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Thread: Excuses for Muggle-born Children

  1. #1
    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Excuses for Muggle-born Children

    For a story I am writing, I need to think of a good cover story that Hermione's parents had for where she was while attending Hogwarts. Do you think Hermione would be considered intelligent enough to attend a famous boarding school? What are some well know boarding schools in England, either all-girls or mixed?

    But as I began wondering this, my mind began to wander further. What are all the possible excuses that there are for where Muggle-born children go when they go off to Hogwarts. Harry was supposedly at St. Brutis', Justin went to Eton, but what are some of the other possible cover-stories that families could come up with?

    And does this have different possibilities in different countries? I know in a story I am writing, I have two American students going off to a wizard school; one's cover-story is going to live in Boston with her father and attend an exclusive prep school, and the other being sent to military school. But there are many other excuses I came up with for American students: boarding schools, wildreness schools (for at-risk kids), international schools in other countries, and the classic, going to visit an aunt.

    What are some other excuses that could be used in Britian and other countries? Are there any other possible cover stories that I did not name?

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    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    In response to thas (and because I Brit-picked it in another story) Eton is only for boys, so if you want an excuse for a Muggle girl then try Bedales which is another posh boarding school - but for girls.

    Perhaps the parents move abroad, and say there son/dayghter is being educated in Britain rather than in the country they are in. This is quite common, I know Foreign Office workers daughter who is now at a boarding school because her father's been posted to Chile.

    Harry's school (St Brutus) is for the criminally something'd, but how about they get sent to a special school (like for special needs). Most of the Muggles would have noticed something odd about the child, and maybe the parents could explain it by saying the child needs special care.

    More gruesomely, perhaps they tell people the child is ill and receiving treatment. If this is a child from before World War Two then they could easily be explained as having TB and having to live in a hospital.

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    I definitely think that Hermione would be bright enough to get a scholarship to a famous boarding school. Like Carole said, Bedales is a good one, as is Cheltenham Ladies College, Millfield (which is mixed), Sherborne School for Girls, Wycombe Abbey and St Swithunís. All these schools are in the south of England and have a number of well known alumni. Iíd also have her go to a school that is reasonably far away from where she lives, as to reduce the risk of one of her parentís friends knowing someone who has a child there too. I think that Hermione would have gone to a good school regardless of Hogwarts and how bright she is as both her parents are dentists who probably earn a good wage, so a good school would be expected of her.

    I think that boarding school is the best way to explain away a childís absence, though I donít think it would be a feasible excuse in a poorer family whose child isnít clever enough to earn a scholarship. In this case, I think that being sent away to a relative is a good way, or if the parents are divorced, being sent to live with the other parent (though that oneís out if they still live fairly close to one another).

    The more Iím thinking about this, the more I realise just how hard it must be for Muggle parentís to think of an excuse! For example if you live in a close knit village community where you know everyone, and grandparents, aunties , uncles and cousins all live down the road, how could you explain away the absence? Especially if you donít have much money or itís well known your child isnít the brightest button. Iím starting to feel very sorry for those parents now!


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    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    Hmm,

    I mean how did Justin's family explain where he went? His name was down for Eton from birth. He's a member of the aristocracy and all that set would be sending their sons to posh boarding schools. I wonder if they said he'd gone abroad ... or of they don't mix much with the 'common folk' they could say he was being home educated.

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    Savannah Hen Slytherin
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    If you google, British Boarding Schools, the first website that comes up has a massive list of all the boarding schools in the country (there are, in fact, a lot more than I would have thought of!) so if you want your character to have gone to a boarding school (probably the easiest way to explain their absence) but don't want it to be such a prestigious/well-known one (where it could be easier to get found out if they were lying) then you could research one of the ones on the list.

    Other than that, it's hard to think of many good excuses for why an eleven-year-old would suddenly move away from home. Plus I guess if they say they're at a boarding school it's not too much of a lie, it's just not quite giving all the details - for example Hermione's parents could still gush about her being top of the class but they wouldn't necessairly have to say exactly what subjects she was doing!

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  6. #6
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    You could say that your child is part of some scheme by the Boarding School to keep their charitable status, it's not just genius's who get scholarships.

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    The more Iím thinking about this, the more I realise just how hard it must be for Muggle parentís to think of an excuse!
    Oh definitely. This is why I think it's possible that they are offered help by Hogwarts or the MoM. The way I see it, with Muggleborns there is always a Hogwarts Teacher who brings their letter to the witch or wizard; I think that's necessary, because Ė honestly, I wouldn't let my kid act on instructions just randomly sent by mail, and most people probably wouldn't suddenly start believing in Magic. Apart from that, they wouldn't have an idea how to get into Diagon Alley, or on the Platform, so I always thought a teacher would come to the houses of all the Muggleborn children starting at Hogwarts the next term and explaining everything to them.

    And in that context, it would only make sense if they offered some help with finding an excuse why the child has suddenly vanished. Possibly someone from Muggle Relations at the Ministry would assist there too; I can imagine them "setting up" a would-be school so that the parents can show leaflets, maybe photos and end-of-year-reports to nosy friends/relatives if they want to.

    Of course that isn't something every Muggle family with a Wizard child would make use of, but I can see the Ministry having "emergency plans" for parents who are just lost. You have to keep in mind Ė not every Muggleborn's parents are dentists or well-educated aristocrats; maybe some of them are just quite plainly stupid, and don't know how to handle the new situation.
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    Wizengamot Ravenclaw
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    Yeah, boarding schools are pretty common, but not so much in the United States. Going to boarding school just isn't part of the culture unless you come from a very elite or old blood family.

    It's actually more common to get sent away to a boarding school if you are considered 'at-risk' rather than brilliant. These schools are usually wildreness schools way out in the middle of nowhere and typically aren't very good scholastically. Then again, the point of going to these places is not really to get an education, but to turn you into a 'good kid'. They've created an entire industry out of this sort of school.

    Then, of course, there are military schools, and even these seem more possible in American culture than traditional boarding school. They aren't quite as bad as a wildreness school, but they are still fairly strict.

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  9. #9
    Halgy
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    I would imagine this is one reason why a Hogwarts representative would need to talk to any muggle-born's family. I'm sure that Hogwarts and the Ministry would help with such things; the Ministry does have a 'Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee', after all.

    But really, I'm sure that a family could come up with a cover story pretty easily; the Dursleys did, after all. If they just said that their child received a scholarship to a boarding school, most people wouldn't make a big fuss. Even if the kid wasn't that smart or the family was poor, just saying: "yes, little Jimmy was very lucky to be selected." That worked for Tom Riddle, after all.


    One issue I've just thought of: who in the wizard or witch's family can know about them being magical? I mean, keeping the neighbors satisfied is one thing, but keeping Grandma satisfied might be something else completely. Would muggle-borns be able to tell their extended families if it helped resolve the issue and ultimately keep it quiet from everyone else?

  10. #10
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    Alright, I feel like I have a good grasp of possible excuses for students from Britain and American, but what about all our lovely Aussies out there? I know you all love to share your little culture aspects, because I have been asking all about it for the past few months. And this part will help greatly with the Australian-set story I have been working away at.

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