What do they teach in those Muggle Studies classes?

This is sort of a follow-up to my earlier post on wizards’ lack of interest in Muggle technology, but here I want to talk more about the social angle. Wizards failing to take advantage of Muggle innovations is just a symptom of the larger trend of wizards completely isolating themselves from Muggle society.

Honestly, this trend gets creepier the more I think about it, because we’re told that “pureblood” wizards are an increasingly rare minority. The majority of wizards are Muggleborns or half-bloods (or quarter-bloods, or some other fraction). This majority will only become more predominant over time, as pureblood families either marry into Muggle lineages or die of inbreeding. And yet wizarding society, Muggleborns, half-bloods, and all, seems to exist in near-total isolation from Muggle society. I think this is one reason that pureblood snobbery is allowed to persist. Modern, enlightened wizards understand that racism against Muggles is wrong, but they aren’t interested in getting to know any flesh-and-blood Muggles.

Granted, we don’t get to see how a Muggleborn wizard might live as an adult, and I wonder if there are any who cultivate Muggle friends, follow Muggle news, or stay abreast of Muggle advances in technology. If there are, where are they hiding? The wizarding world as a whole is so ignorant about Muggles that compared to his peers, Arthur Weasley qualifies as unusually well-informed. Do non-pureblood wizards keep in touch with their Muggle relatives at all? Surely even just seeing them at holidays and family reunions would result in some cultural osmosis.

Come to think of it, how do half-blood wizards even happen? When do wizards and witches have any kind of social interaction with Muggles, let alone get to know one well enough to get married and have a child? Some half-bloods, like Harry, have one parent who’s a Muggleborn witch or wizard, but there are certainly canon cases of wizards marrying Muggles–Seamus Finnegan’s parents, for example.

You know what else never gets addressed? What happens to magical Muggleborn kids who turn down Hogwarts. Mostly this goes unanswered because we don’t see any examples of this actually happening–well, of course we don’t, almost by definition. A kid who didn’t attend Hogwarts would never have crossed Harry’s radar. But remember Justin Finch-Fletchley? He was down for Eton, and came within a hair of going there instead of Hogwarts. What if he had made a different choice? I suppose young witches and wizards can’t be left to wander about totally untrained, but I can’t see Albus “our choices mean more than our abilities” Dumbledore forcing someone to attend Hogwarts against their will. Now there’s a spinoff story I’d like to see. “Untrained Wizards: Where Are They Now?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Books

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s