something unusual about him Harry Potter It is how little we see of popular witch culture. From the little snippets of information we get, we know Wizard Britain has at least a music industry, a theatrical industry, and a publishing industry, however, we give very little information. What we know about music in the Wizarding World interests me the most, since in many ways music can be used as a barometer of a society’s cultural norms.
Think about it – the psychedelic of the 1970s as part of a growing counterculture, the grumpy 2000s pop rock of George Bush – music can tell us a lot about the important values of a society. Let’s apply the same theory to Magical Britain. Assuming all songs in the Wizarding World franchise were written during the time period of their respective films or video games, and yes, we can be musical archaeologists, using the voices of the Weird Sisters and Celestina Warbeck to investigate Wizarding pop – the cultural response to the events of the late ’80s and early ’90s .
The first step in our exploration is to discover every single pop song we have in the Wizarding World franchise. Within the Harry Potter chronology, 1979 – 1998, we have Molly Weasley’s favorite singer, Celestina Warbeck. Warbeck has a comprehensive list of songs, most of which can be heard at Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida.
Another artist, or more accurately, a group, featured in the seven novels are Weird Sisters, a metal hair band consisting of Myron Wagtail as lead singer, Heathcote Barbary and Kirley Duke on guitar, Donaghan Tremlett on bass, Orsino Thruston on drums, Gideon Crump on oboe Bagpipe, Merton Graves on cello, and Herman Winteringham on lute. Their most famous songs can be heard in the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire In Yule Ball.
Finally, we have the period of Grindelwald’s rise from 1881 to 1945 as shown in Fantastic beasts Movies. The only pop song we’ve heard here is “Blind Pig,” which was sung by an unnamed puck singer.
Looking at these data in chronological order, we might associate World War I with the “Bling Pig.” World War I is often called the “first modern war” because with this war we moved from cavalry and rifles to trenches and machine guns. The new horrors of World War I inspired a literary movement called The Lost Generation, in which writers like Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein wrote to make sense of all the needless tragedy they saw. They have written about loss and disappointment, just like our unnamed sprite singer with her disjointed, almost meaningless, stories of loss and failure:
The phoenix cried tears of fat pearls
While the dragon picked up his best girl
And billywig forgot to spin
When his girlfriend left him cold
The rhino has lost its horn
And the hippogriff felt miserable…”
– “Blind Pig” by unnamed puck singer, Fantastic Beasts soundtrack
In contrast, the pop songs Harry grew up on are extravagant dance songs. The Weird Sisters spans a narrow range, from love poems like “Magic Works” and “This is the Night” to ballads like “Can You Do The Hippogriff?” and “blood sucker”. Celestina Warbeck copies this trend with her loud, cheerful songs for lovers and for the holidays such as “A Cauldron Full of Hot Strong Love” or “Accio Christmas.” All of these songs are full of stinging and verbal lyrics. for example:
Can you dance like a hippo?
Na na na ma ma ny na na na ny na “
– “Can you dance like a hippogriff?” by eccentric sisters
These songs also follow a war – the turbulent First Witches’ War that killed Lily and James Potter and presumably killed Lord Voldemort – but they represent a different response. While the First Witches’ War was full of tragedy, that tragedy was given meaning and significance by the (supposed) death of Lord Voldemort. The sacrifices of the community of witches were not in vain, and by the time the war ended they were exhausted, ready again for joy and absurdity. So ready, in fact, that in 1981, one of the many witches in disguise celebrated on the streets of Muggle (SS p. 3):
“He doesn’t seem at all bothered about being knocked on the ground. [by Vernon Dursley.] On the contrary, his face split into a wide grin and said in a sharp voice that made the passersby stare, “Don’t be sorry, dear sir, because nothing can trouble me today! Rejoice, because—you know—who’s gone at last! Even Muggles like you should celebrate, that Happy and happy day!”
It is clear between the dance songs of the Weird Sisters and the love poems of Celestina Warbeck that by 1981 the Wizarding World wanted to rest. They had no patience for deep angry music, they were already tired of this nonsense in their real life. They needed an escape, and after two world wars, the rise and defeat of Grindelwald, and two witch wars, they certainly deserved it.