|"Is this all real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"
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Angus Buchanan (15 January, 1847—21 February, 1927) was a Scottish Squib born to the pure-blood Buchanan family. He became famous in the both the wizarding and Muggle worlds firstly for being the only Squib to take part in the Sorting ceremony at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and then later for being a player on the Muggle Scottish rugby team — which was responsible for wizards' part in-joke interest in rugby, and worldwide wizarding support of the Scottish team.
Later in his life, he published My Life as a Squib, a groundbreaking worldwide bestseller that brought the plight of Squibs to the wizarding world's attention. After his death, he was honoured by both wizards and Muggles (an almost unique achievement in history). To this day, the Wizarding Supporters of Scottish Rugby Union meet on the eve of every Scottish international match to toast Buchanan's memory.
Angus Buchanan was born on 15 January, 1847, to the Pure-blood Buchanan family, in a village in the Scottish Borders. He grew up in a household comprised of an overworked mother, a fierce father, and eleven children. He was the third son, the largest and kindest of them all.
Angus spent much of his early childhood dodging curses on an almost daily basis. However, he enjoyed a good relationship with his brothers and sisters, who were all very fond of him — he would, years later, attribute his aptitude for cricket to the years of helping his siblings catch Golden Snitches in their back garden.
The household was, naturally, loud and chaotic, which perhaps accounts for neither of the Buchanan parents realising that Angus was actually born a Squib. Since Mr Buchanan senior was highly prejudiced against Squibs (which he regarded as a severe anomaly and a sign the family was in decline), the brothers and sisters covered up for him in front of his parents. As the time approached for him to leave to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, his sister Flora forged an acceptance letter and Angus, frightened of his father, played along, going as far as going to Diagon Alley and buying a wand and pretending it had chosen him.
Estrangement with his family
On 1 September, 1858, it was supposedly the appointed day for him to start at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Angus' older brother Hamish took him to the Castle on the back of his broomstick, hoping against desperate hope that the faculty would allow him to stay once he got there, or that the school would tease some magic out of him.
For the first, and only, time in history, a Squib was among the crowd of first-years about to be Sorted. In sheer desperation, Angus threw himself ahead of a girl whose name had been called, and placed the Sorting Hat upon his head. The Hat announced kindly that he was "a good-hearted chap, but no wizard", and the boy left the hall in tears.
Angus went back home on foot, where he was met by his humiliated father who had already received a flurry of owls about what had happened. Mr Buchanan senior barred his entrance, bade him to go away, and fired curses after Angus as he fled.
Without family or money, the eleven-year-old Angus Buchanan walked to the capital, Edinburgh, occasionally hitching rides on carts. Once there, he lied about his age and was taken in by a kind Muggle foreman and his wife who did not have children of their own, who gave him work as a labourer. During the seven years that followed, Angus found out that Muggles were not nearly as bad as his father and mother had always told him, and grew into a strong man admired for his kind nature and his physical prowess.
Angus Buchanan found his greatest pleasure in athleticism, and soon became adept at rugby, a then relatively new Muggle sport. He was surprisingly nimble (perhaps due to his childhood years of dodging curses). He also found out to be a natural at cricket.
In 1871, he was part of the his country's team in the first-ever international rugby match between Scotland and England. Among the spectators were all ten of his brothers and sisters, who had set out to meet him in defiance of their father's injunction against ever seeing Angus again. Elated to see them, Angus scored the first try, and Scotland won the match. The sporting career that followed made him celebrated among Muggles.
He reevaluated his relationship with his magical roots following this reunion with his family. In 1900, he published an immensely successful autobiography titled My Life as a Squib. The book brought the plight of the Squibs to the wizarding world's attention — Squibs had, until that point, always lived in the shadows: cast between the wizarding world, where they did not fit in and always felt second-class, and the Muggle society, in which they had to bitterly cut all ties to wizards. Buchanan's life story, however, showed that it was possible to succeed in life despite all those hardships he had been subjected to.
Wizards of many nationalities started to turn up to watch Buchanan play sport. Even though wizards enjoyed watching rugby (their enjoyment had a bit of a sadistic edge, as they admired the strength and courage of Muggles who submitted themselves to a sport so brutal, without being able to Disapparate out of the way, or access to Skele-Gro to mend broken bones), cricket found little favour among them (they regarded it as a very inferior version of Quidditch).
Death and post-mortem
- "When Angus Buchanan died, he was honoured by both wizarding and Muggle worlds, an almost unique achievement in the annals of history. A shining example of a person who had made the most of the hand that life had dealt them and emerged triumphant, Angus was too modest to realise the impact that he had had."
- —Description of Angus's legacy.[src]
Angus Buchanan died on 21 February, 1927, at the age of 80. After his death, he was honoured by both the wizarding and Muggle worlds, a very rare thing indeed throughout history. At Hogwarts, the Angus Buchanan Cup for Outstanding Effort was set up as an annual accolade. By 2014, My Life as a Squib was on its one-hundred-and-tenth edition.
The Wizarding Supporters of Scottish Rugby Union was founded shortly after Buchanan's death and they, to this day, gather on the eve of every Scottish international match to toast Angus's memory and anticipate eighty minutes of watching Muggles trample each other into the mud.
It is considered infra dig for wizards of any nationality to support any rugby team other than Scotland. Because of this fact, it has become a common way of identifying wizards in public by the fact that they will, regardless of nationality, be willing to speak of Scottish rugby.
Behind the scenes
- Intentionally or not, Pottermore was updated to include Rowling's new piece of information about Buchanan and the Scottish rugby team on 21 February, 2014, the 87th anniversary of Angus Buchanan's death.
- If Phineas Nigellus Black's month of birth was before September, then he would have been among the crowd of first-years who were to be Sorted when Buchanan tried on the Sorting Hat.
- According to Pottermore, Angus Buchanan was born in a small town in the Scottish Borders. The real Angus Buchanan, however, was born in Argyllshire. He also had eleven siblings, not ten, none of which were named Flora or Hamish.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Angus Buchanan (rugby) on Wikipedia
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Pottermore - Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Scottish Rugby"
- ↑ "Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950," index, FamilySearch, Angus Buchanan, 15 Jan 1847
- ↑ Search results for John Buchanan - FamilySearch.org