A prequel to the Harry Potter films set in 1930’s New York, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters next year, and there is already upheaval concerning certain details of the movie, particularly with the replacement of the word “Muggle.”
A Muggle of course is a non-magic having person who lives in the wizarding world. They are oblivious to all magic, mischief and abnormalities. While some like Voldemort (I mean He Who Must Not Be Named) despise Muggles, others like Mr. Arthur Weasley find them absolutely riveting. Regardless of one’s personal ideologies, one thing is certain; they are called Muggles.
In the upcoming movie a person without magic will not be a Muggle but instead a “No-Maj” (pronounced “no madge,” as in “no magic”). Fans around the globe are freaking out over the change with understandable aggravation.
After all, the word “Muggle” is the first completely new magical word (not a character or place) introduced in J.K. Rowling’s first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This occurs when Mr. Dursley overhears, “Even Muggles like yourself should be celebrating …”
In addition to being a prominent word known by each and every fan, the Oxford English dictionary added “muggle” in 2003 to mean “A person who is not conversant with a particular activity or skill.”
Many fans have said that “it just feels wrong.” Awkward to pluralize and very harsh sounding, No-Maj is a displeasing replacement for Muggle. Rowling on the other hand is sticking by her decision with gusto and a rather good point. The dialect and words between England and America often differ. Terms such as ”biscuit” and ”cookie” can represent the exact same thing but make use of a different word.
Harry Potter himself attested to this fact in a recent interview. While promoting Victor Frankenstein, actor Danielle Radcliffe was asked about his opinions on the matter and briefly responded, “I have no strong opinions about this. We have different words in England, so it makes perfect sense that there should be a different word for it in America.”
Good point Harry. Seemingly bewitched by the chosen one’s powers, the internet’s crazy outburst disappeared…almost as if by magic. Rowling has not yet done us wrong (apart from the whole Dobby thing which really wasn’t all that necessary), and I don’t think she plans on starting now. Although the term will be missed, fans around the world must stay focused; the wizarding world we grew up with is coming back to us and it is glorious.