Harry Potter and the Slouching Adolescents

Sex and the Single Wizard by James Parker
The Atlantic, July/August 2009

To her global readership, a girl-less Harry Potter, who waves his wand in an erotic vacuum, is no Harry Potter at all. The movie adaptations of her work have served as a sort of time-lapse study of puberty: we’ve seen Harry (played by Daniel Radcliffe) sprout up from a round-faced minor, blinking through the fumes of his latest supernatural act, into a bony young man with the pallor and intensity of an English First World War poet. He’s grown moody, complicated, agonized even. And the closer he gets to sex, the trickier things become.

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she edits digital features.

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