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"A Squib is someone who was born into a wizarding family but hasn’t got any magic powers. Kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards, but Squibs are quite unusual."
—Basic description of a Squib[src]

A Squib, also known as a wizard-born,[1] is a non-magical person who is born to at least one magical parent.[2] Squibs are, in essence, 'wizard-born Muggles.' They are rare and are looked upon with a degree of disdain by some witches and wizards, particularly pure-bloods. Muggle-born witches and wizards are descended from Squibs who married Muggles: the magical ability unexpectedly resurfaces after many generations.[3]

Overview

Squibs are humans who are born with at least one magical parent, but does not inherit any magic from said parent. A wizard or witch child would typically show signs of magical abilities at seven years old; any such child who does not is leaning on being a squib (though they are possibly late-bloomers).

Squibs are rare, even just one being born into a family. The fact that all seven of the Thurkell brothers are born squibs indicate something out of the ordinary about their case.

Squibs are incapable of practising magic in anyway, as Argus Filch found out when he attempted to use the supplementary course Kwikspell, which was designed to improve inadequate wizarding skills, to no effect as he had no magical skills to improve upon.

History

In the 1600s, Isolt Sayre the famous founder of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry gave birth to a daughter whom she named Martha. Martha was named after her paternal grandmother and while her twin sister Rionach was magical, Martha was not. Martha was the only one in the family to be born a Squib, and because of that she considered her upbringing at Ilvermorny to be painful. Martha went on to marry and lived as a No-Maj.[4]

In 1858 Angus Buchanan never received a Hogwarts acceptance letter, but got as far as the Sorting Hat, before he was exposed as a Squib. In sheer desperation he threw himself ahead of a girl whose name had been called and placed the Hat upon his head. The horror of the moment when the Hat announced kindly that the boy beneath it was a good-hearted chap, but no wizard, would never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. Angus took off the hat and left the hall with tears streaming down his face. This had never happened before and it has never happened since. His being a Squib caused him to become estranged from his family.[5]

In 1900, Angus wrote an inspirational book, titled My Life as a Squib. His book helped break the taboos of Squib culture in wizarding society. Angus ended up becoming a star in the Muggle sport of Scottish rugby, and his sporting talents became so well known that wizarding kind fell in love with his inspirational story, not to mention developing an odd interest in rugby.[5]

While Eugenia Jenkins was Minister for Magic from 1968 to 1975Squib Rights marches began to surface. However, these marches attracted pure-blood riots.[6]

Different from Muggles

In addition to being born into magical rather than Muggle families, Squibs are different from Muggles by their knowledge of the wizarding world. They are able to see things that are hidden from the Muggles: certain magical objects and creatures that can help them. Argus Filch, as well as Arabella Figg, have formed wizarding-like relationships with cats that, in the case of the latter, have been cross-bred with Kneazles.[7]

Squibs should also be contrasted with the Muggle relatives of witches and wizards. Muggle parents, siblings, spouses etc. are simply Muggles who happen to know about the magical world.

Despite the differences between Squibs and Muggles they usually have a stronger affinity with Muggles. For obvious reasons, Squibs usually lead Muggle lifestyles, and are known to be sent to Muggle schools. Some voluntarily choose to cut themselves off from the wizarding world altogether. Isolt Sayre’s Squib daughter Martha chose to distance herself from magic entirely. Others live as allies to wizardkind and others, living somewhere in the middle, choose to work with wizards but are not very neighbourly to them.

Attitude toward Squibs

"You disgusting little Squib, you filthy little blood traitor!"
Marvolo Gaunt to his daughter, whom he believed to be a Squib.[src]
Filch-GOF

Argus Filch

The Ministry of Magic does not keep records of Squib births,[8] a sign of wizard society's general disregard for them. They can, however, check if a person is a Squib using their parents' names, as demonstrated in 1995 during the disciplinary hearing of Harry Potter. The common practise with Squibs is to send them off to Muggle schools as children and encourage them to integrate with the Muggle community, which is much kinder than letting them live in the magical world where they will always be treated as second-class citizens.[9] Some, however, choose to remain in the wizarding world regardless. Some pure-blood families, such as the Blacks, disown any Squib members and remove them from their family trees, as they removed Marius Black.[10]

Even families that are tolerant of Muggles and Muggle-borns seem to regard Squibs poorly. For example, the Weasley family seems embarrassed to have a Squib who works in the Muggle world as an accountant in the family. Also, many wizarding families are anxious to see early signs of magical ability and are upset by the prospect that a member might be a Squib. Neville Longbottom was thought to be a Squib by his relatives because of this, though he proved to be magical. Similarly, Merope Gaunt was called a Squib by her father Marvolo as a slur, due to her poor magical abilities, inhibited by her fear of her father and brother.[11] Some magical families would often blame any Muggle parents for a Squib's birth, as Orford Umbridge and his witch daughter would blame his Muggle wife, Ellen Cracknell, for being the fault of the son being born a Squib. However, the wizarding world did set up at least one organisation to support Squibs, called Society for the Support of Squibs.

It is unclear as to Lord Voldemort's attitude towards Squibs. He had personally noted throughout his life that he aims to purge Muggle-born wizards and witches for "stealing" magic. However, as Argus Filch was allowed to remain in Hogwarts, it is likely they were not prosecuted as blood traitors.

Known Squibs

Squib(s) Notes
Angus Buchanan Angus was a Scottish Squib born to the pure-blood Buchanan family. He became famous in both the wizarding and Muggle worlds. 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.
Arabella Figg a dealer of cross-bred cats and kneazles and a member of the Order of the Phoenix.
Argus Filch the caretaker of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Marius Black was the third child of Cygnus Black II and Violetta Bulstrode. Marius was disowned and removed from the Black family tree tapestry.
Thurkell brothers were the seven sons of Thaddeus Thurkell. As they all turned out to be Squibs, this made their father so angry that he transfigured them into hedgehogs.
Dolores Umbridge's brother

[12]

son of wizard Orford Umbridge and Muggle Ellen Cracknell. His parents separated and he would return to the Muggle world with his mother.
Gilderoy Lockhart's sisters the two older sisters of Gilderoy Lockhart.
Martha Steward II She was the elder twin daughter of Isolt Sayre and James Steward, who were the founders of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Believed Squibs

Person(s) Notes
Neville Longbottom discovered to not be a Squib when his Uncle Algie 'accidentally' dropped him out of a window and he bounced down the road.
Ariana Dumbledore unable to control her magic after being traumatised by an attack by Muggle boys and kept hidden by her family. Neighbours believe Kendra Dumbledore to be ashamed of her daughter and spread rumours that Ariana was locked in the cellar due to her being a Squib when in fact it was her powers that had gone awry.
Unnamed second cousin Molly Weasley's assumed to be a Squib due to working as an accountant in the Muggle world. Whether he is an actual Squib or not has yet to be confirmed.
Anne Boleyn believed to be a Squib by common wizarding historical theory. This theory may recently have been proven true.[13]
Kelly Brown suspected, among wizarding circles, of actually being a talented Squib smuggled into the Scottish rugby team by the WSSRU, in violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.
Jim Hamilton suspected, among wizarding circles, of actually being a talented Squib smuggled into the Scottish rugby team by the WSSRU, in violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.
Stuart Hogg suspected, among wizarding circles, of actually being a talented Squib smuggled into the Scottish rugby team by the WSSRU, in violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. He was, in fact, a wizard.[14]
Credence Barebone believed to have been a Squib by Gellert Grindelwald, but turned out to have actually been an Obscurial (a wizard with suppressed magical abilities).

Behind the scenes

  • The term likely comes from the English expression "a damp squib" (dud firecracker), an expected delight that disappoints.
  • The word squib also refers to an incomplete or insufficient discharge of a firearm.
  • The word could also be a pun on "skip", referring to the fact that the person was "skipped" by magic. In fact, at least one book series (Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth) used the word in a meaning analogous to Squib in several books.
  • The Star Wars series also uses the term Squib as the name of an alien species.
  • Idris Oakby, founder of the Society for the Support of Squibs, may have been a Squib herself.
  • Two Squibs (both are minor characters) seen in the series are Arabella Figg and Argus Filch. Both seem to love cats and have the same initials.
  • Even though Merope Gaunt had proven she is capable at magic, her father derogatorily referred her as a Squib due to her poor control. Whether he believed her to be an actual Squib or that he was simply insulting her is unclear.
  • Having a squib child was seen by the pure blood elites as the ultimate disgrace on their family name.
  • It is unknown is a non-magical child of a squib and a muggle is considered the former of the latter.
  • Mafalda, a deleted character, was set to be the child of a possible squib and a muggle. Showing that squibs could sire magical offspring. However since the character was cut this information has yet to be confirmed.

Appearances

Notes and references


See also