Harry Potter universe


Harry Potter universe

The fictional universe of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series of fantasy novels comprises two separate and distinct societies: the wizarding world and the Muggle world. The Muggle World is the series' name for the world inhabited by the non-magical majority, with the wizarding world existing coextensively with it but hidden from the awareness of the non-magical "Muggles" with few exceptions (most notably, the British Prime Minister). The plot of the series is set in contemporary Britain, but in a veiled and separate shadow society wherein magic is real, and those who can use it live in self-enforced seclusion, hiding their abilities from the rest of the world. The term "wizarding world" refers to the global wizard community that lives hidden in parallel with the Muggle world; the different terms refer to different communities within the same area rather than separate planets or worlds.

Contents

Fundamentals

The entire Harry Potter Series is set from 1991-1998. The depiction of the wizarding world is centered on magic, which not only imbues objects such as wands, but is portrayed as an inborn ability that must be honed into a skill in order to do otherwise impossible things. It is also centered on the separation of the wizarding world from the non-wizarding, or Muggle world. Despite being an inherent talent, magic is honed through study and training into a skill.

A great deal of effort is expended in keeping the Muggles unaware of magic. Magical laws have been enacted over the centuries, designed to keep the existence of the Magical World hidden from Muggles, the first and most important being the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy of 1692.[1] Enchantment of Muggle artifacts is forbidden; under-age wizards are restricted from using magic outside school; and any deliberate revelation of magical ability to the Muggle community is punishable, although allowances are made for the use of magic in the presence of a Muggle: if the wizard or witch is acting in self-defence or in defence of another. These laws are enforced by the Ministry of Magic, while a special arm of it, the Obliviators, has the job of making certain that Muggles who have seen magic in action will be left with no incriminating memories. Exceptions to the secrecy include wizards' Muggle relatives and the highest political leaders, such as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Some aspects of the wizarding world are depicted as being less-than-modern in comparison to the non-wizarding world, sometimes even old-fashioned or quaint. The technological development of the wizarding world is substantially behind that of its Muggle counterpart—owls, for example, are a more cumbersome and slower way to send messages than simple phone calls. On the other hand, an owl can be sent to deliver a message without the sender needing to know the recipient's exact location or phone number, it's difficult to tap or trace an owl, and owls can deliver packages as large as brooms. If one has instant access to magical power, the development of modern technology and science in the wizarding world would seem to be unnecessary. However, a large number of technologically complex devices do exist, and most of these devices exist in the Muggle world. From a certain perspective, it can be seen that Magic and electricity are the equivalents of each other in their respective worlds, but electronic equipment sometimes 'goes haywire' around Hogwarts, and Muggle devices used by wizards (such as cameras and radios) can be made to function using magic instead of electricity. Such examples are rare, however; wizards rarely make use of Muggle technology, nor do they have much interest in doing so, even when such technology might make their lives much easier. Pure-blood Wizards are baffled by how Muggle technology works and most have no interest in understanding it (with occasional exceptions, such as Muggle aficionado Arthur Weasley, whose dearest dream is "to find out how an aeroplane stays up"). "Muggle Studies" classes are offered at Hogwarts for those students with an interest. On several occasions, Harry Potter is depicted as having to explain the workings of commonplace Muggle technology, such as introducing the telephone to Mr Weasley in Chamber of Secrets; at the beginning of Prisoner of Azkaban, Ron Weasley is depicted making his first telephone call. The wizarding world has also not embraced modern Muggle modes of information transfer: instead of pens, paper, pencils, and computers, Hogwarts students are depicted in the novels and films using ink-dipped quills and parchment to take notes and do their homework.

Many aspects of the British wizarding world have Muggle equivalents, e.g. the minimum age for Apparition is 17, school examinations taken in fifth and seventh years.

By the time the books take place (1991–1998), some aspects of Muggle pop culture have become mirrored by the wizarding world. Rock music, posters, and tabloids are commonplace. Rebellious young wizards have learned to embrace Muggle culture whole-heartedly; young Sirius Black's room was filled with pictures of Muggle pinup girls, motorcycles and rock bands. Wizards and witches who are Muggle-born, or are Half-bloods (of mixed Muggle and Magical parentage) find it easier to integrate into Muggle society and take on Muggle trends as they are predisposed to Muggle ways growing up. Gryffindor student Dean Thomas has frequent references to the adorning of his part of the dormitory with posters of West Ham United Football Club. Albus Dumbledore has expressed interest in Muggle knitting patterns and ten pin bowling.

Geography

There is no separate "magical land" in the Harry Potter universe. The wizarding world not only coexists alongside the world of Muggles, but also is embedded within it. Only one settlement in Britain, being the village of Hogsmeade, is home to an entirely magical population. The vast majority of witches' and wizards' locations are integrated within the wider non-magical area. Wizards will often live in small communities of several families within Muggle villages such as Godric's Hollow in the West Country (home of the Dumbledores and the Potters) or Tinworth in Cornwall. The all-wizard Weasley, Diggory, Lovegood, and Fawcett families live in the Muggle village of Ottery St Catchpole, presumably near the real town of Ottery St Mary, in Devon[original research?]. Many wizarding houses in the Harry Potter books are depicted as being on the outskirts of towns, usually isolated from most of the town.

Likewise, the wizard shopping precinct Diagon Alley lies in central London, just off Charing Cross Road. The Hogwarts Express departs from the real King's Cross Station, albeit from Platform 9¾. These locations are hidden by a combination of Muggle-repelling charms, illusions, other magical protections (many magical locations, such as the Island of Drear off the coast of Scotland, or the Quidditch World Cup Stadium, and the wizarding prison, Azkaban, are rendered "Unplottable," or impossible to locate on a map) and depend on the natural tendency of everyday, non-magical people to ignore anything they cannot explain or understand. Hogwarts Castle appears as abandoned ruins to any Muggles close enough to see. Although wizarding society lives for the most part directly alongside Muggles, interaction between the two communities is virtually non-existent. Few wizards are aware of basic Muggle culture (for example, as a rule, wizards do not understand Muggle clothing customs). On the odd occasions when it may be necessary for a wizard or witch to dress in Muggle clothing, the result is usually comical. While the series is set in Great Britain, there is evidence that the wizarding world has locations throughout the globe, such as in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when it describes many people at the Quidditch World Cup speaking foreign languages, the number of Irish wizards working for the Ministry and attending Hogwarts, as well as the various nationalities attending Beauxbatons and Durmstrang suggest the wizarding world's borders differ from the geopolitical divisions of the Muggle world. It is also suggested in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that wizards played a part in ancient Egyptian history, and possibly are behind many historical wonders in the modern world such as the Egyptian pyramids and tombs.

Animals and plants

The wizarding world is home to many magical creatures and plants, some of which are familiar from folklore and myth. Giants, dragons, unicorns, boggarts, and goblins all have roles in the series, while many plants long believed to have magical properties, such as mandrake root, aconite, asphodel and wormwood, also make appearances. Within the stories, the conceit is that these creatures and their magical powers are real, but have been hidden for centuries from the non-magical world by the efforts of wizards, to the point where they have faded into folklore. In Hogwarts, some types of pets are allowed: cats, owls, rats, and toads. J.K. Rowling wrote a spin-off book about magical creatures to complement the main Harry Potter novels, titled Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Blood purity

The longstanding separation between the wizarding and Muggle worlds in the Harry Potter universe has led many wizards to advocate keeping the two apart. This view has in turn led to a minority of wizards seeing Muggles (and wizards of pure Muggle parentage) as untrustworthy, foolish, or, in extreme cases, racially inferior. The common practice of wizards marrying Muggles is viewed by such extremists as miscegenation, and they instead advocate maintaining a so-called "purity of blood."

Pure-blood

Pure-blood is the term applied to wizards and witches who have no Muggle blood, Muggle borns, or half-bloods at all in their genealogical pedigree. Although technically pure-bloods have no Muggle ancestors, the small wizarding population means that "true" pure-bloods are rare or even non-existent, with most just ignoring or disowning the few Muggles in their family.[2] Identified pure-blood families include the Blacks, the Lestranges, the Crouches, the Fudges, the Gaunts (though that line died out before the beginning of Book 1), the Longbottoms, the Malfoys, the Potters (although the blood purity of the Potters seems to stop with James, who married Muggle-born Lily Evans), and the Weasleys (although considered blood traitors because of their tolerance of Muggles; their blood purity, at least in Ron's branch of the family, stopped when Bill married Fleur Delacour as she was part-veela). To maintain their blood purity, supremacist families have been known to inbreed into their own families by marrying their cousins; this results in mental instability and violent natures.[3][4] Over the course of the books, some of the remaining families die out, while others find themselves on the brink of extinction with only one male heir, such as the Malfoys, who seem to have no one but Draco Malfoy. Some, such as the Lestranges, do not seem to have an heir (though Bellatrix and her husband Rodolphus are known not to have children,[5] and it is not impossible that Rastaban or other members of the Lestrange family have children; however, no Lestrange student is mentioned at Hogwarts). With the death of Sirius, all surviving members of the Black family are female (Narcissa Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Andromeda Tonks, Tonks being disowned and no longer considered a part of the family), meaning that the name has probably died out already. By the conclusion of the series, the Weasley family is the only known pure-blood family to have several male heirs.

Pure-blood supremacists believe blood purity is a measure of a wizard's magical ability – notwithstanding examples of highly skilled Muggle-born witches like Hermione Granger and Lily Evans, and less skilled pure-bloods such as Neville Longbottom – and Muggles to be low-life, having no magic in them. Supremacists apply the term "blood traitor" to pure-bloods who harbour no prejudice against non-pure-bloods (enjoying their presence and relations with them).

The antagonistic wizards in the Harry Potter books are almost all supremacists, while Harry and his friends disagree with this ideology. Rowling draws several parallels between the pure-blood supremacists and Nazi ideology in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the belief that pure-blood wizards have the right to subjugate the Muggle world and view themselves as a "master race", laws requiring Muggle-borns to register with the Ministry of Magic, rounding up Undesirables, etc.).[6]

Not all pure-blood wizards are advocates of pure-blood supremacy: the Weasleys and Longbottoms are old pure-blood families, but no known members of these families are sympathetic to supremacist aims.[3][7][8] The Black family, traditionally pure-blood supremacists, also seem to have produced one or two such "black sheep" in every generation, namely Sirius and Andromeda (Bellatrix and Narcissa's sister who married the Muggle-Born Ted Tonks).

Several wizards question the notion of blood purity altogether. In The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Dumbledore asserts that the much-vaunted blood purity does not exist, and is only a fiction maintained by the deceptions of supremacist wizards.

The Black family

Most of the members of The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black were advocates of blood purity, and many were involved with the Dark Arts (example: Sirius's brother Regulus was a Death Eater). The Black family home, at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, London, contains many artifacts of dubious origin and/or dangerous powers. The family motto, Toujours Pur, is French for "Always/Still Pure," because the Black family was one of the few remaining lineages of completely pure blood. As depicted in their family tree, the Blacks intermarried with several other pure-blood families and also on occasions practiced inbreeding to preserve pure-blood witches and wizards. Because of this, it was noted that most of the remaining pure-blood families are interrelated. The Blacks are related to virtually all. The last several generations of Blacks all trace their ancestry back to Phineas Nigellus Black and Ursula Flint. The Blacks believed in Voldemort's idea of "purifying the wizarding race," but many, such as Sirius' parents, refrained from openly supporting him once they saw what he was willing to do for power. Although several living members of the family appear throughout the series, all are either female and married into other families (such as Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange), female-line distaff Black descendants (Draco Malfoy), or descendants of disowned family members (Such as Andromeda and Nymphadora Tonks), and none have the surname Black. In 1996, the last known surviving bearer of the family name, Sirius, was murdered by his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange (née Black) in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The family tree is described in the fifth book, but it came more directly to public attention in January 2006 when the author donated a version she had hand-drawn to a Book Aid International charity auction. The tree caused a considerable stir amongst fans as it provided new information about elements of the plot of the series in between publication of volumes six and seven. It was eventually purchased for £30,000 on behalf of British actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter in the film series.[9]

Half-blood

Half-blood refers to those wizards and witches who have magic and Muggle ancestors in their family trees.[10] Half-bloods are the most common wizard blood, far outnumbering pure-bloods and Muggle-borns. Rowling has stated that of the Hogwarts annual intake, 50% are half-bloods. Pure-blood supremacists view half-bloods as inferior to them, although superior to Muggles and Muggle-borns.[citation needed]

Voldemort is a half-blood, as his father, Tom Riddle, Sr., was a Muggle while his mother Merope Gaunt was pure-blood. Severus Snape is also a half-blood (he gave himself the nickname "The Half Blood Prince"), as his father Tobias Snape was a Muggle. Harry himself is half-blood, with James Potter being pure-blood and Lily Evans Muggle-born.

Contrary to the name, a being does not have to have half magical and half non-magical blood; one muggle grandparent and sometimes great-grandparent is enough to be shunned by pure-blood supremists.

Muggle-born

Muggle-born is the term applied to wizards and witches who come from non-magical families. According to Rowling, the average Hogwarts annual intake for Muggle-borns is 25%.[citation needed]

Supremacists typically believe Muggle-borns to be magically deficient, despite examples to the contrary, such as Hermione Granger and Lily Evans, who are exceptionally skilled in their abilities.[11]

Pure-blood supremacists refer to Muggle-borns with the offensive derogatory term mudblood. Hagrid was shocked to find out that Draco Malfoy uttered the term to Hermione's face in order to insult and provoke her, since the slur is one never used in proper conversations. Hermione decided to claim and wear the term "mudblood" with pride instead of shame in an effort to defuse its value as a slur.[citation needed]

During Voldemort's rule, Muggle-borns are legally required to register with the Muggle-born Registration Commission. During this time, the Department of Mysteries "discovered" that Muggle-borns acquired their magic by "stealing" magic and wands from real wizards. Some wizards and witches reject this notion, as Ron asks, "How is it possible to steal magic?" After the regime is eradicated, Dolores Umbridge (head of the Commission) and the supporters of this ideology are imprisoned for crimes against Muggle-borns.

In the books, it has never been explained how Muggles are occasionally able to produce magical children. However, Rowling has stated that Muggle-borns inherit their magic from a distant ancestor; they are descended from squibs who married Muggles and whose families had lost the knowledge of their wizarding legacy. The magic resurfaces unexpectedly many generations later.[citation needed]

Squibs

Squib is the term applied to a child who is born of magical parents, but who develops no magical abilities. They are considered to be the opposite of Muggle-born wizards/witches.[12] Squib births are rare abnormalities: the only squibs noted as such in the books are Argus Filch, Arabella Figg, and Molly Weasley's second cousin who was an accountant. The Ministry does not require them to be registered as part of the Community.[12] Squibs share some things with wizards and they are aware of and comprehend the wizarding world. They also can see Hogwarts, which ordinary Muggles cannot. However, according to Ron's Aunt Muriel, the custom with squibs has been to send them to Muggle schools and encourage them to integrate into the Muggle world, which is "much kinder" than keeping them in the wizarding world where they will always be "second-class". In contrast to most of the wizarding world's acceptance and even respect for Muggles and Muggle-born wizards and witches, it is often considered embarrassing to have a squib in the family. Rowling has stated that Muggle-born witches and wizards are descended from squibs who married Muggles; the magical gene may resurface after many generations unexpectedly.

The "Kwikspell" correspondence course seems to be something of a con-job that plays on squib insecurities by suggesting that it can help squibs acquire some measure of ability, though it never works for Argus Filch.[12]

There is also a Famous Wizard Card about a wizard who produced seven squib sons, and turned them into hedgehogs in disgust.

Mixed species

Some wizards are the products of unions between humans and magical creatures of human or near-human intelligence, such as Fleur Delacour and her sister Gabrielle (both part Veela) and Hagrid (half giant). In wizard parlance, a creature with human intelligence – including a person – is called a "being". Known beings capable of breeding with humans include goblins, giants, and Veela. Prejudiced wizards (such as Umbridge) often use the insulting term half-breed to refer to mixed-species wizards and werewolves, or other beings such as House elves, merpeople and centaurs (who are separate species) because of their part-human and part-beast appearances and "near-human intelligence". The Centaurs within the series prefer to exist amongst themselves, with little interaction with humans.

Government and politics

The Ministry of Magic is the government for the magical community of Britain. The government is first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, is the first minister to make an appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The headquarters are not shown until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As the books progress, the Ministry becomes more corrupt and blind to happenings in the Wizard world, reaching a nadir of corruption during Voldemort's uprising.

Known Ministers for Magic include Millicent Bagnold (before the books begin), Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgeour, Pius Thicknesse (under the Imperius Curse controlled indirectly by Lord Voldemort) and Kingsley Shacklebolt (temporarily, but later known to be permanent).

Relations

To the Muggle world

The Muggles remain—for the most part—oblivious to the wizarding world, a situation considered preferable to the alternative by wizards. Most things of magical nature are hidden or otherwise obscured from Muggles; others (such as Dementors or ghosts) simply cannot be seen by them, although Muggles do experience the same depression and sense of manifest darkness and despair that wizards experience while near a Dementor. It is commented that Muggles generally can dismiss anything they cannot explain.

Likewise, to many magical people, many functional aspects of the Muggle world are rarely-glimpsed and mysterious. Wizards and witches' attempts to disguise themselves as Muggles, as when they have to venture out onto "normal" streets, often have humorous results. The mispronunciation of common Muggle terms like "telephone", "escalator", "plumber", "firearms" or "policeman", as "fellytone", "escapator", "pumble", "firelegs", and "please-men", respectively, is a running gag in the series.

Muggle Studies is an option of study at Hogwarts. However, while some professions require its study, to others it is often considered a "soft option".

The only official relations described with the Muggle world are between the Minister for Magic and the Muggle Prime Minister. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince it is revealed that the Minister for Magic privately introduces himself to each new Prime Minister. There is a magical painting in the Prime Minister's office that notifies him of such visits, and a fire that is connected to the Floo Network. Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge informed the Prime Minister of the escape of Sirius Black. Fudge also informed the Prime Minister that several problems he was facing were rooted in the war against Voldemort, and that his new secretary Kingsley Shacklebolt was an Auror.

The exact extent to which the secrecy and isolation of the wizarding world is maintained varies. Many references are made to the Ministry of Magic performing memory charms to preserve secrecy; however, some Muggles are shown to be aware of the wizarding world. Hermione’s parents are Muggles, but have been seen in Diagon Alley. They are fully aware that magic exists, but they forbade Hermione to use magic to fix her teeth (as dentists, they felt that this was cheating). The Dursleys are also aware of the wizarding world; Petunia Dursley indicates that she learned of it when her sister, Lily, was accepted to Hogwarts. She apparently shared this information with her husband, who is shown to be contemptuous of the wizarding world even before Harry shows up at their doorstep. There is no indication that Dudley was aware of this until Harry is told about Hogwarts.

Along with the families of Muggle-born wizards, there are mixed marriages. Seamus Finnigan reports that his mother was a witch who did not inform his Muggle father until after they were married.

There is also some unspecified financial relationship between the two worlds, as it is possible to exchange Muggle Money into Wizard Money, as Hermione's parents are shown doing in the second book.

Internally

Since a person's most important capability – magical aptitude – does not depend on sex, gender equality is highly advanced in the Wizarding world, and the "battle of the sexes" never became much of an issue (for example, Quidditch teams have both male and female players – except for known examples such as the Slytherin Quidditch Team, which is shown to have only boys on the team, and the Holyhead Harpies, which are known to be an all-female team).

The most obvious example of wizard prejudice is a longstanding disdain, even genocidal hatred, for Muggles and wizards and witches of Muggle parentage (Muggle-borns, half-bloods) among certain wizards. This has led to a eugenic philosophy among some of the older Wizarding families, leading to a practice of "pure-blood" intermarriage that has exposed many of them (such as the Gaunt family) to the risks of mental instability.

Other internal tensions include the virtual slavery of House elves and the suspicion or disregard for some species of human intelligence ("beings" in Wizard parlance). Voldemort and his allies frequently exploit these divisions to bring non-human magical creatures, particularly werewolves and giants, over to their cause.

Internationally

The magical governments of the world are to some degree united in the International Confederation of Wizards. This organisation has many responsibilities, mostly to enforce the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.

There is a reference to the Ministry of Magic's Department of International Magical Cooperation and to various international bodies such as the International Magical Trading Standards Body, the International Magical Office of Law, the International Confederation of Wizards and the International Quidditch Association.

As noted in the depiction of the Quidditch World Championship in Goblet of Fire, Irish and Bulgarian wizards (and presumably, also those from other countries) can feel a strong national pride and be intensely eager for their country to win – even though Irish and Bulgarian Muggles, who form most of the population in the two countries, are not aware that the Championship is taking place.

The books do not refer to the degree to which wars and tensions between Muggle governments (e.g., the World Wars or the Cold War) influence the relations between the respective wizarding governments. However, Rowling has strongly implied that the rise of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald and his defeat by Dumbledore in 1945 were related to the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

Education

Before Hogwarts

There appears to be no official precursory education; apparently, wizard parents home-school their children in basic non-magical topics, such as literacy and arithmetic. Muggle-born wizards (or Muggle raised wizards), however, clearly experience an ordinary Muggle primary education before enrolling at Hogwarts, something that could be viewed as either a cognitive edge or disadvantage. There are also no compulsory educational laws that exist in the British Wizarding World. Parents may continue to home-school their children, send them to Hogwarts, or send them abroad to other wizarding schools. However, during the time Voldemort had overthrown the Ministry of Magic, attendance at Hogwarts was compulsory, so that his followers could have complete control over the wizarding youth.

After Hogwarts

Following completion of a Hogwarts education, there is no standard tertiary education, and there are no wizard universities. Successful Hogwarts students are considered ready to function as adults, though some wizarding professions do require special, years-long training programmes after finishing Hogwarts. These include the professions of the Auror and the Healer (the wizard physician). Sometimes, the young travel the world to "observe foreign witches and wizards" after graduation to complete their education. In the Deathly Hallows, Elphias Doge describes how his plans to travel the world with his friend Dumbledore were disrupted by the passing of the latter's mother. Similarly, Professor Quirrell took time off to gain first hand experience after a celebrated academic career. Also, rarely, students may choose to take up the Dark Arts.

Wizarding Examinations Authority

The Wizarding Examinations Authority is an organisation responsible for examining students in their fifth and seventh years taking their O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. exams. The head, Griselda Marchbanks, is an elderly witch who examined a school-aged Dumbledore in his N.E.W.T.s.

Known foreign schools

  • Beauxbatons Academy of Magic
  • Durmstrang Institute

Other schools

  • Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts (W.A.D.A.)[13]

Economy

A fictional system of currency is used by the wizards of the United Kingdom. The currency uses only coins as the units of account. It is based on three types of coin; in order of decreasing value, the gold Galleon, the silver Sickle, and the bronze Knut. Wizarding banks provide money-changing services for those with Muggle currency. The only reference to a bank in Harry Potter is Gringotts, which is located on Diagon Alley in London and has hundreds of vaults. In these vaults, a person can keep whatever he or she wants (like a security vault). Hagrid indicates that wizards have "just the one" bank.

Coins

The Galleon is the largest and most valuable coin in the British wizard currency. It is gold, round and larger than the other coins are.

Around the rim of the Galleon is inscribed at least one serial number, which identifies the goblin who was responsible for minting the coin. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione enchants fake Galleons to show the time and date of the next Dumbledore's Army meeting instead of the serial number.

As explained in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone there are 17 silver Sickles to a gold Galleon, and 29 bronze Knuts to a Sickle.

According to Pottermore, the wizards never changed their units of measurement (i.e. feet to meters, ounces to grams, galleons to pounds, etc.) because they can do the calculations with magic, so strange number conversions don't bother them.

Exchange rate

One Knut is One Sickle is One Galleon is
1 Knut 29 Knuts 493 Knuts
0.03448... Sickles 1 Sickle 17 Sickles
0.002028... Galleons 0.05882... Galleons 1 Galleon

In a 2001 interview J. K. Rowling said a Galleon was approximately five pounds (i.e. approximately US$ 7.50 or  5.50), although "the exchange rate varies."[14]

In the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it is said that the £174 million raised for charity is equivalent to 34,000,872 Galleons, 14 Sickles, and 7 Knuts (the figure is truncated to "over thirty-four million Galleons" in Quidditch Through the Ages). This means that £5.12 = 1 galleon. However, the book's cover price is £2.50 ($3.99 US), or "14 Sickles and 3 Knuts," which implies either an exchange rate of £3.01 = 1 galleon or a 41% discount to Muggle purchasers.

Games and sports

Sports, specifically Quidditch, play an important role in the Wizarding world, and in the Harry Potter series. Quidditch is a team sport played up in the air on brooms. Wizards all around the globe fanatically follow it in a similar manner to football, and the Quidditch World Cup is a major event in the wizard calendar.

Harry is a great player at Hogwarts and several Harry Potter books detail his activity on the Quidditch pitch. Harry has helped lead Gryffindor to several wins. Harry is the Seeker for his team whose role is to try to find and catch the Golden Snitch.[HP1] Until he graduated from school, Lee Jordan was the commentator for the Quidditch matches at Hogwarts. Contrasting all previous books, Quidditch does not appear in the final book.[HP7]

Other wizard games and sports include Gobstones (a version of marbles in which the stones squirt foul-smelling liquid into the other player's face when they lose a point), Exploding Snap (a card game in which the cards explode), and Wizard Chess (in which the pieces are alive and under the command of the player). The wizarding world is also home to a number of other wizard spectator sports, such as Creothceann (a now-banned broom game from Scotland in which players try to catch rocks with cauldrons strapped to their heads), and broom racing. [15]

Communications

Several magical communication methods are available to the wizarding world.

Owls

By far the most popular method of communication is by way of owls. Owls are used for conveying packages, with multiple owls acting in concert for heavier ones; sending mail; delivering newspapers; and acting as a replacement for the Postal Service of the Muggle world. If an owl delivers something such as a newspaper, the recipient places the money for the paper in a small pouch attached to the owl's leg. Not only owls may be used; Sirius Black makes use of a tropical bird, likely a macaw, on one occasion. The Ministry of Magic regulates Owl Mail.

How the owls find the recipients of the letters they carry is not specifically stated. In some circumstance, letters have extremely explicit addresses to them (specifying rooms or locations inside of a building). Other times, there is no mention of an address, and the owl is simply told to whom to deliver. The Ministry of Magic used owls to deliver inter-office mail within the ministry building, but according to Mr. Weasley, the mess was incredible, so enchanted memos, which fly throughout the building as paper aeroplanes, replaced owls.

In addition, though owls are portrayed as flying directly to the recipient of their package, it is implied that owl traffic can be monitored and even interrupted. There are several references to "the owls being watched" and Harry uses different owls to communicate with Sirius (his godfather) since his Snowy Owl, Hedwig, would supposedly attract too much attention. On one occasion Hedwig is injured after being intercepted and searched (supposedly by Umbridge).[16]

Floo network

The Floo network consists of a network of fireplaces magically connected to one another and is frequently used by wizards and witches to travel from place to place. It was invented by Ignatia Wildsmith (1227–1320). The wizard grabs a handful of Floo Powder out of a container near the fireplace, throws the Floo Powder down onto the floor of the fireplace, then steps into the fireplace and states where he wants to go.[17] The wizard is then engulfed in green flames and is magically transported to his destination. Wizards must clearly state their intended destination when using Floo Powder or there is no telling where they will end up. Floo Powder is also frequently used to communicate, typically by inserting your head into the flames. This practice – the wizarding equivalent of a telephone call;– is said to be uncomfortable, but has the advantage of not requiring further Floo Powder for the return journey.

Patronuses

A Patronus can also be used for communication by accomplished, experienced witches and wizards. Dumbledore devised a method of using Patronuses to deliver vocal messages, putting this to the exclusive use of the Order of the Phoenix. Harry's Patronus is a silver stag (which is also his father's, James Potter's Animagus), Hermione's is an otter, and Ron's Patronus is a Jack Russell terrier.

Flying memos

These flying paper aeroplanes, (referred to as "interdepartmental memos") are used within the Ministry of Magic. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Arthur Weasley takes Harry to the Ministry of Magic, Mr. Weasley explains that these took the place of the owls to minimise the mess. They are pale violet with MINISTRY OF MAGIC stamped along the edges of the wings.

Newspapers and magazines

The Daily Prophet

The Daily Prophet is the most widely-read daily newspaper in Britain's wizard community.[18] The articles include moving pictures.[19][20] Its journalistic integrity is lacking; it has been known to be more concerned about sales than about factual accuracy and is often a mouthpiece for the Ministry of Magic; as described by Rita Skeeter, "The Prophet exists to sell itself!"[21]

The Prophet remains respectable for the first three books, but by Goblet of Fire, it has hired Rita Skeeter, an unscrupulous journalist who supplies several thrilling and blatantly false articles.[22] These include an article that, while correctly asserting that Hagrid is part giant, also makes numerous scurrilous accusations about his personal character, and declares Harry "disturbed and dangerous" based on remarks by Draco Malfoy. When Minister Fudge takes the stance of firmly denying Voldemort's return, the Prophet initiates a smear campaign against Dumbledore and Harry, the most influential proponents of the opposing view. After Fudge is forced to admit that Voldemort has returned, the Prophet changes its stance overnight, calling Harry "a lone voice of truth". The newspaper even buys, from The Quibbler, Harry's interview on Voldemort's return and claims it to be exclusive.

The editor of The Daily Prophet is Barnabas Cuffe, a former pupil of the Potions master Horace Slughorn. It is unclear how long he has been editor of The Daily Prophet. According to J. K. Rowling, in the events after the book series, Ginny Weasley becomes Senior Quidditch correspondent at The Daily Prophet, after her retirement from the Holyhead Harpies.[23][24] The Daily Prophet has a late edition named The Evening Prophet, and a weekend edition named The Sunday Prophet.[25]

The Warner Bros. Harry Potter website's news and events page has been named after the paper.[26]

The Quibbler

The Quibbler is a magazine first mentioned in Order of the Phoenix.

The magazine's editor is Xenophilius Lovegood. The Quibbler mainstays are conspiracy theories and cryptozoology. Articles in The Quibbler have claimed that Fudge has had goblins cooked in pies, and uses the Department of Mysteries to develop terrible poisons, which he supposedly feeds to people who disagree with him, and that he has a secret army of fire-demons called "heliopaths". Numerous (presumably imaginary) beasts are mentioned in The Quibbler, such as Crumple-Horned Snorkacks (which supposedly live in Sweden and cannot fly), the Blibbering Humdinger and Nargles (which are supposed to infest mistletoe).

In Order of the Phoenix, Hermione blackmails Rita Skeeter into writing an article about Harry's encounter with Voldemort. The interview is published by Xenophilius, and he later sells it to the Daily Prophet for a good price (enough to finance an expedition to Sweden to hunt for the Crumple-Horned Snorkack). In Deathly Hallows, Xenophilius continues to support Harry in his magazine until Luna Lovegood gets kidnapped to silence him. Harry, Ron, and Hermione visit Xenophilius for information but discover that the latest issue features an anti-Harry story on the cover. Following Voldemort's ultimate defeat, the Quibbler goes back to its condition of advanced lunacy and becomes popular, still being appreciated for its unintentional humour.[27]

Other magazines

  • Which Broomstick?: a magazine about flying broomsticks. Harry frequently browses through the magazine when searching for a replacement broomstick in his third year, and it is implied that Sirius uses it to buy Harry's Christmas present, a Firebolt. Ron mentions the magazine when showing off his new Cleansweep, as does Lee Jordan in Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • Witch Weekly: a magazine for witches, in the style of Woman's Weekly. Rita has mentioned Witch Weekly as publishing interviews. Witch Weekly is first mentioned in the second book of the Harry Potter series, Chamber of Secrets, as Gilderoy Lockhart had won its "Most Charming Smile" award five times in a row and Rita Skeeter wrote a story in Goblet of Fire.
  • Transfiguration Today: a periodical journal for the advanced study of Transfiguration. Magical scholars, such as Albus Dumbledore, are its contributors and readership.
  • Challenges in Charming
  • The Practical Potioneer

Food and beverages

The following are food and beverages unique to the wizarding world:

Magical sweets

Multitudes of sweets are referred to in the stories; many have a violent or bizarre side effect, especially those created by Fred and George Weasley. Most sweets can be found in the sweetshop Honeydukes. Dumbledore seems to be partial to these as he often uses their names as passwords.[28]

Chocolate Frogs are frogs made of chocolate, and are very popular wizarding sweets. They are each packaged with a collectible card displaying a magical picture and brief biography of a famous witch or wizard of medieval to modern times. Cards named in the Harry Potter series include: Merlin, Dumbledore, Nicolas Flamel, Agrippa, Ptolemy, Morgana, Hengist of Woodcroft, Alberic Grunnion, Circe, Paracelsus, Druidess Cliodna, Crospin Conk, Bertie Bott, Felix Summerbee, Cassandra Vablatsky, Ignatia Wildsmith, and the four founders of Hogwarts. According to a web chat with the author, Harry and his friends are eventually featured on a series of Chocolate Frog cards; Ron calling it "his finest hour".[27]

Some of the most notable magical sweets such as Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, Skiving Snackboxes and Cockroach Clusters have been manufactured in real life, mainly by the Jelly Belly candy company. They have produced real versions of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans odd flavours in and out of the market since 2001. Apart from some "regular" flavours, the company also produces several "unusual" flavours mentioned in the books. Other flavours include bacon, dirt, earthworm, earwax, vomit, rotten egg, sausage, pickle, toast, grass and soap.

A description of Honeydukes in the third book says that the store sells candies called Coconut Ice, Ice Mice (which make your teeth chatter and squeak), Fizzing Whizbees, Pepper Imps (which allow you to breathe fire on your friends), Sugar Quills, Cockroach Clusters, self-flossing mints, and blood flavored lollipops.

Butterbeer

Butterbeer is the drink of choice for younger wizards. Harry is first presented with the beverage in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Although House-elves can become intoxicated on Butterbeer, the amount of alcohol contained in Butterbeer has a negligible effect on Witches and Wizards. J.K. Rowling said in her interview to Bon Appétit magazine that she imagines it "to taste a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch." Butterbeer can be served cold or hot but either way it has a warming effect.

Butterbeer was a real drink, the earliest reference to Buttered Beere is from, 'The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin' published in London in AD 1588,[29] made from beer, sugar, eggs, nutmeg, cloves and butter back in Tudor times. Another old recipe for Buttered Beer, published by Robert May in AD 1664, from his recipe book, 'The Accomplisht Cook' calls for liquorish root and anniseeds to be added.[30] British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal recreated the drink for his show "Heston's Tudor Feast."[31]

It was announced in April 2010 that a drink named after butterbeer is sold in the theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. It has a sweet taste and is a non-alcoholic beverage. It was taste-tested by J. K. Rowling herself. According to Neil Genzlinger, a staff editor on the culture desk of The New York Times, the beverage "is indistinguishable from a good quality cream soda."[32]

Firewhiskey

Firewhiskey is a type of alcohol that wizards under the age of seventeen are not allowed to drink; however, this rule is not always followed. Firewhiskey is described as burning the users' throats as they consume it.

Pumpkin juice

Pumpkin juice is a cold drink favoured by the Wizarding world, and among the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is drunk at any occasion, such as breakfast, lunch, at feasts or on other occasions. It seems to have taken on the same role that orange juice has to Muggles.

Pumpkin juice is readily available, and could be purchased on the Hogwarts Express. Severus Snape threatened to Harry in his fourth year that he might slip Veritaserum in his evening pumpkin juice while believing that Harry stole his potion ingredients. Prior to a Quidditch match in his sixth year, Ron Weasley believed that Harry had slipped Felix Felicis into his morning juice to help him play perfectly.

Pumpkin Juice is one of two specialty beverages developed for Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park (along with butterbeer, see above). According to a preview by The New York Times' Neil Genzlinger, "Pumpkin juice (in a cute, pumpkin-topped bottle) is far more interesting [than the park's butterbeer], perhaps because the actual pumpkin content seems minimal – it’s more like a feisty apple cider with a little pumpkin thrown in."[32]

Books

See also

References

  1. ^ "International Statute of Wizarding secrecey at Harry Potter Wiki". Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/International_Statute_of_Wizarding_Secrecy. 
  2. ^ J.K.Rowling Official Site JKRowling.com Retrieved on 24 April 2007.
  3. ^ a b [HP5], chapter 6
  4. ^ [HP6], chapter 10
  5. ^ [HP6] chapter 2
  6. ^ http://www.tolerance.org/news/article_tol.jsp?id=1256 Tolerance.org Retrieved on 04-24-07 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
  7. ^ [HP5], chapter 23
  8. ^ [HP2], chapter 4
  9. ^ "Potter star buys Rowling document". BBC news 24. 22 February 2006. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/4739474.stm. Retrieved 2 June 2007. 
  10. ^ Half-blood – Harry Potter Wiki
  11. ^ Rowling, J. K. (1998). Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury/New York City: Scholastic, et al. UK ISBN 0747538492/U.S. ISBN 0439064864., chapter 4
  12. ^ a b c http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=19 JKRowling.com Retrieved on 04-24-07
  13. ^ "J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://www.amazon.co.uk/beedlebard. 
  14. ^ "J.K. Rowling, Comic Relief 2001 interview". Archived from the original on 5 December 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20080703225018/www.accio-quote.org/articles/2001/0301-comicrelief-staff.htm. Retrieved 30 November 2006. 
  15. ^ Quidditch Through the Ages
  16. ^ Site design and technology by Lightmaker.com. "rowling writes about owls". Jkrowling.com. http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/extrastuff_view.cfm?id=20. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  17. ^ See 'Chamber of Secrets', chapter 4
  18. ^ "Harry Potter newspaper designed by Muggles work=Irish Examiner". 27 December 2005. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://www.irishexaminer.com/breaking/index.aspx?c=ireland&jp=cwmhgbidcwid. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  19. ^ "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". The Official Time Wasters Guide. 10 July 2007. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://www.timewastersguide.com/review/1566/Harry-Potter-and-the-Order-of-the-Phoenix. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  20. ^ Roger Ebert (2006). Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2007. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel Pub.. pp. 285–6. ISBN 978-0-7407-6157-7. 
  21. ^ Colette Spanyol. "Harry Potter and the Separation of Powers: A Law and Literature — Review of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (PDF). Hertfordshire Law Journal 3 (1): 12–16. Archived from the original on 3 July 2010. http://www.herts.ac.uk/fms/documents/schools/law/HLJ_V3I1_Spanyol.pdf. 
  22. ^ Reading, Jill (2007). "Critical literacy in a global context: Reading Harry Potter". Australian Digital Theses Program. pp. 235–6. Archived from the original on 3 June 2008. http://replay.waybackmachine.org/20080603141340/http://portal.ecu.edu.au/adt-public/adt-ECU2007.0018.html. 
  23. ^ Angela Montefinise (7 August 2007). "The REAL Epilogue". New York Post Blog. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://blogs.nypost.com/potter/archives/2007/08/the_real_epilog.html. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  24. ^ "Transcript of JK Rowling web chat". 30 June 2007. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://www.hpana.com/news.20137.html. Retrieved 8 September 2007. 
  25. ^ Acascias Riphouse (2004). The Harry Potter Companion. College Station, TX: Virtualbookworm.com Pub.. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-58939-582-4. 
  26. ^ Warner Bros. Harry Potter website's news and events page Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
  27. ^ a b "J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript". The Leaky Cauldron. 30 July 2007. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/7/30/j-k-rowling-web-chat-transcript. Retrieved 30 July 2007. 
  28. ^ [HP4], chapter 29
  29. ^ Authentic Butterbeer recipe from 1588 Archived 22 January 2011 at WebCite
  30. ^ Buttered Beer Recipe 1664 From Histporical Foods. "Authentic Butter Beer recipe from 1664". Historicalfoods.com. http://historicalfoods.com/buttered-beer-recipe. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  31. ^ Feasting on butterbeer channel4.com Retrieved on 07-28-09
  32. ^ a b Neil Genzlinger (7 June 2010). "Muggles Take Flight at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/travel/13Harry.html. Retrieved 06-12-10.. 

J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter Series

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