Guest Post: You Know You’re Really an Adult Harry Potter Fan

You Know You’re Really an Adult Harry Potter Fan…

By Melanie N. Lee, February 28, 2012

Over the past 15-odd years, the Boy Wizard has collected fans of every age, class, size, and gender.  And who said that the Harry Potter stories were strictly for children?  So, in the tradition of MAD Magazine…  

You know you’re really an adult Harry Potter fan when…

…you know that Bellatrix Lestrange was born in the same year as your older sister.

…your thesis paper for your M.S. in Adolescent Education would be titled The Pedagogy of Albus Dumbledore.

…you wonder why the Slytherins don’t all come down with pneumonia and mildew living in those damp caves under the lake.  (Oh, yeah…magic.)

…you’re sitting, and an object is out of your reach.  You stretch your hand and cry “Accio!” before you finally get up and get it.  (Yes, I read this somewhere else, but I’ve done it!)

…you’re late for work.  You wish you could Apparate.

…you appreciate that J.K. Rowling prescribes chocolate as a temporary relief from depression.

…you buy the silver-white Beanie Baby Christmas reindeer called Snocap because he reminds you of Prongs.

…you can’t decide between the Muggle Quidditch Tournament in Central Park and the Hogwarts Improv Marathon in an East Village theater.

…standing on line in costume for the midnight movie opening of the latest Harry Potter flick, you know enough not to ask the Asian girl in front of you dressed in a Beauxbatons uniform if she is Cho Chang.

…you appreciate the anti-racist themes dealing with the purebloods, half-bloods, and “Mudbloods” so much that you almost don’t mind that the Harry Potter stories have only about six Black characters (one of them adult) and three Asian characters (none of them adult!).

…you find yourself drawing parallels between Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker…Harry Potter and Holden Caulfield…Harry Potter and John Lennon…

…you search the Internet to see if anyone else has thought of those same Harry Potter and (fill in the blank) parallels.  They have.

…you explain a certain Biblical story to your son Nathaniel by saying that Jacob was a Slytherin and Esau was a Gryffindor.  (Credit Elizabeth Baird Hardy for that one.)

…you smile to think that the Religious Right folks who rail against the witchcraft in Harry Potter would really get their drawers in a knot if they bothered to read the books and find out how socially liberal these stories really are.  (Of course, if you’re a radical feminist, you think the stories are socially conservative.)

…you knew the Christ-figure allegory would show up in Deathly Hallows because John Granger told you so.

…you’re disappointed when a Harry Potter symposium in Limerick, Ireland, turns down your proposed paper about the phallic and yonic symbolism in Chamber of Secrets (not that you could afford to travel to Limerick anyway).  You’re also proud that you learned what “yonic” means.

…you think Emma Watson should have been on the short list for Best Lead Actress Oscar for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

…you want the whole Harry Potter series reshot for television in about five or ten years, one season per book—animated cartoon series?  BBC production on PBS?—so they could cover things the movies missed or glanced at, like SPEW, Percy’s defection, Molly’s boggart, the Gaunt hovel, Fleur’s stay at the Weasley house, Potterwatch Radio, and Winky.

…you’ve considered purchasing a T-shirt or button displaying Molly Weasley’s iconic statement—“NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU *****!”—from Deathly Hallows.  You didn’t.

…Cornelius Fudge = George H.W. Bush.  Scrimgeour = Clinton.  Pius Thickness = George W. Bush.  Kingsley Shacklebolt = Obama.  Since Deathly Hallows was released in 2007 and Obama was elected in 2008, you wonder if J.K. Rowling is a prophet.

…you decided it was worth $9.00, including shipping and handling, to order for your niece one Chocolate Frog.  (That was before they started selling the frogs in some Rite-Aid stores.)

…blending apple juice, spices, and pumpkin puree, you’ve made pumpkin juice for your family’s Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.  You drank most of it.

…you won’t make homemade butterbeer because of your Type 2 diabetes.  Okay, you made it once.  Twice.

…you wish you could teach a middle-school English class for one day so that you could compare Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with The Chocolate War.

…you hate Dolores Umbridge’s guts but you love her as a character.  You admire Bellatrix Lestrange and you wish she were fighting for the good guys.  You’ve dressed up as each of them for Halloween. [The first and last pictures are of Ms. Lee as Bellatrix and Dolores.]

Please ad your own “You Know You’re Really an Adult Harry Potter Fan when…” note in the comment boxes below!


  1. just like the younger fans, you sometimes talk as if the Wizarding World is real, but unlike younger fans it is exhibited when you go off on a rant about how no one would send their child to Hogwarts because there are too many educational problems there (um hello, lack of adult supervision in the dormitories, as just one place to start).

    Or you complain in general about the fact that Rowling left so many holes in the information regarding the educational system of Hogwarts. (I just want to know if Madam Pince is actually expected to keep the library open all those hours or if she has help, Jo, it’s not that much I’m asking for is it? I won’t even ask about wizarding alternatives to databases!)

    [ok so the last is technically proof one is an adult Harry Potter fan who happens to be a librarian]

  2. What a good reminder that, as a young adult, I don’t meet the criteria for “Adult fan of Harry Potter.” Instead, I am the “HP Generation.” To a T. Read the first book at age 11 (it had already been out for a year or so though… my mom had to get past the Harry haters, read it, and give it to me saying there was nothing at all wrong with it) and the last book at age 18. The HP Generation has a completely different list than this, like how my husband and I have seriously considered making our still-theoretical children wait the year (or two) between books that we had to wait…

    Fantastic list though. Hilarious and probably true.

  3. Truthfully I probably fall somewhere in between – I came to HP late though – clearly as an adult – though the first books were out when I was in High School (class of 2000 here!) and the movies were just starting to come out when I was in college… so I could have ended up being an odd bridge between the HP generation and the “Adult” HP fans, if only I had come to the series earlier…

  4. …you approach other adults in the local bookstore who are standing in front of the HP books and ask them if they’ve read John Granger’s works explaining the alchemal symbolism et al in Rowling’s work! Done it 🙂

    …your adult children ask you if you plan to obsess over any other children’s literature in the near future. It happened.

    …your pre-midnight showing of DH-1 involves the hauling of 3 grandchildren, one adult child, and your spouse to the theatre and you’re the one who can’t stop talking to all the kids sitting nearby. I embarrassed my family mightily until the movie started.

    …you can’t stop visiting Hogwarts because you might miss a discussion on something new re:Harry and you recommend the site to EVERYONE!!!! (Especially in the bookstores.) Thanks, Prof John!!!

  5. Puffy Griffinclaw says

    …your all-time favorite bumper sticker (seen on a parked upscale auto) is “Republicans for Voldemort”.
    …you know the phone number to the Ministry of Magic.
    …you use the number of Harry’s vault at Gringotts as your security PIN code.
    …you think of retirement as the “Rubedo phase.”

  6. …. when you press the location button on your iPhone’s Maps app, you find yourself murmuring “Point Me.”

    …. just before the elevator arrives and opens, you say “Alohomora.” (Okay, that one’s my husband. But the first one is me.)

  7. Tim Cook says

    you introduce yourself as a POTTERPHILE

  8. Tim Cook says

    at the DH 2 midnight premier, After the Theater Manager give a lengthy speech about the wonders of the mobile Consesion stand you aproach the person advising them to next time simply yell out “SOMTHING FROM THE TROLLY DEARIES?”

    later you atempt to lead the theater in a rousing rendition of the Hogwarts school song only to have you HP generation neice walk out on you.

    Everybody!!!” Hogwarts Hogwart Hoggy Warty Hogwarts teach us somthing please…. “

  9. Melanie N. Lee says

    …you wonder if, and why, each and every one of the professors at Hogwarts is single and childless!

  10. you watch a show on the Science Channel entitled “Are You Good or Evil?” that ends up talking about how certain genes predispose people to become killers, but whether they’re activated seems to be based on childhood experiences (i.e. if one has a good childhood they’re not activated) and immediately start applying what is being discussed to Voldemort…

  11. …you’re bothered that Hogwarts, by and large, has only one teacher per discipline: one Charms teacher, one History of Magic teacher, one Potions teacher at a time, one Herbology teacher, one Tranfiguration teacher, et al. Where is the benefit of getting different points of view on the same subject?

  12. timothy Cook says

    … Melanie, at least they had 2 Divination teachers

  13. Timothy Cook: true, but that was a compromise solution, and not part of the original plan.

  14. …you’re concerned that after her constantly hitting Ron and even once setting birds upon him, Hermione Granger might grow up to be an abusive wife.

  15. You remind your children and spouse that there are no house elves in our home and that they need to pick up after themselves.

  16. Mchelle (Michelle?): Love it! 🙂

  17. Frances Sangil says
  18. …when you read Psalm 91 (NIV):

    13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

    and then you reread it as: You will tread on Gryffindor and Slytherin.

    And then you remember that HP5 had a chapter called “The Lion and the Serpent”. And you remember what John Granger and others have said about J.K. Rowling and all that biblical stuff!

  19. Frances: I’ve read both your list and Katherine. And Melanie’s list begat Frances’, and Frances’ begat Katherine’s. Or should I say “bore” (as in “gave birth to”) because we’re women?

  20. I also fall into the HP Generation, read Sorcerer’s Stone at age 11, last at 18. But here is a couple that were looked over in all the lists that I’ve seen:
    ..You wish Peeves and all his glorious antics were in the movies, and hope IF there was a remake he will be included.
    ..You mention characters in conversation (ie; Peeves) and the other person just blankly stare at you, and you realize that they didn’t read the books, now you must disown them.

  21. ….when you know that every conversation you have with absolutely anyone eventually leads to some Potter reference that immediately leads to some deep, analytical monologue. It always seems so accidental and unintentional, so innocent.

  22. You wish you could send a howler to someone.

  23. Melanie N. Lee says

    …when you keep dressing up as Harry Potter characters for Halloween, four years in a row! This past Halloween 2012, I dressed up as Helena Ravenclaw, the Gray Lady, the Ghost of Ravenclaw Tower.

    Yes, this was in Queens, NY, two days after Hurricane Sandy. My neighborhood wasn’t too hard hit; in fact, I think I saw more trick-or-treaters than usual on the street. I think they couldn’t travel to other places and stayed near to home. Later I went to a play rehearsal (“Ragtime”) in Flushing in my Gray Lady costume. Another performer said she saw the same thing in her neighborhood: more trick-or-treaters than usual.

    How will I dress up for this Halloween 2013–as Hagrid?

  24. …when you hear that they’re shooting snowy owls at JFK Airport to prevent bird strikes against planes, and you think, “Great. First they shoot Goosey Gander [Canadian geese], and now they’re going after Hedwig.”

    Oh, and there must be adult Harry Potter fans among the staff of the New York Daily News, too:

  25. Richard M. says

    …when your have read all the books..more than once..seen all the movies..many times..and have children that haven’t read any of the books and not seen all the movies!

  26. Sabrina Stocks says

    I think of everything in terms of Harry Potter… If someone does not understand Harry Potter I feel as if i can not hold a proper discussion with them. I am No 1 Harry Potter fan and I don’t care what anybody says I am proud of it!!!!

  27. Sabrina Stocks says

    I agree with nana above…that always happens to me as well!!!!!

  28. Sabrina Stocks says

    I also agree with Alison about voldemort and with Melanie about hermione being so controlling and abusive

  29. BTW, I finally presented that Chamber of Secrets symbolism at the Harry Potter Academic Conference 2016 at Chestnut Hill College (Philadelphia, PA). I called it “Every Tom, Ginny, and Harry: Sexual Imagery in the Chamber of Secrets”. You can find it on YouTube.

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