… “You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could’ve called Fawkes to you.” That’s the very first thing Dumbledore thanks and praises Harry for. Not for rescuing Ginny, or saving the school from the basilisk, or for keeping Voldemort from coming back, but for loyalty.
Dumbledore judges the people he works with based first and foremost on how loyal they are to him. Not because he thinks he’s all that, but because, as I said, he views people as game pieces, and you can’t have your game pieces acting up, can you? He values his pieces. He wants to advance and protect them. But he doesn’t want them running off beyond his sphere of influence and doing their own thing. I think there’s something very ambiguous about Dumbledore’s habit of seeking out desperate, socially outcast people and doing them one or two huge favors that leave them bound to him for life. Remus, Hagrid and Snape all fit that pattern, and Trelawney and Firenze appear to join the ranks in OOP. It kind of makes me wonder what Dumbledore has done for Fletcher, Moody and Shacklebolt.
…The problem with Sirius is, he’s not loyal to Dumbledore at all; he’s loyal to Harry. From Dumbledore’s point of view, it’s as if he’s playing wizard chess, and one of the knights suddenly decides that he doesn’t care what happens to the king, he’s just going to take care of that little pawn on the left. So Dumbledore does the only thing he thinks he can do — he sticks his recalcitrant knight into a safe, isolated corner of the board and keeps him from making any moves. Perfectly sensible and strategically sound, as long as you don’t expect your game pieces to have any pesky emotions or psychological issue that need to be taken into account.
…Dumbledore’s actions at Hogwarts are another symptom of his general approach. He doesn’t treat it just as a school, but also as an instrument in his strategy. People like Snape, Hagrid and Trelawny — all lousy teachers, in very different ways — are given their jobs as perks, because of their past of future usefulness to the Order, and because it strengthens their bonds of loyalty to Dumbledore.
OTOH, look at Lupin, who is a talented teacher. Why wasn’t he hired before Harry’s third year, especially given the difficulty of finding qualified DADA professors? My theory is that Dumbledore didn’t consider it necessary. As far as he knew, Lupin was already totally loyal simply because Dumbledore had allowed him to attend Hogwarts. There was no need to bribe him with a job. He was hired only when his familiarity with Sirius became an important factor. Once Sirius proved not to be a threat, Lupin was allowed to resign…
OH man, but there’s just so MANY problems even with the Statute of Secrecy biz, ugh let me illustrate:
- We know from Pottermore that the Malfoys were opposed to putting the Statute of Secrecy into place and that one of the Malfoys was high up enough in the ranks to have asked for the hand of Queen Elizabeth the First in marriage. It is not unreasonable to assume, therefore, that some of the old sacred Twenty Eight families were part of the peerage and therefore, that they might even have had seats on the House of Lords. (Also I would like to take the time to point out the existence of the very real Clan Macmillan which has a history that goes back all the way to the rebellion of Robert the Bruce and maybe make some noises at you all about how Ernie Macmillan could possibly have been part of the wizarding wing of this family - but that’s more speculative headcanon territory, than actual history + canon)
- We know that the House of Lords was still in power at the time of the Glorious Revolution (1688), which is also when the biz of the Statute of Secrecy happened. This is what puzzles me: circa the beginning of 1689, the wizarding world separates from the non-magical world and wizards effectively ‘disappear’. What happens to any seats they may have occupied in the House of Lords? Do people just roll with the fact that there are now five/six peers less than there were yesterday? Or do they obliviate all of Parliament, up to and including the King and Queen and all their advisers? And basically, most of the court and the peerage? HOW? HOW DOeS THIS WORK?
- French Revolution. The Ministry of Magic parallel works in Britain because Britain has a history of Parliament and revolutions of the people and by the people & were generally much less attached to the idea of the Divine Right of the Monarch. Does that same political system get transferred to France during the period of the establishment of the Statute of Secrecy? If so, if there were French families that were similarly placed as some of the pureblood families of Britain, did they merge into the new political system? Did they escape the Terror? How did they escape the Terror? Were poor French wix better off than their muggle counterparts? And seeing their muggle counterparts in revolt, did they abstain from revolting? WHAT HAPPENED?
- EMPIRE BOUNDARIES CONSTANTLY SHIFTING. Fucking ITaly. There can be no Italian Ministry of Magic because Italy was not Italy until the mid-late eighteen hundreds - unless there is a Ministry and we don’t know about it. Ditto Germany. But we know there is a German Ministry of Magic. Was it established after the unification of Germany in 1871 (impossible, since the wiki specifically uses the term ‘centuries’ to refer to regulations on Erkling killings)? Was it independent of the Kaisers? How did they manage to get a bunch of states who mostly dislike each other to agree to come together and form a country called Germany without the rise of nationalism that followed in the wake of the Napoleonic wars?
- Motherfucking Russia. Don’t even get me started. The history of Russia from the 1500s to the 1800s is one of war so I mean, I really doubt wix living on/near Russia’s borders would be so completely alienated or aloof from the conflict to not ever know what was happening. And then there’s the question of annexed nations - do they come under the jurisdiction of the MoM of the country they’ve been annexed to or do they still continue as independent states? Would Georgia have become part of Russia or would it have continued as a a separate Ministry when it joined Russia somewhere in the 1700s? Is Ukraine the same as we imagine Ukraine to look like, or is it a chopped up piece of land with half of it belonging to Russia and half of it not belonging anywhere at all? What kind of madness would have ensued in the ICW? Wouldn’t the Russian Ministry have wanted all that more land from Georgia & Ukraine? Do wizards not go to war at all unless there’s some dark lord involved? Do they not just fight for nationalism and whatever?
- Bulgaria. Part of the Ottoman kingdom until the 1800s, yet exists as a separate Ministry - so we can assume they were part of the Bulgarian nationalist movement, unless the wizards somehow managed to withstand the onslaught of the Ottoman empire in the late fourteenth century and to hold on to the Second Bulgarian Empire until the Statute of Secrecy which somehow, again, I don’t see happening because the sheer number of wizards who would have gone to war under the Ottoman kingdom would considerably outnumber those standing in defence of Bulgaria?
- Former colonies! Pakistan literally did not exist as a separate country until the Independence of India. India itself did not exist until it was completely colonized in the mid-eighteen hundreds - till then it was a series of entities and kingdoms under various rulers. In the late sixteen hundreds India had the Mughals in the North, the Marathas in the West, the Vijayanagar kingdom in the South and also the Mysore kingdom if I’m not mistaken and of course, Bengal was a separate kingdom altogether. So if the Statute of Secrecy came into place then, did these nations - with no prior exposure to the concept of a Parliamentary system as the MoM appears to have - separate into wizarding fiefdoms? Because unlike the Judeo-Christian West, magic and witch burnings have never really been an issue in the non-Judeo-Christian countries and I see no logical reason for the imposition of the Statute of Secrecy. But assuming it was, then would it mean there’d be a Maratha Ministry of Magic???? Also like most of the borders of the African nations were arbitrarily drawn up by the colonial nations and often ended up throwing a bunch of warring tribes into a country together and then expected everyone to get along just fine.
Conclusion: the MoM/Statute of Secrecy allusion only works if you’re considering Britain and maybe countries like France, Spain and Portugal which had pretty well defined borders back in the late sixteen hundreds - but it doesn’t work at all for much of the rest of the world. As with muggle history, this is a very western-centric history of the magical world and I don’t think we can make it stand up outside of Europe at all.
To return to the problem of the Russian revolution, that was a pretty pretty big revolution and from what we do know in canon, the Minister for Magic (or someone on his staff at least) has some sort of contact with their muggle counterparts for security reasons. Knowing all that, I really really doubt that Lenin & co would have been content to let well lie alone with the wizards once they’d known they’d existed because think about it, if you do have magic, you have the potential to solve the problems of poverty and scarce resources with the flick of a wand - or else you have a bunch of very dangerous enemies, especially if they’re royalists/of ambiguous loyalty to the Soviet State.
Again, the Statute of Secrecy works as a neat explanation for Britain’s history, because Britain is a country with very well defined borders and has a history of relatively little internal conflict post the Glorious Revolution (1689). However, it does not work as a neat explanation for the rest of Europe, because the rest of Europe was a massive battlefield all the way up to World War Two. There was some war or the other going on - Napoleon, then Crimea and so on and so forth, so I don’t really see wizards being able to shut themselves out completely from their muggle counterparts or not being affected by the continuous border changes of the time.
I find it really, really hard to believe that all wix were content to sit at home and not go to war, unless a dark lord came trotting around knocking on their doors to summon them to some dodgy imperialist cause. It just doesn’t make sense that they’d make this transition so quickly post-imposition of the Statute of Secrecy - it requires a fundamental change in mindset, in culture that would ordinarily require generations to happen. And again, while the persecution argument could be brought up, we have to remember that wix were used to thinking of themselves as members of nations first and foremost and would react to wix of other nations in the same way that muggles would react to muggles of those other nations. It’s just not logical, given our own history, to assume that wix would be non-imperialist - when they’ve got all that ridiculous rubbish about blood purity still going on in the 1990s.
It just doesn’t seem consistent. And if they were busy invading and conquering each others’ lands - then the Confederation must have had a bloody hard time keeping the peace in any conferences they had where all the nations were requried to be present and it also makes me wonder if there were conflicts with having Ministries being recognized as Ministries after being formally annexed by other Ministries. None of it stands up, not when you consider all the political ramifications and the sheer diplomatic mess that would be created and well also, the fact that half the nations were formerly monarchies that were strongly invested in the idea of the Divine Right and thus, without something resembling a Parliamentary system.
It doesn’t hold up.
This post right here is why I love fandom. I LOVE YOU GUYS.