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Imagine a school in a castle filled with moving staircases, a sport played on flying broomsticks, an evil wizard intent on domination, an ordinary boy who’s the hero of a whole world he doesn’t know. This is the story that comes to life in the marvelous Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.

The Dark Lord, Voldemort, tried to murder Harry when he was just a baby—but he failed, killing Harry’s parents but leaving him with a lightning-bolt scar. After Voldemort’s disappearance, Harry is sent to live with his nasty aunt and uncle, far away from any hint of magic. But at the age of eleven, he is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and a magical world opens before him.

Each of the seven books in the series chronicles one year in Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts and his battle against Lord Voldemort. Harry makes two marvelous best friends named Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. He studies topics like Transfiguration and Potions under wise headmaster Albus Dumbledore and the malevolent Severus Snape. He becomes expert at a game called Quidditch; encounters incredible creatures like phoenixes and dragons; and discovers an entire Wizarding universe hidden just out of sight, as prone to the darker aspects of human experience as our own, but brightened by a quirky original magic.

And slowly, Harry unravels the mysteries of his original confrontation with Voldemort: why the Dark Lord tried to kill him, how he lived… and what he must do to survive another encounter.

The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was published in the United Kingdom in 1997; a decade later, the last novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, broke all records to become the fastest-selling book in history. The seven novels have been translated into sixty-eight languages, selling over four hundred million copies in more than two hundred countries.

A History of Magic

While the main timeline gives names and dates for specific events, this chronology indicates broad eras in the history of the wizarding world and traces the development of the ever-widening gap between the Muggle and wizarding communities.

Ancient Egypt and Greece

Egyptian wizards put curses on tombs; nowadays curse-breakers for Gringotts try to regain the treasure locked in those tombs, one pyramid has mutant skeletons of Muggles who'd broken in and "grown extra heads and stuff." Magic is integrated into society and Wizards are held in high esteem. However, Dark Magic is already being practiced in ancient Greece. Herpo the Foul created the first Basilisk as well as the evil magic of Horcruxes during that time.

about 1000 AD

Growing distrust on the part of Muggles for wizards and witches compels the four greatest witches and wizards of the age to found Hogwarts. Salazar Slytherin builds theChamber of Secrets after his point of view that only pure-blood wizards should be allowed into Hogwarts was dismissed. This separation of the two cultures continues and grows over the next 700 years.

1000 to 1300

The Wizarding world is governed by the Wizards Council (sometimes referred to as the Warlock's Council). While the relationship with the Muggle world becomes more distrustful, witches and wizards reach out to others of their own kind. The Triwizard Tournament and Quidditch become national and international events.


Witch burnings; Muggles were particularly afraid of magic but not very good at recognizing it, Wendelin the Weird burned at the stake 47 times in various disguises (Flame-Freezing Charm). There is growing discrimination in the Wizarding world against other magical beings, such as House-elves and Goblins.


With the coming of the Renaissance and the increasing reliance among Muggles on scientific reasoning, the break between the Wizarding and Muggle worlds is becoming more and more complete. Each culture goes on to create their own civilization: social structures, economies, governments, etc. Each borrows a little from the other as the years go by but it becomes apparent that the Muggles must be kept ignorant of the existence of their magical kin for their own good. Some Muggles persecute their magical neighbors, others try to exploit magical power for their own gain and for quick fixes to their problems. However, Britain still has court wizards (Nearly Headless Nick, for example, was a court wizard in 1492). Beedle the Bard writes his Tales to preach a message of tolerance toward Muggles, but his message is subverted or lost over the ensuing centuries as the division between Muggle and Wizard grew. With the intolerance of Muggles came a growing prejudice among some in Wizarding society in favor of the purity of blood. At the end of the 1400s, Daisy Dodderidge builds the Leaky Cauldon along a country path outside London as a portal between the Wizarding and Muggle worlds.

1600 - 1700s

Goblin rebellions break out all over Britain, and (perhaps not coincidentally) St Mungos hospital is established. Muggle persecution reaches an all-time high. These are dark times for the Magical Community. The governments of the Wizarding World meets to consider solutions to the crisis and create the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy of 1689 (date uncertain, given as 1692 in some canon sources). This not only completes the separation of the two cultures but also lays the responsibility on the various Wizarding governments in each country for maintaining the secrecy of everything from Quidditch games to dragons. Over the years, for Muggles, magic becomes the stuff of fairy tales and legend. By 1750 the Ministries of Magic from each country assume responsibility for the control and secrecy of their local magical flora and fauna. Wizarding families begin to cluster around small towns all over Britain where they find relative safety and anonymity.


Giants warred amongst themselves, bringing their species to the brink of extinction. In 1811, Grogan Stump reforms the Ministry of Magic. In 1881, Albus Dumbledore is born.


Prejudice against Muggles and the ideas of Pureblood supremacy is still very strong. These sentiments are manipulated by Tom Riddle as he becomes Lord Voldemort and makes two attempts to take over control of the Wizarding World in Britain. His first attempt, in the 1970s, is cut short in battle with James and Lily Potter and hisdefeat by Harry Potter (31 October 1981). The Giants, most of whom fought for Voldemort, retreat to northern Europe. Twenty years later, Voldemort rises again (1994), takes over the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts (1997), and is ultimately defeated by Harry Potter (2 May 1998).

The wizardly world inhabited by Harry Potter is such a mysterious and wondrous place that one assumes it was spun completely in the extraordinarily vivid imagination of author J.K. Rowling. Actually, there's a high-spirited — and often artfully hidden — storehouse of ancient lore, historical traditions, fairy tales and legends that inform the four Harry Potter books and the movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which opens today.

"Underneath the adventure story, there's an encyclopedia's worth of references to literature, myth, art, history — and all of it put together with a light touch and a great sense of humor," says David Colbert, author of The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts (Lumina Press, $14.95).

The plot and specific magical environment are Rowling's own invention, but nearly all of the creatures and their exploits — as well as spells, potions and supernatural explanations of events — have their roots in European folklore, with some references dating back thousands of years.

"Most of the magic in Harry Potter comes out of the Western magical tradition, which really originated in the Middle East, in Babylonia and Mesopotamia," says Allan Zola Kronzek, who, with daughter Elizabeth Kronzek, wrote The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter (Broadway, $15). "Greek, Roman and Egyptian sources all got mixed together in a kind of melting pot and formed what scholars called the Western magical tradition. That's where a lot of the magic spells, the potions and the curses come from."

That's precisely what bothers some Christians about Harry Potter. Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, a Christian non-profit organization based in Columbus, Ohio, worries that so much information about witchcraft and wizardry could result in an upsurge in occultism.

"From a Christian perspective, sorcery, witchcraft, spell-casting, dealing with the occult has always been forbidden," she says. "Witchcraft is being pitched to our kids. We have no idea what we're playing with here, even though it's done in a lighthearted way."

Rowling's richly detailed, meticulously researched tales draw upon hundreds of years of history.

"I don't know how much research she did, but there's no question that she did quite a lot," Elizabeth Kronzek says. "I think she's been interested in this stuff all her life and is probably somebody who was reading folklore and mythology from a young age.

"As I was reading the books, I thought certain names were so funny: grindylows (water demons), hinkypunks (one-legged spirits) and red caps (evil goblins). I was sure she'd made them up. But I discovered that, no, these are actually from European folklore. Some of them are from very, very obscure folklore."

The references are interwoven artfully into a seamless blend with action and excitement.

Writes Colbert: "One of Rowling's amazing gifts is her ability to toss them out without breaking stride in telling her story."

And, what's more, historians say that the references are told with remarkable accuracy.

"I don't think she got anything wrong in all four books," says Allan Kronzek.

Rowling, a former French teacher and single mom, has been quoted telling a curious fan: "Go and look it up. A little investigation is good for a person."

Clearly, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based author took her own advice — and then some.

"She had to have a very thorough grounding," Colbert says. "My guess is she's the kind of person who can do the London Sunday Times crossword puzzle quickly and in ink. She must be one of those people who simply read an enormous amount and keep it in their heads."

That's unquestionably the case, says David Heyman, one of the film's producers.

"Jo is a very well-read and curious individual," he says. "She reads voraciously. What we have read in her books is just the surface of the world. It's as if what we read is the tree, and the knowledge she actually has is the roots. She has notebook upon notebook upon notebook about this world."

Rowlings' depth of knowledge does not mitigate Harvey's concern, however.

"I don't know what her agenda is," she says. "It's probably just to write an entertaining book. Be that as it may, the outcome is that kids are more interested in witchcraft. And in the current context where they can access information extremely quickly, I think parents should really think about this: Do you want your 10-year-old actually casting spells from their bedroom?"

Others doubt that's a real danger, saying the stories are so popular partly because their rich context makes them more than a flight of fancy — and gives them the potential to be enormously educational.

Rowling "has made a very fun treasure hunt out of all sorts of things you would love your kids to be reading: Greek myths, Shakespeare, epic poems, Chaucer," Colbert says.

That's nothing more sinister than the literary tradition of retelling existing myths and legends in a new way. Says Colbert: "Characters and ideas and themes and settings simmer in this great big pot, according to J.R.R. Tolkien. Every writer takes from that pot, and everybody adds something. I think she has added more than she took out."

Following are a few noteworthy scenes, substances and characters, as well as clues about their origins:

A wizard's places and things


• The Sorcerer's Stone: In the story, the stone is a treasured source of immortality that Harry and his pals try to keep out of the hands of an evil wizard. It is said to be discovered by Nicolas Flamel. There actually was such a thing in history as the Sorcerer's (or Philosopher's) Stone. And Flamel was a real-life alchemist who, in 1383, believed he discovered a substance that would turn ordinary metal into gold and also thought he had discovered the Elixir of Life, which offered immortality. In Sorcerer's Stone, Flamel and his wife, Pernelle, were still alive at age 660. The real Flamel was born in 1330. In 1990, when Rowling began writing the book, he would have been 660.

• Magic wands: In the book, wands are required implements for all young wizards attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; one of the first lessons given to students involves the proper use of them. "The idea of wands goes way back, not just since magic tricks, but to ancient Egypt," Colbert says. "The Druids used to have different wands for different levels of learning and priesthood. Evil wizard Voldemort's wand is made of the yew tree. The yew tree has always been said to have supernatural power. It was one of the few evergreen trees in Britain at one time. So, it's a symbol of immortality. That's the immortality that Voldemort wants."

• The Forbidden Forest: Hogwarts' students are warned about the dangers that lurk within the forest, which is replete with all kinds of monsters, some of which emerge from their shadows and meet up with Harry. This is a familiar construct in literature and fairy tales. It signifies nature run wild. It is a danger, yet also a sanctuary. The idea that there is special knowledge in natural places, as there is in the Forbidden Forest, draws upon the tradition of nature gods worshiped by the Druids. Julius Caesar wrote of travelers encountering horrific creatures in an ominous forest back in the first century B.C., according to The Sorcerer's Companion.

Magical creatures and fantastic beasts

• Fluffy, the three-headed dog: Hagrid's pet dog and guardian of the Sorcerer's Stone was sold to Hagrid by "a Greek chappie I met in the pub." (Though in the movie, it has been changed to "an Irish chappie.") Fluffy is descended from Cerberus, a famous three-headed beast in Greek mythology. Cerberus was a sentry in mythology as well. He guarded the underworld, Hades. In Greek mythology, Orpheus played his lyre to tame Cerberus. In the movie, Fluffy is rendered calm and drowsy by the music of an enchanted harp.

• Hedwig, Harry Potter's snowy owl: Hedwig was a German saint who lived in the 13th century. An order of nuns dedicated to caring for orphans was established under the patronage of St. Hedwig. And, of course, Harry is an orphan. Also, owls have long been connected with magic and wisdom in folklore. The emblem of Athens was an owl. Knowledge and owls have long been connected, because of Athens.

• Unicorns: In a climactic moment in Sorcerer's Stone, a hooded man drinks the blood of the unicorn, hoping it will give him longer life or, possibly, immortality. "It's long been a part of legend that unicorns are sacred and so innocent as to be divine," Colbert says. "As a result, their horns or their blood were thought to have magical healing powers." A "single-horned creature" was first described 2,000 years ago by Greek physician Ctesias, who believed the animal was native to India. Over the next centuries, a belief in the elusive creature expanded, according to The Sorcerer's Companion. By the Middle Ages, images of the graceful horselike creatures with a white horn were depicted in paintings and tapestries. It later became part of the royal coat of arms of England and Scotland.

Hogwarts' faculty and students

• Rubeus Hagrid: The first name of the gentle giant, who collects dangerous animals and is the groundskeeper at the school, derives from the red gem, and he is ruddy-faced. "There's a whole British history of gargantua, gentle giants and the giants of Stonehenge," Colbert says.

• Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts' headmaster: The name of the Merlin-like figure is itself imbued with meaning. "Albus" means "white" in Latin, and the character has long white hair and beard and fights the dark Lord Voldemort. His last name is an ancient word meaning bumblebee. The elderly wizard is a chamber music enthusiast who is often heard humming absent-mindedly, like the buzzing of a bee.

• Draco Malfoy: Harry's cruel nemesis at Hogwarts has a last name that has been tied to witchcraft. "Malfoy" derives from the Latin maleficus, meaning evildoing. A pair of witch hunters published a book in 1486 called Malleus Maleficarum, which instructed readers on how to catch witches. "Draco" has a double meaning in Latin: dragon and snake. And the boy is in the house of Slytherin, which also is an allusion to a snake. Draco's equally villainous father is named Lucius, which is a derivative of Lucifer. Rowling, Colbert says, "is having great fun with language."

• Argus Filch: The caretaker who keeps a constant watch over Hogwarts is particularly keen on catching students in off-limits places. Argus in Greek mythology was a watchman with 1,000 eyes on his body. "If you've got 1,000 eyes," Colbert says, "you're going to see if somebody will filch something."

• Alberic Grunion: Harry and his pal Ron Weasley (and most of the other students) collect Famous Witches and Wizards trading cards. Grunion is on one such card. Alberich is a powerful wizard in a German epic poem that has been the basis of many modern works, most importantly the 19th century Wagnerian opera The Ring Cycle. One of the heroes in the poem is given an invisibility cloak by Alberich. Harry also is given an invisibility cloak by Dumbledore.

These are only a smattering of the many literary allusions.

"I've gotten letters from all over the world," Colbert says. "The effect that she has is exactly the same in every culture. Kids are excited about that world. They want to talk about it, read about it, write about it."

Lore and legend do allow creative juices to overflow, says Allan Kronzek.

"I think writers love to write about magic because they can just let their imaginations run free," he says. "There's something about magic that makes you feel that anything is possible."

Dear Reader--

When Bathilda Bagshot first published A History of Magic in 1947, many theories began to crop up about how she got her information. Over 20% of Bagshot’s material had never before been published. Therefore, people began to explain away her immense knowledge. Newspaper headlines read, “Bathilda Bagshot is a Dinosaur Animagus,” and “How did Bagshot Manage to Horde Hundreds of Time-Turners.” Incidentally, The Quibbler published an article some time later calling all of these theories, “utterly nonsensical, as Bagshot is clearly the Overlord of the Kneazles, returned to lead the Kneazle population to world domination.” We can now say with reasonable certainty that all of these theories are false. So how did Bagshot gather her information? The truth is… it was a lot of guesswork.

As Bagshot assembled her book, she travelled the world consulting with numerous historians to combine their ideas and then present a somewhat-cohesive picture. Notably, Bagshot also consulted with members of the centaur and goblin communities to gain their sides of the stories. Bagshot thus managed to gather a great deal of information that few wizards had ever before heard. Bagshot’s volume was remarkably informative. However, we have now disproved a significant segment of her work.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but history is actually an ever-changing field. Magical history is every bit as foggy and whimsical as every other aspect of magical studies. Every day, new data is fathered and new theories are composed. Where does this new knowledge come from? Those that tell us the most are plants and rocks, which endure time far more gracefully than mankind.  Here is yet another situation where the Muggle sciences far surpass our own methods. For a long while, Muggles have used a method called “archaeology” to study artefacts and fossils buried deep below the ground in an attempt to discover the past. While Muggles developed this area of study, wizards focused more on experimental spell-and potion- making. By the time we got to the Muggle archaeological records, they had already succeeded in tainting and misinterpreting many of their samples that were clearly magical. In the past decades, the field of magical history has taken enormous strides by analyzing these Muggle records and discovering ones of our own, allowing us to now enhance and refute several portions of Bagshot’s original work. For example, while Bagshot’s texts on the Goblin Rebellions speak of the fierce goblin leader Colin the Conqueror, recent evidence has revealed that Colin never existed and was actually a character created by a Goblin group to intimidate the Wizarding Armies. While maintaining a great deal of Bagshot’s original work, the Hogwarts textbook staff has worked to update her book. Of course, we are confident that the majority of our information will also need to be revised in the next few decades.

Another reason that history is an ever-changing field is that the lens through which we see the past, as well as the world around us, is constantly refocusing. Modern readers may be surprised to discover how forward-thinking Bathilda’s original volume was. Bathilda’s inclusion of non-wizards that played an important role in our communities was quite controversial during her time. Of course, in the decades following the Wizarding Wars, our views of non-wizarding folk have shifted even more. Our updated version of A History of Magic therefore includes even more information on the non-wizarding communities which helped shape our own societies. We have devoted an entire section to various non-wizarding communities since we believe that their histories are every bit as complex and relevant to today’s societies as wizarding history is.

As you progress through your Magical History course, I encourage you to think critically about the material that you read. Consider how the events described here can be compared to current events. Think about the impact of events such as the creation of the first wand and the formation of the Statute of Secrecy. Finally, attempt to find an answer to the question, “What does it mean to be a wizard in this world?”

Best wishes and good luck on your studies—

Mallory H.
Director of Creative Literature

Morgan C.

Kathryn E.
Editor for Hogwarts Textbooks
Salem Witches' Institute '07, Hollins University '11

A graduate of Salem Witches’ Institute, I had the opportunity to study with a number of magical historians and art historians both in Salem and London, where I went for a short period of further education following my graduation. Independent research, books, and new media presentations have furthered my knowledge of magical and Muggle history, which collide more frequently than we wizards like to acknowledge. My passion has always lain in the more hidden years, where much history is guesswork, fragments, and ruins. As such, I am better versed in the history of and theories about early civilizations of the Middle East and Europe, as well as the kingdoms and empires that predate modern Western Civilization. My interest dies in the increasing pollution and rural poverty of the Industrial Revolution. A stickler for details, passionate grammarian, and writer, I hope that you find this textbook informative, detailed, accurate, and grammatically correct in every way.

Mara N.

Mandi D. (Ravenclaw)
Salem Institute ‘09; Hogwarts ‘10; Brigham Young University - Currently attending

I’m that kid - the geeky one who sat in a corner reading about molecular theory instead of playing Quidditch. Why molecular theory, of all things? Even though I don’t have any Muggles in my close family, my cousin Lorcan and I have shared a fascination of their culture since we were little. We strongly believe that Muggle ideas and technology can revolutionize us, if we let it. When I began school at Salem Institute, I made special effort to learn more by studying Muggle Sciences and Muggle History. I transferred to Hogwarts my seventh year to be closer to Lorcan and his brother Lysander. While there, I fell in love with England, but I returned to America to attend a Muggle university. Over the last several months, I’ve been given the opportunity to help write both A History of Magic and A Beginner’s Guide to Transfiguration. My fondest wish is that, after college, I can teach at Hogwarts, so this has been a perfect fit for me. I sincerely hope that Hogwarts can also be the perfect fit for you.

Paige R. (Hufflepuff)
Salem Institute‘08; Longwood University - Currently attending

As a Muggle-born witch in the D.C. area, I was stunned and excited to get an acceptance letter to Salem Institute in Massachusetts. I loved the academics at Salem, and made some truly amazing friends. I specialised in History of Magic and Ancient Runes, though I loved the more practical arts of Charms and Transfiguration as well. In my sixth year, I was granted the opportunity to study abroad for a year at Hogwarts, where I was given the opportunity to be sorted and found myself in a Hatstall between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Sorted officially into Hufflepuff, I could not be happier and enjoyed my year at Hogwarts, though I must say Salem Institute’s History of Magic professor was far less dull than Hogwarts’ ghost professor! I returned to Salem Institute for my seventh year and graduated at the top of my class, from there continuing onto Muggle university, finding my aptitude for Muggle subjects had not diminished due to rigorous hard work I put in over the summers. While in Muggle university, I am studying social work, but my love for history never faded, so I was ever so glad when I could apply to co-write a new edition of A History of Magic! I have enjoyed writing this book very much, and I hope all the students will enjoy the book as well.

Alex S. (Ravenclaw)
Hogwarts ‘02

A full blooded Filipino Ravenclaw despite my name, I was studying at Hogwarts at the time of the Second Wizarding War. I was only able to study on the grounds of Hogwarts during my first to fourth year. When the war broke, I went back home to the Philippines to avoid the conflicts arising at the time. Thankfully, Hogwarts granted me a chance to pursue my studies at a “long-distance term.” I am part of a special group of Hogwarts students belonging to the Fly Hogwarts program, a program created at the time of the war that is designed for overseas students to continue their Hogwarts education long-distance. I am currently a researcher at the Institute of Asian Magical History in the Philippines and work part-time at the neighboring Muggle university as a student moderator. My research has brought me to numerous parts of the world where I had the opportunity to meet and speak with renowned magical historians like Madame Bathilda Bagshot. I live in the heart of Manila with a small Philippine scops owl named Nugget and a mysterious midnight visitor who keeps stealing my oranges.

Why Study History?

 Magic is the unspoken reason for everything, as any schooling witch and wizard would know. Following the introduction of the 1692 International Statue of Secrecy, which sent Wizardkind into hiding and forced us to adapt to the Muggle way of life, our place in the history of mankind has been hidden from the Muggle historians, who did not even witness the celebrations following the Second Wizarding War and whose history books explain the “unexplainable”—those things of which magic is the real cause—by citing unseen forces that can manipulate the natural balance of life. The magical community has succumbed to the dire fact that, despite our memorable and very influential contribution to mankind, it would be best that we keep it a secret from our non-magic counterparts. Although human effort is still very important, magic has played its part in shaping human society.

 But then, what is magic? Young wizarding children know about magic even before they mutter a word. Magic is a term used to describe both the good and the bad.

 According to renowned magical historian Augustus Racscol, magic is actually

 ‘…nature’s ability to provide humans with the power to manipulate and modify conditions accordingly. It is a gift blessed to witches and wizards alone for they hold the knowledge and wisdom to use it to aid and not to destroy.’

 It is upon this statement that wizard historians and researchers base all their premises and discoveries about magic. The primary goal of every witch and wizard is to promote the continuity of the human race by ‘tweaking’ the balance of nature in an effort to give non-magic beings the chance to survive and propagate their society.

Magical historians believe that magic has its roots long before the documentation of human existence. Wizard scholars have devoted their lives to the search and rescue of our ancient lineage. Quite a number of discoveries have been made in mountain ranges in the Himalayas and the Canadian mountains where wizard archaeologists have uncovered cave dwellings that depict signs of magical influence in the lives of the dwellers that used to live there. It was believed that the caves dated back to the time of the Great Lizards, a time when man first emerged on earth. Magic always leaves traces, and the caves were full of magical presence. In Professor Utoipius Black’s book Uncovering Magic, he shares an instance during his excavations in a Russian mountainside, where one of the necklaces that were left inside the caves attempted to strangle the wizard who touched it. It appeared to have been bewitched with an Anti-Thievery spell, so that only the owner could touch it. Magic was present long before man, but it needed man to be harnessed into something useful and practical.

Wizards have always been an influence to society-building. In the country of Vietnam in 1975, when the Vietnam war ended, a group of Vietnamese wizards, known to magical history as the ‘Viet năm,’ who sought sanctuary in the country of India returned and helped stabilize the crippled government, making reforms and assisting the populace with their uncanny and almost impossible feats. They do not appear in any Vietnamese history books because they went against the government’s decision to install a single-party state. They were exiled back to India where they are currently residing.  

As future society-builders, young wizards must immerse themselves in our history and enhance the development of Wizarding kind. Our success as a society lies in our ability to promote our good values and hinder the growth of our bad beings. Indeed, the magical community, like any other community, is prone to success and failure, but knowledge of our past will prepare us for future endeavours. An example of this would be the Wand Wars during the 1500s. Many witches and wizards died in an effort to protect the ancient secrets of wandlore from the Muggles who sought to acquire it. Witch-hunting was rampant then, and the fate of our treasured wands was left to the hands of our able wizard ancestors who ran into hiding, while their wives, sisters, daughters sacrificed their lives for their escape.  

Magic’s Beginnings

 Wizards can be traced back to the very beginnings of mankind, even during the time of the Neanderthals. Displays in the Australian museum of magic show rock paintings of people in loincloths brandishing one regular arm and one long, oddly-shaped arm. Australian wizards have studied their Aboriginal ancestors and their acquisition of what looks suspiciously like a wizard’s wand. Professor Milano Sundarian of the Australian Academy for Magic has always believed that magic was first born in the Australian outbacks, but was it really?

 In the 17th century, up north in the mountains of the Himalayas, a team of European wizards set up a campsite, initially to observe the habitat of the Yeti, and discovered remains of an ancient tunnel that led deep into the mountain, where it is believed that Himalayan wizards had set up a community before abandoning it for unknown causes. The tunnels date back to the time of the Ice Age. What kind of wizards lived in these tunnels? Were they as advanced as their Australian counterparts?

Research is still ongoing to predict the moment that the first wizard came to life. Theories have been proposed over the years, but none have yet proved the period when the first wizard emerged. There are three controversial theories that have their supporters and their detractors.

The Uno Mas Theory

 The Uno Mas Theory is the most popular of all theories of Wizarding beginning. The theory implies that all magical blood came from one man who was christened Uno Mas. Uno Mas was born at the Time of the Reptiles, which Muggles call Dinosaurs. He was a stocky, built man with a head shaped like a gorilla’s head. He slouched and walked dragging his abnormally long limbs on the ground. Uno Mas manifested the same communication traits as those who lived during his time, communicating in grunts and pokes. Some theorists believe that Trolls also stem from Uno Mas but have not evolved as quickly as wizards did.

 Unlike the Muggle men of that time, Uno Mas had a keen sense of discovery. He would pick up pieces of wood and stone and fashion them into items which, at that time, meant nothing, but were the beginning of the wizards’ aspiring quality to improve and to develop. While the Muggle men focused more on food acquisition and mating, Uno Mas was busy creating many things. Some believe he developed the first wheel, but no solid proof has been found to back up this claim.

 The theory also explains that Uno Mas made the first wand. Stories have circulated that it came from the bonfire from which fire began. Others say that it belonged to a very high, prehistoric tree, a branch from which Uno Mas picked up and threw, frustrated that the fruit did not fall when he shook the tree, hitting a fruit and causing it to fall. Full details about the Theory of Uno Mas can be found in The First Wizard: Uno Mas, written by renowned wizard archaeologist, William Marangue. Its counterpart, The Anti-Uno Mas Theory, written by wizard activist Josiah Loppet, also sheds some light on the theory’s shortcomings.

The Great Migration Theory

  As seen in animal behaviour, migration is a normal survival method. Migratory routes As seen in animal behaviour, migration is a normal survival method. Migratory routes have been monitored to discover the whereabouts of our wizard ancestors’ birthplaces and their burial grounds. In this theory, wizards, unaware of their abilities and still mingling with the Muggles in an effort to survive the natural conditions, would travel with them to wherever the food source would travel. Sometime during the Descent of Blizz, called by Muggles “the Ice Age,” these wizards, having discovered their unique gift, set up their own group, left their non-magical brethren, and began their own journey around the world. They still followed the migratory routes, which are still being researched by wizards and Muggles alike, but the wizards’ tracks lead into non-existence.

In 1535, a Chinese explorer named Ho Mao Tseng followed these tracks before stopping in the middle of a deserted area in the shadow of the Swiss Alps. At the time, Prior Incantato had not yet been invented, so Tseng only deduced that the entire group died in an avalanche, but in the early 1800s, a group of Gringotts’ curse breakers unearthed the spells that hid their lair from the world. An underground chamber, much like the Himalayan tunnel, was discovered, and a few artefacts remained intact, encased in a block of ice. Tools, clothing, and a few of their other items held magical properties, including a vanishing cloak that held a number of diricrawl feathers and unicorn horns made into necklaces. Bodies were never found, but it is believed that these ancient wizards abandoned the tunnel and decided to go their separate ways and thus created the societies that exist today.  

The Theory of Hocus Pocus

 The Theory of Uno Mas focuses on the first wizard.  The Theory of Hocus Pocus focuses on the first encounter with magic. According to historians of the Brussels Museum of Ancient Magical History, magic was first encountered even before that fateful first controlled fire. The museum has a very broad collection of ancient note-taking materials and documents. Markings were written on bark, and researchers constantly make new discoveries for every new piece of evidence given to them. One tree bark told the story of how men chose their women, and it wasn’t the Muggle interpretation of hitting your woman with a giant club and dragging her by her hair. It was actually a very simple test. Women prefer strong men, so naturally, the strongest man would have his pick of women to choose from. However, men of that time also wanted a particular kind of woman: submissive, but with a great deal of talent. The writing goes on to say that it was the women who chose the men by presenting their chosen mate a tamed man-eating, giant lizard. At that time, women were naturally gifted with the power of persuasion. The woman with the most powerful sense of persuasion, the one who could win the heart of a man-eating, giant lizard and live to show it off to her future in-laws, would gain the honour of claiming that man. Muggles who were able to decipher the tree barks were considered mad or ‘loony,’ and thus, this theory gained little support from the Muggles who believe that magic exists.

Young wizards should bear in mind that without magic, there would be no witch or wizard, and it should be given great respect and used for the promotion of the human race.  
Early Magical Communities: The Americas

The indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Native Americans, were a highly diverse group of people, spanning from what is now modern Canada down to what is now modern Chile and Argentina. All of these societies had integrated tribes of both magic and non-magic (“Muggle”) peoples, with witches and wizards holding traditionally important roles in their communities. Of particular interest to magical history are the Clovis culture throughout the Americas, the Olmec peoples of Mexico, and the Maya of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The customs, cultures, and histories of each of these tribes are varied and rich. This section will provide an introduction to the influences that witches and wizards have had on these cultures and how these cultures have influenced current magical communities, particularly in the areas that the tribes were formerly concentrated.

Migration to the Americas

 The first peoples were believed to have migrated to the Americas between 28,000 and 10,000 B.C.E. Muggles commonly believe that the first peoples migrated from Asia to a far-northern part of North America by a land bridge that has since been covered by the modern day Bering Strait. Magical historians agree on this point as the migration occurred prior to the invention of broomsticks and before the development of the Apparition method of transportation. It is, however, believed by prominent magical historians that the migration would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, without witches and wizards who assisted the ancient Muggles by providing Healings, multiplying existing food supplies, and using a primitive Point Me spell for navigational support. Once in the Americas, the peoples migrated across the entirety of the North and South American continents, creating separate civilisations with different cultures and belief systems, but in all of them, high importance was placed on the magical peoples in the communities, partly because of the help that primitive witches and wizards gave to their Muggle companions on the journey.

Clovis Culture

 The Clovis people are widely believed to have been the very first people to live in the Americas, though there is some recent debate among Muggles as to the accuracy of that fact, due to new Muggle dating methods in the field of ‘science.’ The noted magical historians who specialise in ancient times remain of the persuasion that the Clovis were, in fact, the first civilisation in the Americas that involved witches and wizards. The name ‘Clovis’ is fairly recent, originating in the 1930s with discoveries of various artefacts by Muggle archaeologists. While witches and wizards had pre-existing evidence of the existence of these people, to minimise confusion, magical historians chose to adopt the Muggle name for records. In this way, the study of history can be unencumbered by the barrier between magic and non-magic communities. The hope is that this will give future magical historians the option of using Muggle records to solidify and expand their knowledge, because, as science improves, it has proven more and more useful to the field of history for both magic and non-magic peoples.

 The Clovis peoples are known to have used both bone and ivory for tools; bone is believed to have been a Muggle idea, but the use of ivory appears to stem from Wizarding contributions in an effort to encourage their Muggle counterparts to use every part of slain animals, including the tusks of woolly mammoths. Many magical historians believe that, in addition, it was a primitive wizard who suggested the woolly mammoth as possible prey, offering his skills in magic to his fellow men to take down the mighty beast. Some magical historians believe that, without the aid of magic, Muggles would have been unable to kill such huge animals, though this is a source of contention among many historians who debate whether witches and wizards give less credit than is possibly due to Muggle peoples.

 The Clovis people migrated all across North and South America and settled in many areas. Eventually, however, they began to decline. Magical historians believe that the decline was due to a combination of a decreased availability of megafauna, or big game, such as mastodons in the Americas, and a massive climatic cooling that made it difficult for the non-magic peoples to survive. While witches and wizards could perform simple Warming Charms, the Muggles often died due to complications of the cold, and the witches and wizards dispersed into other populations of people over time. When the Clovis people died out, some of their culture lived on in other primitive American peoples, but it was not until the 1930s that Muggles finally gave a name to this first culture that migrated across two vast continents.

Olmec Peoples

 The Olmec was the first major civilisation in Mexico. The Olmec peoples lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, where now are the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco. The civilisation thrived during what is called the Mesoamerican Formative period, from about 1,500 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E. From as early as 2,500 B.C.E., pre-Olmec civilisations had thrived in this area, but the Olmec did not really come into their own until 1,600 B.C.E. to 1,500 B.C.E.

Importantly, the Olmec had a very structured society, far more so than the more ancient Clovis peoples, who seem to have been less hierarchal. The Olmec were one of the first civilisations, along with the Maya (to be discussed below), to put witches and wizards in their own elite class of people within their communities, above the artisan, labourer, and farming classes.

 In the Olmec civilisation, witches and wizards made up the top two elite classes—the ruling class and the shaman class—and were just above the Muggle priest class. The ruling class was seen to have a direct link to deities worshipped by the Olmec, but many of these perceived links to the gods are thought now to have been accidental magic by young witches and wizards in the Olmec society. When these young people, with no control over their abilities, accidentally showed their magic, it was seen as a direct act by the gods to acknowledge them as the next ruler, and because even witches and wizards had very little knowledge of where their power came from at the time, it was widely believed to be divine intervention. Magical historians, through ancient records, have found this to be the most likely explanation as to how rulers with what were assumed to be direct links with gods were chosen, though there is still some debate among leading experts.

 The witches and wizards of the Olmec had a love of jade, obsidian, and magnetite luxury goods. Some evidence exists that points to witches and wizards using these materials in symbolic shapes for magical assistance, to enhance their power with the help of natural substances. Indeed, there have even been primitive obsidian- and jade-topped wands found by magical historians, though current research shows that these decorative tips may have actually inhibited magical power in the wands rather than enhanced it. Magnetite was a common material used for mortars and pestles by witches and wizards in the Olmec culture for it was believed that it enhanced the potency of draughts, but it has since been proven that, while some materials do work better with potions, magnetite is not one of them and that this was merely a superstition among the Olmec people based on the shininess and prettiness of the material.

 The Great Pyramid is the most important feature of the Olmec people and marks one of the most important influences that witches and wizards had on the Muggles in Mexico at that time. Today, it is 112 feet tall and conical in shape, but when it was originally built, it was rectangular with stepped sides and inset corners. This pyramid was the largest Mesoamerican structure, and it would not have happened without magical assistance. To this day, Muggles puzzle over wonders such as the pyramids, but magical historians know that magic peoples helped the non-magic peoples of the time build tributes to their mutual gods. Primitive witches and wizards used sorcery to lighten the loads of Muggle labourers and also to help perfect the shape and symmetry of such monuments. The Great Pyramid was the largest Muggle-magic collaboration in the Olmec civilisation.

 A large part of culture is art, and the Olmec had a striking artistic feature that makes their artefacts stand out from other art from the time period: they made colossal heads, often over 9 feet tall. While Muggles have puzzled over this for centuries, magical historians know that this is another important example of the influence that witches and wizards had on their Muggle tribesmen. Witches and wizards had encouraged idolisation of the head because they had already come to understand that the brain was what separated humans from animals, and the witches and wizards of the day believed that there were key differences in the brains of magic and non-magic peoples that separated them in terms of ability.

 Between 400 B.C.E. and 350 B.C.E., the Olmec civilisation faded. Muggle research points to the reasons for this being mostly environmental, but many magical historians are of the belief that the magic and non-magic peoples of the Olmec ceased to exist together as peacefully as they had before. Some evidence points to the non-magic peoples choosing to branch out and live separate from the ruling and shaman classes, but, after such reliance on magical help in every aspect of life–from agriculture to building to medicinal needs–they found themselves woefully unprepared. The magic peoples, likely insulted by the insinuation that their peers no longer wanted their help, had moved on by the time that the Muggles changed their minds, and the Olmec society fell apart, their decline sped up by the environmental changes that Muggle science says is the main reason behind the Olmec decline.

Maya Peoples

 The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilisation that occupied southern Mexico and northern Central America around the same time that the Olmec culture was thriving in south-central Mexico. However, the Mayan culture lasted much longer, having had their zenith in the Common Era (C.E.), and are, in fact, still in existence today. The Maya are noted for being the only Mesoamerican civilisation to have had a fully formed written language and also for significant mathematical, architectural, artistic, and astronomical advances, much of which can be attributed to the Wizarding influence in Mayan culture.

 The Mayan civilisation can be divided into several historical blocks of time. Of interest in this chapter are the Early Preclassic period, which covers roughly from 2,000 B.C.E. to 1,000 B.C.E., and the Middle Preclassic period, which spans from 1,000 B.C.E. to 400 B.C.E.

 The Early Preclassic period is significant because this marks the time when the Mayan peoples began to change their lifestyle from hunter-gatherer nomadic peoples to agricultural village societies. Magical historians are of the belief that this gradual change was, in part, due to the magic peoples in the Mayan culture who found it more profitable to plant food than chase after it. It is believed that the witches and wizards in the Mayan civilisation used their magic to assist the Muggles in their farming and benefited from such by being able to use extra ingredients in their potions, an art the Mayan witches and wizards were very interested in advancing, but had been unable to do so properly when their people had been constantly moving from place to place.

Due to the proximity of the Olmec, the two fledgling civilisations traded with each other and each influenced the other. Both societies had written systems, though the Mayan system was more advanced and based on phonetics rather than symbols that represented ideas (like Egyptian hieroglyphs), and both made important mathematical and astronomical advances; both civilisations used the concept “zero” and both used calendars.

 By the year 1,000 B.C.E., the Middle Preclassic period had begun. The society had become more complex as it developed roots in a community rather than moving about as nomads. Luxury goods for the elite began to surface, such as jade mosaics and, notably, obsidian mirrors. Magical historians believe that ancient wizards experimenting with the art of Divination used these mirrors as primitive scrying tools.  There is evidence that they were very popular among the “fortune-tellers” of the day, though current Diviners would have laughed at such a material being used for Divination today. During this period, the Olmec were at their cultural zenith, their highest point, and the Maya were on their way up. The relations between the two trading civilisations is thought to have been positive as the Maya were heavily influenced by Olmec culture, in everything from diet (maize and, notably, the cocoa plant) to worship (jaguars were central to both religions), and even language.

 The architecture of the Mayan civilisation was fairly advanced for the time period. Most important to magical history is the notion that the temples and pyramids of Mayan civilisation were remodelled every 52 years, in accordance to their calendar. Muggles have speculated on this and are, to date, unsure whether or not this happened, but magical historians are of the mind that it did. In fact, the magical historians believe that it was the witches and wizards of the Mayan community that initiated this idea, because, in numerology, 52=5+2=7. Seven is and, even in ancient times, was an important number in magic, and the Mayan witches and wizards recognised that, consciously using it in their temple and pyramid upkeep.

 Another important aspect of Maya culture that is rich with the influence of the ancient witches and wizards who lived among them is the importance of astronomy, and the advanced knowledge that the Mayans had of the skies. The lunar cycle was extremely important to them, primarily because of the influence that it had on potions with which the Mayans experimented. The influence of ancient witches and wizards gave primitive Muggles insight into the importance of such cycles.

The integration of society is the primary cause of the extraordinary advances such ancient civilisations made. The influence magic peoples had on a primarily non-magic society cannot be ignored. Without primitive witches and wizards, these cultures likely would not have lasted as long as they did, nor would they have made many of the advances in astronomy and mathematics that they did without the influence of magic peoples.

 Throughout North, Central, and South America, the civilisations prior to 350 B.C.E. that migrated to the continents were strongly integrated. Witches and wizards, particularly in the Olmec and Mayan cultures, were held as elite members of society, revered for their abilities and their talents in astronomy and other magical arts. While less is known about the Clovis culture, the Mayan and Olmec both lived in agricultural villages and towns with a structured societal hierarchy, with most witches and wizards near the top or at the top of these chains. Materials such as obsidian, jade, and magnetite were frequently used in primitive magical tools, such as ancient wands, scrying mirrors, and mortars and pestles. The joint influence of non-magic peoples on magic peoples and vice versa led to a rich tapestry of culture that would have been nonexistent without such crucial cooperation among these now-segregated groups.

Early Magical Communities: Asia


One of the earliest known civilizations in the world, Mesopotamian civilization consisted of a variety of city-states. Although there is evidence for wizarding presences throughout all of these city-states, the city-states that show the most signs of early complex magic and potion-making are Sumer and Akkad. Archaeologists found an amulet in Sumer that had retained its magic for several millennia and was still so powerful that the archaeologists spent several months in St. Mungo’s, recovering from the magic’s effects.

Indeed, Muggles in these societies revered their magical neighbours as Healers and Seers. Many of these witches and wizards were so powerful that they earned a permanent place in the civilizations’ religions and were thought to be divine beings by their Muggle neighbours. Take, for example, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess Ishtar. Legends speak of her as having an all-consuming attractive force, making both animals and people fall madly for her and fall into depression once she left them. Magical historians believe that Ishtar brewed a primitive form of Amortentia and fed it to all of the people whom she desired.

Another example of a wizard who became ingrained in Mesopotamian legend is Gilgamesh, the leading figure in one of the earliest known works of literature. In the Sumerian text, Gilgamesh is described as two-thirds god and one-third mortal and goes on an epic journey to find immortality. Archaeologists have found traces of extremely weak immortality potions in Sumer, suggesting that Gilgamesh attempted to extend his life magically. The Epic of Gilgamesh also features Gilgamesh’s fight against a fire-breathing beast called ‘Humbaba.’ Many historians believe this beast to actually have been an early ancestor of the Hungarian Horntail, which would correlate with their discovery of several large fossilized bones in the area.

On the other hand, Mesopotamians also feared the influence of dark magic and occasionally slaughtered groups of wizards. Of course, these wizards are probably not entirely free of blame. A Babylonian Muggle’s text speaks of the severe pain that she endured at the hands of a wizard, who eventually managed to gouge out both of her eyes and several of her teeth without touching her face. Many magical historians believe that this incident inspired Hammurabi to create his famous code, featuring the law ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’


The Phoenicians, a group of people who engaged in excessive maritime trading, are perhaps most known for their written alphabet. While Muggle historians have attempted to decode this alphabet, they have overlooked several key phrases that indicate that this alphabet was actually an early attempt at sharing discovered Charms. It is doubtful that the Phoenicians ever created wands, suggesting that these spells were meant to be performed wandlessly. (Phoenicians probably used various wand woods to engineer their sturdy boats, but did not discover their uses as wands.) One spell reads ‘rir-rir or wal lat ick nur geg’ and includes an introduction that suggests that it was an early form of ‘Vipera Evanesca,’ the Snake-Banishing Spell, used to fight against the serpents that tormented them from the steppes. Modern Charms experts have been unable to replicate the effects of this spell. The spells were formulated by priests in Byblos, but appeared in Egypt a few decades later, suggesting interaction between the two magical communities.

Indus River Valley

Magic practices had such a strong hold in the Indus River Valley civilizations that almost 80% of their artefacts show traces of magic. They’d managed to channel magic through their bangles, beads, and vases. Although historians are unsure of the purpose of this magic, they speculate that the magic was for purposes other than defence. One small, etched bracelet carries traces of magic with a great resemblance to the Cheering Charm.

As the caste system began to form, wizards gained a position at the top of society, alongside priests, or Brahmin. These wizards were central in protecting the village from the large community of Lahoo vampires, who terrorized the ancient Indians for several centuries. These wizards crafted highly advanced methods of warding off vampires, some of which are still used today, thus saving India. One Muggle wrote, ‘The demon man, with blood dripping from his fangs came to my home today, but he could not enter because of the garlic that the divine one, Lahsun, gave to me.’ Many suspect that the Indus River Valley civilization would not have endured without these wizards.

Asian Steppes

Magical historians did not care much about the Huns, a group of Asian nomads, until the late 1970s. Previously, magical historians had thought that the Hun society was too crude to have had any magical presence. That all changed when one magical historian, Robert Meddleweb, stumbled across a Muggle historian’s account of the Huns, which described a strange phenomenon: ‘Some believe that the Huns just appeared in the Eastern Asian steppes. Of course, that’s impossible. However, archaeologists have been unable to find any artefacts explaining where the Huns came from,’ wrote Anna Zakowsky.

Meddleweb quickly interpreted these findings to mean that the Huns had Apparated from some other area of China, leaving no trace of their travel—at least, none that Muggles could understand. Other historians doubt Meddleweb’s theory, including Harrison Byproo: ‘Apparating is not something that just happens by accident. Think about how difficult it is for sixth years to Apparate. Suggesting that an entire nation could Apparate successfully is outrageous.’

To this, Meddleweb countered, ‘Think of magic as an animal. Right now, we’ve managed to domesticate it, make it respond to certain words and behave predictably, more or less. Back then, it was far more uncontrollable but also significantly more powerful. We’ve toned it down to make it safer.’ Thus, the magic of the Huns allowed the entire community to spontaneously relocate. Of course, this incident would have also led to a great deal of adverse effects, for which Meddleweb has located substantial evidence.

Much of the remnants of Hun skeletons show significant signs of deformation. Muggle archaeologists explained this away as ‘the wear of time,’ but magical historians understand these irregularities as signs of Splinching. However, the most impacting effect of the botched Apparition was the resulting magical hyperactivity from which the Huns suffered, as the Apparition had adverse effects on their intellectual and magical capabilities. Magical hyperactivity is a condition that has endured to this day, causing magic folk to release their magic in strong, uncontrollable bursts. This explains the brute force of the Huns as they invaded and destroyed neighbouring territories.

As time went on and the Huns mixed with surrounding people, magical potency decreased in their communities. While magic became a rare talent, the Huns continued to respect those in their community who could perform magic. In fact, Atilla the Hun, the most notorious leader of the Huns, a Squib himself, surrounded himself with a staff of magical advisors and valued magic folk within his community. Atilla even went so far as to reconsider murdering the people whom he encountered if they performed a magic trick for him.


Perhaps the most important role of ancient wizards in China was controlling the Yellow River. Early Chinese society was so harmonious and successful due to its mastery of the Yellow River, which was primarily a result of the work of wizards. Using Levitation Charms to build a dam and powerful Nature Spells, Chinese wizards managed to prevent the Yellow River from flooding. During periods of drought, these same wizards managed to sustain most of the civilization’s crops with an early form of Aguamenti. Chinese wizards also helped fend off the aforementioned Huns and other nomadic groups. However, Chinese magic was typically much more controlled and weaker than the brute force of the nomads’ magic, leading to constant foreign invasions.

After the Warring States Period and the creation of Legalism, Chinese emperors began to create laws restricting wizards’ powers, claiming that the wizards were threatening the order of things within the community. Thus, wizards were forced to stop practicing magic, unless authorized to do so by the government. Any wizard in violation of this restriction was either exiled or banned.
: Early Magical Communities: Africa

For great periods of time, Africa has been home to some very mysterious and powerful branches of magic, some of which might be considered somewhat dark. Since the continent’s earliest days, the African people are said to have witnessed many mystical phenomena: from black shooting stars in the middle of the day, seeds that sprouted fully grown trees overnight, and animals that spoke, to smoke that changed colours during tribal dances, possession, and sometimes even resurrection. Of course, those of us in magical society now know well enough that reports from so long ago have been greatly exaggerated. Take resurrection for example; it isn’t possible. But in the past the peoples of Africa thought it quite the opposite. All of these strange happenings would normally be attributed to fantasy or a bad dream, but the frequency with which these events took place left no doubt in the minds of the ancient Africans that there was something more going on.

The general consensus seems to have been that spirits were channelling their energy into earthly things to prove their power and scare mortals into granting them certain favours. These ‘spirits’ would choose one member of the tribe and speak through them, and, in turn, the spirit would grant its host healing powers to help the rest of the tribe. These ‘chosen ones’ were called shamans which, translated into modern English, means ‘someone who knows,’ a name given to them because of their ability to know and understand the spirits and channel their magic.

Their method of communicating with these spirits was through out-of-body experiences, and to reach this out-of-body state they would make special teas to initiate momentary lapses in their sanity which then allowed them to see these ‘almighty beings.’ (Muggles who study science, which comes from the Latin word for knowledge and is the Muggle study and organization of the natural world into logical and rational explanation, throughout time have proved out-of-body experiences to be no more than common hallucinations.)  Through the research done over time by herbologists, potioneers, et cetera, however, we have discovered through analysis of ingredients and examination of the results of these teas that most of the time they’re very poorly executed brews of Aberration Draught and mind-altering potions.

Further research did conclude that the shamans were of magical blood, but not knowing how to use or control their powers, they ended up using badly brewed potions as their gateway into the magic that resided within them. These interesting people were no more than primitive wizards who lacked the ability to concentrate the force in their blood, which resulted in a very hit-or-miss system to try to understand it. It’s impressive enough that they managed the potions that they did with absolutely no prior knowledge on anything magical at all. Despite all of this, though, the superstitions that dark forces from the beyond existed in our world and that there were some humans that could use them lasted throughout the years with devastating results for the innocent people involved. The worldwide hunting and burning of Muggle women believed to be witches is proof enough of that.

Witchcraft became, in later years, somewhat of a religion and is still one of the most dreaded superstitions in Africa. Africans believe that witches are powerful, seductive beings that can use magic to alter the course of human life for better or worse–though more often for worse than for the better–and thus they accept magic as an explanation for any mystical or mysterious phenomenon, even when their Muggle common sense is telling them otherwise.

Whether these mystical attributes and mysterious beings were real or imagined, it’s safe to say that ancient African civilizations understood magic to be powerful and frightening, and thus it was worshipped beyond any deity. Ancient Egypt, the most developed magical community in the country, gives us exceptional information about how magic turned into such religious belief.

Ancient Egyptian mythology states that magic, or heka as they called it, was the mighty force that created the universe and was therefore more powerful than even the gods themselves. By using magic, symbolism would turn into reality and help Egyptians join the gods in paradise. Magic in Egypt was seen not only as another field of knowledge but a force created solely for the benefit of mankind and so was used to manipulate the gods for human purposes.

Egyptian Magic

Egyptians were amongst the first civilizations to study magic and create rules and rituals as to how it would be used; they laid a basic foundation for the rest of us to build upon. Priests were sacred because of their ability to communicate with the gods (a reflection of the African shamans), and therefore, they were the ones who were allowed to practice magic without restrictions in order to obtain the power of the god that they were invoking. Of course, those with true magical blood were hard to ‘restrict;’ instead there were severe punishments for anyone caught practicing that hadn’t the right. To avoid punishment, some wizards would seek apprenticeship with the priests while others used their gifts away from the public eye, but because it was widely believed that some had more power than others, those practicing in secret rarely attempted complex magic and usually everyone was “kept in place.” But we all know that sometimes uncontrolled magic is difficult to keep hidden, and, while rare, magical practice outside of the priest class wasn’t unheard of.

Having unlimited legal access to magic, Egyptian priests began to study the possibility of certain objects making it easier to channel their mystical powers for the greater good. Purity was a legal requirement for a person to be able to perform a spell. Because ivory was already known to be a purifying substance and natural shield from negative energies, it became necessary for wizards of ancient Egypt to carry ivory amulets with them as proof that they were pure and could call upon the gods to make them do their bidding. The need for the ivory item to be practical, unique, and efficient in its channelling of pure magic gave birth to the continent’s first magical wands. These magic wands were nothing like our current and comparatively superb wands with magical cores and the added power of the wood; they were merely semi-circular pieces of ivory with carvings of the most powerful beings slaying dark creatures from end to end.

Wandmakers and wandlore scholars debate to this day whether or not these ivory wands had any magical properties. It is still customary for the wandmakers of Egypt, and even of most of Africa, to use ivory in their wands. Regardless of this debate, all parties agree that the old style ivory wand does balance the power within the wizard using it, helping him to perform more stable spells and stopping dark magic from being used; as African wizards believe that ivory keeps their minds pure, they have no desire to explore the darker side of their power.

Egyptian Secrecy

Egyptian wizards were very keen on keeping their magic to themselves. Considering the religious belief that good deeds were what granted or denied someone the chance to join the gods in the paradise of the afterlife, wizards from Egypt made sure that they performed as much good magic as possible, and the most effective way to achieve that was to make sure that they were the ones that the people sought out to sort out whatever troubles or illnesses came along. In order to do this, they had to keep their spells and rituals a secret so that other wizards weren’t privy to take over their practice. The ancient Egyptians kept books that they passed down from generation to generation full of useful spells that only they knew, not to be shared with anyone, just like some families in today’s world, mostly those of spellmakers. The ancient Egyptian wizards even came up with strange combined words and secret names for the gods that had to be pronounced in certain way or the spell would not work, effectively doing exactly as spellmakers do today, putting words and actions together to make new spells. Thus, if someone stole or peeked into the journals in which they wrote the proceedings of their enchantments and rituals, the culprit would not be able to understand the words needed to make the magic happen, and therefore, no one but the wizard who’d written it or one whom he had taught would be able to perform it to aid others. This practice of casting spells by muttering nonsensical words that somehow brought out the magic within them became quite popular and soon all of Egypt and parts of Africa into which the practice had bled were teeming with papyrus scrolls full of spells that no one but the person who wrote them could perform.

There is a faction of wizards that work alongside the curse breakers for Gringotts that visit Egypt to see if they can find any of this lost magic, translate it, and find use for it. Curse breakers are necessary in Egypt because greed provoked ancient wizards to place curses upon tombs. Most people in Egypt were entombed with riches and luxury, believing that the soul would return to the body, taking everything left with it into their next life. However some wizards who had discovered their power but were not or had not pursued the path to become a priest soon discovered that the ancient Egyptian belief system was inaccurate. Only those with magical blood can become and see ghosts, so from the imprints left by deceased wizards these ancient Egyptian wizards found out that the afterlife that they all so prepared for didn’t work at all how they had thought, and thus, all the gold and riches left in the tombs were going to waste. Banded together in this knowledge that none of the others knew, the wizards of ancient Egypt set curses and traps for any thieves that might enter so that the wizards themselves could return to claim things as they needed them. Also, some of those born of magic truly did believe in their theory of an afterlife, regardless of any extra knowledge that they might have been given by ghosts, and they set their own traps and enchantments on the tombs to keep the treasures inside safe from intruders, to ensure that the deceased inside got to keep their things for when they returned.

 The need for international magical cooperation in later times, along with the discovery of nonverbal spells, led the Egyptian practice of creating new words for magic rituals to its demise. However, the fact remained that a standard spell wording of sorts had to be created, not just because of the language barrier between wizards of so many different places, but also because of the growing number of Muggle-born wizards all over the world. To remain hidden has been our world’s greatest task for a very long time, and if the language and words in which magic used to be performed was not regulated, Muggle-born children, oblivious to their abilities, could cause a disaster simply by saying one or two words out loud in their common tongue. It is because of this that an international summit of wizarding leaders from all over the world took place back in the early days. This meeting lasted an extremely long time because the people involved took to investigating and retelling the history of our world in order to find a solution, and this, in turn, led to the standardization of Latin as the language for most spells, enchantments, and spoken magic in general. This council debated, discussed and tested the aforementioned magic in an effort to determine an official, or at least agreed upon by the majority, list of spells for the wizarding world. They collected the most potent words from a myriad of cultures and languages to form The Standard Book of Spells, which is still used in schools today.

If you’ll take notice, however, the etymology for spells is rarely Egyptian. This is not because their words for magic are less powerful than another cultures, per se, but is mostly due to the fact that Egyptians have maintained a strict secrecy about their spells and magic. In present times they are much more open and accommodating to the council, but discovering their lost magic has proven extremely difficult and is one among many reasons Egypt is known as the ‘Land of Secrets.’

Early Magical Communities: Ancient Greece and Rome

Ancient Greece

To the ancient Greeks, it was quite important that citizens honour the gods. If something abnormal or bad happened, it was usually blamed on the wrath of a certain deity, when, actually, it was a person of magical blood being less subtle than normal. Because most everything out of the ordinary was blamed on the gods, witches and wizards had an easier time blending in with the Muggle population in ancient Greece than they did in the European Middle Ages, when witch-hunts were quite popular. Not only did they blend in more easily, some wizards and witches were quite helpful to the Muggles, although that term was not then used to describe non-magic folk. For example, in 447 B.C., Perikles began to plan a magnificent building that would later be named the Parthenon. This was a temple dedicated to goddess Athena. Because of it was a massive undertaking, no one was quite sure how it would be possible to build such a temple. But Perikles was of magical blood, and therefore, every night, after the workers left, he could build with magic just enough to keep alive the hope that something of this scale could be built. There are many other instances of witches and wizards helping their non-magic brethren, particularly in war. If not for magical blood, the Greeks could have very well lost the Greco-Persian Wars in the fifth century B.C. of which the famous battles of Marathon and Thermopylae are a part.

 As a prisoner of the Greeks, Phillip II of Macedonia observed their military tactics. Returning to his own country, he used his newly acquired insights to strengthen Macedonia to the Greeks peril. By the time of his death in 336 B.C., Sparta and a small colony near Byzantium was all of Greece that remained free of Macedonian rule.

 Phillip II’s son Alexander the Great expanded the Macedonian empire to enormous proportions, but the bickering of his sons tore the empire apart, and left the way open for Rome, which had conquered both Macedonia and Greece by 145 B.C., to become the dominant Mediterranean and world power.

Ancient Rome

The Romans were a little less lenient about magic than the ancient Greeks, however they were still a very deity-centred society, so most magic still passed unnoticed. At its very beginning, in the 8th century B.C., Rome was just many huts filled with men. Because of the lack women, they knew that their race would eventually die out. Those men learned in the magical arts, prominent among them Romulus, Rome’ founder, made love potions and gave some to women of the neighbouring Sabine tribe. Under the potions’ power, the Sabine women became the mothers of the future Roman race. Although it may seem unethical to a modern audience to use a love potion simply to procreate, in those times it was not frowned upon, and the potions masters were even celebrated as heroes. (In Muggle legend, the men just kidnap the Sabine women because the Muggles at the time could not understand why the women were suddenly interested in the Roman men.)

Roman wizards and witches did not remain the heroes of Rome forever, however. By 451 B.C., magic was curtailed by Roman law. The Twelve Tables of the decemviri legibus scribundis forbid harmful incantations and the use of magic to move a neighbour’s crops to one’s own field. The dictator Sulla in 81 B.C. imposed further bans on magical practices, including love-spells and poisons, with his Lex Cornelia de sicariis et veneficis. Laws against magic escalated and culminated in numerous calls for the banishment of all magic folk, which Roman wizards and witches circumnavigated by using their powers secretly or with discretion; banishment was decreed by numerous Roman rulers at different times.

In 133 B.C. the senator Tiberius Gracchus, a wizard whose senatorial career is better remembered by Muggles for his radical ideas of land redistribution to the plebeian masses, proposed to the wizards that Muggles needed to learn their place under wizards. This is the first time that a wizard publically claimed superiority over his non-magic fellow Roman citizens. Although he convinced a few, his ideas were so unpopular that he was killed. Whether the senators, including his own cousin, Scipio Nasica, who clubbed him to death were against his pro-plebeian or his anti-Muggle radicalism is a question no history books answer.

Rome at its height dominated most of the then-known world with an empire stretching from the shores of the Caspian Sea west to modern-day Spain, from the Northern African coast to Hadrian’s Wall, the original border between Britain and the unconquered land of the Picts (modern-day northern Scotland). In the midst of this domination, wizards and witches of different cultures, brought together by learning of the empire’s language, Latin, shared information. This trade of ideas led to the first meeting of the Consilium Imperii Magi (CIM or the Council of the Empire’s Wizards), which met in Rome in 132 A.D. This council of international wizards examined magical history and culminated in the creation of the original Standard Book of Spells, a compilation of the most potent spells of the different cultures, comprising of spells for every action yet done by magic. This first Book of Spells was published in Latin. Latin being the dominant language of the time, many of the spells included were based on this tongue. Other spells come from Aramaic and Greek to name a few. This Standard Book of Spells forms the basis for our modern Book. Additions are made by CIM, which has met every fifty years since for this purpose.

 Early Magical Communities: Europe

The first known culture to have practiced a modicum of magic in Europe was known as the Bell-Beaker culture, which occupied both the European Stone and Bronze ages, ending around 1900 B.C.E. Best known today as a simple people who made their mark on history through a curious pottery style, not much is recorded about their origin. During this time, the most beneficial contribution to society that can be contributed to Wizardkind is the idea of symbols becoming text. Young witches and wizards practiced drawing the shapes that wands make during particular spells. When questioned, they introduced the idea of using symbols to convey words. For a while their advice was brushed off as quirky nonsense, but the idea eventually took hold.

Several unexplained phenomena occurred during Bell-Beaker times which baffle Muggles to this day, but these can be illuminated by lesser-known wizarding folklore. The most notable of these phenomena, perhaps, is Stonehenge in England, known by Muggles as one of the “Seven Ancient Wonders of The World.” They have proposed several theories as to how the landmark came to be, but the theory that occasionally touches the truth lies in a legend about Stonehenge’s heel stone, known as “The Friar’s Heel.”

Muggle Frank Stevens, curator of the Salisbury Museum, records the legend of the Friar’s Heel in his book Stonehenge—To-day & Yesterday.  It is in sum this:

In his wanderings, the Devil, the villain of many Muggle myths of the time, had seen some huge stones in the back garden of an old Irish woman, and he thought to move these stones from her garden to the stoneless Salisbury Plain so as to sew confusion in men’s minds for all time.  Before he could begin his mischief, he needed to obtain the woman’s permission, but she met his petitions with refusal until finally he played upon her greed and, knowing that the old woman’s mathematical skills were poor, agreed that she could have all the money that she could count in the time that it took him to remove the stones from her garden.  He handed her a pitiable sum in coins and set to work. The poor woman had had time to add barely two coins together before the Devil had prised the stones from the ground, tied them neatly together, and slung them across his back.

Having obtained the stones, the Devil flew away to the Salisbury Plain, but the stones were so heavy that the willow strap cut into his shoulder. The Devil bore the pain as long he could, but finally had to shift his bundle. One stone fell from the pack and lies at the bottom of the River Avon. This stone near Bulford, England is offer as supposed verification of the tale’s truth.

Arriving at the Plain, the Devil deposited his heavy burden and set to work arranging the massive stones. Revelling in his mischief, the Devil boasted aloud that he would puzzle men for all time with this project.

His cry was overheard by a passing friar (a Muggle of the Christian faith who lives according to certain rules), who replied and was unfortunately heard in turn by the Devil.  The Devil, enraged by the discovery of his mischief, hurled a stone at the friar as the man fled from the Devil. The stone struck the friar’s heel, but the friar was unhurt while the stone still bears the imprint of the friar’s heel.

Just then, the sun rose and the Devil, who cannot abide sunlight, had to stop, and the stone remained where it had fallen.

While this story shares the same outcome and a similar theme as the true story, the main character was a wizard, not the Devil, and is the ‘good’ character, while the old woman is the ‘bad.’ Gerbert DeBolbec, a well-off wizard who lived near the Salisbury Plain with his wife Josselyn, practiced magic quite subtly, but strengthened his skills by affecting nature rather than typical inanimate objects. His lands were inordinately prosperous but not so much as to arouse alarm in surrounding townspeople. One neighbour, a hag by the name of Cedany, resented his fortune. As a hag, she was only able to produce rudimentary magic, but she often reached beyond her means with unpredictable results. Josselyn, in an attempt to improve relations between their households, came to Cedany with an offer to extend magical protections to her land. In a fit of jealous rage, Cedany insisted that she was powerful enough to protect herself, and in her effort to prove herself she turned the contents of her grounds—trees, bushes, and Josselyn—into stone. Realizing her mistake—and knowing that Gerbert would be unforgiving—she fled. When Gerbert deduced the whereabouts of his wife, he destroyed Cedany’s house, and, grief-stricken and unable to tell which one was his wife, loaded the large stones into a pack that he enchanted with an Undetectable Extension Charm and went in search of the hag. The bag had a loose seam, and one of the rocks—incidentally, the one that was formerly Gerbert’s wife—fell out to land in the River Avon. He realized much later that one of the stones was missing. Helplessly, he wept bitter tears, which soon turned to mindless tears of fury. Upon finding the hag, he cast the most powerful spell that had been attempted in history thus far, entrapping Cedany in an enchanted circle of the stones. He then continued hurling stones in an attempt to squash his enemy. The stone that dealt her death blow ricocheted to land farther away as the heel stone, carrying with it the imprint of her body later known as the Friar’s Heel. When the magnitude of the magical energy that he had spent caught up to him, the broken wizard died of exhaustion.

(Legends like that of the Friar’s Heel were created when Muggles could find no other explanation. Unlike other areas whose religions embraced magic, prevailing European churches of the Common Era, from which their legend of the Friar’s Heel comes, shunned magic as an explanation, preferring instead a clerical “because I said so” mindset. Scientific explanations were unacceptable as well, and many of that era’s most groundbreaking scientists were incorrectly labelled as sorcerers.)

Christianity began its rapid spread across Europe early in the Common Era (C.E.). Most of the technological advances of the time were made by Muggles, as wizards and witches lived too far from one another and were too and were too fearful of religious fallout to draw too much attention to themselves. This explains why technology moved so slowly.

Pagans and occultists made up most of those who practiced magic in Christian Europe, and they were a spurned minority. There were also rare instances of shamanism, but the influence of Abrahamic religions and their conflict with the supernatural kept most witches and wizards in hiding. Many Roman and Egyptian laws of the time reflected this belief.

This lack of tolerance, more than anything, contributed to the eventual detachment of wizarding and Muggle societies. The dangers of revealing oneself were so great that they eventually led to the International Statute of Secrecy.

Early Magical Advances

Separate from the prying eyes of Muggles, magical theory and skills were being advanced at a glacial pace. Some of the most impacting developments were made in wandlore. Without the creation of the written word, most prehistoric findings on wandlore have been lost. What we have today are legends and rumours that have been built upon to create the theories of modern society.

Because wandlore is such an inexact and involved science, the Ollivanders are worth mention in prehistoric wizardry. Wandlore is passed down from master to apprentice, and it is often a family business. Geraint Ollivander was one of the most skilled wandmakers in history, and he, along with his ancestors and descendants alike, created a lucrative wandmaking business that is considered the best of all time, with the possible exception of Gregorovitch’s wand shop in more modern times.

The adoption of international businesses such as wandmaking and the increasing ease of travel with the rise in Muggle trading during the Common Era began to unite witches and wizards from all ends of the globe. A cesspool of knowledge resulted in rapidly evolving magical theory, which was readily available. Before these times, magical knowledge was sectionalized by geography, and hard to build upon. Naturally, the evolution of magic would require some necessary changes to wizarding lifestyles, beginning with education.

The need for wizarding schools became apparent as society changed. Schools would make it possible for young witches and wizards to accumulate more knowledge in one year than could ever be taught by parents who knew only what their parents had shown them.

 Major Religions and Magic

Since the earliest recorded history, nonmagic peoples (“Muggles”) have defined magic as a mystical power derived from the gods and goddesses of their culture. They explained away this natural phenomenon by attributing it to the supernatural, to their religious deities, in an effort to explain what could not be explained. Indeed, even some witches and wizards of ancient times believed that their own powers came from the gods and goddesses, for they lacked the knowledge and intense study in the pathways of magic that have been since studied. In the beginning, most cultures respected and even revered witches and wizards living in their societies, elevating them to ever-higher statuses – priests, shamans, rulers. Eventually, however, the Muggles began to fear and condemn the practises of their fellow witches and wizards. The rise of Judaism and Christianity were especially well known for a dramatic change in Muggle-Wizard Relations.

Major Religions and Magic: Buddhism

In Buddhism, suffering is made into an automatic part of life, while pleasure is seen as something fleeting that, if pursued, can lead its hunter into a never-ending quest to quench a thirst for bliss that will never be satiated, as it will only grow stronger. The seeking of pleasure, be it through sexual urges, riches, or immortality, is one of the roots of suffering, according to Buddhists. They see these cravings as desires that will never be satisfied; therefore, having them will only bring suffering. The other root is ignorance, for it is the inability to understand the world as it is, to grasp the nature of things, and that brings along a stream of negative emotions (anger, envy, hatred, etc.) that, again, will only bring suffering.

 This is why the followers of the Buddhist religion try to find perpetual peace through meditation; to be able to know and understand the world and rid themselves of their earthly desires so they can live without suffering and be reborn into a better life instead of reaching the afterlife full of the despair they fear so much.

 The truth about the end of suffering relates to two different things: the end of physical suffering through death, or the end of emotional or mental suffering through reaching Nirvana, a state of spiritual enlightenment that can only be achieved by carrying an impeccable moral conduct.  It is the belief of the Buddhist people that once the suffering in this life has ended, they are sent to another plane, good or bad, depending on how they behaved during their time on Earth. If sent to one of the three positive planes, they can be reborn as demigods, gods, or men.

 In earlier times, Muggles who reached Nirvana often turned out to be magically gifted, and their spiritual revelation was nothing but the magic they had in them all along finally making itself present after being suppressed by a lifestyle full of meditation and the neglect of one’s emotions, which are known to bring out the magic in those who possess it when they are at a peak.

 This is not to say that meditating is bad by any means. It has been known that many Buddhist monks who have said to have achieved Nirvana are actually Squibs who, through deep concentration and faith, have managed to feel the magic they are incapable of using. Some have even managed to perform simple spells when concentrated hard enough on what they want to achieve, but nothing beyond that. As wizards, it can be somewhat difficult to understand why someone would seek such things when there’s a spell for practically everything, but it is, some say, one of the most admirable qualities of the Muggle world to have faith in something pure and mighty that can explain every single thing in the universe.

 We’ve established, then, that Buddhism is mainly about understanding the world as it is and dealing with suffering, its cause and its end as a part of life on this earth in order to be reborn into a plane where suffering does not exist. Or, if one is reborn into the world of men, to have a second chance to achieve Nirvana. Taking all this into account, we could say that wizards are, in fact, considered part of the privileged few who have reached that state of spiritual freedom, seeing as how the many interpretations of Nirvana always lead back to the most basic forms of magic. To be able to use and channel magic gives a person the ability to make their life easier while also giving them a quality to understand the world in a much better way than a Muggle could. That is admired by Buddhists, even when they don’t truly grasp the concept of wizardry and mainly see our kind as admirable, reborn spirits of some ancient life who were blessed enough to be sent back and show this world how to end suffering. Buddhist monks even show their admiration by wearing robes not unlike a wizard’s. It is, we should say, a subliminal part of their religion to be in awe of wizards, as we symbolize the better life they seek to be reborn into.

Major Religions and Magic: Christianity

Christianity evolved out of Judaism and, as such, believes in many of the same basic tenets. In Judaism, the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings are divided into 24 Books in the Hebrew Bible. The basis of Christianity is, therefore, the same as the basis of Judaism and their early texts are markedly similar, as are many of their basic beliefs. Christianity continued in the vein of Judaism in that it was a monotheistic religion. Christians, instead of using the term Yahweh, preferred the term God and that is what Christians call their deity today.

The New Testament of the Christian Bible is where Judaism and Christianity diverge from the same path into two separate ones. The Messiah is where the two religions cannot agree. Both agree that a Messiah will or does exist, that this figure will be a redeemer of mankind, a leader in moral and religious matters as well as political and military matters. The disagreement comes into play as to whether or not the Messiah has come. Jewish followers believe that the Messiah has yet to appear on Earth while Christians believe that the Messiah is Jesus Christ, later Crucified and believe that Jesus died for the sins of mankind, thus fulfilling the redemption role.

Though there are many witches and wizards who are Christian, the Muggle vein of Christianity heavily rejects magic. Some sects are very strict in believing it is evil or Satanic, condemning all witches and wizards (see Witch Burnings) while other Muggles have dismissed the idea of magic as mere superstition to not be taken seriously at all. Wizards have amended Christianity slightly so that, while they still celebrate the major Christian events (Christmas, Easter), magic is not condemned. Nonmagic peoples have a long history of condemning that which they do not understand or that which they fear and wizard Christians widely believe that it was Muggle churches that condemned magic and not the religion itself. In this way, witches and wizards continue to be able to hold their beliefs without feeling like they must suppress their true selves to appease a higher power.

While most Muggle Christianity denounces magic as evil, the Catholic Church recognises Healings and Visions (Divination) as possible and has recognised specific people as having such Gifts. Some of these Saints were witches or wizards in their own right, documented by magical historians as individuals trying to bridge the gap between Muggles and magical communities, but many of theses Saints were either Muggle-born witches and wizards who refused to acknowledge their abilities or else Squibs who had perhaps a few isolated incidences of magic in their lifetimes. While such Healings and Visions are recognised officially by the Catholic Church, many Muggle Christians, still reject magic on the whole, condemning it as evil and dangerous. Wizard Christians have found it easiest to practise their beliefs outside of Muggle churches to avoid the condemnation and ostracism that they would be prone to experience in Muggle circles.

One interesting sect of Christianity is known as Esoteric Christianity. This branch of Christianity does not reject all magic, and is made up of a mix of open-minded Muggles and practising witches and wizards. They use the Bible in their teachings, though focus primarily on the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and select readings from the remainder of the Bible, primarily from the New Testament. They believe Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah as the rest of Christianity does, but they set themselves apart in that they believe themselves an enlightened few. This branch has ancient roots, tracing back to the fourth century C.E. as the disciplina arcani, a secret oral tradition of Hellenistic and Palestinian Judaism. The sect adopted views of Christianity over time and became Esoteric Christianity.

An important achievement of Esoteric Christianity that witches and wizards involved in the sect brought about was the introduction of the art of Alchemy. Famed alchemist Nicolas Flamel (1327-1992) himself was an Esoteric Christian and he remains the only known maker of the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary substance that can turn any base metal into pure gold and produces the Elixir of Life, which makes the drinker immortal. The advent of Alchemy in this select group of Christians has been used by future generations of Magical peoples for Muggle-Magic relations as evidence that Muggles and Magical peoples can live fully integrated, but a counterargument of the Witch Burnings of the same time period as well as many wizards being unwilling for such cohesion has stopped true integration from reoccurring.

Esoteric Christianity shows that some Muggles are open-minded enough to accept witches and wizards into their lives, though the Ministry of Magic disapproves of this lifestyle and sees the Esoteric Christians who are witches and wizards as rebels and, as per the Statute of Secrecy of 1692, will arrest them if they are caught. For this reason, Esoteric Christians of both Muggle and Magical roots keep their religion a closely guarded secret to this day. Religion has greatly impacted the Magical world, and it remains one of the key elements that lead to the later separation of the magical societies from the nonmagical world.

 Major Religions and Magic: Christianity

Christianity evolved out of Judaism and, as such, believes in many of the same basic tenets. In Judaism, the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings are divided into 24 Books in the Hebrew Bible. The basis of Christianity is, therefore, the same as the basis of Judaism and their early texts are markedly similar, as are many of their basic beliefs. Christianity continued in the vein of Judaism in that it was a monotheistic religion. Christians, instead of using the term Yahweh, preferred the term God and that is what Christians call their deity today.

The New Testament of the Christian Bible is where Judaism and Christianity diverge from the same path into two separate ones. The Messiah is where the two religions cannot agree. Both agree that a Messiah will or does exist, that this figure will be a redeemer of mankind, a leader in moral and religious matters as well as political and military matters. The disagreement comes into play as to whether or not the Messiah has come. Jewish followers believe that the Messiah has yet to appear on Earth while Christians believe that the Messiah is Jesus Christ, later Crucified and believe that Jesus died for the sins of mankind, thus fulfilling the redemption role.

Though there are many witches and wizards who are Christian, the Muggle vein of Christianity heavily rejects magic. Some sects are very strict in believing it is evil or Satanic, condemning all witches and wizards (see Witch Burnings) while other Muggles have dismissed the idea of magic as mere superstition to not be taken seriously at all. Wizards have amended Christianity slightly so that, while they still celebrate the major Christian events (Christmas, Easter), magic is not condemned. Nonmagic peoples have a long history of condemning that which they do not understand or that which they fear and wizard Christians widely believe that it was Muggle churches that condemned magic and not the religion itself. In this way, witches and wizards continue to be able to hold their beliefs without feeling like they must suppress their true selves to appease a higher power.

While most Muggle Christianity denounces magic as evil, the Catholic Church recognises Healings and Visions (Divination) as possible and has recognised specific people as having such Gifts. Some of these Saints were witches or wizards in their own right, documented by magical historians as individuals trying to bridge the gap between Muggles and magical communities, but many of theses Saints were either Muggle-born witches and wizards who refused to acknowledge their abilities or else Squibs who had perhaps a few isolated incidences of magic in their lifetimes. While such Healings and Visions are recognised officially by the Catholic Church, many Muggle Christians, still reject magic on the whole, condemning it as evil and dangerous. Wizard Christians have found it easiest to practise their beliefs outside of Muggle churches to avoid the condemnation and ostracism that they would be prone to experience in Muggle circles.

One interesting sect of Christianity is known as Esoteric Christianity. This branch of Christianity does not reject all magic, and is made up of a mix of open-minded Muggles and practising witches and wizards. They use the Bible in their teachings, though focus primarily on the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and select readings from the remainder of the Bible, primarily from the New Testament. They believe Jesus Christ is indeed the Messiah as the rest of Christianity does, but they set themselves apart in that they believe themselves an enlightened few. This branch has ancient roots, tracing back to the fourth century C.E. as the disciplina arcani, a secret oral tradition of Hellenistic and Palestinian Judaism. The sect adopted views of Christianity over time and became Esoteric Christianity.

An important achievement of Esoteric Christianity that witches and wizards involved in the sect brought about was the introduction of the art of Alchemy. Famed alchemist Nicolas Flamel (1327-1992) himself was an Esoteric Christian and he remains the only known maker of the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary substance that can turn any base metal into pure gold and produces the Elixir of Life, which makes the drinker immortal. The advent of Alchemy in this select group of Christians has been used by future generations of Magical peoples for Muggle-Magic relations as evidence that Muggles and Magical peoples can live fully integrated, but a counterargument of the Witch Burnings of the same time period as well as many wizards being unwilling for such cohesion has stopped true integration from reoccurring.

Esoteric Christianity shows that some Muggles are open-minded enough to accept witches and wizards into their lives, though the Ministry of Magic disapproves of this lifestyle and sees the Esoteric Christians who are witches and wizards as rebels and, as per the Statute of Secrecy of 1692, will arrest them if they are caught. For this reason, Esoteric Christians of both Muggle and Magical roots keep their religion a closely guarded secret to this day. Religion has greatly impacted the Magical world, and it remains one of the key elements that lead to the later separation of the magical societies from the nonmagical world.

Major Religions and Magic: Confucianism

There is no rejection of magic or of Western witches and wizards amongst practitioners of Confucianism. They do not reject magic as much as disavow it. They would claim that what Western wizardkind identifies as “magic” is simply “Li,” or the ability to make something happen without taking direct physical action. How this differs from “magic” is not entirely clear, though, of course, physical action is required in many forms of magic, at least as Western wizardkind practices it most often. Thus, it is possible that the followers of Confucianism simply fail to utilize some forms of magic, while excelling in others.

Confucian wizards and witches consider themselves to be allied with “The School of the Scholars.” Were they to attend Hogwarts, they would be overrepresented amongst the Ravenclaws, and secondarily amongst the Hufflepuffs. In their own wizarding academies, the tendency is so strongly to be sorted into the House of one’s parents that to be sorted otherwise makes one a bit of an oddity.

Confucian wizarding practice is strongly ritualistic and formal, even in small bits of magic. As with Western magic, Li is used for even the smallest of household tasks, but is often cooperative in nature, invoking a relationship to accomplish even simple tasks such as summoning spells.  Confucian approaches to magic are, in fact, so cooperative that the desires of the individual wizard are often sublimated to those of the group.

Perhaps the best statement of this philosophical approach is a quote of one Confucian wizard, known by the single name “Spock,” who famously stated, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one… or the few.” It is entirely possible that a misunderstanding of this ethical stance on the use of magic is responsible for the twisted perspective that Gellert Grindelwald developed; that wizardkind should assume power over Mugglekind “for the greater good.” A deeper understanding would have informed him that this stance is completely antithetical to the principles of Confucianism.

Major Religions and Magic: Daoism

The focus of Daoist beliefs is spontaneity, and connecting with nature. Thus, Daoist magic was completely unstructured, and revolved around nature spells. This nature magic varied from forming rivers through Gouging Spells and an early form of Aguamenti to affecting the weather in much more complex ways than the modern curses and Atmospheric Charms. One wizard, by the name of Huai Bai is known for his ability to summon or stop rain without speaking a word.

He wrote:

The rain inside me

Commands me to let it out

Falling upon us

Many similar poems exist, and some modern historians believe that this poetry was actually a means of forming spells. However, they have not worked in various modern experimental settings, leading to the conclusion that they involved some other movement or substance, or that the magic behind them has ceased to exist.

This interest in nature also leads to astounding strides in Herbology. Daoist wizards and Muggles discovered countless useful herbs and fungi, including Finger Root and Sea Buckthorn. They worked together to develop methods for herb maintenance and use, advancing the field of potion-making as well. However, due to the Daoists’ wishes for spontaneity, the procedures for most of the potions were never recorded, and cannot be replicated.

Within the Daoist community, there was no distinction between Muggles and wizards. Most Muggles believed that they had the same powers as wizards to control their surroundings through magic. Through Daoism, wizards and Muggles collaborated freely, without conflict.

Religions and Magic: Greek Rationalism

Greek Rationalists promoted the radical, wholesale rejection of the history, philosophy and experience of wizardkind (and Mugglekind, to boot) as mere superstition. They considered magic and wizardry as having no intellectual foundation or basis in reality. That is, essentially, if they could not determine the laws of magic by the use of pure logic, without regard to the evidence of their senses, they dismissed the phenomenon as being, somehow, untrue. While they did not persecute wizardkind, they dismissed them as being irrational at best, and charlatans at worst. Unfortunately, this view of magic as “improvable by logic” eventually was twisted into a more threatening view, and contributed to the development of the widespread persecution of witches and wizards in the 1600s.

 Prior to the rise of the Rationalist movement, wizards and witches were able to mingle freely with the Muggle world, not necessarily flaunting their abilities or even practicing their craft openly, but certainly without fear of prosecution or even coming to the notice of their neighbors, given Muggle tendency to dismiss what they cannot explain. In 1584, however, rationalist Reginald Scot (a Muggle) wrote a frightening text (to the wizarding world): Discoverie of Witchcraft, an informally produced collection of magical spells and charms, wherein he recorded the level of development of magical practice in the 16th century, and then proceeded to claim it was superstition and outright deception.

 How it was that Scot acquired access to the range of witches and wizards he would have needed to produce this text is unclear. However, what is clear is that his text raised Muggle awareness of the existence of magic, its principles and practices, and its usefulness. This led to two problems: increasing demand for wizarding intervention in Muggle problems, and blame for even the smallest, most random of Muggle problems on supposed wizarding activity. Needless to say, this text became one of the motives for prosecution of witches and wizards throughout Europe and North America, leading directly to the need for the International Statute of Secrecy, passed in 1689. More recently, in the 1900s, Rationalism morphed into Pragmatism, and returned to acceptance of magic, due to Pragmatism’s focus on “if it works, and is useful, it must be rational and true.”

 Ironically, Greek Rationalism is also responsible for the development of statistics and the scientific method. Current practice of these, even amongst Muggles, has led to what they refer to as the study of “quantum mechanics” or “quantum effects,” a field of study which is on the verge of proving the existence of magic with sufficient “proof” to satisfy the most rigorous of the Greek Rationalists. Further, the impact of statistical methods devised by the Rationalists on the subtle science of potion-making, with its emphasis on empirical methods, exact methodology, and replicability, is incalculable.

Major Religions and Magic: Hinduism

Practitioners of Hinduism are quite conversant with the wizarding world, and there is much exchange of knowledge, opinions, and methods between the Western wizarding world and these mostly Eastern practitioners, particularly since the middle to late 1900s when the Wizard Wrock band The Beatles went public with their study of the methods of Hindu wizardry.

 Hindu wizards are referred to as “Mantriks” or “magicians.” They are known for their expertise in the use of spells, curses, and rhythmic, sing-song charms called “mantras.” Unique amongst the Hindu wizards is the crafting of beautiful spells in the form of tantras or mandalas, which are often geometric in form, and may be simple line drawings or much more colorful, and may be permanently inscribed using dragon’s blood and other rare inks, or temporarily created out of dyed sand. Knut to Sickle-sized mandalas may be worn around the neck or carried in the pocket.  Others may adorn a room in the witch or wizard’s home.

 Practitioners of the methods of Hindu wizardry tend to excel in engorgio/reducio spells, Apparating, conjuring, and banishment. Many Mantrik practitioners excel in methods of Divination, even if they are not Seers, per se. It would be extremely unusual, even bizarre, to find a Mantrik practicing Dark magic; Hindu magic is almost entirely focused on positive energy. As a result, of course, their wands tend to be made of wand woods that have overwhelmingly positive energies, and their cores, in contrast to those of British wizards, tend to be of gemstone rather than including animal essences.

 Major Religions and Magic: Islam

Followers of Islam see the practice of magic as either destructive or deceptive. As a result, their most common reaction to witches and wizards is, first, a determined pretense that they do not exist, and second, and equally determined avoidance, both of true members of the wizarding community and Muggle practitioners of the slight-of-hand that Muggles, amusingly, refer to as “magic,” but which is actually entertainment for other unobservant Muggles. They are particularly wary of Divination in any of its forms, the Imperius curse (with good reason, as it is Unforgiveable even amongst wizardkind) and the practice of Occlumancy. It is a peculiarity of this group that they disavow even the practice of Healing, when practiced in anything other than the more barbaric Muggle manner.

 If a witch or wizard unwisely makes themselves known within the community of those who practice Islam, they are likely to find themselves in the midst of a fierce debate about the deceptiveness or destructiveness of their magic, with the unfortunate Muggles attempting to disprove the evidence before them. Alternatively, the Muggles may attempt to detain the witch or wizard for acts against God or nature, and issue appropriate punishments. They are often frustrated in this, of course, as the detained witch or wizard typically Disapparates away before they come to any harm.

Major Religions and Magic: Judaism

Judaism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. A monotheistic religion means one in which a solitary deity, or god, is worshipped. Most religions up until this point were polytheistic, or worshipped a myriad of different gods who were generally each worshipped for specific things, such as harvest, sunlight, and rain. Polytheistic religions were more common and more popular in ancient times because ancient peoples used the gods and goddesses to explain all things – good and bad – that happened in their lives, so it made sense to assign different areas of strength to different gods and goddesses as they applied to a specific culture’s everyday life. Judaism challenged this belief, believing a solitary god (“Yahweh”) was solely responsible for all areas of life, that the same god who created man also caused storms and punished nonbelievers.

 Jewish religion forbade many Magical Arts in the religious texts, the Torah and the Talmud. Astrology, “black” (Dark) magic, “fortunetelling” (Divination), “magic medicine” (Healing), and superstition were all outlawed in Judaism. The schism between the magical and nonmagical communities had begun to form, as this was when the shift between revering and even borderline worshipping witches and wizards and fearing and despising them began to form. Punishment by death was common in this time for those accused of practising the Magical Arts.

 New spells, new potions, and new knowledge of the magical arts was stifled because suddenly, witches and wizards were condemned to practise behind closed doors and could no longer openly discuss experiments they were conducting. Fewer and fewer people felt safe to discuss their magic for fear that they would be overheard and they would be executed. More common than witch or wizard deaths were Muggle deaths of those Muggles who tried to copy their magical neighbours and were caught. Unfortunately, Muggles lacked the ability to protect themselves with the use of Illusory Charms and protective enchantments and sentences to death were carried out successfully. Despite all of this, witches and wizards continued to live immersed in Muggle culture for several more centuries and saw the beginnings of new religions come into play, religions that equally outlawed and feared their magical arts that was so crucial to the Wizarding culture.


A Brief Overview

  Non-magic peoples have feared witchcraft for centuries. In fact, the first time that witchcraft in any form for any purpose was officially denounced as a sin or crime in history was in the Hebrew Torah, circa 14th and 12th century B.C. Small portions of two books of the Torah (Exodus and Leviticus) were used by Muggle authorities to promote the idea that witchcraft is evil or dangerous as per the twisted idea of witchcraft that they presented within the context of their religion. While this told Muggles that magic was wrong, it was quite a while before open and frequent persecution was recorded in history. In fact, there were early church authorities, including by some accounts St. Augustine, who thought magic no more than delusion.  This was, of course, of great relief to early witches and wizards of Europe, where Christianity (a religion based partially on the laws of the Torah) dominated the minds of men and witches and wizards commonly lived in communities in which their gifts were seen as sinful.  The words of these religious leaders, however, did not always ease the minds of the average Muggles and, for the next several hundred years, witchcraft was acknowledged by Muggles as wrong, evil, dangerous, or frightening, at times believed to be possible and at others denounced as impossible. In the thirteenth century, witchcraft trials in Europe began to gain popularity and by the early fourteenth century burnings were common.

  Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognising it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever. The witch or wizard would perform a basic Flame Freezing Charm and then pretend to shriek in pain while enjoying a gentle, tickling sensation. Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than forty-seven times in various disguises.

Many witches, wizards and even Muggles lost their lives due to the Muggles’ fear of both the unknown and the so-called occult.  During the Renaissance, there was a strong sense of religiousness. A chilling result of this orthodoxy was the prevalence of witch burnings, which took place in both Catholic and Protestant countries at the time. It started towards the end of the Middle Ages and peaked in the seventeenth century, though it lasted until the eighteenth century before it began to fade.  Almost all Muggles of the time accepted witches and wizards as a reality. Muggles strictly defined the terms witch and wizard (mostly witch) to mean a person who had sold their soul to the devil. Their evil work was thought to influence aspects of daily life, such as a failed harvest, or if a person fell gravely ill or died suddenly without warning.

According to Muggles of the day, a witch had the power to harm her fellow people or Muggles by giving up her soul’s salvation. Muggles had many outrageous ideas about witches, including that they held meetings on the witches’ Sabbath where they supposedly had sexual intercourse with the Devil, who could take the form of a goat or other animals. In Catholic countries, the Inquisition (run by the church courts) led the witch cases, while in Protestant countries it fell to the civil courts. The interrogation of suspected witches was almost always conducted under torture. It was often so painful that the accused would be more than willing to confess anything, just to escape the pain. The most common punishment was death, by burning at the stakes. Most convicted witches were older women, but some younger men and women were also charged and convicted.

Witch burnings took place throughout Europe. In 1591 in North Berwick in Scotland, 70 people were accused of witchcraft because of the poor weather on the seas, when King James VI of Scotland travelled to Denmark to meet his betrothed.  He was extremely paranoid about witchcraft, and this incident came to be the largest witch-hunt in Britain.  A man by the name Matthew Hopkins was a successful witch hunter in England during 1645-1646. He managed to charge more witches in his career than had been charged combined in the past 100 years. In England, over 500 witch burnings took place, 200 of which Hopkins was directly responsible for.  There were trials and witch burnings held in the American Colonies as well. The Salem Witch Trials, held in Massachusetts Colony in 1692-1693, is particularly well known. More than 150 people were charged with witchcraft, although only 19 people were put on trial and found guilty. Most were hanged for their misdeeds. In 1682, the last accused witch in England was executed. Temperance Lloyd, a Muggle woman who had gone senile with age, was executed in England for witchcraft. We can conclude that people have always been afraid of what they do not know, beasts and humans both.  These stories about witchcraft have flourished for hundreds of years, and the fear of it has made people do horrible things. It is unknown how many lost their lives to the flames, but it is estimated that between the height of the witch hunt from 1500-1660, 50,000-80,000 people were killed (most of them Muggles).

Wizarding Villages Shaped by Witch-Hunts

  When these witch-hunts became more popular in the 1500s, many witches and wizards began secluding themselves in small communities inside larger cities and towns. They did so because their children were particularly prone to having accidental magic outbursts before being properly trained, and there was a very real danger of these small children being accused of witchcraft. Magic folk clung to each other for social support in these troubled times, sharing life updates with those that it was safe to talk to, and scarcely socialising much with the Muggles in the wider community.

  Until 1689, these communities were unofficial and were created by witches and wizards who gravitated together for the social and moral support that came with being surrounded by similar people. However, in 1689, the International Statute of Secrecy was signed, and it went into effect three years later, in 1692. While witch-hunts in England had stopped by 1682, witch-hunts in the wider European continent and even in the British Colonies in the North American continent had not yet ceased. In 1692, in fact, there was a huge outbreak of witch-hunt hysteria in the North American city of Salem, Massachusetts.

  The International Statute of Secrecy aimed to protect witches and wizards globally from the fear and persecution that they faced at the hands of their Muggle counterparts. It urged witches and wizards to seclude themselves and live separately to protect themselves and their children from the misguided ideology that spurred witch-hunt hysteria. Signed by the International Confederation of Wizards, the International Statute of Secrecy was widely believed to be the best possible way to protect both Muggles and witches and wizards from future persecution. It was this document that led the existing wizarding communities to be officially recognised as such, though some had existed for over one hundred years before the Statute was written.

Profiles of British Wizarding Villages

The Emergence of Wizarding Villages

  Since the beginning of time, witches and wizards have lived within Muggle communities and, often, while using their magical abilities to their fullest extent. While cohesion in European communities was never as complete as it was in most ancient communities, there was some acceptance and tolerance in European communities, though some communities were markedly better at accommodating both magic and non-magic peoples than others. To understand wizarding villages, one must first understand how witches and wizards came to desire to be separate, and that all begins with Muggle witch-hunts. 


  Perhaps the most famous wizarding village in Britain is Hogsmeade Village, which lies just outside of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s boundaries. This village is the only all-magical community in Britain, as opposed to the abundant ‘communities within communities’ that are most wizarding villages. This is also one of the oldest wizarding communities, having been founded between 1010 and 1030. The date remains uncertain because of poorly kept records of the time, but Hengist of Woodcroft is credited with the founding of the village after he was run out of his own town by Muggle witch-hunters. Some lore indicates that Hengist of Woodcroft lived in the Three Broomsticks building, but there has never been any document to verify this.

  Hogsmeade Village has a long, rich history, partly because of its close connection to Hogwarts School. It has housed numerous notable witches and wizards over the centuries and has seen the growth of Hogwarts School from a very personal perspective as third years and up have been allowed to visit Hogsmeade since the year 1500 (though this right was briefly suspended during 1612 and again during 1997 and 1998). Its most notable contribution to history, however, is that Hogsmeade Village was the location of the goblin rebellion of 1612. The Three Broomsticks Inn was used as the wizards’ headquarters during the bloody and deadly rebellion, and this rebellion was the first of many in wizarding history. After the International Statute of Secrecy was signed in 1689, Hogsmeade saw an influx of residents, as did every other wizarding village in Britain at this time.

Godric’s Hollow

  Godric’s Hollow was an unofficial wizarding ‘community within a community’ in the West Country of England for centuries before the International Statute of Secrecy. It was the home to many influential families including, unsurprisingly, Godric Gryffindor. Other notable names include the Dumbledores, the Peverells, Bowman Wright, the inventor of the Golden Snitch, and the Potters. Prior to the International Statute of Secrecy, Godric’s Hollow was an unnamed wizarding community. It had grown into a small collective group of witches and wizards who leaned on each other for social support, but they had never named the community. When the International Statute of Secrecy made such communities official, they chose to name it in honour of Godric Gryffindor, the most well known one-time resident of the area.

  Among the many well-known happenings in Godric’s Hollow, the most well known is, of course, the first downfall of Lord Voldemort, when he murdered Lily and James Potter and tried to kill Harry Potter in 1981. However, this was by far not the first important historical event to have happened in Godric’s Hollow. A second important event was the first duel between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald, which also involved Albus’s brother, Aberforth. This three-way duel is less publicised than Albus Dumbledore’s later defeat of Grindelwald, but it was noteworthy nonetheless as it marked the end of a close friendship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. It took place in 1899. While these events are fairly recent, it must not be forgotten that the true legacy of Godric’s Hollow is that of one of the Hogwarts founders, Godric Gryffindor, lived in Godric’s Hollow long before it attained that name.


A lesser-known wizarding community than Godric’s Hollow, Mould-on-the-Wold was another important magical community in England. Best known as the early childhood home of Albus Dumbledore, it was first founded in the early 1700s. What makes Mould-on-the-Wold notable is its relatively late formation as a wizarding village. It is believed by many that the Dumbledore family was instrumental in its founding, though this is difficult to prove as much of Percival Dumbledore’s reputation was ruined when he was jailed in Azkaban for crimes against Muggle children. Mould-on-the-Wold provided the same solace that Godric’s Hollow and Hogsmeade Village provided witches and wizards, giving them both company and support during times rife with conflict between non-magic and magic peoples.

Ottery St. Catchpole

    Several wizarding families who were seeking solace and comfort in each other’s company first established Ottery St. Catchpole in 1693 in Devon, England. This happened shortly after the enforcement of the International Statute of Secrecy, and the families involved chose to settle in the countryside within Devon because it was out of the way and the Muggles of Devon had historically burned fewer witches than those in other parts of Britain. Notable residents include the Weasleys and the Fawcetts, as well as the Lovegoods (of whom the best known member is Xenophilius Lovegood, renowned for the publication of the news source The Quibbler). There have been no major scandals or security breaches in Ottery St. Catchpole, and it remains one of the most highly populated wizarding communities in Great Britain, with several eccentric houses. Muggles have long since accepted that the architecture is a bit ‘odd’ in Ottery St. Catchpole, but it has become a running joke and is rarely questioned.


  A coastal community in Cornwall, England, Tinworth was founded around the same time as Ottery St. Catchpole and for the same reason. The International Statute of Secrecy was a leading factor in the creation of this community within Cornwall, where prior to the Statue’s introduction, many witches and wizards were quite happy living with the tolerant and sometimes Confunded Muggles who also resided in Cornwall. Tinworth witches and wizards enjoy the coastal atmosphere, and it is a popular vacation destination for young, particularly English witches and wizards and those witches and wizards with young children.

  Being a popular vacation spot for many magical families who have children not yet trained to control their magic, many odd things have been reported in Muggle news sources in the Cornwall area. However, most of the time, such occurrences are played down by Muggles as tricks of the light in the bright ocean air or credited to overindulgence of alcohol by the Muggles. Rarely do memories need modifying because non-magic peoples are so very desperate to pretend that magic does not exist, even if it is in plain view. There are few court cases against the parents of young witches and wizards because of their children’s inability to control their magic because of Muggles’ propensity to explain away perfectly logical magical events, but such cases do happen occasionally.

Upper Flagley

  A small wizarding community in Yorkshire, England, Upper Flagley was formed in the late 1600s after the passage of the International Statute of Secrecy, though it had existed unofficially, much like Godric’s Hollow, for centuries before. A large number of wizarding families have settled there for the sense of community and fellowship that they gain from close quarters. While little of historical note has happened in Upper Flagley, it is worth mentioning as being one of the longest lasting and prominent wizarding communities for the past millennium, only eclipsed by Godric’s Hollow and Hogsmeade Village. 


  Wizarding communities have long been part of greater Muggle communities throughout Europe and Great Britain. In 1692, they were officially recognised by the wizarding governing bodies in each country that had sent a delegate to the International Confederation of Wizards, and the unofficial wizarding communities began naming themselves to distinguish themselves from other villages and also so that other witches and wizards would know where to go if they were hoping to settle down in a wizarding community. Throughout the 1700s and 1800s, wizarding communities gained great popularity, and there are many more than are mentioned in this section, but these are the most well-known and spoken of in England. Even today, in the twenty-first century, wizarding villages are the first choice for many families, particularly families with children, who hope that their children will have good friends nearby growing up before going to Hogwarts and on their breaks from school. The International Statute of Secrecy may have made the villages official, but wizarding communities, around since the beginning of European settlements, will likely continue indefinitely.

 British Magical History: Merlin and King Arthur

Muggle Version

To Muggles, the stories of King Arthur (including Merlin) are thought to be a myth. Muggles believe that Merlin was only granted the gift of magic because his mother was raped by a demon while still a virgin. The Muggles’ legend continues that Merlin found himself to be King Uther Pendragon’s personal sorcerer. Uther desired Igraine, the wife of his enemy, with whom he was attempting to create peace. Uther desired the woman so much, that he persuaded Merlin to enchant him so that he sounded and looked like her husband King Gorlois, in order to have one night with her. This happened to be the night Arthur was conceived. After he was born, Merlin rushed Arthur away to a village where he secretly entrusted the child to another family. Arthur grew up without knowledge of his heritage, until Uther was killed by his daughter Morgan Le Fey. She grew bitter and evil towards her father, because now that her mother and Gorlois were both dead, Uther was able to marry Igraine and take Gorlois’ land for his own. Morgana, as she was sometimes known, desired the kingdom and power for herself. Unfortunately she knew nothing about Uther’s illegitimate son. After Uther was killed, Merlin rushed to the village where he had placed Arthur in the care of Sir Ector. Arthur, now a grown man, followed Merlin back to take his rightful place as king and to rid his evil half-sister of power. This proved to be harder than anticipated because Morgan Le Fey had magic.

Merlin eventually became Arthur’s greatest advisor and helped him become king. The kingdom, though, was torn between loyalty to Morgana and loyatly to Arthur. Merlin, many years previously, enchanted a sword, Excalibur, to be stuck in a stone until the rightful owner tried to take it for his own. People did not know it was Merlin’s doing, but instead that the sword was placed in the stone by the Gods. Arthur manages to pull Excalibur from the stone. People all around the different kingdoms hear about this and they flock to him for leadership. Arthur is quickly thereafter crowned as king of all of England, with his throne in the castle of Camelot.

Later, barons and knights suggested it was time for Arthur to get a wife and Arthur chooses a woman by the name of Guinevere. However, Merlin foresees that Guinevere will betray Arthur, because one of Arthur’s own knight’s, Sir Lancelot, will fall in love with her. But Arthur would not listen and soon the two of them were married. Merlin’s prediction would become a reality later on.

One day, King Pellinor, brings a lady to King Arthur’s court. A lady, by the name of Nimue. She is today known as the Damsel of the Lake. Merlin falls in love with Nimue, and he doesn’t leave her side at any time possible. Nimue is interested in Merlin’s magical gift and Merlin teaches her all the magic he knows. Nimue later accommodates him to the land of Benwick were Merlin saw Lancelot, and predicted, that he would one day be known as the most honourable and noble knights in all of England. On their travels, Nimue realises the affections Merlin has for her and she sees the potential in this. They came to a cave were she saw her great chance to be rid of Merlin. She uses his own magic against him, and trapped him inside the cave, never to see the brightness of the sun ever again.

However, we as witches and wizards, knows the true story of mighty Merlin:

Wizard Version

It is true that Merlin had magic, but the Muggles just didn’t know to what extent. Merlin was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry when he was young, just like many other witches and wizards. Muggles in the Middle Ages believed magic was something that one was taught, and surely enough one could be taught certain types like potions. However, there also exists a certain kind of magic that comes from within, some kind of magic that cannot be taught. Merlin was one of a kind.

He was sorted into Slytherin, and it soon became apparent that Merlin was meant for something great.

Merlin’s mother was no virgin, nor was she raped by a demon. His mother was actually a witch, who fell in love with a Muggle. In order not to implicate her love or herself, she lied about Merlin’s origins.

Merlin did extraordinary things at Hogwarts, and he would soon be acknowledged as the greatest and most talented wizard Hogwarts had ever seen. Not much is known about Merlin’s school years, but there are a few things we do know.

Merlin’s wand is said to have been made of oak, although this cannot be proven because neither his wand nor his grave has ever been found.

Supposedly, Merlin became the trusted advisor/sorcerer to Uther Pendragon because a dragon had revealed parts of the future to Merlin. Uther had captured this dragon as a young man, and kept it prisoner deep in the underground of his castle.

Only dragonlords can speak with and understand dragons, and Merlin was fortunate to have this special gift. The dragon told him that one day Uther Pendragon would become the father of a boy who would be named Arthur, and together Arthur and he would build a world called Albion, where magic would once again flourish throughout the land. Uther had previously forbidden magic in his kingdom because he was afraid that if magic was permitted, he would lose his power to a warlock or witch. Only Merlin was permitted to use his magic, in order to help Uther in every way possible.

Merlin indeed helped Uther to change his appearance so he could steal a night with the married Igraine. This is the first known usage of what later came to be called the Polyjuice Potion.

Arthur was born and hidden by Merlin in a nearby town so that he would later become the king that the dragon had prophesized.

As told in the Muggle myths of Merlin and Arthur, Uther was killed by his daughter Morgan Le Fey (sometimes known as Morgana), mainly because she wanted the kingdom and power for herself. (Morgana also attended Hogwarts as a child, but it is unknown to what house she belonged.) Merlin brought Arthur back to claim his rightful place on the throne, but in the process gained an enemy in Morgana forever.

Merlin did indeed place the sword Excalibur in the stone for the rightful king of England to claim, and when Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, he won the trust of the citizens of England. They answered to his leadership rather than Morgana’s.

When Uther died, Merlin released the dragon from its prison, but kept a close friendship with the creature. Merlin was no seer, like the Muggles believed him to be. It was the dragon who told Merlin about Guinevere’s eventual fleshly betrayal of Arthur with Sir Lancelot. However, as in the Muggle legend, Arthur would not listen to Merlin and decided to marry Guinevere after all. It was true that both Sir Lancelot and Guinevere betrayed King Arthur. However, this was primarily due to a spell that Morgana cast on Guinevere. She was drawn to Sir Lancelot and ended up kissing him. King Arthur found out and almost had burned Guinevere at the stake and Sir Lancelot exiled, but Merlin discovered the truth and explained everything to Arthur. Merlin was able to undo the spell and everything remained in peace at Camelot. Arthur’s and Guinevere’s relationship was never the same though. After the episode, Sir Lancelot did everything he could to restore his honour and was later known as the greatest and noblest knight of Arthur’s court.

It is also true that King Pellinor once brought a young woman to court named Nimue, known as the Damsel of the Lake. Merlin was an old man by then, but he was besotted with her. She was also born with the gift of magic, but had never attended Hogwarts. It is not known why. She sought to learn magic from Merlin, and he taught her everything she knew. They even travelled to find a wand for her. When they finally found the right quality for her wand, Nimue believed that she did not need Merlin any more. She realised that she could be even greater than him and did not want him around. Nimue tricked Merlin into a cave, broke his wand in half, used his own magic against him and forced him to die a merciless death in the cave. 
Nimue later bragged of her accomplishment against the greatest wizard in history, but she never did reveal the location of the cave.

There are stories that claim that Merlin escaped the cave and returned to Arthur’s court, albeit wandless and unable to perform magic anymore. However, these are believed to be just rumour.

 The First Wizarding School: Founders

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is both the oldest and most accomplished wizarding school ever established. Built around 990 A.D., it set a precedent that then the rest of the world would soon follow. Other prominent European schools such as Beauxbaton’s Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute were not established until after Hogwarts’ initial success.

Godric Gryffindor

Along with Hogwarts’ three other founders, Godric Gryffindor is considered to be one of the most talented wizards of all time, known especially for his duelling prowess. Of all the founders, Godric was closest to Salazar Slytherin. However, by the time that Salazar had fully formulated his intention to ban Muggle-born wizards to Hogwarts, their friendship had been severed. Born in a moor village (now known as Godric’s Hollow) to Muggle parents, Godric’s sensitivity towards Muggle-borns were certainly understandable, and, even though he had never told Salazar of his heritage, their break over this issue was inevitable.

Godric was known for his admirable bravery and loyalty. Those who duelled him found him to be a fearless, if slightly reckless, opponent. In early years, he often duelled to defend Salazar when he found a witch or wizard foolish enough to slander his friend. When Godric with the remaining two founders ejected Salazar from any further association with Hogwarts, Godric was devastated. During the rest of his years serving at Hogwarts, he held particular favour for students who would stand up to their friends, combining his two favourite qualities of bravery and loyalty with a bit of his own personal experience.

Rowena Ravenclaw

  Rowena was born in Scotland in 976 A.D. From her youth, she possessed an innate proclivity for knowledge. She was skilled in all areas of scholastic magic and dabbled in other areas such as magical architecture. As a young witch, Rowena studied wandlore extensively before designing and creating her own wand.

  Throughout her youth and early adulthood, Rowena dedicated herself to learning as much about everything as she could. Her home, the ruins of which are now a popular Scottish tour site, was covered wall to ceiling in books spanning every subject imaginable. Those who came into contact with her, Muggle, witch, and wizard alike, often shied away from both her undeniable beauty and daunting vocabulary. As such, Rowena formed very few relationships in her lifetime. At age twenty, nevertheless, Rowena met Jares Ravenclaw, a magical philosopher ten years her senior. While Rowena did her best to discourage him, love-struck Jares was persistent and eventually won her over.

  Helga Hufflepuff, Jares’ cousin, met Rowena shortly thereafter, and the two formed a close friendship that led to Rowena’s introduction into the project that became Hogwarts. As a founder, Rowena threw her entire self into the school, designing several key portions of the castle, most notably the innovative enchanted staircases that contain magic that still baffles witches and wizards today. The witch also taught the most varied subjects of the founders to her young students, encompassing everything from Transfiguration to Herbology (although she steadfastly refused to teach Divination).

  Rowena was widowed when a wizard’s misfired spell killed her husband. Rowena then moved into the castle with her young daughter Helena and threw herself even further into her work. As Helena grew older, she resented her mother and eventually fled the castle, taking with her the fabled diadem of wisdom. Although Godric and Helga both knew the truth, Rowena denied that her daughter had run away. Often, Rowena left the castle to search for her daughter, always under the guise of doing something else. Her friends and co-founders allowed Rowena her pride and soon hired another two full-time professors to cover Rowena’s frequent absences.

  After years of searching to no avail, Rowena’s health declined rapidly until she was bedridden. Desperate, Rowena instructed Baron Rasmus, a man who had long loved her daughter, to find Helena. The Baron soon located his love, who in turn rejected him. In anger, he killed her and, full of remorse, then killed himself. Almost luckily, Rowena died of her illness and a broken heart before she could hear the news.

Upon her death, Rowena’s extensive library was donated to Hogwarts and even still comprises over half of the school’s total book count.

Helga Hufflepuff

  Helga Hufflepuff, while also one of the most talented witches of her time, used her magic in mostly maternal ways. Considered by many to have cared more about the mental well-being of her students than any of the other founders, Helga was known to take many students under her wing every year. Because of this, Helga was very seldom alone.

  Born in Wales to low-class, magical parents, her parents were unable to have any children after Helga was born, but they adopted a Muggle boy and girl as well as a young wizard. This diversity and wide collection of different ideas helped build Helga into the legendarily tolerant witch that she became.

  Helga was the only one of the founders who was significantly immersed in Muggle culture, as Godric’s magical abilities were discovered early on, and he then spent most of his time learning from the wizard who ‘discovered’ him. Helga attended school for young Muggles with her adopted siblings until the age of thirteen. She and her wizard brother often received extremely low marks in school because they spent most of their time outside of school practicing magic. As Helga’s magical talents became more apparent, her parents scrimped and saved to pay for her to study with some of the most clever witches and wizards of the time. She worked her hardest to learn everything that they knew and eventually surpassed them all.

  She met Godric and Salazar when they were travelling together in search of adventure. Being several years older than the wizards, she provided a maternal, caring figure that both the young men craved. She kept in close contact with the two wizards as they grew older, and through her experiences watching them grow had the idea to create a wizarding school. With her discovery of Godric and Salazar and inclusion of Rowena, her project had all the components it needed to begin.

Salazar Slytherin

  Salazar Slytherin had many unusual magical talents. As a young boy, his friendship with Godric began when Salazar challenged Godric to a duel, then used Legilimency to anticipate the other boy’s move and quickly disarm him. Too impressed to be offended, Godric offered friendship on the condition that Salazar never read his mind again. To even Salazar’s own surprise, it was a promise that he kept for the entire time that they were on good terms.

  Growing up, Salazar’s wealthy parents kept him segregated from Muggles, never quite explaining to Salazar why they did so. One day, a Muggle boy was bullying a Muggle girl whom Salazar found quite beautiful. Seeing a serpent nearby, Salazar used Parseltongue to set the snake on the boy. The frightened girl ran back to her village to fetch adults, who returned to find the boy dead from the snake’s venom. The girl implicated Salazar, and the boy’s father went in search of the young wizard. When found, Salazar was nearly murdered in a brutal beating administered by the boy’s father, but Salazar’s own parents discovered the scene and killed the man.

  This experience planted seeds of distrust and hatred in Salazar that later defined him. When he told Helga, Godric, and Rowena of his plan to bar Muggle-borns from Hogwarts, he was genuinely surprised at Godric’s and Rowena’s adamant refusals. Salazar had expected Helga to strongly disapprove, but hoped that with the support of the others he could convince her otherwise.

  As Salazar had kept his promise to stay out of Godric’s mind, he had no idea that his friend was Muggle-born. As for Rowena, she had never considered the idea that Muggle-borns were any different than pure-bloods, and when asked to consider the concept, she was able to quickly decide that she liked them both equally.

  Full of bitterness and still hoping to ‘cleanse’ the school, Salazar created the Chamber of Secrets and placed a basilisk within that mirrored the hate in his heart. Godric, sensing that Salazar was practicing a very Dark magic, attempted to use Legilimency against him. Betrayed, Salazar pushed Godric out of his mind and with that contact finally discovered Godric’s heritage. That push, along with the continued and ever-growing hostility of the other founders, convinced Salazar to leave Hogwarts, but not before preparing the Chamber.

The First Wizarding School: The Castle

Hogwarts has not always been the seven-story castle it is today. While proper documentation has never been found, popular theory claims that the founders originally built a structure that resembled a mansion, or a schoolhouse. However, the founders optimistically believed that Hogwarts would grow to the point where students would no longer fit within its walls. With this in mind, they enchanted the building to grow along with the number of students. While Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, and Helga Hufflepuff did most of the collaborative spellwork, Rowena Ravenclaw designed and then inserted most of the architecture of the castle into the original building on a theoretical basis. Small features of the original structure were later magnified into more magnificent structures as Hogwarts grew into a castle. In order to keep students constantly on their toes, Rowena enchanted the different rooms on each floor to occasionally change position. This ability was gradually adopted by other parts of the castle, manifesting itself in features such as the changing staircases.

Over the course of his time at Hogwarts, Salazar filled nearly every wall space with moving portraits and photographs. While some historians (who believe Salazar’s eventual dismissal from the castle stemmed from a gradual mental breakdown) insist it was because of a growing paranoia, most believe that he was at full mental capacity at his departure, and used the portraits to spy on his fellow founders in order to learn titbits of information he could later use against them.

The portraits are not strictly a part of shady business, however, as their allegiances change often. Many a witch and wizard who spend genuine time with a portrait or two have received timely token favours.

Common Rooms

At the time of Hogwarts’ creation, only a few rooms were reserved for each founder’s students, but like many other features, each set of rooms eventually expanded and gathered into separate wings displaying trademark characteristics of each of their patrons.


The location of Hogwarts is somewhat vague, though it is known to be in the Scottish Highlands, near the all-wizard village of Hogsmeade. Hogwarts provides many learning opportunities for its students. Behind the castle lies the Black Lake, approximately a half mile in diameter. The lake houses several other species, including grindylows, an enormous giant squid, and a colony of mer-people.

The Black Lake has commonly been given a negative reputation. This belief may stem from the fact that Slytherin house has been tied to its depths in more than one way. Not only is the Slytherin common room located beneath the lake itself, but prevailing rumours insist that Salazar’s Chamber of Secrets was also created somewhere nearby.

To the right of the main castle is a dense forest, known by students as “The Forbidden Forest.” With few exceptions are students allowed to enter, although the forest offers supplies and educational tools for many classes such as Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology. The forest has not been explored thoroughly by any witch or wizard, but many creatures have been found within, from centaurs to unicorns to thestrals. A small hut lies on the outskirts of the forest that serves as either a supply building or the Gamekeeper’s house, depending largely on the amount of fear each Hogwarts Gamekeeper has held for The Forbidden Forest. The current Hogwarts Gamekeeper, Rubeus Hagrid, has dedicated a large amount of time to unearthing the mysteries of the Forbidden Forest. Through his research, Hagrid has discovered many surprising facts about various Magical Beasts, including the Acromantula.

Hogwarts’ Quidditch pitch lies to the left of the castle, and is very large for the time in which it was built. By today’s standards, the Hogwarts pitch houses minimal seating, even though portions of it have been rebuilt numerous times. Unruly bludgers and other forms of destruction constantly require rebuilding of the outer walls and stands, but Hogwarts staff remains determined that the structure should remain the same.

The remainder of the grounds are largely empty, with the exception of the Whomping Willow. Recently grown and from unknown origins, the tree has become a sort of school symbol. While few (if any) would claim any affection for the tree, its quirkiness seamlessly adds to the many mysteries of Hogwarts.

A History of Magic
Chapter 23: Famous British Wizards
Britain has given birth to a myriad of wizards and witches, all having contributed to the progress of the wizard community in some way. Each wizard and witch that turns 17 comes of age and lays the foundation for a progressive wizard community. They will become the future wand makers, potion masters, seers, aurors and the like, and each bears a responsibility to pass on something new to include in the knowledge tree of the different branches of magic. 

Throughout the course of history, there have been a few individuals who have particularly stepped up and were recognized for their contribution to wizard kind. They have created something that will benefit future generations of wizards, or have sparked controversy that led to a possible shift in the decision-making process. These wizards are to be honored for they spent their lives shaping and re-forming wizarding society into what we see today.

There are a total of 593 brilliant British wizards honoured in the British Hall of Fame located in the Museum of Magic, Oxford. They have made a significant contribution in a variety of ways, ranging from the invention of the self-stirring cauldron, to the revision of Magical Rights and Privileges. Noted wizards who are considered experts in their line of work are honoured with the Order of Merlin. A dinner banquet is held at the end of each year to recognize new and rising personalities, and to unveil their painting in the British Hall of Fame. Paintings of their likeness are also often hung in institutions where they once held office. 

Muggle Relations: Sir Nicholas Weasley

Sir Weasley is an avid Muggle supporter and confidante to the reigning Muggle monarch. He was born in Linconshire in 1901. He was born a pureblood and was part of the only wizarding family in a Muggle community. At the time, pureblood fanaticism was just a rumour, and his parents allowed him to mingle with the Muggle children before he began studying at Hogwarts. His friendship with Muggles lasted even as he spent his seven years at Hogwarts. Every summer, he would return and immerse himself in the Muggle way of life. He took up classes in Circuitry, the use of wires to transfer ‘electricity’, and Car Repair, to learn how to mend a certain form of Muggle contraption used for travelling. He also studied Muggle Law and took up courses at Oxford University where he received a degree in Legal Management. At the time, Muggle relations were kept to a minimum, owing to the fact that Muggles considered wizards to be dodgy characters. Upon his graduation, Sir Weasley served as an advocate for Muggle relations as well as Muggle-born wizard equality; wizards from Muggle families were considered a lower class to the purebloods. Rallies and picket lines swept the country and he was often charged and imprisoned for his cause. In 1954, a bill was passed that allowed all Muggle-born wizards to be granted the same rights as pureblood wizards. An office was set up in the Ministry of Magic to cater to all forms of Muggle-related activities including: Muggle relations to the Prime Minister, Misuse of Muggle Artefacts, Muggle-worthy Excuse Committee and the like.

Sir Weasley is also a very famous horticulturist in the Muggle world. His contributions are often found unbelievable by many, but his extensive knowledge in plant care has earned him the right to visit the Royal gardens as he wishes. He was knighted in 1960 following his brave act of rescuing Queen Elizabeth II from a very nasty encounter with the Devil’s Snare plant. He was also awarded the Order of Merlin First Class.

He currently consults for the Ministry of Magic Muggle Relations division. He is the Director of the Wizard Herbologist Society and a speaker at many Muggle conventions. He still resides in Linconshire within an unplottable area surrounded by a forest of Bubotubers. 

Beasts and Beings: Newton Artemis Fido Scamander

‘Newt’ Scamander is a very influential wizard in the field of beast research. A graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Mr. Scamander was already showing promise in the subject Care For Magical Creatures at a young age. He excelled greatly in his N.E.W.T. exams (perhaps because it shares the same letters as his nickname) which gave him the opportunity to work for the Department for the Control and Regulation of Magical Creatures. During his stay in the Ministry, he created the Werewolf Register Act in 1947, and the Ban on Experimental Breeding Act in 1965.  He used his contacts and experience during his stay in the department as his references for the creation of his famous book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find It, currently in its fifty-second edition. Mr. Scamander also takes frequent trips abroad to hone his knowledge of magical beasts. He was awarded the Order of Merlin, Second Class in 1979.

Arts and Letters: Leonard Mauricio Ogden

A brilliant artist skilled in the use of the Tripophone, Mr. Ogden ensured that the magic of music never left the hearts of wizards. As lead Tripophone player of the hot band sensation Three’s a Crowded Inn, Mr. Ogden and his band members created music that spoke of life experiences. His influence began during the mid-1920s at the same time that wizards began obsessing over the power that wands were able to produce. Three’s a Crowded Inn produced songs that spoke of socio-political issues such as ‘Let the Mudblood Do His Stuff’, which gave very explicit details regarding the social statuses of Muggle-born wizards. Their songs often sparked controversy, especially from parents of impressionable children who considered their music ‘a doppelganger of the dark arts’. The band was forced into hiding when a group of wizards declared that they would hex them during their next public appearance.

Mr. Ogden can currently be found discussing social issues and writing songs independently. His wireless show “The Word of the Owl” is a highly acclaimed segment on independent news correspondence. Mr. Ogden has no home because even now the parents who objected to his music- who probably have grandchildren by now- still hold a vendetta against him. You can catch him on the wireless whenever a controversy sparks. His most recent episode was about the sacking of Cornelius Fudge, which he favoured greatly. 

Defence Against the Dark Arts: Augusta Peverell

She is the tenth generation of a great wizarding family: the Peverells. She is a direct descendant of Ignotus Peverell, one of the first occupants of the wizard community of Godric’s Hollow. 

This surname is often associated with the classic ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ by Beedle the Bard. Ignotus is thought to be the brother who asks for a Cloak of Invisibility from Death. Augusta Peverell, along with her strong line of ancestors has been fighting the Dark Arts from the very beginning. Little is known about the Peverell family, except that their lineage has produced many great wizards who fought against the Dark Arts. Paradoxically, Lord Voldemort’s lineage may also be traced back to the Peverells. Augusta is famous for ridding the Forest of Dean of a large group of Dementors. Her actions, however dangerous at a time when the Patronus spell has yet to be invented, are honoured by the wizards in the area who suffered from long-term depression. A statue in her likeness was built deep in the forest and has become a travel destination for tourists.

If you trace Augusta’s ancestry, you will see that her descendants include James Potter, member of the Order of the Phoenix, and his son Harry Potter, the Boy who Lived.

Education: Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore

Also known as Professor Dumbledore, a man well-loved by students, staff members and political figures alike throughout Britain. The eldest son of Percival and Kendra Dumbledore, his life would shine with all the fame and success any wizard can dream of before being tarnished by an ugly past.

Dumbledore was born in Mould-on-the-Wold in 1881 but later moved to Godric’s Hollow after a tragic accident involving his younger sister Ariana and the imprisonment of his father. A gifted Gryffindor, he was rewarded for his wit and dedication by winning the Barnabus Finkely Prize for Exceptional Spell-Casting in his 7th year. He also became the British Youth Representative to the Wizengamot, and received the gold medal for Ground-Breaking Contribution to the International Alchemical Conference in Cairo.

Dumbledore’s secret anti-Muggle sentiments were unleashed after meeting the wizard Grindelwald. However, due to a disagreement with Gridelwald which lead to a duel that killed his beloved sister Ariana, his sentiments changed and he stopped speaking to Grindelwald.  He would not see him again until their later duel in 1945 at Grindelwald’s height of power.  Dumbledore came out victorious, earning more admirers and opportunities for power.

He was asked to succeed as Minister of Magic several times during his lifetime but declined them all. He was a modest man and preferred to teach Transfiguration at Hogwarts, although he soon became Headmaster (a post he held at the time of the 1st and 2nd Wizarding Wars). He was the founder of the Order of the Phoenix, a society that rallied and fought against the dark forces headed by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The Order was a rallying point for all who opposed the Dark Arts.

Dumbledore often made acquaintances with very prominent wizards and witches throughout his life. He worked on alchemy with renowned alchemist Nicolas Flamel, discussed history with Bathilda Bagshot, and astounded Griselda Marchbanks with his extraordinary wand work.

Dumbledore served as Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, and as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot at various points in his life. He also discovered the Twelve Uses of Dragon’s Blood. He is a fan of chamber music and ten pin bowling as stated on the Dumbledore collectible card found in packs of Chocolate Frogs. 

 The Formation of the Ministry of Magic
Before the creation of any official wizarding governing body in Britain, witches and wizards lived among Muggles in plain sight. While they certainly did not publicize their existence, Muggles knew of them and, to a certain extent, tolerated them. When it became apparent in the turn of the first millennium that Muggles were incapable of interfering in wizarding affairs, a brief (if not reluctant) understanding arose between wizards and Muggles. However, this was not enough to keep wizards from interfering in Muggle affairs. Early Muggle sporting events were rigged for the benefit of the occasional gambler, and the results of these events were tampered with for reasons ranging from petty revenge to mere amusement. It was eventually a game of Cuaditch (pre-Quidditch) in which the Bludgers escaped the confines of the pitch and caused 29 Muggle casualties that spurred the creation of the Wizards’ Council in the following year, 1269.

The Wizards’ Council’s first acts were to establish rules and regulations in regards to wizard sporting events. This goal was theoretically meant to detract from wizard involvement in Muggle sports and to prevent further harm on the Muggle population. The Wizards’ Council’s first Chief Warlock was Barberus Bragge, best known for his release of a Golden Snidget onto the field of a Cuaditch match and offering 150 galleons for its capture. Bragge was primarily ruled by his fondness for hunting, his tendency to look down on Muggles as inferior beings, and a love for fruit ganache. Thus began the rocky road of British wizarding politics.

  For the majority of his four year term as Chief Warlock, Bragge’s advisor Eadlac Earl worked behind the scenes to establish the first British Wizard Census, an official compilation of English spells and enchantments that was based off of the Standard Book of Spells written in the year 132 AD, and The Wizarding Entities’ Decree of Unlawful Magic in 1273, or WEDUM. WEDUM was the first British document to outline a system of punishments and fines for using magic that would harm, endanger, or kill other humans. The decree was later revised to include goblins in 1285 (though this was later revoked during the goblin rebellions), merpeople in 1294, and other human-like creatures (including vampires and hags) in 1301. Efforts were made to include centaurs and leprechauns, though none were successful, namely because centaurs thought themselves too intelligent for wizards, and leprechauns wouldn’t stop laughing long enough to sign anything. Eadlac Earl went on to become Chief Warlock for twenty years (from 1273 to 1293) after Bragge’s accidental death, in which he was pecked to death by a flock of Golden Snidgets when his wand snapped on a hunting excursion.

  Burdock Muldoon, Chief Warlock from 1388 to 1402 was the first to attempt to establish an official electoral process, and the majority of his two year term was spent establishing which magical creatures would be responsible for governing the beings of the wizarding world. This first required that the Wizards’ Council define ‘being.’ Muldoon initially defined it as anything or anyone who walked on two legs. On 14 September 1391, Muldoon extended an invitation to all magical ‘beings’ to gather in Stockport, a village just to the south east of Manchester. The goblins–with whom there was already increased hostility–took advantage of this definition and took it upon themselves to invite every imaginable two-legged creature, from trolls to pixies to diricrawls and the only Occamy at the time residing in Great Britain. The entire village was closed off for three weeks and its residents evacuated until such a time that the Occamy could be relocated back to its nest. Muldoon’s successor, Elfrida Clagg attempted several times to convene another meeting of magical beings, this time altering the definition of ‘being’ to include anyone or anything which could speak in human languages. As an added precaution the meeting was held in a magically closed off area in northern Britain, in Cove Bay, Aberdeen on 2 July 1404. However, with the revised definition, creatures such as Jarveys attended, causing equal mayhem.

  Around the late 15th to early 16th century, animosity between Muggle and wizarding populations grew at an alarming rate. Witch burnings, while relatively harmless, became increasingly frequent, and in the Muggle’s quest to eradicate magic from their lands, many non-magical Muggles were also executed. Elfrida Clagg, who remained Chieftainess of the Wizards’ Council from 1402 to 1433, was the first in British wizarding history to implement the Wizarding Entities’ Decree for Magic in the Presence of Muggles (WEDMPM). The wizarding census, which up until that point had been voluntary, was now lawful and enforced. Witches and wizards who lived among Muggles were forced to pass Muggle-Authentication Exams (MAE), in which they had to prove that they could live among Muggles without arousing suspicion. This method for establishing secrecy was rather ineffective, especially given that no one knew exactly what it was that made Muggles suspicious of magic. As such, examining the MAE’s was a very subjective process.

  While WEDMPM explicitly prohibited magic in the presence of a Muggle, catching and prosecuting those who went against the decree was extremely difficult. The Wizards’ Council did not have the manpower to actively supervise Muggle locations, nor were there spells at the time that could identify magic-users in Muggle territory. For a period of approximately six months the Wizards’ Council attempted to limit the use of all magic to only certain pre-approved areas in Britain, though this was met with massive resistance. Ironically, the struggle to hide magic from Muggles led to approximately two centuries (from the end of Clagg’s term as Chieftainess to the late 1600s) where magic was as prominent as ever in Muggle territory.

The bloody 1612 goblin rebellion left the wizarding Britain reeling, and concessions made to the goblins following the truce in Hogsmeade did not sit well with the majority of wizarding Britain, who were outraged by the actions of the goblins in the Scottish town. Goblin hate-groups continued to exist, though the Wizards’ Council officially promised the goblins security and recognized the opinions of the Brotherhood of Goblins. A few members of the Wizards’ Council even resigned over the recognition of the Brotherhood of Goblins, though most stayed on ‘to fight the problem where we can,’ as one Council member wrote in his private journals.

Dissatisfied with the Wizard Council’s ‘capitulation’ to the goblins, the wizarding population of Britain began to grumble about the government’s ‘failure to protect the wizards,’ already threatened by Muggle witch-hysteria prior to the goblins’ uprising. Dissatisfied wizards refrained from acting against the government, however, and eventual change came from within the Council itself.

Darryl Swigart doomed himself to be the last Chief Warlock of the Wizards’ Council when he followed the example of Muggle King Charles I, who dissolving Parliament in March 1629, ruled as no British king had since the thirteenth century without consulting a council of freemen. Encouraged perhaps by the comparatively wise and successful rulings of Charles I following the dissolution of Parliament and seeing many of the Muggle king’s opponents returning to him, Swigart tried to use his title of Chief to assert sole authority or ‘personal rule’ as the king had done. This greatly angered other members of the Council, in which decisions had always been made by debate and vote.

  The Council, perhaps also looking to the Muggle government for inspiration, presented Swigart with a list of demands and refused to leave Swigarts’ home, where the Council, in the absence of any public building for the wizarding government, was then convening. One of these demands was that a number of formalized advisors to the Chief be elected, each in charge of a specific department of the government, thereby setting in place a system of checks and balances to the Chief. From this emerged the Ministry of Magic’s department and office heads.

  The Council also demanded that Swigart immediately resign from his position as Chief.  Swigart remained on the Council and sat grumbling in the corner as the wizards sat down to rearrange governing council of wizarding Britain.

  The Council voted to dismiss several weeks later with an outline for a new governing system to be known as the Ministry of Magic.

  Meetings of the Wizards’ Council continued till 1631 when the Council agreed to enact their changes in whole, elected the first Minister for Magic, Damian Muther, who held the position till 1657, disbanded the Wizards’ Council, and reconvened as the Ministry of Magic.

  One of the Ministry’s first acts was to pass the so-called Wand Ban, a clause in the Code of Wand Use that forbade any magical beings apart from wizards, witches, beings that were half-witch or –wizard, and werewolves from carrying a wand, striking a blow against the goblins and reassuring the general wizarding community that the new government would listen to their complaints.

Initially the Ministry only had four departments: The Department of International Magical Cooperation, the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and its largest department today, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Soon after its creation the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes became a necessary addition.

The Department of Magical Law Enforcement, already busy enforcing the Statue of Secrecy and taking to law those wizards whose hatred of Muggles boiled over into curses, was made busier in 1717 when Minister for Magic Larson Mole coined the term ‘Unforgivable Curses,’ and officially classified the Imperius Curse, the Cruciatus Curse, and Avada Kedavra as unforgivable and worthy of a lifetime sentence in Azkaban.

Magical transportation had, for the better part of the 18th and 19th century, been overseen by the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, what with the constant Splinching associated with Apparation, but once wizard Quintin Quale discovered how to connect to Muggle fireplaces using Floo powder in 1902, the workload for the department simply became too much, and the creation of the Department of Magical Transportation was added to the Ministry.

  Sometime during the late 1800s the Department of Mysteries also came into being, though it is unclear exactly when, how, or why it came about. Not even the Minister for Magic at the time, Faris ‘Spout Hole’ Spavin knew of its existence until several years into his term.

  From its founding in 1631, the early days of the Ministry were dedicated to creating and implementing wizarding policies. In over 300 years, there have been exactly twenty-five Ministers for Magic, all of whom were men until the year 1798 when Artemisia Lufkin, the twelfth Minister, was elected into office. As a result, several older members of the Wizengamot resigned in protest. Nevertheless, Lufkin had a successful term in office, and worked alongside the then Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Torin McTaggart to standardize training for Aurors and Hit Wizards.

  Her successor Grogan Stump, who served in office from 1811–1819, is credited for the creation of the three sub-divisions of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures: Being, Beast, and later, Spirit Division. Initially, there had only been two sub-divisions, but a protest float by the British ghost population caused Stump to create the aforementioned Spirit Division.

  The Ministry’s involvement in British wizarding education was at a minimum until Ottaline Gambol came into office in 1935. Until that point, transportation to Hogwarts had been dependent on a number of Portkey collection points. However, the use of Portkeys caused several problems–approximately a third of students would fail to arrive every year, and those that did were prone to Portkey sickness. Previously Head of the Department of Magical Transportation, Gambol’s fascination with Muggle technology inspired the idea of using a train as a comfortable, safe alternative to Portkeys. Obtaining the locomotive itself required a large-scale operation involving one hundred and sixty-seven Memory Charms, combined with the largest Concealment Charm ever to be performed in British history.

  Ottaline Gambol was also the first Minister for Magic to introduce herself to the acting Muggle Prime Minister. On 7 June 1935, the night that Muggle Stanley Baldwin was elected to his third term as Prime Minister, a portrait of former Minister for Magic Klaine Rogers was installed in the Prime Minister’s office. This move was highly criticized at the time, and Gambol was accused of breaking the Statute of Secrecy. However, her actions were praised by the International Confederation and allowed for open communication between the two governing bodies and the occasional influence on Muggle media when it suited the Ministry. It is now official policy for the acting Minister for Magic to introduce himself to the acting Muggle Prime Minister and to inform him of all pertinent incidences in the magical world that risk affecting the Muggle population.

  Following the fall of Lord Voldemort in the year 1981, Britain was ruled by a succession of unsuccessful Ministers for Magic. Minister Millicent Bagnold’s retirement in 1990 was followed by the election of the wildly unpopular Minister Cornelius Fudge, who is best known for his refusal to acknowledge the return of Lord Voldemort and his fondness for bowler hats. Not long after Lord Voldemort’s second rise to power, Fudge resigned as a result of public pressure and was replaced by Minister Rufus Scrimgeour, who was Minister for Magic for little over a year before his death. Minister Pius Thicknesse then replaced Scrimgeour, though he too lasted a year only before his arrest for involvement with Lord Voldemort (doubt remains as to whether or not the Minister was acting under the Imperius). He was succeeded by the popular Kingsley Shacklebolt, a known member of the Order of the Phoenix and former Auror. He has been in office from 1998 to the present day.

The Tale of the Three Brothers is a fairy tale told to wizard children. Supposedly written by Beedle the Bard, it is published as part of a series of works that collectively are called The Tales of Beedle the Bard. While most wizards view this story as one that teaches children morals (e.g., humility, wisdom), some believe that the story refers to the Deathly Hallows, three highly powerful magical artefacts coveted by generations of wizards.

Many also believe that the three Peverell brothers were the inspiration for the story, and that they first obtained the artefacts known as the Hallows. 'The Tale of the Three Brothers' also has a different variation, referring to twilight as midnight to make it more suspenseful for the entertainment of children, but in Dumbledore's original copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard it refers to the journey taking place at twilight.

The story revolves around three wizard brothers who once conquered death for a short time by defeating a deadly obstacle with their magic. The personification ofDeath appeared out of anger because he felt that they had cheated him, but pretended to congratulate them by awarding them gifts of their choosing: The Elder Wand, The Resurrection Stone and the Invisibility Cloak. Two of the three brothers wished to conquer Death beyond what they had done already, and foolishly chose their gifts accordingly, leading to their early demise. The third brother was wiser, and hid under the Invisibility Cloak that allowed him to postpone death until he was ready; he lifted the veil that had helped him to evade the afterlife and was welcomed by Death.

“There were once three brothers who were traveling along a lonely, winding road at twilight. In time, the brothers reached a river too deep to wade through and too dangerous to swim across.. However, these brothers were learned in the magical arts, and so they simply waved their wands and made a bridge appear across the treacherous water. They were halfway across it when they found their path blocked by a hooded figure.

And Death spoke to them. He was angry that he had been cheated out of three new victims, for travelers usually drowned in the river. But Death was cunning. He pretended to congratulate the three brothers upon their magic and said that each had earned a prize for having been clever enough to evade him.

So the oldest brother, who was a combative man, asked for a wand more powerful than any in existence: a wand that must always win duels for its owner, a wand worthy of a wizard who had conquered Death! So Death crossed to an elder tree on the banks of the river, fashioned a wand from a branch that hung there, and gave it to the oldest brother.

Then the second brother, who was an arrogant man, decided that he wanted to humiliate Death still further, and asked for the power to recall others from Death. So Death picked up a stone from the riverbank and gave it to the second brother, and told him that the stone would have the power to bring back the dead.

And then Death asked the third and youngest brother what he would like. The youngest brother was the humblest and also the wisest of the brothers, and he did not trust Death. So he asked for something that would enable him to go forth from that place without being followed by Death. And death, most unwillingly, handed over his own Cloak of Invisibility.

Then Death stood aside and allowed the three brothers to continue on their way, and they did so, talking with wonder of the adventure they had had, and admiring Death’s gifts. In due course the brothers separated, each for his own destination.

The first brother traveled on for a week or more, and reaching a distant village, sought out a fellow wizard with whom he had a quarrel. Naturally with the Elder Wand as his weapon, he could not fail to win the duel that followed. Leaving his enemy dead upon the floor, the oldest brother proceeded to an inn, where he boasted loudly of the powerful wand he had snatched from Death himself, and of how it made him invincible.

That very night, another wizard crept upon the oldest brother as he lay, wine-sodden, upon his bed. The theif took the wand and, for good measure, slit the oldest brother’s throat.

And so Death took the first brother for his own.

Meanwhile, the second brother journeyed to his own home, where he lived alone. Here he took out the stone that had the power to recall the dead, and turned it thrice in his hand. To his amazement and his delight, the figure of the girl he had once hoped to marry, before her untimely death, appeared at once before him.

Yet she was sad and cold, separated from him as by a veil. Though she had returned to the mortal world, she did not truly belong there and suffered. Finally the second brother, driven mad with hopeless longing, killed himself so as truly to join her.

And so Death took the second brother for his own.

But though Death searched for the third brother for many years, he was never able to find him. It was only when he had attained a great age that the youngest brother finally took off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life.”






Tales of Beedle the Bard

J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard was published in 2008 by Children's High Level Group in association with Arthur A. Levine Books. Page numbers in this essay refer to that book. To evaluate the moral significance of the tales, important details about them must be revealed, so readers may wish to peruse the stories before returning to this essay.

J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard postdates her seven-volume Harry Potter series and expands that universe. It is not a novel. Instead, it presents five short fairy tales beloved (in the Potter universe) by young witches and wizards. In her introduction, Rowling explains that the tales "have been popular bedtime reading for centuries, with the result that the Hopping Pot and the Fountain of Fair Fortune are as familiar to many of the students at Hogwarts as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are to Muggle (non-magical) children" (p. vii).

Why should children and adults read the new stories, whether readers hail from the magical world or the real one? In Tales,Rowling consciously offers morality stories for children; she intends the stories to offer guidance for the reader's behavior. Thus, the stories shed light on the moral messages of the Harry Potter series, and they offer children and their parents an opportunity to contemplate and discuss the themes of a new set of fairy tales.

The mythical background of the book appeals to fans of the novels. Beedle the Bard lived in the fifteenth century, and his stories are newly translated by Harry's good friend Hermione Granger. Moreover, Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts during most of Harry's stay there, offers extensive commentary on the stories. Thus, not only does Rowling present a new set of morality tales, but (through Dumbledore) she explains their intended meaning in depth.

The real background of the book offers its own insights into Rowling's moral commitments. Rowling originally hand-wrote six copies as thank-yous to friends associated with the Harry Potter novels. She sold a seventh copy at Sotheby's auction in London, where Amazon purchased it for nearly two million British pounds. Rowling donated the proceeds to the Children's Voice Campaign, a project of the Children's High Level Group, a charity that she co-founded. Proceeds from the mass-produced hardback, as well as the limited run Collector's Edition (offered by Amazon), also fund the charity.

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, who co-founded the charity with Rowling, explains in an afterword to Tales, "More than one million children live in large residential institutions across Europe," often without adequate nutrition, health care, education, or "emotional contact and stimulation" (p. 109). The charity aims to improve the conditions of these children and enable them to "live with families...or in small group homes" (p. 110).

Anyone who has read the Harry Potter series realizes that Rowling is very concerned with the well-being of children. Before he enters the magical world at the age of eleven, Harry himself suffers neglect and abuse. The charity, then, is a natural extension of Rowling's interests. It is also in line with the values of the major heroes of the novels. In her introduction, Rowling writes, "It is the belief of all who knew him personally that Professor Dumbledore would have been delighted to lend his support to this project, given that all royalties are to be donated to the Children's High Level Group, which works to benefit children in desperate need of a voice" (p. xii).

"The Wizard and the Hopping Pot"

Rowling's charitable cause relates to the theme of the first tale, "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot," though it is a shame that the story is not nearly as interesting as the book's real background.

The "Hopping Pot" involves the son of "a kindly old wizard who used his magic generously and wisely for the benefit of his [non-magical] neighbors" (p. 1). Not wanting to reveal his magical identity, the older wizard pretends his powers come from his "lucky cooking pot" or cauldron. His son, however, nurses his bigotry toward his Muggle neighbors. To counter this bigotry, before he dies the father places a spell on the cauldron, causing it to pester the son if he neglects to similarly care for his neighbors. Finally, with the pot driving him crazy, the son relents and starts helping his neighbors as his father did before him.

The problem with this tale—and I consider it the weakest of the lot—is that it mixes two distinct themes and fails to strongly develop either. Dumbledore tells us that only a "nincompoop" would take the significance of the story to be merely that a "young wizard's conscience awakes, and he agrees to use his magic for the benefit of his non-magical neighbors." (The young wizard helps his neighbors in order to avoid the pestering pot, not because of any awakened conscience.) Instead, Dumbledore argues, the real significance of the story is its opposition to bigotry against Muggles. Instead of showing Muggle sympathizers to be weak and stupid, the story shows "a Muggle-loving father as superior in magic to a Muggle-hating son" (p. 11). Anyone familiar with the novels knows that bigotry against Muggles is a major trait of the evil Lord Voldemort and his malicious followers.

What are we to make of the competing theme of charity? Unlike Rowling, who, after achieving great personal success, co-founded a charity close to her heart to help innocent children, the wizard's son chooses to help his neighbors just to keep the cauldron from bothering him. He hardly manifests a charitable spirit or pursues charitable work for good reasons.

A wizard might have various legitimate reasons to help his neighbors through magic (though Dumbledore reminds us that, in 1689, largely in response to Muggle persecution, the wizarding world imposed the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy [p. 13]). The wizard might enjoy spending his extra time honing and perfecting his powers. The wizard might appreciate the friendship of his neighbors and desire to keep them safe from harm. Or the wizard might want to help maintain a peaceful and productive community to live in.

However, a wizard might also legitimately refrain from helping his neighbors. He might find more personally rewarding ways to spend his time and energy. He might fear turning his neighbors into thoughtless and unmotivated dependents. (Potential neighborly spite and persecution play no role in the story, though they might become serious problems in a closer-to-life scenario.)

Regardless, the son is not left free to make his own decisions, whether from good or base motives. Instead, the father essentially compels his son to help his neighbors. Thus, while in the context of Dumbledore's comments the story offers a (poorly developed) lesson against bigotry, it fails to say anything interesting about charity.

"The Fountain of Fair Fortune"

The second tale, "The Fountain of Fair Fortune" (my personal favorite) concerns three witches and a luckless knight who undertake the difficult journey to the lucky fountain. They find that the journey itself, not some magical fountain, creates their fortunes. The effect of the fountain will surprise no one familiar with the "lucky" potion that Ron Weasley drinks before winning a Quidditch match in Half-Blood Prince; neither the fountain nor Ron's drink performs its miracles through magic.

Beedle's story is so pleasant, and so unambiguously positive in its message, that little remains for a reviewer to say. Apparently Dumbledore faces this problem in his own review, as he spends most of his commentary recounting a failed theatrical adaptation of the story at Hogwarts.

"The Warlock's Hairy Heart"

"The Warlock's Hairy Heart," the third story, offers the richest psychological complexity. The story begins: "There was once a handsome, rich, and talented young warlock, who observed that his friends grew foolish when they fell in love, gamboling and preening, losing their appetites and their dignity. The young warlock resolved never to fall prey to such weakness, and employed Dark Arts to ensure his immunity" (p. 43).

The warlock's solution is to physically remove his heart and lock it away, where it "slowly shrivels and grows hair, symbolizing his own descent to beasthood," Dumbledore tells us (p. 59).

Finally, the warlock decides to marry, not for love, but for social status and wealth (pp. 46-47). His intended talks him into putting his heart back into his chest. "But it had grown strange during its long exile, blind and savage in the darkness to which it had been condemned, and its appetites had grown powerful and perverse" (p. 51). Overcome with blind passion, the warlock attempts to win the heart of the maiden—by slicing it out of her chest, killing her. "Vowing never to be mastered by his own heart, he hacked it from his chest," joining the woman in death (p. 53).

At one level the story deals with the value of love and the foolishness of trying to protect one's self by forgoing love. The primary significance of the story, however, is its psychology, particularly its warning against repression. One cannot "master one's heart" by trying to sever one's emotional attachment to values. Instead, to the extent that one suppresses values, one tends to become overwhelmed by uncontrolled emotional outbursts and to substitute superficial exploits for genuine values. That is a sophisticated theme for children.

Unfortunately, the story offers few insights into how to distinguish between staying in control of one's emotions and repressing one's emotional commitment to legitimate values (a bad thing).

Nor does the story offer guidance for overcoming repression by adopting positive values. Only the most extreme cases of repression tend to result in a conclusion as tragic and horrific as the one of the story. In most cases, people can overcome repression and return to psychological health and a value-centered life.

Thankfully, because romantic love is so obviously a positive value that should not be repressed, and because the wizard takes repression to an extreme, Rowling's story illustrates the dangers of repression in a relatively clear-cut way.

"Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump"

Even though Rowling's novels are filled with political themes, "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump" is the only tale from Beedle with an obvious political angle. A king wants to learn magic himself but stamp out magic elsewhere in the kingdom. A charlatan offers to teach the king magic—for a hefty fee, of course. The charlatan tells the king that his (fake) wand will work only "when you are worthy of it." The king behaves similarly to the emperor with no clothes: "Every morning the charlatan and the foolish King walked out into the palace grounds, where they waved their wands and shouted nonsense at the sky" (p. 64).

Eventually the king tires of the games and demands success—or else he will take the charlatan's life. The charlatan, though, has happened upon a true witch, Babbitty. He threatens to turn her over to the king's witch hunters unless she secretly helps the king perform magic.

At first the king appears to succeed, until he tries a spell that the witch cannot perform, raising a dead dog back to life. Fearing for his life, the charlatan exposes the witch, hoping to deflect any anger onto her. Finally Babbitty outsmarts both the king and the charlatan, protecting the magical community in the process.

"The Tale of the Three Brothers"

The detail about the dead dog provides a transition to the final story. Dumbledore writes, "It was through this story [about Babbitty] that many of us first discovered that magic could not bring back the dead...wizards still have not found a way of reuniting body and soul once death has occurred" (pp. 78-79). As I review in Chapter Five of Values of Harry Potter, Rowling believes in an immortal soul, and the quest for earthly immortality (as opposed to an eternal afterlife) constitutes one of the key motivations of the villains in the Harry Potter series, known as the Death Eaters.

In The Tales of Beedle the Bard, however, Rowling concerns herself with the problem of dealing with death, not the question of how to prepare for some afterlife. This is especially obvious in the final story, "The Tale of the Three Brothers" (which plays a prominent role in the final novel, Deathly Hallows). The problem of dealing with death is separable from a belief in an immortal soul.

Three magical brothers use their powers to cross a dangerous river. Death, "angry that he had been cheated out of three new victims," tries to trick the brothers into risking their lives by accepting dangerous gifts (p. 88). The combative eldest brother asks for an all-powerful wand. After the wizard kills somebody in a duel and brags about his wand, another wizard slits his throat as he sleeps, stealing the wand.

The second brother asks for the "power to recall others from Death" (p. 89). Yet he can summon only a shadowy likeness of his beloved. Distraught, he takes his own life. Harry learns about such dangers from the Mirror of Erised in Philosopher's Stone, when he nearly becomes obsessed with viewing images of his deceased parents in the mirror.

The third brother "asked for something that would enable him to go forth from that place without being followed by Death"; Death offers "his own Cloak of Invisibility" (p. 89). The third brother lives a long, peaceful, and apparently contented life, as opposed to a life of violence or one of endless sorrow. (In the novels Rowling offers a much richer conception of the good life; see Chapter One of Values of Harry Potter.)

These, then, are the lessons from Beedle the Bard. Do not succumb to bigotry. Make your own fortune rather than relying on blind luck. Pursue legitimate values rather than repressing them. Do not try to rule over others or trick them. Deal with death by making the best out of life, not through violence or passive sorrow. Those are good messages for children and adults alike.

With her new tales, Rowling offers another trip, however brief, into the magical world of Harry Potter. She also provides a new body of fairy tales that children will enjoy for generations. Universal Counter Harry Potter