Calling all young wizards! I picked up a copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince a couple days ago, and I haven’t had a lot of time to get far into the story, but I am intrigued by something that Harry Potter is described as doing while sleeping next to his bedroom window. At the beginning of chapter 3, the book says that Potter makes a “misty fug” on the window pane:
“The misty fug his breath had left on the window sparkled in the orange glare of the streetlamp outside, and the artificial light drained his face of all color, so that he looked ghostly beneath his shock of untidy black hair.”
Now, at first, I thought that this phrase was an editing mistake. I thought that J. K. Rowling meant to write about a “misty fog”. But, then, that would be kind of repetitive, wouldn’t it? I mean, is there a kind of fog that is not misty? It didn’t make any sense to me. I quickly grew resentful. How could what may soon prove to be the most popular book of all time be allowed to run through such a sloppy editing process as to overlook such an obvious mistake?
This afternoon, however, I did a Google search on the phrase “misty fug”. I was surprised to find several web pages that use the phrase. Most of these web pages seem to be British. I can only conclude that a misty fug is something uniquely of the United Kingdom, perhaps a magical artifact of some kind.
If you’re an inhabitant of the British Isles, a professor of linguistics, or an anglophile of some sort, I am begging you for help. Please don’t leave me in the dark. Tell me know what a misty fug is, and spread the word, so that the literary reputations of J.K. Rowling and her editors are not unjustifiably besmirched.