ISSUE 116

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 You are Harry Potter in his mid-thirties. Lord Voldemort is dead and has been dead for a long time. There was that one time you thought he wasn’t dead—but he was.  
 You feel distanced from the world, both contemporary and wizarding. Tell Millennials you’re Harry Potter, and you receive the blank stare of a generation, meaning they’ve relegated you to the obsolete crap heap of carriages, lanterns, robes, and everything else in the magic world.
 What you would give for your school days. A new year, a new peril unsuited for middle-schoolers. But hey, the adults are off doing important things, and you’re the only one who listens to the manic-depressive ghost who hides in the toilet pipes. You care about her. She has feelings too—wrenched, turbid feelings about love, death, and the bean chili served last night.   
 It was just you and your Ron and your Hermione against snakes, spiders, arachnophobia, pet rats, willow trees, various cursed household objects, people with DIY tattoos, professors you liked, professors you didn’t like, professors you initially liked but were plotting against you, and a professor you initially didn’t like but turned out to be helping you… but was still a dick sometimes. 
 Plus, you saved the day because you speak snake—though unfortunately not dog or elephant, which are, in the end, the only animals you really want to talk to. Basically, after years of listening to cold-blooded creatures, you found they don’t have much of a social life.
 You yearn for the community at Hogwarts, the professors and the students, the ghosts and the talking paintings, the weird shit. You visit your fellow Gryffindors often, but it’s not the same. Ron is holding down a job somewhere vague and unconvincing. Hermione has not only solved time and space, which you didn’t realize were problems, but become Ambassador to the Muggle World, written twenty-six books, and adopted a dragon named Snappy. He’s named Snappy because he eats people.   
 They have kids, careers, prescriptions, flying car repairs, and the early aches that only get worse as you get older. You apparate into their lives less and less until suddenly it’s awkward to be found rooting through their fridge in a bathrobe at three in the morning.
 What you really need is another rival, preferably a mass-murdering psychopath with unmentionable power and sharp, pointy teeth. There’s nothing like getting up in the morning and knowing that a bald guy with a pet snake is out to murder you.
 See, to you, Voldemort wasn’t the guy who murdered your parents. He was an opponent, a villain, your purpose for living—and the guy who murdered your parents. See, there isn’t a Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Drain Problem or Harry Potter and the City Council Chambers. Without Voldemort, you’re just another guy with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead.  
 It’s awful to admit, but you felt down after the defeat of Voldemort, like after a woman has a baby, except the birth event was the annihilation of your worst enemy, a sort of anti-birth event. Jumping into a regular life of raising children, making a marriage work, figuring out debts, watching your loved ones grow older… it was harder than you thought.
 The only thing tracking you down now is your wife Ginny because you animated a pair of spoons to liven up the breakfast atmosphere. But instead of giving your kids a surprise with their cereal, the spoons broke a bunch of plates, disemboweled the ice cream, and decapitated the forks for utensil dominance. So… yeah.
 And the children. You love them, but you also understand why your aunt and uncle locked you in the cupboard under the stairs. You don’t condone that model of parental discipline, of course, but that doesn’t keep you from dreaming.
 Overall, adult life isn’t what you thought it would be. It’s a lot about missing people you used to know. It’s a lot of loving your family even when it’s hard. It’s a lot of day-to-day responsibility. And more than those things, it’s far too normal for The Boy Who Lived—not bad, just normal. 
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