Megabot wrote: ↑
In another round of "Fucked Up Implications About Harry Potter," here's an blog post aptly titled I think I broke Harry Potter
about the contrast between the wizarding world's stagnant nature and the muggle world's advancement, and their respective causes of magic and technology. I know the general subject of technology in Harry Potter is a dead horse subject many times over, but I found the idea interesting nonetheless:
Its an interesting topic, but the main source that you cite reads like someone who takes Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality too seriously, and makes factual misstatements regarding canon.
So it’s 3AM and It’s just occurred to me that the most telling scene in the entire Harry Potter franchise is the scene following the announcement of the participants of the Triwizard tournament.
When Harry’s name is pulled out of the cup, literally one of the first things he is asked is “did you ask an older boy to put your name in the cup for you?“ or something to that effect, insinuating that, that was something nobody prepared for and that it was something that totally would have worked if anyone had been smart enough to figure it out.
However, in an earlier scene a student is turned into a hundred year old man when they try to artificially age themselves with a potion and put their name into the cup. Meaning someone trying to dangerously age themselves with potion they aren’t familiar with was something the teachers genuinely considered to be more likely than someone asking for fucking help from another student.
Or Dumbledore was simply covering all the bases, however unlikely. My first thought watching that scene was certainly not "Most magical people are literally too stupid to think of ever asking anyone for help with something."
In other words, the wizards in Harry Potter’s world are so reliant on magic that it doesn’t occur to anyone save for people like Harry that asking for help is even an option in a given situation. This explains why wizards are so fucking ass-backwards at everything, they’re so confident that their magic is capable of doing everything for them that it has never occurred to fucking anyone that perhaps asking for help from the muggle world might be of some use.
In fact, the Wizarding World has incorporated numerous presumably Muggle technological developments including railways and modern plumbing, sometimes using magic to enhance them.
Pottermore also cites thousands of wizards and witches illegally involving themselves in WW1.
Think about it, the wizarding world hasn’t changed in hundreds of years while in that same space of time the muggle world has figured out fucking space travel.
This is objectively false, as noted above. This is just more of the common fanon which looks at a few cosmetic details like Hogwarts and mistakenly assumes that the Wizarding World is still a medieval feudal society (mostly, I suspect, because it creates a flimsy pretext to write creepy marriage-contract fics or power-fantasy fics where Harry is a lord).
Admittedly, space travel is a good example to go to if you want to try to make this argument- because its virtually the only
thing that muggles do better than wizards.
I know it’s a cliché to say to say someone could have fucking shot Voldemort, but seriously, somebody totally fucking could have, he killed like 50 people, he was effectively a terrorist, if anyone in the wizarding world bothered to ask for help from the muggles instead of just telling them there was an invisible asshole flying around shooting death curses at everyone, they may have been able to help.
Sigh... more gun wank. This comes up a lot, so lets break it down in detail.
There's a frequently cited "quote" from JK Rowling claiming that a Muggle with a shotgun would beat a wizard... but curiously, neither I nor anyone else seems to be able to cite the original source. Most likely, if someone drew a gun on Voldemort, he would disarm them or apparate out of the way or kill them or disable them or conjure a barrier or... do something before they could pull the trigger. Unless they got the drop on him, but a wizard could kill him with magic if they got the drop on him, too. And remember, he doesn't have to say the spell out-loud, or even necessarily use a wand. Voldemort was performing (implied) Unforgiveables-level magic as a school boy without a wand, and if his simultaneous book duel with McGonnagle, Kingsley, and Slughorn is any indication, he's fucking fast
And you could also have killed Voldemort by blowing up the block he was in with magic, or Avada Kedavra-ing him when his back was turned. But that requires knowing where he is. Voldemort very rarely directly engages his opponents. Even during the Battle of Hogwarts, he was directing things from behind the lines, and directly fought only when trying to take control of the Elder Wand from Snape (which he had to given how the wand works- not that it did him any good), and at the end when everything had gone to hell and he was surrounded by hostile forces.
In fact, the only occasions when Voldemort is confirmed to have deliberately sought a confrontation with an opponent who might be able to seriously challenge him is when he goes after Harry. And that is because he feels a need to prove that he can best Harry, and perhaps believes due to prophecy that they must face each other. He never deliberately sought a confrontation with Dumbledore, for example, opting to try to have minions assassinate him covertly instead.
And that's not even getting into the Horcurx issue, and the fact that guns will not stop him from possessing people or returning from the dead.
This "guns solve everything" meme in the fandom is also partly a result of a cultural bias from US viewers, I suspect. Many people in the US probably don't fully grasp that in the UK, guns are not something that are easily available to most people. A random person could not have shot Voldemort- to get a gun in the UK, you need to have either serious military/law enforcement or serious criminal connections, basically (though maybe that was less the case when Rowling wrote the books). The number of magically aware people with actual firearms training, much less experience using them in combat, in Britain could potentially be counted on one hand.
Besides, the strength of Potterverse magic in combat is not in directly, open battle. Its in insurgencies/guerilla warfare. Its magic is heavily tilted towards stealth, infiltration and mental influence over direct combat.
All the bullets in the world won't help you if your politicians and generals are all put under the Imperius Curse by cloaked assailants or replaced by transfigured look-alikes, operating from bases that don't appear on any map or surveillance technology and can be transported to another location with a few words and a gesture.
Pretty much the only reason Voldermort thinks he’s better than muggles is because he’s able to kill them with impunity using magic, something he’s only able to do so easily because muggles don’t understand what magic is. Voldemort is basically like a fucking disease, he’s an invisible, lurking entity preying on mankind from the shadows like a cowardly piece of shit. You know what else did that? Smallpox and we stomped that to death the second we understood it. That’s the difference between muggles and wizards, when muggles don’t understand something, they figure it out.
So do wizards- this guy does know that inventing new spells is a thing, right?
Agreed about Voldemort, though. He absolutely is a coward, and it is a major and deliberate part of his characterization in the books.
And here’s the kicker, the only reason muggles don’t understand magic at all is because the wizarding world deliberately withholds information about it. However, even if the wizarding world kept doing that, it’d only be a matter of time until a muggle figured out what magic was and how to stop or harness it because that’s what humanity does, it pushes past what we think is impossible to see what’s on the other side. We didn’t understand the sun as a species originally and now we use it to power satellites and smartphones.
Oh, the Statue of Secrecy is probably screwed long-term, yes. And its going to be a horrific cluster-fuck when it comes crashing down. But that has more to do with the increasing population and prevalence of surveillance technology, and the tendency of humans towards racial and cultural prejudice, exploitation, and fear of the unknown, than any notion of wizards being completely static as a society.
The wizarding world isn’t a realm of infinite possibilities, it’s a universe of strict limitations where boundaries are never questioned.
An exaggerated oversimplification. There is some overreliance on magic and tendency towards the status quo, but this guy is heavily
The muggle world is where the real magic happens. That’s why during the course of the Harry Potter books, which are set between 1991 and 1998, the muggle world (our world) discovered dark matter, cloned a sheep and invented fucking MP3s while the wizarding world were literally paying some dipshit to figure out what the purpose of a rubber duck was.
All I can say to this is that Arthur Weasley is not the whole Wizarding World. And that there are many things wizards can do that we cannot, as well (instant duplication of resources, casually fixing broken bones, instant international transportation, and immortality all come to mind, to name a few of the most notable examples).
Wow, I really shouldn’t think about this stuff when it’s like 3AM, it gets kind of dark.
#the wizarding world prides itself on standing still #because they think they’re already at the pinnacle #but they’re not and one of these days they’ll find that out the hard way
“Oh, he just turns invisible? Right, we’ll get a SWAT team with heat vision goggles on it. You can expect your Dark Lord dead in about an hour.”
Sure, if you can find him (its not like an insurgent leader would know how to lie low, right). And presuming that the infrared can see through whatever spells he's using to secure himself (a very big if, given that satelites apparently don't pick up visuals of Hogwarts, for example). And then he'll come back to life. Oh, and doesn't fanon also say that electronic technology immediately breaks down in the presence of any magic (more on that shortly)?
But sure, guns solve everything.
This person says that the wizarding world is more or less in a perpetual state of Medieval Stasis
due to their reliance on magic and rejection of technology, which is at least partly understandable since it's well established that magic and technology don't mix well in this universe.
Its not. At all. In fact, the contrary is explicitly shown on multiple occasions.
Arthur Weasley's flying car.
The Hogwarts Express.
Need I go on?
There is some evidence that very high concentrations of magic (or possibly specific defensive spells) can disrupt electronics specifically (based primarily on a quote from Hermione in Goblet of Fire
about not being able to use electronic bugs to spy at Hogwarts, I believe). But it should be noted that this effect is only on electronics, only at Hogwarts (or if its anywhere else, its never mentioned), and that the idea that electricity or technology generally fails immediately in the presence of any magic is another distortion of fanon, based on exaggeration and borrowing whole-cloth from the magic systems of other settings (probably Dresden Files
, where it is a lot more like that).
And for most of history magic was far superior to any forms of technology, ensuring the wizarding world's superiority over the muggle world. But with the way technology has been advancing at an exponential rate relatively recently in human history, Arthur C. Clarke's law of how any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic starts to apply. Sooner or later the muggle world is bound to surpass the wizarding world in terms of capability, regardless of whether or not the poster's speculation of muggles eventually discovering and harnessing magic for themselves comes true or not, and also regardless of whether there's a singularity or not. So what happens then? Do they adapt or get left behind, or something else?
This is more or less accurate, and a more nuanced view of the issue.
And that raises another question for me: What if the wizarding world had not decided to remain hidden from the rest of the world due to persecution and prejudice against them, but had banded together and conquered the world with magic while muggle tech was still crude and ineffectual against them, ala Killmonger's vision for Wakanda? Assuming such a thing is possible, there's the simple fact most people can't use magic, so they'd be effectively lording over the population and imposing their way of life on the world.
If magical people coexisted with muggles openly, you might get more interbreeding and more widely-distributed magical genes, in time. But this is likely largely correct, yes.
Would the whole world be stuck in that same kind of medieval stasis, never having incentive to advance much due to magic being a solution to most problems?
No, because the wizarding world is not an example of Medieval Stasis outside of bad fanfiction.
Or would muggles rise up and rebel against their magical overlords? I guess it all hinges on the question of whether wizards would be willing to use their powers for the greater good of the whole world, but given the general superior attitude they have towards muggles it seems the latter scenario is more likely...
Keeping in mind that not every wizard is Lucius Malfoy, you probably would see some degree of cast society based on the use of magic. But not necessarily a completely technologically or socially stagnant one. Still, I do think that certain things would progress more slowly, or not at all.
Eternal_Freedom wrote: ↑
IIRC, the whole reason for the wizarding world going into hiding (in the 14th or 15th century I think) was to avoid the muggles persecuting them to oblivion. In other words, the wizarding world was, collectively, so scared of the muggles (who presumably considerably outnumbered magic users even then) that they hid themselves away - and all of them
did that, putting aside any form of national/tribal differences to do so. That's rather strong evidence that the wizards knew it was a war they simply could not win.
Not in direct combat, no. Not at any time after the development of industrial warfare, anyway.
The best they could hope for would be to control Muggle leaders from secret enclaves, or act as guerillas, as noted above.
Even if the era when the books are set, it's all about "we must keep the secret, the muggles mustn't find out about us." Remember Molly Weasley's tirade against Ron, Fred and George after they stole the car in Chamber of Secrets? "You could have died, you could have been seen!" which implies that even then, hundreds of years later (with a staggering lack of knowledge of actual muggle capabilities) the wizards still fear the muggles. Backed up further when Snape confronts Harry and Ron for stealing the same car. The thing he (and presumably the authorities) are pissed about is not the theft, but that they were seen - by "no less than seven muggles."
So yeah, I suspect that the wizards might have been able to take over the world before the Statute of Secrecy, but I don't think they'd be able to keep it. Back then, the Renaissance was just beginning, and questions were being asked. Magic-users would have either had to adapt and be studied and develop along with the muggles, or be relegated to god-kings of backwater countries while the rest of the world progressed.
Probably if the whole world had been taken, the Renaissance would have either not happened, or played out very differently. The overlords presumably surpressing technology that might threaten them. But wizards aren't invulnerable- the moment the overlords stepped outside their hidden enclaves, or let muggles in, they'd be exposed to assassination.
I suppose that underlying, centuries old fear might be a twisted explanation for the death eater anti-muggle tactics - we're better than them because we have magic, but we also fear them because there are lots of them. IIRC the books never really elaborated on Voldie's actual long-term plan beyond "conquer the Ministry," perhaps he intended to lead a united wizarding world in a war against the muggles, or maybe he wanted to seperate the worlds completely to keep his immortal kingdom safe for ever, who knows.
In Cursed Child
, in one of the alternate timelines, his minions rule Wizarding Britain at least, but they're still paying off the Muggle PM to keep covering up Death Eater massacres. That speaks volumes to me about how confident Voldemort is about the prospect of fighting an open war with a Muggle nation.
I think people often forget that Voldemort spent his summers in a Muggle orphanage during the Blitz. I daresay he has a pretty good idea what Muggle weapons can do.
FaxModem1 wrote: ↑
Do keep in mind that Muggles now, our world, have had centuries of Enlightenment thinking. We try and solve mysteries, whether they be scientific or not, question ideas, question rulers, etc. The split between Muggles and Wizards is before the Age of Enlightenment, even before the Renaissance. Wizards are in a culture used to keeping things as they are, and obeying the order of things. Why the muggleborns don't constantly bring in new ideas might be simply due to indoctrination from the age of 11 onwards, and it's only because of that constant cultural exposure from muggleborns that the Wizarding world progresses.
Again, this is overstating things. The Wizarding World is not identical to what it was in the 1400s or whenever.
Look at Newt Scamander. When he made a book categorizing magical animals, everyone's first thought is in that it was a book in how to kill them, not as a scientific study of animals.
Also, the fact that Newt (not a muggle-born IIRC) was doing that suggests that some sort of proto-science was emerging in the Wizarding World by the early 20th. Century at the latest.
Generally, I think, the Wizards are about one to two centuries behind the curve, culturally and technologically (at least in Britain). Roughly.
Look at Luna Lovegood. She is looked as a loony for believing there are odd creatures out there, most of which she proved did exist.
Also, cryptozoologists tend to be looked on as nuts in the muggle world, too.
The scientific in the Wizarding World are shunned, and that's a cultural handicap for them.
Course, we shouldn't throw stones at glass houses, as scientists don't get the most respect culturally that they should in our world either, in my opinion, but that's tangential to the topic.
Yeah. And not really tangential, since the topic is basically whether science makes the muggle world superior to the Wizarding World.
I would note that by Harry's time, Newt Scamander appears to be a respected professional, who's works are standard course material at Hogwarts (I think).
Another factor which I don't think is being given due consideration, as well, is the size of the magical population. No matter how open-minded or scientifically-minded the culture, there simply aren't as many people. There won't be the same number of career scientists. There won't be the same vast infrastructure to support them. Canon is that there are only eleven major magical schools on Earth- most countries, quite possibly most continents don't have the population to support one major university. Hell, the best estimates for Wizarding Britain's entire population are probably about 20-25% the number of people at the university I went to.
Its kind of like asking why there aren't as many scientific breakthroughs from a small town science classroom as from MIT.
"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.