Pacing along the cold stone corridors outside the Slytherin common room in Hogwarts Legacy, a sealed passage seems to call to one of my companions. Ominis Gaunt, much like the rest of his prestigious family lineage, happens to be a parselmouth. He hesitantly whispers a reply in the snake language, and a secret passageway slowly creaks open before us. But as I exclaim in wonder, impressed by his rare ability, someone mutters darkly from behind us.
"Between the two of you, I'm starting to feel left out."
Ominis pauses, then turns back. "Between the two of us?"
"I - never mind," Sebastian says hurriedly, and we enter the scriptorium without another word.
Goblin rebellions and ancient magic aside, one relationship is far more compelling to me than anything else in this game. I can't help feeling like I'm playing a supporting role in a very different story simultaneously to my own, and in this one, I'm the bad guy.
Main character energy?
Ominis Gaunt and Sebastian Sallow have a complex relationship. Its unrelenting strength is a central plot device in Hogwarts Legacy, upping the stakes of certain missions or changing the dynamics of others entirely. Where nobody stops me from entering an Ashwinder lair with Hufflepuff darling Poppy, Ominis tries repeatedly to keep me and Sebastian from destroying our lives with dark magic – or maybe, from destroying the life they had together. Their combined backstory is what makes them unique, and it's why they're so fascinating to me.
Playing through Sebastian's side quests, we learn more about their devotion to one another. Seb explains that when Ominis drifted apart from his family, estranged by their use of Unforgivable Curses and tortured by having used these spells himself, he was the one by his side. "When he's not at Hogwarts, he's with us in Feldcroft," Sebastian says. "Ominis trusts me."
Calling them best friends feels a huge underestimation – they're more than friends; more than brothers, even. They are the closest Hogwarts Legacy gets to portraying a romantic relationship.
For Sebastian and Ominis, dark magic symbolizes the corruptive influence of deception. Ominis fears the dangerous potentiality of dark magic, while Sebastian is adamant that it can still be used for good if wielded properly. What's more, he's willing to lie to prove this.
Early on, I find that Sebastian shares my fascination with the dark arts. Scarred by his past, on the other hand, Ominis does not. To keep our experimentations private, Sebastian takes me to his and Ominis's secret room beneath the castle – The Undercroft, it's called – where I'm sworn to secrecy. I even promise to lie my way out of things should Ominis ever find out. The space had been theirs only until I showed up, and by using dark magic here I was single-handedly corrupting their relationship.
Ominis finds out, of course, and he is (rightly) livid with Sebastian. Their story plays out like a telenovela, with the boys arguing over decisions I have made that threaten the trust between them. The more Sebastian and I corrupt ourselves with dark magic, the more Ominis inserts himself into our affairs. I become the homewrecker in this magical soap opera, because at the end of the day, that's exactly what we're doing: having an affair behind his back.
Come out, come out?
It's not a one-sided situation at all, though. In the same way that dark magic is symbolic of lies breaking down a relationship, power represents Sebastian's yearning. When he comments on being jealous of the two of us outside the scriptorium, at surface-level he's talking about each of our magical gifts: me with my ancient magic, and Ominis's direct link to a powerful wizarding bloodline.
Ominis fears his innate nature, fears who he was born to be, but Seb doesn't want him to hide from that power. In fact, maybe he sees strength in being exactly who you are, and covets that himself. This angst comes to a head when Ominis, having grown truly desperate, relents when I offer to cast the mind-controlling Imperius curse on him to stop him from angering Sebastian. It's the only way he will stand by and let us leave without a fight, and it's not a decision made lightly.
"This is unfathomable," he says, pacing the catacombs beneath Feldcroft. "But I suppose if you want that responsibility, it may just save what is left of –" Ominis pauses for a moment. "Of my friendship with Sebastian."
The word lingers on his tongue a moment too long, emphatic yet ashamed. It's the 1800s, after all; perhaps their love is still unrequited. Even so, after all his protests, he allows me to use dark magic on him. This power is the same corruptive force that tore him apart from his family, the same force that got Seb's own parents killed, and Ominis would take those risks again for the sake of his love.
By the end of the game, Sebastian and Ominis are still friends, albeit their relationship markedly changed due to in-game events. Though they are no longer as close, the door has been left ajar for the two young wizards to strengthen their bond someday, and I hope we get to see it in a future Sebinis (Ombastian?) DLC.
The release of Hogwarts Legacy has been the subject of criticism and debate due to J.K. Rowling's public stance on gender identity, which continues to challenge the inclusivity at the heart of the Harry Potter community. Here is our explainer on the Hogwarts Legacy controversy.