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"Non-magic people (more commonly known as muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognising it."
A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot[src]

Non-magic people, commonly known as Muggles in Great Britain, No-Majs or No-Majes in the United States,[1] and Non-magiques in France,[2] are people who are born to two non-magical parents and are incapable of performing magic. Muggles are not to be confused with Squibs, who also lack magic but are born to at least one magical parent.

Most Muggles are not aware that magic exists at all and that those with it have organised their own society largely separate from the Muggle world. The few Muggles that do know of the existence of the wizarding world are usually parents, or close relatives, of witches and wizards (for example, Hermione Granger's parents, Mr. and Mrs Granger, knew of the wizarding world because of their daughter, as did Harry Potter's aunt and uncle).

The term "Muggle" is widely used in the British wizarding world and while it could be considered derogatory, generally is not intended to be offensive. In fact, it is often used affectionately, often by Arthur Weasley, who has a great fondness for Muggles and learning about them and their way of life. However, some of the more prejudiced members of the community use the word in the same context as the epithet "Mudblood".

The Muggle and wizarding worlds

Wizarding law

"Each wizarding governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care and control of all magical beasts, beings, and spirits dwelling within its territory's borders. Should any such creature cause harm to, or draw the notice of, the Muggle community, that nation's wizarding governing body will be subject to discipline by the International Confederation of Wizards."
—Clause 73 of International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy[src]

Since the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was enacted in 1692, wizards and witches have hidden the existence of magic from Muggles.[3] Thus, most Muggles are either afraid of magic or believe it to be nothing but a childish fantasy. Wizards and witches hide their world with Muggle-Repelling Charms, and if a Muggle witnesses a magical event or sees a magical creature such as a dragon, their memories are erased. Confundus Charms are also occasionally employed to encourage Muggles to ignore any magic they witness. Violations of the Statute of Secrecy are prosecuted by the Improper Use of Magic Office, and the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office tries to keep bewitched items away from Muggles.

The Muggle Liaison Office is a division of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes presumably responsible for wizard-Muggle relations.[4] Given the lack of Muggle awareness of the wizarding world, in accordance with the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy of 1692, it can be presumed that the Muggle Liaison Office fulfils its duties in a very one-sided manner. Those who work in Muggle Relations presumably work with this office.

Pottermore-poa8

Hogsmeade Village, an exclusively magical settlement

Wizards and witches thus organised their own society, known as the wizarding world, distinct from that of Muggles. There are some exclusively magical settlements, such as Hogsmeade, but also magical communities hidden within largely Muggle ones, such as in Ottery St Catchpole and even in London. Magical people also have a separate currency system and government. The Ministry of Magic maintains relations with the Muggle Prime Minister, but they do not appear to be subordinate to the Muggle government.[5]

Overlapping of worlds

"Most wizards these days are half-blood anyway. If we hadn't married Muggles we'd've died out."
—Ron Weasley discussing blood purity[src]
Mrs Cole 1930s

Muggle Mrs Cole and wizard Albus Dumbledore talking about Tom Riddle

However, the Muggle and magical worlds are tied together in some ways. For instance, Muggles sometimes marry wizards or witches and thus become aware of the wizarding world, as occurred with Mr Finnigan when he married a witch. Muggles also occasionally produce a magical child. In Britain, these Muggle-born wizards and witches will often join the wizarding world when they are invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Muggle parents will thus be informed of the existence of the wizarding world, and may even enter it on occasion, as Hermione Granger's parents did when they accompanied their daughter and the Weasley family to Diagon Alley to shop for school supplies in 1992.[6] It is unknown if Muggle parents are allowed to visit Hogwarts hospital wing or St Mungo's when serious illness befalls their child. However Muggle parents are allowed to see wizarding pictures of the school, as Muggle-born Colin Creevey was known to take numerous pictures and sent them home to his father.

Harry-potter2-mr & mrs granger

Muggles Mr and Mrs Granger with wizard Arthur Weasley in Diagon Alley

Some Muggles are aware of the magical world but, through choice, choose to ignore it, such as Vernon Dursley, who was aware his sister-in-law was a witch but otherwise remained intentionally ignorant of the wizarding world until he was forced to recognise it with the arrival of his nephew, Harry Potter.

In addition, there are secret connections maintained between the two societies at the governmental level; for example, the Minister for Magic occasionally consults with the Prime Minister of Great Britain on issues affecting both societies, and it is clear that the Prime Minister is aware of the wizarding world. Each Prime Minister, on the day they are appointed to office, gets a visit from the current Minister for Magic. The visit encompasses telling the Prime Minister of the existence of magic and that they will only ever need to meet when there is something going on in the wizarding world that might affect the Muggle world.[7]

Attitude towards magic

"Wizards represent all that the true 'Muggle' most fears: They are plainly outcasts and comfortable with being so. Nothing is more unnerving to the truly conventional than the unashamed misfit!"
J. K. Rowling regarding how Muggles view wizards[src]
DursleyFamily

The Muggle Dursley family, who despised magic

Historically, Muggles tended to consider those who practised magic to be evil, leading to the burning of witches during the Middle Ages. In response, some wizards and witches managed to use Flame-Freezing Charms to render the fire harmless. Thus, most considered the Muggle efforts completely useless.[8] Some innocent Muggles were being burned as witches, magical children born to Muggles were often persecuted when their magical abilities surfaced, and some Muggles tried to make magical people perform magic for their own ends. 

Magical creatures left the Muggle world too, as many of them were extinguished, probably because of over-hunting and ecosystem destruction.[3] In addition to Muggles being a threat to magical creatures it was also vise versa, with magical creatures being a threat to Muggles as well. Giants for example were responsible for some of the First Wizarding War's worst atrocities against the Muggle community. Also Muggles believe that dragons are a mere myth, but have been known on occasion to glimpse these beasts. To prevent dragons from being seen by Muggles the beasts are kept on dragon reserves around the world, most of which are far from human habitation.

Grangers

Muggle dentists Mr and Mrs Granger, who were accepting of magic

In the modern world, few Muggles believe in magic. Some who are aware of the wizarding world are accepting of it, such as Hermione Granger's parents and Jacob Kowalski.[6] Others, however, respond negatively. For instance, the Dursley family had a "very medieval" attitude towards magic. Petunia Dursley considered her sister Lily Potter a "freak" for her abilities, although this was originally prompted by envy of them. She would not have thought of her sister like this if she too had those powers.[9]

Petunia, her husband, and son were suspicious of magic, thus they treated their wizard nephew Harry Potter badly and distrusted anyone associated with magic. They also tried to prevent him from learning of his magical heritage, without success.[5] Ariana Dumbledore was attacked and severely traumatised by Muggle boys after they saw her use magic and she was unable to show them how to do it.[9] Tom Marvolo Riddle also once suggested that his Muggle father abandoned Merope Gaunt, his pregnant wife because he discovered that she was a witch.[6]

It has been suggested by some wizards and witches that Muggles choose, on some level, not to believe in magic, since there are inevitably some occasions at which they are exposed to magic but seem to ignore it or attribute it to other causes.[6]

Wizarding views

Negative views

"Alecto... teaches Muggle Studies, which is compulsory for everyone. We've all got to listen to her explain how Muggles are like animals, stupid and dirty, and how they drive wizards into hiding by being vicious toward them, and how the natural order is being re-established."
—Neville Longbottom on Death Eaters' teaching while Lord Voldemort was in power[src]

Many magical people, particularly pure-bloods, consider their own world superior to that of Muggles. Some consider Muggles little better than animals and hate them. For example, Araminta Meliflua once proposed that the Ministry of Magic make Muggle hunting legal.[10]

Muggles statue

The Magic is Might statue that depict Muggles in their 'rightful' place

Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald originally intended to conquer the world and make Muggles subservient to wizards. Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters killed Muggles for amusement during the First and Second Wizarding Wars. They often extend this hatred to Muggle-borns as well, considering them to be unworthy of magic and not "real" wizards or witches. During the Second Wizarding War, Muggle-borns were rounded up by the Ministry of Magic (on Voldemort's orders) and accused of stealing magic from wizards; a way of thoroughly humiliating them instead of killing them outright.[9] In 1997 during the height of the Second Wizarding War a statue was created that illustrated Muggles in their "rightful place", crushed by the might that is magic. This statue resided in the Ministry atrium and acted as a symbol of Lord Voldemort's new regime.

Such wizards and witches are considered "blood traitors" by prejudiced pure-bloods such as the Malfoy and Black families for their belief in Muggle equality and attempts to protect them. Brutus Malfoy once claimed that it was a sign of weak magic to enjoy the company of Muggles,[11] and his descendant Lucius Malfoy tried to sabotage Arthur Weasley's career after he proposed the Muggle Protection Act in 1992.[6]

Muggle-baiting

Muggle-baiting is activity which uses magic to confuse or humiliate Muggles without the Muggles realising that magic was involved. When Willy Widdershins rigged up regurgitating toilets, he and others were referred to as “Anti-Muggle pranksters”.

Shrinking keys are an example of a mundane object enchanted by unscrupulous wizards for “muggle-baiting.” The keys are sold to unsuspecting Muggles, who then can’t find them anywhere.

Biting Teakettle is an enchanted object which looks like an ordinary teakettle until an unwary person attempts to use it, in which case it bites the user. Arthur Weasley turned up one of these on one of his nighttime raids, which indicates that they are Muggle items enchanted illegally as opposed to joke items one might purchase at Zonko's.

MACUSA

The Intricacies of Rappaport's Law

Rappaport's Law, absolute segregation

In the United States, Muggles are known as No-Majs. Mixed marriage between magical and non-magical folk is frowned upon, and like in Britain, try to keep the wizarding world a secret.

Rappaport's Law was instituted by Emily Rappaport, the 15th President of MACUSA, in 1790. The law completely segregated the No-Maj and magical communities in the United States following one of the most serious breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy of all time. The law was repealed in 1965.

Rappaport's Law banned marriage and even friendship between wizards and No-Maj. Interaction was only allowed for everyday activities. Due to the law, students from Ilvermorny School were not allowed wands before they entered the school, nor to take them home during vacations. By the 1920's, MACUSA had several special offices responsible for enforcing Rappaport's Law. Among these were a sub-division focusing on No-Maj Fraternisation and an office that issued and verified wand permits for every witch and wizard in the United States.[12]

Positive views

Others, however have more favourable opinions. The Ministry also tries to protect Muggles from the Dark Arts and other potentially harmful magic things with its Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office.[6] Muggle Studies is also an optional subject at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that strives to educate magical children about the Muggle world and to foster understanding of it. One witch, Carlotta Pinkstone, famously advocated for the repeal of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. She believed in the idea that Muggles should know about magic, and performed magic publicly on several occasions.

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Harry Potter surrounded by Arthur Weasley's collection of muggle objects

Arthur Weasley is very interested in how Muggles function without the aid of magic, and collects Muggle items, though he often gets their names and other facts wrong. He has a large collection of batteries and electric plugs. He was ecstatic to meet Hermione Granger's Muggle parents, inviting them to have a drink with him at the Leaky Cauldron. During Harry Potter's stays at the Burrow, Arthur often sat next to Harry to ask him questions about Muggles. He was also interested to learn how the Muggle post office and telephone work,[6] and his greatest ambition was to learn how aeroplanes stay up.[13] Whenever he got the chance to use Muggle artefacts, he enjoyed himself immensely.

Some Muggle pastimes have also found favour with those in the wizarding world. Famously, Albus Dumbledore's Chocolate Frog Card proclaims his liking of the Muggle sport of ten-pin bowling, and he also developed a fondness for a Muggle sweet called sherbet lemons.[5] Some elements of Muggle pop culture have also bled over into wizarding culture, such as rock and roll music which is performed by groups such as the Weird Sisters.[14] The concept of "tabloid journalism" is also alive in the wizarding world.[15]

Studying Muggles

The Institute of Muggle Studies is a wizarding institute that studies and researches about Muggles. Recently, the Institute of Muggle Studies has made research about Muggle-born wizards' wizarding ancestry[16] and Muggles' knowledge and perception of magic[17]

The Museum of Muggle Curiosities was a museum in Carkitt Market, in the wizarding quarter of London. Items on display included several Muggle electronics, such as microwaves, old televisions, radios, electric fans, and desk lamps.[18] It was located between Dr Filibuster's Fireworks and Cogg and Bell Clockmakers.

Published works

"A long-awaited Ministry for Magic report made public today warns against the dangers of underestimating Muggles."
Daily Prophet newsletter[src]

There have been various pieces of media that revolves around Muggle studies. For example there have been many different published works and there is an entire class of the same name at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that devolves into the subject.

HomeLifeAndSocialHabitsOfBritishMuggles1

Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles by Wilhelm Wigworthy

Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles is a book written by Wilhelm Wigworthy and a guide to Muggle life. It is also A required textbook for third-year Muggle Studies. The book was published by Little Red Books in 1987 and among other things it explains what electricity is.

A Study into Muggle Suspicions about Magic[19] is a Ministry of Magic report warning against the dangers of underestimating how much magic Muggles notice. Professor Phoebus Penrose headed a committee which produced this report about Muggle suspicions about magic. Among other magical examples, it notes that Muggles have noticed, and had suspicions about, mysterious flying objects, the Loch Ness monster, and crop circles left behind after the Contorting Cereals class of the Annual Wizard Gardening Competition. The report concludes that Muggles are more observant than wizards think.[20]

Muggles Not as Stupid as We Think is a Ministry Report and headline for the lead article in the Daily Prophet. This article in the Daily Prophet outlined the findings of a report by a committee, headed by Professor Phoebus Penrose, entitled A Study into Muggle Suspicions about Magic.

Other works

Hogwarts elective

Muggle Studies is a course in the history, culture, science, technology and psychology of non-magical people. The class attempts to help young witches and wizards understand the difference between the way Muggles think and the way wizards think. When Ron Weasley calls a telephone a “fellytone,” Hermione Granger tells him she should consider taking Muggle Studies.[21] Students typically begin taking Muggle Studies in their third year. Muggle Studies is a prerequisite for jobs in Muggle relations. According to Percy Weasley, many students consider Muggle Studies to be a "soft option," meaning that it's an easy class. However, he goes on to say that he personally thinks "wizards should have a thorough understanding of the non-magical community, particularly if they're thinking of working in close contact with them".[22]

Ernie Macmillan apparently took Muggle Studies in his third year and Hermione passed Muggle Studies with a 312% grade in her third year, but dropped the course to give herself a more reasonable schedule in her fourth. Muggle Studies is offered through O.W.L. level, and there is an O.W.L. examination in the subject. It is unknown if there are N.E.W.T.-level Muggle Studies classes.

Characteristics

Although Muggles have no magical abilities, they have technology to make up for it. But many sophisticated Muggle technology, such as electricity, naturally does not work well inside the wizarding world. The technology in question has to be magically powered, in this case Arthur Weasley's Ford Anglia. Muggles very rarely understand magic, even going to extreme lengths (and sometimes making themselves seem rather foolish to wizards) to ignore obvious occurrences of magic, and wizards very rarely understand technology.

Even though the Muggles lack magic, they still pose a threat to the wizarding world.[6] During the 17th century, as wizard-Muggle relations hit their lowest point, the newly-created Ministry of Magic enacted the International Statute of Secrecy to attempt to permanently separate the wizarding and Muggle communities. In the modern day, the Minister for Magic and the Prime Minister maintain a good relationship to ensure the safety of both worlds.

Muggle families

Family Known individuals Notes
Babatola[23] Michael Babatola   Nurse who worked at St David's Hospital 

Barebone

Bartholomew Barebone 18th-century No-Maj who tricked the witch Dorcus Twelvetrees into revealing many details about the wizarding world
Mary Lou Barebone No-Maj woman who lead the "fanatical" anti-Magic group the Society New Salem Philanthropic Society in the 1920s
Chastity Barebone Adopted daughter of Mary Lou
Modesty Barebone
Bryce Frank Bryce The gardener for the Riddle family, murdered by Lord Voldemort
Chalk[24] Howard Chalk A farmer
Dursley Mrs Dursley Mother of Vernon and Marjorie Dursley
Vernon Dursley Husband of Petunia, father of Dudley, and director of a drill making company called Grunnings
Marjorie Dursley Sister of Vernon and a breeder of bulldogs
Dudley Dursley Only child of Vernon and Petunia
Dudley's children The two[25] children of Dudley Dursley and his wife
Evans Mr Evans Parents of Petunia and Lily Evans
Mrs Evans
Petunia Evans-Dursley Older sister of Lily, wife of Vernon Dursley, and mother of Dudley Dursley
Granger Mr Granger Dentists and parents of Hermione Granger
Mrs Granger
Harrison[26] Don Harrison A construction foreman
Bethany Harrison Dughter of Don Harrison
Pepper[27] Mr Pepper Parents of Hugo and Janice
Mrs Pepper
Hugo Pepper Brother of Janice Pepper
Riddle Thomas Riddle Parents of Tom Riddle Snr and grandparents of Tom Marvolo Riddle, murdered by their grandson in 1943
Mary Riddle
Tom Riddle Snr The son of Thomas and Mary. He later married Merope Gaunt and was the father of the Dark Wizard Lord Voldemort
Scott[28] Megan Scott Found unconscious in a Yorkshire graveyard by Mathilda Grimblehawk and her partner after she was attacked.
Snape Tobias Snape Husband of Eileen Prince and father of Severus Snape
Thomas Mrs Thomas Mother of Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas's stepfather Married to Mrs Thomas and the father of several children
Dean Thomas's half-siblings The children of Mr Thomas and Mrs Thomas
Thorn[29] Laura Thorn Professional monster hunter and author. She wrote at least one book, Hoax and Dreams
Tyler[30] Catherine Tyler Megan Scott's grandmother
Tonks Ted Tonks' parents Ted Tonks' parents were Muggles

Muggle inventions

Muggles have found many fascinating ways to make up for their lack of magic, using technology to perform tasks for which wizards use magic. Examples of such inventions include:

Commerical inventions:

War/Combat inventions:

  • Firearms, guns, the weapon of choice for Muggles (often called "firelegs" by some Ministry officials or a metal wand)

Etymology

Muggle is derived from the word "mug," which refers to a gullible person. J. K. Rowling has commented that she added a syllable to soften the word, which she wanted to suggest "both foolishness and lovability."[31] In the Brazilian translation of the series the term "muggle" was adapted to "trouxa", which literally means "fool", albeit not necessarily lovable at all. Wizards define themselves in contrast to muggle, since the words "wizard" and "wisdom" have a common etymological origin [1].

Behind the scenes

  • For whatever reason, the Game Boy Color version of the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets video game appears to go to great lengths to avoid using the word "Muggle", even renaming terms like "Muggle Studies" to "Non-Magical Studies" and "Muggle Protection Act" to "Non-Magical-Folk Protection Act".
  • After coining the term "Muggle", Rowling was shocked to learn that the word had been used as a drug slang.[31]
  • The American wizarding community calls Muggles "No-Maj" which is a shortened name for "No Magic".

Appearances

Wiki
The Harry Potter Wiki has 45 images related to Muggle.

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Fantastic Beasts: Rowling reveals the American word for 'Muggle' from Entertainment Weekly
  2. 2.0 2.1 " Fantastic Beasts director reveals the French world for 'muggle' from Entertainment Weekly
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  11. The Tales of Beedle the Bard (real)
  12. Pottermore
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  14. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  15. i.e. Rita Skeeter's work in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, et al.
  16. Sixteenth question of the Third W.O.M.B.A.T. at J. K. Rowling's Official Site
  17. Seventeenth question of the Third W.O.M.B.A.T. at J. K. Rowling's Official Site
  18. "Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando" - Flickr account of insidethemagic (see this image)
  19. Daily Prophet
  20. Daily Prophet
  21. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  22. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  23. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  24. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  25. After "Harry Potter", J. K. Rowling's First Novel for Adults at The New Yorker
  26. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  27. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  28. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  29. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  30. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
  31. 31.0 31.1 2004 World Book Day Chat