Everyone is talking about the debates and frankly, I just can’t today. I needed repeated palate cleansers of cat videos while watching … and I couldn’t even look at the orange ones. So today, I’m writing about the national obsession that was going on before the debate. Let’s talk about the Patronus quiz.
First of all, if you’re not familiar with the world of Harry Potter, a Patronus is basically an animal manifestation of your soul that comes out of your wand. That’s really all you need to know. The official Harry Potter website already has quizzes for your house (mine’s Ravenclaw, and my Ilvermorny house — that’s the American school of Witchcraft and Wizardry — is Thunderbird) and your wand (mine is Cedar wood with a Phoenix feather core 12 ½" and Unbending flexibility — feel free to judge). Last week, J.K. Rowling released a quiz on the site to determine your Patronus.
You begin the quiz by wandering through a virtual forest, and answering rapid questions, eventually finding out the animal manifestation of your soul. Mine’s a fox. Now, the reason I’m writing about this is that not everyone is super happy with their Patronus. I’ve been reading post after post about how betrayed people feel to find out that their soul is a rat. I’ve heard things like, “Pottermore betrayed me. My Patronus is a salmon. I’m what, delicious?” Oh, and then there was, “My Patronus is a pig? My soul is bacon?” Even geek god Joss Whedon posted this on Twitter when he learned about his weasel Patronus: “Don't talk to me about nobility or tenaciousness or Ron's wonderful family — my life is OVER.”
OK, maybe the quiz shouldn’t include aardvarks and moles. Maybe pigs and mice aren’t the way to go. Actually, they really aren’t. I love the site and I’m happy with my Patronus. (My boyfriend got a shark. A shark!) I don’t think, however, that I’d be happy if my Patronus was a duck. I mean, I like ducks, but I don’t think they represent my soul, nor do I have any desire to sell insurance.
Fantasy-as-wish-fulfillment is a real thing. It takes us out of our mundane existences and allows us to live vicariously through the characters we love. We wanted to believe we were getting owls telling us we’ve been accepted to Hogwarts. We wanted to think we were special, too, while reading about Ron, Harry and Hermione. A duck Patronus doesn’t exactly make you feel special, now does it?
I recognize that this is a small thing. A very, very small thing, around the size of that mouse Patronus. I know what’s going on in the world. I just wanted to take a moment to talk about something wasn’t going to affect the government, my rights or the entire world. Maybe put more dragons in the Patronus quiz and make us feel better about our fantasy lives.