Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by SpottedKitty » 2018-02-23 01:18am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-22 07:02pm
Yeah, the car was modified, but that also shows that its possible to modify at least some electronics to work in a high-magic environment
Electronics? In a Ford Anglia? Image

Let me put it this way, the only electronics in one of those things is the driver's digital watch. I'd be surprised if an unmodified Anglia has anything that could be affected by weird High Energy Magic effects that wouldn't also turn any passengers into something unnatural. :wink:
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Gandalf » 2018-02-23 07:32am

The more I read about it, the more the Potterverse looks like some sort of horrific Orwellian nightmare.
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~Communications: No cell phones in the Muggle world yet, no reason for them to exist in the Wizarding. That said, we never really see a proper Wizarding equivalent of the telephone (IIRC). Honestly they could use something like that. There are the portraits which can travel between versions of each other. Their postal system of owls seems reasonably quick, but vulnerable to predation. One has to wonder how their international communications work. Presumably Ministers of Magic have portraits via which they can communicate with their counterparts. Do they have any equivalent of, say, telegraph/cable systems? Molly Weasley seems to have some sort of... charm? placed upon family members which keeps track of their movements and vital status. Likewise there's some kind of charm upon underage wizards in Britain to keep track of whether they're using magic outside Hogwarts. Perhaps adult wizards are capable of doing something like this with each other if there's a reason to facilitate instant communications between each other?
By the nineties there were certainly mobile phones about. They weren't iPhones, but early Nokia models were about, and presumably important people in the Ministry should have them. They would be quicker than owls or those flying letters.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-02-23 11:10am

I wasn't particularly in a position to see the progress of technology during most of the 90s, so no comment on the Nokias. I know the technology was present, it just wasn't nearly as *omnipresent* as it became in the 2000s.

It does strike me that telephony proper seems quite lacking in the Potterverse. Certainly they have ways of communicating, but I don't recall very much in the way of real-time long-distance comms. There were those magic coins for the Dumbledore's Army crowd, but they weren't very useful was the impression I got. The Death Eater marks could be used to call the other Death Eaters, more of an alarm or a pager than anything though.

There may be some option for telepathic communication if the proper charms are used? IIRC Voldemort may have used telepathy a time or two? Or maybe it was Dumbledore?

Re transportation: I want to say magic carpets were brought up at one point. I think it was Arthur Weasley dealing with an incident where someone was using one that they inherited from a relation, something like that. But in general magical transportation tends to be a largely individual affair, they don't really seem to go in for mass transit per se. There are a few examples-- the Hogwarts Express, Knight Bus, school transports. The school vehicles like the Durmstrang ship and the Beauxbatons carriages might have been special affairs for the Tournament though. In fact I'm almost certain the ship was probably a special setup, Durmstrang is somewhere in Eastern Europe IIRC and unless it's like on the Black Sea or the Danube or something like that, I can't see a whole lot of use for a fancy ship.

Hogwarts Express seems very single-purpose, which is a bit curious-- one would think it would be useful for the occasional jaunt from the country to the city, or vice versa. Not just running students about. But on the other hand, thinking about it, perhaps it has to run on specific tracks, and they simply can't hide a whole stretch of train track from one end of the country to the other, so it's easier to just carefully set up a whole buttload of concealment spells for the few times the Express runs (start of school year, holidays, end of school year) and in the meantime just keep the Express in a carefully hidden location.

Newt Scamander using a Muggle ship isn't necessarily indicative that Wizards don't have a way of travelling across the ocean otherwise-- it could well be that Newt simply wanted to remain incognito to the American wizards for whatever reason. But on the whole we have seen very little true long distance travel in the HP verse so it's hard to say.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-02-23 12:14pm

Firecalling seems the closest for telephones Dumbledores Army also send vervbal messages via patronuses.

With teleportation availble as apparition and floo maybe there is not the same need for it.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Tribble » 2018-02-23 12:56pm

Voldemort at least probably knows a fair amount about Non-Wizard tech seeing as he grew up in an orphanage until he was 11. In the 1940s IIRC. So he should know about things like automobiles, electricity, telephones, firearms etc. If someone pulled a gun on him he'd likely react to it immediately rather than treat it as some Muggle toy unworthy of his attention.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Crazedwraith » 2018-02-23 01:02pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-02-23 12:56pm
Voldemort at least probably knows a fair amount about Non-Wizard tech seeing as he grew up in an orphanage until he was 11. In the 1940s IIRC. So he should know about things like automobiles, electricity, telephones, firearms etc. If someone pulled a gun on him he'd likely react to it immediately rather than treat it as some Muggle toy unworthy of his attention.
1930s but pretty much yes.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-23 04:20pm

SpottedKitty wrote:
2018-02-23 01:18am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-22 07:02pm
Yeah, the car was modified, but that also shows that its possible to modify at least some electronics to work in a high-magic environment
Electronics? In a Ford Anglia? Image

Let me put it this way, the only electronics in one of those things is the driver's digital watch. I'd be surprised if an unmodified Anglia has anything that could be affected by weird High Energy Magic effects that wouldn't also turn any passengers into something unnatural. :wink:
Fair enough. Old cars (or cars in general) aren't really my thing.

Still doesn't change the fact that there's no real evidence for an anti-electricity effect outside of Hogwarts to the best of my recollection- at least not in the books.
Tribble wrote:
2018-02-23 12:56pm
Voldemort at least probably knows a fair amount about Non-Wizard tech seeing as he grew up in an orphanage until he was 11. In the 1940s IIRC. So he should know about things like automobiles, electricity, telephones, firearms etc. If someone pulled a gun on him he'd likely react to it immediately rather than treat it as some Muggle toy unworthy of his attention.
More than that. He spent his summers in a London orphanage during the Blitz. He is undoubtably well-aware of how dangerous Muggle military tech. is.

There's a bit in Cursed Child (in the alternate reality where Voldemort won) that mentions that, rather than take over the Muggle world, he's using Malfoy gold to bribe the PM into ignoring the atrocities his Death Eaters get up to. That seemed out of character to me at first, but now I take it as evidence that Voldemort knows full-well how fucked wizards would be in an open war with Muggles. I mean, there's a reason the Statute of Secrecy was implemented in the first place- that being that Wizards felt that threatened by Muggles several hundred years ago, when there weren't billions of us and we didn't have automatic weapons and ballistic missiles.

Mind you, the Muggles would be fucked too. Potterverse magic, effectively applied, would take insurgencies to a level of nightmare never seen before. But I doubt Voldemort would want to go back to being an insurgent after seizing power over Wizarding Britain.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Solauren » 2018-02-28 12:11pm

First, when have we ever seen Potterverse magic applied effectively?
Not saying it's not possible, but we've never seen them do it.

Second, even Voldemort would have to realise that if wizards started causing problems for England out in the open, the other countries of the world might decide containment is needed in the form of a nuclear weapons strike....
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-02-28 01:03pm

Define 'effectively'?
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-28 02:52pm

Solauren wrote:
2018-02-28 12:11pm
First, when have we ever seen Potterverse magic applied effectively?
Not saying it's not possible, but we've never seen them do it.

Second, even Voldemort would have to realise that if wizards started causing problems for England out in the open, the other countries of the world might decide containment is needed in the form of a nuclear weapons strike....
I think things would have to get very bad before "nuke England" (which is itself a nuclear country and capable of nuclear retaliation) would be considered the lesser evil. Wizards are actually pretty safe from nuclear retaliation, because their main institutions are largely concentrated in London, which means that you basically have to trade the British capitol, home to tens of millions of people, to nuke them. Ditto MACUSA, which is headquartered in New York.

I don't think a war between wizards and muggles would be a conventional military conflict, or one revolving primarily around WMDs. It would be the insurgency/counter-insurgency that makes Syria and Vietnam look tame.

That said, given the supposed indestructability of Dementors, the fact that they reproduce, and the fact that they feed on humans, I've more than once thought that it might be a good idea to introduce them to nuclear fire and see if that does anything to them. Just heard the fuckers onto a testing ground with Patronuses and blast them.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-02-28 03:03pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-28 02:52pm
That said, given the supposed indestructability of Dementors, the fact that they reproduce, and the fact that they feed on humans, I've more than once thought that it might be a good idea to introduce them to nuclear fire and see if that does anything to them. Just heard the fuckers onto a testing ground with Patronuses and blast them.
While there are valid criticisms of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, the work does have its moments, its strengths, and its virtues. And this reminded me of a particular passage discussing Dementors.
"They are not undying," said the Headmaster. The words mild, the gaze sharp. "They do not possess eternal life. They are wounds in the world, and attacking a wound only makes it larger."

"Hm," Harry said. "Suppose you threw it into the Sun? Would it be destroyed?"

"Throw it into the Sun? " squeaked Professor Flitwick, looking like he wanted to faint.

"It seems unlikely, Mr. Potter," Professor Quirrell said dryly. "The Sun is very large, after all; I doubt the Dementor would have much effect on it. But it is not a test I would like to try, Mr. Potter, just in case."

"I see," Harry said.
While Methods may be wrong about the exact solution to the riddle, I think it is correct in seeing Dementors' continued existence as a riddle to be solved, rather than as an obstacle to be overwhelmed by brute force.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-28 03:18pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-02-28 03:03pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-28 02:52pm
That said, given the supposed indestructability of Dementors, the fact that they reproduce, and the fact that they feed on humans, I've more than once thought that it might be a good idea to introduce them to nuclear fire and see if that does anything to them. Just heard the fuckers onto a testing ground with Patronuses and blast them.
While there are valid criticisms of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, the work does have its moments, its strengths, and its virtues. And this reminded me of a particular passage discussing Dementors.
"They are not undying," said the Headmaster. The words mild, the gaze sharp. "They do not possess eternal life. They are wounds in the world, and attacking a wound only makes it larger."

"Hm," Harry said. "Suppose you threw it into the Sun? Would it be destroyed?"

"Throw it into the Sun? " squeaked Professor Flitwick, looking like he wanted to faint.

"It seems unlikely, Mr. Potter," Professor Quirrell said dryly. "The Sun is very large, after all; I doubt the Dementor would have much effect on it. But it is not a test I would like to try, Mr. Potter, just in case."

"I see," Harry said.
While Methods may be wrong about the exact solution to the riddle, I think it is correct in seeing Dementors' continued existence as a riddle to be solved, rather than as an obstacle to be overwhelmed by brute force.
Hmm.

MoR I have something of a vendetta against, because I think its probably the single greatest culprit in propagating bad fanon and fanfic cliches among the Harry Potter fan base. So I may be somewhat biased here. But MoR has an interpretation of Dementors' nature which, while perhaps not directly contradicted by canon, is certainly not confirmed by it either. There is no indication that they are not some form of creature or life. They certainly demonstrate various aspects of life forms: they feed, reproduce, and even demonstrate some indications of sentience and ability to communicate. Their implied immunity to the killing curse is the only argument against that, and even then its an implied and indirect one. Note that this is not exclusive to Dementors either- for all that the killing curse is talked up as "unblockable", there are plenty of ways in which it can fail in canon, and at least two other magical creatures are shown (phoenixes) or implied (lethfolds) to be effectively immune to it.

That said, they are certainly atypical life forms, even by magical standards. You know, the Dementors remind me a bit of the Weeping Angels from Who. Very different in appearance, and somewhat different in gimmick/methodology, but a similar underlying concept of something alien and indestructable that corrupts the world around it simply by its presence. Although both are energy drainers, which admittedly does call into question the wisdom of throwing more energy at it. :wink: Though at the same time, let's not fall into a no limits fallacy. They have a physical presence in the world. Logically, therefore, physical forces can affect them in return. There must be some upper limit to how much damage they can take/how much energy they can absorb. And magic has thoroughly failed to address the problem, so it seems like not the worst idea to try a technological approach.

Or perhaps the alternative approach is the right one- starve them out. They feed. Presumably they need to feed. Heard them all into a compound, lock the door, and throw nothing in. If they break out, okay. We're back to where we started. But its worth trying to simply starve them out.

Or perhaps the key is something more metaphysical after all. Basically, we know they are repelled by good vibes. Perhaps massed good vibes would destroy one. :D
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-02-28 03:49pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-28 02:52pm
I don't think a war between wizards and muggles would be a conventional military conflict, or one revolving primarily around WMDs. It would be the insurgency/counter-insurgency that makes Syria and Vietnam look tame.
I don't - I suspect it would be a walk in the park for the wizards. The combination of apparation, various forms of invisibility, polyjuice and the Imperius would, I believe, be an Outside Context Problem that the muggle world would be unable to counter. For that matter, I don't even think a straight force-on-force engagement would be as straightforward as is frequently assumed. True, wizards are effectively crippled by their lack of automatic weapons, but they're also liberally equipped with what can effectively be pistols with the firepower of a good-sized mortar or RPG, and can survive such explosions at point-blank range. These feats would obviously vary depending on the skill/power/preparation of the individual in question, but they're nothing to sneeze at.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-28 04:02pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
2018-02-28 03:49pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-28 02:52pm
I don't think a war between wizards and muggles would be a conventional military conflict, or one revolving primarily around WMDs. It would be the insurgency/counter-insurgency that makes Syria and Vietnam look tame.
I don't - I suspect it would be a walk in the park for the wizards. The combination of apparation, various forms of invisibility, polyjuice and the Imperius would, I believe, be an Outside Context Problem that the muggle world would be unable to counter.
This rests on the assumption that magical folks and muggles are united against each other- that there are no collaborators on either side.

In any case- wizards could very easily Imperius muggle leaders. But once the cat is out of the bag, once the whole world knows about magic, its going to be very hard to put it back in the bag. There are, what, maybe 10,000 magicals in Britain? Maybe low-end millions on Earth, if we're being generous? How many of those are trained obliviators? Are they really going to be able to mind-wipe seven billion people?

So the muggles will know about magic. They'll know that there's a whole secret world with mysterious powers that hid all this time. If wizards Imperiused the governments, do you think the populace would trust them that everything is alright now? No, you'd have riots, witch hunts- if nothing else, the muggles would end up fighting each other over the issue.
For that matter, I don't even think a straight force-on-force engagement would be as straightforward as is frequently assumed. True, wizards are effectively crippled by their lack of automatic weapons, but they're also liberally equipped with what can effectively be pistols with the firepower of a good-sized mortar or RPG, and can survive such explosions at point-blank range. These feats would obviously vary depending on the skill/power/preparation of the individual in question, but they're nothing to sneeze at.
The main thing here is that they have nothing remotely like Muggle artillery/air support for ranged destructive power. Nor do they have the numbers (or organization?) for industrialized war. Put them on an open field, and they die. End of story.

But if you're fighting with massed troops in the open with Potterverse magic, you're doing it wrong.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-02-28 05:53pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-28 03:18pm
Hmm.

MoR I have something of a vendetta against, because I think its probably the single greatest culprit in propagating bad fanon and fanfic cliches among the Harry Potter fan base...
MoR first started around 2010; do you mean to imply you don't think there was a wealth of bad fanon and fanfic cliches in the fanbase prior to that time?

I'd say the worst you can attribute to MoR is that it promoted different bad fanon and fanfic cliches.
...So I may be somewhat biased here. But MoR has an interpretation of Dementors' nature which, while perhaps not directly contradicted by canon, is certainly not confirmed by it either. There is no indication that they are not some form of creature or life. They certainly demonstrate various aspects of life forms: they feed, reproduce, and even demonstrate some indications of sentience and ability to communicate. Their implied immunity to the killing curse is the only argument against that, and even then its an implied and indirect one.
Rowling basically came out and described Dementors as a personification of depression, and the idea that depression-monsters feed, reproduce, and exhibit sentience doesn't really make that much more sense than the idea that death-monsters do.

And yet, if we go with Rowling's word, they're depression-monsters. And they're sentient and capable of negotiation.

[shrugs]

In more settings than I can count, including mythology in general, magic lends itself to the creation and animation of anthropomorphic (or semi-anthropomorphic) creatures, where in a more rationalist depiction of the world we'd expect to find only non-personified forces.

So again, I'm not really saying HPMoR's "Dementors are embodiments of death" interpretation is somehow better, but I do think there's some internal logic to the idea that Dementors are somehow conceptual entities, and that the secret of their invulnerability is related to their being immune to attacks that fail to correctly embody the appropriate counter-concept.

This is not mutually exclusive with them being 'life forms' in the sense that they consume, reproduce, and exhibit behavior patterns consistent with sentience.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-28 05:59pm

Simon_Jester wrote:
2018-02-28 05:53pm
MoR first started around 2010; do you mean to imply you don't think there was a wealth of bad fanon and fanfic cliches in the fanbase prior to that time?

I'd say the worst you can attribute to MoR is that it promoted different bad fanon and fanfic cliches.
Perhaps. But because its probably THE single most famous and widely-read HP fic (or very nearly), it basically gives its bullshit of choice a soap box and a megaphone.

And because it admittedly is superficially better-written than most fics, and bills itself as "rational", it makes it appear more respectable.
Rowling basically came out and described Dementors as a personification of depression, and the idea that depression-monsters feed, reproduce, and exhibit sentience doesn't really make that much more sense than the idea that death-monsters do.

And yet, if we go with Rowling's word, they're depression-monsters. And they're sentient and capable of negotiation.

[shrugs]

In more settings than I can count, including mythology in general, magic lends itself to the creation and animation of anthropomorphic (or semi-anthropomorphic) creatures, where in a more rationalist depiction of the world we'd expect to find only non-personified forces.
Is that word of Rowling's meant literally or metaphorically? Is she talking about their nature in-universe, or what they symbolically-represent out-of-universe?

That said, and anthropomorphized idea or emotional state is an interesting concept, but then I'd expect to see more of it in the Potter-verse. The only other parallel I can think of is... patronuses, and not really. They are more temporary constructs conjured by a wizard or witch.
So again, I'm not really saying HPMoR's "Dementors are embodiments of death" interpretation is somehow better, but I do think there's some internal logic to the idea that Dementors are somehow conceptual entities, and that the secret of their invulnerability is related to their being immune to attacks that fail to correctly embody the appropriate counter-concept.
Its possible. There is nothing to clearly confirm or to clearly contradict it, to my knowledge.
This is not mutually exclusive with them being 'life forms' in the sense that they consume, reproduce, and exhibit behavior patterns consistent with sentience.
I suppose.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-02-28 06:11pm

Actually, we see at least two other "conceptual" entities in HP - Boggarts and Poltergeists, one embodies fear and hates laughter (which presumably is why there is a simple yet effective defence) while poltergeists embody mischief. All three are classed as "ammortal" on the HP wiki, which (IIRC) means they can't die because they aren't technically alive.

You could probably also argue that a phoenix is a conceptual entity as well - like the others, it embodies an idea or feeling, in this case hope or renewal, cannot die but apparently can reproduce.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-02-28 06:22pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-02-28 06:11pm
Actually, we see at least two other "conceptual" entities in HP - Boggarts and Poltergeists, one embodies fear and hates laughter (which presumably is why there is a simple yet effective defence) while poltergeists embody mischief. All three are classed as "ammortal" on the HP wiki, which (IIRC) means they can't die because they aren't technically alive.
The nature of Peeves is somewhat ambiguous in the books, and the Boggart's shapeshifting could simply be taken as mind-reading plus shapeshifting to disguise itself. But in light of the designation from Pottermore, of which I was not previously aware, conceded.
You could probably also argue that a phoenix is a conceptual entity as well - like the others, it embodies an idea or feeling, in this case hope or renewal, cannot die but apparently can reproduce.
Likely, yes.

I have a sort of headcannon that phoenixes are the good counterpart to Dementors, actually.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-03-01 06:01pm

Returning to the Wizards vs. Muggles warfare situation.

Pros: The wizards have a lot of dirty tricks. Manipulating their appearance, casting memory charms, being able to travel very quickly from one place to other. Imagine scattering Portkeys around an area where you're planning to pull off an operation, then when the chips go down, your boys just scatter and grab the Portkeys which just look like random bits of junk laying around, poof they're gone. So tactically and strategically, they have a potentially extreme amount of mobility available. Their greatest weapon though is centuries of learning how to hide in plain sight. They've been practicing this, with magical assistance, since at least the Middle Ages. They even have access to outright reality warping tech like however Grimmauld Place, the Ministry of Magic, and Diagon Alley work. Plus more or less literal bags of holding like Newt Scamander's suitcase or Hermione's purse. It is not inconceivable that in the case of a dire emergency, family members and noncombatants could be evacuated to some kind of pocket dimension in a box and simply mailed to some other part of the world where they can step out and rebuild.

Cons: When the chips actually go down... they don't have a huge amount of actual open, offensive firepower. They do seem inhumanly durable to a degree-- perhaps there's some genetic component to that, or it's a side effect of long term exposure to magic. That said, being able to withstand a small explosion in close proximity is one thing, withstanding a bullet to the face is quite another. They don't really have anything that operates at long distance. Perhaps they can set up some kind of remotely operated explosive charm. That actually sounds like the most likely thing. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to modify the charm for a Howler letter, for example, to turn it into a sonic weapon which could be delivered by an Owl or some kind of charmed animal. If the Weasley twins are any indication, it's probably not particularly difficult to make nuisance charms... which could then well be modified or adapted into more dangerous spells.

One potential weapon: magical creatures. Imagine unleashing a horde of Acromantulas on a Muggle city. The flipside of this is that most of these creatures are either untamed, or too dangerous; Dragons for example. They could only be unleashed, not controlled. You could use Giants, presumably-- they seem more intelligent (somewhat, anyway) than the general run of magical creatures. Centaurs might be possible, but I suspect they are too independent to want to get involved in Wizard/Muggle affairs. Are there any kind of Elves besides house-elves in Harry Potter? As in, old-school Fair Folk Elves? Dwarves? Gnomes are a thing and seem to fill the Dwarf niche somewhat with the whole being capable of fine metalwork thing. Perhaps the Gnomes could be incited to craft weapons for the Wizards, in return for wealth?

Magical plants could also be an option, like that strangling vine thing they encounter at the end of the first book. Imagine holding a few of those in a pocket-dimension in your, uh, pocket, and throwing them around into a crowd.

But frankly if the Muggles know that the Wizards are there... I don't think there's a whole lot a Wizard could do against say a JDAM other than hunker down, cast the strongest shield spell they can, and hope they're still there once the smoke clears. Same for an artillery strike.

Against soldiers or police, they do have more options in close range, particularly if the Muggles are trying to capture or incapacitate the wizard rather than kill them outright. Rapid-fire barrage of charms should do the trick to temporarily put them out of action. One downside is I can't quite think of any spell or charm that has the ability to fire indiscriminately rather than being specifically targeted other than perhaps some kind of concussive blast, which they do have on hand (at least there were a lot of rocks flying in the last Harry Potter movie when they got into Hogwarts...). But if the Muggles simply tell their soldiers or police to shoot on sight, that's not going to do the Wizards a whole lot of good, and would quite likely turn the whole fight rather nasty, brutish and short.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-03-01 06:06pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-02-28 02:52pm
I don't think a war between wizards and muggles would be a conventional military conflict, or one revolving primarily around WMDs. It would be the insurgency/counter-insurgency that makes Syria and Vietnam look tame.
I sorta agree but those are pretty conventional conflicts, common 'wisdom' be damned in Vietnam the insurgency dominate phase was done by 1964 which is precisely why the US entered the war, while in Syria the insurgency turned into formally drawn battle lines way back in mid 2012. Actual insurgent activity has been limited and almost strategically irrelevant since 2013-14. It is however hard to see a need for WMDs because the targets just aren't big enough and conventional firepower has an awful lot of scope. The main muggle advantage is shear numbers while the wizards seem to have very few existing sanctuaries of any scale.

If the wizards had any kind of absolute advantage they never would have needed to worry about secrecy in the first place. They will also probably going to have a major recruiting problem once a war breaks out.

That said, given the supposed indestructability of Dementors, the fact that they reproduce, and the fact that they feed on humans, I've more than once thought that it might be a good idea to introduce them to nuclear fire and see if that does anything to them. Just heard the fuckers onto a testing ground with Patronuses and blast them.
One might wonder just how much firepower they ever really experienced, every high explosive is from 1847 or later. And if it would be possible to force them into a spacecraft and launch them into the sun for that matter. The GDP of the world provides a lot of options for silly solutions.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-03-01 06:12pm

As for sanctuaries-- Hogwarts is one, presumably the other Wizarding schools like Durmstrang, Beauxbatons and such are others. Many Wizard homes use layers of concealing spells when they aren't outright slotted into a pocket dimension like Grimmauld Place.

Firepower-- it's more or less canon that the Wizarding World largely stays out of Muggle conflicts for obvious reasons. Some Wizards got involved in WWI and II, but passing as standard humans IIRC AFAIK. They don't really have much reason to be fully aware of what happens in Muggle warfare, particularly as they have the capability to get the hell out of Dodge in very timely fashion when the excrement hits the air recirculator. Additionally, they simply just don't keep up with the Muggle world like... at all.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-03-01 06:29pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-03-01 06:01pm
Returning to the Wizards vs. Muggles warfare situation.

Pros: The wizards have a lot of dirty tricks. Manipulating their appearance, casting memory charms, being able to travel very quickly from one place to other. Imagine scattering Portkeys around an area where you're planning to pull off an operation, then when the chips go down, your boys just scatter and grab the Portkeys which just look like random bits of junk laying around, poof they're gone. So tactically and strategically, they have a potentially extreme amount of mobility available. Their greatest weapon though is centuries of learning how to hide in plain sight. They've been practicing this, with magical assistance, since at least the Middle Ages. They even have access to outright reality warping tech like however Grimmauld Place, the Ministry of Magic, and Diagon Alley work. Plus more or less literal bags of holding like Newt Scamander's suitcase or Hermione's purse. It is not inconceivable that in the case of a dire emergency, family members and noncombatants could be evacuated to some kind of pocket dimension in a box and simply mailed to some other part of the world where they can step out and rebuild.
Yeah. Muggles simply cannot pin down wizarding forces unless they have magical collaborators on their side.
Cons: When the chips actually go down... they don't have a huge amount of actual open, offensive firepower.
Excepting fiendfyre, though its supposed to be very hard to control, so may be as much a danger to the user as to their enemies. Its notable that the one canonical fatality caused by fiendfyre is the guy who cast it.

Then again, presumably Aurors are more competent than Crabbe, at least at casting spells (their tactics and ethics suck).
They do seem inhumanly durable to a degree-- perhaps there's some genetic component to that, or it's a side effect of long term exposure to magic. That said, being able to withstand a small explosion in close proximity is one thing, withstanding a bullet to the face is quite another. They don't really have anything that operates at long distance. Perhaps they can set up some kind of remotely operated explosive charm. That actually sounds like the most likely thing. It probably wouldn't be too difficult to modify the charm for a Howler letter, for example, to turn it into a sonic weapon which could be delivered by an Owl or some kind of charmed animal. If the Weasley twins are any indication, it's probably not particularly difficult to make nuisance charms... which could then well be modified or adapted into more dangerous spells.
Yes. Mail bombs will be a very serious threat if the wizards think to use them. Bioweapons too- in book four someone hate-mailed Hermione pus that caused blisters or something IIRC. I imagine that there are more lethal things that could be sent instead.
One potential weapon: magical creatures. Imagine unleashing a horde of Acromantulas on a Muggle city. The flipside of this is that most of these creatures are either untamed, or too dangerous; Dragons for example. They could only be unleashed, not controlled. You could use Giants, presumably-- they seem more intelligent (somewhat, anyway) than the general run of magical creatures. Centaurs might be possible, but I suspect they are too independent to want to get involved in Wizard/Muggle affairs. Are there any kind of Elves besides house-elves in Harry Potter? As in, old-school Fair Folk Elves? Dwarves? Gnomes are a thing and seem to fill the Dwarf niche somewhat with the whole being capable of fine metalwork thing. Perhaps the Gnomes could be incited to craft weapons for the Wizards, in return for wealth?
There are pixies, but they don't seem terrible intelligent or powerful.

One idea I think I've seen in fanfic before (might have been MoR, actually, but I'm not sure) is unearthing a bunch of mandrake plants in a city (the infants's scream knocks people out for non-lethal crowd control/riot suppression/hostage situations/etc., while the adults' scream is lethal for a WMD that'll kill everyone close enough to hear it).

Also, Obscurials. Rare, hard to control, and you have to be willing to exploit abused children to use them, so not a good guy weapon. But they can take out skyscrapers.
Magical plants could also be an option, like that strangling vine thing they encounter at the end of the first book. Imagine holding a few of those in a pocket-dimension in your, uh, pocket, and throwing them around into a crowd.
Those seem better-suited to a fixed defence to me.
But frankly if the Muggles know that the Wizards are there... I don't think there's a whole lot a Wizard could do against say a JDAM other than hunker down, cast the strongest shield spell they can, and hope they're still there once the smoke clears. Same for an artillery strike.
I'd be fairly confident about the film shields holding up to small arms fire, since the MACUSA folks in Fantastic Beasts seemed to be fairly confident about their's holding off a Muggle crowd.

I don't think we've seen them tested against mundane firepower though, and would very much not like to be the one putting it to the test against an artillery barrage or a cruise missile.

Of course, they will likely have the option of withdrawing, unless the other side has magic to shut down things like the Flu and apparition. But that would mean ceding whatever structure was attacked, and when you only have one hospital, one school, one bank, and maybe two or three government buildings per country- well, their standard of living would probably take a big hit if they lost even one of those.
Against soldiers or police, they do have more options in close range, particularly if the Muggles are trying to capture or incapacitate the wizard rather than kill them outright. Rapid-fire barrage of charms should do the trick to temporarily put them out of action.
I can't recall seeing anyone cast rapid fire charms at a rate that nears, matches, or exceeds the rate of fire of an automatic weapon, though.
One downside is I can't quite think of any spell or charm that has the ability to fire indiscriminately rather than being specifically targeted other than perhaps some kind of concussive blast, which they do have on hand (at least there were a lot of rocks flying in the last Harry Potter movie when they got into Hogwarts...).
There are canonical blasting spells in both books and films, yes. Avada Kedavra also creates small explosions and fires when hitting non-living objects. They can at least approximate the effects of grenades, with an effectively limitless ammo. supply.
But if the Muggles simply tell their soldiers or police to shoot on sight, that's not going to do the Wizards a whole lot of good, and would quite likely turn the whole fight rather nasty, brutish and short.
Cloak or disillusion, ambush, apparate away.

Again, if you're using Harry Potter magic in a stand-up fight (outside of a formal duel, anyway), you've screwed up.


To your newest post: known fortified/concealed instillations in magical Britain include Hogwarts, Gringotts/Diagon Alley/Knockturn Alley, Saint Mungo's, the Ministry, and Azkaban. Of those, Hogwarts, Azkaban, and Gringotts are the hardest targets. Internationally, there's MACUSA headquarters, other Wizarding schools (eleven major ones worldwide according to Pottermore, probably all with geographical and/or magical defenses), and probably others we don't know about. We also know from Deathly Hallows that even an ordinary wizarding home or temporary camp can have ad hoc defenses that can impede even someone like Voldemort quickly thrown up, if their are people on-hand with the skill to do it.

But against a Muggle military assault, probably none of those have much beyond secrecy.

As to supposed Wizarding ignorance- it depends on the Wizard. Mr. Pureblood McInbred is probably unaware of much beyond a very crude and stereotyped idea of what Muggles a century or two ago were like, if that. A trained professional who actually takes their job seriously, like Kingsley, probably is much more on the ball (he was able to fit right in on the PM's staff).

And as mentioned before, Voldemort grew up in London during WW2. Enough said. Really, any half-blood or Muggleborn who's old enough to remember WW2 ought to know that Muggles have missiles, fighter planes, and bombs, even if they don't know the details of the most modern weapons.
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-03-01 06:43pm

It is a frank omission of idiocy that Rowling simply doesn't seem to have remembered that half-blood or Muggleborn wizards would have kept the Wizarding world more or less abreast with the progress of the Muggle world. Even if they became entirely subsumed in the Wizarding world after Hogwarts, that's still an influx of fresh knowledge every generation. Certainly there's not much excuse for silly things like Arthur Weasley not knowing how to pronounce 'electricity' correctly or a Wizard refusing to wear pants to blend in (though that was probably just a personal quirk). Harry Potter himself isn't a good example, but Hermione for example should have been capable of bringing quite a bit of Muggle knowledge.

I mean, would it have been so hard to have a dedicated sort of counselor at Hogwarts who periodically interviews new halfblood/Muggle-born students to this effect? "Good day Harry, I hope you've been doing well. Congratulations on the last Quidditch game, Hufflepuff never knew what hit 'em. Now, about these things you call 'computers'..."
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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Imperial528 » 2018-03-01 11:19pm

If I recall correctly Hogwarts has an actual Muggle Studies class which even includes a research paper on internet use and other lessons on cutting edge things in Muggle culture.

To a degree I am willing to buy that a majority of wizarding society in Britain are ignorant of the wider world because of how self imposed their isolation is and how complete it is for the average wizard. As is they must have sizable portions of Britain completely obscured from the larger world and it would not surprise me if there's a sense that going on the outside unnecessarily would endanger that isolation. Add in that you don't get acquainted to things that you're not really around, and that for the purposes of wizarding society most muggle technology is rendered useless near magic or is obsolete in comparison (such as stitching a wound) then most wizards are probably in a cycle of ignorance that requires well placed effort to really get out of.

Though frankly I find the existing material on the wizard's perspectives of muggle technology to be underwhelming. It'd be very entertaining to explore their reactions especially since there are several areas where modern technology and magic don't have true equivalents to each other.

A thought I've had while reading this thread is on the nature of magical interference: My guess would be that magic is ultimately an electromagnetic phenomenon and so interferes the same way a powerful solar flare can cause interference in communication or surges in power lines. If this assumption is true then it shouldn't be difficult to shield electronics against low level magic the same as against weak EMP effects or other forms of electrical interference.

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Re: Muggle Technology in Harry Potter

Post by Stewart M » 2018-03-02 12:21am

Here's what I want to know. Evidently, wizards have spread across the globe and exist in every culture. So what's going on in those 21st century cultures where wizards and magic are still mainstream in Muggle society? We can visit, say, the Congo or Nepal and find communities where everyone owns a cell phone but the local witch doctor is still the default medical professional (and fortune teller, and matchmaker, etc.).

Are these witch doctors all outlaws from the International Statute of Secrecy? Do they live in regions with no magical government, or are there magical rogue nations that don't enforce the Statute? Alternatively, are these self-proclaimed wizards all charlatans? Are they simple Muggles who just happen to fake supernatural powers in a world where those powers coincidentally exist beyond their knowledge?

You'd think the magic-users living openly with Muggles would keep an excellent sense of what the Muggle world is up to. You'd think more of that news would filter out to more isolationist magical societies. On the other hand, the earlier post about the theft of the Hogwarts Express suggests that at least some Wizards are paying attention, at least as a hobby or professional obligation, even if most are too self-involved to bother.

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