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True Sorcery

" 'Harry,' " Hermione responds, speaking for her entire generation. " 'Don't you see? This . . . this is exactly why we need you.' "

And this is exactly why I think Harry Potter is the same kind of early-warning agent as was the young Bob Dylan. This is what explains our children's spell-binding obsession with these books. Granted, the new Magus has not come in the form one might have expected. He is not a performer holding a guitar, he is a character in that ancient technology, the book. Nonetheless, Harry is the herald who offers a moral code in times of great upheaval that vibrates to this generation the way the early Dylan still echoes in the lives of boomers. He is the prophet and precursor of a new generation.

Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don't criticize

What you can't understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is

Rapidly agin'.

Please get out of the new one

If you can't lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin'.

Author's e-mail:

garreauj@washpost.com

Joel Garreau, a Washington Post staff writer, is the author of the just-published "Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- And What It Means to Be Human" (Doubleday).


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