War of the Worlds With Wizards.

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War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-08 03:39am

Okay, so I've been reading a lot of War of the Worlds lately (a fantastic book which has aged very well in my opinion, and is one of the few SF works I've read that I would consider a genuine literary classic even outside the genre), and a lot of Harry Potter stuff, and I was thinking about Grindelwald's plot to start a war with the Muggles in Fantastic Beasts, and I got this idea.

Basically, its the same scenario as in The War of the Worlds (the original novel), except that this is the war in an alternate reality: specifically, the Harry Potter-verse. Assume also that in this scenario, the Martians do not all die off (supposedly of disease), and that the Martians have no magical-type abilities beyond perhaps telepathy (which is posited as a possible means of communication for them in the book).

Can the wizards defeat (or conceal themselves from) the invaders? Will they fight openly, risking the Statute of Secrecy? And what might the long-term implications of such a decision be?
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-04-08 05:15am

I think a key factor in this for the Wizards is the Black Smoke. A lot of wizards reside in major cities, and unless it's been proven otherwise, it's rather likely that they'll be dealing with the gas attacks that the Martians unleashed on the humans, making it a problem for the wizards. Unless they all decide to turtle up and hide in some sort of refuge until everything blows over. Which I find a rather distinctive possibility.

If they decide to fight, I see them doing a lot of infiltration and behind the lines fighting. Taking out a Tripod here, or a flying war machine there. The Martian vehicles in the book were mechanical, and susceptible to damage from enough force. Enough jinks spells and they'd be able to limit the Martian efforts.

Though again, that really depends on the wizards not saying "Not our problem."
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-08 05:30am

Harry Potter magic is generally better-suited for infiltration, sabotage, assassination, terrorism, and guerrilla warfare than for open combat. Partly this is due to the Statue of Secrecy, and partly its due to the Wizarding World's relatively low population (which is particularly relevant back at the start of the 20th. Century, when the entire global population is much lower than in '90s when the books are set). Remember that, while I know Rowling has disagreed, the books imply that a year in Hogwarts is around 40 students, and its outright said (by Lupin in book seven, I believe) that most children in Britain go to Hogwarts. However, part of it is simply how their magic works- lots of concealment and transportation spells, some pretty effective mind-control spells, but very little in the way of raw destructive power that's easily controlled (the only magic I can recall that can match or surpass the shear destructive force of Muggle bombs and artillery is Fiendfyre and the Obscurus and neither is anything like a reliable weapon or safe for the user).

A lot will therefore hinge on how effective magical concealment is against the Martians. We don't see any indications that I can recall of advanced surveilance technology, aside from a vague passage at the start of the book about them studying Earth from Mars, but then, we see their tech. primarily from the point of view of an early 20th. Century Englishman, and one who is not a professional scientist or engineer at that. However, the Martians seem overall to be perhaps a few decades ahead of contemporary Earth- implicitly new to interplanetary travel (since they were likely driven to flee Mars to Earth by the threat of extinction), with widespread use of laser-like weaponry in combat, and large mechas. Some of their tech. seems to be analogous to modern weaponry, or things we've had for some decades- automated machinery, large aircraft, and chemical weapons being the prime examples. They have a couple things that seem to be far more advanced. If they did, as the humans postulate, indeed fire their people to Earth out of a gun, then it implies anti-grav./inertial dampner-type tech. to survive the g-forces involved, and it is also speculated that they eradicated all disease on their world. They are also evidently behind us in some areas- the complete absence of the wheel in their technology, and the fact that their walkers can easily be destroyed by early 20th. Century artillery, presuming the artillery survives getting close enough to get off a shot.

If we presume that they cannot pierce magical concealments either by technology or psychic ability, then things like unplotable locations, or "bigger on the inside" areas should confound them somewhat. However, its also likely that if they actually go in on foot, they will be able to spot what's going on, since it seems that things like Muggle-repelling charms and illusions (certainly the former) are likely, in at least some cases, human-tailored (or even tailored to Muggles specifically, of course).

So secrecy is a dubious proposition. Their is also the possibility of the Martians capturing a wizard for feeding (likely a child or another who cannot apparate) and observing its magical ability. Another unknown is weather memory wipes (the main tool for upholding the Statute of Secrecy) would work on the Martians' alien intellects.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-04-08 05:38am

Like I said, it depends on whether or not the wizards can hide from the Martians. The Wizards have entire villages, schools, etc. that are separate from the rest of human civilization. Would the Martians, for instance, have cause to go investigate what seems like the ruins of a castle in Scotland, if no other humans were present?

If yes, they might kill the populations of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts with the Black Smoke.
If not, as they're more focused on the actual human populations, then the wizards can all hide out in their hidden communities until the humans win, or the Martians do.

The Ministry of Magic, and most of magical London, would probably have to be evacuated, but then, that's what the Floo Network is for. The Martians never really seemed to be THAT interested in human culture, and viewed the war as more of a way of pest control.

So again, the things that will really affect the Wizards if they don't give a fuck about the rest of the Earth is A, the Black Smoke, or B, the red weed.
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-08 05:43am

Well, its my understanding that the appearance of Hogwarts was a Muggle-repelling spell, and that it probably doesn't apply to non-Muggles (obviously not wizards, but also evidently not magical animals, and likely not mundane animals either).

In other words, their is no reason to presume that it will be perceived in the same way (i.e. that it will work) on Martian eyes and brains.

However, unplottable spells (which IIRC Hogwarts has) seem to affect tech. as well, and maps, so its likely that they would actually have to be in visible range to see Hogwarts, in my estimation. At worst, they'd notice a consistent defect in their mapping of the area and investigate, or else happen to pass within visual range.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-08 05:56am

And of course, as you noted, Wizarding areas in close proximity to Muggles will not be safe. The Black Smoke isn't going to care about concealment charms, presumably. Its an area effect weapon. Plus crowds of panicking Muggles, misaimed shells, and giant tripods stepping on things. That means at minimum, the Ministry, the only Wizarding hospital in the country, and the main Wizarding shopping areas in the country (including the bank) may be write-offs, at least in the short-term. Though its possible that the deeper levels of the Ministry and Gringotts would be safe and accessible without going in at ground level, and that spells could be set up to keep out the Black Smoke (what about a large-scale version of the bubble head charm?).

If not, though, the seat of government may have to be relocated to either Hogwarts, or Azkaban. Azkaban is probably the most secure location, as it is at sea, is likely unplottable, and (unless the Martians build ships or happen to fly by some random part of the sea in their planes) less likely to be approached from visual range.

Edit: I also find myself wondering, in terms of the possible effects on Wizards, weather their population could survive the fall of the Muggle world.

The Wizarding population is small. Possibly no more than several thousand in '90s Britain. Probably a lot less in early 20th. Century Britain. Hell, Hagrid outright says in Chamber of Secrets, as I recall, that wizards would have died out if they hadn't interbred with Muggles.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-13 12:57pm

MACUSA was capable of ridiculous Men In Black kind of stuff though... but that's also helped by Newt giving 'em a droplet-dispersed amnesia-juice.
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-13 01:46pm

Yeah, that was all Newt's doing, really. Before he came up with that little trick, as I recall, MACUSA had pretty much written off the Statute of Secrecy as a lost cause. Their's only so much they can cover up.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby Zixinus » 2017-04-13 04:28pm

A thought: wizards are bad at direct combat because they lost/forgotten ways to do that because they didn't really need to. From what I recall from Harry Potter, wizards prefer more specialized, focused magical forces that cleanly solve problems for them. Balls of fire and lightning or other super-destructive spells that could bring down a Martian Lander would be uncouth, barbaric and messy. There might be spells for stuff like that but forgotten because they were had no use. What powerful spells they have are counterspells and anti-magic. The most threatening thing for the most part in Harry Potter is an enemy wizard or some magical critter, not super-giant war machines that are easily evaded and lied to.
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-04-13 05:25pm

What do you mean "direct combat?" They do fine killing each other in individual and group scales. If you mean against massed formations then that's because they're few and operating in secret. That's like saying Navy SEALS suck in tank warfare. Or Army Rangers suck in anti-submarine operations. :lol:

Just because they prefer to hit each other with anti-personnel spells like meat-mangling Crucios and direct-death Avedas doesn't mean they don't have area-destroying crap. Those MACUSA (so stupid) MIBs in Fantastic Beefs showed the ability to nearly insta-repair wrecked Muggle cityscapes... now I wonder why almost all of them know how to do that?

We see Grindlewald blow shit up in the Fantastic Beefs opening credits too.

Heck Vlodemort also wrecked a lot of Muggle structures in some of those Death Dealer sequences in the later HP movies, right?
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-04-13 06:18pm

That's true. Half blood Prince has a gang of Death Eaters collapse a bridge in London for laughs. Similar spells might be applied to Tripod legs.
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-14 12:33am

I think we're getting into stuff where we need to distinguish weather we're referring to the books or the films.

Zixinus wrote:A thought: wizards are bad at direct combat because they lost/forgotten ways to do that because they didn't really need to. From what I recall from Harry Potter, wizards prefer more specialized, focused magical forces that cleanly solve problems for them. Balls of fire and lightning or other super-destructive spells that could bring down a Martian Lander would be uncouth, barbaric and messy. There might be spells for stuff like that but forgotten because they were had no use. What powerful spells they have are counterspells and anti-magic. The most threatening thing for the most part in Harry Potter is an enemy wizard or some magical critter, not super-giant war machines that are easily evaded and lied to.


This doesn't really fit, I think. They do have plenty of spells for direct combat, and particularly for fortifying a location, although their strongest offensive area of effect spell, Fiendfyre, is very difficult to control and highly dangerous to the user (the one confirmed time in the books that its used, the sole person to die is the idiot who cast it).

I think that we don't see such large-scale battles more often because a) they don't have the population for it, even if they fight largely with animated proxies/magical beasts, and b) mass battles in Muggle areas would compromise the Statute of Secrecy (though Grindelwald was actively trying to breach it, hence the end of the Fantastic Beasts film, and Voldemort violated it at times as a terrorist tactic).

The Battle of Hogwarts was highly unusual in that it was pretty nearly an absolute do or die battle for both sides, so you had basically every available fighter for an entire country being committed, and it was in a remote area well-concealed from Muggles.

Potterverse warfare is normally much more cloak and dagger: terrorist attacks, guerrilla hit-and-run attacks, sabotage, spying, infiltration, assassination, and mind control spells, and occasional one-one-one duels or small skirmishes when opposing operatives meet. I don't think we've seen a single Wizarding battle, books or films, with more than a dozen or so on either side, save for the Battle of Hogwarts.

Edit: Although yeah, if they can fuck up a bridge enough to destroy it, they ought to be able to bring down a tripod's legs, if they can get someone skilled enough in transfiguration (or maybe blasting spells) close enough undetected.

However, it should also be noted that taking out a leg does not kill a tripod- we know because in the book, an artillery barrage hits one in the leg, and it takes it out of the action for a little while before its fixed (which is when the Martians start cutting loose with the Black Smoke on anywhere that might conceal an artillery battery).
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-14 07:11am

You know, all this raises the old question: how come wizards don't have space ships? Would it be possible, using known Potterverse magic, to build a space craft?

Its relevant here, obviously, because without spacefaring capability, its a purely defensive war, and the Martians will always have the initiative, and the high ground.

And as it stands, space travel is exhibit A for "Things Muggles do better than wizards."

Edit: Of course, early 20th. Century Muggles are Earth-bound, as well. But I wonder if at that point, wizards would be closer to developing such capability if they just thought to apply their powers to that end, and an invasion from Mars would give them a strong motivation to do so.
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby Solauren » 2017-04-14 09:58am

I can see Harry Potter verse wizards being effective against the original Tripods from War of the Worlds.

From Fantastic beasts, we see just how powerful and effective adult wizards can be. At the end, we see shots of lone wizards walking down the street, using REPAIRO, to bloody well completely fix broken streets.

Almost all adult wizards can apparate, but they don't do it that often. (All the books describe their teleportation processes as feeling unpleasant).

We also know that Potter-verse wizards can banish and small stuff up nicely.

How would a tripod stand up to a Harry Potter verse wizard flying overhead on broom, opening a magically expanded bag, and dumping a car on it from 2000 feet up?

Are the tripods alive? (some versions of it seem to hint they might be piloted or cyborgs). If so, will Avra Kadava work on them?
What about Imperius? (I have this mental image of Dumbledore riding a tripod into battle, fighting other tripods)

We've also seen that alot of spells meant to target living creatures can 'over-react' when hitting non-living objects. i.e Stunners hitting stuff and shattering it into little pieces (Department of Mysteries battle in Order of the Phoenix). Just hammer them with broken-breaking curses (which appear to be blunt force trauma), and banish big heavy objects at the joints in the legs.

We also saw wandless telekinesis abilities in Fantastic Beasts by Grindelwald. What are the limits on Potterverse magical TK? Could they pick up the tripods and smash them into each other?

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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-14 11:27am

Solauren wrote:I can see Harry Potter verse wizards being effective against the original Tripods from War of the Worlds.


Quite likely.

Their aircraft and Black Smoke are the bigger concerns.

From Fantastic beasts, we see just how powerful and effective adult wizards can be. At the end, we see shots of lone wizards walking down the street, using REPAIRO, to bloody well completely fix broken streets.


True, but then we have to distinguish between the film and book versions. Film magic tends to be more flashy, I think, for fairly obvious reasons.

Almost all adult wizards can apparate, but they don't do it that often. (All the books describe their teleportation processes as feeling unpleasant).

We also know that Potter-verse wizards can banish and small stuff up nicely.

How would a tripod stand up to a Harry Potter verse wizard flying overhead on broom, opening a magically expanded bag, and dumping a car on it from 2000 feet up?


A car? Might be okay, even assuming you could target it accurately. Even artillery that managed to score hits was only semi-effective.

Apparition/brooms plus stealth and blasting/transfiguration is likely to be more effective, I think.

Are the tripods alive? (some versions of it seem to hint they might be piloted or cyborgs). If so, will Avra Kadava work on them?


I recall no indication of them being alive from the books. They are piloted by a living Martian (apparently one Martian is enough to control one). I can't speak to all other adaptations.

What about Imperius? (I have this mental image of Dumbledore riding a tripod into battle, fighting other tripods)


Ditto. And its a pity, because Tripod Dumbledore sounds awesome. :D It might be possible to Imperius one of the Martians themselves, however. Though I don't know if an Imperius would work the same on a sufficiently non-human mind (though it canonically works on Goblins), and a sufficiently strong will can resist it.

We've also seen that alot of spells meant to target living creatures can 'over-react' when hitting non-living objects. i.e Stunners hitting stuff and shattering it into little pieces (Department of Mysteries battle in Order of the Phoenix). Just hammer them with broken-breaking curses (which appear to be blunt force trauma), and banish big heavy objects at the joints in the legs.


Avada Kedavra goes off like a grenade if it hits a solid physical barrier.

We also saw wandless telekinesis abilities in Fantastic Beasts by Grindelwald. What are the limits on Potterverse magical TK? Could they pick up the tripods and smash them into each other?


Very doubtful.

Grindlewald is an exceptionally high-end wizard, likely one of the three most powerful duelists of the 20th. Century. And his high-end in the film, to the best of my recollection, is tossing a car maybe a few dozen feet with wandless magic. Which is far above any other example of wandless magic that I can recall, in books or films.
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-14 01:14pm

Gah. Now I really want to write this up as a fan fic, but when I have three unfinished fanfics already in (slow) progress, I can't really justify starting another right now.

Would make a great story, though. Exploring turn of the century Wizarding Britain, seeing the war from Wizarding Britain's point of view, the muggleborn and half-blood perspectives vs. the more isolated pure bloods, the Wizengamot and ICW arguing over weather to break the Statute of Secrecy to intervene, the young Dumbledore rising through the ranks of the resistance, maybe allying with his old friend Grindelwald against this common threat (Grindelwald, naturally, would be pushing for repealing the Statute of Secrecy and taking command of the Muggle forces "For The Greater Good"). Maybe, if it went long enough, a young Newt Scamander beginning his studies on Extraterrestrial Beasts And Where To Find Them. :D
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby Captain Seafort » 2017-04-15 12:29pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:True, but then we have to distinguish between the film and book versions. Film magic tends to be more flashy, I think, for fairly obvious reasons.

Avada Kedavra goes off like a grenade if it hits a solid physical barrier.


Book firepower isn't too shabby either - it's enough to punch holes through at least several feet of (possibly magically reinforced) rock and gravel (i.e. the walls of Hogwarts).
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Re: War of the Worlds With Wizards.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-04-18 11:43pm

Book high-end for direct firepower is Fiendfyre- cursed fire that pretty much trashes that whole hall in the Room of Requirement in a few minutes, but very hard to control.

After that its probably whatever the hell Pettigrew did to that street full of Muggles.

High end for film is the Obscurus, which was trashing skyscrapers. Barring that, its probably the Death Eaters bringing down the bridge in the sixth film.
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