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Muggle-borns, the 70s, and the rise of Voldemort - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Muggle-borns, the 70s, and the rise of Voldemort
Well, everyone's exceptionally bored, eh? Me, too. Please, LJ, allow me to post again.

I had two post ideas in mind. One was, "Things I think are going to happen and don't care about one way or the other (Harry/Ginny), things I want to happen that probably will (Ron/Hermione), things I want to happen that aren't at all likely (Remus/Tonks), things I don't want to happen that might (dead!Neville), and things I don't want to happen and am really not all that worred about (dead!Harry... or Harry/Draco).)

That could conceivably be one of my Really Long Posts, and I may do it later, but I was randomly thinking about gehayi's post in deleterius this morning, trying to explain the 70s to Mary Sue authors who keep trying to give goth!Lily a CD player and a stack of Evanescence CDs. In adding things to the list--and please remember, I was all of ten when we rolled around to the '80s--I kind of got caught up in the idea of the youth hippie movement that (contrary to image) was going in the early seventies as much as the late sixties. Kent State happened in 1970, and my mother took me to anti-Vietnam protests at her college when I was in a stroller (she attached the picket sign to the stroller handle, apparently), which would have to be post-1970, as I was born in July of that year and she didn't go back to school, I think, until January of '71. (You know, putting those two things together, I'm thinking... a baby at a campus protest? Um, National Guard? Mom? But a second Kent State wasn't very likely.)

Now, I know that all the issues weren't the same in Britain as they were here--I'm not sure of what all they were, but it's unlikely that political issues in both countries were exactly the same--but the youth movement of the 60s was pretty widespread. In 1966, Time named "People under 25" as "Man of the Year," and that's when it really can be dated from. I don't think it really fizzled out until the mid-70s. Why am I associating this with Muggle-borns and the rise of Voldemort?


In that era, there was a feeling among youth--alien as it is to those of us who grew up immediately following this generation--that the world was waking up, there was an Age of Aquarius going on, and the youth of the world would ring it in. "Never Trust Anyone Over Thirty" was a motto (changed as soon as they hit thirty, of course, to "Never Trust Anyone Under Thirty," but I digress in bitterness). Kids stopped school work by staging sit-ins and love-ins and teach-ins and peace-ins and every other sort of "in" you can imagine. (In 1969, the year that Lily, Snape, and the Marauders would have started school, John Lennon and Yoko Ono had a "bed-in" in Amsterdam.)

Wizard-borns may have been somewhat sheltered from this (or not), but Muggle-borns almost certainly would have been at least exposed to it, and probably--if their parents were open-minded enough to send them to a school for witchcraft and wizardry--would have known it up close in one way or another.

So what would the climate be like when Voldemort came to power in the 60s and 70s?

Just as an example, let's look at Hermione's house elf crusade. In the 1990s, she's all alone. Her fellow Muggle-borns may or may not care about house elves; we don't know. They certainly don't care about being Muggle-born, except when a basilisk is after them, which is very much in tune with youth culture: a few people are "socially conscious" and everyone else ignores them. If we flash to the 1970s, though, and say that Lily had a problem with house elf slavery (no evidence of this, it's just a for-instance), the Muggle youth culture would have encouraged her not just to write up petitions and take up a collection, but to organize the student body and have a protest. Hermione's idea about everyone cleaning the dormitory wouldn't have been met with total disinterest--in fact, a "clean-in" would be a very 70s thing to do. Less positively, the youth movement tended to reject all "old school" ideas as hopeless out of date, and would treat them as "contaminated" in one way or another. People who held them were held in disdain. Students at Hogwarts between, say, 1966 and 1976, came from a very different place, culturally.

Now, let's say you're Regulus Black. You're not a whack-job like your cousin Bella or your mother, but you do love your world, and take pride in your family history. Your older brother is a sore trial to the family, but you're doing your best to keep things level. Maybe you're willing to think about house elves' rights, maybe you're not. Your mother hates the infiltration of Muggle-borns and your cousin rails against them all the time, but your brother insists that they're all right.

So you go to school.

And a bunch of organized Muggle-borns, in the name of house-elf rights, has put up flyers all over school, saying that the wizarding world ought to be ashamed of itself, that the people you love are evil and need to be taken out of their "positions of privilege," that the house-elf issue, in fact, is just the tip of the iceberg, a visible sign of a world that's rotten at the core!

You're not Sirius. You don't hate your mother and cousins so much that you're willing to trash-talk them. Further, you know perfectly well that there's great beauty in the old wizarding traditions, and that some of your ancestors who are being maligned were in fact decent people who were doing the best they could.

But every time you turn around, there are a bunch of Muggle-born newcomers not only claiming a place in the world, but claiming they are morally and intellectually superior to anyone who might think about questioning them.

Someone insults, say, your great grandfather. "Look at villains like Phineas Nigellus! He's the one who dragged all the house elves into slavery at Hogwarts!"

First, you might respond that he was also the one who, I don't know, single-handedly founded the closed ward for the treatment of permanent spell damage and endowed it for funding. The Muggle-born student leader sneers that it's nothing to brag about, that he put mentally ill people in a prison! You say that it's not like that. The Muggle-born says, "Yeah, prove it!"

Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but there would come a point in this exchange where I would simply lose my temper. Either I would lose it at the person (I did this when an undergrad protester outside the library declared that "Osama bin Laden is right!"), or I would go off somewhere and steam, my hands shaking and the world glassy. I certainly wouldn't be persuaded to someone's point of view that way if I didn't already hold it!

Two things can happen. Either Sirius comes along and pats you on the head and rolls his eyes and makes you laugh, and you enjoy spending time with a family member...

Or Bella does. Or someone like her. And that person says, "Yes, I know. I understand. You're right to be angry. They have no right. They're hurting you, and they're hurting us, and we understand. Come on... there are some people I want you to meet." And those people would all be understanding, and the anger would get fed until it raged higher and higher, and then someone would say, "Join the fight, Regulus..."

Polarization of sides. The same story could be told in reverse--a Muggle-born tired of being insulted goes over the brink... except that Dumbledore seems to run a ship that doesn't allow fanaticism on board. The Order is made up of Muggle-borns, half-bloods, pure-bloods, and even squibs. It wouldn't surprise me if some in-the-know Muggles, like Lily's parents, might have been involved. He keeps traditions and asks for social justice and reform.

The point of all of this is that the atmosphere of the 60s and 70s youth movement could have had a huge impact on the rise of Voldemort, simply because the Death Eaters seem (to me, at least) to be a very reactionary movement... "Make it stop!" What makes them rise right then? What is it that they see when they look at Muggle-borns, and why do they fear it so? I don't buy, "They're afraid of losing their privelege," because it's fairly clear that someone like Snape didn't have much privilege to lose.

The only thing that really comes to mind is that the Muggle-borns of the time were, well, of the time. Rather than being co-incidentally Muggle-born, like Hermione's generation, maybe they were militantly spreading Muggle ideas (like freeing house elves)--things which we as readers would certainly agree with, but which they presented in an insulting and pushy way that the wizarding world was not ready or able to cope with. It would also have been seen as a crude culture--often foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, and disrespectful of anyone's position, whether earned or not. I think leveler heads prevailed on the Muggle-born side, but I don't doubt that there were enough of the less noble traits of the movement around to give pause.

And that's how Voldemort took hold and became a major force even among sane wizarding families.

IMHO, of course.

I feel a bit...: restless restless

21 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
mafdet From: mafdet Date: June 24th, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very interesting and thought-provoking, and I think right on the money. Hate groups usually start because someone feels threatened, even if the "threat" is baseless - it is the perceived threat that counts. "They" control the money. "They" lust after our wives and daughters. "They" have what we want. And on and on. In Regulus' case in your essay above, "they" are a threat to his way of life and that of his loved ones. I believe that the DE's didn't form just for kicks and giggles or because someone took a tinkle in Voldie's Wheaties. Voldemort was able to organize such a prominent group of followers - and numerous, too, if we are to believe PS/SS where one couldn't trust a witch or wizard in the days of the first war - because a whole lot of wizarding folk felt threatened.

"It would also have been seen as a crude culture--often foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed, and disrespectful of anyone's position, whether earned or not." Yes. *I* think it's a foul-mouthed, disrespectful, crude culture, and I *am* a Muggle! If the Wizarding world was more mannerly and more gender-egalitarian - which I suspect it was - then an influx of potty-mouthed, promiscuous and sexist Muggle-born culture might well be perceived as something that had to be fought against. I don't think one has to like the DE's, or approve of them, to see where they might be coming from and what motivates them. If Lucius Malfoy had a sister, for instance, and she complained to him that some Muggle-born boy grabbed her breasts or propositioned her - well, you can imagine what Lucius might have thought. Whatever one may say about Lucius, he's not devoid of family feeling by any means.

You noted in some other forum that the first wizarding war also coincided with the sexual revolution. I don't think that's a coincidence. I can see wizards and especially witches thinking that rampant promiscuity is A Very Bad Thing and being horrified at the apparently loose morals of Muggle society at the time.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 24th, 2004 04:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I considered putting the sexual revolution into the essay, but ultimately chickened out. But yes--that would definitley be part of the Muggle culture that I think would bother the hell out of someone like Lucius.

I had this little conversation between young Narcissa and Lucius in "Of A Sort," which is how I see these ideas starting to spread:

"Our traditions go back for centuries, longer than the illiterate Muggle filth can count. We were choosing their kings while they were following pigs into battle. But now, we're meant to adopt their ways, and their standards. Have you seen what they get up to, Narcissa? Do you know the sort of people your other sister associates with?" He wrinkled his nose in disdain. "They rut like animals in the mud, and sound like them when they talk, as well."

Narcissa blushed. She hadn't heard the word "rut" in general conversation before, and it sounded dirty. "Surely, that isn't allowed at the school?"

"No." He sat down on the wall and stared moodily out across the heather. "Not yet, at any rate. But Dumbledore is such a Mudblood-lover that we'll undoubtedly be seeing a half-naked frolic on the Quidditch pitch any time now. Wouldn't want them to feel that their culture, if they can actually call it that, is being ignored, after all."

"You don't think Andromeda has..." Narcissa couldn't finish the thought.

Lucius looked at her shrewdly, then shook his head. "She's a Pureblood," he said. "Whether she likes it or not. She wouldn't."
mafdet From: mafdet Date: June 24th, 2004 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
we'll undoubtedly be seeing a half-naked frolic on the Quidditch pitch any time now.

Step away from ff.net now, Lucius. Just put the keyboard down and back away slowly...And stay away from the "Malfoycest" ones!
alces_tess From: alces_tess Date: June 27th, 2004 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
::claps hands with glee::

I read this thread a few days ago (when it was initially posted on daily_snitch), and was greatly impressed by the thought you put into this essay. But that bit of dialogue kept coming back to me, until I had to go and hunt down "Of a Sort" for myself.

I'm very pleased that I did ^_^ I'm rather new to the fandom, but it's still one of the best gen fics I've read so far. As someone who's attempting to write a "period" Hogwarts piece myself (1870 is the year I'm aiming for), I really appreciated the effort you put into the respective time periods, whether that be 1850 or 1970, and how it formed the characters.
sreya From: sreya Date: June 24th, 2004 06:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, excellent post! I agree, I think it's far from a coincidence that Voldemort's rise was at the same time as all the social upheaval in our own world. What particularly struck me was But every time you turn around, there are a bunch of Muggle-born newcomers not only claiming a place in the world, but claiming they are morally and intellectually superior to anyone who might think about questioning them. I can certainly relate to being on the wrong end of that attitude. "Wait a second, you're not only going to muscle in on my life, but you're going to tell me I can't live my life my way? Who do you think you are, anyway!"

It also made me think about the composition of the Order of the Phoenix. Yes, there are some older members, but it seemed to have an inordinate number of very young witches and wizards, considering how long people in the wizarding world are considered to be "in their prime." Come to think of it -- even the Death Eaters seem very young. Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and the Lestranges are for certain in the same generation as Harry's parents, and I'm under the impression that some of the others are as well. Which is really odd, when you consider that Voldemort left Hogwarts in the 40s, and wouldn't have known these younger people. *beats back the old Professor Riddle plot bunny*

This really tells me that youth-empowerment must have had an impact at Hogwarts. Most likely, as you predict, the Muggle-borns were quite vocal, which would have in turn created a reactive Pureblood group... and then everyone in between who got caught up in the chaos. And with Voldemort stirring things up in the adult population, that sets up for a very explosive late-70s.
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kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: June 24th, 2004 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Civil Rights, Feminism, Energy and Sexual "Freedom"

I am roughly the age of the MWPP generation (based on JKR's bad math, of course.)

I lived within a holler's distance of Kent State and moved closer in August 1970. I remember it quite well. I also remember my friends' older brothers going to war, or going to Canada, or burning their draft cards. Very American, and I don't think that Britain had the war protests as we did, despite the Bag-In.

I remember drugs - lots of them. If there was a defining line in our school, it was who "hadn't" and who "had" and that went for sex, too. We have a tendency to group the X generation together as a sole entity: in the 70's, it wasn't that way at all. It was "us" and "them" and one didn't cross the line. Attempting to do so was extremely suspect. Crossing the line and going back was impossible. That may be true about my babysitter's generation too and I'm too old and out of it to be aware.

The Sixties bore the violence of civil protests for minorities and it still smoldered into the Seventies. If there was a single issue that I think Lily et al would be involved in, it would be that in a Wizarding context. House elves, maybe. I could see it.

Feminism rode on the coattails of civil rights. When I think of Lily, I tend to think of her as like me, rather confused by the new options that I was being told I had to take hold of whether I wanted them or not. Nowadays, women are programmed to think "I have to get it all myself because I can't depend on a man (he's not dependable)and I must support myself." Frankly, I find that POV extremely depressing and a worse prison than the mentality that "housework is slavery."

But I think that the biggest world-wide event in the '70's was the gas/oil shortages. Everything changed. Everything. At Christmas, it used to be that no house was unlit. After 1975, it was a rarity to see any houses with decorative lighting. It's only been in the last five years I've seen anything close to what it was like when I was a kid.

How this would all be played into the Wizarding World, I haven't much clue. I have written a fic with Lily considering her options from a more feminist POV than she would have had in the Muggle world. Energy doesn't seem to be an issue for people who create light.

Maybe Voldemort was the incarnation of the civil rights repression of the pureblood community. I could see that very well.

And music? Jethro Tull, Moody Blues, Paul McCartney and Wings, Led Zeppelin, Carly Simon, Carole King, James Taylor, Seals and Croft, Eagles and Elton John. Rod Stewart crossed over into disco (I haven't forgiven him yet) and suddenly the BeeGees were everywhere. So if you're looking for music, goth ain't it. Disco, unfortunately, was.

So, all you 21st century Mary Sue writers: there will be a quiz.

Kizmet
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: June 24th, 2004 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I lived through the 60s and 70s too, although I was probably too young in the 60s to take in much except the music (which I ADORE).

I think we have to take a step back to understand that culture at the time. It was a 'liberating' time for us in so many ways. The world was heading into economic boom post WW2 and, thanks to the need created by WW2 for women to man the workplace while the boys were at War, they were now demanding to be allowed to continue working outside the home. Women had got a taste for financial self-sufficency and decided they liked it. (I wonder why?) With this came the Pill, and suddenly women could control conception as well! Which allowed them the freedom to hold a job longer, before being forced out for maternity reasons.

The 60s was like world puberty. Questioning everything was not just permitted, it was almost required. People were getting more education than they ever had before, and the World was suddenly much smaller thanks to communication. Nor could the World be run like it used to. Wars were suddenly under the scrutiny of the masses, thanks to TV, and "Peace" was a huge issue. Enviornment was a big issue too, though it was largely laughed off as Hippie rubbish.

The Hippie movement of that time is something we will never see again. (Woodstock could NEVER happen now) Times have changed and there is way too much anger in modern Hippies for them to be as peaceful as their forebears. What we have now I can only describe as something that grew from the Hippies of the 60s into the Punks of the 70s and 80s. Such a swing - from 'love' to 'hate'. And the Hippies of today are like a blending of the two.

I have a close girlfriend (who I was at school with) who has been a Hippie for 15-20yrs. Living in communes, doing drugs, lying in front of bulldozers, all that sort of thing. Her response to 9/11 sickened me; she CHEERED. And likened it to the Rebels in SW blowing up the Death Star. (America being the evil Empire of course) She is very well educated, I might add.

I think the thing you really have to remember with HP and the whole Pureblood/Mudblood issue, is that CLASS is something ingrained in the British psyche. Americans are taught from an early age that everyone is equal and anything is possible; that any one of them could be President. Whereas British history is full of Class issues and 'knowing one's place'. You were born into servitude and you were grateful for it! I might be wrong, but I think that, as Americans, you are relating to the whole Mudblood/Pureblood thing from a Racial POV. Which is what you, as Americans, understand. Personally, I think JK is addressing Class issues. The whole Private School attitude of outrage at the sudden influx of 'new money' - children from middle class parents who can now afford to send their kids to schools that were previously only for the 'elite'; the 'aristocracy'. That whole "who's your father and what does he do?"

I considered putting the sexual revolution into the essay, but ultimately chickened out. But yes--that would definitley be part of the Muggle culture that I think would bother the hell out of someone like Lucius.

Only because it would undermine his own dominance. You, yourself have him saying "we were choosing their kings". Just look at the sexual manipulation that goes on in Arthurian Legend! Starting with Merlin tricking Ygraine into sleeping with Uther.
I do not for a moment think that the Wizarding World is puritanical or "Pure". Knowing the British aristocracy - Kings, Nobles, Lords: they ALL whored around. It just wasn't discussed in 'polite' company. Queens and Ladies were not permitted to of course (they could get pregnant after all!), but it was a known (and ACCEPTED) fact that the King always had mistresses. Which was one of the nails in the coffin as far as Charles and Diana was concerned. She, being modern and educated, was not prepared to accept this. (GO HER!)

The sexual revolution really came about because we suddenly had the means to prevent pregnancy. If there had been no reliable methods of contraception in Wizarding world until then, then I imagine the sexual revolution would impact on it in a big way.
sarah531 From: sarah531 Date: June 24th, 2004 11:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow.

I'm definately going to bear all this in mind if I ever get around to writing a proper MWPP fic...thank you. :D
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neotoma From: neotoma Date: June 25th, 2004 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, you'll need to have this confirmed by hp_britglish, but I'm pretty sure that one of the major things to happen in Europe at the time was terrorism, and especially IRA attacks for the British. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that many Death Eater attacks hidden under the cover of the Irish situation.

I do like your ideas about how Regulus Black (or any DE, really) might have gotten mixed up with Voldemort's decidedly wacky cult. Poor Regulus, who seems to have occupied very little space in his family's attention.
ellensmithee From: ellensmithee Date: June 25th, 2004 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was just thinking that, too, that the situation in Europe wouldn't necessarily be comparable to the US. I know that the disappointment in the Establishment after the "failed" student protests in '68 led to a lot of the "terrorist" activity in Germany, not just the RAF, where the reaction to the student uprisings was very quickly repressive (when I arrived in Germany in the late 80s and up until the early 90s, student clubs, for example, were considered to be "terroristische Vereinigungen" - terrorist organizations, except for the official student club of the ruling conservative party at the time). There was another period of student protests (Pershing missiles, anti-nukes, housing shortages) in Germany from the mid-80s on, which would be more comparable to what went on in the States in the 70s, I think. So my point is, while there was a general atmosphere of unrest, the situation and the reactions were different in every country and not necessarily in line with what happened in the US, so I agree that asking in hp_britglish would be a good idea. :-)
thepouncer From: thepouncer Date: June 25th, 2004 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, yes, yes. And on a world-wide scope, you have the Munich Olympic hostage crisis in 1972, which was shocking according to my mother. A blow akin to JFK's assassination in 1963. That attack heralded the rise of Palestinian terrorism. Later on the decade, they became quite adept at hijacking airplanes and using the hostages to negotiate for release of "political prisoners" (another reason why the September 11th attacks succeeded - pilots had been told for years to do what the terrorists said, because they always wanted to negotiate).

In Germany and Italy, socialist-revolutionary terrorist groups like the Baader-Meinhof gang and the Red Brigades were active, with the goal of overthrowing the capitalist government and instituting socialist reform.

I don't know specifically about the UK, but I believe you're right about the prevalence of the IRA.

In addition, as another person commented, the oil shortages caused by OPEC's maneuverings had a huge impact on the economy. My older sister asked my mother once about the time "they gave gas away". Mom looked at her strangely and asked for details. My sister said that cars were lined up at gas stations, and why else would they do that? Mom replied that rationing was in effect.
scarah2 From: scarah2 Date: June 25th, 2004 01:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here from the daily_snitch. Nice essay.

I've never really thought about this topic with this twist on social activism. It does seem plausible though, that SPEW will serve to illustrate a political lesson as well as advance the plot. It had better do something, to lower the current ratio of [how often it's mentioned : how interesting it is].

I can see a lot of things that might give rise to a movement like the Death Eaters. It's obvious that Muggles are perceived as a threat, or there'd be no International Code of Wizarding Secrecy. How could they not be? They breed and hone their technology at the speed of light, while wizards watch their bloodlines thin out and their numbers dwindle, and struggle to come up with new spells and potions. We've seen no destructive spell that can do more damage than say, a pipe bomb. There's certainly no magic we know of that can rival a hydrogen bomb, a nuclear weapon, or even a decent missile. Or a commercial jet crashing into a building.

Allowing Muggle-borns into Hogwarts puts the safety of the entire wizarding world at risk, each time they do it. Hermione's parents have been to Diagon Alley. They're trusting a lot of Muggles with their secrets. And they haven't had much luck with trusting Muggles, even if Wendelin the Weird did find it amusing to be burned repeatedly.
lobelia321 From: lobelia321 Date: June 25th, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoa, 1960s, youth culture and Voldemort.

I am mightily impressed.

And totally persuaded.
the_gentleman From: the_gentleman Date: June 25th, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I certainly agree with the bulk of your essay- except that I'm not entirely sure how far the Muggleborn students would have been part of the culture of the time. They're taken from their families at 11 years old- and even with 60's parentage, they're still going to be either working class or middle-class with some liberal tendencies, but their families wouldn't be full-on hippies either. At 14+, Muggles might stage sit-ins, but they've been in Muggle culture for an extra three years (although I'd be interested to know whether that was US only- I really can't imagine Britain letting them get away with that too much).

So would they find themselves polarised themselves, between Muggleborn children who ally themselves ideologically with the more conservative wizarding world, or would the culture clash make them more likely to pick up the ideas- perhaps from elder Muggle siblings- and diseminate them through their cliques?

I know that ataniell93 has often pointed out that the Cold War was probably an influence- though again, other than Greenham Common protests there doesn't seem to have been quite as much effect(just down the road, actually, and it's very weird to see pictures in history books when you've walked your dog over half the base.... IRA would have been a major influence, I think- especially in London.

Definitely an interesting line of thought. I wonder, however, how early the roots had struck down- was Muggle society sufficiently conservative enough to allow Purebloods to ignore the occasional visible faux pax, whilst generally staying away? An interesting twist would be a rather religious wizarding society and the Muggles of the post-war, secularising period being the ones who led to moral downfall.

The fact that there doesn't seem to be a distinctly French (and thus Republican) contingent of the Death Eaters, as opposed to East Europe/Germany in Karkaroff and Dolohov, would certainly suggest this as a possibility... Combine that with ritualist Anglo-Catholicism, and an increase in evangelical/puritan strength at the time of the Schism with Muggle society, and it's a distinct possibility.
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: June 25th, 2004 07:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
LJ must've been wonky when I first read this, but *wow* that's impressive analysis.
Makes perfect sense to me.
ethrosdemon From: ethrosdemon Date: June 26th, 2004 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
A friend of mine sent me over here. The rise of Voldemort and the causes thereof are very near to our hearts.

I agree that the extremely aggressive stance of the Muggleborns at the time probably greatly incited the old fashioned wizarding community and spurred on their hatred of that class of people.

When I thought this problem over--because JK really does a poor job of even attempting to explain why so many people would become fantatic murders--I thought back a far longer way.

(I don't know if anyone else in your comments has already said any of this because I can't really view your journal. I pasted your entry into Word to read it.)

What if as you were growing up, every day someone mentioned Those Times. You know, when the Muggles killed us for sport, when they broke our bones and drowned up and flayed us alive and did it all in the name of their god. What if the portraits of your murdered ancestors hung on the walls through out your home and *told* you directly about what they had seen? Your Aunt Claudia who was raped and then had her eyes poked out by a hot iron before being drowned in a sack while the entire town watched? Your Uncle Antontius who was killed as he slept by the villiage magistrate so that he could appropriate his property?

That would sort of just become a background hum after a while. Oh, murdered in a ghastly fashion? Pass the salt.

Then, say, you go to school, and while you're there, Hogwarts stops calling Solstice Holiday and starts calling it Christmas Holiday. Your mother and father are repulsed. That is a muggle, religious holiday! What's becoming of our way of life? The muggles won't stop until they destroy us: first our lives and homes, and now they insinuate themselves into our culture.

I think amongst the purebloods, this would be a very common perspective. I also think a lot of what you said would have really sparked the youth, but I think when Voldemort first started recruiting, he would have relied heavily on these sorts of ingrained concepts.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 28th, 2004 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Rowling does make it clear that the witch-burnings were Muggle-on-Muggle violence that had nothing to do with actual witches and wizards (after all, a witch captured by a Muggle to be raped and have her eyes put out would just hex him into next year--they clearly don't have any serious reason to be afraid of that, just insulted). And as to the Christmas/Yule business... um, as far as I know, they're Christian as much as the rest of England. They certainly don't seem to be pagan in any great degree--we're talking about a talent, not a belief system. It doesn't seem to matter what people believe as far as their ability to do magic goes.
ashavah From: ashavah Date: June 26th, 2004 05:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
mmmmplotbunny.

Thank you SO much for the informative post. I'd never ever thought of anything like that myself (child of the 90s that I am), and it makes so much sense! Thank you!

Yours,

JK
swirls_of_mint From: swirls_of_mint Date: June 27th, 2004 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Right on.

Thank you for that. I had a pretty good idea of the 1970s, but since I'm only sixteen I'm quite lacking in my information, and it sucks, frankly. Meh. ;)

Again, thanks.
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