In Praise of Muggles
Been writing about retail a lot this week, so why stop now? I noticed that the newspaper insert for Cub Foods—not really known for its selection of books—says this: “Muggles! Get 40% off the new Harry Potter book at Cub! Releases Saturday, July 16th. While supplies last.”
I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about Harry Potter. I know a perfectly literate and intelligent adult who has read all the books, and likes them, but I doubt that I’ll ever read them. A few years ago, Yuriko wanted to watch the first of the movies on video, so I watched it too. It wasn’t bad, but I still didn’t feel like reading the books.
When and if Lilly and Ann want to read them, they can. Which is appropriate, since they are children. I read plenty of children’s books when I was a child. Harry Potter missed me by a few decades. So it goes.
Muggles, if I remember right from the movie, are ordinary people—the sort that cannot or do not learn magic, unlike the cool characters that inhabit the boarding school that Harry Potter attends. One aspect of the movie that irritated me was the cartoonishly awful depiction of the muggles family who actually raised Harry Potter.
His adoptive mother was, I think, actually his aunt, and she and her husband wanted Harry to have nothing to do with magic. The reason? They were narrow-minded, unimaginative boors, according to the story. Never mind that internecine feuds among magicians, as obscure as tribal politics in the Hindu Kush, had resulted in the death of Harry’s parents, with a price on his head to boot. Later, Harry and his mates regularly face deadly peril—is it any wonder his adoptive parents wanted him to grow up to be a barrister or an estate agent?