While we all still want to run away to Hogwarts, there are probably some comforts of Muggle life that we’d miss when we got there. Here are a few Muggle inventions that wizards should give a second chance.
Look, we know wizards appreciate the rustic and the old-fashioned, but it still feels like a wizarding world internet should be a thing. The wizarding world web, if you will. Although researchers in the field of Muggle Studies do use the internet, J.K. Rowling does have a reasonable explanation for why it never caught on properly: ‘When your newspaper has moving pictures and everyday objects sometimes talk to you, then the internet does not seem a particularly exciting place.’ And maybe a world where Rita Skeeter has a Twitter account wouldn’t be particularly wise.
Owls are undoubtedly great. And for wizards, they kindly help to deliver their post. But surely there are some circumstances where a dedicated human postal worker would just be more convenient? Even going as the crow – sorry, as the owl – flies, Hedwig is generally going about 30 miles an hour, plus the upper carrying limit of a person is going to be much bigger than that of your average owl, and they’re less likely to nip you when you’re giving them something to deliver, too. Owls are, however, extremely good at finding whoever they need to deliver to, in comparison to human delivery systems being foxed by insufficiently clear handwriting or flats with more than one postbox.
Quills look really cool, which is why a lot of Muggles go through a phase where we love writing with them anyway. But they’re also fraught with difficulty. You have to regularly sharpen them, they’re an absolute nightmare if you’re left-handed, and you have to keep dipping them in ink as you go. On at least one occasion Ron spilled ink all over an essay, and practically every time someone drops their bag a bottle of it smashes. Ballpoint pens may not be as stylish, but they have almost none of the problems you get with a quill. It’s a quill with automatic ink! That you can fit in your pocket! And while we’re at it, why rolls of parchment when notebooks exist? We know wizards know about books. Hogwarts has a library.
We know the wizarding world has some personal grooming products, because we’re told that Hermione used ‘liberal amounts of Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion’ to achieve her Yule Ball look. That only lasted for an evening; Muggle products like hairspray are robust and easy to use to create a number of looks. Plus, we so often forget that Harry, Ron and Hermione were at school in the 1990s. Maybe there’s a spell that magics hair into perfect crimps or crunchy spikes, but what if there isn’t?
Not only that, but the wizarding world no doubt has its own fashion icons and influences. We’re sure many a line in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions was inspired by Gilderoy Lockhart’s autumn wardrobe, and countless wizarding parents were exasperated when their teenager changed their hair to whatever the bass player in the Weird Sisters was doing with his that week. Muggle products would be invaluable for both the crisp, coiffured look at the grungy rock and roll one. Even Rita Skeeter would benefit from keeping those ringlets in check.
Even though Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts was set in the 1990s, a bit before the internet properly took off, surely wizards fancy a bit of the digital entertainment age? We know, at the very least, they have radio, but the transition to television never really took off. According to J.K. Rowling, there was an attempt to start a ‘British Wizarding Broadcasting Corporation’ in the 1980s, but the project didn’t last long. Alas, the Ministry of Magic thought that combining the wizarding world with a Muggle device was a serious breach of the International Statute of Secrecy. We beg to differ. You could have televised Quidditch matches, a talk-show with Gilderoy Lockhart, a reality TV show with the Malfoys…
If only wizards weren’t so stubborn when it came to our adorable Muggle ways.