Which is not to say that I don't see the point in A.S.Byatt's essay when she says there's no place in Potterverse for 'the numinous'; but I also feel vindicated by Berubé (as if one needs a meta-reason to enjoy what one does just because it is not 'literary' enough or does not nourish the soul enough. More thoughts on this after I return from watching Jhoom Barabar Jhoom):
I am charmed by Rowling’s insistence that the world of magic is also a world of petty bureaucracy and qualifying exams, featuring a school in which brilliant professors are hounded from their jobs merely because they are werewolves, and in which students experience the ineffable and the inexplicable while they engage in the routine business of scratching out essays—on parchment, with quills, no less—on the history of magic and the intricacies of herbology, potions, transfiguration, charms, and the “soft” elective, Muggle Studies (which presents nonmagical peoples, muggles, from the muggle point of view). Jamie is charmed by all of this, too, even if he doesn’t understand all the ironies involved in depicting the world of magic as a world like our
own, in which witches and wizards are more likely to cite the statutes of the
Department of International Magical Cooperation or the proper standards for cauldron thickness than a passage from The Tempest. (A. S. Byatt strenuously objected to this aspect of the series, arguing that Rowling’s world “has no place for the numinous” and “speaks to an adult generation that hasn’t known, and doesn’t care about, mystery.” I would reply that there’s simply no accounting for tastes in the numinous, except that in this case I fear Ms. Byatt has merely engaged in the
harmless readerly pastime of Aggressively Missing the Point.)
Read the rest here.[pdf file].
PS: Bérubé's entire article is in the context of his son Jamie, who has Down's syndrome, understanding narrative and concepts that are supposedly too complex for children suffering from the disease.