I look like Harry Potter but I don’t know who he is

Do you know Joe Banfield? Oh, you know, er … the one that looks like Harry Potter?


The One That Looks Like Harry Potter: that’s me. Ever since I got my latest pair of glasses, this little coincidence has become a big part of my life.

It is now simply routine for people, each uniquely insightful, to inform me that I am “a wizard, Harry.” I know my line by heart: “I’m a what?!

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Little do they suspect, however, the sincerity behind my question. Because, to my eternal shame, in all my eighteen-years-and-eight-months of existence, I have not read the books – or even seen the films.

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Yes, I feel the physical surprise on your face: the contorted eyebrow jerks up 90 degrees; the eyes, twitching nervously, widen in shock; the chin sinks to the very depths of your neck in pure, unmitigated astonishment.

Living like this is not easy! The intense embarrassment of not knowing anything about one of the most famous fictional characters of our times is bad enough. It is worse when people’s witty, banterous comments are routinely met with my uncomprehending, unlaughing stare.

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Some people even accuse me of purposely keeping myself in the dark.

“Aha!” they sneer, “the only reason you don’t watch Harry Potter is so you actually have something interesting to say!”

Peak times – but it hasn’t always been like this.

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Way back in September, before I became marginally blinder and required a new pair of specs, my ignorance of this ‘Harry’ figure could stay firmly under the radar. All I knew was that he had a wand, and sometimes a sweary Scottish accent – and that my old school, in classic Durham style, resembled a place called ‘Hogwarts’.

In truth, I refuse to educate myself because (a) it is morally questionable to watch The Film before reading The Book, (b) the books are colossal, and (c) University reading lists are a thing.

Result: I will probably never truly know who Harry Potter is. I suppose they’re right; at least I’ll have something to talk about.