Fiction and stories matter and some matter more than others. Some stories work their magic beyond the pages of the book and the cinema screens. They go further than the writers imagination and the readers perceptions, transcending age and genre by becoming part of popular culture. Even people who have not read the stories know about them and aspects of those stories become part of our daily thinking and language.
This has happened in the past with myths, with Shakespeare and even with George Orwell. We so often use phrases like ‘a wild goose chase’ and ‘the green eyed monster’ without realising that they were coined by Shakespeare. And these days especially, how often do we warn people that ‘big brother is watching’ without realising we are quoting George Orwell’s 1984.
In recent times the books that have infiltrated popular culture the most are probably the Harry Potter series. The word Muggle has even entered the Oxford English Dictionary to describe a person who does not have a particular skill set. When complaining about a demon of a boss, employees will refer to him as ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’. So, exciting as the news was, it didn’t come as a surprise when three researchers -Javed Ahmed, Rajashree Khalap and Sumukha JN, working in the Western Ghats in Southern India, discovered a new and strange looking species of spider that they immediately felt reminded them of the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter books and named it Eriovixia Gryffindori. The sorting hat which sorted students into their houses at Hogwarts originally belonged to one of the founders of the school- Godric Gryffindor.
Though not a big fan of arachnids, we found the exchange between the researchers and J.K.Rowling very cute.
So what next, we wonder? A constellation Dumbledore?