Is Hogwarts Legacy Part of the Harry Potter Canon?
Hogwarts Legacy was clearly designed to appeal to Harry Potter fans, but is the game part of the Wizarding World canon?
Hogwarts Legacy is based on the Wizarding World universe created by J.K. Rowling. You can read more about Rowling’s history of transphobic remarks as well as find resources to support LGBTQ organizations here.
Hogwarts Legacy is the first video game adaptation of the Harry Potter franchise to have nothing to do with the title character. Even the mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, which was the first game to let players create their own Hogwarts student, still features all the Hogwarts staff and teachers fans recognize from the films and novels. Hogwarts Legacy’s unique placement within the Harry Potter timeline also makes its canonicity difficult to quantify.
For those who don’t know, Hogwarts Legacy takes place during the 1890s, a good hundred years before Harry Potter was even born. While that timeline placement let the game’s designers craft a sprawling, open-world adventure with multiple endings that don’t impact existing Harry Potter lore, it also raises the question of whether any of it actually matters in the series’ history.
Let’s get the most obvious facts out of the way: Hogwarts Legacy might not feature Harry Potter or any of his timeworn friends or teachers, but plenty of other characters are either seen or mentioned throughout the game. These include ghosts such as Nearly Headless Nick and Professor Binns, as well as the Sorting Hat. Moreover, Hogwarts Legacy includes the ancestors of many famous characters from Harry Potter material. The most obvious is Headmaster Phineas Black, great-great-grandfather of Sirius Black. During Professor Binss’ History of Magic class, he even mentions the Goblin Rebellion of 1752, which became part of Harry Potter canon in 2015.
While all of the above points are convincing, they aren’t exactly definitive. After all, DC and Marvel are home to multiverses that span different mediums and share characters but not much else. The only way to answer this question of canonicity is to hear it from the thestral’s mouth, and the FAQ section of the official Hogwarts Legacy site delivers. One of the questions on that page asks “Will Hogwarts Legacy adhere to Wizarding World lore?,” to which the FAQ provides the following:
“Yes. While Hogwarts Legacy is not a direct adaptation of the books and films, game is anchored in Wizarding World lore. Avalanche has created a unique gaming experience that is inspired by the magical universe created by J.K. Rowling, in which players will find new and unexpected locations, characters, and story elements.”
While J.K. Rowling didn’t have any input on the game, the development studio worked closely with the team at Pottermore to ensure Hogwarts Legacy stuck to the established rules, and, more importantly, events of the Wizarding World. That would seem to confirm the game’s place in the canon, though the careful wording of that statement above does raise questions about whether or not we’re to believe that we’re supposed to retroactively assume that the events of Hogwarts Legacy could have eventually led to the events of the Harry Potter stories.
One of the biggest potential problems with Hogwarts Legacy‘s place in the canon is actually the main character. Not only are they player-created (meaning details of their appearance and actions will be different), but they would have seemingly been a pretty big deal in the Wizarding World. The ancient magic they interact with has at least been vaguely referenced in previous works, though the game plays it loose with other (mostly minor) aspects of series lore in the name of generating gameplay and levels. Of course, it remains to be seen what we’ll actually get out of future Harry Potter and Wizarding World projects, so some of this talk of the canon could get a little premature before we know what that canon looks like.
More importantly, due to Hogwarts Legacy’s nature as a video game, we can’t guarantee its canonicity will have any impact on future Wizarding World projects. Maybe Simon Pegg will voice the portrait of Phineas Black down the line, or perhaps subsequent History of Magic classes will namedrop the game’s main villain Ranrok. Most likely, though, the game will exist somewhere adjacent to the Wizarding world canon which it may very well technically be a part of but will probably not have a big impact on outside of possible Hogwarts Legacy sequels.