only seems to add more fuel to the fire. While Hogwarts Legacy doesn’t explicitly call it a shofar, the resemblance in appearance is very uncanny. It’s difficult to mistake that spiral shaped horn for another instrument except for one key detail.
Shofars are not marked nor painted in any way. Although it can have engravings. The shofar in Hogwarts Legacy portrayed as an ancient goblin artifact may not be a shofar after all. While the shape somewhat resembles it, the markings on its surface seems to disqualify it as such. This was noted by Jewish people who came on Reddit explaining that the ancient goblin artifact in Hogwarts Legacy is not a shofar.
As noted by Reddit user RougeAnimator “Shofars should also not be fashioned in a way that loses sight of its natural form, which hollowing out a horn would violate.” This completely contradicts the assumed shofar in Hogwarts Legacy which has also clearly been painted. The fact that it does not seem to be made from a ram may only give more credit to this argument. However this might not be enough to clear Hogwarts Legacy of antisemitism.
In the description of this ancient goblin artifact, it mentions that it was found after the 1612 Goblin Rebellion. In the real world, the Fettmilch uprising (1612-1616) began on the same year which sought out to drive the Jews from Frankfurt-am-Main. On the year of 1614, the Fettmilch led a mob through Frankfurt Judengasse, a Jewish ghetto, which resulted in two Jews and an assailant killed in the pogrom.
This sounds too specific for it to be a coincidence. It’s hard to imagine someone from Avalanche Software deciding to add this fact other than to create more comparisons between Jews and goblins.
Since JK Rowling is not involved with Hogwarts Legacy, it’s suspicious as to why Avalanche Studios chose to make this addition. With them adding a trans character to appease the masses, this little detail has only spawned more controversy. Why would any developer allow this as a collectible knowing JK Rowling has been accused of antisemitism?
Hogwarts Legacy does allow your character to become an evil wizard but it draws the line at making any insensitive slurs for the most part as your character name. Some have even complained that the game prevents you from naming your character Blackwall. Considering the possible backlash, it’s hard to see Avalanche Software taking the risk to create even more controversy with this.
It’s a strong possibility that those who have raised the issue online may have been looking too deeply into the matter. There’s a lot of hatred for Hogwarts Legacy that doesn’t stem from anything in the game itself online. So it isn’t hard to believe that people will find something to be angry at.
Whether this supposed shofar in Hogwarts Legacy proves the game has antisemitism qualities is for you to decide.