We all know that the Harry Potter phenomenon began in the 90's. It's one of the defining aspects of that decade, along with furbies and the time that NSYNC wore Lisa Frank shirts. But we often forget that Harry Potter takes place in the '90s as well. Harry, Ron, and Hermione started Hogwarts in 1991, the same year that Beauty and the Beast came out. Harry's entire Hogwarts career took place in the '90s. And even though the Wizarding World doesn't exactly keep up with muggle pop culture, here are a few sure signs that Harry Potter was a total '90s kid.
I mean, sure, no one was rocking out to The Spice Girls' Wannabe at Slughorn's Christmas party (although they totally could have, because the song came out that year). And yes, the magical energy surrounding Hogwarts stops electricity from working, surely murdering several muggle-born kids' Tamagotchis. But don't try to tell me that Hermione never owned a beanie baby in her life, or that Dean Thomas didn't play "Wonderwall" for Ginny at least once. Personally, I'd also like to think that there was a state of emergency declared at the Ministry of Magic when Sabrina the Teenage Witch premiered on television.
So here are a few signs that Harry Potter was extremely '90s:
1Kids still use the library
The kids were forever racing to the library, because the internet isn't a thing. Arthur Weasley would have lost his mind trying to figure out how the internet worked. Hermione would have started building a wizard internet that ran on magic instead of electricity, in order to make Hogwarts, a History easily accessible to everyone. But alas, Google wasn't founded until 1998, so our golden trio had no way to look up horcruxes without bothering Professor Slughorn. I mean, having to go to the library to research the giant snake monster that's terrorizing your school? So '90s.
In book four, Harry's under-appreciated prom date, Parvati Patil, has to remove an "ornamental butterfly" from her hair, because Professor McGonagall found it "ridiculous." I choose to believe this is conclusive proof that the butterfly clips trend reached the Wizarding World. If only the books were narrated by Parvati and Lavender, we might have learned all about the wizard version of Lisa Frank and hair crimping, too.
3No helicopter parents
I'm sure there were overbearing parents in the '90s, too...but in general, the '90s were a time before cell phones, when children were allowed to eat Halloween candy and log onto those first internet chat rooms without supervision. If these books took place today, there is no way the Granger parents would let their only daughter run off to a magical school that they are never allowed to visit. But in the '90s...sure, why not?
4Giant reptiles were totally in
Baby Harry defeated the basilisk the same summer that Jurassic Park came out in theaters. Coincidence? Probably, but clearly stories about poorly supervised children fighting scaly monsters were very in at the time. Let's just hope that Harry didn't get dragged to the movies for Dudley's birthday, because he definitely didn't need to relive that.
5Useless pets were also in
What was it about the '90s that made people want to own virtual animals? We had Tamagotchis, furbies, and neopets. Wizards had pygmy puffs, which appear to be tribbles or some kind of living scrunchie. Also Scabbers, who turned out to be an evil middle-aged man pretending to be a pet, which doesn't feel that far off from your average furby.
6Dudley throws his PlayStation out the window
Dudley Dursley throws his PlayStation out the window in the summer of 1994 when he gets in trouble for sneaking unhealthy snacks. I'd say that's all extremely '90s, except that the first PlayStation came out in December of 1994. So did the Dursleys buy their precious Dudders an early prototype? Or did the PlayStation come out earlier in the Harry Potter timeline? We demand answers, Jo.
7No one cared about S.P.E.W.
Look, I'm sure that some kids, somewhere were politically active in the '90s. But it sure seems like middle schoolers and high schoolers are more political now than we ever were at their age. I'd like to think that Hermione would have gotten a little more traction if she'd started S.P.E.W. to help house elves in 2017.
8Harry is shocked by moving photographs
Um, that's call a gif, Harry. A lot of the things that seemed so magical to little '90s kid Harry would be way less weird to a kid today, like moving photos and standardized tests that drive children to tears.
9Ron is upset by vintage clothing
Ahh, the '90s, when people wore ugly clothes unironically. Ron's dislike of those bulky Weasley sweaters and those ancient, lacy dress robes dates him as a 90's kid, because any teen today would understand the value of a hilariously ugly sweater, or an upcycled, vintage set of robes. Get with it, Ron.