Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Ernie Prang
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character|
Overview[edit | edit source]
Ernie Prang is the driver of the Knight Bus.
Role in the Books[edit | edit source]
When Harry falls into the street, after tripping over his trunk, the Knight Bus appears to pick him up. Ernie, the driver, is sitting in an armchair in front of the steering wheel, but he evidently is either not very familiar with its operation, or naturally careless, as Harry sees the bus mounting the pavement and watches, amazed, as mailboxes, lampposts, and occasionally entire houses leap out of the way of the bus. Harry sees a picture of Sirius Black on the cover of Stan Shunpike's newspaper, and recognizes him as the mass murderer who has been mentioned on the Muggle news. Stan and Ernie discuss the circumstances of Sirius' arrest twelve years before, thus bringing Harry up to speed on what is happening in the Wizarding world.
Nymphadora Tonks summons the Knight Bus to take Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and the twins back to Hogwarts. Although we don't talk to him and don't see him, we can assume that Ernie is still driving, as Stan Shunpike is still the conductor, and the driving style has not changed.
Strengths[edit | edit source]
Ernie drives the Knight Bus and, although his driving does not appear to have much accuracy to it, he never hits anything due to the bus' magical nature. At the very least, he does get the bus to the exact location the passenger requests, so he is successful in that regard.
Weaknesses[edit | edit source]
He is a relatively careless driver, although that doesn't matter in the case of the Knight Bus.
Ernie is also shown to occasionally be easily startled; when Harry mentions Voldemort's name, he loses control of the wheel and the bus veers so far off-course that a whole farmhouse has to jump out of its way.
Relationships with Other Characters[edit | edit source]
Ernie knows and works with Stan, and they appear to have an amiable relationship, although it is Stan who does most of the talking. It is a reasonable guess that Ernie is familiar with some denizens of the wizarding world, particularly those who travel on the Knight Bus.
Analysis[edit | edit source]
Given that Ernie seems to be uncertain of the operation of a steering wheel, it is perhaps reasonable that his surname "Prang" is British slang for an automobile accident.
Questions[edit | edit source]
- For how long has Ernie been driving the Knight Bus?
- Would the bus still be operating during Voldemort's rise to power in Harry's seventh year?
- If the bus is operational for twenty-four hours a day, when and where does Ernie sleep?
Greater Picture[edit | edit source]
Ernie serves as a gentle reminder that the wizarding world is not too different from the Muggle world in some aspects - most of the adults we see are teaching at a school of magic, working in magical shops or regulating the use of magic in government, but in Ernie, we have a familiar sight to Muggles and wizards alike - a bus driver.