Perhaps Harry Potter fans really can get too much information about the wizards in the world of Harry Potter. At least that’s what some people concluded after a very odd tweet from the Pottermore account that rollicked social media on the first Friday of January.
Pottermore, for those not in the Harry Potter ecosystem, is the online hub of the Harry Potter universe. You can get sorted by the Sorting Hat, dabble in some of J.K. Rowling’s unpublished but very cannon thoughts about all things Harry Potter, and just generally nerd out about one of the biggest and most popular intellectual properties in the world.
But sometimes the information that Rowling includes as part of the Harry Potter universe can be, well, strange. And the Pottermore Twitter account shared some of that strange information on Friday on National Trivia Day, sharing an odd fact about how wizards used to use the bathroom while at the wizard school Hogwarts.
This brings up, well, a lot of questions about the logistics of going to the bathroom at the school where Potter takes on Voldemort. Were wizards really just, uh, going on themselves and then getting rid of the waste for centuries? That was a more practical thing to do before indoor plumbing? How are there not better options that were invented by these magical beings with an endless array of magical skills?
As many people pointed out, the concept of plumbing was invented well before the 1800s, and these are magical beings. The Romans had plumbing systems, after all! As i09 pointed out, the information comes from the Chamber of Secrets section of Pottermore. So the tweet isn’t actually very new. But the reasoning behind sharing this in the first place is… odd. And it struck quite a chord with people online.
This tweet actually illustrates nicely what Pottermore’s potty tweet was meant to do: world-build. The problem was, as often is the case with bathroom mishaps, execution.
This is one of the problems with where Rowling is with Harry Potter. Rather than leave the series as it was in 2007 — a brilliant set of books and an equally-strong series of movies about said books — Rowling continues to tinker. And that tinkering has come off as revisionist history at best, and downright bizarre at worst.
Star Wars fans know the feeling for sure.
And if you’re committed to all things J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, you can try to use this to add flavor to the magical world. But the problem is you have to apply that world’s other laws into effect, too. Such as the one that children can’t do magic! So, this is pretty weird!
This is also a great point.
The lesson here is that sometimes flavor text isn’t necessary. Especially if that flavor is gross.