unmagical human race
The young reader lowers her copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and looks blinkingly about her bedroom; she hears her parents downstairs in the kitchen, accompanied by their usual battery of domestic sound effects. A question forms in her soul: Is she special like Harry, an undiscovered superstar in the hidden world of magic? Or is she just—oh, crap—a Muggle? Because the ordinary, unmagical human race, as presented in the Harry Potter books, doesn’t appear to have much going for it. The Dursleys, among whom Harry spends the first 11 years of his life, are the sort of people the poet John Betjeman had in mind when he invited the friendly bombs to fall on Slough: suburban barbarians who “talk of sports and makes of cars / In various bogus Tudor bars / And daren’t look up and see the stars / But belch instead.” Decent, non-supremacist wizards are supposed to stick up for Muggledom, but these people are ghastly. They live at Number Four Privet Drive, and go pottering off in their car to the Best-Kept Lawn Competition. They hate magic. They hate Harry. Rendered doubly grotesque in the movie adaptations (Richard Griffiths hissing and squealing like a large, pink kettle), the Dursley household is little more than a boot camp for anarchism.