time travel

Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of an industrial age understanding of the arbitrary segmented concept of time as it pertains to human understanding of the revolutions of our world around the yellow dwarf, main sequence star that we orbit?

Time travel is an interesting concept, and it is a wholly new one. Most science fiction concepts that we have come to know are really just rehashed versions of older ideas. For example, robots are merely re-imagined version of clay Golems, and there are even ancient stories of many cultures pertaining to space travel and visiting other worlds. Yet, time travel is a completely new concept for our society -relatively speaking- and that has a lot to do with how we humans have come to see the movement of the sun and time in our world.

Forward to the Past
Now, let’s be clear. The concept of moving through time does have some ancient roots. Tales like the Mahabharata, the Japanese story of Urashima Tarō, and the Jewish tale of Honi ha-M’agel all talk about movement in time. The most common tale is of a character that leaves his home, gets into some otherworldly shenanigans, and then comes back only to discover that it is many years in the future. Everyone they know is dead and they have long been forgotten. These tales, though they involve moving forward in time, are not time travel stories as we think of the modern concept.

When the characters return to their lives they discover that the world has changed, but not in any significant way. The world still remains as it always was, but the people are different and the character discovers that they have not only suffered a mortal death, but a second death. That is the death you suffer when there is no one left who remembers you or your deeds in the world. These are stories more about the tragedy of mortality and the concept of remembrance, rather than the concept of moving through time. They do not talk about the progress of the world or its people. They focus on the allegorical understanding of mortality and the tragedy/reality of insignificance.

That is because of how our ancestors thought about time and the movement of the heavenly bodies. A lot of ancient cultures perceived time in a cyclical manner. They rose with the sun and set with it too. Every day was an affirmation that the world ran on cycles. All things young would become old and the world would continue in a series of cycles the way it always had. They ate when they were hungry, worked when the sun was up, planted with the seasons, and slept with the night. It was an existence without an understanding of what 5:00 am meant, or 11:34 am, or 6:45 pm. Those arbitrary numbers meant nothing to them. They judged the day by the passing of the sun or the movement of the people and the animals around them. To them stories about moving forward in time were more personal, because time was a more personal concept. It was the cycle of your life, which was just a part of a larger series of cycles. When Urashima Tarō is flung into the future, his own cycle is disrupted and he finds himself in a new one. This is a completely different understanding than how we in America think of time today.

Wibbly Wobbly Linear Time
Time is a property of space, but it is also a concept of human understanding. Even today different cultures have different understandings of time. Many Asian and eastern cultures still adhere to a version of cyclical time. While, many Mediterranean people, like Italians, Spanish, Greeks, and some Arabic cultures adhere to what is called Multi-Active Time, which is where time is valuable but not as valuable as relationships. Appointments can be pushed and the passing of the clocks can be ignored if something or someone more important arises during the day. Most Western cultures, especially Americans, British, Germans, and Swiss, however, adhere to linear time. That is the belief that efficiency comes from sticking to schedules. If a bus is meant to leave at 12:02, than it had better leave at 12:02. We run our lives based upon the ticking of our clocks. We see time as a straight-line, from the past to the future, and maybe it is no surprise that from these cultures the first modern tales of time travel arose.

The concept of linear time has its beginning in the Renaissance when early clocks began to be produced, but it was not until the Industrial Revolution, that the concept really caught on. There is a reason that Greenwich Mean Time is the standard average time of the world. The Industrial Age began in the UK, and it forever changed how we perceive time. -That may also be the reason why one of our most famous time travelers also calls the UK home, but that is just conjecture.- The working populace was no longer bound to the sun and the fields, but the clock and the factory line. The perception of time was also bolstered by the mass production of clocks and pocket watches. Suddenly, it was fashionable to wear timekeeping pieces and have clocks in your own home. The people of London and elsewhere were literally surrounded by reminders of time.

Enter into this atmosphere HG Wells. Wells was not the first person to write a modern time travel story, but he was the most memorable. He even coined the term for the device that travels through time, The Time Machine. In his 1895 book a scientist invents a machine that allows him to travel to the future to a world completely alien to his own. Wells incorporated other contemporary scientific understanding into his work, most prominently Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. This is note worthy because the new scientific understanding of evolution as well as the measurable progression of technology also helped propel the human race’s understanding of how time affects our world. The Time Machine was one of the first modern time travel stories because it shows a concept how the world and its people change from time period to time period. Wells is not necessarily concerned with the personal journey of the traveler, but the journey of time itself as it molds our future and our species.

There were also precursors to Well’s story. For instance, Edward Page Mitchell, was the first person to write about a device to travel back to the 16th century. Yet, one we should focus on is Washington Irving’s 1819 Rip Van Winkle, and that is worth mentioning for two reasons. First, it follows the tradition of “man wakes up in the future,” which we talked about with earlier examples, but there is an American twist. Rip falls asleep in the British Colonies and wakes up in the United States of America. His son is grown, his friends are dead, and his whole country is different. That last part is the important aspect, because it registers a change in the world. This change is more political than technological, but it still lends itself to an awareness of the passage of time. We hesitate to call it true time travel, but it shows an evolution from cyclical to linear thinking.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Paradox
Philosopher John Hospers wrote in 1953 that time travel was “logically impossible.” What he was perhaps trying to say, is that time travel is hard, and wrapping your brain around it is even harder. Any trip you take to the past would create a paradox, in both time and our understanding of time. What if you go back and kill your own father, or -even worse- learn that he was actually a pretty cool guy before he had kids? These sort of brain bending concepts may be why the majority of those original time travel stories were about people traveling to the future.

Time travel stories in the 19th century did examine the past, such as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, where Scrooge is sent back in time to observe his own childhood. Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is also notable, as it send its protagonist to the past, but Twain was more concerned with lampooning chivalry than with any questions of paradox. Thus, a lot of those early “travel to the past” stories were more about adventure or fancy. For us, the most interesting time travel concept emerged in an odd place, The Defence of Duffer’s Drift. Written in 1904 by Major General Sir Ernest Dunlop Swinton, -which is a name more English than meat pies- it details the adventure of Lieutenant N. Backsight Forethought during the Boer War. His unit is attacked in six “dreams.” Each time Lieutenant Foresight uses the knowledge of the past dream to change his tactics and learn form his mistakes. It was written to promote critical thinking in the British military, but in doing so it also captures an essence of why we tell time travel stories in the first place.

As Hospers pointed out, the notion of time travel is nearly inconceivable from a logical standpoint, and yet we do it all the time: Back to the Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Terminator, Star Trek, Doctor WhoFuturama, and more tend to deal with going back to the past and creating paradoxes. In a way this new genre has helped us think differently about how time operates and about how we operate in time. Which time period would you travel to? How would you change history if you could? What do you want to see most about the future? These are questions that our ancestors rarely asked themselves. They rarely thought of them, because there were no words and no ideas on which to base them. Time travel literature has expanded our societal understanding. It has challenged us to think in new ways and that is kind of the point.

The City on the Edge of Understanding
Early time travel tales were personal. They were about people’s lives, because time was a part of us. Then, starting in the early 19th century, time travel became much more cultural. It stopped being about just us alone, and it became more about the world in which we inhabit. After 1887, there was a time travel story published almost every year. After 1950, there were time travel stories being published one or two every year. These days there are hundreds of time travel stories published every year. As we have watched our technology evolve, our political landscape grow, and our world change we have become more aware of the passage of time and the many ways in which it could or should have gone awry. Democracy itself contributes to this, as we continually find ourselves living between regimes and buffeted in the currents of change.

As life imitates art, so does life imitate time travel. These stories have not only come about because of our new concepts of time, but they have contributed to them. We have become a more appreciative of time and the ways in which it ebbs and flows. The “logical impossibility” of Hospers has been conquered in our mind, and replaced with a longing for the past, and a desire to know future. Perhaps, that is a blessing and the curse. We have an appreciation of the past, only because of the regrets we live with, the baby Hitlers we could -maybe even should- have killed along the way. Regardless, the concept of time travel is here to stay. It is both a symptom and a precursor to our modern society and it is a sign that we have evolved in our thinking, or at least in the way we deal with our own abstract understanding of time.

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine, why not do it with some style?”

dystopia

Do you feel like you are living in an oppressive world where you just can’t accomplish anything because of overbearing authoritarians who are making near-senseless rules, doling out indiscriminate and meaningless punishments, and setting restrictive curfews that curtail your own individuality and sense of importance… Well congratulations you might just be a teenager, or a protagonist in a young adult dystopia book. Titles like Hunger Games, Divergent, The Giver, Maze Runner, Ready Player One, and Cat in the Hat, have exploded in sales as everyone from your preteen niece to that weird guy who shops at Forever 21 rush out to get the latest titles of YA dystopia. These books have been adapted to blockbuster and quick-cash-grab movies, even as this genre continues to explode all over the shelves of Barnes and Nobles, and… well that’s really the only bookstore left.

So what does this mean, and will we ever explain the punchline of that Cat in the Hat joke? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out…

The Insurgent Series
For a long time dystopia was really a genre for adults. Think of the classic dystopia that you have read in school: Brave New World, 1984, Do Robots Dream of Electric Sleep -AKA Bladerunner-, Fahrenheit 451, etc. These books were written with a purpose in mind. Dystopia is a history of the future, a mirror reflection of our own time. At their core they are thought experiments conducted about the trends and issues we see around us, which elevates them to something more than entertainment. When writers write dystopia they are actually writing about our own world… Or at least, that was how we used to think of dystopian novels. YA dystopia is something different, entirely.

Children -and especially teens– can relate to dystopia in the same way that your weird uncle relates to his dog… they just get each other. All the elements of dystopia are present in teenage lives: an overbearing and seemingly unjust authority figure, social pressure for conformity, the feeling of powerlessness, strange fashion choices, etc. And of course, dystopia novels are all about the protagonist who rebels against the status quo, and rebellion is an inherent milestone in growing up. The desire to redefine the world and your life is one of the hallmarks of moving from childhood to adulthood, same as it is for dystopian stories. That is doubly true when growing up in 2018, when compared with growing up in 1958. Dystopia has reached its height of popularity, because we look around and we see a world that is a bit dystopic. Kids today are growing up in a world that was screwed up by their parents and their parents’ parents, and they know it. Decisions on issues like global warming and the growing debt crisis were made for them before they were even born. They are the generation who may get left holding the bucket, and that adds to feelings of helplessness, anxiety over the future, and other impulses that draw people to dystopian literature.

Yet, we would be remiss if we did not bring up that there is something off about this new breed of dystopia. This is not your father’s world of fascist faceless government oppression. That could be because YA books and movies draw on very familiar and predictable beats. Each book, whether it follow Katniss or Wade Wilson hits similar and steady story point: Contrived plots, vague background/histories, love triangles, inter-generational conflict, sequel possibilities, and a generally unsatisfying commentary/conclusion. Now this is not a criticism of the genre, but it is a sign of something else that is going on with both these books, and with society in general.

The Givers and the Takers
In a very general sense, dystopia can fall into two broader categories: “Anti-Capitalism” or “Anti-Government.” There are stories where dystopian societies come about because of capitalism run amok. In Bladerunner and -the highly recommended Netflix show, Altered Carbon– the enemies are often the corporations. These monolithic institutions that have enough money to run society from the shadows, if not in the open. The flip side of that grayed-out-coin,  are stories where governments become oppressive totalitarian regimes, such as in Animal Farm and A Brave New World. There is of course, some overlap, but in political terms -because this is the world we now live in- you can basically break it down to right-wing and left-wing societies. The enemy is either overpowered corporations, or overpowered welfare states, and in the old days a lot of these books were written in response to Communism or Capitalism.

These two different types of dystopian societies were fairly well balanced coming into the late 90’s, but YA literature shifted that equilibrium. Almost exclusively we now see dystopian stories that lean more toward a right-wing attitude, where “big government” becomes the enemy. The Hunger Games, Divergent, and especially The Giver, all depict these types of society. The Giver in-particular depicts a “hellish” society where children are raised communally; where traditional gender roles are abolished; and where inflammatory language, experiences, and feelings have been purged. Its a world where people spend all days riding around on bicycles instead of gas-guzzling cars. Now we all loved the book as kids, but looking back at it, the oppressive regime of The Giver sounds more like a hippy commune than a traditional fascist state. You can even argue that in Ready Player One -despite the enemy being the IOI corporation- that it is actually a pro-capitalist book. After all, the true master of the oppressive society is Gregarious Simulation Systems, which runs the virtual world of the OASIS. The whole point of the book is not to rebel against that society, but to compete to take ownership of it. The book is about maintaining a status quo where the entire world is run by a corporation. That’s like an Ayn Rand utopia.

Of course, maybe we shouldn’t expect anything different, given our own world. We live in a time where corporations are powerful enough to send rockets to space. Kids have been raised with Twitter, Amazon, Google, IKEA, and more. In fact, these books and movies are only popular because of corporations and capitalism. YA novels are big business, and YA dystopian movies bring in a lot of money for those very same monolithic and faceless corporations that would make Fritz Lang blush, -that’s a deep cut joke. The Hunger Games trilogy sold 36.5 million copies, and two of its movies are on the list of the top 50 biggest opening weekends on record. The Divergent trilogy held the first, second and third places on the American bestseller list at the start of 2014. And none of this even cracks the numbers made by other movies hoping to capitalize on this trend, The Maze Runner, Ready Player One, The 5th Wave, that on with Tim Robbins… Do you remember, when Apple created that 1984-style commercial? Well, they are now in the Top 5 of Fortune 500 companies with a customer base that is almost cultishly loyal. Capitalism is freer and more rampant than anytime in modern history… So, why is big-government so often the YA boogeyman?

The Hunger Games: The Mocking of Nurture
The biggest difference between Old Dystopia and YA Dystopia are the protagonists and their journeys. In Fahrenheit 451, the protagonist, Montague, starts the book as a brainwashed fireman, a person responsible for maintaining the oppressive society. By the end of the book he has realized the error of his ways and disappears into the wilderness, leaving society. He is a normal person, and the same could be said of the protagonists of 1984, A Brave New World, and the list goes on. They are normal people and their personal journeys are the center of their books. They do very little to affect larger change in their societies. They do not change the system or collapse the government. Their journeys are personal.

Compare that with Katniss Everdeen, Jonas from The Giver, or whoever Shailene Woodley portrays… where going to say Girly McSpecialPerson… These characters are “chosen ones.” Katniss is the Girl on Fire. Girly McSpecialPerson is Divergent. Jonas is selected to be the next Giver. They are unique, and their actions redefine their societies, changing them if not outright demolishing them. Their journeys are less internal and more external. They all have 3+ books to rebel and fight against society, because they inherently know the difference between right and wrong… and that is something worth talking about. Classic dystopia was about waking up to realize what is wrong with a society, it was about fighting against what you were taught to come to a greater truth. While, protagonists in YA dystopia inherently know the difference between right and wrong. They are not affected by the environment they grew up in, thus they become an argument for nature over nurture.

All of this is fine, but it gets worrying when you think about the message that it gives kids. It’s like saying, “you don’t need to look both ways before crossing the street because you are inherently special and know the difference between a clear street and an oncoming car,” or “hey kids, Tide Pods are delicious.” Now, we are not claiming this is some right-wing conspiracy that promotes an inherently-great-man-view-of-history, but it does -kind of- promote the idea that kids don’t need to question their own feelings or their own thoughts. They don’t need to worry about if they are the ones inadvertently helping an evil society to flourish, because they naturally know if something is right. If there is no internal journey from brainwashed citizen to questioning outsider, than the dystopia genre ceases to be a warning against possible futures. Instead, it really just becomes an alternate reality adventure story.

Ready Player Won?
Remember, dystopia is an inherently American tradition. We love to obsess over how our society can go wrong -even more than how it can go right- and what we get in characters like Katniss is the ultimate example of individualism. She is a maverick, which is something every American politician, CEO, and street-corner vendor is trying to convince us that he/she is. To be a maverick is to be almost cliched American. As such these new dystopias reinforce our ethos of individualism, it reinforces capitalism, and thus it reinforces our own way of life. These books, unlike classic dystopia, do not criticize American society, they prop it up. They remind us how grateful we should be to not live in Panem, or the Community, or wherever it is Shailene Woodley lives at any given moment.

In the end, this new way to approach dystopia may just be a by-product of our country at the moment. Books and movie are often just an extension of our own dreams or fears. The rise of totalitarian government dystopia corresponds pretty close with the progressive movement of Barrack Obama, and that may not be a coincidence. Maybe we are all like teenagers sometimes, fearing an oppressive presence that is going to tell us what to do. Maybe following the adventures of Katniss is a way for all of us to feel like individuals again, like hopeful teenagers again.

So, we may live in a society where we have vague and undefined freedoms, but at least we don’t live in a hellish world run by Donald Sutherland or a giant walking talking near-omnipotent cat in striped headgear that toys with children as if they were mice right before dinnertime… And you thought we forget about that joke.

harry potter

We want to get something off our chests: The Wizard World of Harry Potter doesn’t work… Don’t get us wrong, Harry Potter and the books of JK Rowling are timeless masterpieces, and we love them as do you, but logically they don’t make sense. The world of Harry Potter works pretty well as a concept for one school in a remote area of one small country, but when you expand it to a larger world it grows a little thin. So, with the recent release of Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as a slew of other possible Harry Potter spin off material, it looks as if Rowling is doing her best to “George Lucas” herself and grow the scope of her original novels, but maybe that is not in everyone’s best interest.

Fantastical Beasts and Where to Avoid Them
Let’s start with the obvious: the population of wizards in the world. By the estimates of one very thorough Reddit user, the total wizard/magic user population in the world of Harry Potter is around 1 million worldwide. That means only about 1 in 7,000 people are wizards or witches. Understandably, that is not a very large population of people. If you were to give the wizards and witches of Harry Potter their own country, than it would fall somewhere between Cyprus and Djibouti in terms of population numbers. But then again who wouldn’t want to fall somewhere between Djour-booty… That’s right, folks, Expecto Pun-tronum.

Now, we are not trying to indicate that a small population of wizards is unrealistic, but just that it would be unrealistic to assume that this small group could manage and hide all the magical elements of the world and keep them concealed from the other 6.9 billion of us on the planet, not to mention from the 1071 active satellites currently in orbit around our planet. Think about that in terms of just the magical animal population alone. There are so many dragons in the Harry Potter world that they are classified into at least a dozen+ subspecies. In fact, dragons are so amazing that their blood, claws, scales, and other body parts are used as goods and services. According to the Harry Potter wiki, dragons are kept on preserves run by wizards, despite their inability to be trained or tamed. Even if we assume all the dragons in the world are somehow kept contained by a population only slightly larger than that of Fiji, what about all the other fantastical beasts? Griffins, hippogriffs, giant spiders, whatever Hagrid’s beard is… these are all wild animals. They are literal forces of nature who want to hunt and kill and mate and presumably do other things, and yet a small fraction of the planet’s population tries to keep them secret… and also… why?

Officially, magic creatures are kept secret from the world because we’re humans and we basically hunted the African Rhino into extinction because we thought its horn gave magic powers. So, yeah, maybe we kind of get why you would keep the unicorn a secret, but this also comes back to the point we were making before. Out of 7 billion muggles, some of them have to at least suspect that these creatures exist? Heck, our world has people who have reality shows about fake hunting these creatures. Can you imagine if they were actually real? How long would it take an iPhone video of a giant or mermaid to go viral and start trending? It is also worth mentioning: not all muggles are bad. Out of the 7 billion of us there has to be some with the capabilities and desires to preserve these creatures, maybe even more than you think. After all, what makes wizards better than humans? In Harry Potter you have a literal cult of Nazi Death Wizards trying to conquer the world. So, don’t tell me that no one in the wizarding world is not out there poaching magic animals into extinction… and they have weapons that are far more lethal than a hunting rifle. Thus, muggle intervention might actually help save some of these creatures. We have the numbers, the lands, and the technology to set up preserves aimed at responsibly helping these animals to breed and thrive. Yet, that brings us to our next point…

The New Bluetooth Equipped iWand
Harry Potter has a wand that can summon objects from far away. We have a cell phone that be used to order a pizza, through an app… with free delivery. Harry Potter has to stick his face in a fireplace to communicate across long distances. We have cell phones, and Face Time, and the Internet. Harry Potter travels by floo powder. We have Uber. Basically, most of the magic displayed in the wizarding world is a convenience, which explains why their technological levels have not advanced beyond the steam locomotive. They may not need the modern world, but that just means the wizarding world isn’t much better off than the Amish. Voldemort can kill one person at a time with the killing curse. We have guns, and bombs, and planes, and cruise missiles that can kill a heck of a lot of people at once. Sure, they can fly and teleport themselves and do some other cool things, but smart phones are pretty damn amazing, and we find it odd that no one in Harry Potter is out there playing Pokemon Go. -Also, before you leave the angry comments, we know the franchise is set in the mid-90’s but the point still stands… Was no one watching Jonathan Taylor Thomas and while playing with their Ferby in Hogwarts?

What we are getting at is that all of this poses other problems for the wizarding world. The Ministry of Magic prides itself on creating spells that mask magical gatherings from muggles and non-wizards. Nearly, 100,000 witches and wizards attended the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, making it one of the largest magical gatherings of the year. The stadium was protected by spells that made muggles turn away or forget where they were going so as to not accidentally stumble across the stadium. That seems like a really good idea until you start talking about satellite imagery, spy planes, or even a kid playing with his drone. It seems doubtful our technology would be affected by those kinds of spells, and before you try to argue think about it. Mr. Weasley is fascinated by muggle things -which is a trait that is treated as unusual in the wizarding world. He is the head of the department that deals with muggle artifacts and he barely knows what a rubber ducky is when he finds one. How can witches and wizards ever be expected to craft magical barriers and protections against advanced technology when the person meant to be in charge of those things barely understands the purpose of a child’s bath toy? In fact, most people in the wizarding world, like the Malfoys, hold a general disdain for muggle technology and even history, and that shows in the curriculum of Hogwarts. No math classes, science classes, engineering classes, or even literature classes. Who build their bridges? Who maintains that damn train? It’s all just herbology, potions, and how to read tea leaves.

Maybe that is why it can seem a little unrealistic. Granted, children born to wizarding families, like the Weasleys or Malfoys, have an understandable lack of muggle technology. They have grown up isolated from computers and TV and video games, but what about muggle-born witches and wizards, like Hermione or even Harry. They would know about smart phones and microwaves. So, how come a muggle-born has never shown up with their iPhone and started the trend of playing Words with Friends -or Spells with Friends– at Hogwarts. What about Instagram or SnapChat? Can you imagine how many followers actual magical children would have on social media? Our point is: that is unrealistic to assume that just because students didn’t grow up with the technology they would not use it if given the chance. We can just see it now: wizarding parents suddenly needing to give their students “the talk” about using cell phones in class or in front of that living portrait of Uncle Fred Gingerbottom, because he thinks its “Slytherin mischief.” So really, the fact that they don’t use our technology is a lot more suspicious than anything else, which might mean that that technology is suppressed on purpose…

Accio Cure for Cancer
Think about it. Maybe the Ministry of Magic purposely suppresses even the idea of muggle technology in order to keep wizards from journeying into the outside world? Like the Amish. Have you ever noticed how in the movies and books muggles are just treated as harmless bumbling children? Maybe that is what the Ministry needs the wizarding world of the Harry Potter to believe, because if the real truth ever got out, it could be chaos. What if a million people who had magic suddenly discovered the truth about child poverty, or incurable diseases, or climate change? Maybe they might want to help? If dragon tears cure AIDS, than maybe it might be worth telling someone about that, or at the very least leaving an anonymous potion on the door step of one of our top research laboratories. Heck, why not go one further and set up a wizarding pharmaceutical company? You can still keep the wizarding world a secret and have the added benefit of raking in a tidy sum of money on the side… And also saving lives!

We have recently talked a lot about bubbles here at The NYRD and when you think about it, Harry Potter and his ilk live in perhaps the biggest bubble of them all… outside of Brooklyn. Except in this bubble you have a million people, at least one-third of them are minors, all who wield the power of a small South American army in a wooden stick that they can easily lose. Worst of all, they feel very little responsibility to warn or shield the rest of the world from the dangers that magic can produce. Remember, it’s not like they are in an actual separate world. In the books and movies, muggles die because of Voldermort and his Dark Jedi, and yet the good wizards and witches of Harry Potter do very little to protect or even warn the us about the dangers of dark wizards. Yes, they might be called a crazy person, but only right up until one of them turns into a cat or summons a silver ghost stag. Yet, Harry Potter and friends are all: “I bet those Muggles won’t mind dying to Death Eaters, or dementors, or accidentally stumbling across a dragon’s nest. They’ll be fine.”

This also brings us back to our previous point. The CIA, NSA, MI6, NKVD, or any of the other hundred government intelligence agencies out there would eventually discover the wizarding world. It would definitely happen. Then they would eventually capture some absentminded wizard or obnoxious house elf or who knows what else and suddenly every government agency in the world would have a magical arms race going. Heck they might even start their own combination of Hogwarts/West Point to train special American wizard military commandos. The kids would be raised from childhood to carry out the government’s secret magic war against other countries and spying on the wizarding world and… You know what? This sounds like an awesome idea for a Netflix series.

JK Rowling, we apologize for everything we have just said. Your world is fine. Harry Potter is great, and we love it. Just, please please please make a story about secret government wizards, and their dangerous missions into enemy territory, and their angst-ridden love affairs that sustain them in a world that can never understand them. Also, feel free to add in a bald guy in a wheelchair.