Twentieth Century History of Magic

Occasionally, when I go to History of Magic class in Hogwarts Mystery, this bit of dialogue comes up:

screenshot_2018-12-08-21-51-45

Ismelda wants to learn about the Wizarding War for all the wrong reasons. She idolizes Voldemort and will almost certainly join the Death Eaters when he returns. However, she brings up an interesting point. Professor Binns seems largely unaware of anything that happened after his death. There’s not even any mention of the war against Grindelwald being taught in History of Magic, much less even more recent events. History is added to all the time, and aside from being taught in a boring way, it seems like History of Magic is decades if not centuries out of date.

When will the war against Voldemort be added to the curriculum? Is it being taught nineteen years later? The kids in Cursed Child seem very familiar with recent wizarding history, but then, Scorpius is a history buff who geeks out over seeing Bathilda Bagshot in person, and Albus is Harry Potter’s son. The fact that they know who Cedric Diggory was and all about Voldemort’s attempt to kill baby Harry is not evidence that any 20th century magical history is actually being taught at Hogwarts.

Really, Hogwarts needs a new History of Magic teacher, and I think Scorpius would be a great one. Once he grows up, of course.

Unlike Professor Binns, who gives endless, monotone lectures and has his students memorize lists of names and dates, Scorpius brings an endless amount of enthusiasm to his study of history. He’s also kind and encouraging, the sort of person who, as a teacher, would be truly invested in his students’ success. He’s a shining example of a Slytherin with a moral compass, someone who could become Head of House and guide the next generation of Slytherins in a different direction. And he understands on a very personal level, having been to the alternate timeline where Voldemort won, just how important even the small details of history are, not to mention how relevant it all still is.  Given his obsession with history and his experiences in Cursed Child, he will almost certainly grow up to write history books, but I think he could be a great teacher as well. Maybe his Slytherin ambition, which is just beginning to surface at the end of the play, becomes a determination to replace Professor Binns and inspire an appreciation of history in Hogwarts students.

Advertisements

Evacuating the Castle

Apparently, I have a lot of thoughts about the Battle of Hogwarts. Specifically, the movie version. I actually really like the Deathly Hallows Part II movie, but there are a few things about it – most of them very minor – that get on my nerves.

Yesterday, I wrote about the horde of a thousand Death Eaters, and I’m sure there will be a post coming soon about the weird way Voldemort’s body dissolves when he dies. But one of the things that bothers me the most is that no one attempts to evacuate the castle.

In the book, Professor McGonagall’s first thought upon realizing they’re going to fight Voldemort at Hogwarts is that they have to evacuate the students. She and the other Heads of House agree that anyone under seventeen must leave the castle before Voldemort attacks, although the oldest students will be allowed to stay and fight if they choose to. There’s a whole scene in the book where the students gather in the Great Hall and McGonagall explains everything that’s going on. The movie does things a little differently, but it wouldn’t have been hard to have evacuation brought up and Harry suggest the secret passageway to Hogsmeade.

Instead, what happens is this: after Voldemort’s ultimatum, Professor McGonagall sends the Slytherins to the dungeons, and the rest of the students are left to fend for themselves, even the first and second years who can barely make sparks fly out of their wands. Aside from how hard it is to believe that none of the Hogwarts teachers thought about trying to get their students to safety, and the horror of realizing many of them likely didn’t survive the battle, this takes away their choice as well.

It takes away from the fact that so many of the seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds did stay to fight. It takes away from the fact that younger students, like Ginny and Colin, refused to be told they had to leave and fought in the battle anyway. I wouldn’t say it negates the heroism of those who fought, but it makes their actions more about survival than a conscious decision to do what was right.

It also takes away the choice from the students who left. Those who had not been part of the DA and knew they would be no good in a fight. Those who left to make sure a younger sibling got safely home. Those who left to return with reinforcements. Those who were just plain scared and decided the battle could be won or lost without them. Those who were loyal to the other side. The fact that so many left – all the Slytherins, and some of the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs – adds realism to the story and makes those who stayed seem all the more noble for doing so.

For that matter, it takes away the possibility of help from the outside. In the book, Professor Slughorn returns near the end of the battle with a large group of reinforcements to help defend the castle. In the movie, this couldn’t possibly happen, because no one left the castle. The villagers in Hogsmeade might have seen that something was happening, but they wouldn’t have known what they could do or why they should. The families of the students who stayed to fight would have had no idea that a battle was even happening. Someone had to find them and ask for their help, and if no one left the castle, that’s impossible. The reinforcements are more than just numbers to help them win the battle. I see them as a sign that Hogwarts is not alone. The teachers, Dumbledore’s Army, the Order of the Phoenix, the few who are there when the battle starts and who have been fighting all along, are not making their final stand on their own, and there are many others out there who step up when the time comes. This kind of wider support for the heroes is in direct contrast with the movie, where they truly are on their own and up against massive numbers under Voldemort’s command.

It takes away the Slytherin students’ choice as well. In the book, many went straight to Voldemort, while a few went with Professor Slughorn and then returned to help win the battle. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle snuck back into the castle and tried to capture Harry themselves, which didn’t go all that well for them. In the movie, there are no such choices. No one has a chance to leave the castle.

That means it also takes away from the Malfoy parents’ dilemma. In the book, when other Slytherin students start showing up to join the Death Eaters and Draco doesn’t, they have no idea what happened to him. Voldemort seems to suspect disloyalty and makes it clear that he doesn’t care if Draco lives or dies. There’s a battle going on, and they don’t know which side he’s on or whether he’s even still alive. His father begs Voldemort to call off the battle, and when that fails, his mother lies to Voldemort, telling him Harry Potter is dead, in an attempt to end the battle and find Draco. In the movie, though, Snape is the one person from Hogwarts who went to Voldemort at the start of the battle. The students are all still in the castle. Draco’s parents have no reason to suspect that anything unusual happened to him, or that he’s in any more danger than the other Slytherins.

The Harry Potter books are so tightly-woven that even a small change makes a big difference.

How many people fought in the Battle of Hogwarts?

The Deathly Hallows Part II movie makes a big deal of how outnumbered the heroes are, with shots that show Voldemort surrounded by vast numbers of Death Eaters and hordes of Snatchers, quotes about numbers not winning a battle when the Order members see what they’re up against, and a distinct lack of the reinforcements that showed up near the end in the book. But how many people really fought in the Battle of Hogwarts?

Let’s start off by establishing how many wizards there are in Great Britain, since that puts an upper limit on the numbers for the battle. All the witches and wizards in Britain attend the same school, buy their wands from the same wand-maker, and frequent the same few places: Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, Godric’s Hollow, etc. They have one major newspaper, one favorite sport, twenty-eight “pure-blood” families, and one court that handles cases ranging from petty crimes to felonies. There can’t be all that many of them.

There are 40 students in Harry’s year at Hogwarts. 40 students per year x 7 years = about 280 students at Hogwarts. However, J.K. Rowling has said before that about 1,000 students attend Hogwarts. Presumably, either not all of Harry’s classmates are mentioned in the books or the Original Forty list, or his group is unusually small. I prefer the latter assumption, because it would be hard to imagine 25 more Gryffindors in Harry’s year.

According to the 2011 census, 6.2% of Britain’s population was age 0-4, 5.6% was age 5-9, 5.8% was age 10-14, and 6.3% was age 15-19. This is a bit after Harry’s time and includes the years before and after students graduate from Hogwarts, but it’s close enough to use for a general estimate. If about 12% of witches and wizards in the UK attend Hogwarts, and about the same amount are too young to attend, then …

If there are 280 students at Hogwarts, there are about 2,300 wizards in the UK, 560 kids and 1,740 adults.

If there are 1,000 students at Hogwarts, there are about 8,300 wizards in the UK, 2,000 kids and 6,300 adults.

So there are likely somewhere between 2,000 and 6,000 adult wizards in the UK. Are you starting to see why images like this from the Deathly Hallows Part II movie bother me?

latest

Just how many followers did Voldemort have? I counted a hundred people just in the first few rows and then gave up. The vast horde of Death Eaters extends far beyond the edge of the image. There must be a thousand of them!

Here’s another picture demonstrating just how vast their army was:

btvnu

That’s not even counting the Snatchers.

snatchers

There are probably what, a hundred people in this picture? It gets hard to tell near the back, and like with the previous picture, the army doesn’t stop where the picture ends. These guys aren’t official Death Eaters, just lower-level followers who do a lot of the dirty work. Their costuming is different, they fight in different parts of the battle, and really, there should be many more of them than the Death Eaters, who are just Voldemort’s elite inner circle.

Meanwhile, here are the defenders of Hogwarts:

harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-2-movie-photo-66d219f487-a588-4078-b61e-b65f0cce00ad-deathly-hallows-part-2-movie-stills-harry-potter-26814349-1280-853

All surviving members of the Order of the Phoneix, many of the Hogwarts teachers, and most of Dumbledore’s Army. The first two overlap a lot, so let’s just make a list. There are literally that few of them:

  • Adults: 5 Weasleys (Molly, Arthur, Bill, Fleur, Percy), Aberforth, Kingsley, Tonks, Lupin, McGonagall, Flitwick, Moody, Hagrid, Sprout, Trelawney
    • Possibly a few more, since it’s not clear whether minor Hogwarts teachers like Sinistra, Vector, Babbling, Hooch, etc. remained to fight or evacuated.
  • DA Alumni: Fred and George, Lee Jordan, Cho Chang, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinet, Katie Bell, Oliver Wood
  • Hogwarts Students: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville, Ginny, Dean, Seamus, Lavender, Parvati, Padma, Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein, Ernie Macmillan, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot, Colin Creevey
    • Possibly more unnamed students, since “a number of older Ravenclaws … even more Hufflepuffs … and half of Gryffindor” chose to stay and fight. Those who were underage were told to leave, but it’s not clear exactly how many of the seventh-years stayed and how many of the younger students snuck back in to fight, as Colin did.
  • Near the end of the battle, reinforcements arrive, led by Charlie Weasley and Professor Slughorn. They include the centaur herd, the families of students who stayed to fight, villagers from Hogsmeade, and – according to J.K. Rowling later on – a group of Slytherin students.

So, about 40 or 50 people initially stayed to fight for Hogwarts, and maybe another 100 people came to help later. The movie is very realistic in the way it portrays the heroes’ forces – if anything, it makes them too small by not including the reinforcements.

Naturally, it looks impressive to have fifty intrepid heroes taking on an army of a thousand villains, but is it realistic?

No exact numbers are given for the number of Death Eaters, but we can assume they outnumber the heroes, since heroes tend to be portrayed as underdogs fighting a more powerful enemy.

In Goblet of Fire, a small group of Death Eaters arrives to witness Voldemort’s return in the graveyard. This group consists of those who survived the first war and did not go to prison. Only seven named characters are there, but it’s mentioned that he did not speak to them all. In Order of the Phoenix, fifteen Death Eaters escape from Azkaban, including the Lestranges. However, for the most part, it’s not clear which group the Death Eaters introduced in the last two books were part of, and some may have joined later. The only definite conclusion is that the number of people in his inner circle was at least in the mid 20’s, putting it at a similar size to the Order of the Phoenix.

Here’s a list of Death Eaters who are (or might be) still alive when the Battle of Hogwarts begins, as well as prominent supporters who were not in the official inner circle but were definitely at the battle: Bellatrix, Rhodolphus, and Rabastan Lestrange; Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco Malfoy; Severus Snape; Alecto and Amycus Carrow; Fenrir Greyback; Pius Thicknesse; Avery; Dolohov; Crabbe Sr; Goyle Sr; Yaxley; Jugson; MacNair; Mulciber; Nott Sr; Rookwood; Selwyn; Rowle; and Travers.

That’s 24 people, not a long list. Of course, the real numbers are likely higher. The list is just named characters. Mentions of things like a dozen Death Eaters guarding Hogsmeade indicate that Voldemort has grown his following again. Maybe there were as many as 40 or 50 Death Eaters, and they weren’t the only ones working for Voldemort. So let’s look at who else was:

Fenrir Greyback’s werewolves. Let’s assume that about 1% of wizards are werewolves, since it seems like a very rare condition. That would mean about 80 werewolves, and statistically ten of those should be Hogwarts students. As far as we know, Professor Lupin is the only werewolf at Hogwarts in Harry’s time, so even 1% is probably a high estimate. But let’s say there are 80 werewolves, and let’s say half of them are following Fenrir Greyback.

The Snatchers. The Snatchers were not at the Battle of Hogwarts in the books, but they were in the movies, so let’s include them. The Snatchers were bounty hunters who tracked down Voldemort’s enemies: muggle-born wizards, Order members, and so on. The two we know of are Greyback and Scabbior, and presumably some of the other werewolves were also involved. Ron describes them as being “everywhere”, so there have to be a lot of them. However, it’s unlikely they would all be at the Battle of Hogwarts. They were not part of Voldemort’s inner circle or even necessarily operating on his direct orders. They did not have the Dark Mark, so many might not even have known when Voldemort summoned his forces. But let’s say there were 100 Snatchers at the Battle of Hogwarts and Harry simply didn’t notice them in the book.

Ministry employees. Pius Thicknesse was at the battle, and I included him on my first list. I don’t think it’s likely that many others were, even those loyal to Voldemort. They had a government to run, after all, and it’s not as if Voldemort knew this was going to be the final battle.

Imperius victims. We’re told that Voldemort uses the Imperius curse to control people and force them to fight for him, but it’s unclear how many people are actually being controlled this way. The confirmed list of imperius cases is very short: Pius Thicknesse, Stan Shunpike, Viktor Krum in Goblet of Fire, Broderick Bode and Sturgis Podmore in Order of the Phoenix, and a muggle man in Half-Blood Prince. For the most part, it seems to have been a convenient excuse for people like the Malfoys after Voldemort’s first disappearance. However, let’s be generous and say Voldemort has twenty Imperius victims fighting for him at the Battle of Hogwarts.

Slytherin students. Now, this is where it gets tricky. In the movie, the Slytherins are locked in the dungeon, but in the book, they are evacuated to Hogsmeade along with all the underage students and those who chose not to fight. Voldemort tells Lucius Malfoy that Draco did not come to join them “like the rest of the Slytherins”, implying that all of them went straight to Voldemort and presumably fought for him. However, J.K. Rowling has since said that this is not the case, and that some Slytherins who were not loyal to Voldemort actually helped Professor Slughorn gather reinforcements to defend the school. Presumably others, especially the younger ones, simply went home. Voldemort was trying to scare Malfoy by questioning his son’s loyalty, so it’s not hard to believe he exaggerated.

Let’s say Pansy Parkinson and Theodore Nott went to Voldemort; Nott because his father is a Death Eater and Pansy because she made her position quite clear. Let’s also say Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis help Slughorn gather reinforcements; Daphne because, in Cursed Child, her sister and nephew are among the most unambiguously good Slytherin characters, and Tracey because she’s half-blood and has a normal-sounding name, which indicate she wasn’t raised with the kind of snobbery and prejudice that lead one to support Voldemort. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle went to the Room of Requirement, which leaves Blaise Zabini and Millicent Bulstrode, both unpleasant but not directly linked to the Death Eaters, and one unnamed girl if the 5 students per gender per house per year thing is accurate. However, if there are 1,000 students at Hogwarts, there could be as many as 35 Slytherin seventh-years.

Let’s go with 10. Let’s say that two helped Slughorn, five went to Voldemort, and of course, three went to the Room of Requirement.  Now let’s say there are 20 sixth years. Four helped Slughorn, ten went to Voldemort, and six went home. Let’s say that most of the younger kids went home or didn’t fight, since there’s no mention of Voldemort sending 11-year-olds into battle. That would mean 15 Slytherins, about half of the older students, went directly to Voldemort and fought with the Death Eaters. These numbers are, like the ones for the Snatchers and werewolves, totally arbitrary but hopefully within a reasonable range.

50 Death Eaters + 40 werewolves + 100 Snatchers + 20 Imperius victims + 15 Slytherins = 225

Voldemort’s army should have had numbers in the low to mid 200’s, give or take a little. Maybe even round it up to 300 if you think there’s any category where I’ve estimated low, or down to 200 if you think my estimates are high. His forces would still outnumber the Order’s something like 4, 5, or even 6 to 1 until the reinforcements arrive, and as much as 2 to 1 after that, but it seems like a reasonable number. It’s not a number that makes me fear for the future of the Wizarding World. Because if this many people were Death Eaters …

latest

… (and, as we’ve already established, the Death Eaters were just the inner circle, not the majority of Voldemort’s supporters) … if about 1/6 of adult British wizards were Death Eaters and maybe twice that many supported or worked for Voldemort in some capacity, then how are we supposed to believe this world was rebuilt and all was well?

Professor Rakepick Theory

So I’ve been playing Hogwarts Mystery again (I got locked out for a while on my old phone – it’s a long story). I’m partway through year 5, and I’ve started to think that Patricia Rakepick might have been a Death Eater.

Here’s my evidence:

  • She’s definitely a suspicious character, one that the player is set up to distrust.
  • Snape, who hates my character and her brother, sees Rakepick as such a great threat that he’s willing to work with me to find out what she’s up to. Presumably he has already tried to convince Dumbledore and failed.
  • She and I are currently trying to get the Marauders’ Map from Mundungus Fletcher, who is a no-good thief and smuggler, but also a member of the Order of the Phoenix. He seems to be taking the possibility of her torturing him very seriously.
  • Dumbledore trusts her enough to hire her as a teacher, but that doesn’t mean much. Dumbledore trusts a lot of people that probably don’t deserve it. The position of Defense Against the Dark Arts is hard to fill, and if nothing else, he might be suspicious of her and be setting her up to fall victim to the curse the way he did with Lockhart.
  • She went to Hogwarts at the same time as Lily, James, Snape, etc., but was several years older than them. Most of the known characters from that generation fought in the first Wizarding War. We know she wasn’t a member of the Order of the Phoenix, so there’s always the chance she was fighting for Voldemort rather than against him.
  • She was apparently a Gryffindor and was sort of a mentor in mischief to the Marauders. That’s according to the Harry Potter wiki; I don’t actually remember this being revealed in the game. However, remember that Peter Pettigrew joined the Death Eaters and everyone was convinced that Sirius had for a long time. Clearly, Gryffindor at the time was producing dark wizards as well as heroic ones.
  • For that matter, why did Snape, who was a spy at the time, definitely knew Peter Pettigrew was a traitor, and helped Dumbledore to protect the Potters, believe that Sirius Black was the one who betrayed them? Maybe it wasn’t too hard to believe that two of the Marauders had become Death Eaters, because he knew an older Gryffindor they had looked up to was one.
  • If he thinks Rakepick had any part in turning Sirius and Peter to the dark side, Snape would have all the more reason to hate her, since he thinks Sirius is the reason Lily is dead.
  • We’ve met several characters whose parents were Death Eaters – Merula, Ismelda, Barnaby, Felix – but no Death Eaters aside from Snape who avoided punishment for their actions. In the Harry Potter books, while many Death Eaters went to Azkaban or died fighting for Voldemort, a lot of them got off scott free by bribing the Ministry or pretending they were under the Imperius Curse. It makes sense that one of these would be the main villain of the game.
  • Rakepick is not still around in Harry’s time. She’s not part of the Order in either time period, and she’s not one of the Death Eaters who appears in the graveyard the night Voldemort returns. If she really is the villain of the game, she probably dies in year 7 – or sooner, for that matter, since she’s teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and the job is cursed.
  • When Rakepick is putting together a group of students to be her “apprentices”, two of the three have connections to Voldemort. Merula’s parents are in Azkaban because they were Death Eaters, and my character’s brother is rumored to have been one as well, which I’m becoming more and more convinced is at least partially true.
  • Someone who signed their letters with the initial R was writing to Jacob, threatening him, and offering him rewards for doing what they wanted. Now, who has the initial R. and an interest in the Cursed Vaults?
  • In Year 5, Chapter 7, it’s revealed that R. was trying to recruit Jacob and his two friends, Olivia and Duncan, into some kind of group. Whoever survived the longest while searching for the Cursed Vaults would earn the right to join them. Duncan and Olivia died, Jacob took the blame and was expelled, and went on to become “one of the most feared wizards in Knockturn Alley”. Sounds like the group might have been the Death Eaters.

Conclusion: Patricia Rakepick was a Death Eater.

 

Poem: The Mirror of Erised

For some, the mirror shows the past
Some see the future in its glass
For some, a loved one by their side
Takes their hand and smiles wide
Others see a dream come true
Something they always longed to do
Some see a crown upon their head
Some see a person long since dead
Or ripped away by cruel fate
For some a new beginning waits
A happy few may stare for hours
And find no trace of special power
Then turn and walk away from it
But most can’t make themselves forget
They linger here forevermore
Their lives pass by in reaching for
A far-fetched dream, a memory,
A longing that can never be

Phoenixes and Family Connections

There’s no mention in the book Fantastic Beasts of phoenixes bonding with families as opposed to individuals. Even if it’s true that they have some special connection to the Dumbledore family (or perhaps one particular phoenix does), that doesn’t mean they couldn’t also appear in other places, to other people.

Phoenixes are famous for dying in a burst of flame and being reborn from the ashes, which makes them a pretty good symbol for the Dumbledore family. They apparently had a noble ancestor accompanied by a phoenix, which vanished when he died. By the time Albus Dumbledore and his siblings came along, their family was definitely in the “ashes” stage of a phoenix’s life. His father was in Azkaban, his mother was dead, his sister was unwell/probably an obscurial, his brother was coarse and ignorant, and Albus Dumbledore himself was easily manipulated by Grindelwald, who went on to be one of the most powerful dark wizards of all time. Elphias Doge’s “In Memoriam” piece in Deathly Hallows describes how, when eleven-year-old Albus Dumbledore arrived at Hogwarts, his name did him no favors; he was viewed with suspicion and distrust, not the respect and admiration he later received.

Of course, later in life – after fighting and defeating Grindelwald, not to mention making a name for himself as a great scholar and teacher – Dumbledore’s humble origins were more-or-less forgotten. Just as nobody cares, looking at an elegant red-and-gold phoenix, about the ashes it rose up from, no one cared about Dumbledore’s father who died in prison, his rather unpleasant brother, his mysterious younger sister, or his youthful association with Gellert Grindelwald.

Major Crimes of Grindelwald spoilers below!

Continue reading

The Sorting of Queenie Goldstein

Crimes of Grindelwald spoilers.

Shortly after the first Fantastic Beasts movie, I said that if Queenie went to Hogwarts, she would be a Slytherin. Now that Crimes of Grindelwald is out, all I can say is …

Continue reading