I’ve been thinking a lot about American muggle-borns. Rappaport’s Law forbids wizards from befriending, marrying, or forming any real relationship with muggles – so what about those who have muggle family members? How does this society treat them?
Are they allowed into the magical world at all? Or do their Ilvermorny letters simply never come? The school may have a muggle as one of its founders, but it’s possible their policies changed around the time of the Salem Witch Trials or the incident that led to Rappaport’s Law. Did they decide that letting muggle-borns in on the secret was just too dangerous? Do they no longer have any concept “no-maj-born” at all? Do American muggle-borns simply grow up in the muggle world, never realizing there are others like them, never learning how to control their powers?
I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than the alternative: children with magic being taken from their parents, forbidden from contacting childhood friends, forced to leave behind completely the world they grew up in. Parents being lied to about the true nature of Ilvermorny and obliviated if they start to guess, never knowing why their kids are drifting so far away. Or would they even wonder? Would they simply be made to forget?
I kind of favor the first option, mostly because I find it slightly less horrifying. But it also fits with my theory that Credence Barebone is secretly a wizard. If muggle-borns are never brought into the magical community, it makes sense that he’d be able to hide his powers from his New Salem family.
Either way, though, the way that characters like Hermione and Harry go back and forth between the two worlds would hardly fit in the version of 1920’s America that Rowling has created. The strict separation of magical from “no-maj” would make that impossible.
For that matter, what about squibs? In the Harry Potter series, those from magical families with no magic of their own are sort of caught between two worlds. Would they also be forbidden from mixing with muggles in this new setting? Or would they be viewed as a threat, in the same way that muggles are?
I’m not sure any of this will be explored in-depth in Fantastic Beasts. Unless I’m right about Credence Barebone, there don’t seem to be any muggle-born or squib characters. Still, it’s horrifying to think of the implications of what would happen to those who are part of both worlds when they’re separated so completely.