You’re probably at least somewhat familiar with a certain young wizard who goes by the name of Harry Potter, right? Of course you are! What, have you been living under a rock in the Chamber of Secrets?!
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The Harry Potter franchise has become one of the most successful literary (and film) series of all time in the course of the last decade-or-so, and along with that comes, of course, the adoption of phrases and terms from the media phenomenon into our vernacular.
Michael Scott, and Leslie Knope aren’t the only ones referencing the world of Harry Potter in his common conversation. It’s made its way into pop culture, but also into our own culture. Sure, you may not be throwing references to Hermione Granger into your casual chit chat, but I bet that if you heard someone say “Muggle,” you’d have a fair idea of what they meant.
Muggles, Dumbledore, Hogwarts, horcruxes, Quidditch, Voldemort, Gryffindor, Hagrid, sorting hats — you’ve probably heard one or more of these things referenced in your favorite TV show, or even made reference to it yourself. That’s because when something makes a big enough cultural impact, we can’t help but make it a part of the way we communicate. “Voldemort” becomes a shorthand for evil, while “Gryffindor” stands in for bravery and courage and “Dumbledore” is synonymous with wisdom and guidance. And, of course, The Boy Who Lived is himself an example of goodness and hidden potential.
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Because Harry Potter is so frequently referenced in pop culture, it’s clear that writers of things like The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, and even Doctor Who have faith that it is significant enough and a big enough part of the collective vernacular, that the audience will be able to understand what it means when someone is referred to as a Muggle, and that they’ll get the joke when someone on TV is riveted by a heated match of Quidditch.
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What are your favorite references to the world of Harry Potter in pop culture? Do you think that elements from the book and film series have become a part of the way you communicate?