Friday, December 10, 2010

Wizard Rock: "Renting" a Room In J. K. Rowling's Hogwarts

This semester I wrote three big research papers.  This is one of them.  You got a bit of a preview last month but here is the final product.  It's a large post so I am putting in a cut!

Wizard Rock (or “wrock”) is a largely unknown genre dedicated to the creation of music based upon J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series.  In this essay I argue that wrock is a unique metaculture which operates as a form of “participatory/productive consumption” (Oakes).  However, while Harry Potter has been of great interest for some years now, very little has been written about Wizard Rock in popular culture, and nothing in the academic realm.  Thus, I am faced with the reality that my readers will most likely have no previous knowledge of my topic, making discussion difficult without some little amount of background and elucidation of form and content.  In addition, as noted by Rebekah Farrugia, there is a troubling pattern in music cultures of overlooking the active participation of women, which repeats itself within wrock (336).  I wish to intervene in that process here.  It is for these reasons that I will begin this essay with a brief definition of wrock and history of the formation of the Wizard Rock community.

In general, a wrock song will be written about events or characters from the Harry Potter universe, most often from the perspective of a character the book-reading audience is already familiar with.  It is the nature of the content that defines a song as Wizard Rock, rather than a specific “sound” to the music in question.  This construction of the genre is what leads me to name this a form of “productive/participatory consumption,” a term originally coined by Jason Oakes to describe tribute events.  Also called “participatory literacy” by Ernie Bond and Nancy Michelson in reference to fan fiction (119), the essence of these concepts is the idea that “consumers” of culture also sometimes carve out their own spaces within it, or “co-author” it.  This process will be illustrated more fully later in this essay. This organization of the genre means one can find any “sound” in wrock; from pop, trance and “wreggae,” to folk, metal and hip hop.

Tracing the history of wrock chronologically[1] the genre was born with “Ode to Harry” by the Switchblade Kittens (Drama) which was released in 2000.  Switchblade Kittens would perform this song in an alternate onstage wrock incarnation called “The Weird Sisters.”  They made this and other early forays into what would become Wizard Rock available to their diehard fans through the internet (Drama).[2]  Unfortunately, Switchblade Kittens were never able to release an album of their wrock songs because the major record label which housed them could not be convinced of its market potential and they were unable contractually to release anything independently (Drama)

Two years after the release of “Ode to Harry,” in 2002, Harry and the Potters began to tour with a self-titled, independently produced debut album; and we officially have our first wrock band.  Other newly emerging wrock bands were predominantly friends of the members of Harry and the Potters,[3] but a general snowball effect quickly emerged (Wizrocklopedia).  In all “over 20 [bands] were created before the end of the year” (Wizrocklopedia), mostly in a similar “indie” or “garage” rock style (in contrast with the “L.A. pop sensibility” of the Switchblade Kittens (Drama)).  Currently, there are over five hundred Wizard rock bands, representing almost every mainstream genre “sound,” and large annual Wizard Rock themed events such as “Wrockstock.”[4]

As observed by Rebecca Skulnick and Jesse Goodman, “Harry Potter is a hero who remains embedded in his community” (270).  We can see this ethic manifesting in the Wizard Rock community via the development of very active social justice organizations.  This trend began in the early days with a dedication to and promotion of literacy. The Remus Lupins website is registered to the domain of “” (which is also their band motto).  At this site the band offers do-it-yourself kits to promote literacy in your community (The Remus Lupins).  In 2006, Harry and the Potters offered free toothbrushes with the band’s name on them for every book report received from fans (Wizrocklopedia).  And in 2007 Paul T. DeGeorge of Harry and the Potters founded the Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club and raised 13,000 dollars for “First Book,” a non-profit that provides the children of low income families with books (DeGeorge).[5]  It is perhaps this close relationship to the promotion of literacy that leads so many wrock bands to hold their concerts in public libraries; a phenomenon which was common among the wrock bands I researched. 

In the succeeding years the most prominent social justice oriented group to emerge in the wrock community is the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA); an organization that seeks to “[harness] the power of popular culture toward making our world a better place” (The HP Alliance).  Using the tagline “the weapon we have is love,” this non-profit group addresses social issues as wide ranging as global warming, poverty, genocide, and of course, literacy.  In 2010 the HPA collaborated with similar groups arising out of other dedicated fandoms (such as Firefly, Heroes, True Blood and others) to send aid to the recently earthquake torn Haiti, a project collectively called “Helping Haiti Heal.”  Ultimately, the HPA’s contribution totaled more than $123,000 to Partners in Health for their part in this project  (The HP Alliance).  

Currently, the HPA is circulating a petition demanding that the chocolate branded by Warner Brother’s with the Harry Potter name be certified fair trade so that the dollars of fans do not go to support “starvation wages and child slavery” (The HP Alliance).  These are but two of the projects undertaken by the HPA (as of 2010 comprised of 60 different chapters worldwide) since their founding in 2005 (The HP Alliance).  The success of these campaigns display an unusual (if not unheard of) dedication within the Wizard Rock community to applying the values of the Harry Potter series (of love, community and working towards a better world) to the “muggle”[6] world around us.  Once again Harry and the Potters was a pioneering influence in this project; one of their members co-founded the HPA (The HP Alliance).

While Wizard Rock songs can take many forms there are several forms which are especially common (and which often overlap): 1) the song from a specific character’s perspective, 2) the song about events Harry Potter readers already know from the series, 3) the song about events which were only alluded to in the book series, 4) the song in which the events are completely made up but obviously within the Harry Potter universe, 5) the song written to or about the Wizard Rock/Harry Potter fandom, and 6) tribute song; written to characters, places or “real life” people.  Several of these forms are essentially fan fiction put to music and often serve the same purpose: centering the experiences of favorite “minor” characters from the books or re/writing events as they imagine those events (should have) transpired. Band names are similar and typically give hints as to the character perspective that particular band is writing from; for example “Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons”[7] and “The Whomping Willows.”[8]  This is one way in which wrock bands exemplify Bond and Michelson’s idea of “participatory literacy;” they literally re-make the world of Harry Potter, “to create worlds of meaning that incorporate a text, personal context, and prior knowledge” (Kucer).  To more fully illustrate what these song categories mean in practice I will briefly discuss each type.

First, there are many, many, songs from a specific character’s perspective.  This is by far one of the most prevalent “sub-genres” of Wizard Rock.  It seems likely that this phenomenon can be traced back to the first truly famous wrock bands: Harry and the Potters and Draco and the Malfoys, who both write their songs from the perspective of the character their band is named for.  Similarly, writing a song from a “main” character’s perspective is especially common.  However, there are also more novel approaches, such as that of “The Swedish Shortsnouts” in “Battle Cedric Diggory.”  In this song, the band is writing from the perspective of the dragon that must be fought as one of the trials in the Triwizard tournament. 

In keeping with tradition, the name of the band is again representative of the perspective of the song (the type of dragon which Cedric fought was a Swedish Shortsnout).  Similarly, this song is representative of this particular sub-genre because it takes its perspective for granted; when first listening to the song it takes a bit of time for the person who has read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to discern “who” is singing.  In addition, the song occupies the mind of its mythical protagonist, telling the audience what this dragon thinks and feels about its experience along with the information that it is assumed the audience already possesses from reading the book.  This song is also a good representative of the genre as a whole because it is light-hearted and at times comedic.[9]

Equally prevalent are songs which recount events from the Harry Potter series.  This sub-genre can be especially interesting because it incorporates the reader/writer’s perspective or interpretation of these events into the song as well.  A good example of this sub-genre is the Ministry of Magic song “This Town,” which recounts Harry breaking into and out of Gringotts (the bank used by the wizarding community in Harry Potter) to retrieve and destroy an object which helps the antagonist Lord Voldemort maintain immortality (Ministry of Magic).  Interpretive elements include the claim that Harry and his friends are determined enough to “give the Imperius curse a try” if it will get them inside the bank.[10]  Coupled with these elements are references to well known and exciting scenes in the book.  Also common are artful references that impart the tense emotions of these scenes, such as “there’s a chance we’ll reveal our cards tonight / Voldemort’ll know we’re killing off his last lifeline.”  This drama is maintained throughout the song, with a hopeful and determined tone and soaring choruses which echo the eventually victorious scene (Ministry of Magic)

In addition, moments in time and relationships which the book-reading audience knows had to exist abound in a series this long and detailed.  Many of these moments are even alluded to somewhat in the books, but never fleshed out; it is at these ruptures in the narrative where fan fiction and now Wizard Rock step in as a kind of productive consumption, filling in the “gaps” left by J. K. Rowling.  As with the last two examples of sub-genre types this is an extremely popular approach and one that overlaps often with the previous two.  A perfect example of this is the song “Look at Me” by Riddle™.  This song is written from the perspective of Lily, Harry Potter’s mother, during her own childhood at Hogwarts and the evolution of her friendship with Severus Snape (an alternating antagonist and ultimately anti-hero in the series).  Written shortly after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the concluding book of the Harry Potter series) “Look at Me” is written, in part, in response to the transition from secondary antagonist to anti-hero which the character of Snape undergoes in the last book.  Slow and dramatic, the music echoes the bittersweetness of the relationship readers had just learned existed, as well as the emotions surrounding Snape’s death.[11] 

The next song-type carries the distinction that its Harry Potter references are not based in the “reality” of the books.  It could be argued that the previously discussed Swedish Shortsnouts song “Battle Cedric Diggory” falls into this camp, as there is little in the books to suggest the narrative they constructed around the dragon.  However, even this song is far more “factually” based than others in this category.  For example, the Whomping Willows perform a song entitled “The House of Awesome Theme Song” which is about the Whomping Willow asking to be sorted[12] into a Hogwarts House.  Upon being told by Headmaster Dumbledore that the Ministry of Magic would disapprove of a tree being sorted into a House, the Whomping Willow decides that it will form its own House, the House of Awesome.  In keeping with the progressive tendencies seen throughout the Wizard Rock community the fictional House of Awesome is a House for “anyone without a home / regardless of race, religion, creed, gender and sexual preference” (The Whomping Willows).  Songs like this one also reflect the general tendency within wrock to do something simply because it is fun and not take oneself too seriously, an aspect of the community which I found lauded by many fans and critics alike (GeekDads) (Koury).

The final sub-genre with a sizable amount of songs in it is the “tribute” genre.  Tribute songs are somewhat common and can be found written most often to characters from the series,[13] the wrock community[14] and of course, J. K. Rowling herself[15].  The most common of these is the tribute song to a character from the books, often a somewhat minor character and often humorous.  The function of these songs in the community is one which more than any other sub-genre speaks most explicitly to the reasons why these wrockers identify with Harry Potter enough to create music dedicated to it.  These songs also seem to be increasing alongside the increase in size and popularity of the Wizard Rock genre; they are more commonly found in the catalogues of newer wrock bands who were inspired to create their bands by the community they found in Wizard Rock.

As with other “grass roots” type music genres the skill on display within wrock varies widely from band to band.  Early albums by the first Wizard Rock bands like Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, and the Whomping Willows reflect a rough, garage rock-like sound, whereas newer additions such as Riddle™ and Ministry of Magic put out albums with a far more polished or “produced” sound.  This trajectory was in part commented on by Drama of the Switchblade Kittens in a discussion about the “level” that her band was able to achieve through the use of computer sound editing technology (Drama).  “I think that Wizard Rock is just like punk in 1977…there is a certain level of musicality from people who just start to pick up their instruments…the only way that Wizard Rock will last fifteen years is that five or six bands get really good and move the level up, and that’s the only way it stays a genre” (Drama).  In this and at other points in her interview, Drama repeatedly made this point, that if Wizard Rock were to survive, it would need bands “good enough” to draw in people from outside the Harry Potter fandom, people willing to listen to the music simply because it is good music.[16]

Consciously or not, Wizard Rock has followed the trajectory Drama suggested in that interview and has seemingly flourished as a result. Wrock music has been incorporated into large Harry Potter community events like LeakyCon,[17] and recently we have seen the advent of a yearly event dedicated entirely to it: Wrockstock.  Both of the previously mentioned bands with the type of “musicality” Drama promoted (Riddle™ and Ministry of Magic) had just begun getting widespread attention at the time of her interview.[18]  However, while the increasing “level” of skill within Wizard Rock cannot be denied, it seems likely that the continued success of this genre also has much to do with the way the community has branched out from its beginnings, as with the Harry Potter Alliance, and no doubt also has to do with the fact that Harry Potter has continued through film.  While some predicted the end of Wizard Rock after the publishing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Koury) this prediction ignored that the excitement and anticipation that accompanied the release of a new book is still happening with the opening of every new film.   It is likely that some combination of these elements accounts for the continued success of Wizard Rock, and it will be interesting to see in what ways the community continues to evolve after the final film is released in July 2011.

Another interesting theme that emerged in my research was the use of technology in the wrock subculture.  Myspace was (and remains) the launching pad for many of the biggest wrock bands, though this function has waned somewhat in recent years thanks to Myspace rescinding a feature which allowed bands to offer their music on their Myspace page to be downloaded for free (the way in which much of the early Wizard Rock songs got into the hands of potential fans/consumers). Myspace is where people have gone to hear new songs and find tour dates from their favorite bands, as well as find new bands by looking through the “friends” listed by the bands they already know.[19]  The Harry Potter Alliance does its organizing primarily online; through their website, Twitter and Facebook.  Most Wizard Rock bands sell (or give away for free) their albums and songs through their own websites and/or Itunes and Amazon.  While touring and other “traditional” forms of promotion are also utilized, the internet continues to be the primary source for disseminating information (such as a “wrock concert calendar” of tour dates and locations (Wizrocklopedia)) amongst the community. 

Also taking advantage of the wide audience available through the internet are the film-makers behind We Are Wizards, the first documentary to discuss the creative “undergrounds” of Harry Potter fandom.[20]  Since its release, this documentary (has been available for free viewing through the internet via (Koury).  A prominent section of this documentary looks at Wizard Rock; giving screen time to the members of Harry and the Potters, Draco and the Malfoys, The Whomping Willows, and The Hungarian Horntails.  This visual record is incredibly interesting for a number of reasons, especially regarding some identity demographics of the wrock community.  First, the Wizard Rock bands interviewed were all White, and all men or boys.  In fact the only speaking part given to a woman in relation to the Wizard Rock section was to the mother of the boys of the Hungarian Horntails (Koury).  Second, virtually all of these artists were parents and appeared to be middle or working class.  Last, almost all of the actual fans of these bands (composed of men and boys) were women and girls (also noted by a prominent Wizard Rock blogger (wrocksnob)); the vast majority of which are also White.

This composition of the wrock subculture is not unique in the music world (Farrugia), but it is of special note here because it reflects the composition of Harry Potter’s fictional world as well.  While one of the three main characters of the Harry Potter series is a young woman, Hermione Granger, the other two are men, Harry Potter himself and Ron Weasley, and although there are strong and complex women characters present elsewhere in the series, overall women are significantly outnumbered by men.  However, the gender disparity[21] is nothing compared to the racial disparity.   With exceptions that can be listed on one hand[22] all of the characters in Harry Potter’s world are White.  There is a not-so-subtle suggestion in this dynamic that while the themes of Harry Potter are generally touted as “universal” ones, such as “the battle between good and evil,” that in fact “universal” is simply a stand in or euphemism for “White.”  Thus White readers are able to relate more readily to these characters and the experiences they go through than are people of color. 

This facet of the series is touched on in “Images of the Privileged Insider and Outcast Outsider” where the authors note that “it is not insignificant that these minor characters [of color] are from postcolonial nations…[which] have suffered enormously under British rule” and that the series acts as a subtle reinscription of racist/nationalist discourses of a White Britain (Heilman and Gregory 255).  This aspect is important to our discussion here because it is the ability to relate to and identify with the world of Harry Potter and its characters that produces the ability and desire needed to undertake creative endeavors such as a Wizard Rock band.  Though an in depth investigation into the alienation of people of color from Wizard Rock is beyond the scope of this paper, acknowledging this phenomenon is important so as to discontinue the current silence around it, as well as in the hopes that others might take up such a project.  We will also return to racism and misogyny within wrock songs later in this essay.

Fandom communities like Wizard Rock offer a unique perspective on the works from which they were inspired because of the freedom of expression allowed within the participatory consumption/literacy model.  The open nature of the community creates a space in which people can (re)make the Harry Potter world through their own interpretation of and identification with it.  Thus, that most of growth in this community occurred after the release of the last book of the Harry Potter series is no coincidence.  With the canon laid out before them, fans of the books had a foundation upon which they could build new stories. This process has also been made into metaphor through the image of the “renter.”  “Mutation makes the text habitable, like a rented apartment. It transforms another person’s property into a space borrowed for a moment by a transient…a set of rules with which improvisation plays”(Oakes 72)

In the case of wrock, the “set of rules” or “house” are the canon Harry Potter texts written by J. K.  Rowling and in some cases the films based upon those texts, and the wizard rockers/wrock community are the renters, creating their own unique spaces within the bounds of the original story.  Similar to Oakes’ tribute shows, the result of “renting” is that wrock shows “are organized so that they reproduce the perspectives of particular fans and fan culture” (19).  The canon texts are consumed, identifications with the story, characters and themes are made, and the interpretations of these by the “consumers” are expressed through lyric and sound.  What this also means in the long run is that the new “literature” produced in the Harry Potter world will be done by fans.  The framework or “house” is set and finished; if fans of the novels wish the story not to come to an end, these “rented” spaces will be their refuge.  If the wrock community continues at its current pace, songs might outstrip pages in the Harry Potter canon before long; making Wizard Rockers true co-authors of the Harry Potter universe taken as a whole. 

Among other things, this co-authorship or participatory consumption/literacy provides what I name “the new writers of Harry Potter” with the opportunity to correct marginalizations present in the canon texts.  One can see these authors doing just that in the amount of songs and even entire bands dedicated to such minor characters such as Luna Lovegood,[23] Neville Longbottom,[24] Romilda Vane[25] or the Creevey brothers[26].  Yet, in keeping with the previously mentioned proliferation of Whiteness in the wrock community, it must be noted that those characters most often chosen to be brought from the margins to the center in Wizard Rock are White.  The songs dedicated to the Patil sisters, Lee Jordan or Cho Chang are rare (or more usually, nonexistent).  Thus, while there is great subversive potential in the productive consumption of this community, it sometimes also subtly (and not so subtly) reifies hegemonic codes.[27] 

For example, outside of the “obvious” bad guys (such as Lord Voldemort or Dolores Umbridge) those songs especially designed as mocking seem to be often reserved for more marginalized bodies; particularly Cho Chang’s.[28]  While the often made-fun-of-in-the-books Luna Lovegood, or the somewhat marginalized “White ethnic” characters such as Fleur Delacour[29] and Seamus Finnagan[30] are reclaimed by the community, the less sympathetically portrayed Cho Chang is generally not so.  One such example is the song “Choko Ono” by The Moaning Myrtles (a band I read and heard praised universally).[31]  The device used to attack Chang in this song is her supposed resemblance to Yoko Ono from the perspective of the character Moaning Myrtle[32] as imagined by the artists.[33]  In this song’s scenario, Myrtle believes that Harry must secretly love her and is only settling for the “second best” Cho Chang. 
Excerpt: When you really like someone
and your chance with them is close to none
Your next best shot’s to find someone
who’s just like them
If a gal reminds you of
the lucky girl you really love

Let’s face it,
I bet you won’t even notice
Now I’ve seen you with poor Cho
and I feel bad because I know
there’s no way that you actually like her

Honestly this girl just cries
because her gorgeous boyfriend died
There’s gotta, gotta, gotta, gotta
be some other better reason

Oh, Cho, oh, no
You see, I understand
Harry actually likes me, sorry, that’s how it goes
Oh, Cho, oh, no
Get away from my man
You’re just getting in the way
You’re my Yoko Ono
Choko Ono–you’re breaking up the band
This scenario is completely inconsistent with the Harry Potter canon; there is simply no corollary whatsoever between “breaking up the Beatles” and the idea that Cho somehow “stole Myrtle’s man [Harry].”  While there are hints in the book that Moaning Myrtle possibly has a crush on Harry Potter, there are also indications that her behavior stems more from the fact that she simply likes to behave in a way that vexes people.  Still, what the “breaking up the band” reference could possibly be to is utterly unclear.

There are not so veiled misogynistic elements to “Choko Ono,” directly related to Cho Chang’s expression of her sexuality.  In addition, the legibility of this song relies on racist social tropes which have and continue to demonize Yoko Ono as a Japanese woman partnered with an immensely popular public figure.  Her racial Otherness was and is used as a reason why John Lennon should not have been with her in the first place (Kulwicki), thus creating an implicit parallel with the Asian[34] British Cho partnered with our leading man.  Another disturbing element to this song is the title, with its allusion to enacting violence[35] against female sexual rivals.  As there is a cultural epidemic of violence against women both in the UK (where the Harry Potter series originates) and in the US (where The Moaning Myrtles originate) an allusion like this one is truly disturbing and not at all conducive to the “light-hearted” air the song attempts to embody.

As we have discussed throughout this essay, in general the Wizard Rock community has used their “rented” space to co-author a fictional universe in which there is room for difference and a promotion of social justice, but this end result is not inherent to the participatory consumption model.  That outcome requires dedicated and self-conscious work.  However, the self-reflective nature of productive consumption does provide a space in which (with conscious intent) that which is being consumed can be critically analyzed and made better; a process I hope will become more prevalent as the wrock community continues to grow.  In our increasingly globalized and mass-media-saturated world these DIY, participatory consumer spaces can only become more and more important for the maintenance of originality, creativity and imagination within music.

[1] It must be noted not all people within the wrock community do trace Wizard Rock’s history this way and that often it is simply said that Harry and the Potters are the founders.
[2] A tribute to a fictional band popular amongst Harry Potter and his friends in the book series.
[3] These bands include Draco and the Malfoys (a member of whom is also the drummer for Harry and the Potters) and The Whomping Willows, followed soon after by The Remus Lupins (Wizrocklopedia).
[4] Wrockstock is a weekend long festival of wrock music; see:
[5] In 2008 this Club raised 16,000 dollars for First Book and an undisclosed amount for The Harry Potter Alliance (an organization to be discussed later in this paper); in 2009 all proceeds went to the Harry Potter Alliance. 
[6] A term used in the Harry Potter series to describe non-magical people.
[7] Romilda Vane is a very minor character who tries to slip Harry Potter a love potion in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Instead, Ron Weasley eats the enchanted chocolate cauldrons candy.
[8] The Whomping Willow is a willow tree on the grounds of Hogwarts which hits people with its huge branches.  “The Whomping Willows” anthropomorphize the tree and sing from its perspective.
[9] Such as in its reference to Cedric Diggory being turned into a vampire and how “terrible” that would be; the actor who played Cedric in the movie version of The Goblet of Fire has since gone on to play the lead in the Twilight film series.
[10] This is noteworthy because the Imperius curse is one of three curses witches and wizards are forbidden by the Ministry of Magic (lending a bit of irony to this song given the band name) to perform.
[11] For those who have not read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in brief, Snape and Lily had a friendship as children that continued until Lily became romantically involved with James Potter and Snape became more involved with the “Death Eaters” (the bad guys).  Snape was in love with Lily and had made a deal with Voldemort that she (despite being “muggle-born”) would be spared when Voldemort killed James and Harry Potter.  However, since Lily refused to get out of Voldemort’s way, she ultimately was killed along with James and her sacrifice allowed Harry to survive.  Though it is never explicitly spelled out, it seems a foregone conclusion that her death is what turned Snape’s loyalty back to the side of “the light” and inspired him to become a double agent for Dumbledore.
[12] In Harry Potter all children upon arriving at Hogwarts are “sorted” into one of four Houses based upon their foundational characteristics as determined by a magical hat which can read their minds.
[13] Such as “The Ballad of Neville and Luna” by The Remus Lupins.
[14] Such as “Foom: A Reflection on Wizard Rock” by Seven Potters.
[15] Such as “For Jo” by RiddleTM.
[16] In this, I would have to agree with Drama.  While I find some Harry and the Potters songs to be fun or amusing, I do not find them incredibly pleasurable to listen to as music to accompany my day on my Ipod or computer.  Even though I am a Harry Potter fan, it took a band I really simply enjoyed listening to, for my interest in Wizard Rock to really flower (in my case that band was Riddle™).
[17] A Harry Potter dedicated Convention in the United States.
[18] And they are not alone, they are simply two of the most popular.
[19] Although other mediums have begun to replace Myspace as it has fallen greatly in overall popularity.
[20] As well as, for some reason, a woman with a deep seated fear of everything Harry Potter (as well as “piercings, and self mutilation” (55:10)
[21] And it should be noted that gender is rendered rather conventionally in the series, all indications point to all the women being female assigned at birth and all the men male assigned at birth with both being fairly conventionally feminine women and masculine men.  Or at least, these are conventional renderings for the time period in which the book series was written.
[22] Cho Chang (“Asian”), the Patil twins (Indian), and Dean Thomas (Black). One could possibly argue that Seamus Finnagan and Fleur Delacour are also “othered” similarly to these characters as they are the sole repeated side characters who are not of apparent British nationality.
[23] Examples: “Luna Lovegood” by Riddle™; “Song for Luna” by The Sorting Hat; DJ Luna Lovegood
[24] Ex’s: “The Ballad of Neville and Luna” by The Remus Lupins; “Song for Neville” by The Sorting Hat
[25] Example: Romilda Vane and the Chocolate Cauldrons, who are a popular group.
[26] Examples: Creevey Crisis, who is very popular; “Colin Creevey” by Quaffle Kids
[27] This is perhaps not terribly surprising given that the Harry Potter series itself has been challenged for its lack of critical engagement with hegemonic Britain.  “Like so many Western heroes, [Harry’s] sense of caring and willingness to side with the less fortunate are limited…For all of his compassion and identification with those characters from the lower rungs, [Harry] never questions the gender, class, or European hegemony of his world” (Skulnick and Goodman 263).
[28] Though Dean Thomas is also referenced negatively for dating Ginny Weasley, who apparently “belongs” to Harry Potter, such as in “Save Ginny from Dean Thomas” by Harry and the Potters.
[29] Examples: The Fleur Delacours; Fleur le Phlegm; “Fleur Mon Ami” by Tom Riddle and Friends
[30] Examples: Thomas and Finnigan; The Seamus Finnigans; Seamus Finnigan’s Wake
[31] In fact they were ranked 7th for top Wizard Rock bands by MTV. (Vineyard)
[32] So named because she spends her afterlife (she is a ghost) haunting the lavatories of Hogwarts crying.
[33] A pair of young women named Lauren and Nina (The Moaning Myrtles).
[34] Cho Chang’s exact ethnicity is never specified.
[35] To be absolutely clear this is pronounced in the song “choke-oh.”