Question about Squibs

Discussion in 'Non-WOT - Literature and Fiction' started by Tannin Venatrix, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Tannin Venatrix

    Tannin Venatrix Glitter Guardian Soldier Forum Moderator

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  2. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    I don't want to write a novel and put everyone to sleep. The short answer is: there are access issues, and there are ability issues. Being a Muggle means that a person has neither the ability to use items that require magic, nor the access to those items in the first place. A Muggle-born witch or wizard has the ability to use those items, but they don't gain access to them until they enter the magical world.

    Thinking deeper: the way that I understand it, Magic is a hereditary trait that is usually passed down from parents to children. However, in rare cases, a Squib is born - someone with no magic despite magical parents. Imagine that Arthur and Molly Weasley suddenly had a child with black hair and brown eyes. Possible, however unlikely, because all evidence points to them passing on their prominently expressed genetic predisposition to fiery red hair. And this is through no fault of anyone and, in general, says nothing about the character of the person involved.

    Similarly, if two Muggles with no knowledge of the magical world could have magical ancestry deep in their past, and those genetics suddenly express themselves when they have a child who has magical ability.

    If that makes sense?
     
  3. Tannin Venatrix

    Tannin Venatrix Glitter Guardian Soldier Forum Moderator

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    It does, I would love to read that novel length idea you have. It doesn't bother me in the slightest.
     
  4. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    Well, since you asked :yes

    Basically, the way that the Ministry of Magic enforces the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery (DRRUS) has a disproportionate bias against Muggleborn underage wizards. This seems to include pureblood wizards/witches who live with Muggle relatives like Harry Potter, for instance. Overall, the Ministry and Magical Law enforcement treats children in magical homes much differently than children in non-magical homes. Remember, for instance, the incident with Dobby, the Hover Charm, and Mrs. Dursley's pudding:

    Dobby the house elf used a Hover Charm on Aunt Petunia's pudding during their dinner with the Masons. Harry received an official warning about this despite the fact that it was performed by someone else. This was because of the "Trace" that is put on every underage witch or wizard at some point. The "trace" allows the Ministry to monitor them for illicit magical activity. However, underage witches and wizards in magical households are around Magic all the time. Apparently, the way that the trace works, it can detect when magic is used around an underage witch/wizard, but not specifically who cast it.

    Logically speaking, in the Weasley household, when the Ministry "traces" a spell from Fred or George, they know that a parent could just as likely have cast the detected spell. Functionally, this means that Fred and George are able to use magic all they want outside of school (and they take advantage of the ability). Essentially: Muggleborn underage witches and wizards are prevented from using magic while their peers with magical parentage have no such prohibition.

    Unfortunately, the way the trace works, it would also prohibit basic spells performed simply for practice for their classes over the summer to keep up with their studies. A particularly driven student with magical parents therefore has a leg up on all Muggleborns simply because they are allowed to practice and learn magic much earlier than those Muggleborn counterparts. The access issue that you highlighted by asking about whether a Muggleborn witch or wizard was a Muggle before Hogwarts is insightful - essentially, they are, because they have to begin their education again from the very beginning when they reach Hogwarts. The same isn't true for children born into magical families.

    (I'm coming to the point, I promise!!)

    One of the major, overarching themes of the books is the prejudice that pure-blood witches and wizards have against Muggleborn witches and wizards. They feel that Muggles and their children - even (and perhaps especially!) when those children have magic - are inferior at best or at worst, a corruption of pure magical bloodlines. My theory is that the way the Trace works - the way the Ministry of Magic enforces the DRRUS - actually disadvantages Muggleborns, preventing them from the same opportunities to practice, which exacerbates the problem of never having had a wand before, or never knowing a single incantation. In this way, the Ministry of Magic in Britain prevents Muggleborn children from equal access to their education, reinforcing the stereotype of Muggleborns as inferior to pureblood witches and wizards.

    And now everyone knows how hard I nerd. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  5. Tannin Venatrix

    Tannin Venatrix Glitter Guardian Soldier Forum Moderator

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    That is so much more than I would have thought. That is amazing. Do you have any other strange or harebrained ideas?
     
  6. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    Ha, amazing? Or ridiculous? To-may-to, to-mah-to...

    And, there are plenty lol
     
  7. Tannin Venatrix

    Tannin Venatrix Glitter Guardian Soldier Forum Moderator

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    Also couldnt Potterverse improve the quality of life for there less magically talented?
     
  8. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    Can you explain a little bit more what you mean?
     
  9. Tannin Venatrix

    Tannin Venatrix Glitter Guardian Soldier Forum Moderator

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    Yes, so we have one use items such as port keys. Couldnt there be a way to extend the duration of any object. Or even creating objects that are essentially one shot spells with a set number of uses.

    We see that Arthur has a shed full of these artifacts even going as far as creating a flying car. Yes I know that there are regulations on certain objects.
     
  10. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    Portkey magic is not well explained in the HP universe unfortunately. I know this is just one example but it works differently at different times.

    For example, when Harry and the Weasleys are traveling to the world cup, the portkey seems to be "programmed" to transport everyone touching it at a given time. However, when Harry and Cedric take the Tri-Wizard cup together, it teleports them the moment they touch it. Additionally, when Harry grabs it again, it immediately takes him back to Hogwarts.

    So, either these two examples of portkeys are contradictory, or porkeys could indeed be programmed to work differently - though supposedly there is a Portkey Office which is a division of the Department of Magical Transportation.

    I think the major potential issue with your question is secrecy. The regulations you mention are probably what prevents more common enchanted items.
     
  11. Aduiavas Ida

    Aduiavas Ida Aes Sedai Mistress of Revels - Europe Forum Moderator

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    I see your point about the Trace, but it is also a necessity to keep the wizarding world hidden. The International Statutes of secrecy is an even more important law than the underage magic one. Thus it is even more important that wizards who live in Muggle communities don't use magic than people who live in all-magic environments...
    Yes, it is unfair. But I can't really see a way around it. Unless you remove the secrecy statutes, but that is not something the Ministry can do in a heartbeat :cheese

    As for Squibs, I think it depends on the family. Some families probably still keep in touch with their Squib relatives. I still think it is also a feeling of shame from the Squibs themselves, they feel inadequate in the Magical World and feel more happy in the Muggle world...
     
  12. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    I agree, Aduiavas Sedai. I just wish that it could be enforced more uniformly. In the canon I can't think of an example of underage wizards/witches being disciplined for using magic outside of school. Possibly Mrs. Weasley grouses about it, but I don't think there's ever any real consequences. And I don't think that the Statute of Secrecy should be removed or even altered significantly. I just think that it should be more consistent.

    And I'm sure you're right, that it varies from family to family (re: Squibs)
     
  13. Aduiavas Ida

    Aduiavas Ida Aes Sedai Mistress of Revels - Europe Forum Moderator

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    Yes, it should be enforced equally, but maybe they don't have any way of doing that?
     
  14. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    I would argue that even if the task seems complex or infeasible, the Ministry has invested remarkably little effort into the attempt, and that they ignore some tools they have at their disposal.

    For example, continuing with the Trace: Ministry officials could monitor what magic occurs in Fred Weasley's vicinity during the summer, and during the school year. Obviously during the school year, there will be magnitudes more magic in their area. However, a logical analysis of the spells that are performed both during Summer and during the school term might indicate that underage wizards were violating the Decree.

    Additionally, why couldn't the ministry send wizarding parents a list of all spells performed in the home of an underage wizard/witch every summer, or every month to verify that their child isn't violating the decree? If a parent sees twelve Bat Bogey Hexes performed in the month of August, they have a pretty good idea that their child is violating the Decree. At the very least, this could serve to level the playing field and remind parents that the Ministry takes the Decree seriously - no matter who a child's parents are.
     
  15. Juliya Karasu

    Juliya Karasu Novice

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    This is very interesting, please continue!

    I think it is an advantage for the magical families, but it can't be helped. Hermione and Harry, at least, were not able to practice in the summer and still did well.

    Also Squibs, I agree with Aduiavas Sedai and think it's more about self-shame.
     
  16. Eluial Aldaran

    Eluial Aldaran Aes Sedai Head of the Brown Ajah

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    This is a really interesting take on systemic inequality in the books that I hadn't really considered before! Thank you!

    One minor quibble... that's not actually possible :lol red hair/green eyes are recessive and so since both Weasley parents have those traits, so will all their children.

    I wrote something about the genetics of magic ages and ages ago and I have no idea where it is but the basic idea is that there are two magic-related traits: the ability to detect magic and the ability to do magic. I think it's actually a lot more complicated than that, actually, and both those traits have multiple genes that control sensitivity, strength, etc. But the simplified version is, detecting magic is a recessive trait (dd) while doing magic is a dominant trait (MM).

    To be a full witch or wizard you'd need to be Mx (where the x can be M or m), and dd.
    Squibs would be mm and dd (there's ample evidence squibs can detect magic in ways muggles cannot).
    Muggles, in theory, could then be any combination of Ms, but would be at least Dd.
    Muggleborn witches and wizards would then come from two Dd parents.

    Anyway, that was just my theory from when I was taking intro genetics about 13 years ago :lol As i said, i think it would actually be way more complicated than even that.
     
  17. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    I think the concept here of "self-shame" is very interesting. All of us have a part to play in creating a culture that views certain things either with tolerance (or even acceptance and celebration of difference) or as foreign, strange, and other. In the US, for example, there are still many parts of the country where it's very difficult to come out because a person would feel as though they are betraying the way they were raised or their philosophies and ideas. They would fear that they don't fit into the same world as their parents and the rest of their family - even if their family has never said anything explicitly homophobic.

    The same, I think, could apply to a Squib. Sure, the Squib realizing that they don't have magic makes *them* feel ashamed. But is that a result of their own psychology? Or the dominant narrative within the magical world and culture? Likely it's both - but saying that Squibs tend to isolate because they themselves feel ashamed excuses witches and wizards from considering the possibility that they contribute to a culture that doesn't tolerate (or again, even accept or celebrate) their part in society very well.
    Of course you're right :rofl My memory for the various traits and whether or not they're dominant or recessive is absolute trash. I also struggled tremendously with Organic Chemistry in college!

    And I am intrigued by this! What genetic expression would Squibs have in your example here?
     
  18. Eluial Aldaran

    Eluial Aldaran Aes Sedai Head of the Brown Ajah

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    They would be double recessives on both traits. Unable to perform magic, but able to sense it. This lends more credence to the idea that having a squib in the family is shameful because it indicates muggle influence somewhere in the lineage of both parents. What complicates this, of course, is that pure blood families do in fact get squibs at a higher rate than you'd expect if the ability to do magic was a simple, single-locus trait.
     
  19. Bruce al'Kay

    Bruce al'Kay Novice Social Marketing Manager

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    Okay, I think I am understanding. That means that both the father and the mother would have to have muggle genetics somewhere in their background, is that correct?
     
  20. Eluial Aldaran

    Eluial Aldaran Aes Sedai Head of the Brown Ajah

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    Yeah, exactly.

    And I mean, this may or may not be true, JKR is pretty mum on that sort of thing (which, I'm kinda thankful for bc I can't imagine her not butchering it), but if magic follows the rules of normal real-world genetics, then yes.