Hogwarts Headache or Potter’s Pathos?


In relatively stupid news today, there are 158 stories on Google about the so-called “Hogwarts Headache,” the alliteratively-titled affliction dealt to young kids attempting to pore through Lady Rowling’s latest tome. First off, let me recommend the audio CD version of any Harry Potter novel, which will not only not give you a headache, but makes a cross-country trip blow by in seconds.

Secondly, which I know is not a real word, the researchers say that kids are getting headaches by refusing to stop reading the “3 lb. book,” even way past their bedtime, just to see who gets offed in the end. But I wonder if any of these doctors have actually read “Order of the Phoenix.” I don’t think these headaches have anything to do with the voluminous number of pages, or an raging epidemic of voracious reading.

Couvade Syndrome is something you learn in advanced psych classes, a phenomenon in which the husbands of pregnant wives start getting morning sickness. It’s a sort of “empathy illness” that pops up in a lot of places (best friends, pets, etc.), and it can get pretty serious. It’s a close cousin to the human yawn, which is stunningly contagious (you may have yawned just now thinking about it, I know I did).

Anyway, if you read the Harry Potter books, you know that Harry gets these searing headaches pretty much twice a chapter, any time Lord Voldemort has a particularly nasty thought. These young kids, who identify so strongly with Harry, are getting the literary dose of a heavy migraine, a pain that has crescendoed out of control in the fifth book. These kids aren’t reading too much, they’re feeling too much, God bless ’em all. After Harry’s fifteenth headache, even *I* was reaching for my various, unmarked, illegally-stored painkilling pharmaceuticals.


0 thoughts on “Hogwarts Headache or Potter’s Pathos?

  1. annie

    I I’m in middle school and I got this book @ 12 o’clock the night it came out then read it until 2 in the morning. The next day I finished the book before 5 o’clock in the evening. I didnt feel any pain accept when I tripped over a stump while trying to walk and read the book at the same time. Maybe those kids are trring to read in the dark r somthin but there’s no such thing as a ‘Hogwarts Headache”.

  2. Liz

    I don’t think its real either. I didn’t get a headache, i read it in 2 and 1/2 days. But i think its really funny, this “Hogwarts Headache” and i agree w/ u annie, about them probably reading in the dark….or they’re just too slow in reading it and the book goes on and on and on.

  3. Jessica

    I’m a junior in high school and I read the book in 2 days, non-stop. I didn’t have one headache, and usually I have headaches ALL the time. Ya know sinuses. I believe that there are a lot of factors you have to consider when making an assumption that a person is reading too much. A lot of it depends on the position of the person reading. In conclusion, I don’t believe that a person reading Harry Potter (and getting away from it all) is causing “Hogwarts Headaches.”


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