January 12, 1982
Daily Prophet Special Edition
Breaking News! Breaking News!
Muggles Allowed Into the Government! Potential to Break the International Statute of Secrecy?
Article by Rita Skeeter
We have spent decades fighting. Fighting politically, fighting in the streets, fighting on actual battlefields and through opposing policy. Disagreements over muggles, muggleborns, and their unwitting influence on the wizarding world has long since divided our society in two- or more- factions. The fighting began long before the International Statute of Secrecy (see page 6 for a full rendition of the original Statute) was signed, and recently culminated with what modern historian Bathilda Bagshot has dubbed the Blood War.
Dear readers, I expect many of you to have received the same lacking history education from Hogwarts that I myself did (see page 10 for a debate on the positives and negatives of allowing a ghost to teach). As such, allow this gracious writer to provide you with the highlights of the past several centuries so you can have a solid understanding of the muggle-wizard relations that have brought us to today's shocking news.
Muggle and wizarding relations have always varied from community to community, with muggles of the old pagan faiths closely embracing magic in a way that more recently popular monotheistic muggle religions (see page 13 for a brief description of muggle religion in Britain and how it has changed over the centuries) have never desired to. As such, witch hunts have always existed- and it has always been the most vulnerable of us who've suffered from them. The plight of many muggleborn children, believed by their parents to be changelings left by the fay or otherwise cursed, is said to be one of the driving reasons for the establishment of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
It wasn't till the 14th century that irrational, uneducated muggles made popular the fearing and hunting of their neighbors. Some credit this change in public muggle opinion to a power struggle, others to the results of Dark Wizard attacks of the time (see page 3: Herpo the Foul's Questionable Life Choices). Regardless of the cause, it was at this time that wizarding families began to be tortured and killed for possessing the gift of magic.
Between 1580 and 1630, the witch hunts ramped up to an unprecedented level. Muggleborn children became increasingly rare as they- and their families- were burnt, hung, drowned, and stoned to death for accidental magic incidents. Thousands of muggles, falsely accused, suffered similar fates. While Hogwarts teaches about the flame freezing charm that allowed many wizarding folk to survive the trials they were put through- indeed, every first year has heard of Lisette de Lapin, the odd witch who allowed herself to be burnt no less than 14 times- the spell took training that a home-taught wizard would rarely have had access to at the time.
The hunts spread around the world, carried by muggle theologists and pioneers, growing to be the first largely acknowledged international catastrophe of the wizarding world.
Dear readers, just picture: hundreds of witches and wizards from around the world crammed into a single circular room below the streets of Paris, stacked shoulder to shoulder on thin wooden benches. Each screaming the disasters their own representative population has suffered, each with a different idea for how to solve the issue. The Atlanteans proposed sinking a larger territory to create a 'lost continent' (as opposed to their singular sunken city), the Italians were dead set on starting yet another muggle-specific plague. None willing to compromise their ideals.
None, that is, till Britain's dashing young delegate Ralston Potter stepped forward to suggest the total separation of the magical and muggle worlds. The ambitious plan, which met with more contention here in Britain than it did within that initial meeting, proved to be the only suggestion to garner a majority vote.
The International Confederation of Wizards (ICW) have been responsible for enforcing the finally agreed upon version of Ralston's plan since it was finally signed into international law in 1689. Few have attempted to challenge it directly- likely due to the harsh penalty (death, wand-snapping, or life long imprisonment) that those found guilty of a breach have faced (it should be noted that several individuals found guilty of a breach have escaped over time- most recently, the illusive and renowned candy maker Willy Wonka).
As old as the Statute is, it is no surprise that nearly every member of the wizarding world knows of it, though the exact details can be confusing due to the 1750 decision to make individual magical governments responsible for enforcing the Statute within their own borders. The British Ministry of Magic has been noted as one of the more strict international participants (though dear readers, I assure you we remain quite sociable in comparison to the quarrelsome Americans across the pond). The British Ministry of Magic has, in fact, functioned almost autonomously from its muggle counterpart since the Statute was signed, and there is an astronomical difference between British wizarding and muggle laws, traditions, fashions, and more.
It would seem that our dedicated Ministry is now wondering if this stance was a mistake.
My dearest readers, I will not delve into the gory and painful details of either the Reign of Grindelwald or the Blood War (previous editions of the Prophet covering both time periods will be available by owl mail for the next month though!). We are all aware of the bloodshed and pain caused in our society by a group who sought to make the International Statute of Secrecy unnecessary by wiping out all muggles and muggleborns. These terrorists claimed to want to revive wizarding traditions, which have long been diluted by the influx of muggle traditions through the muggleborns brought into our world at age 11. They claimed that magic was being stolen, that their own families were weakening due to the increase in inter-blood marriages and increasing percentage of muggleborns per class at Hogwarts. That muggles themselves are of a lower Beast ranking than the centaur tribes in the Forbidden Forest.
It was, I believe, their fear and lust for power that drove them to do horrible things- much like it was the muggle's fearful and power-hungry hearts that drove them to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of people during the witch hunts and trials.
A delightfully helpful source of mine had this to say: "Perhaps it is time for the Ministry to consider that they went too far- they did not just hide the wizarding world, they isolated it, and now we are falling behind. Falling apart. Is it not time to adjust our stance in the hope of a more peaceful next century?"
If we are falling behind, however, what can be done? After all, the Statue of Secrecy is an international law, and Britain would have to secede from the ICW in order to change it (see page 12 for an unfortunately dull explanation of how seccession would affect the stock market, see page 15 for a much more entertaining caricature of the expressions I believe the various Wizengamot members would make were they denied their cheap imports).
Apparently, the fix could be- outwardly- simple.
Our Ministry of Magic left specific loopholes within our laws that were intended to help avoid particularly nasty incidents within muggle born families (though this questioning reporter does wonder if it was also to avoid hefty memory alteration expenses- we all know how understaffed the obliviation squad is!). These laws allow muggle spouses to be told after the marriage is made official. Muggleborns' parents are let in on the secret, though are obliviated occasionally when they have a negative reaction to their child's blessing. Squibs are, of course, allowed full knowledge, though their spouses are not without a separate connection to our world. The muggle children of squibs and wizarding folk are allowed into our world, but their own offspring are not (barring their own eventual connection of course).
Consider it, my dearest readers. Consider, for the briefest moment, the sheer size of this particular loophole, which has slowly been widened over the centuries to include various individuals who would not have easily looked aside. Consider the number of muggles who must, on some level, have knowledge of our wizarding world.
Frankly, the idea made this devoted reporter physically ill- after all, we have long felt perfectly protected by our muggle repelling spells and privacy wards and our International Statute of Secrecy. Gellert Grindelwald once claimed that the International Statute of Secrecy was no more than a flimsy paper protection from a larger danger. Was he correct?
It was for you, my dear readers, that I considered these words and delved into researching a topic that has never particularly interested me before: Muggle Studies.
What I found was shocking. Muggles no longer host bonfires or drown their neighbors- they have, in fact, advanced well beyond our (admittedly miniscule) expectations of them. Internationally adored socialite Elvira Zabini herself was even overheard recently stating that she had found muggles to be surprisingly educated, focused on the arts rather than on raising pigs in straw huts. The muggles have even created their own magic, called electricity, which allows them to complete many of the household spells that have separated wizarding folk from muggles since the dawn of time (i.e., frequent bathing and toilet hygiene).
These are a people dedicated to a cause that Madam Black herself has championed in recent public statements, a research-heavy field called science, rather than to ferreting out our society. They write long novels about magical talents (which they believe fictitious), create their own moving pictures, and use giant metal birds to fly across the ocean.
It was with a profound sense of relief that I concluded that, perhaps, Grindelwald was being particularly dramatic (purchase Grindelwald era issues of the Prophet to read more about Drama Queen Grindelwald!). And our simple solution lies in the Ministry having come to the same conclusion.
"For the first time in history, the British Ministry of Magic will fully, legally embrace those knowledgeable muggles who do exist. Until now, muggle ideas have been overwhelmingly discouraged amongst nearly all professional wizarding professions, and muggles have been banned from keeping businesses in magical communities. In fact, muggle legal status has been questionable in itself- muggleborn children are assigned a magical guardian, typically the Headmaster of Hogwarts if no one else petitions for them, upon entering our world at 11 because their parents do not have the legal recognition to even make an account at Gringotts. Under the new legislation, this system is no more- now, the only requirement to be considered a citizen within the wizarding economy will be the legal knowledge of magic. There will be no more Gringotts or other shopping bans, no obvious barriers for entry to work within institutions such as St. Mungo's or private law firms. Certainly there will be no insistence on muggleborns having a magical guardian- their parents are, after all, now recognizable citizens by their own right. The change we are about to see thanks to the bill Minister Bagnold signed into effect… it is unprecedented and ground breaking."
(Dearest readers, never let it be said that I do not find you the most respectable of sources, though of course I must keep their identities hidden in order to continue providing you with the information you so certainly need!)
Though the Ministry has not yet announced the new change in laws- we will all be paying close attention to the press conference scheduled for six this evening- I have seen with my own eyes that Minister Bagnold's signature is dry on the parchment, her seal stamp set. What does that mean for us? I imagine, readers, that it is going to mean we all have quite a few questions for our Ministry, and for our nation's fate.
Will the ICW accept this choice by the Ministry of Magic as a part of our individual right to define the parameters of the Statute however we think best, or will an international delegation be on our doorstep in the coming weeks?
Who will willingly champion the first muggles invited to work within our economy- and what can they actually add?
Will our traditions be further devalued, or will bringing muggles into the fold encourage less outright resentment from muggleborns cleaving to their birth culture? Will wizarding etiquette classes for muggles become a mandatory requirement for those wishing to work among our polite society? Could this in itself potentially alleviate concerns over dwindling traditions?
What backlash will our publicly popular, battle hardy Minister face in light of this rather surprisingly moderate move- a move championed by none other than Lucius Malfoy, who's ancestors once vehemently protested Ralston Potter's idea for the Statute in a failed bid to protect their long-standing relationships with aristocracy across Europe?
Most importantly, dearest readers- how will you react?
January 12, 1982
Millicent Bagnold had been affectionately described, more times than she cared to consider, as a battleship of a woman. Sturdy as an oak tree (and after surviving two separate wars, nearly as gnarled), the only thing that seemed particularly delicate about her were her long pianist's fingers.
It would have been quite the shock for most of her political opponents to see her wrapped in a fuzzy pink robe with bunny slippers on her feet and coffee in her hands. For Amelia Bones, summoned over with absolutely no notice before she'd even had the chance to make toast, it was comparable to seeing Albus Dumbledore in his underwear, or perhaps seeing a dragon in curlers. Slightly terrifying, and much more visually captivating than a train wreck could ever hope to be.
It was a bit of a balm to see the shredded newspaper on the ground next to the Minister.
"Bloody hell, Bones, what took you so long?"
Amelia shook her head, visibly bringing her boss' face back into focus. "Apologies, Madam Minister, I had to set Susan up with a nanny elf before I could leave."
"Ah, yes- and how is that niece of yours? Still running circles around half of my Ministry?"
"That only happened once, ma'am, and-,"
"Right, well, I'll tell you why you're here straight away. I'd have shown you, but I seem to have, ah…" Millicent glanced down at a particularly charred scrap of newspaper on the ground beside her. "That shrew Rita Skeeter has a nice little special edition scheduled to go out in two hours- I got a copy early because her editor is scared of me."
Amelia frowned. "How bad is it?"
"Bones, I made muggles legal citizens under the Ministry of Magic yesterday and haven't told anyone yet- how bad do you think it is?" Millicent scowled, heavy brows dipping down between her eyes. "I'd rather rely on you to get a wall between a killing curse and myself again- and we both know the odds of that succeeding twice aren't high."
"I understand your frustration, Madam Minister, but I'm not sure how I can be of service- wouldn't you rather talk to-,"
"No, it's you I want alright. See, I may not have been able to stop this paper from printing before I was ready for it, but I did figure out Rita's little source."
Millicent dug her hands into the pockets of her shocking robe. "Bones, what in the hell is this Cassiopeia Black up to?"
Amelia, known around the Ministry as a strict consummate professional, buried her head in her hands and groaned.