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September 12, 2014, 06:20:59 AM

HealerOne

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Muggle Central
Discussing the Muggles of GoF

In Goblet of Fire we have a wide range of Muggles that appear in the book from Frank Bryce the war veteran to the Dursleys and the unfortunate Roberts family. Here is where we can discuss the quirkiness (or not) of those loveable (?) characters - the Muggles in JKR’s Wizarding World.

There are many questions here and you may wish to refer back to these questions as we go through the chapters.

Let's begin with the Muggles of Little Hangleton:
1.   What was your impression of Frank Bryce? Did his baskstory ring true to how he acted?
2.   What was your impression of the townspeople? The Muggles in the bar readily convinced themselves that Frank was guilty. What point was JKR trying to make here?
3.     The Ministry of Magic remained silent about the magical deaths of the Riddle Family when an innocent Muggle was wrongly accused. Did the wizards have an obligation to help Frank in any way, since it was a wizard that caused him such hardship? What could the MoM done, without violating the Statute of Secrecy?


4.   If you were the Muggle Postman, what would you have thought about the overly-stamped envelop from Mrs. Weasley?
5.   Why does Vernon feel the letter is a threat to the Dursley’s Muggle Lifestyle? Is it? Would you be suspicious of the letter (consider what is said to describe letter bombs)?
6.   What were your feelings toward Dudley’s fear of Wizards? To his plight with the big tongue?

7.   George states that he played the trick on Dudley because he was a ‘git’, not because he was a Muggle. Is that really an excuse? What is the difference between what he did with Dudley and what the DE’s did with Mr. Roberts and his family? How are the ‘games’ they played with the Muggles alike?

8.   What was your impression as to the Wizard’s attempts to be like Muggles? i.e., Archie and his flowered nightdress, Arthur and the matches and tent?
9.   What did you think of all those memory charms that were done to Mr. Roberts? Do you think the wizards are justified in doing this?
10.  The abuse of the Muggle Roberts family was way out of bounds. What was your impression of that and the response of various wizards such as Ron, Draco, The Weasley adults and the MoM wizzrds?

11.   Should Muggle Studies become a required course at Hogwarts? Would more contact and information allow the wizarding world to have a more realistic view of Muggle society? Do you think the Wizard and Muggle world could co-exist with full disclosure of each other?
12.   Seeing the harm that can be done to Muggles from Wizards, is the Statute of Secrecy to protect Wizards from Muggles or the other way around?


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October 29, 2014, 05:58:44 PM
Reply #1

Evreka

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Starting off with just some of these, as I really should be cooking dinner...  :cook:

Frank Bryce
I've always thought that Frank came across as a decent man with a great feeling of responsibility.  He probably liked being a gardener at the Riddles prior to WWII. When he was wounded and shocked it meant he became less sociable as a result. This is, I think, realistic. That the villagers would have been prone to suspect him as a result is probably also realistic, as well as the amount of damage that libel and gossip in combination can do.

I also think that he had a lot of responsibility, as he stayed to continue to tend the garden - and the house - he had been entrusted. It's a tragic but believable story.

He also seemed to be a very courageous man, firstly for going to the house in the middle of the night, for his choices inside, and his desire to challenge "my Lord". I think the Muggle world lost a decent man that night, though they did not recognize him as such.

 
What was your impression of the townspeople? The Muggles in the bar readily convinced themselves that Frank was guilty. What point was JKR trying to make here?
I think this really is a likely tale (no irony). One suspicious fact - he had access to a key - but so must the cook and the maid and others have had, don't you think?  :hmm: However, he wasn't very sociable, but a bit weird. With a triple murder committed (supposedly) and a weird person around with opportunity... It must have been easy to turn on him in their suspicions...  :(


The Ministry of Magic remained silent about the magical deaths of the Riddle Family when an innocent Muggle was wrongly accused. Did the wizards have an obligation to help Frank in any way, since it was a wizard that caused him such hardship? What could the MoM done, without violating the Statute of Secrecy?
Did the MoM ever know or acknowledge that a wizard had been involved? I haven't read that far yet, but as I remember it, it was Albus alone who connected Tom Riddle Jr to this tragedy, and the MOM might not even be aware they were killed by magic? Surely, Tom Riddle Jr did not have the Trace on him at the time of this murder?

However weird the murder case was, I doubt most ministers, if any, payed any attention to a case that baffled the Muggle "Please-mens" when there was no confirmed magic involved...

If they had realised they died of magic, I think some Obliviators could have handled things discretely to keep Mr Bryce from harm.

What do you think?

« Last Edit: October 29, 2014, 06:01:05 PM by Evreka »
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October 29, 2014, 10:39:10 PM
Reply #2

roonwit

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The Ministry of Magic remained silent about the magical deaths of the Riddle Family when an innocent Muggle was wrongly accused. Did the wizards have an obligation to help Frank in any way, since it was a wizard that caused him such hardship? What could the MoM done, without violating the Statute of Secrecy?
Did the MoM ever know or acknowledge that a wizard had been involved? I haven't read that far yet, but as I remember it, it was Albus alone who connected Tom Riddle Jr to this tragedy, and the MOM might not even be aware they were killed by magic? Surely, Tom Riddle Jr did not have the Trace on him at the time of this murder?
The Ministry did know about the triple murder, because they quickly questioned the most obvious suspect Morfin, who confessed. However Tom Riddle should indeed have had the trace on him at the time, which doesn't fit with what we know as presumably Morfin didn't, so they should have known Morfin didn't do it.
However weird the murder case was, I doubt most ministers, if any, payed any attention to a case that baffled the Muggle "Please-mens" when there was no confirmed magic involved...

If they had realised they died of magic, I think some Obliviators could have handled things discretely to keep Mr Bryce from harm.
Perhaps the Ministry would have intervened if it looked likely that Frank Bryce would be charged and tried, but as he was released I think they were content to leave things as they were, and probably didn't concern themselves that Frank Bryce would continue to suffer in small ways from the cloud of suspicion he was under.
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November 26, 2014, 02:38:37 AM
Reply #3

ginginkat

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I have wondered why Muggle Studies is an optional course.  Since there are only a few "all magical" communities, it seems that more witches and wizards would want know about the muggle world.  In order to blend in with the muggles, knowledge is very important in order to keep the wizarding world a secret.   Being able to dress correctly in the muggle world would allow wizards to interact with the muggles

Wizards can use the best of both worlds.  Wizards can travel easier than muggles, but the muggles have technology.  Harry waits for Hedwig to return with information from Sirius.  If Sirius had a computer or a cell phone, the connection would have been so much faster.   
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November 27, 2014, 01:48:19 AM
Reply #4

HealerOne

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I totally agree that Muggle studies is treated like a 'left-over' subject when it should be one of the core courses for wizard children. It just seems to me that for the witch/wizard's own safety they should have a good foundation of what comprises the Muggle world so they don't interfere unknowingly and get themselves and others into trouble. I wonder too that if wizard children were taught about Muggle conveniences they might be able to adapt them for their own. As Hermione tells us - things which we Muggles consider 'magical' like IPhones and computers wouldn't work because of all the magical interference, but perhaps studious and ingenious wizards such as Fred and George might be able to adapt them for use in the Wizarding World?
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November 29, 2014, 09:38:03 PM
Reply #5

roonwit

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I wonder how valuable muggle studies actually is. You would have thought that Arthur, with his interest in muggles, would have taken it but he still seems fairly clueless about muggles. I do think the wizarding world should know more about the muggle world, but I am not sure that muggle studies (at least as currently structured) is the best way to do it.
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December 01, 2014, 05:39:05 PM
Reply #6

HealerOne

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Yes you have a point, roonwit. Arthur does seem very clueless about Muggle stuff at times. I wonder that Ministry personnel don't badly need some continuing education workshops about the advances in the Muggle World. I mean .. I can't keep up with technology! How in the world would someone who has never been exposed to these things keep up! Either you need 'mudbloods' in these positions (persons that could switch between the worlds) or very curious ones that can keep up with what is going on in the Muggle world.
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December 14, 2014, 11:47:59 PM
Reply #7

paint it Black

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I have to wonder if the subject of Muggle Studies wasn't added to the series for comic effect.  I seem to remember something about a page in Hermione's textbook about diagrams of Muggles bending and lifting heavy objects ... really, wizards don't always use their wands to lift things, do they, especially not under-aged ones...?  roonwit has a point about Arthur -- surely he must have taken Muggle Studies, but if he learned everything they had to teach about it, it sure wasn't much.  (To be fair, Arthur's interest does seem to focus mainly on the Muggle's paraphernalia rather than the details of their lives.)  Since we meet a fair amount of Muggle-born Hogwarts students, we can assume that they are not rare, and that there must be many wizards who have been raised by Muggles who could write a decent textbook and teach a decent class about them.

I also like ginginkat's point about technology ... those young witches and wizards that have not been exposed to it yet in their upbringing would benefit from being introduced to it as part of a Muggle's world.  Just because these items don't work in Hogwarts doesn't mean that they mightn't use them once they have finished school.  And HealerOne has a point about how bright wizards like Fred and George could use a knowledge of technology to create objects that could combine technology with magic.

... I wonder that Ministry personnel don't badly need some continuing education workshops about the advances in the Muggle World. I mean .. I can't keep up with technology! How in the world would someone who has never been exposed to these things keep up! ...
Hey, I think "Muggle World" would be a great name for a magazine on this subject!  Arthur might be the only subscriber, though....

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
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December 15, 2014, 09:59:38 PM
Reply #8

Evreka

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The Ministry of Magic remained silent about the magical deaths of the Riddle Family when an innocent Muggle was wrongly accused. Did the wizards have an obligation to help Frank in any way, since it was a wizard that caused him such hardship? What could the MoM done, without violating the Statute of Secrecy?
Did the MoM ever know or acknowledge that a wizard had been involved? I haven't read that far yet, but as I remember it, it was Albus alone who connected Tom Riddle Jr to this tragedy, and the MOM might not even be aware they were killed by magic? Surely, Tom Riddle Jr did not have the Trace on him at the time of this murder?
The Ministry did know about the triple murder, because they quickly questioned the most obvious suspect Morfin, who confessed. However Tom Riddle should indeed have had the trace on him at the time, which doesn't fit with what we know as presumably Morfin didn't, so they should have known Morfin didn't do it.
True. I don't know what I was thinking. But probably they never understood, or else didn't care, that the local gossip was all but killing the man the local Muggles believed to be guilty. Neither of which paints the wizards in command in any benevolant colours. But then again, how often does the men and women in power concern themselves with local gossip? As long as no one was physically hurt, they might have felt it was too much of an intrusion to modify any memories?

Perhaps the Ministry would have intervened if it looked likely that Frank Bryce would be charged and tried, but as he was released I think they were content to leave things as they were, and probably didn't concern themselves that Frank Bryce would continue to suffer in small ways from the cloud of suspicion he was under.
So, yeah, I agree.


I have wondered why Muggle Studies is an optional course.  Since there are only a few "all magical" communities, it seems that more witches and wizards would want know about the muggle world.  In order to blend in with the muggles, knowledge is very important in order to keep the wizarding world a secret.   Being able to dress correctly in the muggle world would allow wizards to interact with the muggles
I don't think dress code is something that the rest of the students miss out on. Most likely, every student except those born and bred in Hogsmeade ought to meet Muggles frequently out in the real world. So the more common Muggle knowledge needed to get around is most likely something they learn by just growing up in neighbourhoods with Muggles close by.

Judging by the glimpses we see of hermione's homework, I think this class studies physics, math, technology. Ie the ways by which Muggles gets around without magic.


Wizards can use the best of both worlds.  Wizards can travel easier than muggles, but the muggles have technology.  Harry waits for Hedwig to return with information from Sirius.  If Sirius had a computer or a cell phone, the connection would have been so much faster.   
Well... there's a distinct drawback with cell phones and computers for this specific use: it can be traced. Owls, apparently, can't, not as easily anyway.

And besides, since both Harry and Sirius are wizards, cell phones and computers don't work as they should around them. So I don't think they can choose to use the Muggles ways.


I wonder how valuable muggle studies actually is. You would have thought that Arthur, with his interest in muggles, would have taken it but he still seems fairly clueless about muggles.
Maybe he knows more than we think and just have troubles remembering the right terms for things? To him it might not matter if it's a telephone or a fellytone, but he taught Ron (after the disastrous phone call to the Dursleys) how to use it properly, or so Ron says at the end of POA, anyway.

Also, there's a world between the questions Arthur asks in the books and in the movies:  :rubberduck: ! Book Arthur is curious about intricate technical things, perhaps those are too intricate to be touched upon in the Hogwarts class? Things like how aeroplanes stay up, parking meters work and so on might not be the kind of things the class dwelve deep into...

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