Origins and History of the Wizarding World

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Origins and History of the Wizarding World Empty Origins and History of the Wizarding World

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:05 am

Origins and History of the Wizarding World

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 "Archived Thread to be Worked" folder of the WC forum. Elanor

Diagon Nilly - Jun 8, 2004 6:52 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Jan 12, 2006 12:18 pm
I started this discussion for two reasons:

One - It seems that several people have taken to the discussion currently in the "Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort" folder about Riddle's connection to the 1940's and the Dark Lord Grindelwald as well as the significance of the year 1492 in wizard history. It's brought up some discussion about wizard involvement during certain historical events - which could lend itself to some very involved and interesting recounts of things most of us learned in Social Studies classes (by the way, any way of moving those posts to this folder if this discussion is worth hanging on to?).

Two - it seems a folder about wizard history could also house discussions about the origins and wizard lexicon. For example, JKR has said (somewhere, can't remember) that the word "muggle" was arbitrarily picked because she liked how it sounded. In the real world this is fine and good, but if you said that to Hermoine Granger herself, she'd say "who made up what about muggles? You must be mistaken, I don't remember hearing that name in Professor Binn's class." I thought it would be fun to invent a little history to some of the more arbitrary things and research some history about others.

Here's a little thing I've been looking into. My husband and I are working on some fan-fiction set in the year 1411. Both of us agree that the word muggle sounds a bit too..."modern"... for the time period, so we're trying to come up with some "Ye Olde English" equivalent that would have been used in the days for yore. I did some research with a Latin/English translation and discovered some befitting words:

"Mugio" is Latin for "groan, bellow and roar" "Gelamen" is Latin for "assembly or gathering"

So perhaps Muggelmen (or maybe simply Muggela) would be an gathering of loudmouths?

Likewise, "Gelide" is Latin for "coldly, weakly or feebly"

So maybe Muggelid could be "feeble loudmouths"

to be more literal, "Magus" is Latin for "Magical" and "Nullus" is Latin for "Non" together would be something like "Magnuls" which could just as easily be "Magguls" or "Maggulls"

Thought this would be good brain fodder for the Potties/Historians out there. Thoughts?
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Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:07 am

BellaMorte - Jun 8, 2004 8:01 pm (#1 of 77)
I like the thought that Magguls could easily become Muggles in the 20th century, since a lot of the English spoken words are variations from centuries past.

I'll be watching this thread with great interest Smile

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The giant squid - Jun 9, 2004 12:52 am (#2 of 77)

DN, you've been thinking entirely too much! Wink

Keep it up. I like your "breakdown" of the word muggle. Ironically, I've recently come across a book called Forgotten English, which details words that have fallen out of use or changed over the years.

Are there any other words JKR has invented that would have a background in the WW? We've already seen the origin of the word "quidditch" in QtA, what else is there?


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Lexicon Steve - Jun 9, 2004 4:31 am (#3 of 77)

I really like Magguls. It sounds like something Rowling would come up with.

I have always been intrigued by the change in Muggle-Wizard relations which happened between the time of the ancient Egyptians and the founding of Hogwarts. That's about 2000-3000 years, of course, but were there specific events which led to the change in attitude? Were the changes on the part of the Muggles or on the part of Wizards? We are told the story for the Wizard point of view ("We were being picked on! Those Muggles just want to use our power for evil things!"). Come on...we know from the current state of the Wizarding World that Wizards are just as petty and underhanded and ambitious and lazy as Muggles. So what REALLY happened?


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TGF - Jun 9, 2004 6:23 am (#4 of 77)

Anti-Voldemort Insurgent
Yay, I've started a trend.

"So what REALLY happened?"

Well, we don't know when it happened, so it's very hard to speculate. It's also problematic because this was apparently a global phenomenon. So it's not just not knowing when, but not knowing both where and win. You can imagine European wizards backing off of Muggle affairs in unison during something like the Peace of Westphalia, but that doesn't explain when or why African, Asian, Middle Eastern or any other region of the world would do it. I think it has to be accepted in this case that 'it just did'.

You might want to take a look at my post in the Voldemort thread about Wizard-to-Muggle affairs, though, Steve. I think you might find it interesting.

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popkin - Jun 9, 2004 8:33 am (#5 of 77)

Diagon Nilly, please be more careful in what you are saying. Pitting Christianity (or any other religion) against wizardry takes all the fun out of this discussion for me - in my mind (JKR's as well, I think, since Easter and Christmas are celebrated at Hogwarts) they co-exist comfortably. I know its hard to discuss history without discussing religion, but lets try. Thanks.

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Denise P. - Jun 9, 2004 8:40 am (#6 of 77)

Ravenclaw Pony
Please tread very, very carefully here. Religious discussions are not to take place on the board because it tends to lead to problems. Please take the discussion off religion and back to speculation or the thread will be deleted.

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Diagon Nilly - Jun 9, 2004 10:12 am (#7 of 77)

Edited by Jun 9, 2004 10:13 am
That's not my intention. If I speak of religion, it's merely historical in context and not meant to be an opinion. Since religion, history and society are so intermingled it's hard to discuss one without mentioning the other. So, let me just rephrase by saying the changes in social beliefs led to spiritual changes. But I'm pitting nothing against nothing. One belief rose, another fell, very simple. (this is not JKR, btw, this is history. I'm merely attempting to apply historical fact to a fictional universe in order to find a reason for wizard society's self-imposed social exile). I can see now that starting this folder was probably a bad (and apparently offensive) idea so I've deleted my message in order to rephrase the whole thing in non-offensive terms:

St. Augustine wrote some stuff that everybody liked and magic was forgotten. Then the Crusades happened and regular folks in other continents forgot about magic. Then the Inquisition happened and wizards got scared and hid.

I'll mention the Incroyables of France, the Industrial Revolution and repressed American Wizards again some other time when I'm feeling less...sassy.

Oh yes, if anyone wants to discuss the historical events I deleted, please e-mail me. I'd love to have a no-holds-barred, private, in-depth discussion with anyone who's interested.

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TGF - Jun 9, 2004 10:26 am (#8 of 77)

Anti-Voldemort Insurgent
"Pitting Christianity (or any other religion) against wizardry takes all the fun out of this discussion for me - in my mind (JKR's as well, I think, since Easter and Christmas are celebrated at Hogwarts) they co-exist comfortably."

I feel very compelled to contest this statement, simply because it's untrue. Witch burnings are mentioned in book 3, and witch burnings were religiously generated... Certainly in the present day Hogwarts it isn't an issue, but to say that throughout all history it never was just simply doesn't flow... but, well, I shall respect Denise's stance on this and leave it at that.

Diagon, I'd be up for that, if I could remember for the life of me what you'd deleted. I read the post a few hours ago, but now whenever I try to remember my scar burns. Hate it when that happens.

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Loopy Lupin - Jun 9, 2004 11:14 am (#9 of 77)

to be more literal, "Magus" is Latin for "Magical" and "Nullus" is Latin for "Non" together would be something like "Magnuls" which could just as easily be "Magguls" or "Maggulls" -- Diagon Nilly

I would vote for "Magnuls." "Magguls" and "Maggulls" sounds more like "muggle," but seem to leave out the "non" aspect of the word. I'm no latin scholar so maybe I'm off base on that.

As for the last couple of posts, if we're going to have a "history" thread at all, it is almost certainly going to touch on religion at some point as it, religion, makes up such a big part of all history. Unfortunately, as you all know, there is a contingent of present day individuals who have strong religious feelings about wizarding, the occult, and these books etc. and who would love to flood sites such as these with various thoughts along those lines.

Present day Hogwarts seems to have a WW that has worked out any past rifts (if there were indeed any in JKR's world) with religious forces. I think it would be interesting to explore and speculate on that past. Unfortunately, I don't know how you could fairly discern what is a truly, honest historical question vs. an individual with some hidden agenda.

Good Luck!

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Tomoé - Jun 9, 2004 6:07 pm (#10 of 77)

Back in business
Lexicon Steve -> That's about 2000-3000 years, of course, but were there specific events which led to the change in attitude?

Muggles invented incomes. ^_^

Is there any reason for 1411, Diagon Nilly?

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Catherine - Jun 9, 2004 7:40 pm (#11 of 77)

Canon Seeker
I'm probably prejudiced here, as I was a medieval British lit major way back when it mattered. I was going to point out the "rise and fall" of empires. When Rome fell, there were many tribal forces, but not the central unifying governments. There were, in the 2-3 thousand year epochs mentioned by Steve, many empire rise and falls and national "dark ages."

Prior to Hogwarts' founding is "the Dark Age" in Europe. In more Eastern countries that was not the case (I'm thinking India and China and in Byzantium, where art, literature, and science flourished), but definitely so in Europe.

I can't possibly pinpoint exactly when muggle/wizard relations grew sour, but the Dark Ages seem a possibility.

Wizards interested in this line of thought should consult a good history link. In additon, I might suggest investigating Plato in general, and Yeats' vision of 1000 year cycles, and how they relate to astronomy, philosophy, and history.

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Verbina - Jun 9, 2004 9:57 pm (#12 of 77)

Image by me. Base by Nefertiti at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
And it was in the Dark Ages that a great deal of knowledge was lost or was suppressed by those in power. The people on the whole were illiterate. Beliefs in the old ways began to fall along the wayside and those that followed them were looked upon as being bad or evil. So if a wizard or witch was deemed to be following the old beliefs, they would be harrassed to no end, with all kinds of bizarre things being blamed upon them.

I find this discussion to be facinating really!!!

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S.E. Jones - Jun 9, 2004 11:24 pm (#13 of 77)

Let it snow!
I love this idea! Okay, if the Muggles and Wizards divided into different societies that co-existed along side each other after the Roman empire fell, then something like the Dark Ages could really explain why the two cultures split altogether (i.e. broke all lines of communication and the Wizards went into hiding). It would also explain the Wizarding worlds' current culture. If, during the Dark Ages, the Muggle's lost the ability to communicate and travel, knowledge would begin to stagnate - hence the "Dark Ages". However, this isn't a problem for wizards as they have other ways of communication and travel. Maybe Muggles wanted Wizards to give them their magic so they too could travel, etc, but the wizards instead refused and hid their world and magic from the Muggles. The Wizards, keeping their communication, etc, would be able to keep their society mainly intact and continue to grow/advance on their own (notice their culture is still more like that of the Middle Ages), independently of their Muggle counterpart. The Muggle culture would experience a great many changes before it regained its communication networks (as history shows) and thus had new ideas introduced that the Wizarding world wouldn't have seen necessarily. Later, the Muggle world would experience the Industrial revolution, making the difference between the worlds even greater....

Again, this is such a great topic!

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Lady Nagini - Jun 10, 2004 12:34 am (#14 of 77)

So Muggles (by whatever name) and wizards co-existed before the Dark Ages and then separated? Does that mean that if they once lived side-by-side, they can again co-exist? I know JKR said something in an interview about the split being permanent, but it's still something to think about.

Or is the division too deep and too far back to ever be remedied?


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TGF - Jun 10, 2004 12:46 am (#15 of 77)

Anti-Voldemort Insurgent
I sincerely doubt that the two worlds would ever join together completely, but its seen through things like that the defeat of Grindewald and the warning of the British PM after Sirius escaped that the two worlds do still interact in more ways than one.

I think I favour the idea of the split occuring sometime during the destruction of the Roman Empire. But that still only explains Europe, it doesn't explain the world.

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S.E. Jones - Jun 10, 2004 1:06 am (#16 of 77)

Let it snow!
Thus far, we've really only heard about Europe so it's hard to speculate. Anyone?

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TGF - Jun 10, 2004 1:28 am (#17 of 77)

Anti-Voldemort Insurgent
Colonization is my guess, though it's hard to imagine how that would've worked. Would the native wizards of the colonies have been as down-trodden as the native muggles? Difficult to say. Maybe they were, and the whole secrecy thing was imposed on them? I can certainly see that kind of Imperialism transfering over from Muggle to Magical world.

Though then again, there's nothing to say that British Magical Power would outweigh Asian or Native American Magical Power as it did in Muggle terms. It's hard to say since the only mention of non-European wizards we have (I think) is in Quidditch Through the Ages and the World Cup of Quidditch in GoF, both of which were scant on specifics.

Colonization still seems most likely though... I can't think of any other way the secrecy thing could've become an international norm.

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Diagon Nilly - Jun 10, 2004 7:01 am (#18 of 77)

1411 is significant, but if I say why it'll give the story away. While on the topic, I'm drawing this story as a comic book (and it's coming along nicely judging from the callouses on my hand to prove it, Yow! Does anyone know the best way to post it as a fanfic when I'm done?)

Anyway, Sarah brought up other countries and I have a brief history of early American wizard colonists running through my head. Here's what I theorize: Wizards came over as early colonists with the puritans for the same reasons, to escape persecution and live a simple life in relative anonymity in a much less populated area. The Salem Witch Trials happened in the last decade of the 1600's, after which many wizards rolled their eyes at the muggles, packed their bags and pioneered west. Isolated trade posts existed from present day Mexico up into Canada. So, they would have been able eke out an honest living and still practice magic without raising much suspicion. This also afforded them the chance to study closely with the Native Americans, whose shamans had quite a lot of powerful magic of their own (it's fun to think that a dream catcher also served as an early Native American pensieve, but I digress). You can imagine how the wizards felt after 150 years when the gold rush happened. Basically, "Aw poop, the party's over!"

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Tomoé - Jun 10, 2004 8:55 am (#19 of 77)

Back in business
Pretty interesting discussion indeed. Here's my take on the history of the witches and wizards :

Back millennia ago, when all the humans were fruits/nuts/roots pickers and/or hunters, there weren't much differences between magical tribes and non-magical tribes, magic people could experience emotional magic from time to time, but no focused magic yet. They could have found the properties of some magical plants, mastered some simple spell and discovered some not to dangerous magical animals, but nothing that give them a real advantage when there's nothing to pick or hunt. Plus, magic seems to attract magic (bowtruckles, chchizpurfles, Jarveys, etc.) so they could encounter dragons more often than normal humans.

Then, with agriculture and finally civilizations and writing, the magical folk found both time and ways to study and store the knowledge about magic. Likely, each of the five civilizations centers had their own way to do magic (those five are Sumer (Middle-East), Egypt, Indus, China and, many centuries later, Maya) allowing new development over the centuries and spreading their knowledge (willingly or not) to the peoples around.

I believe the creation of wands have been a revolution in performing magic, students to Hogwarts have to buy their own before they enter and magical creatures are forbidden to have one. It seems to be a great advantage that allow magical humans to overcome magical creatures far more magically powerful by nature (dragons, basilisks, dementors, etc.).

As human magic had become more powerful with result more easy to predict, non-magical humans asked for magic more often and more often still, wanting magic to solve every problems on the one hand, but were beginning to distrust those too powerful persons on the other hand. Witches and wizards became to live among themselves, away from non-magical folk, building their own culture and civilization.

Since the Olivanders began to make wands in -382, I assume the split between muggles and wizards occurred in the Antiquity in the British Islands, maybe even sooner in Greece and even sooner still in Egypt.

The year -382 ... wasn't it the year Celts raid Rome? Maybe that's when the Celtic peoples discovered the wands, and they passed it to their "cousin" in Britain (the Angles and Saxons were still on the continent in those times).

Thinking of it, Krum have a hornbeam wand, not a wood wand, maybe the wood wands is an innovation of celtic peoples, Roman and Greek wizards using hornbeam wands.

Lot of half formed thoughts I afraid, I'll come back later.

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Catherine - Jun 10, 2004 9:04 am (#20 of 77)

Canon Seeker
Tomoe, Krum's wand is made of wood. Hornbeam is a kind of tree that looks similar to a beech tree.

I think the botanical name is "Carpinus."

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Tomoé - Jun 10, 2004 9:16 am (#21 of 77)

Back in business
Thanks for the correction Catherine.

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popkin - Jun 10, 2004 11:46 am (#22 of 77)

Edited by Jun 10, 2004 11:50 am
Tomoe, I like your suggestion that the introduction of wizard "technology", such as wands, marked the start of the split between magical and nonmagical peoples. If there was a corresponding explosion of magical innovation (as an explosion of muggle innovation accompanied the industrial revolution), the magnuls (great source word, BTW!) would naturally have felt threatened by the wizards who were now so much more powerful than they. As the abilities of the wizards increased, so would the distrust of the muggles. After a while, wizards would begin to hide their magical abilities just so they could live in peace.

I also think that there may have been a bit of magic in almost all people before the rift began. That would account for the cross-cultural muggle myths about such things as magical creatures (which we can no longer see), or potions (which we can no longer make). As the more magical people drifted apart from the less magical (and less powerful) peoples, the less magical peoples would have had to develop nonmagical means of doing those things that had previously been done by talented wizards and witches (ie., health care, transportation, protection). The more they depended upon science and nature, the less magical they became.

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Diagon Nilly - Jun 10, 2004 12:12 pm (#23 of 77)

I also like the idea that magic developed differently in different parts of the world. For example, the Germanic peoples were pretty primitive (lots of tinkering with iron and hitting things with rocks) in comparison to the Roman empire, yet they coexisted at the same time. Likewise, while much of the world was nomadic and dressed in furs, Ancient Egypt flourished (it would have taken some pretty hefty levitation magic to build those temples and pyramids). Likewise in the Americas: Why were the Aztecs so advanced while the North American indian so unadvanced (granted, I believe the Indians had their own magic, but a diffeent kind. Not the kind that builds cities, but the kind that communes with animals and nature). It seems that some magic developed more/faster/differently in some parts of the world than others.

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Padfoot - Jun 10, 2004 3:03 pm (#24 of 77)

Popkin, I like your idea that all people had some magic ability at one point. Where some people developed it and others did not. This could be why a wizard is born into a muggle family sometimes.

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Diagon Nilly - Jun 10, 2004 3:56 pm (#25 of 77)

Actually, I just had an interesting thought: Cro-Magnon man came after (quite mysteriously) Neanderthal man (in Europe and the Mediterranean), Solo Man (in Java) and Rhodesian man (in Africa) about 80,000 years ago. The four species of man lived concurrently, but as mysteriously as cro-magnun arrived, the other species died off (Magnon sounds an awful lot like "Magnul" or "muggle" if you're all getting my drift). Now my thought was, what if the three species of man didn't die off, but dwindled in numbers enough to seem extint in scientific circles (At this point I wanted to add that the three "extint species" were practically identical except for their area of origin). So, let's say the the three extint species were magic profient (not very skilled, as they were in development...but much as Cro-Magnun will invent the wheel...the Extincts will invent their magic) lives rather isolated because of their small numbers. Evolutionary survival would have changed their appearance (not a far cry from Cro-Magnon man's, but enough to seem different) in order to assimilate. Rhodesian man settled in present day Egypt. Solo Man spread across parts of India and Asia (with a few tribes folling the Cro-Magnons over the the land bridge to North America and eventually settling in Central America and Neanderthal man settled the Meditereanean and Mesopotamia...And a foundation is set. Does this sound like a plausible explanation to my earlier question as to why some areas of the world were further advanced than others?

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Madame Librarian - Jun 10, 2004 4:09 pm (#26 of 77)

Fascinating topic here!

Though I'm quite happy with Diagon Nilly's word derivation for "muggle," here's another approach. In linguistic shifts and evolution, certain consonant sounds change over time. This is also true of things that vary within dialects or slang. Naturally, off the top of my head I can not thing of any good examples. Only one right now comes to mind: a slang version of "little" is "ickle" in the UK. (Obviously, if any more come to mind soon, I'll post them.)

So, one possibility is that just before the split in medieval times, non-magical people started meddling or --muddling-- with the arcane and exotic magical world. Maybe they made a muddle of everyting they tried to imitate. Meddle...muddle...muggle. Not as linguistically elegant as Diagon Nilly's construction, but could work as a pronunciation shift development.

Does anyone buy into the idea that ancient people (very ancient, maybe not quite Homo sapiens yet) all had a magical/mystical component to their minds? Some kept it, some lost it. Maybe.

Ciao. Barb

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TGF - Jun 10, 2004 10:33 pm (#27 of 77)

Anti-Voldemort Insurgent
If magical people came from that kind of origin, Madame L, then wouldn't that make magical people a seperate species? I'm not a biologist here, so I'm not sure...

I always considered magic to be a genetic thing, similar to eye colour. You have dominant genes and recessive genes, and what determines whether a person is a wizard or not is whether or not these genes express themselves... that would explain why Mudbloods and Squibs are around at least.

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Isenduil - Jun 10, 2004 11:14 pm (#28 of 77)

I don't have any theories on the history of magic but is it possible that Rowling will release another "school book" which would be A History of Magic, by Bathilda Bagshott.

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popkin - Jun 11, 2004 3:18 am (#29 of 77)

That would be a fun one, Isenduil, but I still would rather read Hogwarts, A History.

TGF, I also tend to think of magical ability as a genetic thing. Harry seems to have inherited certain magical abilities from each of his parents - flying and quidditch abilities from his father (as well as other tendencies), and something special that we don't yet understand from his mother. As he gains confidence, Neville also seems like he is going to begin demonstrating abilities of the caliber of his parents.

Barb, JKR writes of "ancient magic". I tend to think of this as magic which predates civilization - older than the Egyptians. Maybe some modern tribal peoples, such as bushmen, still rely of this ancient magic, but the modern magical society uses other means to focus their magic (wands, spells, charms, potions, incantations), and they have forgotten their magical roots - just as our society relies on science and overlooks ancient medicine.

It could be that this ancient magic resides in everyone to some degree, but is very difficult to invoke without any awareness of its existence (especially while growing up), or without making some very basic lifestyle changes. Maybe the more a society relies on technology - whether magical (wands) or nonmagical (machines) - the less in touch people become with that aspect of themselves. A wizard might need many, many years of study to be able to use the ancient magic, just as a modern doctor might need a lifetime of study to be able to master the use of ancient medicine.

This could be one of the reasons magical people separated themselves from the rest of the world. As muggles developed non-magic technologies, the magical peoples may have noticed that reliance on machines diminished their magical abilities. At the same time, the benefits of using wands and other magical technologies outweighed the benefits of learning the ancient ways, and an aspect of magic was all but lost.

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Diagon Nilly - Jun 11, 2004 9:39 am (#30 of 77)

I was asked to expand upon my neo-wizarding movement during post-revolution France. It's really more of a pithy observation really, and I wouldn't exactly call it a movement. But here goes:

Right after the French revolution there was a really wonky, out-of-left-field fashion trend called the Incroyables (or "Impossibles" for men) and the Merveilleuse (or "Marvelous" for women). It was just a polar shift in fashion. Gone for these people were the corset, pannier and bustle, sandals replaced heeled shoes and fashion suddenly assumed an "antique" appearance. It was suddenly vogue for some people to be dressed "a la greque," or of the Greek and a neo-classical trend was born. It became fashionable for the Merveilleuse to change the color of their neo-grecian hairstyles several times a day (sounds anything like a certain auror we all know). Turbans also became vogue. The Incroyables made a point to wear their clothes in fabulous disarray and carry heavy knotted sticks.

This particular fashion trend was isolated to France. My feeling is that the French Revolution left France a chaotic mess for a while. The muggle denizens would have been so caught up in their country's politics that the wizarding folk were able to get out and stretch their limbs socially, so to speak. They donned their best muggle-like outfits (which, judging from the dress as the Quidditch World Cup isn't very muggle-like at all) and hit the streets, taking full advantage of the fact that no one would really notice them for a change....well, except for the fashion historians.

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Lady Nagini - Jun 11, 2004 10:00 am (#31 of 77)

When DD first mentioned "ancient magic," I was reminded of the Narnia books, and how Aslan is reborn through magic older than the witch herself knows of. It could be the same sort of concept...magic older than time itself, etc.

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Diagon Nilly - Jun 11, 2004 10:32 am (#32 of 77)

Edited by Jun 11, 2004 10:49 am
"Back millennia ago, when all the humans were fruits/nuts/roots pickers and/or hunters, there weren't much differences between magical tribes and non-magical tribes, magic people could experience emotional magic from time to time, but no focused magic yet. They could have found the properties of some magical plants, mastered some simple spell and discovered some not to dangerous magical animals, but nothing that give them a real advantage when there's nothing to pick or hunt. Plus, magic seems to attract magic (bowtruckles, chchizpurfles, Jarveys, etc.) so they could encounter dragons more often than normal humans."

Magical creatures like dragons, unicorns and sea serpents are written about too often in muggle literature to have been completely hidden from muggles. Wizards would want to protect magical creatures from muggles because wizards have practical uses for these creature (unicorn hair wand core, 12 uses for dragon's blood..etc). Wizards would want to keep these useful creatures for themselves and eventually invented magical protections to keep muggles from killing them off out of fear or for sport.

"each of the five civilizations centers had their own way to do magic (those five are Sumer (Middle-East), Egypt, Indus, China and, many centuries later, Maya) allowing new development over the centuries and spreading their knowledge (willingly or not) to the peoples around."

I love this idea and I'd love to discuss what magic originated in what part of the world. I also wonder of magic was "traded" for goods and services, much like muggle merchants did. For example, "I'll give you these Demiguise to breed if you teach me how to apparate."

"I believe the creation of wands have been a revolution in performing magic... It seems to be a great advantage that allow magical humans to overcome magical creatures far more magically powerful by nature (dragons, basilisks, dementors, etc.)...Since the Olivanders began to make wands in -382, I assume the split between muggles and wizards occurred in the Antiquity in the British Islands, maybe even sooner in Greece and even sooner still in Egypt. "

I used to post a lot of theory about the science of magic a while ago (I think the folder must be gone by now) and theorized that wands are like an antenna for electromagnetism (the manipulation of results in "magic"). For example, a weak antenna (wandless magic) will allow you to pick up local radio stations without great reception (perform simple magic), but you can still hear the music. A strong antenna (magic with a wand) will allow you to pick up more distant signals with no static (complex magic). Likewise, a student needs a wand to perform any spell because they're not practiced enough to perform even simple spells without their wands. The more powerful/experienced they get, the more likely they can perform everyday spells without their wands, but they'll still need them to perform complex spells. If wizards like Dumbledore or Voldemort use their wands, in battle for example, it would be like someone bringing an A-bomb to a knife fight. It must have been the year 382 B.C. that an Ollivander discovered this magic can be honed and harnessed with this new "wand" thing-a-ma-jiggy. I wonder what kind if renaissance occurred in the wizarding world after this point.

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Tomoé - Jun 11, 2004 6:25 pm (#33 of 77)

Back in business
About magical creature, I said they could encounter dragons more often than normal humans, I never said or meant normal humans never encountered them.

I do like popkin's idea that ancient magic is the magic used before civilizations emerge.

I like Diagon Nilly's idea about the Incroyables, though I think the Muggles start the trend and the Wizard followed.

I have problems with the idea that muggles and wizards where two different species once, they wouldn't look that much like us. I'm not a biologist either, but do we have exemple of two different species that look exactly the same and can interbreed but are not the same species? It seems to far-fetched, to me at least. I mean, the chiuaua and the newfie are of the same specie after all.

(I'll come back later for wands and center of civilization issues later)

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Wendelin the Weird - Jun 11, 2004 7:14 pm (#34 of 77)

burned at the stake 47 times and counting...
Oooooh! This is like 'Magicoanthropology' at its finest! *big grin*

I'm an Art History major and Anthropology minor (focus on Ancient and Native arts, as well as anything prior to the Renaissance.) I've always found it fascinating to study these timeframes because its is before magic seems to be stamped out' of popular culture. After the Renaissance images of magic seem to be considered quaint and calling back to the past... Not sure if I'm making any sense but its something I've always sensed in a way.

However, it does seem likely to me that there are other areas of the world where magic was prevalent until much later times with the advent of the Age of Exploration and the introduction of Muggle wealth which stamped out the livelihoods of many Shaman, Medicine people, and Sorcerors from tribal lands. It seems to me that wizards are speaking ethnocentrically when they say 'we all separated at the same time' (not a bad thing but very common). Its more likely that the lands in contact with Muggles and western culture in a sense separated at once, with the 'yet unexplored' regions still encorporating magical people into their villages and civilizations.

Also, the sudden disappearance of the Maya after their Classic period would fit in well with this theory - they separated from the Muggle world... perhaps in some Muggle-repelling area of the Yucatan! hee heee love it!

This is fascinating... cant wait to read more of your thoughts. (And I am not bringing religion into my theories at all myself, however in the history of the world and the shaping of cultures and civilizations it has a PROFOUND role whether we wish to discuss it or not. I agree it would likely cause offense but it could certainly have some valid points that would further this discussion.)

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popkin - Jun 12, 2004 12:44 am (#35 of 77)

Edited by Jun 12, 2004 12:45 am
So, all those Mayan (Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Anasasi, etc.) ruins are actually living structures full of magical peoples, but just appear to be ancient and crumbling to our muggle eyes.... Hmmm....

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Madame Librarian - Jun 12, 2004 6:06 am (#36 of 77)

I wasn't thinking of a split between magical and non-magical people as a biological or genetic sort of deal. I don't find that it's helpful to use modern science constructs to talk about this subject. Rather, I envisioned it as a long-ago "use it or lose it" deal. Magic is really in all of us, just very, very suppressed in the Muggle psyche. Talking about this in a simultaneously fictional/real way is not working for me, so please take all that I say here as a structure to explain the fictional universes (magic and non) as JKR might have explained it if she ever did write a "History of Magic." Wow. Now that's a convoluted paragraph.

At any rate, I think the reasons behind the so-called separation of Muggle and Wizard societies might be a key element in unravelling some of the plot elements (especially those dealing with Pet and Harry's ancestors among others). It would be nice to hear what JKR had in mind. (Go, Jo! Write, write, write!!)

Ciao. Barb

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Diagon Nilly - Jun 12, 2004 7:05 am (#37 of 77)

Madam Librarian, I like your "use it or lose it" theory and you're right, I like the idea that magic comes out in muggles in interesting ways, like the mother who can lift a car to save her child. Or the occiasional ghost sighting (as I have never seen. I'm probably the muggliest muggle that ever muggled around).

And Popkin, I like the idea of "ancient" ruins only looking that way to fool muggles. The repelling charms don't work very well though, as muggles are constantly climbing all over the pyramids, and temples..etc. Perhaps instead the ruins exist to attract muggles away from the actual magical structures which exists somewhere nearby. Another form of muggle repelling magic.

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Marie E. - Jun 12, 2004 9:09 am (#38 of 77)

Ooooo...we have Anasasi ruins near us. I need to check those out!

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Lady Nagini - Jun 12, 2004 1:18 pm (#39 of 77)

Or maybe they're old magical ruins as well, but the repelling charms are wearing off, since no one cares any more.

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The giant squid - Jun 12, 2004 7:56 pm (#40 of 77)

So, what's really happening at Stonehenge...? Smile

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Czarina II - Jun 12, 2004 10:48 pm (#41 of 77)

Right now, there's a huge party there with loads of Firewhiskey -- they used to celebrate at the solstice, but now there are too many Muggles there then, so they have to have their party early. ;-)

Seriously, I like this thread. It's really interesting.

I think that magic people always tried to keep out of the affairs of the muggle world. Their powers could be abused and they would always be persecuted, since there would never be enough of them to put up any sort of resistance. Wizard communities probably sprung up all over away from major muggle urban centres. Some stayed to offer their services to Muggles, though always taking a risk to do so. They intermingled with more receptive muggle civilisations, but as a group, they kept to themselves and developed their own culture and civilisation. Until the Age of Discovery, there was always room for them to do so. As Muggles began to take over previously unclaimed areas (particularly those pesky Europeans), wizards realised that they would have to adapt. They couldn't coexist with the Muggles anymore; they would have to live within and alongside them. Camouflage, hiding, assimilation, whatever techniques they tried, they would have eventually found a workable solution to keeping themselves and Muggles safe.

Although their technology appears to have stagnated around the later Middle Ages, it no doubt took off during the era of the Scientific Revolution for an entirely different reason and in an entirely different way than for Muggles. Many techniques would have been developed and experimented with to keep Muggles in the dark. Newer Muggle-repelling charms, for instance, would have become popular. Security at the Ministry would have been tightened. It would certainly have been an exciting time for the wizarding community. The Secrecy Revolution, perhaps?

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Kevin Corbett - Jun 18, 2004 7:00 pm (#42 of 77)

I've always wondered about a few choice passages, particularly in the extra books, QttA and FB, wherein the break between muggles and magics was proceeded by a very bloody period indeed, in which there was a lot of "persecution" against witches and wizards. But, as we know pretty well, how could there be any persecution against wizards BY muggles? I mean, if a witch or wizard was discovered, all they'd have to do is disapparate or obliviate the muggle, and problem solved. Maybe this period was bloody in that lots of MUGGLE blood was spilt by other muggles accusing each other of witchcraft---maybe they really did see somebody do magic---say a muggle-born kid with his or her parents---and so they tell the town that X family is a bunch of witches, and the whole family (sans the little wizard or witch if they weren't able or around to prevent it) gets burned. Sounds like a good way to explain the Salem witch trials in that universe---and, ironically or maybe not, the International Wizarding Code of Secrecy was passed the same year, I believe, as the Salem thing: 1692.

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Detail Seeker - Jun 19, 2004 7:17 am (#43 of 77)

Quod tempus non sanat, sanat ferrum,... so prepare
Good point, Kevin. But,while it seems that wizards and wiches able to disapparate may not have been physically endangered, all the house raiding, the need to move elsewhere etc. may just have been a nuisance, one wanted to get rid of. Also, we do not know much about the abilities of obliviating at that time. We just know, that there were spells as to nullify the effects of fire.

On the other hand, that split can be seen as a muggle self protection act. Without witches and wizards around in the open, any hysteria about this in muggle circles is bound to die out, given enough time passes.

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Verbina - Jun 19, 2004 3:16 pm (#44 of 77)

Image by me. Base by Nefertiti at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I was reading my copy of FB and found two things to be interesting.

1) In the introduction, it says "Imperfect understanding is often more dangerous than ignorance and the Muggles' fer of magic was undoubtedly increased by their dread of what might be lurking in their herb gardens. Muggle persecution of wizards at this time was reaching a pitch hitherto unknown and sightings of such beasts as dragons and Hippogriffs were contributing to Muggle hysteria." (Italics mine.)

2) Later on in the introduction, it is talking about how Muggles who admit to seeing a Hippogrif now are considered drunk or loony. "Unfair though this may seem on the Muggle in question, it is nevertheless preferable to being burnt at the stake or drowned in the village duckpond." (Italics mine.)

This suggestes that paranoia was rampant at the time and everything bad was blamed on witches or wizards. And the sightings of dragons and other creatures of distruction only fanned the flames, as it were.

The second says plainly that the witches and wizards were harmed in it all. And to be honest...what choice did they have? If they wished to live a peaceful life, they had to appear to be Muggle. To do any different was to be put on trial, which was usually a farce and to face a punishment. The punishments alone were set up that the only way to prove you weren't a witch or wizard was to die. If you didn't drown when dunked into a pond, then you were innocent for example. Not much choice. And it may be that some were just upright enough morally to not wish to do anything to the Muggles.

If they did do something to the Muggles to prevent their own death, then they would be forced to leave the area and not return because they did prove themself to be a wizard/witch.

Basically a catch 22. Danged if you do. Danged if you don't. I can see why they would withdraw!!!

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popkin - Jun 19, 2004 3:38 pm (#45 of 77)

Verbina - Jun 19, 2004 3:16 pm (#44 of 44) 2) Later on in the introduction, it is talking about how Muggles who admit to seeing a Hippogrif now are considered drunk or loony. "Unfair though this may seem on the Muggle in question, it is nevertheless preferable to being burnt at the stake or drowned in the village duckpond."

That actually reads to me like it would be the "Muggle in question" who would be burned or drowned. I don't think the sighting of magical creatures put witches or wizards in danger, but the muggles who reported seeing them. Like several have pointed out, a magical person has the means of living through such trials. (However, if they are not prepared, as children or untrained witches would not be, they could surely be burned or drowned - or both .)

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Verbina - Jun 19, 2004 11:24 pm (#46 of 77)

Image by me. Base by Nefertiti at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
I realized after I re-read that that yes, it could be taken that way.

I do see a connection though between the magical creatures and the persecution of wizards. If a muggle was to meet up with say...a pixie...they would assume it was a magical creature. (At least in the time period we are referring to...I would say the later middle ages perhaps) But after a certain amount of injuries from that creature, the muggle would start to be frightened of magic, as if everything magical was out to get them. And it seems that dragons and hippogrifs were not that uncommon to be seen at the time. Much much larger creautres to be concerned about. Basically, enough run ins with a magical creature that does damage to a muggle or his property, will cause the muggle to be paranoid about all encounters with magic.

Of course, I am also sure that there were some dark wizards about. Wizards/witches more than willing to do not so nice things to the muggles around them. They would do something to the muggles and the mugggles would be anit wizard for a good long time after that. Meanwhile, a majority of the wizards were trying to keep a low profile.

I am really beginning to think that there are a great deal of things that lead to the seperating of the WW from the muggle world. Much more than I first thought.

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Kevin Corbett - Jun 22, 2004 4:58 pm (#47 of 77)

I think that in FB, there is a reference to the period before the International Conference of Wizards and the Code of Secrecy as being specifically "bloody", i.e.---people died. And I don't think it was wizards, because I doubt that any wizard would rather move to another town than let him or herself and their family be killed. I really think that all the references to muggle persecution mean muggle on muggle stuff. I hardly think that wizards and witches were ever danger from muggles, even at that time, when the best weapons muggles had were muskets and swords. Note, that in the attempts within the magical community over beasts vs. beings, that there were some wizards who thought muggles themselves should be classified as beasts---which is all the more to show that pretty much all wizards would hardy be concerned about muggle persecution against them---quite the contrary, I imagine that, at time, when muggles would have seemed all the more primitive to them without the marvels of modern technology, the real concern would be with wizard crimes against muggles.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Jul 7, 2004 12:06 pm (#48 of 77)

The time period we are discussing in England is during a period marked with increasing strife within England. Richard II was deposed in 1399 and his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke assumed the throne as Henry IV act which sows the seeds for the Wars of the Roses. Additionally England is engaged in the Hundred Years War.

Such an atmosphere would only heighten the distrust between Muggle and Wizarding Worlds and and that to this point have either been in remission.

Kevin Corbett the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy went into effect in 1692. The same year as the Salem Witch Trials in the English colony of Massachusetts.

Best Regards, Nathan

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timrew - Jul 7, 2004 3:01 pm (#49 of 77)

Middle-aged Harry Potter fan
I've read that when Neanderthals ruled, there was a race of humans that came out of the Rift Valley in Africa called Cro-Mangnons who were to usurp them. Magnons - Muggles, close enough.

Now, if the Archaeologists were to discover a fossil of another species, Wizardus Erectus, then wouldn't this point to the fact that Wizards and Muggles evolved at about the same time?

Or maybe if a fossil wand was found, Flint (with a Mammoth hair core, with "Ollivander's", engraved on it), it might point to the existence of a wizardly missing link.....

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DJ Evans - Jul 7, 2004 4:07 pm (#50 of 77)

Genealogy....Where you confuse the dead & irritate the living!
Gosh Tim, are you saying Ollivander is older than what we thought? He sure is holding up well for his age, wonder what his secret is? hee hee

Later, Deb
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Origins and History of the Wizarding World Empty Origins and History of the Wizarding World (Post 51 to 77)

Post  Elanor on Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:09 am

Chris. - Jul 8, 2004 1:54 am (#51 of 77)
HBP: 16th July 2005: the most anticipated day in history
Philosopher's Stone?

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popkin - Jul 8, 2004 6:41 am (#52 of 77)

LOL, tim. Especially the flint wand.

Of course it's all speculation, but I think it's safe to assume that wizards and humans evolved togther - and that they are biologically more related to one another than humans are to chimpanzees (our nearest cousin in the non-magical world).

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Hollywand - Jul 15, 2004 3:59 pm (#53 of 77)

Great discussion, I can't help thinking about the cave paintings at Lascaux. Many of the footprints have been determined to be adolescent humans, and the deep seated desire for humans clearly lacking electricity to travel deep into the darkness and make mystical images that may or may not have to do with hunting the creatures or with a magical respect for them as a spiritual rite of passage. Paintbrush/stick/pen as wand?

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Tomoé - Jul 15, 2004 10:21 pm (#54 of 77)

Back in business
Paintbrush/stick/pen as wand? Not yet I think.

I tried to do a estimation of how many wizard we can expect in a population. I took the number of muggle people born in UK and Ireland in Harry's year (nearly 800,000) and tried to determinate how many muggle-borns there are in Harry's year. According to JKR notebook, there's five of them on the first page and likely some on the other, but I couldn't find any information about the specifics of the second so I rounded up to 8 (yes, I'm lazy with math and I found that 8/800,000 -> 1/100,000 was easy enough to work with for people like me and JKR). According to my calculus (doesn't I sound just like a mad scientist!), there should be around 650 muggle-born wizards in UK and Ireland (600 in the UK, 50 in the Ireland).

Now in the paleolithic, according to Jean-Noël Biraben, the theoretical maximum of population in Europe was ... 200,000. That should make around ... 2 wizard in the whole Europe. And that's a theoretical maximum, an average of 1.5 should be closer to the reality. Now what are the possibilities for those two wizard to meet and have children (expecting they are male and female) almost nil. Except if they are sibling of course, but I'm not sure they would accept two shaman in the same tribe, that's a waste of alliances, and good alliances can make the difference between life and death for the whole tribe in bad seasons.

When there were two wizard in the whole Europe, they couldn't work a lot on magical R&D, but whatever they found, the muggle shamans who replaced them pass it to the future generation as well as to the other tribes around. I don't expect them to have worked out how to make wand yet, magic through chanting is more likely, for things the other tribe-mate cannot do, like divination and healing.

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Detail Seeker - Jul 16, 2004 12:28 am (#55 of 77)

Quod tempus non sanat, sanat ferrum,... so prepare
Interesting calculation, Tomoé. You assume, that the proportion of magically gifted people did not change during the last 10.000 years. There are ideas, that this did change. There were definitely more than 2 shamans / druids / other "magical" persons around in palaeolithic Europe or later. As not all them will have been frauds, there will have been a (relative) lot of magically educated persons around.

So, why should have the proportion of magically gifted persons have dropped in newer times ?

One theory comes to me. that is a little bit tricky in formulating without getting too deep into religious questions, so pleadse do not take offence.

The spreading of the christian church may be one reason. One may assume, that - depending on the assumption, that a lot of the wizards have had religious roles before - they might be tempted to take over active roles in the christian clergy, too, men becoming monks or priests as well als women becoming nuns. But that demanded chastity - so they died without children, without continuing their bloodline. This would explain a diminishing of the magic population in the early middle ages. The "wise women" known over long times, who can be suspected of belonging to wizardry, often were unmarried, too, again reducing the number of reproducing magical families.

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Ozymandias - Jul 16, 2004 12:30 am (#56 of 77)

Nothing beside remains...
Tomoe, what about the pure-blood wizards? Correct me if I'm wrong, but your calculation only tells the number of wizards born to two muggle parents, and doesn't account for the children of witches or wizards. I would think that would increase the estimate at least somewhat, possibly a great deal as we don't know the proportion of muggle born wizards to pure/half blood wizards. Also, the number of wizards listed in the notebook is quite a small sample to work from, so I'm not sure how accurate this would be. But I applaud your efforts!

Has anyone considered the idea of the evolution of magical talent? Here's how I think it would go. At some point way back when, everyone has some magical ability. This is mostly emotional magic and the "ancient magic" like Lily's sacrifice. Like any other ability, some people have more inherent magical talent than others. Those with greater magical talent would use it more and would live longer, and the trait would get passed on. Those with marginal talent wouldn't get a great benefit from it, so it would eventually be "weeded out" by the evolutionary process. Now perhaps the distribution of magical talent is largely at the extreme ends of the spectrum, ie, there are few who can do some magic. This results in two subspecies of humans: wizards and muggles. As societies form, members of each group gravitate towards those who are like them, so the division is strengthened. The two breeds, for lack of a better term, live peacefully and cooperatively for quite a long time. Then, when muggles start to develop more advanced technology (allowing them to not depend on magic) the split begins, it gets bloody, etc...

This is complete conjecture based on the other thoughts posted here. These subjects aren't my area of expertise, so please correct me if my assumptions are wrong. I find this fascinating and hope to develop my thoughts when I've gotten a bit more sleep.

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Hollywand - Jul 16, 2004 10:20 pm (#57 of 77)

You are all just awesome and I adore you! This is the best site! The discussions on other sites are just so pedestrian compared to this wonderful group of people!!! I love all the calculations and deductions posted in response to my Lascaux comment. I was speaking more poetically, that humans need the magical, mystical, and spritual on a very primal level. Picasso said that people know how to draw when they are born, but forget by the time they are teenagers. Conversely, probably most "primitive" people had magic integral to their survival, and in our modern age, we must fight for our right to be magical.

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Diagon Nilly - Jul 16, 2004 11:36 pm (#58 of 77)

Hollywand, with that thought in mind, Sylvia Browne (a rather well-known psychic) says we're all born psychic and lose our intuition once we begin to form significant cognitive memories. It would be cool to think magic works much the same way, and muggles hating wizards is actually some form of deep-seated, subconscious, loss-related envy...But if that were the case, those Hogwarts pens would be going nuts recording every birth and then scribbling most of them out after a few years!

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Hollywand - Jul 18, 2004 8:14 pm (#59 of 77)

Great point Diagon Nilly! Hmmm that would be a hilarious question for Jo about the wizard potential of children and the pens! I bet she'd have a terrific analogy for that image.

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Diagon Nilly - Jul 19, 2004 8:42 am (#60 of 77)

You mean, someone like Harry would have his name written with a gold-nibbed peacock feather quill, and someone like Neville would have his name written with a disposable Bic that has the cap missing and the end is chewed up?

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Hollywand - Jul 19, 2004 5:08 pm (#61 of 77)

I am rolling on the floor laughing Diagon Nilly....Thanks! :-)

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Czarina II - Aug 10, 2004 1:16 pm (#62 of 77)

Sorry if I'm being repetitive.

Ron's comment in CoS about wizards "dying out" without intermarrying with Muggles seems to indicate that at one time, there were many wizards -- as many, perhaps, as there were Muggles. Something kept them from repoducing as quickly as their non-magical counterparts, however. It would be interesting to know what that was -- any ideas?

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Madame Librarian - Aug 10, 2004 2:04 pm (#63 of 77)

Czarina, excellent observation and an even better question! I'm surprised that with all the clever members, we haven't raised that one before (and if it's been up for discussion, I do apologize).

Yes, what caused the Wizarding community to dwindle if that's what happened? Let me start a list of possibilities (and, if this is a line of discussion you wish to condtinue, add to the list, just keep in mind we're on a topic that involves origins and history, not recent events):

Never a large wizarding population; intermarriage with muggles during periods of cooperation caused natural lessening of the number of wizards born.

During periods of strife with other magical beings (giants, goblins, etc.), wizards basically lost many numbers in the war and never recovered.

Internecine warfare--i.e., civil wars.

When period of acceptance by muggles ended, dispersion of the community. Lots of wizard relocation to quiet, far off areas or other countries (remember the upsurge in "witch hunts" during the British/American colonial period which brought many colonialists to foreign shores, unfortunately they didn't quite find the freedom to be wizards there either).

Some particular. single bad move on the part of the wizarding society which resulted in a lessening of magical powers (some Pandora's box kind of deal they make with some other group--elves, dementors, who knows what). This creates a desperate backlash against intermarrying with muggles for fear that this will weaken the magic even further. Nonetheless, intermarriage still takes place, it just moved underground, so to speak, and as Ron says, it was essential to continue the society at all.

A horrid plague.

An Evil Dark Lord who actually was able to stay in power for a while by reducing the numbers of wizards--a curse on having babies, that plague mentioned above.

Any more ideas?

Ciao. Barb

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Hollywand - Aug 10, 2004 4:34 pm (#64 of 77)

Please forgive if this is too much the muggle interpretation.

It seems to me that in earlier societies, "magic" was integral to their way of life. Some magic was declared legitimate, and some declared illegitimate. Those who garnered popularity and were good at enforcing their world view identified those that believed and practiced differently to be "witches". "Witches" clung together in smaller communities, and began to think of themselves as "purebloods". "Witches" as they were increasingly persecuted, were driven underground.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 11, 2004 7:05 pm (#65 of 77)

Madame Librarian, I would argue that the dwindling population and decline in birth is in all likelihood to a combination of the possibilities that you have outlined above and that this necessitated the intermarriage with Muggles.

The Hundred Years War and the first outbreak of Bubonic Plague occurred during the same generation in Europe and greatly retarded the population growth in Europe. The population of Europe did not begin to recover until the 1650's

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Madame Librarian - Aug 11, 2004 8:22 pm (#66 of 77)

Nathan, you've pointed out something that was happening in the world at large that might have also affected the WW--the Plague. For all their magical medicines and spells, Wizards are still most likely limited in battling a virulent disease sweeping around the world. But it was probably a combination of factors, unless JKR has created a storyline that revolves around a particlar magical historical event that we will eventually learn about.

Ciao. Barb

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Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 11, 2004 9:13 pm (#67 of 77)

Madame Librarian, it seems unlikely that before the Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was passed in 1692, that the Wizarding World was unable to remain un-involved in events in the Muggle World. After passage of the act the imposition of legal penalties on the open use magic in the presence of Muggles allowed for the Wizarding World to remain neutral and lessened their involvement in Muggle history.

Best Regards, Nathan

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Archangel - Aug 11, 2004 9:45 pm (#68 of 77)

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. -- Semisonic
I agree with most of the causes that you listed Madame Librarian. Here are some other scenarios which I think could have contributed to what Ron was alluding to.

How about Wizard cleansing? Killing magical folk who did not conform to what the society's definition of what a wizard or should be. Could be similar to the ongoing Blood problem they have today or maybe if a wizard or witch has a disability that magic couldn't correct...

Also, what about the wizard genetics? I'm no genetics expert OK (but I did enjoy this subject during my school days) so please Bio/Genetics experts feel free to correct me. My assumption is that having ability to do magic would be a recessive trait. This would explain why a wizard couple could produce a squib. If squibs marry muggles, I would assume that the union would not produce any magic folk and that line of the family would die right there.

Cool discussion! Cheers!

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Madame Librarian - Aug 12, 2004 7:40 am (#69 of 77)

Archangel, I don't think we can assume JKR was thinking of any truly exact version of genetics when she created the Potterverse. So I never use that complex science to explain Squibs or Muggle-born Wizards. We are told that Squibs are rare (assuming Ron is not just exagerrating). We get the impression that Muggle-borns are more common. Other than lots of comments about general groups like pure-blood, half-bloods, etc., I don't think there a single comment in the books about the odds that lead to the birth of Squibs or Muggle-borns, except in the loosest sense--e.g., Neville's folks being worried that such a talented Wizard set of parents might have produced a Squib.

Muggle genetics (the real science, I mean) is not a major factor in the series, IMO.

Ciao. Barb

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Archangel - Aug 12, 2004 11:59 pm (#70 of 77)

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. -- Semisonic
Edited by Aug 13, 2004 12:05 am
You make fair points Madame Librarian but I guess the reason that I thought about that is because it seems magic isn't as straightforward a hereditary thing with the emergence squibs in the series. Just seems like it could be a likely explanation as to why their numbers would dwindle.

Also, not sure about this, but does in say in the series when exactly was Hogwarts was founded? Their dwindling in numbers might have something to do with the fact that the majority of them didn't have proper training and nurturing of their magical abilities. Maybe they didn't have the proper place to develop their skills.

Magic seems to be a recessive trait or dormant thing IMO. Unless you use it, you might lose it! Cheers!

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Stringer - Aug 22, 2004 12:55 pm (#71 of 77)

I found this posted on another thread, and thought it was well written and deserved to be read so I moved it over here, I hope that is alright. Happy reading.

Posted by Glanecia

The Nature of Magic

Magic exists in every place and in all things. It is in the air we breathe, the words we speak and it is revealed through the choices we make. Magic is that fifth element ‘spirit’ that flows freely through elements of fire, water, earth and wind. From the most powerful Wizard to the dullest Muggle imaginable, noticed-or unnoticed, magic is there and it affects us all.

Magic, the fifth element, is also known as Akasha, Aether, or Spirit.

Muggles and Magic

Basic Needs When a Muggle is cold, he lights a fire and is warmed. When he is thirsty, he pours a glass of water and is replenished. When a Muggle is weary, he lays his head upon the earth and is rested. When he is restless, he runs with the wind, happy and care-free. Yet when he has the need to question his place within the balance and harmony of the universe, he does not believe in the magic that binds it all together.

The wizard has an innate need to question his place in the universe and to believe in elemental magic from the very day they are born to the very day they leave this world behind. They embrace the great mysteries, question all things and answers are found within him and around him.

Innate Awareness The Muggle is most certainly aware of the power of fire, earth, water and wind. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes continuously announce their presence in the life of a Muggle. Yet, the evidence of magic remains completely elusive to the Muggle.

The wizard recognizes the effect of magic quite naturally. It is far too simple to distinguish between wingardium leviosa and a feather that has simply been carried by the wind. Development

The Muggle has learned how to satisfy his desires by manually harnessing the power of the four elements, earth, wind, fire and water. When he wants a weapon-he uses fire. When he wants energy- he builds a dam or a windmill to create electricity. When he wants food, he tills the earth. As incredible as it seems, the Muggle becomes the tool in place of magic itself.

Naturally, the wizard uses magic as the tool to manipulate all other elements in accordance to their will. Rather than wasting large amounts of energy scrubbing a pot by hand, the wizard will cast a charm upon the water and scrub-brush-thereby allowing the elements to perform the task rather than performing the task manually themselves. It is quite fascinating how Muggles have managed to get on with life without the use of magic. The Muggle Industrial Revolution alone is witness to the leaps and bounds a society can achieve without the use of magic. However, one does speculate how the earth can withhold such large amounts of this unnatural energy. Some would argue that Muggle Inventions aren’t unnatural, and that they, too, have their place in the harmonious balance of the universe. Yet, the alarming evidence of rising pollution, global warming and the continuing decrease of natural resources would suggest otherwise.

It is also interesting to note, that their technical and electrical inventions do not function properly where there is a high concentration of magical energy. For example, a radio would never broadcast at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There is simply too much magical residue in the air. Magic is a natural energy that is older than time itself, and it is not keen to comply with mutated energy.

Magical Theory

How to Harness Magic

The technical theory of magic is simply, really. It’s synonymous to basic mathematics, in that 1 plus 1 equal two. Simply stated, desire plus direction equal a derivative. Let’s examine each step of this magical theory.

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Stringer - Aug 22, 2004 12:59 pm (#72 of 77)

(Here is the rest)


First, the wizard must experience desire. This desire is not a simple want nor is it a need. It is an unyielding passion that will reveal itself unwittingly if not controlled by the wizard. For example, Harry Potter himself experienced the power of this desire when he accidentally set a python on his cousin Dudley Dursley.

Such a desire must be pure and sincere or it will never lead to magic. The desire must also be strong and heightened beyond one’s subtle emotions. One can never make a half-hearted attempt at a magical work.

As a wizard, though, you will never lack this natural desire. It is within you and about you for all time. We all have these strong desires. We just don’t always have them when we need them.

Do not forget, however, that one can invoke desire through previously charmed words. Ancient European Wizards and Witches from long ago learned how to charm Latin expressions such as Lumos and Nox. As every adept student of history knows, it was decided that Latin would be the universal magical language-for it was a language that all European students learned and that all ancient books contained. With the proper enunciation any novice could invoke desire with a flick of a wand.


Secondly, the wizard must learn to sense the exact moment when desire has reached its climax. If directed too soon, the desire may not be strong enough to complete the magical work. At this heightened state, the wizard must direct his magical energy at the intended target with the intended result in mind. Successful direction is very difficult to accomplish and only experienced wizards and witches can manage this work without the help of charmed objects, such as a wand. It can take up to one hundred years before un-aided direction is properly utilized by a wizard. Even then, very few master this high level of magic.

When Harry Potter accidentally set a python on his cousin, he lacked direction. In fact, Harry Potter was very lucky that he didn’t kill half the people in a five mile radius. Desire, when undirected, can be very very dangerous. It is therefore necessary for students of witchcraft and wizardry to use charmed objects to aid their direction, such as a wand.

Thanks to the invention of wands, direction is easily attainable. As soon as the young wizard or witch learns the basic techniques of swish and flick, all one must do is aim directly at the intended target and utter the charmed word. There are limitations, of course, in the use of wands. The most obvious limitation is that one must be within close range of the target or else the wizard may misdirect. Secondly, the wand capabilities are such that it can only aim in one direction at a time. However, through years of study and practice a handful of wizards have learned to master their desire and direction, enabling them to cast spells at a target half-way around the world without the aid of wands.


When Harry Potter accidentally set a python on his cousin, he was completely unaware that he was manipulating the elements and that in all manipulations there is a derivative. You cannot act without causing a reaction.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you throw a ball against the wall, it bounces right back at you. Why is this? Perhaps it is because the ball is bouncy? It’s much more complicated than that. When you hit the same wall with your fist, your hand not only applies a force to the wall but the wall also applies a force to your hand-the same goes for the ball.

However, sensible people don’t walk around hitting walls. They may hurt themselves, unless they were certain that the wall was softer than their hand. In that case, the wall would suffer more from the interaction. Moreover, a sensible person would not attack a wall unless they knew how to hold their fist properly. A misdirected fist will result in broken bones.

The same sensibilities can be applied in the use of magic. When you cast a spell on a person or an object, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It is therefore never wise to cast a spell on a force greater than yourself. A student of history will remember the fate of Hilda Puddleglum, the witch who attempted to eradicate the sun through a simple nox charm. The power of the sun was far greater than the desire that had been invoked into the simple charm. After casting her spell, nothing was left of poor Hilda Puddleglum but a handful of ashes.

Or, more recently, one may remember the fate of He Who Must Not Be Named. It is known that he attempted to cast a death-curse on Harry Potter and it backfired, nearly destroying him. A mother’s love was far stronger than death itself and henceforth Harry Potter became known as the boy who lived.

Let’s look at this magical theory mathematically. Any student of algebra understands that a + b = c and therefore c – b = a. One side of the equation must always equal the other side so that a balance always remains on either side of the equation.

a = desire b= direction c= derivative

A derivative is that which is obtained or produced by modification of something else. In the example of spell-casting, a magical derivative is produced by the modification of desire and direction-or by the use of charms and a wand.

With an extraordinary amount of desire and precise direction, the derivative will be great. Let’s give the number ‘1000’ to desire and ‘100’ to direction; mathematically the derivative will equal 1100. Keep in mind that force derives from one’s desire- so that the actual force applied is ‘1000’.

However, one must not forget the equal and opposite reaction from the other side of the equation. The derivative equals 1100, and therefore the reaction is 1100 – 100 = 1000. The wizard applied a force of ‘1000’ and mathematically he will experience a force of 1000. The wizard who casts this spell will always experience this opposite and equal reaction.

Even though the reaction is opposite and equal, the derivative will be affected by the power of the target itself. The greater the force (of the intended target) the greater the amount of desire needed (to affect the target). If the wizard’s desire is stronger than the force of the intended target, then he will suffer little in return. If the wizard’s desire is weaker than the intended target, then he will suffer much.


Magic, is therefore defined as the process of directing one’s desire towards a person or an object with the intent of a successful derivative- or end result.

Desire + Direction = Derivative <<>> Charm + Wand = Magic

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Glanecia - Aug 22, 2004 11:42 pm (#73 of 77)

Thanks for re-posting it! Smile

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Stringer - Aug 24, 2004 11:57 am (#74 of 77)

Glanecia, You are welcome. It is great and deserves to be read!

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Detail Seeker - Aug 24, 2004 2:30 pm (#75 of 77)

Quod tempus non sanat, sanat ferrum,... so prepare
Just a small hint, Stringer: A link to the original posting would have done nicely - though Glanecia´s thoughts are worth some following ones....

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Czarina II - Sep 22, 2004 11:41 am (#76 of 77)

JKR has created a world where wizards and witches are located around the world. It would be interesting to know how they came to find each other, since they are such a small percentage of the population. Did wizards in Britain know that there were wizards in Togo or Australia or Brazil before the age of imperialism? Were they "discovered" in a similar fashion to their muggle counterparts, or were they already in contact? It seems that, though there is prejudice in the wizarding world based on nationality, it isn't very strong compared to Muggles. Could there perhaps be reasons for that?

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Nathan Zimmermann - Sep 23, 2004 10:14 pm (#77 of 77)

Czarina II, it is possible that members of the wizarding community followed similar migratory patterns as Muggles, and that in their migrations they came into contact with Maori shamans in Australia and Native American shamans in North America and that some of these individuals possessed a certain aptitude for magic. It can be argued that the wizarding community knew of wizards in America because, the International Secrecy Statute was passed in 1692 the same year as the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts.
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