Seven Muggle Technologies That Are Better than Magic
Magic is awesome. But did you ever get the vibe that much of the wizarding world is still stuck in the technological dark ages? Even though we can’t become invisible (yet), and we still haven’t figured out how to travel back in time, I think Muggles are given too little credit when it comes to technology. Here are seven Muggle technological inventions that I think win out over their magical counterparts.
1. Cell Phones vs. Owls
If you want to get in touch with someone, cell phones are much quicker and more reliable than sending an owl. It’s not clear how long an owl takes to deliver a message (especially if your owl is as old as Errol), but I would assume more than a few seconds. With a cell phone you can text, call, video chat, send a message through Facebook, or use a number of other options to get ahold of someone. And all through a convenient, pocket-sized device.
2. Pens vs. Quills
I love calligraphy as much as the next person, but whenever I need to write notes, I tend to prefer ballpoint pens. Having to re-dip my pen every couple of sentences would make writing take much longer. Plus, as a chronically clumsy person, that ink would end up in many other places than just my paper.
3. Google vs. Physical Archives
Imagine not having the ability to access the world’s knowledge at your fingertips. I know for a fact that writing papers in college would have been a nightmare. There’s a reason Google exists. With such a wealth of information, it could take someone weeks or months to find a single fact if it weren’t for Google. In Harry Potter, every time the famous trio needs to uncover spells or ancient history, they need make a trek to the library and sift through volumes of texts. It’s a wonder they ever found anything.
4. Digital Banking vs. Gringotts
Rollercoasters are for theme parks, not basic banking. Now, this is no slight against goblins, since I do believe they are probably the best creatures for protecting money, but their system is highly outdated and unbelievably inconvenient. With handwritten ledgers and scales for counting gold, transactions at Gringotts could take a while.
Digital banking has brought us the convenience of money in the form of a plastic card. You’re able to check your account balance, make transfers, and apply for loans all through a secure web browser or application. I don’t know about you, but I prefer this to barrelling through a maze of twisting underground passages in a mine cart whenever you need to withdraw money. But if you’re not convinced, you can still open your very own Gringotts vault.
5. Public Transit vs. Floo Powder
This is not so much a comment on the speed of travel but the comfort. In the books, Floo powder is mentioned to be tricky to use. One must toss a handful of powder into a fireplace connected to the Floo Network, walk into the flames, and state the desired destination loudly and clearly to ensure arrival in the proper location. Otherwise, one could end up at the wrong location like Harry did in 1992. In addition, the ride is described as dizzying since you apparently spin very rapidly while in transit.
Public transit, like subways, buses, and trains, provide a much more comfortable ride, and the likelihood of getting lost is much lower. Although wizards do use trains and buses, there is no indication that these inventions were created by magical folk, only enchanted to serve their needs, thus placing this as another win for Muggles.
6. MP3 Players vs. Live Music
What happens when you’re flying around on your broomstick, and you really want to hear your favorite T-Swift song on repeat? Last time I checked, it’s not really practical to have a live band follow you around. Although wizards do have the Wizarding Wireless Network, there is no mechanism for (re)playing songs of their choosing at their convenience.
7. Light Bulbs vs. Candles/Lamps
Bless your heart, Thomas Edison, for allowing us to replicate daylight at any hour. Compared to the candles, torches, and oil lamps used in the Harry Potter novels, light bulbs win hands down. Even the Wand-Lighting Charm only provides a limited glow around a wand.
Practically speaking, light bulbs allow us to illuminate an entire house, see inside our fridges at night (very important for late night snacking), be safer when walking down the street after dark, and so much more. Light bulbs can also create beautiful Christmas decorations, make television possible, and create a much more interesting visual experience at concerts.
On a side note, you may notice that many of these wonderful technologies revolve around electricity. And if you remember in Goblet of Fire when Hermione mentions,
All those substitutes for magic Muggles use – electricity, computers, and radar, and all those things – they all go haywire around Hogwarts, there’s too much magic in the air.
It is true that wizards would not be able to utilize these technologies in places with concentrated levels of magic. However, you’d think they would have found a way around it or invented better versions of their current technology. Even though wizards can’t adopt them, I think these seven Muggle inventions are amazing, and they make us non-magic folk seem almost… magical.
What else would you add to this list? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments!