Harry Potter, muggles…and deafness
“The wizards represent all that the true ‘muggle’ most fears: They are plainly outcasts and comfortable with being so. Nothing is more unnerving to the truly conventional than the unashamed misfit!”
– JK Rowling.
I was introduced to the wonderful world of Harry Potter at the age of 15 by the school librarian. I initially thought it was a kids book. Alas, I was proven wrong…in so many ways.
Throughout the book series, I met Harry, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Professor Dumbledore, Snape, Draco Malfoy and many others. They resonated with me, but I connected with Hermione on a deeper level.
You see, Hermione is a Muggle born.
I did not know why I was able to connect with her…until a friend sent me this amazing academic article – Understanding Harry Potter: Parallels to the Deaf World, written by Todd Czubek and Janey Greenwald.
It blew me away. At last, I was able to explain why Hermione and I were similar.
I was born to hearing parents – just like Hermione was born to Muggle parents. 90% of Deaf children are born to hearing parents who have had no or little exposure to Deaf people and/or the Deaf community. Just like the majority of wizard children being born to Muggle parents.
Deaf children who are born into Deaf families could be considered Purebloods – a full wizarding family.
Deaf children who are born to one hearing parent and one deaf parent respectively could be considered Half-bloods, in which are born to one Muggle parent and one Wizard parent respectively.
Hermione’s parents actively encouraged her to embrace her magical abilities by sending her off to Hogwarts. My mother actively encouraged me to embrace my deafness by teaching me sign language and getting involved in the Deaf community.
However, I was not sent to a Deaf school so I cannot say I have had a similar schooling experience as Hermione. Instead, I was mainstreamed and sometimes put into a Deaf unit connected with the main school.
As I was mainstreamed, I liked to be on par with my hearing classmates by reading ahead and researching about the world around us, especially having the access to the same classroom curriculum. A Deaf school may not offer the same curriculum as hearing schools – I’ve seen cases of this.
Hermione was similar – she read ahead on magical textbooks on all subjects she did at Hogwarts and she also made sure she was well informed about the wizarding community. Hogwarts may not have the same curriculum as a Muggle school, however it offered Muggle studies…just like a hearing school would offer Deaf studies where available.
The wizarding community is a minority…just like the Deaf community.
This is why Deaf people should read the Harry Potter series – especially if they haven’t already! I have become a Potterhead ever since then, and I actively encourage Deaf people to read the series, especially if they want to take up reading to improve their English – and Harry Potter is a great place to start.
“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
~ J.K. Rowling
Yours in magic,