Try as he may, Harry Potter could attempt to wear the facade of a Muggle, but true wizards always saw Harry for who he was, a classic wizard! Why did Harry try to act like a Muggle? He didn’t know he wasn’t one. He assumed he was just like all of the other kids. He looked like them, went to school with them, and grew up surrounded by them. I’m sure some part of Harry was unfulfilled for many years in his youth. Besides losing his parents, Harry suffered without his true self for many years.
Many Muggles chose to pick on Harry. Even they saw that he was something different, something unusual to them, something that made them uncomfortable. My guess is that Harry always felt he was different too. Keep in mind that in the story, Harry’s parents died before he was old enough to understand just how special he really was. Would they have told him or would they have thought it best that he try to blend in with the rest of society and hide his true nature? Would they have known that Muggles would find his extra knowledge, extra abilities, and extra powers fearful? Harry even intimidated some wizards! They understood that he was someone special. Since J.K. Rowling may never let us in on how it all plays out in a parallel universe, we’ll have to be content with our own understanding of what it’s like to be a wizard in a Muggle world.
How have you fared? Yes, you. You live in a Muggle world as a wizard, and unfortunately discovering your true identity hasn’t allowed you to be whisked off to Hogwarts and surrounded by people who understand. How do you survive in the real world? Is it a constant pull to hide your abilities, your insights, your powers? You know you do it every day.
Face it. You’ve always known you were someone or something different. Like Harry, you probably stood back and watched from a distance, mentally separating yourself from situations where you were often targeted, or you found yourself responsible for words that were said that evoked rage, or actions that you took that resulted in ire. You had no intention of provoking conflict. It just happened. All the while, situations seemed out of your control. Your powers didn’t work. You didn’t know how to use them. You knew things that others didn’t. But all of that knowledge wasn’t of much use in a Muggle world.
We live in a Muggle world. We don’t have the luxury of escaping to Hogwarts unless you regard small enclaves such as chess club, fandom conventions, or reading the Harry Potter series as your escape. How do you give yourself permission to use your gifted abilities without evoking fear and misunderstanding? Or, have you given up your identity, downplayed your abilities, and convinced yourself that it’s too dangerous to be gifted in our world?
Part one of a series of reflections on J.K. Rowling’s brilliance and how we, as the gifted, manifest our wizarding skills in a Muggle world.
Photo courtesy of kpgolfpro.