This Thursday, millions of Harry Potter fans will celebrate the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second installment in the prequels to the internationally acclaimed fantasy series by J.K. Rowling. With wands, wizards, and one nasty dark lord, the latest addition to the Wizarding World will no doubt be another smash hit, but fans may notice something missing from these prequels: muggles. Why has the derogatory word for “normal humans” been left out? After all, “muggle” is as much a part of the Harry Potter universe as chocolate frogs and Every Flavor beans (well, except the vomit flavored ones). Likewise, the word was added to the 2003 Oxford English Dictionary. So why was it left out? The reason will definitely surprise you. Let’s take a closer look at the true meaning of the word “muggle.”
Back in 2016, when the first film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released, the movie writers removed the term “muggles” and changed it to “no-maj.” Why such the drastic change? In Really the Blues (the autobiography of “Mezz” Mezzrow, a weed dealer and jazz clarinetist from the 1920s), the musician provides a list of “hip lingo” used during this time. Shockingly, the term “muggle” appears on this list, but what does it mean?
Apparently, in the 1920s, “muggle” was the term for a marijuana cigarette.
So, if the real word doesn’t mean “normal human” what does it mean exactly? According to Michael Aldrich (author of the first reputed marijuana dissertation in the ‘70s), “muggles” may be derived from the word “smuggle,” due to the fact that the drug was being smuggled in droves through New Orleans during the height of this word’s popularity.
One of the most famous uses of this term is found in the song “Muggles,” produced by jazz legend Louis Armstrong. According to jazz historians, this was the first song to feature improvisation, and some researchers believe Armstrong may have smoked marijuana prior to playing (although this part is a speculation at best).
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