I am a Harry Potter fan. Like many adult enthusiasts, I was introduced to the novels by my children, who began reading them in pre-adolescence and continued into their teens. My appreciation was reinforced by my students. When I led a group of undergraduates to London as part of a course on Charles Dickens, the class visited the Inns of Court that figure in Bleak House but also Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross Station where Harry and his friends embarked for Hogwarts. This makes sense; there is a definite kinship between Dickens’s novels and Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Rowling, like Dickens, is wonderfully inventive with a clearly defined moral sense; her characters’ whimsical, allegorically-inflected names are Dickensian, as is her ability to mesh adventure with the bildungsroman plot. I have maintained, in the face of snobbish opposition, that she is Dickens’s heir — and a genius. 

“Don’t worry, ‘muggle’ isn’t a derogatory term or anything. “ But I wasn’t offended by 28-year-old Freya Fridy’s using the M-word that Friday afternoon on the phone, mostly because I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. “It’s just our term to refer to people who don’t know much about Harry Potter.”

 

“Well, in that case,” I thought to myself, “thank God, I’m a muggle.” Or more apropos, I suppose, thank Aberforth Dumbledore. Or Kingsley Shackleport. Or Mundungus Fletcher. Or Sir Nicholas Mimsy-Porpington. Or Nymphadora Tonks. Or Cornelius Fudge. Or Whoever the Fuckingdweedle…

And I don’t thank all these wizards, witches and, um, Metamorphmaguses because I think I’m too good for Harry Potter. Quite the opposite, actually: I’m probably not good enough. As I would soon come to find out, to become a part of… More…