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08 February 2011 @ 11:58 pm
Hmmmmm ...  
Quick question inspired by occasional peculiar comments over the years ...

Poll #1678773 You mean that canon may not include Tunnock's tea cakes?

When you think about the canonical world of Harry Potter, you ...

read it as though it takes place in our real world, just with added magic.
read it as though it takes place in a world like ours, but with multiple differences.
read it as though it takes place in a world with only superficial similarities to our own.
read it as though it takes place in a world very much like ours, but with wholly different popular culture.
read it as though it takes place in a world like ours, but with wholly different political culture.
read it as though it takes place in a crazy alternate universe where people queue and eat spotted dick.
I was going to tick the box immediately above this as a joke, but I really think it's set in a pretty real version of our world.
rosathome on February 8th, 2011 02:13 pm (UTC)
I don't really believe that novels are ever set in the 'real world' because they are always, necessarily, selective and thus distorted versions of reality. Which can still be true, but fictional.
rosathome on February 8th, 2011 02:14 pm (UTC)
Also, I think it's clear that St Brutus' School is as fictional as St Mungo's hospital. And that Little Whinging is as fictional as Ottery St Catchpole. Even the non-magical parts are hardly an attempt at brutal realism.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
I think that's a good point, and am now wishing I had a category for 'A world similar to our own but exaggerated for comedic or dramatic effect.'

Though I have known a few St Brutus's; although they had far more PC names than that -- talking to the teachers, that was definitely how they were run!
Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on February 8th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC)
I'd check these two:

- read it as though it takes place in a world very much like ours, but with wholly different popular culture.
- read it as though it takes place in a world like ours, but with wholly different political culture.

I think it can totally be in the real world... as there are more surprises in our real world than the HP one :D
Hollyhollyxu on February 8th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
I would have ticked the 'pop culture' as well, but I do remember that we're seeing our world filtered through Rowling's eyes, with added magic!AU, so that would account for most of the differences.

Otherwise, yeah, it's meant to be taken as a version of our world.
Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on February 8th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
If it had existed I'd ticked:
read it as though it takes place in a world like ours, but reimagined into the early 50ties and with an added magical universe.

down the hills and round the bendsnorton_gale on February 8th, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
I only wish there was more spotted dick in canon.


lokifanlokifan on February 8th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
Tunnock's tea cakes and Kipling's exceedingly good cakes are blates extant in HP-world. OBVIOUSLY.
rickey_arickey_a on February 8th, 2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
This topic comes up a lot w/respect to the abuse inflicted by the Dursleys. How could the schools, teachers, neigbors, doctors, etc. not pick up on what was happening to Harry. In my mind, the Muggle world in canon is still fictional. Yes, much like our own, but still fairy tale-ish in that Cinderella evil step mother way. So your comment above about being altered for story effect, is sort of more how I see it (but close enough to "but with multiple differences" so I checked that.)
leecetheartist on February 9th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
If the abuse doesn't show - lots of kids are skinny - then as long as they don't fall down the stairs too many times and have too many bruises that show everything's okay.

It's hard enough to get schools to stop blatant bullying, and even then it's not successful. And the Dursleys were pretty darn careful to preserve the exterior.

I'm afraid that in the real world it would have been all too easy for the Dursleys to get away with far worse.
Jocelyn Lavingroolover on February 8th, 2011 04:44 pm (UTC)
I had spotted dick (Heinz, of course) yesterday. With proper custard. Yum.
blueboyfeyblueboyfey on February 8th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
None of the options really fit my interpretation. But given small clues (signposts) found here and there in the text, I think not only is it a different culture, it's an entirely different epistemology operating in it's own moral universe where symbolic meaning and value are contested and are entirely made evident by small changes through time. I don't believe the addition of magic is a separate process or phenomenon that simply exists along side material and symbolic culture. It is intrinsically woven with it, changes over time (is mutable), and they affect each other to an extent that it's threads can no longer be teased out.

As Clifford Geertz said:
"The concept of culture I espouse...is essentially a semiotic one. Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun. I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretive one in search of meaning."
inamac: owlinamac on February 8th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
I may possibly have read to many fairy stories, but I read it as taking place in a parallel world which lies alongside the real world and touches at some points (and that seems to be what JKR was aiming at).

It's the same sort of world that Shakespeare seems to have inhabited (and E. Nesbit, for that matter).
pingridpingrid on February 8th, 2011 08:35 pm (UTC)
I want to tick 1,2,4 and 5. I skipped the spotted dick one, because I didn't think you shipped Weasleys? ;)
Dedicated Escape Artist: Coffee Timejadzialove on February 9th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)

*giggles some more*

Emmaemmacmf on February 8th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Tunnock's tea cakes are totally canon, as are Tunnock's caramel wafers, Tunnock's Snowballs, Hob Nobs and Jaffa Cakes. In fact, I think I'll write Tunnock's tea cakes into my next fic.
some kind of snark faeryshyfoxling on February 8th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Jaffa Cakes are canon in every fandom. EVERY.
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on February 9th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
Including SG1.

Tarataradiane on February 8th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
I chose the 'but with wholly different political culture' because when I think about the years in which the books take place, I don't think about world events that occurred during that time (like, say, oh hey that's when Desert Storm was going on, or whatever).

Up until the inclusion of the Muggle PM later in the series, I always figured the separation to be more complete. I don't, for example, think Remus sat around thinking about the Falklands War in 1982. They just seem so separated from all of that, so to me it's like that sort of stuff never happened.

So when I say political differences, that is the sort of thing that I'm referring to.
Kareinakareina on February 9th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)
Heck, *I* barely noticed the existence of the Falklands war, or any of the other conflicts since then (graduated high school in 1984), but then I avoid the newspapers like the plague--I hear more news by seeing my friend's reactions to it here and on FB than I have at any other time in my life...
uminohikariuminohikari on February 9th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
I was going to choose the last option, but I think the two worlds are less similar than that option implies. SIGH.
Dedicated Escape Artist: Escapejadzialove on February 9th, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)

Are you saying that some of that stuff isn't real?
mrsquizzical: potter stephenfryreadspottermrsquizzical on February 9th, 2011 06:19 am (UTC)
i think i meant to click the first one, but the last one was charming. so, that, but with added hidden magical world. ftw
grey_hunter on February 9th, 2011 08:49 am (UTC)
For the wizards depicted in the books, the Muggle world is like this whole other country, and the few who dare venture out of their own little pond seem to be in a constant culture shock. So, yes, I have no trouble imagining that JKR wrote about our world from the POV of a secluded subculture that has no idea or doesn't really care what happens in the world of the non-magical people because they cannot identify with them.