We want to get something off our chests: The Wizard World of Harry Potter doesn’t work… Don’t get us wrong, Harry Potter and the books of JK Rowling are timeless masterpieces, and we love them as do you, but logically they don’t make sense. The world of Harry Potter works pretty well as a concept for one school in a remote area of one small country, but when you expand it to a larger world it grows a little thin. So, with the recent release of Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as a slew of other possible Harry Potter spin off material, it looks as if Rowling is doing her best to “George Lucas” herself and grow the scope of her original novels, but maybe that is not in everyone’s best interest.
Fantastical Beasts and Where to Avoid Them
Let’s start with the obvious: the population of wizards in the world. By the estimates of one very thorough Reddit user, the total wizard/magic user population in the world of Harry Potter is around 1 million worldwide. That means only about 1 in 7,000 people are wizards or witches. Understandably, that is not a very large population of people. If you were to give the wizards and witches of Harry Potter their own country, than it would fall somewhere between Cyprus and Djibouti in terms of population numbers. But then again who wouldn’t want to fall somewhere between Djour-booty… That’s right, folks, Expecto Pun-tronum.
Now, we are not trying to indicate that a small population of wizards is unrealistic, but just that it would be unrealistic to assume that this small group could manage and hide all the magical elements of the world and keep them concealed from the other 6.9 billion of us on the planet, not to mention from the 1071 active satellites currently in orbit around our planet. Think about that in terms of just the magical animal population alone. There are so many dragons in the Harry Potter world that they are classified into at least a dozen+ subspecies. In fact, dragons are so amazing that their blood, claws, scales, and other body parts are used as goods and services. According to the Harry Potter wiki, dragons are kept on preserves run by wizards, despite their inability to be trained or tamed. Even if we assume all the dragons in the world are somehow kept contained by a population only slightly larger than that of Fiji, what about all the other fantastical beasts? Griffins, hippogriffs, giant spiders, whatever Hagrid’s beard is… these are all wild animals. They are literal forces of nature who want to hunt and kill and mate and presumably do other things, and yet a small fraction of the planet’s population tries to keep them secret… and also… why?
Officially, magic creatures are kept secret from the world because we’re humans and we basically hunted the African Rhino into extinction because we thought its horn gave magic powers. So, yeah, maybe we kind of get why you would keep the unicorn a secret, but this also comes back to the point we were making before. Out of 7 billion muggles, some of them have to at least suspect that these creatures exist? Heck, our world has people who have reality shows about fake hunting these creatures. Can you imagine if they were actually real? How long would it take an iPhone video of a giant or mermaid to go viral and start trending? It is also worth mentioning: not all muggles are bad. Out of the 7 billion of us there has to be some with the capabilities and desires to preserve these creatures, maybe even more than you think. After all, what makes wizards better than humans? In Harry Potter you have a literal cult of Nazi Death Wizards trying to conquer the world. So, don’t tell me that no one in the wizarding world is not out there poaching magic animals into extinction… and they have weapons that are far more lethal than a hunting rifle. Thus, muggle intervention might actually help save some of these creatures. We have the numbers, the lands, and the technology to set up preserves aimed at responsibly helping these animals to breed and thrive. Yet, that brings us to our next point…
The New Bluetooth Equipped iWand
Harry Potter has a wand that can summon objects from far away. We have a cell phone that be used to order a pizza, through an app… with free delivery. Harry Potter has to stick his face in a fireplace to communicate across long distances. We have cell phones, and Face Time, and the Internet. Harry Potter travels by floo powder. We have Uber. Basically, most of the magic displayed in the wizarding world is a convenience, which explains why their technological levels have not advanced beyond the steam locomotive. They may not need the modern world, but that just means the wizarding world isn’t much better off than the Amish. Voldemort can kill one person at a time with the killing curse. We have guns, and bombs, and planes, and cruise missiles that can kill a heck of a lot of people at once. Sure, they can fly and teleport themselves and do some other cool things, but smart phones are pretty damn amazing, and we find it odd that no one in Harry Potter is out there playing Pokemon Go. -Also, before you leave the angry comments, we know the franchise is set in the mid-90’s but the point still stands… Was no one watching Jonathan Taylor Thomas and while playing with their Ferby in Hogwarts?
What we are getting at is that all of this poses other problems for the wizarding world. The Ministry of Magic prides itself on creating spells that mask magical gatherings from muggles and non-wizards. Nearly, 100,000 witches and wizards attended the 1994 Quidditch World Cup, making it one of the largest magical gatherings of the year. The stadium was protected by spells that made muggles turn away or forget where they were going so as to not accidentally stumble across the stadium. That seems like a really good idea until you start talking about satellite imagery, spy planes, or even a kid playing with his drone. It seems doubtful our technology would be affected by those kinds of spells, and before you try to argue think about it. Mr. Weasley is fascinated by muggle things -which is a trait that is treated as unusual in the wizarding world. He is the head of the department that deals with muggle artifacts and he barely knows what a rubber ducky is when he finds one. How can witches and wizards ever be expected to craft magical barriers and protections against advanced technology when the person meant to be in charge of those things barely understands the purpose of a child’s bath toy? In fact, most people in the wizarding world, like the Malfoys, hold a general disdain for muggle technology and even history, and that shows in the curriculum of Hogwarts. No math classes, science classes, engineering classes, or even literature classes. Who build their bridges? Who maintains that damn train? It’s all just herbology, potions, and how to read tea leaves.
Maybe that is why it can seem a little unrealistic. Granted, children born to wizarding families, like the Weasleys or Malfoys, have an understandable lack of muggle technology. They have grown up isolated from computers and TV and video games, but what about muggle-born witches and wizards, like Hermione or even Harry. They would know about smart phones and microwaves. So, how come a muggle-born has never shown up with their iPhone and started the trend of playing Words with Friends -or Spells with Friends– at Hogwarts. What about Instagram or SnapChat? Can you imagine how many followers actual magical children would have on social media? Our point is: that is unrealistic to assume that just because students didn’t grow up with the technology they would not use it if given the chance. We can just see it now: wizarding parents suddenly needing to give their students “the talk” about using cell phones in class or in front of that living portrait of Uncle Fred Gingerbottom, because he thinks its “Slytherin mischief.” So really, the fact that they don’t use our technology is a lot more suspicious than anything else, which might mean that that technology is suppressed on purpose…
Accio Cure for Cancer
Think about it. Maybe the Ministry of Magic purposely suppresses even the idea of muggle technology in order to keep wizards from journeying into the outside world? Like the Amish. Have you ever noticed how in the movies and books muggles are just treated as harmless bumbling children? Maybe that is what the Ministry needs the wizarding world of the Harry Potter to believe, because if the real truth ever got out, it could be chaos. What if a million people who had magic suddenly discovered the truth about child poverty, or incurable diseases, or climate change? Maybe they might want to help? If dragon tears cure AIDS, than maybe it might be worth telling someone about that, or at the very least leaving an anonymous potion on the door step of one of our top research laboratories. Heck, why not go one further and set up a wizarding pharmaceutical company? You can still keep the wizarding world a secret and have the added benefit of raking in a tidy sum of money on the side… And also saving lives!
We have recently talked a lot about bubbles here at The NYRD and when you think about it, Harry Potter and his ilk live in perhaps the biggest bubble of them all… outside of Brooklyn. Except in this bubble you have a million people, at least one-third of them are minors, all who wield the power of a small South American army in a wooden stick that they can easily lose. Worst of all, they feel very little responsibility to warn or shield the rest of the world from the dangers that magic can produce. Remember, it’s not like they are in an actual separate world. In the books and movies, muggles die because of Voldermort and his Dark Jedi, and yet the good wizards and witches of Harry Potter do very little to protect or even warn the us about the dangers of dark wizards. Yes, they might be called a crazy person, but only right up until one of them turns into a cat or summons a silver ghost stag. Yet, Harry Potter and friends are all: “I bet those Muggles won’t mind dying to Death Eaters, or dementors, or accidentally stumbling across a dragon’s nest. They’ll be fine.”
This also brings us back to our previous point. The CIA, NSA, MI6, NKVD, or any of the other hundred government intelligence agencies out there would eventually discover the wizarding world. It would definitely happen. Then they would eventually capture some absentminded wizard or obnoxious house elf or who knows what else and suddenly every government agency in the world would have a magical arms race going. Heck they might even start their own combination of Hogwarts/West Point to train special American wizard military commandos. The kids would be raised from childhood to carry out the government’s secret magic war against other countries and spying on the wizarding world and… You know what? This sounds like an awesome idea for a Netflix series.
JK Rowling, we apologize for everything we have just said. Your world is fine. Harry Potter is great, and we love it. Just, please please please make a story about secret government wizards, and their dangerous missions into enemy territory, and their angst-ridden love affairs that sustain them in a world that can never understand them. Also, feel free to add in a bald guy in a wheelchair.