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Thread: Magic in front of Muggles?

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  1. #1
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Magic in front of Muggles?

    I was just wondering- what are the exact rules about magic in front of Muggles, particularly say for a Muggle-born living with a Muggle/ with their families?

    Because Harry in CS gets done for just being in the same house as a Hover Charm in front of the Durselys and, if I remember right, Vernon's boss. So if the boss hadn't been there would it have been all right? Are the Muggle family/ spouse of a wizard/ witch automatically exempt from the Statute of Secrecy? Which would explain why Hermione can perform a memory charm on her parents.

    I'm asking because I'm writing a story about Justin Finch-Fletchely and his cousin. I want her to know about him being a Wizard. She lives with her aunt (his Mum) so would that mean she's allowed in on the secret? And also that he can't be punished for performing magic on her? Any help/ clarification would be great! Alex
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  2. #2
    Rosi Zeller
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    Harry gets in trouble for doing magic while being underage. That the magic was done in front of muggles makes it worse, but that is not the main point. As explained in DH, the Trace register all magic done near an underage witch or wizard. However, if there's an adult witch or wizard nearby, the Ministry would a) assume that the adult was doing the magic and b) that if the kid was doing the magic, his/her parents (or other magical adult present) would probably handle it themselves.

  3. #3
    Fourth Year Gryffindor
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    If I remember correctly, the reason Hermione could do the charm on her parents and not be caught for it was that she was over seventeen and did not have the trace on her. Right? Her magic wouldn't have been picked up like Harry's was, regardless of who she put a spell on, not just because it was her parents. I believe the bigger part of Harry's 'crime' was breaking the Reasonable Restriction on Underage Magic or something like that. It just so happened that it occurred in front of non-family Muggles, compounding his trouble. poor Harry...

    Personally, I would think that the Statute of Secrecy would not extend to people/family that wizards lived with. Obviously, the parents will know, and I can't imagine siblings not knowing. I think a live-in cousin would be similar. I think if it was just a visiting cousin in town for a couple of weeks, or even a month, one might be expected to keep the secret, but a more permanent living situation, probably not. It would be very difficult to hide that, unless of course you are underage and can't do magic anyway. Still, hiding that you went to Hogwarts and all that would be difficult, too. That's a pretty big secret not to let out when you live with someone 24-7.

    Now, if it is someone who is there only over the summer, he might have to weigh whether she can be trusted, and if he choses to reveal the secret and she were to run to the Muggle media, he might get into trouble. But if she could keep his secret, I don't see how the Ministry would find out. That's my opinion, anyway.

    But again, for your story, it would depend on his age whether or not he could actually perform magic in front of her, outside of school, without getting caught. Even Ron could not chop veggies with magic at the Burrow when he was underage, and his whole family are wizards. hope that returned the favor for the info you gave me.

    edit: Okay, Rosie's post wasn't there when I posted this? *confused*

  4. #4
    Wizengamot Hufflepuff
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    But again, for your story, it would depend on his age whether or not he could actually perform magic in front of her, outside of school, without getting caught. Even Ron could not chop veggies with magic at the Burrow when he was underage, and his whole family are wizards. hope that returned the favor for the info you gave me.
    Ron wasn't allowed to use magic not only because he was underage but because his mum won't let him. There is mention somewhere (I think it's in OOTP) about Harry and the use of underage magic. He was warned in CoS because the Ministry could detect the magic but were unable to detect who had performed it. Because Harry is the only known wizard in the area, they assumed it was him. Wizarding households are supposed to operate an honour system and keep their offspring in check. (Good Luck with that, Molly!)

    With Justin, you have to think of a few timelines. Before he knew he was a wizard, his magic would have been monitored but he wouldn't have been punished. Between his Hogwarts years and the age of seventeen, he would have been warned if he'd used magic in front of a Muggle. It would have been traceable because he was underage and the only wizard in the area. It might make a difference if his family are aware he's a wizard, but you get the feeling that Harry wasn't allowed to use any magic on the Dursleys and they certainly knew he was a wizard.
    Once he's of age, they're not going to be able to trace him, although they can probably detect signs of magic from the effects on the Muggles nearby. (Hence Willie Widdershins getting let off the exploding toilets 'prank')
    Personally, I think if he performs any magic underage - even if it's on his parents - then it will be recorded and if he's at Hogwarts then he'll get a warning. If it's pre Hogwarts, then perhaps she's in on the secret.

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