No need for toilets when you can make your turds disapparate.
Ah, Pottermore. J. K. Rowling’s controversial platform fleshes out the Wizarding World, but makes waves with every update. The culturally insensitive story of the founding of the American wizarding school Ilvermorny caused an uproar among fans in 2016. With the planned expansion of the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, disenchanted fans have become wary of extended Potter media. We all want more of the things we love, but at some point it becomes TMI.
And this time, Rowling sped right past TMI and came to a screeching halt at Gross AF. About a year ago, she published on Pottermore one of her much-contested (but canon) explanatory essays. The subject of this essay was the Chamber of Secrets. During Harry’s time at Hogwarts, the entrance to the Chamber was inside a bathroom. In the essay, Rowling reveals that the entrance existed before the bathroom. When Hogwarts added modern plumbing, the entrance to the Chamber got hidden underneath. In a parenthetical aside no one asked for, Rowling explains:
“…(this was a rare instance of wizards copying Muggles, because hitherto they simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence)…”
Yes, you’re reading that right. Ancient wizards apparently didn’t need outhouses or chamber pots, because they just magicked their poop and pee away.
But if the essay was published last year, why the recent uproar in Potterdom? It all started, as many internet hubbubs do, with a Tumblr misunderstanding.
Popular fact blog did-you-kno made this post:
The post stirred fans who hadn’t read Rowling’s full essay into a frenzy of questioning. Did this apply to the characters they knew and loved? How did Muggleborns learn how to do this? Were the bathrooms in Hogwarts just there for Muggleborns who used to regular plumbing?
It also sparked some hilarious responses:
And in true fandom fashion, some scholarly heroes added their voices to this Hogwarts Express-level train wreck:
As these magical mythbusters point out, not only are those tweets fake, but Rowling was referring to Hogwarts’ early years — before plumbing was invented in the Muggle world. In its proper historical context, the vanishing poop spell is just as gross as Muggles emptying their chamber pots out the window and into the street.
Like any rumor, this Harry Potter-themed game of telephone will be hard to to stamp out. At this point, versions of the post have gone super-viral on Tumblr and spread to other parts of the internet (and Potter fandom).
Apparently even the Wizarding World isn’t immune to #AlternativeFacts.