Magic Brains

As a fan of the world JK Rowling created, I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering how it could happen in real life. Recently I was studying the adolescent brain, and was fascinated to find that when kids reach 11/12 their brains are essentially wiped to prepare for adult development. Ever wonder why your previously brilliant preteen has forgotten how to do literally everything? That’s why.

That fascinating tidbit got me thinking. What if the difference between muggles and the magical is just a matter of brain chemistry? My theory is that during this reformation process, those slight physiological differences of witches and wizards kick into high gear, amplifying the magical properties, and allowing the brain to form neurological pathways that are specifically designed for magic.

It explains a lot. Why (other than the prime factor) do students enter school at 11? Because their brains are now primed for magical neuropathways. Why can they do magic before? Because those slight physiological differences show a propensity to those pathways. Why are some witches or wizards capable of more magic earlier on? Well, have you ever watched a classroom? Some kids definitely have more talent, but some are just more mature.

So the next time you resent the fact that your letter never came, just blame your brain chemistry! And then perhaps read the series again.



In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.

Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo, which was created by Kim B.

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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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