Harry Potter: Is Miriam Margolyes right that adult fans should ‘grow up’?

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Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe starred in the Harry Potter films

I visited Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross station as a child. Obsessed with Harry Potter, I was convinced that if I ran through the wall I would find myself arm in arm with Ron and Hermione boarding the Hogwarts Express on my way to becoming a fully fledged witch.

Sure, I would have to leave my Muggle parents behind, but aged 10 that was a sacrifice I was prepared to make.

However, my attempt at running into a brick wall left me with little more than a bruised head, and the magic had, quite literally, been knocked out of me.

While this abruptly brought my dream of going to Hogwarts to an end, for some Harry Potter fans the fantasy lives on into adulthood.

It is no wonder then that fans have been sent into a frenzied meltdown on social media after Miriam Margolyes, who played Professor Pomona Sprout in the film series, told adult fans to “grow up” and get “over it”.

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Margolyes said adults having Harry Potter-themed weddings “should be over that by now”

In two recent interviews in New Zealand and Australia, the 82-year-old actress said she worries about adult Potter fans as “they should be over that by now”.

“It was 25 years ago, and I think it’s for children,” Margolyes told New Zealand broadcaster TZNZ.

“I do Cameos [personalised video messages] and people say they are doing a Harry Potter-themed wedding, and I think, ‘Oh gosh what is their first night of fun going to be?'”

The actress, who recently posed naked behind a stack of iced buns for a Vogue photoshoot, later told ABC News Australia that once teens are through puberty, “it’s time to forget about it and go on to other things”.

So, should adults set aside their wands, leave behind the wizarding world and accept that “it’s for children”, as Margolyes says?

For many millennials, Harry Potter is part of their identity. The books, written by JK Rowling, were released between 1997 and 2007, and the eight films between 2001 and 2011.

Most of us might occasionally re-watch the films on a Sunday afternoon and would do relatively well in a round of Harry Potter trivia, but for some people their interest extends far beyond this.

Jennifer Peiro and Hector Garcia are two content creators in their early 30s who run dedicated Harry Potter accounts on Instagram.

Image source, Hector Garcia

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Hector Garcia told the BBC he has made “lifelong friendships” through the online Harry Potter community

Peiro, whose account has over 120,000 followers, says that as an adult it is difficult to make friends, but her account helped her “connect with like-minded people”. For Garcia, creating Hogwarts content “has been one of the most rewarding and healing parts of my adult life”.

Both say the wizarding world provides a form of escapism and community for them.

“I regularly get comments from people all over the world saying how the story has saved them during dark times, how it’s their safe space and comfort,” Peiro explains.

Garcia adds his account “has evolved into something I can use to forget about life in a healthy and therapeutic way”.

It is hard to blame these fans for wanting to swap the mundanity of everyday life for a world where potion classes and Quidditch matches reign supreme.

One Potterhead who is part of the fandom is Rachel Parker, a 32-year-old wedding planner who specialises in “nerdy themed” ceremonies.

As an adult, she has become heavily involved in the online community, which she says is the most enduring legacy of Harry Potter.

Image source, Rachel Parker

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Wedding planner Rachel Parker said many of her clients have had Harry Potter inspired elements to their big day

From online forums and fan fiction sites to real-life meet-ups and book clubs, the community “have almost overtaken the books themselves and created so much more”, Parker explains.

Of course, Harry Potter is not the only fantasy world that some adults, like Rachel, are obsessed with. You will likely find people of all ages visiting Disney theme parks for the hundredth time or re-enacting Lord of the Rings battle scenes in their spare time.

In fact, the number of people attending Comicon, an annual comic convention where people dress up as fictional characters, has risen dramatically – there are now over 150,000 attendees every year.

Even more impressive is that Warner Bros Studio Tour London, where a number of the films were produced, has welcomed over 16 million visitors since it opened in 2012.

‘Worst kind of bully’

So how have these diehard fans reacted to Margolyes telling them to pack away the robes and broomsticks in favour of more adult interests?

Maddi Harwood, 32, who runs an Instagram account dedicated to fantasy genre books , said she is “used to bullies making fun of me for loving Harry Potter”.

“The worst kind of bully is someone who makes fun of another person for something they absolutely love and adore,” she adds.

“It’s unnecessary to…

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