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Thread: Eastern vs. Western Wizarding World

  1. #1

    Eastern vs. Western Wizarding World

    I'm in process of writing a historical exploration fic taking place during the Cultural Revolution (as well as beta-reading a story that takes place in China), so I have been doing a lot of thinking about the Chinese wizarding world, and the Asian wizarding community in general. There are a lot of aspects that would probably make the Asian wizarding world greatly different from the one in Europe (or at least not a carbon copy).

    What are some possible differences there could between the wizarding world we see in China and the British one?

  2. #2
    Kazza Moonshadow
    Well, first of all, since the western and eastern languages are completely different, perhaps they have completely different spells that do the same things. After all, english and chinese are completely different, and considering how important it is to get the pronunciation correct in spells, I imagine it would be extremely difficult for an eastern wizard to be able to properly articulate 'wingardium leviosar'. This could also mean that they different spells as well.

    Also, since the manner of education would surely be similar. In China, the education focuses far more on memorisation than actual understanding and practical. The practical side of this is the because there are so many people (often 50-60 or more in a class), there simply isn't the space or money to allow all of them to do prac work in sciences. This may also apply in wandwork - the focus may be more on theory and rote learning than on being able to actually perform the spell.

    There's probably also less focus on quidditch, especially in the more overpopulated countries of Asia. There simply may not be enough space to be able to create a hidden quidditch pitch. Or, it could be too troublesome. I know that spells would deter visitors, but as it is, the Chinese don't really put that much emphasis on sport as it is.

    I think, really, that the wizarding world reflects the muggle world (or perhaps it is the other way around), so that's where I'm getting my differences from...

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Kazza Moonshadow
    but as it is, the Chinese don't really put that much emphasis on sport as it is.
    ... really? I could argue the Chinese put too much emphasis on sport since children are selected for the elite sports programs and then removed from regular school.

    Of course, that's a really Communist thing. I'm forgetting the exact quote but Mao did say something like, we are going to use our population for our benefit. If we have a billion Chinese, then obviously we can find gold medal winners in every sport that exists. ... not quite like that, but that was the idea. Make our population work for us and not against us, particularly in the realm of sport.

    Molly, is there anything specific you're looking for?

    The only answer I can think of giving to your initial question is: "what wouldn't be different?"

    But a couple ideas then:

    spells: Probably not Latin based. Depending on how important you think Buddhism is, spells in China would probably be in Chinese, possibly some other languages. Given the general cultural superiority complex of the dynastic Chinese though... Chinese is a good bet.

    wands: as was mentioned previously somewhere on the boards, no native Chinese depictions of wizards have wands. Your wizards could have wands (they're more efficient!) or not.

    magical theory: also likely to be different. possibly influenced by Buddhism and the concept of chakras or Daoism and the concept of chi. This is how magic works within the human body, mind you. And I'm far from a canon expert so I really don't know how Rowling has set this up or if she has at all.

    gender issues: women are far from equal in dynastic China. Apparently in wizarding Britain, women were historically considered more or less equal. Two of the Founders are women, and I believe a previous Minister of Magic was as well. However, it is highly possible that the wizarding Chinese would be less open minded about gender equality.

    class issues: merchants are the scum of the earth.

    the map: depends on your theory of Chinese geo-politics, of course, but the place either has remarkable tendency to stick together or an extreme tendency to split apart. Do consider when wizarding China would have begun splitting off from Muggle China and what regions would be separate from one another.

    hmmm... those are some things that jump to mind, anyway.

  4. #4
    Something else I wonder about: would Chinese wizards have widespread use of Floo Powder or the Floo Network, or would that be more of a Western thing? I don't believe fireplaces in the sense we see in the Harry Potter books, so I don't know how this would work. Perhapes in later years, Floo Stops would be installed in Asian Ministries or embasseys for travel from other countries, but I don't feel like it's use would be very widespread among the common population.

    Maybe instead there would be some sort of travel by means of water. Any opinions?

  5. #5
    I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the ancient Chinese had fireplaces...I have a pretty specific memory of being at a museum with with an exhibit on ancient China (like around 25 AD) and there were fire bellows...but again, I could be wrong. If you look at the Wiki article on "Bellow" is mentions Ancient China - you could take a look at that.

  6. #6
    ^Yep, they had fireplaces in Ancient China (according to Wikipedia).

    Another idea is to have people writing on either string-bound bamboo strips or bamboo paper, rather than parchment. I would think that robes would also look a bit different. Also, people would probably be playing Chinese Chess or Go instead of Wizard Chess.

  7. #7
    *racks brain*

    Ok. In terms of fireplaces, I don't think you would have the kind of big, interior ones made out of stone with a chimney. In the south, people do boil everything, but I think the kitchen and fire would be outside because, honestly, it'd be too dang hot to cook inside. It's the tropics and subtropics after all.

    In the north, you're more likely to get interior fireplaces...

    Hmm... steppe people definitely have fire pits but they just have a hole in the top of their yurt to let out the smoke then.

    Chinese were making bronzes really, really early, so it's not like they didn't have bellows and forges and the like. But you wouldn't want to floo in through a forge fire, either.

    As far as traveling by water, I'm not sure how that would work. I imagine it would have to be really big amounts of water like lakes and rivers, and northern China is notoriously dry.

  8. #8
    Let's also keep in mind that the Far East includes countries other than China. I recall readying about an interesting principle of architecture in traditional Korean homes, Hanoks. There are two naturally build insulation systems in these homes.
    Since Korea has hot summers and cold winters, the 'Ondol(Gudeul),' a floor-based heating system, and 'Daecheong,' a cool wooden-floor style hall were devised long ago to help Koreans survive the frigid winters and to block sunlight during summer. These primitive types of heating and air-conditioning were so effective that they are still in use in many homes today¹). The posts, or 'Daedulbo' are not inserted into the ground, but are fitted into the corner stones to keep Hanok safe from earthquakes.
    In this type of home, other than for cooking, I don't see a large warming hearth as a thing of great necessity. And while I am not as familiar with the structure of typical Japanese houseshold, I don't feel like large, European-style fireplaces would be very popular either.

    I suppose that is what prompted my wonderings about Floo Powder the how common its usuage would be. And what prompted my suggestion about water is that in traditional Asian gardens, ponds seem to be a very common fixture, much more than fireplaces large enough for a full grown adult to waltz into.

    Any thoughts?

  9. #9
    Who the heck can afford to have giant gardens with ponds anyway?

    Yes, water is a requirement to be an actual garden by old style Chinese definition. I have no idea about Korea or Japan, though Zen style gardens seem to be all rock.

    But there is just no way that everyone has a garden with a pond. They're just too expensive. To apply to Trio era wizarding Britain - the Malfoys have one, the Blacks have one. The Weasleys do not. The Grangers don't even think to have one, it's absolutely archaic.

    Plus it can't be as useful as Floo because the likelihood that a Muggleborn comes from a rich enough family to have a garden is slim to none.

    So, sure, you could have people travel by water. But it's not going to be nearly as common as Floo, it can't be.

  10. #10
    What would people write with?

    Given that wizards are more traditional than Muggles and European wizards use quills. East Asian wizards should theoretically use brushes.

    Brushes are a pain to use. Would they use something else? Would they magically adapt the brushes?

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