As the generation who began reading the Harry Potter books as children approach school leaving age many have begun to feel a deep disillusionment with life. While it is normal for teenagers to feel discontented with what life has to offer, this is a disillusionment that separates them from all generations that have gone before. Whilst in their minds they knew the Harry Potter books were fiction, in their hearts many of the 'Harry Potter Generation' as they are known, believed that they too would one day be wrenched from their normal humdrum lives and flown to a wizarding school on a giant's motorbike.
Lucy Weil of Huddersfield is one such girl. "I've just finished sixth form, and I'm off to University and it's all meant to be exciting and everything, and I'm sure I'll love being away from home for the first time, but the fact is, I never expected to finish school like this. I was pretty sure I would at some point be selected as someone with special powers who would be worthy of a wizarding education. It's pretty disappointing."
Thomas Nunton, an eighteen-year-old from Ashford agrees. "As someone brought up in Ashford you always assume you're destined for something better," he said. "And yeah, I can move to London and become free labour for a record company or something, but it's not wizarding school is it? And it's too late for that now. So, you know, that casts a bit of a shadow over the rest of your life, you know?"
Pyschologists say it is common for children to confuse stories and real life. However the extent to which children secretly believed themselves to be Harry Potter has taken them by surprise. "We think it's a symptom of other things," said Sarah Malling, from the University of London's Psychology Department. "Chiefly that most children find normal education to be unspeakably tedious and - quite rightly - don't think much of their prospects in the current economic climate."
But most teenagers we spoke to disagreed with this hard-headed analysis of Potter Mania. "Bullshit," said Jon Nevis, 17, from Cardiff. "I just wanted to be able to blow the shit out of stuff with a wand by now. And instantaneously transport myself into my girlfriend's bedroom every night. Is that too much to ask of life?"
JK Rowling has responded to stories of the disillusionment of the Harry Potter Generation with a statement saying, "My publishing company will continue producing tangentially related books for those who don't want to let Harry Potter go for as long as it makes me pots of money. The franchise lives on and so can your dreams."
But her most ardent fans, now old enough to vote, may not be satisfied with books any longer and revolution is in the air. They want their wizarding skills and nothing else will do. Some say that disillusioned would-be wizards may even turn against the woman who raised their expectations and so cruelly led them on. "I'm not saying she's Voldemort or anything," says Thomas Nunton. "But I've begun to think she may be a Death Eater and you know what happens to Death Eaters."