Let's Play Global Thermonuclear War

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Let's Play Global Thermonuclear War

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:51 am

Let's Play Global Thermonuclear War

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. At that time, this thread was still set in the "New Discussions Threads Not Approved or Placed" folder of the WC forum. Elanor

Michael Franz - Jan 20, 2008 12:12 am
Edited by Kip Carter Jan 27, 2008 4:49 pm
A while back, I got into a heated discussion with others on this board about whether Hagrid's infamous "car crash" comment in Book 1 meant that wizards couldn't be harmed by non-magical means. I said that couldn't be true, since Dudley could punch Harry, but others insisted Harry was really Superman. Knives, bullets, car crashes — they'd all just bounce off Harry's wizardly form.

So, I started escalating the violence, so to speak. I envisioned Hogwarts covered in nerve gas, anthrax delivered by owl post, and, of course, nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, a nuclear attack on Hogwarts would destroy Gryffindor Tower, but the Slytherins would be safe in their underground bunker. I just couldn't subject the world to that kind of post-apocalyptic horror!

But then, a much more serious thought came to mind. Most wizards have no knowledge of Muggle science or technology; certainly, a nuclear weapon would be utterly alien to them. So, what happened in the wizarding world on August 6, 1945, when the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima?

The scenario I thought of says that at least one wizarding family must have lived in Hiroshima. One wizard died of radiation poisoning in a wizarding hospital; the healers were completely baffled as to what killed him. Next, Nagasaki is destroyed. At this point, the wizards are in a state of horrified bafflement. What is this... force... that is destroying these cities?

Then, the official announcement is made in the Muggle newspapers worldwide. These events were the result of something called the "atomic bomb", and the US is already building more. Now, the wizarding world is in a state of panic. Muggles could do this? The Muggles have a weapon that can destroy an entire city — and they may be building more.

At this point, an emergency session of the International Confederation of Wizards is called. The Japanese delegates demand that the wizarding world take action to prevent the Muggles from constructing any more atomic bombs. The other nations, however, are worried about the effect of such drastic intervention on wizarding secrecy. After all, they have only the barest of contacts with the Muggle governments. Such an effort would require them to infiltrate the highest levels of the Muggle military. In addition, the other wizarding nations are in something of a state of denial. Even if these wild stories of "atomic bombs" are true, the war is over. With no war, there will be no more bombs. Right?

But later, it became increasingly clear that this was not the case. First, the Soviets develop the bomb. Then, the US develops fusion warheards. Then, both sides develop ICBMs, and a generation of Muggle schoolchildren learns to "duck and cover." Newspaper headlines speak of "mutually assured destruction" and "nuclear holocaust."

Another session of the International Confederation of Wizards is held in the late 50s. They realize now that the nuclear threat is growing larger all the time and has a serious chance of destroying most of human civilization. They decide to create an international agency made up of the most intelligent Muggle-borns. This agency will learn everything it can about nuclear weapons and the Muggle militaries, then place operatives at the highest levels of Muggle governments. Their mission is not to stop the construction of nuclear weapons, but simply to prevent their use.

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 proved to be a resounding success for the wizarding world. A few "suggestions" to Kennedy and Khrushchev brought about a peaceful resolution. There were other times in which the world was pulled back from the brink, but, unfortunately, these events are still classified. It's even been suggested that the wizards Vanished Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, to the complete bewilderment of the US. "They were right here a minute ago! I swear!"
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Let's Play Global Thermonuclear War (Post 1 to 50)

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:52 am

Michael Franz - Jan 20, 2008 12:14 am (#1 of 136)
And now, I'm gettting silly again. But, seriously. What do you think the wizarding world would do about weapons of mass destruction?

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Elanor - Jan 20, 2008 1:02 am (#2 of 136)

"Let's Play Global Thermonuclear War"... Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Michael! I loved that movie!

When I was reading your post, I was imagining the following dialog between wizards:

Wizard 1: "Have you heard about that Muggle thing, the er... Anemic Bomb?"
Wizard 2 : "Anemic Bomb? What is this? Another trick for Dragon Liver's prices to skyrocket again?"

In other words, I think that, for the "wizard in the street", it would certainly remain a kind of scary mystery, not really surprising though - what is to be expected from Muggles, really? - but one that they would trust the MoM to deal with if necessary.

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Orion - Jan 20, 2008 3:51 am (#3 of 136)

If Harry can fall off a broom and break his bones then every wizard and witch can be hurt by non-magical force. I think Rowling is not consistent about that. We learn that Neville was thrown out of the window by a grandfather or uncle when he was a child, to find out what would happen, and survived because he bounced off the ground. That is a clear contradiction to the mortal danger that all Quidditch players are constantly in.

The magical community feels the seasons like the muggle world, and they share the same environment, often living in the same villages. Every kind of pollution, nuclear contamination or change of climate affects them like everybody else. So any wizard or witch living in Hiroshima would have died, or been able to Disapparate out of the area if they would have had the time, or shielded themselves with some counter-charm. The Daily prophet would have reported the muggle incident or the Ministry would have hushed it up to prevent a mass panic. The magical community is only vaguely aware of the goings on in the muggle world, living in a blissfully secluded pink bubble, and probably regard it all as "political muggle rubbish".

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Choices - Jan 20, 2008 10:21 am (#4 of 136)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
A nuclear bomb? I think the Ministry of Magic would issue a statement saying that You-Know-Who is up to his old tricks again.

Seriously though, one of the things I love about the Wizarding World is that we can go there and not have to worry about Muggle doings - Iraq, recession, plane crashes, drugs, etc. We can escape the unpleasant facts of Muggle life and just immerse ourselves in magic.

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Orion - Jan 20, 2008 10:37 am (#5 of 136)

I agree completely.

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shepherdess - Jan 20, 2008 11:20 am (#6 of 136)

55 year old mother of 3, step-mother of 2, grandmom to 3, living in Oklahoma
But is that what Jo wants us to do? I think in many ways she's making statements about governments and judicial systems and the ways they're flawed. She's telling us to pay attention to what the leaders of our countries are doing and where changes need to be made.

It's good to be able to escape for a while, but I think Jo would expect us to be aware and informed in real life and not bury our heads in the sand.

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PeskyPixie - Jan 20, 2008 11:30 am (#7 of 136)

When I read LOTR or Narnia, even some of Roald Dahl's work, I feel as though I have escaped to a completely different world. This is not the case with the magical world in the HP series. One of the main reasons I don't feel HP is an 'escapist fantasy' is that we are just looking at our own modern world in a magical looking glass.

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journeymom - Jan 20, 2008 11:48 am (#8 of 136)

Neville the bouncing baby- it's been a while since I read that passage, but I thought that incident was unique to Neville. I didn't think it meant all wizards bounce when dropped. Otherwise Dumbledore would have bounced, wouldn't he?

Michael, interesting thought! Orion is right, the magical community like to be unaware of muggle doings.

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Madam Pince - Jan 20, 2008 1:17 pm (#9 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Only Bumbles bounce, not Dumbles...

***groannnnn...***

I agree with Orion -- JKR is not consistent with this. If I had to guess, I would say the Wizarding World would handle it just like they handle other "muggle" doings. They would be aware of it to the extent that the Ministry publicized it, and yes, they would be vulnerable to harm just like any other living being. They might have more means of escape at their disposal (Shield Charms, Disapparating, etc.) but if they do not defend themselves, they would be hurt just like anyone else.

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zelmia - Jan 20, 2008 1:17 pm (#10 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
That is a clear contradiction to the mortal danger that all Quidditch players are constantly in. - Not exactly. Neville, a small boy at the time, used instinctive "accidental" magic to protect himself, just as Harry did to Apparate onto the roof of the school to avoid the bullies. Whereas Quidditch players have already acknowledged their magical make-up and, at least, begun their magical education. In addition, Wizards do seem to be made of tougher mettle than Muggles. Oliver Wood tells Harry that no one has ever died playing Quidditch, but that there have been only a couple of cracked skulls or broken jaws. For a Muggle, these injuries would be quite serious, but Oliver makes them sound no worse than a minor sprain.

I could believe that the Wizarding World could come up with some sort of way to protect itself from Nuclear holocaust since Magic does seem to operate at the atomic level. For example, Transfiguration would imply a keen understanding (if only instinctual) of quantum mechanics.

However, the effects of radiation seem very similar to Curse injuries, in that they are permanent and largely irreparable.

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Mrs. Sirius - Jan 21, 2008 12:03 am (#11 of 136)

Mom of 4 in serious lurker mode.
A nuclear bomb? I think the Ministry of Magic would issue a statement saying that You-Know-Who is up to his old tricks again.

Seriously though, one of the things I love about the Wizarding World is that we can go there and not have to worry about Muggle doings - Iraq, recession, plane crashes, drugs, etc. We can escape the unpleasant facts of Muggle life and just immerse ourselves in magic. Choices

Hagrid I think it is, tells Harry that wizards don't tell muggles about themselves to avoid that constant asking for magical solutions to muggle problems.

Likewise wizards probably stay out of muggle affairs but I think given the high (involuntary) involvement with the muggle Prime Minister, wizards would step up and offer any reasonable assistant to their country when asked. Evidence that they feel national loyalty is the national quidditch games.

Zelmias above post I think is very true and says very well what I set out to write here. Wizards can cure serious injuries fairly quickly and easily. The only other evidence I can offer on this point again are words of Hagrids. He says, "a car crash kill James and Lily?" implying that is not like a car crash could hurt them. Zelmia's about comments I think are the explanation.

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wynnleaf - Jan 21, 2008 8:53 am (#12 of 136)

That is a clear contradiction to the mortal danger that all Quidditch players are constantly in.

Not exactly. Neville, a small boy at the time, used instinctive "accidental" magic to protect himself, just as Harry did to Apparate onto the roof of the school to avoid the bullies. (zelmia)

Agreed. The accidental magic that Neville does in order to bounce isn't something that wizards can call upon at will. Therefore, a Quidditch player falling wouldn't be able to willfully make himself able to bounce. Well, he might if he were a very skilled and powerful wizard, like Snape being able to fly. But their bodies are still just regular bodies, not endowed with any sort of Superman strength or regenerative powers. It's the potions and healing spells that can magically cure that help wizards quickly overcome injuries. I think Hagrid is not accurate in his comment. In an atomic bomb, or even just a major car wreck that happened without any warning time to work protective magic, a wizard could die an instantaneous death just like any muggle.

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Liz Mann - Jan 22, 2008 2:48 pm (#13 of 136)

Join us for the Philosopher's Stone Watch-A-Long
Maybe Hagrid just meant that Lily and James wouldn't be driving a car because they have other better and quicker means of getting around.

Wizards certainly don't seem as apt to injury and fatality as Muggles (seeing as Neville only broke his wrist after falling twenty feet). But they do still get injured and can still get killed. After all, Harry falling off his broom during the Quidditch game was considered a near death experience. Magic probably just gives wizards some protection.

Certainly unwarned wizards aren't going to survive a nuclear war.

I think they would definitely get involved, albeit discreetly, if they thought something the Muggles were doing could have a tragic impact on the wizarding community. After all, they warn and protect the Prime Minister whenever there's something going on that could affect the Muggles.

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shepherdess - Jan 22, 2008 9:41 pm (#14 of 136)

55 year old mother of 3, step-mother of 2, grandmom to 3, living in Oklahoma
I don't understand why falling off your broom during a Quidditch game is considered more dangerous than getting bashed in the head by a bludger. After all, a bludger is an IRON ball!! That could crush your skull! Seems to me it would be easier to repair broken bones etc. than to put your brains back in your head!

If the Minister of Magic communicates with the Prime Minister in the UK, I would think other wizarding leaders would be in contact with muggle political leaders in other parts of the world. I would also think that they would use whatever means necessary to convince them to refrain from using nuclear weapons.

If they refused, I'm sure the wizarding leaders would do what they felt they needed to do to prevent such a tragedy.

If muggles used a nuclear bomb without the wizarding world knowing or being prepared for it, I'm sure wizards would die.

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PeskyPixie - Jan 22, 2008 9:52 pm (#15 of 136)

Perhaps Ministers for Magic around the world are not as secretive when it comes to Muggle political decisions? If the Minister for Magic of Country A learns through his/her network of spies that the Muggle government of Country A is planning to attack Country H a week from Tuesday perhaps they share this info with the magical government of Country H?

Okay, I'm just getting silly now!

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zelmia - Jan 22, 2008 10:33 pm (#16 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I don't think that's silly, Pesky. It would depend on whether Nationalism takes precedence over... Wizardism (is that a word?)

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Geber - Jan 22, 2008 11:49 pm (#17 of 136)

Given all the attention JKR gives to pens, ink, and parchment, I suspect that when the muggles try to launch missles, they will find that the launch codes had been written in disappearing ink.

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PeskyPixie - Jan 22, 2008 11:50 pm (#18 of 136)

Wizardism (is that a word?) -zelmia

Sure, why not? Works for me!

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Madam Pince - Jan 23, 2008 4:45 pm (#19 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Bludgers are iron??? I swear I never knew that. The things you can learn here...

I need to stop skimming...

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zelmia - Jan 24, 2008 1:29 pm (#20 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
You just need to read Quidditch Through the Ages, Madame P.

Nowadays, all Bludgers are made of iron. They are ten inches in diameter. - QA p.22

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Michael Franz - Jan 24, 2008 8:30 pm (#21 of 136)

I won't say anything more about that ridiculous car crash line from Hagrid, except to say that if it were true, Harry could have gotten a summer job as a seat belt tester. Smile

Oh, and Dudley punched Harry. Dudley punched Harry. Dudley punched Harry. Dudley punched Harry.

And, yet, his Muggle fist didn't shatter into a cloud of bone dust on contact with Harry's invulnerable form! How is this possible?

Sorry, but this whole "car crash" issue is definitely a pet peeve of mine. Wizards may think they are invincible, but they also think Muggle men wear flowery nightgowns in public. With no underwear.

My point in starting this thread is to say that if Muggle civilization was destroyed in a nuclear holocaust, the wizarding world would not be able to go on with business as usual. If nothing else, nuclear winter and fallout could cause a massive crop failure worldwide — and a wizard's still gotta eat. Just ask Ron! Smile

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zelmia - Jan 24, 2008 10:34 pm (#22 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I think Hagrid's outrage has more do to due with the fact that the Dursley's had lied to Harry and denied Harry knowledge of his true parentage than the notion of the Potters being killed in such an undiginfied manner.

After all, the Potters were looked upon as pretty heroic in their fight against Voldemort - he had sought them out personally - and particularly Harry for having been the one to have defeated him.

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painting sheila - Jan 25, 2008 9:11 am (#23 of 136)

Doing one of the things I love best . . .
I agree with zelmia - I think Hagrid's outrage had more to do with dishonoring Lily and James than anything. They have a statue in their honor for heaven's sake! Do tell a lie and take away any honor in their noble efforts was blasphemous.

Nuclear War- I think there are spies in the muggle world that keeps an eye on these types of things. But, if all vegetation was destroyed by the blast and the fall out - could the remaining wizards build/create/magic a bio-sphere to live in until the dust settled?

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Orion - Jan 25, 2008 11:08 am (#24 of 136)

They can magic away nuclear contamination, maybe. But then, you wonder why they can't be bothered to care for their muggle environment more. It would be their moral duty to work against muggle atrocities if they could.

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Choices - Jan 25, 2008 11:10 am (#25 of 136)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
I think when wizards do ride in cars, there are spells and charms put upon the cars to adjust to wizard needs - like the extra space inside and huge trunks to hold school trunks, and how the cars suddenly find themselves at the front of a long line of cars at stop lights. I feel sure that, like the Knight Bus, things like other cars, trees, etc, just jump out of the way of the car full of wizards. I believe Hagrid was not only outraged that the Dursleys had lied to Harry about his parents deaths, but he was also angry that anyone would think that magically powerful, intelligent wizards could die in a car crash.

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PeskyPixie - Jan 25, 2008 11:42 am (#26 of 136)

The 'top' witches and wizards have incredible reaction time. I could see an alert witch/wizard yelling out 'Protego!' the split-second before impact. Also, perhaps they place protective charms on the car before using it?

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Michael Franz - Jan 26, 2008 1:41 pm (#27 of 136)

But, if all vegetation was destroyed by the blast and the fall out - could the remaining wizards build/create/magic a bio-sphere to live in until the dust settled?

Whether or not the wizards are powerful enough to do such a thing, I cannot say. But they are almost certainly not intelligent enough to do so. With the exception of our heroes such as Dumbledore and Hermione, the average wizard is basically described as having the IQ of a carrot. Smile Witness the aforementioned nightgown-wearing wizard at the Quidditch World Cup, not to mention Hermione's statement in Philosopher's Stone that most wizards don't have an ounce of logic.

No one can really defend against an attack they don't understand or aren't even aware of. If wizards have such godlike power that even nuclear weapons cannot harm them, then why are they in hiding from us poor, insignificant Muggles? Because enough Dudleys put together could still beat the lot of them to death — and the Muggle world has a lot of Dudleys.

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PeskyPixie - Jan 26, 2008 1:46 pm (#28 of 136)

If we are to believe Hagrid in PS/SS, the magical world keeps to itself as it doesn't want to be bothered by Muggles who'd be bothering them for magical fixes to everything.

I don't think it has to do with fearing the Dudleys of the world.

ETA: Regarding the Dudleys of the world, both past and present, rather than fight ignorant Muggles with magic witches and wizards decided to live in secret communities.

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journeymom - Jan 26, 2008 1:50 pm (#29 of 136)

Yes, didn't the wizard world separate from the muggle world and go into hiding during the Inquisition? Frankly, I think the story of Wendeline the Weird is a nice bit of MoM revisionism on an otherwise grim, brutal death.

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Choices - Jan 26, 2008 2:11 pm (#30 of 136)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Do things really penetrate into the Wizard World? I know a blast would affect wizards who live among Muggles, but I'm speaking of Diagon Alley and Platform 9 and 3/4 and Hogwarts? Would wizards who were in those locations be safe from a blast? Do passengers boarding Muggle trains hear the sound of the Hogwarts Express as it pulls out of the station? Are those places actually in the Muggle world or are they in a different realm, and therefore would be unaffected by what happens in the Muggle world?

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zelmia - Jan 26, 2008 2:36 pm (#31 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
But they are almost certainly not intelligent enough to do so. - I'd be more inclined to question the level of intelligence of a People who would not only deliberately destroy each other by the millions, but also their very environment and all the other creatures in it.

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PeskyPixie - Jan 26, 2008 2:41 pm (#32 of 136)

Oh, Zelmia, you never reference the person you're quoting and lazy ol' me has to scroll back and re-read the last several posts to completely appreciate your comments.

Well said, though. I agree.

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zelmia - Jan 26, 2008 2:49 pm (#33 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Well, I don't want to inadvertently make it seem as if I am attacking the poster him- or herself.

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PeskyPixie - Jan 26, 2008 2:50 pm (#34 of 136)

Nice sentiments, but I went back to check exactly what you were commenting on anyway . (I checked back not with the aim of finding the person being quoted but to read their opinion in entirety before submitting my views.)

ETA: BTW, I'm okay with anyone quoting me and as I often do quote others I want everyone to know that it's not a personal attack, just an open discussion of differing opinions.

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wynnleaf - Jan 27, 2008 10:35 am (#35 of 136)

This thread started with Hagrid's comment about James and Lily being killed in a carwreck. It makes me think about the various times Hagrid and other good-guy wizards comment disparagingly on Muggles. I don't know if this should go on another thread (if so where?), but even the term "Muggle" is often used in a kind of derogatory way by the good guys. For instance, the Dursleys are spoken of as Muggles as though that's just inherently bad.

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Michael Franz - Jan 27, 2008 1:55 pm (#36 of 136)

I'd be more inclined to question the level of intelligence of a People who would not only deliberately destroy each other by the millions, but also their very environment and all the other creatures in it.

Well, the only reason wizards don't do those things is because there simply aren't millions of them to begin with, not to mention their obsession with secrecy. The problem is that these are human flaws, but wizards either don't believe themselves to be human or don't believe that Muggles are.

Well, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "if you prick them, do they not bleed?" According to the Car Crash Cultists, the answer is no. Therefore, wizards are not human. QED.

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Michael Franz - Jan 27, 2008 2:25 pm (#37 of 136)

As I'm sure you've figured out by now, my answer would be a little different. Wizards are human, and they can bleed. They are also insufferably self-righteous, prejudiced, and willfully ignorant. Admittedly, not all of them share these flaws in their entirety, but all wizards, even the good ones, believe they are inherently superior to Muggles, even if they don't admit it.

What's disappointing to me is that JK seems to assume wizarding superiority as well. All that talk about respecting Muggles from the good wizards is just that. No wizard would hesitate to erase the memory of a Muggle at the drop of a hat. Hermione destroyed her parents' livelihood in a misguided attempt to "protect" them when she erased their memories. Did they have any friends or patients who might wonder why they suddenly vanished with no forwarding address? Sure they did, but Hermione didn't think of that, because their friends and patients were Muggles.

Why did I bring up nuclear war as an example? Because what wizards don't know could hurt them. Ultimately, Muggle technology will advance to the point where it will surpass all forms of magic. There is no limit to Muggle advancement, while wizards will always be limited to the power of one man and one wand. While wizards are still looking at Mars in telescopes, Muggles will be walking on it. Wizardkind must abandon its willful ignorance or be left behind.

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Michael Franz - Jan 27, 2008 2:38 pm (#38 of 136)

My point in saying all this is not to preach Muggle superiority, but merely to say the wizards can't go on as they have been forever. In the 23rd Century, a Muggle-born wizard isn't going to think magic is anything special. Why should they learn how to conjure up a chintz armchair when they can just replicate one? Why should they learn how to stun people with a wand when they can stun people with a phaser? Why should they want to go live in some old medieval castle where they can't even get reception on their Internet brain implants?

But, if Muggle science and wizard magic were to work together, they might be able to do things that neither one of them could do separately. To paraphrase the Matrix Oracle, "I'm interested in one thing, Harry: the future. And, believe me, I know that the only way to get there is together."

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zelmia - Jan 27, 2008 3:12 pm (#39 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Michael, I think you are taking some pretty broad liberties with the ideas presented in this series.

Well, the only reason wizards don't do those things is because there simply aren't millions of them to begin with - The only reason?

Hermione destroyed her parents' livelihood in a misguided attempt to "protect" them when she erased their memories. - Continuing to be a dentist or continuing to be alive. Doesn't seem like a difficult choice to me. So, what was "misguided" about this? Hermione herself was put on a list of people who were literally hunted by the government. She was right to be cautious.

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wynnleaf - Jan 27, 2008 5:08 pm (#40 of 136)

Michael,

While there could easily be some disagreement about some particular instances in the books and whether they back up your comments, I think overall I'd agree (see my post above), that the Wizarding World in general and even the "good guy" wizards look down on Muggles. Even the term "muggle" is often used almost like some sort of bad word. I'll have to look up some of the references, but there are definitely places in the series where wizards comment on people being muggles as though that's a negative in and of itself.

And I agree, the WW is so interested in concealing itself from the muggle world (not that I blame them), that they're willing to use mind control at practically any instance in order to make sure the muggles never remember anything about them.

Even Arthur, muggleloving wizard that he is, is actually pretty condescending toward muggles, speaking of them in a very paternalistic manner.

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Choices - Jan 27, 2008 5:54 pm (#41 of 136)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Michael Franz - "...but merely to say that wizards can't go on as they have been forever."

But, they can if JKR says they can. These wizards are characters in a series of books, we can't imbue them with lives outside of those books because they simply do not exist except within those pages .... and in our minds. If we will it, our minds need never subject them to thermonuclear war. In the books and in my mind these characters never have to face that threat.

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Michael Franz - Jan 28, 2008 3:25 pm (#42 of 136)

Continuing to be a dentist or continuing to be alive. Doesn't seem like a difficult choice to me.

Well, then, why did Harry have this long shouting match with Uncle Vernon about the Dursleys going into hiding? If he'd gone the Hermione route, he could have just erased their identities in their sleep. For that matter, he probably could have given Uncle Vernon a more appealing personality. But Harry wouldn't do that even to the Dursleys. Instead, he told them the truth and used non-magical persuasion.

Real-world governments have used that argument to justify all sorts of things. "Sure it's a violation of your rights to tap your phones without a warrant, but rights won't do you any good if a terrorist kills you." Well, I don't buy it.

In the books and in my mind these characters never have to face that threat.

Well, I admit my mind is a bit more unstable than most. Plus, I've never agreed with wizarding secrecy anyway.

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Madam Pince - Jan 28, 2008 7:43 pm (#43 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
You know, I wondered at the time why the Dursleys' memories weren't erased and then wizards put them into hiding like the Grangers, but I had forgotten that I wondered that. ( Thanks for reminding me, Michael.) At the time, I thought it was probably because the Dursleys were going to have some big part in the resolution of the series -- I thought Petunia was going to have some big jaw-dropping revelation for us, or Dudley was going to do magic or something, and none of that would work if their memories had been erased. But alas, earwax, none of that happened. And then I just forgot about it.

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zelmia - Jan 28, 2008 8:46 pm (#44 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Hermione didn't have the luxury of a cadre of other wizards to actively protect her parents indefinitely. She was on her own, and did the best she could to keep them safe - not only from the Death Eaters, but also from what Hermione felt was her own impending death. She didn't want her parents to suffer, full stop.
In effect, her parents were dead to her (since they didn't even know they had a daughter) so she was utterly alone without Ron, Harry and the Order.

Harry doesn't know how to do a Memory Charm, or he might have considered that. But he also needed the Blood Protection to last until the last possible moment. If he had modified the Dursleys' memories, a la Hermione, he wouldn't have been able to stay there.

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Michael Franz - Jan 28, 2008 9:32 pm (#45 of 136)

Hermione didn't have the luxury of a cadre of other wizards to actively protect her parents indefinitely.

She didn't? Does the Order of the Phoenix have a "one family only" policy? Did she even ask them if they could help?

In effect, her parents were dead to her...

Ah, now, that's the point, isn't it? They are dead to her. They're Muggles! Nothing but millstones around her neck! She hasn't been their kid since at least 4th year; she's a Weasley in all but name. Of course, the signature on her tuition checks still says Granger.

She didn't want her parents to suffer, full stop.

Well, that's not her decision. She doesn't have the right. If she subverts her parents' free will every time she feels like it, she's no better than a Death Eater. Parents send their kids off to war all the time. Sure, they're terrified at the thought of losing them. But if any of them had to choose between losing that child in war or that child never having been born — well, I think you know the rest.

JK says she did retrieve her parents after the war was over. I'd really like to know how that worked out.

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wynnleaf - Jan 28, 2008 10:27 pm (#46 of 136)

Well, that's not her decision. She doesn't have the right. If she subverts her parents' free will every time she feels like it, she's no better than a Death Eater. Parents send their kids off to war all the time. Sure, they're terrified at the thought of losing them. But if any of them had to choose between losing that child in war or that child never having been born — well, I think you know the rest. (Michael)

I absolutely agree on this, but if we're mainly going to discuss Hermione's decision we could take it back to the Hermione thread. I think Hermione's action is more an example of the overall attitude toward muggles throughout the series.

What's funny is that when we see young Snape comment to Petunia that he wouldn't spy on her because she's a muggle, I think we're supposed to consider him kind of biased against muggles. But actually, that's exactly the way most of the good wizards act about muggles, with the exception of Arthur who would love to observe muggles, but it's all in a very paternalistic sort of manner.

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zelmia - Jan 28, 2008 11:09 pm (#47 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I think we just need to re-name the Thread something like "Wizarding Attitudes Toward Muggles", if that's the topic we're finally going to settle on.

Taking away free will is the Imperius Curse which is not what Hermione did.

The only Muggles in the saga we see think they are superior to Wizards. What's the difference?

Purebloods think they are superior to every other wizard. Wizards think they are superior to Muggles. Muggles think there is some sort of hierarchy of ethnicity/caste. Both Wizards and Muggles think they are superior to all other creatures.

There are prejudices inherent in any culture. Even Dumbledore is not immune to this. I believe that, with the entire story of the Dumbledore character, JKR was trying to indicate that the inherent prejudice, however benign, is totally unacceptable.

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Hieronymus Graubart - Jan 29, 2008 2:01 pm (#48 of 136)

Going back 3 days and about 20 posts (starting with #24 by Orion) and totaly off topic:

... It would be their [the wizards] moral duty to work against muggle atrocities if they could.

No offence intended, but this is exactly why the witches and wizards went into hiding. They don't like to be asked to fix all the muggle's problems as a moral duty. Above all, they don't like to discuss with muggles how many Galleons should be paid to the witch who did this exhausting work (and spent years on learning how to do it). Since they can't understand magic, muggles would always believe it was just waving the wand and saying the word and the witch shouldn't expect any reward for this.
Thank you, Orion. For the first time I really understand what Hagrid meant by his comment in PS/SS.

There are hints in QA that even in the earliest times of Quidditch (centuries before the worst time of Inquisition) the wizarding world was already separated and hidden from the muggle world.

As Harry learned in History of Magic, all the people burned by the Inquisition were muggles accused by mistake or out of bad will. Real witches and wizards could defend themselves or confund everybody so that they never were suspected. The International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy only formalized a behaviour established ages ago and made it a law enforceable by wizarding governments.

Of course the date is not coincidental, but I don't believe that this was done for fear. It was more in the way of: "When muggles eventually do not longer believe that magic really exists, then they will stop to kill each other. At least they will have to find other reasons to do it anyway, but than witches and wizards must not feel responsible for causing all this cruelty by their sheer existence." Is this paternalistic?

Concerning Hermione's tampering with her parents' memories: I can't see any sense in this discussion. All we know about this is what Hermione told Harry: She modified her parents memories in a reversible way and if she survives she will lift the enchantment.We definitely do not know
- if Hermioone discussed the matter with her parents
- if her parents agreed to have their memories modified
- if there was a long shouting match about muggles not understanding the situation before they agreed
- if Hermione had help or did it alone
- if and whome she asked for help
- what else she tried, before she (and her parents together?) decided that this was the best to do
and if we don't trust Hermione we can't be forced to believe anything she said.
Thus, we know nothing and may believe whatever we want to believe.

Now, to return to the topic of Global Nuclear War:

Canon says that places like Hogwarts or the Quidditch World Cup Stadium are part of the muggle world, they are only protected against any muggle coming close to this place. It is hard to imagine how this can be done with Diagon Alley or Platform 9 and 3/4. If these places do not share space with some muggel installations, wouldn't somebody realize that there is some unoccupied (and unfortunately inaccessible) ground in the heart of London? What's the price of one square-foot there? But there may be confunding charms, so that nobody ever realizes anything (nobody wonders about people disappearing close to platforms 9 and 10). Thus it seems that no part of the magical world can stay unaffected on a different level of existence or whatever scince-fiction term we would like to use.

But then, the Wizarding World doesn't really exist in space-time at all. It exists in multiple alternate universes embedded in our minds and synchronized to some extend by ten books and the internet.

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Michael Franz - Jan 29, 2008 7:55 pm (#49 of 136)

Taking away free will is the Imperius Curse which is not what Hermione did.

Hermione altered their minds so they'd think they'd always wanted to move to Australia. If they didn't want to move to Australia before, and they did after Hermione cast the spell, it's a violation of free will. Sure, it's not Imperio — but apparently it's not a memory charm either, since Hermione says she never cast one after she did "whatever" to her parents.

Since they can't understand magic, muggles would always believe it was just waving the wand and saying the word and the witch shouldn't expect any reward for this.

They can't understand magic? Then how is it possible for us to? Why can't Muggles in the HP universe understand what we read in the books even if a wizard explains it to them?

Oh, and since I should get back on topic — what if someone smuggled a suitcase nuke onto the Hogwarts Express disguised as a Slytherin student's trunk? The British military has just the thing — a "Wee Gwen" portable nuclear warhead. Not that I'd ever advocate the use of nuclear weapons in real life, of course — but as we know, Crabbe did prove that Slytherins "like it hot."

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PeskyPixie - Jan 29, 2008 8:18 pm (#50 of 136)

Honestly, while I appreciate the great Hermione debate I think JKR just needed to ensure the Grangers' safety to the readers as quickly as possible then get on with the main story. I mean, this book is so fast-paced that we don't even have time to scrape poor Sev off of the Shrieking Shack floor.

JM2K of course.
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Let's Play Global Thermonuclear War (Post 51 to 100)

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:54 am

zelmia - Jan 29, 2008 9:15 pm (#51 of 136)
Oh! And that's a bad miss!
They can't understand magic? Then how is it possible for us to? - Who says we do? As far as I can tell it is just waving a wand and uttering an incantation.

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Michael Franz - Jan 30, 2008 8:16 pm (#52 of 136)

Since they can't understand magic, muggles would always believe it was just waving the wand and saying the word and the witch shouldn't expect any reward for this.

I forgot to mention there's an easy solution for that — ask for payment in advance. If the Muggles won't pay, the wizards won't play.

As far as I can tell it is just waving a wand and uttering an incantation.

Well, of course it is. If it were anything more complicated, Harry wouldn't have been able to cast Sectumsempra with just the word.

Now, in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, you have to have a spellbook written in a mysterious magical notation that was discovered, not invented. Every wizard uses a slightly different version of it, making it somewhat difficult for a wizard to use another wizard's book. They have to get 8 hours of sleep each night to refresh their minds, then spend an hour each day preparing their spells. Only after all that can they cast a spell by making a gesture and speaking a few words.

Of course, if the word is power word: kill, it's worth it. Smile

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Hieronymus Graubart - Jan 31, 2008 2:09 pm (#53 of 136)

zelmia got it. Of course we all try to understand magic. But we don't have the experience of casting a spell. Can we imagine how it would feel to "reparo" the world? I only know that it is hard work to do without magic.

I never visited the Dungeons & Dragons universe, but I don't think that this experience would count in other universes.

Michael, I didn't mean you should get back on topic, I thought I should say something on topic additional to my nitpicking on old posts. Couldn't this thread be kipendoed if it goes astray ? Again, lack of experience. I'm still too new here.

In advance or not, negotiating about payment with somebody who can not value your work will allways be annoying. It would probably result in the wizards not "play" and the muggles hating the wizards for refusing to do what they assume could be done without any effort by a wizard. This could lead to new attempts to burn or bomb (hey, I'm on topic ) wizards, which may hit much more muggles then wizards again. We really don't need this.

Playing the advocatus diaboly, I could ask: If you don't trust Hermione, why stop halfway and believe any of her words?

Speaking to Harry: "That's to make it more difficult for Voldemort to track them down and interrogate them about me - or you, because unfortunately, I've told them quite a bit about you". Really? When and why? If Hermione wanted to abandone her parents to integrate fully into the magical world, was there any sense in telling her parents about Harry and the magical world? And didn't she complain that beeing a prefect was all they could understand?

Perhaps we should believe that Herrmione never touched any memories before she came to this all-night cafe at Tottenham Court Road? Since she hadn't told her parents anything of worth for Voldemort, there was no danger and no reason to modify their memories, she only said this to convince Harry that she was well prepared for their mission impossible.

There was danger that her parents could be killed? So what? Hermione didn't care, they were already dead to her. Or were they really? Maybe she cared just enough to spare them a slow death under torture? Remember her reaction when Harry speaks about Barty Crouch beeing transfigured into a bone and buried in the garden. Very telling indeed. ::searching for a really-bad-boy-today emoticon::
::alas coudn't find anything adequate::
And ignore those tears, she's a good actress.

Of course Ron suspects the truth, or Hermione told him in a weak moment. In the epilogue he refers explicitly to "grandfather Weasly", as if a single "grandfather" were ambiguous. Obviously he pretends that there is still a "grandfather Granger" to protect Hermione. "Yeah folks, I met him just yesterday. But don't try to visit him. I know he is not at home now."

Wow, this is fun We could write a totally new story based on believing nobody. Maybe I will carry this to the fan-fiction-forum

In good earnest now: Since Hermione said she would recollect her parents after the war she will have done it by now.
I know that some characters are less trustworthy then others, but I will allways trust Hermione.
And I honestly swear that I will never say this again except on the Hermione thread (if I ever come this way, there are so many other threads I still never visited).

Oh, and on topic: If somebody manages to replace a students trunk by a suitcase nuke and this is not discovered until it explodes at Hogwarts, it will surely blast Hogwarts out of any universe wherein it may exist.

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Soul Search - Jan 31, 2008 5:15 pm (#54 of 136)

For a long time the Wizarding World had capabilities that well protected it from the Muggle world. Even if someone knew of wizards, they couldn't do much.

In recent times, however, the muggle world developed technology that rivaled the capabilities of wizards. To the point where the wizarding world could be at risk, if discovered.

I wouldn't be surprised if, in the timeframe of the epilogue, wizards have had to learn how to better fit into the muggle world. There may even come a time when the wizarding world has to do something drastic to protect itself from the muggle world. A nasty Prime Minister could decide to do something about them.

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Orion - Feb 1, 2008 9:17 am (#55 of 136)

We get an impression of it when Ron mentions he passed his driving test. Wizards are indeed trying to fit in better, if only to benefit of the comforts of the muggle world, and to break out of their victorian hand-made back-to-the-basics world without central heating, cinema or fashion. (Stupid examples.) It would be wonderful to have wizarding abilities but to be able to flit between the two worlds. The choice of friends and acquaintances would be a lot bigger, too.

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Michael Franz - Feb 2, 2008 10:45 am (#56 of 136)

"That's to make it more difficult for Voldemort to track them down and interrogate them about me - or you, because unfortunately, I've told them quite a bit about you".

Does Hermione think that if she wipes their memories, it'll prevent Voldemort from extracting information from them? Obviously, she forgot about Bertha Jorkins. If Voldemort does catch up with them, it won't matter whether they've been Obliviated or not — he'll break the memory charm, and then break them.

Of course, assumed names would make it harder for Voldemort to find the Grangers, but you don't need memory charms for that, just fake IDs.

Perhaps I've been too hard on Hermione, but the reason I did so is because I had the impression that she simply snuck up on her parents in the dead of night, clonked them on the head with her wand, then had them shipped to Australia like 19th-century British convicts. If she really did tell them a lot about Harry, wouldn't that include the whole story about Voldemort? Perhaps they did agree to their memories being modified.

But would they really agree to forget they ever had a daughter, even if Hermione died? Sure, it would spare them a lot of grief. Of course, Harry himself is the character most often tormented by grief and loss. Would Harry volunteer for a memory charm about his parents or Sirius? Would Hermione even ask such a thing?

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Michael Franz - Feb 2, 2008 10:59 am (#57 of 136)

For my original topic, the reason I brought it up is because I wanted to counter the apparently popular perception among HP fans (and, of course, wizards) that wizards are near-godlike beings who cannot be harmed by anything non-magical. I figured that if nothing else, no one would believe that wizards would be unscathed by a nuclear holocaust!

Sarah Connor: Anyone not wearing two million sunblock is gonna have a really bad day, get it?!

Then I got posts that said wizards would be safe if they just hid out on Platform 9 3/4. Oh well, I tried.

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Michael Franz - Feb 2, 2008 11:07 am (#58 of 136)

And as for understanding magic, it's true that we the readers don't know everything that an actual Hogwarts student would know. But these books are about a magic school. We see students learning to cast spells in classrooms. And for the most part, all they do is swish, flick, and say the magic words.

Maybe the Ministry of Magic ordered the books to be censored so we don't know what they really teach at Hogwarts. After all, they probably don't want us to know about the human sacrifices. Smile

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zelmia - Feb 2, 2008 11:42 am (#59 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Hermione didn't know about Bertha Jorkins, did she? Harry only knew about Voldemort's extraction of her memories because Dumbledore told him.

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shepherdess - Feb 2, 2008 5:04 pm (#60 of 136)

55 year old mother of 3, step-mother of 2, grandmom to 3, living in Oklahoma
We're supposed to assume that Harry told Hermione about Bertha Jorkins, because after all, Harry tells her everything even though we don't see it in print. But of course we're not supposed to believe that Hermione commuincates to her parents anything that goes on in the WW because we don't see her do it.

That way if Hermione makes a mistake about something she should have known (because we believe Harry tells her evertyhing), we can crucify her. And if she makes a choice concerning her parents, we can crucify her for that because we assume she thinks whe knows everything, and couldn't possibly have gotten her parents' consent (because we believe she never talks to them about anything).

We expect her to know everything and never make mistakes, but then we call her a "know-it-all" when she uses the knowledge she has. Poor Hermione can't win. Rant over.

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wynnleaf - Feb 2, 2008 8:19 pm (#61 of 136)

I don't exactly consider discussing the ethical concerns over Hermione's decision to be "crucifying" her. There's pretty legitimate questions there, after all.

I think part of root of the assumption that she didn't ask their permission stems from 1. the fact that in the past Hermione doesn't always ask permission to change people's lives and 2. it's practically impossible for many of us to imagine a parent willingly losing all of their memories of their only child.

Add to that the fact from later in the book that Hermione really didn't have much experience, if any experience, with memory charms, and it all comes across as Hermione stepping in and changing lives without really knowing all of the possible consequences.

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Steve Newton - Feb 2, 2008 9:35 pm (#62 of 136)

Librarian
Well, to me, they had to go whether they wanted to or not. Simply by being a threat to Hermione they threatened the wizarding world. A tough choice but whether they wanted to go or agreed to go or not, they had to go.

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wynnleaf - Feb 3, 2008 8:54 am (#63 of 136)

Simply by being a threat to Hermione they threatened the wizarding world. (Steve)

Well, I don't agree with this as a reason, yet it does seem a large motivating factor between much of the casual obliviation that wizards do to muggles (I'm not saying Hermione was being casual). The idea that because someone knows something that could later threaten you really doesn't give anyone the "right" to go in and take over that person's life. You can look at that on either an individual scale or a national scale. Just because the other person has some knowledge or even physical ability to threaten you doesn't give you the right to go take over. No one has the "right" hold all the cards, or even the majority of them.

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Steve Newton - Feb 3, 2008 10:43 am (#64 of 136)

Librarian
I think that I have to disagree. The idea that because someone knows something that could later threaten you really does give you the "right" to go in and take over that person's life. In fact thousands of wizarding and maybe millions of muggle lives hang in the balance.

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zelmia - Feb 3, 2008 11:12 am (#65 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
in the past Hermione doesn't always ask permission to change people's lives - When?

Of course, Hermione's parents may very well have agreed, albeit reluctantly, to be Obliviated. Sure, it seems strange to us; but these are the same people who sent her straight back to a school where she was Petrified for the better part of the Spring Term of her second year. We just don't know.

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Orion - Feb 3, 2008 11:39 am (#66 of 136)

But she only wanted to make them survive. She wasn't afraid that her parents would endanger the trio's mission, she was afraid her parents would be killed. And she clearly hoped it would only be temporary. (In fact it was for only one year.) And she certainly explained everything to them afterwards.

It's the same thing as with Lupin. Lupin is no "coward" when he wants to run away from his family, he is only terrified that he could endanger the life of his child. Harry's attack helps him to change his mind, but it is unjustified and doesn't quite hit the mark. - Sometimes I find that people are very harsh in their judgements.

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wynnleaf - Feb 3, 2008 1:45 pm (#67 of 136)

Zelmia, Hermione's laying out clothing to inadvertently trap the house elves into freedom is a perfect example. She doesn't go and say, "Here's clothing. Would you like your freedom?" No, she wants to force it on them. Of course, they figure out what's going on, but Hermione's intent is to force them into freedom without their consent.

Lupin is no "coward" when he wants to run away from his family, he is only terrified that he could endanger the life of his child. (Orion)

I didn't read it that way. I took it as Harry did, that Lupin couldn't bear to see what would become of his family, so he left -- not because his presence would actively harm them. In fact, his leaving could likely actively harm them as Tonks might be a target and she would lose his protection.

She wasn't afraid that her parents would endanger the trio's mission, she was afraid her parents would be killed. (Orion)

Yes, the idea that she was afraid their knowledge could endanger the mission is purely something readers have come up with to give justification to her actions. I don't think canon ever says this was a motivation for her.

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Michael Franz - Feb 3, 2008 2:30 pm (#68 of 136)

If Hermione erased her parents' memories of her to spare them grief in the event of her death, should she erase Harry's memories of Sirius or his parents to spare him from grief? If Harry refuses, should she sneak up on him in the dead of night and Obliviate him in his sleep for his "own good"? After all, Harry's emotional baggage does prove to be a liability at times. Shouldn't Hermione increase the chance of the mission succeeding by filling Harry's head with sunshine and rainbows?

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Orion - Feb 3, 2008 2:32 pm (#69 of 136)

She's not like that.

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zelmia - Feb 3, 2008 3:47 pm (#70 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Hermione's intent is to force them into freedom without their consent. - Yes, I see what you mean. Not sure how that compares, since in that case it's just plain ignorance of House Elf culture that drives her to it.

should she sneak up on him in the dead of night and Obliviate him in his sleep for his "own good"? - There can be no question that this is not the way Hermione acted toward her parents.

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shepherdess - Feb 3, 2008 3:47 pm (#71 of 136)

55 year old mother of 3, step-mother of 2, grandmom to 3, living in Oklahoma
"the idea that she was afraid their knowledge could endanger the mission is purely something readers have come up with..."

So is the notion that she took it upon herself to forcibly modify her parents memories without discussing it with them or getting their consent. It never says that in canon either.

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wynnleaf - Feb 3, 2008 4:14 pm (#72 of 136)

There can be no question that this is not the way Hermione acted toward her parents. (zelmia)

Why is there no question about that? Well, not so much the "dead of night" part, but obliviating them without their knowing she was going to.

So is the notion that she took it upon herself to forcibly modify her parents memories without discussing it with them or getting their consent. It never says that in canon either. (Orion)

Correct. But in that case it's pretty much an "either/or" situation. She either asked their consent or she didn't. We know there's a sort of 50/50 chance one way or the other. Because many of us find the idea that parents would willingly give up all memory of their child completely unbelievable for anyone who actually loves their child, I find the idea that she got their permission by far the lesser likelihood.

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shepherdess - Feb 3, 2008 5:00 pm (#73 of 136)

55 year old mother of 3, step-mother of 2, grandmom to 3, living in Oklahoma
And I have no trouble at all imagining that she did.

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wynnleaf - Feb 3, 2008 6:10 pm (#74 of 136)

Yes, but regardless how any one person imagines it, here's the way I see it as far as odds.

If both choices are equal -- JKR could just as easily have decided the parents were or were not willing to lose their memories of their only child, and that Hermione was just as likely to ask their permission as to not ask their permission -- then the odds would be 50/50. It would be just as likely that JKR meant for Hermione to have asked the parents and they agreed to give up all of their memories of their only child, possibly forever, in order to protect their lives (the idea that it was to protect Hermione is yet another assumption, as that's not what's mentioned in the book). But I don't think both choices are equal in likelihood for JKR to have chosen.

Given JKR's being a parent herself, and also given the way she's written Hermione in the past -- willing to make life-changing choices for others without their permission -- I think it's far more likely that JKR was thinking of Hermione as obliviating her parents without their permission, than she was thinking that Hermione asked her parents first and got their permission to wipe their minds of every memory concerning their only child.

So it's more likely JKR was thinking Hermione did it on her own, without their making a choice.

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zelmia - Feb 3, 2008 6:40 pm (#75 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
willing to make life-changing choices for others without their permission - House Elves is hardly a fair comparison of "making life-changing choices for others". It is in their very nature/culture not to "give permission" for anything they do.

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Michael Franz - Feb 4, 2008 6:49 am (#76 of 136)

All right, let's try it again. What's the logical difference between sparing Hermione's parents from grief by erasing their memories and sparing Harry from grief by erasing his memories? These books are all about how people deal with death. If Hermione has the right — nay, the obligation — to erase her parents' memories for the good of the entire human race, then surely she has an even greater obligation to "fix" Harry Potter, no matter what the cost.

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zelmia - Feb 4, 2008 7:55 am (#77 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
She didn't "erase" their memories, she "modified" them. The "logical" difference is that modifying/erasing Harry's memories is not going to protect him from Voldemort. Modifying the memories of Hermione's parents sends them out of harm's way.

These books are not just "all about how people deal with death". The overarching theme - which is even mocked by the story's villain - is the inimitable power of Love and the sacrifices we find the strength to make in its name.
The other theme is "choosing what is right over what is easy". The Grangers having their memories modified was the "right" choice to protect them, but also to help protect Harry. It certainly was not an "easy" choice for any of the Grangers to make.

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wynnleaf - Feb 4, 2008 9:01 am (#78 of 136)

Actually, the books are a great deal about how people deal with death. A good deal of the books is JKR working out her own thoughts on death as well. Yeah, it's a lot about death alright and JKR has acknowledged it.

As regards Hermione's obliviating her parents, the terms "modified" or "erased" are just quibbling in my opinion. Basically, she took away a lot of their memories. Obviously, she took away a huge portion of their memories.

I was reading a story last night where the main character went into a situation knowing he could lose his memory of almost 20 years and the whole reason for that risk is to prevent losing his life. As I considered that choice, I personally feel that to lose my memories of that many years would be more or less the same thing as losing my life, because I would no longer be who I consider to be "me." If a child of mine, in a desire to save my life, removed my memories of many years, I would consider that almost close to murder -- not of my physical body of course, but of that which is me. I realize that some might make that choice in order to preserve their physical life, but many would not. To in addition lose the memories of a person one loves in an extraordinary way, a child, is simply beyond my comprehension to believe the parent would do that.

So perhaps Hermione convinced them that this was necessary to protect her and her friends. We know, from Bertha Jorkins example and perhaps from some of the memories DD was able to obtain for HBP, that it wouldn't protect in that way. So if Hermione convinced her parents of this, and was willing to take such a catastrophic step for an erroneous protection, then that is completely irresponsible because she'd have gone into it without complete research.

Many assume that Hermione wouldn't do such a thing without thorough research. If that's true, then she would have known that obliviation wouldn't protect the Grangers from having their memories taken by LV.

So really, the whole thing breaks down, in my opinion, into a choice that can only be considered either unbelievable or foolhardy, or just immensely arrogant. I'm not sure what JKR was thinking. DH is full of plot holes and things that JKR clearly didn't think completely through. Perhaps this is one.

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zelmia - Feb 4, 2008 11:01 am (#79 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Yes, death is one of the themes in the saga. I said "they're not just about death", which is what MF's post sounded like to me.

I don't think there is really any evidence that Hermione knew about what happened with Bertha Jorkins, even though Bertha was mentioned during the argument with Fudge. But Harry never talked about what happened the night of the Tri-Wizard tournament in any detail, so I'm not convinced that Hermione knew about Bertha.

Anyway, the Grangers surely did it for Hermione, not for themselves alone. They wanted to protect themselves for her sake, not for the mere fact of being alive. Hermione modified their memories, changed their names and sent them to the other side of the world. As "erroneous" as this might be in terms of not being foolproof, she did as much as she could possibly do to protect them - which I'm sure is not at all unlike Dumbledore's offer to protect Draco's parents.
Yes, agreeing to have your memory wiped of all knowledge of your child is a dreadful prospect that any normal, decent parent would never agree to on a snowy day in Hell. But that the Grangers agreed to it for the sake of their child shows the level of sacrifice they were willing to make for her. It's not that different from what Lily did, in my opinion.

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wynnleaf - Feb 4, 2008 11:26 am (#80 of 136)

But we aren't shown that they did it for the sake of their child.

Which is it? Did Hermione do this to protect her parents? Or to protect the Trio?

If Hermione was trying to protect the Trio and convinced her parents it was necessary for their (the Trio's) protection, then she was more or less wanting them to volunteer their "lives" (who they were as they knew themselves to be), in exchange for the Trio's safety. I doubt if the parents would have thought this up on their own, so regardless Hermione would have to come to them with the proposal: give up your lives as you know it, possibly forever, for my sake and the sake of my friends. It's hard to believe Hermione would do that. The parents might be willing to do it, but would any child who loved their parents ask that of them?

On the other hand, if it was to protect the parents, then I don't think the parents would do it, because I think they'd rather put up with the added risk (whatever that was), rather than give up their memories of Hermione and indeed a huge portion of their lives.

In any case, if she mainly just wanted to protect her parents, why not convince them to go willingly to Australia under assumed names? The fact that she had to obliviate them to get them to go makes it seem that either they wouldn't have done it willingly, or that she was trying to protect the Trio primarily.

Either way, for whatever reason Hermione did it -- to protect herself, Ron and Harry, or to protect her parents -- one would expect her to have done a good deal of research on memory charms before she did it, where she would presumably discover that those memories could be obtained by force, but at possible damage to the individual. She wouldn't have to have heard about Bertha to discover that.

Once again, I really think that JKR either made a plot hole mistake, or she wanted yet another example of Hermione's taking over for people and making a decision without the other person's knowledge or permission.

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zelmia - Feb 4, 2008 12:07 pm (#81 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Well, I thought she was doing it to protect her parents, not the Trio.

"yet another example"? We don't even have one. House Elves don't give permission for things. And even though memories can be obtained by force, they still have to catch you first.

In sum, I think Hermione and her parents were all doing the best they could for each other with the knowledge/resources they had. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with that.

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Michael Franz - Feb 4, 2008 12:15 pm (#82 of 136)

zelmia, which is it? First you say the Grangers did it to protect Hermione, now you say Hermione did it to protect them. This does not compute.

And as for catching someone first, they don't need to have their memories erased to run and hide. The US Witness Protection Program says it's never lost anyone who followed the rules and didn't contact anyone from their old life. They give their members assumed identities, of course — yet they do it without mind control of any kind. Why does this fail to convince you that the Grangers could do the same?

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Madam Pince - Feb 4, 2008 12:16 pm (#83 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Whether or not House-Elves "give" permission for things (which is debatable, I think, because we only know three house-elves in the whole world of thousands), I still think it's fair to use Hermione trying to "trick" the House-Elves into obtaining their freedom as a good example of her trying to run things as she sees best.

Another example might be what she did on the Quidditch pitch during Ron's tryouts... "Confunded anyone lately?" (Still one of my favorite lines...)

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zelmia - Feb 4, 2008 12:49 pm (#84 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
First you say the Grangers did it to protect Hermione, now you say Hermione did it to protect them. This does not compute. - You've never heard of people all trying to act for the benefit one another at the same time?

So, Harry was wrong to make Ron think he had drunk the Felix Potion? He was "making a decision for someone else's life" too.

ETA: but he wasn't under a magical compunction to obey everything they wanted - He was, actually. Which is why he punished himself all the time.

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wynnleaf - Feb 4, 2008 12:51 pm (#85 of 136)

House elves clearly can make their own choices about things. Dobby chose to go to Harry and worked consciously to undermine the Malfoy's wishes. He may have been bound to the Malfoy family, but he wasn't under a magical compunction to obey everything they wanted, although he did have to obey what they directly told him to do. Outside of what a house elf is directly commanded (think of Kreacher), they can often do what they wish. If Hermione asked the house elves if they wanted freedom, or if they would wish to have clothes, they could have told her their wishes. If you're uncomfortable with the word "permission" we need not use it. Hermione tried to trick the house elves into unknowingly having a life changing circumstance that they did not desire. If JKR had Hermione obliviate her parents and radically change their lives, and indeed who they were as individuals, without even giving them the choice or against their wishes, it would have been the sort of action that JKR had already had Hermione make previously with the elves.

Most of the obliviations that are mentioned in the series are more of the short term variety. Muggles witness some magical incident and the MOM obliviates that particular memory. This wouldn't generally upset the muggle's lives, nor would it change who they were as individuals. After all, people have accidents frequently where they lose consciousness (for instance, in a car wreck), and can't recall the minutes prior to the accident. It doesn't disrupt their lives. But what Hermione did was much more drastic. It's on a far greater scale than what Lockhart usually did (or at least what he confessed to doing).

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Michael Franz - Feb 4, 2008 1:44 pm (#86 of 136)

zelmia, my point is you seem to be doing what our politicians would refer to as "flip-flopping." Your first argument is predicated on the idea that Hermione's parents made a Lily-like sacrifice to protect their child. When wynnleaf argued against it, you switched to the other side. Actually, wynnleaf argued that neither explanation made much sense — so you went with both. That's what doesn't compute.

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Verity Weasley - Feb 4, 2008 8:09 pm (#87 of 136)

I can see where Zelmia is coming from. And I don't think the argument that she should have researched memory charms more fully holds much water. I don't think it was the purpose of the memory charm to protect Hermione's parents. The purpose of the memory charm was to make them think that they really wanted to move to Australia. The physical distance was intended to protect them. And witness protection may sound like a reasonable alternative but Hermione probably doesn't have any contacts at the US Secret Service. The wizarding equivalent of witness protection would most likely be orchestrated via the Ministry and with Voldemort's spies everywhere, that was hardly an option. As for who was protecting whom, it seems reasonable that it was a bit of both. Hermione wanted to protect her parents, and any parent would want to protect their child from harm, even if that harm involves knowing that you have been somewhat responsible for your parents' deaths.

Actually, now I think about it, given the amount of time Hermione spent with her parents, it's entirely possible they had already forgotten they had a daughter and all she needed to do was persuade them to move to Australia! (imagine smiley face here - if I knew how to do that!)

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Madam Pince - Feb 5, 2008 6:03 am (#88 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
You know, this just occurred to me... I wonder if JKR was making some sort of oblique nod to people who have older parents with Alzheimer's or similar issues, and who have to make the decision to put them into assisted living care in order to protect them? It's sort of the same issue -- doing something to an adult that you would not normally do because it is quite likely against their wishes, but is in their best interests...

I don't know... just throwing that out there...

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wynnleaf - Feb 5, 2008 8:14 am (#89 of 136)

It's sort of the same issue -- doing something to an adult that you would not normally do because it is quite likely against their wishes, but is in their best interests... (Madam Pince)

Sorry, Madam Pince, but I have to strongly disagree. Courts allow adult children to make decisions for their parents in cases like Alzhimers or other situations because the parent cannot be trusted to be able to make decisions for themselves. Similarly, parents can be allowed to make decisions for their adult children only when it is determined that the adult child can no longer adequately make good/safe decisions for themselves. It's not "will not," but "cannot." Otherwise, who is to determine what the good/safe decisions are?

Further, when adults are able to make those sorts of decisions for other adults, even against the person's will, it is generally because there's general agreement that this is truly what's best for that adult. So an adult child might be able to make sure their parent goes into some sort of health care, because it is clear that the parent truly needs that health care to maintain decent health. However, adult children can't, for instance, force Mom against her will to leave her inner city home because the child thinks the crime rate is too high. Nor can an adult child who hasn't been given the legal right to make decisions for the parent typically force their parent with cancer to get the latest recommended treatment.

Hermione's parent's judgment was not impaired. They had knowledge of the Wizarding World and could have made up their own minds, even if their knowledge was more limited than Hermione's. If they did disagree, or if Hermione only imagined they might disagree to going to Australia or having their memories wiped, that doesn't make it therefore okay for Hermione to assume that her decision or opinion took precedence over theirs.

I think an interesting question regarding the Wizarding World's decisions in general has to do with their belief that they can do whatever they want to obliviate muggles, simply to keep their world a secret. A problem, of course, is that the WW had been persecuted by the muggle world in the past and therefore had experiences that taught them that muggle knowledge of them could prove dangerous, even if only for innocent muggles. Given, as Michael points out, that muggles by the point of the HP series had enough power to truly harm the Wizarding World, it does make sense that the WW would have to take more extreme measures to ensure their secrecy.

One of the problems is the tiny size of the WW population. From all we can tell, there probably weren't more than 10,000 in the UK - an area that I think holds about 70 million people. Obviously wizards aren't just outnumbered. If muggles had known they existed there would be untold requests or more like demands to "fix" or "cure" all sorts of muggle's problems, so much so that there's no way the WW could have done it, probably resulting in great enmity. Secrecy probably is the best alternative. Although as I said earlier, most of the WW obliviation seems to be no more loss of memory than a few moments of time.

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Michael Franz - Feb 5, 2008 10:42 am (#90 of 136)

Right now, the "debate" seems to be going like this:

wynnleaf and I provide an argument why Hermione's memory charm was not necessary to protect her parents or herself.

Response? But she had to protect her parents! And herself!

If you believe Hermione did the right thing; if you believe what she did was necessary and there was no other way to save her parents' lives, then please:

Refute, don't repeat. Would Hermione appreciate being defended without logic?

Oh, one more thing. Please include an explanation why the Order of the Phoenix could hide the Dursleys without a mindwipe, but not the Grangers.

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Madam Pince - Feb 5, 2008 11:55 am (#91 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Well, wynnleaf, I did only say "sort of" the same issue... I realize there are huge differences. It was just something that someone posted that reminded me of something JKR said in an interview when she was asked about the Longbottoms and the gum wrappers... JKR has had real personal experience with that situation and she said it affected her.

Anyway, I'll shut up now.

Except, I'll take a stab at this one, although I'm not really "in" the debate...

Please include an explanation why the Order of the Phoenix could hide the Dursleys without a mindwipe, but not the Grangers.

Presumably because the Dursleys would go along with and be accepting of the protection offered, while the Grangers wouldn't. The Dursleys concern was/is only for themselves -- they don't consider Harry to be a "real" relative and probably they could care less what happens to him. Their feeling is likely "just get me out of here!" as shown by Vernon's reaction at the beginning of the series when he is pursued by owls -- he takes his family and runs.

We can only speculate about the Grangers, because we haven't had any interaction with them, but I would guess that if they are "typical normal" parents, and since Hermione is their daughter, they would be averse to running away and hiding whilst leaving their child exposed to danger. I know I'd never do it willingly/knowingly. But the Dursleys are willing to run, doing the "parent thing" of protecting their child, Dudley. Hermione knew this about her parents, and, feeling that she knew best, took the action that she did.

At least, that's my take on it, and one possible explanation.

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Michael Franz - Feb 5, 2008 12:32 pm (#92 of 136)

Finally! An argument! So, you're saying the Grangers would have run away with Hermione, but there's no way they'd run away and leave her to fight on her own. It makes sense.

But, Hermione has to go back to Australia and lift the charm from them after the war is over. Will her parents ever trust her again after this? I sure wouldn't. I'd think of Hermione as the kid from the Twilight Zone who could wish anyone he didn't like into the cornfield — a being of apparently limitless power against whom there is no defense. If I ever did anything she didn't like, I'd know she was able and willing to make me obey at all costs.

I'd say Hermione had better keep that charm on me forever — because I'd rather not remember her than remember her as that.

Of course, since she is a being of apparently limitless power against whom there is no defense (for Muggles), not to mention a legal adult in the wizarding world, she could simply inform her parents that she's going to fight Voldemort and there's nothing they can do to stop her. They'd no doubt worry their heads off — but they'd forgive her when she came back.

The memory charm, though — I don't think I'd forgive that.

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wynnleaf - Feb 5, 2008 12:54 pm (#93 of 136)

Hi Madam Pince! Don't back out! Actually I think the different examples are helpful to kind of flesh out exactly what the questions are. Like with the Longbottoms, they are clearly not mentally competent any longer, so they can't make decisions for themselves. Was that the aspect you were talking about? Or something along the lines of why they were targeted in the first place?

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Michael Franz - Feb 5, 2008 1:09 pm (#94 of 136)

I just thought of the killer argument. Everyone keeps talking about Hermione doing what is best. But, you know, Mrs. Weasley wasn't too keen on the idea of Ron and Hermione running off on a dangerous mission with Harry. If the Grangers and Mrs. Weasley decide it's best, why can't Mrs. Weasley erase Ron and Hermione's memories so they don't go into danger?

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PeskyPixie - Feb 5, 2008 2:15 pm (#95 of 136)

The Weasleys are members of the Order of the Phoenix. Molly has lost two brothers to the cause in the first war. They know the severity of the situation and that Harry (AKA 'The Boy Who Lived', 'The Chosen One') is left some important top-secret mission by Albus Dumbledore. If Molly were a single parent who was not remotely involved in the war I could see her zapping the kids' memories till the end of the war. However, in addition to her background and involvement in the fight against the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters, she is surrounded by people (most importantly her husband) who can remind her at all times that Harry's mission must not be hindered. As she loves Harry as her own there's no way she'd find a way to prevent Ron from helping him.

ETA: Great points, Madam Pince.

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wynnleaf - Feb 5, 2008 2:38 pm (#96 of 136)

Sure, Pesky, she wouldn't have wiped their memories. But she still did try to prevent them going. It's not like she supported the idea, did she? The question Michael asks is valid. Molly disagreed with their actions and didn't want them doing what they did. She felt it was extremely risky and they were too young to be involved. Yet she didn't do anything too invasive or outside of her true rights in order to stop them. She just tried to exercise typical parental or adult authority.

That's different from someone deciding that they not only want to insist that another person follow their wishes, but they'll take over that person's life to force them to compliance.

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Verity Weasley - Feb 5, 2008 5:30 pm (#97 of 136)

Another possible reason why the memory charm was necessary could be this - Hermione wanted to protect her parents. Not necessarily from Voldemort, but from the possibility that she might die in the fight against him. In an adolescent mind, Hermione might well feel that her parents would be better off forgetting that they ever had a daughter than going through the pain of losing one.

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Madam Pince - Feb 6, 2008 1:04 am (#98 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
That's a good thought, Verity. Definitely a possibility. There are more dangers in war than just losing your life -- you can suffer the loss of others.

Michael, I think you make a good point about how the relationship between the senior Grangers and Hermione will be significantly different after Hermione's actions. Whether they have thought this way up to this point or not we don't know, but certainly after this they can no longer think of Hermione as "our little darling, isn't she a sweetums!" They will be thinking of her as a formidable "someone-not-to-be-messed-with" witch, as well as a full-grown adult who has gone out and lived her life's adventures with eyes open to all the dangers. I do think, however, that they will forgive her for the mind-wiping and will not hold it against her -- they will understand why she did it even if they may not agree that she should've done it. They will forgive her because they know her intentions were good. (This is from my perspective as a parent -- I would forgive it, if it were me.)

(Oh, and thanks soooo much for reminding me of the Twilight Zone kid who sent people to the cornfield -- creeeeepy!!! And I still have to try to sleep tonight! That kid gave me the willies...*shudder*)

(Molly) didn't do anything too invasive or outside of her true rights in order to stop them. She just tried to exercise typical parental or adult authority. That's different from someone deciding that they not only want to insist that another person follow their wishes, but they'll take over that person's life to force them to compliance. --wynnleaf

Exactly. But Hermione couldn't very well exercise "typical parental or adult authority," could she? She didn't have any! Pretty much her only choice (other than doing nothing - which was certainly an option) was to do what she did. As I said earlier, if she'd just gone the "convincing" route, there's no way that would work on parents looking at leaving their only child to face the biggest baddest evil there is. (Note here that I am not advocating what Hermione did -- simply offering an explanation for why she may've thought she had to! )

Like with the Longbottoms, they are clearly not mentally competent any longer, so they can't make decisions for themselves. Was that the aspect you were talking about? Or something along the lines of why they were targeted in the first place? -- wynnleaf

Well... not exactly. I think I was just trying to say something about why Hermione may have done what she did -- obviously the Grangers are not mentally incompetent, but Hermione was making the same type of tough decision that people faced with placing an Alzheimer's patient do. It's not easy, and it's probably not what the "patient" wants to do, but somebody has to make the decision as to what's best. (Again, I'm not advocating here that Hermione did in fact make the right decision, just blathering a bit on why she may've thought so, and wondering aloud if JKR was thinking about her real-life experience with the family who inspired the gum-wrappers when she came up with that scenario...)

I have no dog in this hunt -- why aren't I in bed right now??? And what does this have to do with thermonuclear war again?

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wynnleaf - Feb 6, 2008 7:53 am (#99 of 136)

I think I was just trying to say something about why Hermione may have done what she did -- obviously the Grangers are not mentally incompetent, but Hermione was making the same type of tough decision that people faced with placing an Alzheimer's patient do. It's not easy, and it's probably not what the "patient" wants to do, but somebody has to make the decision as to what's best. (Madam Pince)

Thanks for clarifying. And here's why I disagreed so much.

somebody has to make the decision as to what's best.

With an Alzhimer's patient, the patient cannot make the decision, so "someone" else has to make a decision. The problem with Hermione is that it should never, ever have been her decision to make. She assumed she was the "someone" to make the decision. She wasn't. It was her parents right to make the decision plain and simple. In my opinion, that's the whole huge ethical problem with this incident. Hermione made the decision. It's not a question of really whether it was the right or wrong decision. It wasn't her's to make and she had no right to take the decision from them. (I realize there's a chance she had their permission, but I think that's quite doubtful.)

Hermione was making the same type of tough decision that people faced with placing an Alzheimer's patient do.

Hermione was assuming she could make the "same type of tough decision." In fact, it wasn't the same at all, because she had no right to take that decision making process away from her parents.

However, it is an interesting comparison because so often the Wizards in HP think of muggles kind of like mentally incompetent people who have to have decisions taken from them for their own good. I think Hermione's action kind of reflects that attitude and shows that she had perhaps developed that inner prejudice that even the good wizards have toward all muggles.

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Swedish Short-Snout - Feb 6, 2008 9:00 am (#100 of 136)

"Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon"
Perhaps Hermione asked for her parent's permission to "do some magic to keep them alive", but never said exactly what. That's not lying, it's just not telling the whole truth.
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Let's Play Global Thermonuclear War (Post 101 to 136)

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:55 am

Orion - Feb 6, 2008 9:30 am (#101 of 136)
So maybe it's ethically "wrong", but practically "right". If you are very, very strict and politically correct about it, naturally she didn't have the right. But it kept her parents safe and happy (in absence of something even remotely resembling FBI witness protection programmes, whatever DD says about "hiding somebody completely" - how, pray?) and it would have kept them safe and happy for the rest of their lives if she had died. She didn't die, had the chance to explain afterwards, probably earned herself a huge row, much slamming of doors and "are you mental?", but they probably deflated after a while and saw reason.

I don't care much about the ethically absolutely optimal solution - if you know that the only chance you have to rescue your stroppy parents is to do it against their will, you just have to do it. What would you do if your own parents were under threat to be tortured to death - would you enter into a lengthy discussion with them and accept their refusal, or would you act like Hermione?

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wynnleaf - Feb 6, 2008 10:29 am (#102 of 136)

I don't care much about the ethically absolutely optimal solution - if you know that the only chance you have to rescue your stroppy parents is to do it against their will, you just have to do it. (Orion)

But Hermione "knew" no such thing. 1. She didn't know that obliviating their memories would really keep them safe. 2. She wasn't an expert on memory charms. 3. And if she didn't first try to convince them to go to Australia under assumed names without the obliviation, she didn't even know if they were really the "stroppy" parents who just wouldn't attempt to protect themselves.

And last there's the distinct possibility that Hermione would have died and left her parents out in Australia, physically alive, but essentially different people whose lives and memories for decades had been wiped out. It was, in essence, a kind of temporary "death" of the individual, the inner self, in order to keep their bodies alive in the hopes that Hermione could restore it all later.

It's one thing to grab the hand of someone dangerously walking too close to a precipace and pull them to safety against their will. It's quite another to wipe out their memories for decades at the risk that they would lose that forever.

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zelmia - Feb 6, 2008 11:01 am (#103 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Everyone assumes that Hermione took it upon herself to modify her parents' memories. But there's no way of knowing that her parents didn't come up with the idea and had to convince Hermione to do it. My point is that the only thing we can say for certain about these characters - who, after seven entire books, have never even been given a single line of dialogue - is that they are Muggle dentists who apparently enjoy skiing and France. That's it.

Further, we know absolutely nothing about the relationship Hermione has with her parents; we've never even been shown so much as a postcard exchanged between them. So, there is no point in comparing Hermione's theoretical relationship with her parents to Harry's actual relationship with the Dursleys, or Arthur and/or Molly Weasley with their children - particularly when even Arthur and Molly are not entirely in agreement.

Yes, Hermione was ethically wrong to try to free the House Elves by leaving clothing around for them, but that is down to cultural ignorance, not Wizarding arrogance. She believed she could "save" them in much the same way that Christian missionaries believed they were "saving" the various indigenous populations.
By their standards of morality - which we may or may not share - both Hermione and the missionaries felt they had an obligation to do what they could to help those "less fortunate". What Hermione (and the missionaries) failed to comprehend is that the House Elves were actually quite happy within the context of their own culture, and that there was nothing wrong with the culture itself.

Quibbling about whether or not someone has the "right" to act when we know nothing about the situation is pretty much the same thing Hermione did with the House Elves.

What would you do if your own parents were under threat to be tortured to death - would you enter into a lengthy discussion with them and accept their refusal, or would you act like Hermione? - I agree, Orion. This is really what it comes down to. And in my view, this is an instance where the end justifies the means.

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PeskyPixie - Feb 6, 2008 12:13 pm (#104 of 136)

What would you do if your own parents were under threat to be tortured to death - would you enter into a lengthy discussion with them and accept their refusal, or would you act like Hermione? -Orion

I suppose the logical decision would be for Hermione to present the facts to her parents and let them choose their path during this difficult time for themselves (although in cases where our loved ones face potential danger we are more inclined to act from emotion rather than logic). Most parents would choose to risk death and torture before leaving their (only) child behind to possibly face a similar fate alone.

However, whether we as Muggles like it or not, witches and wizards do have a better grasp of the complexities of the Wizarding War. Hermione is in the eye of this madness; she faces even greater risks than the average witch/wizard. As a persecuted Muggle-born and courageous Gryffindor, going into hiding with her parents is not an option for her. So, what should she do? Should she leave them vulnerable to torture and death by Death Eaters if that be their wish? Or is it her responsibility to protect them, with the best of her ability, from a danger she comprehends more fully than they do?

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Michael Franz - Feb 6, 2008 12:55 pm (#105 of 136)

She believed she could "save" them in much the same way that Christian missionaries believed they were "saving" the various indigenous populations.

I think Hermione's actions are more like the Inquisition in which people were tortured in order to "confess." After all, what's a little torture on Earth compared to an eternity of torment in the afterlife?

Needless to say, that position is abhorrent to any Christian missionaries today. I don't want to get all preachy here, but God doesn't reprogram us to obey — he gave us free will. Why do HP wizards consider Imperio to be dark magic? Because it takes free will away. Just because a memory charm isn't labeled "Unforgivable" doesn't mean it isn't.

Should she leave them vulnerable to torture and death by Death Eaters if that be their wish?

Well, if the only alternative is erasing their memories like a defective hard drive, then yes! Some means cannot be justified, no matter what the end. If Hermione had locked her parents in a dungeon for the duration, we would not be having this discussion, because everyone would consider her to be wrong. Instead, she treated her parents like the trained chimpanzees that all wizards (with the possible exception of Dumbledore) consider Muggles to be.

Magie über Alles! Dem großeren Gut!

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zelmia - Feb 6, 2008 2:12 pm (#106 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Needless to say, that position is abhorrent to any Christian missionaries today -
A) I wasn't talking about "Chrisitian missionaries today". I was making a historical reference.
B) What's so "abhorrent" about it? So you're saying that the apparent ethnocentrism of the fictitious Wizarding culture is insidious and vile, but the real life ethnocentrism behind insinuating one's own cultural values and/or morality onto others and expecting them to not only accept, but also to abide by those cultural standards is acceptable? Well, "that does not compute".

Some means cannot be justified, no matter what the end. - To YOU.

I don't want to get all preachy here - Then don't. It goes against the philosophy of the Forum, anyway.

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Michael Franz - Feb 6, 2008 2:17 pm (#107 of 136)

So you're saying that the apparent ethnocentrism of the fictitious Wizarding culture is insidious and vile, but the real life ethnocentrism behind insinuating one's own cultural values and/or morality onto others and expecting them to not only accept, but also to abide by those cultural standards is acceptable?

No, and no reasonable reading of my statement would imply this. I was saying that the Inquisition was abhorrent, and so was Hermione's behavior.

Then don't. It goes against the philosophy of the Forum, anyway.

Don't mention the "C" word, and I won't mention the "G" word.

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zelmia - Feb 6, 2008 2:28 pm (#108 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
Instead, she treated her parents like the trained chimpanzees that all wizards (with the possible exception of Dumbledore) consider Muggles to be. - Well, I, for one, cannot wait to see the citations from the text supporting this.

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Michael Franz - Feb 6, 2008 3:27 pm (#109 of 136)

I'm sorry; I'm just getting too emotional about this whole debate. When I was six, I saw a movie where bullies were picking on a little girl. I said, "Mom, those bullies deserve to be pounded!" Mom said, "It's only a movie." So why am I getting so mad at people who don't even exist? Because I'm crazy. Smile

I don't mean to bring religion into this specifically; priests, politicians, and peddlers all want to convince you they're right. They have the right to attempt to persuade you; you have the right to tell them to leave. If they refuse to leave and attempt to persuade you by force, then that action is wrong even if their position is right.

No one in the Muggle world has the power to actually reprogram someone's mind. It's been tried, of course, but in reality, brainwashing is a myth. The very idea of it, however, has struck horror into the minds of people for decades. I just find it strange that some folks give Hermione a pass on something like that because she thought it was best.

After all, Grindelwald thought the same thing — and got life for it.

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Michael Franz - Feb 6, 2008 3:43 pm (#110 of 136)

Of course, when Muggles finally do develop the technology to reprogram minds, the wizards will really be in trouble.

"Welcome to Rekall, Inc. How can I help you today?"

"I'm Wendell Wilkins, and this is my wife Monica. We saw your ad about the Mars vacation special, and we'd like to try it."

"AAAAH! I'm a dentist, and my daughter is a witch!"
"Oh, great. Another schizoid embolism. Right, dump them next to that Austrian guy we lobotomized."

"I am ze Guvernor of Kalifornia!"

"Yeah, buddy. Sure you are."

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PeskyPixie - Feb 6, 2008 4:03 pm (#111 of 136)

After witnessing the permanent damage Death Eaters are ready and willing to inflict (e.g. Frank and Alice Longbottom) there is no way I'd allow my parents to choose this option if I had the ability to send them to safety. Hermione should not be judged harshly for desiring to save her parents from torture, death and insanity.

I assume the main problem some people have with Hermione's actions is the temporary 'memory-wiping'? So, would she be able to give her parents false IDs and send them off to Australia without doing this?

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Madam Pince - Feb 6, 2008 4:09 pm (#112 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Is it hot in here or is it just me?

Must be the thermonuclear stuff...

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Michael Franz - Feb 6, 2008 4:57 pm (#113 of 136)

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

Sorry. I was burning Hermione in effigy while chanting from the Malleus Maleficarum. Won't happen again. Smile

So, would she be able to give her parents false IDs and send them off to Australia without doing this?

Did she give them false IDs in the first place, or were they immediately deported as illegal immigrants?

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Michael Franz - Feb 6, 2008 6:05 pm (#114 of 136)

I just looked up the Lexicon entry for Hermione's parents. It says:

Hermione thoughtfully protected her parents from reprisals by modifying their memories, giving them new names (Wendell and Monica Wilkins) and no memory that they once had a daughter, and then relocated them to Australia (DH6).

I'm sure you can guess which word in there I object to. Smile

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Steve Newton - Feb 7, 2008 7:01 am (#115 of 136)

Librarian
I'm pretty sure that Grindelwald got life for killing.

People are objecting to the memory wipe not the trip to Australia I presume.

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wynnleaf - Feb 7, 2008 7:54 am (#116 of 136)

It's the whole thing.

The memory wipe makes it incredibly invasive, personally altering who the person is, taking away their inner "self" by removing a couple of decades worth of memories or more. In other words, she practically "killed" them in order to "save" them.

If Hermione hadn't returned, what would have been "saved??" I really mean this as a question. What would she have achieved if she had either not been able to come for them later or if she hadn't been able to give their memories back?

Yes, they'd have still been physically alive, but the would no longer be the same people. The people that they were, Hermione's parents, the Grangers, would essentially be dead anyway, Death Eaters or not.

What's the difference? So what if they're physically alive and happy?

One might as well suggest that putting them into a Draught of Living Death sleep, possibly permanently, is an okay alternative to death, because as long as their bodies are alive that's better than being tortured to death by Death Eaters. As long as their dreams are happy, they're find, right? Really? Maybe they wouldn't think so. Maybe, in fact, it's not better.

The problem isn't simply the mind wipe. It's that Hermione completely altered their lives. She took their memories, their home, their jobs, their family, their country - practically everything that the average person would consider their "life." And apparently she took it without a "by your leave," just because Hermione thought it best. Well, a vast number of people through millennia would and have faced death and torture in order to keep those things. They are important and a great many people consider them just that important.

Hermione took it all away because she felt that what she believed to be important took precedence over whatever her parents might wish.

That's what concerns me.

In the Wizarding World, wizards tend to look upon Muggles with an extreme degree of parentalism. I've lived in several developing countries for a few years and it reminds me of the way many westerners treated many nationals there -- as though they couldn't possibly understand values or good sense or make decisions like westerners could, so westerners should just make the decisions for them.

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PeskyPixie - Feb 7, 2008 9:49 am (#117 of 136)

The problem isn't simply the mind wipe. It's that Hermione completely altered their lives. She took their memories, their home, their jobs, their family, their country - practically everything that the average person would consider their "life." -wynnleaf

Actually, the things you mention are only affected by the 'mind wipe'. Without that the Grangers would be accepting to take part in a witness protection scenario set up by their daughter.

The memory charm is the only part of her actions I have some trouble with. Apart from that I don't see anything wrong with taking charge of a situation to save your loved ones from torture, death and insanity.

" ... wizards tend to look upon Muggles with an extreme degree of parentalism." -wynnleaf

I see them more as experts of a world we know nothing about at all but which affects us drastically. What's wrong with taking advice from an expert who can gauge a situation better than we can? Muggle persecution is the reason why magical folk have gone into hiding. They still have the decency to try to save us from a regime which targets us and we judge them harshly for that as well? You just can't get a break as a witch or wizard.

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wynnleaf - Feb 7, 2008 11:59 am (#118 of 136)

Patrick Henry once said, "give me liberty or give me death." Some people would rather keep their liberty to make their own choices about risks, their lives, their homes, their jobs, etc., rather than have all of that taken away in order to keep them physically safe.

Patrick Henry's wife was insane. He had to curtail her freedom because she didn't have the ability to make the decisions to care for herself. That's completely different. She couldn't make decisions for herself. But throughout the ages competent adults have demanded the right to make decisions for themselves. The notion that it should be okay for others to come in and take your decisions from you, simply because they think they know what's best, is just wrong.

If the Grangers, or anyone, felt that they were willing to risk death in order to hang onto their lives, their memories, their homes, their family, their jobs, their country -- all of it -- that should have been their decision. It's not Hermione's right or place to think it should ever by "okay" to take that decision away from mentally competent adults.

Actually, the things you mention are only affected by the 'mind wipe'. Without that the Grangers would be accepting to take part in a witness protection scenario set up by their daughter.

The point is that it should have been their choice, not Hermione's, to give up home, jobs, country, etc. Their choice, not Hermione's. If they chose to go into something the equivalent of a witness protection program, that's fine. Their choice. But because Hermione decided to wipe their memories, she seems to have not given them that choice.

All that is said in the books is that it was done for their safety, not for Hermione's. Therefore, as far as we are told, the only reason for the mind wipe was to get them out of their home, their jobs, their country, their names, etc., and to give up contact with their family. Since the only reason we were given for Hermione's action is to protect them, we can only assume that the mind wipe was to get them to go along with it. Therefore, Hermione took the decision from them, and that was wrong.

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PeskyPixie - Feb 7, 2008 12:05 pm (#119 of 136)

We're not simply talking of 'anyone' here, Wynnleaf, we're talking about a person's loved ones.

For some of us it's difficult to disengage our emotions and make a solely logical decision when our loved ones are in mortal danger.

The point is that it should have been their choice, not Hermione's, to give up home, jobs, country, etc. Their choice, not Hermione's. If they chose to go into something the equivalent of a witness protection program, that's fine. Their choice. But because Hermione decided to wipe their memories, she seems to have not given them that choice. -wynnleaf

Therefore, the Memory Charm is the main problem. That was my original statement.

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wynnleaf - Feb 7, 2008 12:07 pm (#120 of 136)

For some of us it's difficult to disengage our emotions and make a solely logical decision when our loved ones are in mortal danger. (Pesky)

Sure, I understand that Hermione did it because she was worried about her parent's safety. That was her reason. It is not, however, an excuse. Like we often say about Snape, "reasons" are not the same as "excuses." I can understand her reasons. I still consider it inexcusable.

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wynnleaf - Feb 7, 2008 12:08 pm (#121 of 136)

Therefore, the Memory Charm is the main problem. That was my original statement. (Pesky)

No, it's the intent behind the Memory Charm. The memory wipe was (as far as we can tell) intended to force them to comply. That's absolutely wrong.

Yes, the Memory charm in itself is a terrible thing because it steals the persons sense of self. However, that is not the only terrible thing. The intent in its usage is also terrible.

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PeskyPixie - Feb 7, 2008 1:31 pm (#122 of 136)

"Therefore, the Memory Charm is the main problem. That was my original statement." (Pesky)

"No, it's the intent behind the Memory Charm. The memory wipe was (as far as we can tell) intended to force them to comply. That's absolutely wrong." -wynnleaf

I was talking about this particular Memory Charm, not Memory Charms in general.

Excluding the Memory Charm I see this situation as similar to an incident where a young woman is a forest ranger and is aware that a particularly dangerous forest fire is headed in the direction of her parents' home. (BTW, her parents don't know anything about wilderness except what they hear from her; they are not 'in their element' in the bush and wouldn't know how to safely conduct themselves when confronted with wilderness danger unless supervised by an expert) This young woman tells her parents that they need to immediately evacuate their home (perhaps never to see it again), but that she herself must stay behind to help firefighters and other rangers. Should her parents be given the right to stay behind and risk the fire?

I'd personally make sure that they were removed from their home and kept safe with other evacuees during the fire. I know this would infringe on their rights as individuals, but it's a measure I'd take. Similarly, I don't know about the Memory Charm, but in Hermione's shoes I'd make sure my parents were put into some sort of protection program even if it was against their wishes.

"Some people would rather keep their liberty to make their own choices about risks, their lives, their homes, their jobs, etc., rather than have all of that taken away in order to keep them physically safe. -wynnleaf

I truly doubt that if the Grangers would decide to stay behind their decision would have anything to do with their home, career, their liberty. It would be entirely about Hermione. Parents often make extremely emotional decisions where their child is concerned.

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wynnleaf - Feb 7, 2008 4:10 pm (#123 of 136)

I truly doubt that if the Grangers would decide to stay behind their decision would have anything to do with their home, career, their liberty. It would be entirely about Hermione. (Pesky)

My point was that many many sane and rational people are willing to face torture and death for far less than their child. Parents are not the only people willing to face these things. It is done every day and has been for thousands of years for things like home, career, country, the rest of one's family, etc. These things are truly important to people and it is their right to chose.

The situation you set up with the wildfire is not a good one.

I recall when Mt. St. Helens was going to blow and people were warned to get out. A few did not and died. What if their children had come in a forced them out? Would I disapprove? No. Why? What's different?

1. First people were warned and given a choice.

2. If the person was removed and Mt. St Helen's blew, they were alive and only lost their home -- not their life, their job, their memory and knowledge of "self," not their family, not their country. All they lost was their house. The option to rebuild and retain all of the rest of their past life was still theirs. With Hermione's parents, she took every choice from them and practically everything in their lives -- memory, family, home, job, country, knowledge of "self" etc. In their case, there was no certainty that they'd be able to regain any of it.

The catastrophic nature of what she took away, without any certainty that her parents would have the option to regain any of it, that makes what Hermione did so bad. She took all of these things from them without giving them a choice.

It's like I said earlier, if you grab someone's hand against their will and pull them back from the edge of a cliff, you have not deprived them of much, even if technically you did take their "right" to risk their life. If you remove someone from the path of a wildfire, you only deprive them of the choice to die to try and keep their home. They retain the option and ability to go back and start over and regain all they'd lost.

Hermione didn't do that. She took far too much without permission. She took far too much far beyond the degree that a great many people would willingly risk their lives to protect.

Let me put another one out there.

Molly, like many parents, feared to see her children fight in a war. Would she have the right to do memory charms on them all, cause them to forget their families, their friends, their lives, Hogwarts, the people they were falling in love with, etc., in order to spirit them away to another country and start a new life? Just so they wouldn't be in danger?

Would that okay for Molly to do that? What if Ginny's memory of Harry was taken away and she never even remembered him, much less knew she loved him? Would that be okay? What if Molly wanted Bill out, so she obliviated his knowledge of his wife and removed him from England. Is that okay?

Of course not. These people have the right to who they are, to their memories, to their knowledge of themselves and their lives. Just because Molly loves her children doesn't give her the right to totally change their lives and cause them to forget people they love, all so Molly can selfishly feel that they are safe. If they want to risk their lives in order to keep what they care about, they should be able to do so.

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PeskyPixie - Feb 7, 2008 5:00 pm (#124 of 136)

"My point was that many many sane and rational people are willing to face torture and death for far less than their child." -wynnleaf

Yes, but the scenario we deal with focuses on a daughter's love and concern for her parents and her parents' possible reaction to losing her. A house, career and social life do not enter this particular equation. The main question is, does one have the right to refuse safety and die for a loved one?

"The situation you set up with the wildfire is not a good one." -wynnleaf

Fair enough. I agree, but for different reasons.

"I recall when Mt. St. Helens was going to blow and people were warned to get out. A few did not and died. What if their children had come in a forced them out? Would I disapprove? No. Why? What's different?

1. First people were warned and given a choice.

I presented a scenario where the Grangers are given a choice, then I asked what measures may be taken if they refuse the option of safety.

2. If the person was removed and Mt. St Helen's blew, they were alive and only lost their home -- not their life, their job, their memory and knowledge of "self," not their family, not their country. All they lost was their house. The option to rebuild and retain all of the rest of their past life was still theirs ... If you remove someone from the path of a wildfire, you only deprive them of the choice to die to try and keep their home. They retain the option and ability to go back and start over and regain all they'd lost.

I suggested my scenario clearly excluding the Memory Charm as a factor. And honestly, natural disasters rob people of more than just homes.

It's like I said earlier, if you grab someone's hand against their will and pull them back from the edge of a cliff, you have not deprived them of much, even if technically you did take their "right" to risk their life.

I don't really see how this example applies to this specific situation (BTW, I'm not suggesting that you mean for it to, I'm just thinking). It's more a case of a landslide in the vicinity of the Grangers and Hermione yanking them out of potential harm's way before leaping onto a thestral with Ron and descending into the chaos. Does she have the right to do this against their will? If they refuse her aid and answer that it's not that close to them and chances are they'll be unharmed, should she be satisfied with that? Would she be justified in performing a temporary Memory Charm to protect them?

While I appreciate the comparison between the Weasleys and the Grangers one needs to remember that as Muggles the Grangers are completely defenseless in a Death Eater attack.

My personal opinion is that the Order needed to be concerned and involved in hiding Hermione's parents. It's too difficult a decision for an eighteen-year-old girl. But this is just silly! JKR just had to deal with these two characters we don't know that well ASAP and she did it in a few lines.

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Michael Franz - Feb 7, 2008 5:17 pm (#125 of 136)

But this is just silly! JKR just had to deal with these two characters we don't know that well ASAP and she did it in a few lines.

You're right, of course, but the reason I get so worked up about this issue is because I never really agreed with JKR's decision to make Hermione's parents into non-characters. I mean, we know the middle names and complete ancestries of several wizard characters, but Hermione's parents don't even have first names!

I fully expected Death Eaters to attack Hermione's house near the beginning of the sixth book, resulting in a "you've got some MASSIVE explaining to do, girl!" scene. But, for some reason, even Hermione didn't expect anything like this until the seventh book. Why not? Weren't her parents in almost as much danger during HBP?

Note: I don't think Voldemort would have ordered an attack on them. He's a monomaniac who's obsessed with Harry and only Harry. Lucius Malfoy, on the other hand, has to put up with Draco's complaints about "that Mudblood" all the time. There's no doubt in my mind that he'd do it.

And, of course, at the end of OOTP, Hermione is nearly killed at the Department of Mysteries. What if she had been killed? Would Dumbledore have told her parents the truth, or would he have told them a story about a car crash?

Before DH, I'd never have believed that Dumbledore would lie about something like that. Afterwards, I really couldn't be sure.

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PeskyPixie - Feb 7, 2008 6:20 pm (#126 of 136)

My friend and I have been discussing Hermione's relationship with her parents for a few years now. I think we finally settled on the idea that it's loose writing on JKR's part.

(I really should get back to my thoroughly Muggle essay now. I've been playing with my Lexicon friends all day instead of finishing my paper! )

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zelmia - Feb 7, 2008 6:25 pm (#127 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
She took all of these things from them without giving them a choice. - Again, we don't know that. We don't know that there wasn't a lengthy discussion about the imminent dangers and the options for dealing with them, Hermione's ability to the spell, etc. We don't know.

Having said that, we can clearly see in the text that this was not a decision Hermione took lightly, whether she had discussed it with her parents or not. She recognises fully that her parents are, at that point, "dead to her" and can barely contain how distraught she is about it.

I never really agreed with JKR's decision to make Hermione's parents into non-characters. - Me neither. Hermione is a MAJOR character - one of the "stars" if you will. Yet we're not even shown so much as a letter exchanged between them. I was quite shocked, to be honest, when she said, "I've told them quite a lot about [Harry], actually." My responsed was, "When??"

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wynnleaf - Feb 7, 2008 7:21 pm (#128 of 136)

I'm not sure why JKR needed a quick "fix" to get the Grangers out of the way in DH, when, as Michael points out, she didn't seem to find any problem with writing HBP where the Grangers are perfectly safe in their home, with their dental practice, and no DEs are running over trying to kill them or torture them or anything. Why not just leave them living anonymously somewhere in England?

Besides which I really do think once JKR decided to have Hermione get her parents out of the way, she chose a particularly Hermione-ish way of going about it.

Having said that, we can clearly see in the text that this was not a decision Hermione took lightly, whether she had discussed it with her parents or not. She recognises fully that her parents are, at that point, "dead to her" and can barely contain how distraught she is about it. (zelmia)

Frankly, I don't think Hermione's anguish over the step she took makes it the slightest bit better. She may have felt they were "dead to her," but they were certianly also "dead" to themselves. That is, the persons they were had basically been taken from them. I think that's a lot more distressing than Hermione feeling sorry that they don't know who she is any more.

See, to me she more or less "killed" them. Not physically of course, but most of who they were, she took. And she might never have been able to get it back. I just don't think leaving them physically alive justifies the degree that she took from them.

And no, I realize we're not told whether or not Hermione got their permission. But like I've said over and over, the only reason we were given for Hermione's action was to keep them safe, not keep Hermione safe. Therefore the memory charm wasn't to protect their memories from LV, but to make them willing to go off to Australia and stay there -- in other words, comply with Hermione's wishes. That means, logically, that either Hermione never asked them to do it in the first place, or they refused and she decided to make them.

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Verity Weasley - Feb 7, 2008 7:58 pm (#129 of 136)

I mean, we know the middle names and complete ancestries of several wizard characters, but Hermione's parents don't even have first names!

Maybe their first names really are Monica and Wendell!! I mean, how did Hermione come up with those?

As PeskyPixie rightly points out, all this was really just a plot device to get Hermione's parents out of the way so there wouldn't be any awkward situations with the storyline. We see the same thing with the Dursley's being taken away to safety and with Ron explaining his cover story with the ghoul in the attic. Does anybody have another suggestion for how Hermione's parents could have been dealt with?

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Michael Franz - Feb 7, 2008 8:26 pm (#130 of 136)

Does anybody have another suggestion for how Hermione's parents could have been dealt with?

Well, by the time we got all the way to DH with Mr. and Mrs. ______ Granger, there really wasn't any good way to tie up that loose end. If Hermione's parents had been in the story earlier, however, they could have gotten as much "screen" time as the Dursleys to make a graceful exit.

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zelmia - Feb 7, 2008 8:41 pm (#131 of 136)

Oh! And that's a bad miss!
I don't see what HBP has to do with anything.

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Michael Franz - Feb 7, 2008 10:40 pm (#132 of 136)

In HBP, Voldemort was "out" and had already attacked Muggle targets at the beginning of the book. Hermione's parents would already be in danger of attack.

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wynnleaf - Feb 8, 2008 4:24 am (#133 of 136)

Yes, the idea that JKR even needed a "quick fix" is that she had to remove Hermione's parents to safety or else have LV attack them in DH in order to be believable. But no one questioned the believability of HBP when neither LV nor and DEs attacked Hermione's parents, so why did JKR feel she had to remove them in DH? That is, if JKR's reason for removing the Grangers was simply a matter of expediency and she had to do it in order to be believable.

But even if that was the reason for removing them, I still think she had Hermione act very much in character by basically taking over her parents lives and making huge, life altering decisions for them without their having a choice. (Note earlier my reasoning for why it was almost certainly not their choice. It logically follows from the explanation we're given that their memories were altered and that Hermione acted for their safety.)

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Madam Pince - Feb 8, 2008 11:26 am (#134 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Re: the HBP scenario...

Could it be that in HBP, Voldemort was not yet fully aware of exactly how close Harry and Hermione actually were? So he wouldn't have really had any reason to target the Grangers so much. (I'm not entirely sure of when he knew what, though, so someone's bound to be able to correct me...) I mean, it was probably fairly common knowledge that they were school chums and hung out together (ie: McNair may've seen them together when he came to Hogwarts to execute Buckbeak; Lucius may've passed on the observation that they seem to be friends, etc.) but Voldemort may not have known they were anything more than school buddies -- he may not have known that they might be willing to face death for each other. (That is a foreign concept to him, after all.)

But by DH, Harry/Hermione/Ron were "on the lam" together, so it was abundantly clear that by getting to Hermione or Ron, he might be able to get at Harry also. This knowledge places Ron's and Hermione's families (and the Dursleys, too, apparently) at much greater risk.

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PeskyPixie - Feb 8, 2008 1:00 pm (#135 of 136)

Voldy may have asked Snape about who Harry's classmates are. He is their teacher.

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Madam Pince - Feb 8, 2008 5:24 pm (#136 of 136)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Yes, but I intentionally left him off the list because I'd imagine that Snape would've been vague with his answer. He is was a double-agent, after all! I can totally see him saying something like "Oh, Potter doesn't have any friends; he only has a few losers who are hangers-on because he's *The Boy Who Lived*" (imagine dripping Snape-sarcasm here...) "Nobody that he really cares for or who cares for him, My Lord."

Sigh... I miss him...
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