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Thread: The English Civil War/ Statute Of Secrecy?

  1. #1
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    The English Civil War/ Statute Of Secrecy?

    In one of my stories, an OC of mine writes a fictional biography of her ancestors Julius and Henry Rookwood, and their involvement in the English Civil War, and the subsequent Statute Of Secrecy. Now, I have studied the English Civil War at A-level and it was definitely one of the most interesting periods I have ever studied. So Iíd like to write about it.

    However I need some help. Now, according to the lexicon The International Statute Of Secrecy was signed in 1689, and then established officially in 1692. However this is the international one, and therefore I think, if it suits the plot which I have only just started sketching out, make the national one earlier, to be closer to the aftermath of the Civil War, as this really is what Iím interested in.

    I want the reason for the Statute to be something connected to the bloodshed and confusion of the Civil War, and the mess of Muggle and Magical politics.

    This was my vague idea when I wrote it in the story. However according to hp wiki:

    The Statute was introduced because of the widespread persecution of wizarding children by Muggles, the escalating attempts by Muggles to force witches and wizards to perform magic for Muggle ends, the escalating attempts by Muggles to force witches and wizards to teach them magic, the increasing numbers of witch-burning, the increasing numbers of Muggles being burned in mistake for witches, and the failure of Ministry of Magic Delegation to Muggle King and Queen (William and Mary) begging for protection under Muggle law.
    This does...sort of mess up my theory. However on the wiki there is no citation for this, so if anyone can tell me where it comes from that would be great However I still think the Civil War can be an important part, whether I can work this in, or have to use an AU warning in order to do so-

    But for this to work, I need to have a clear idea of how the Magical and Muggle political systems worked prior to the Civil War and how theyíd work after. Of course this would also involve religion, given that that was so much part of politics then.

    So-a few questions- but if you any ideas then feel free to weigh in

    Do you think the Muggle and Magical political systems were integrated, or co-existent and each autonomous? To what extent could they be integrated- as in would old wizard families be part of the gentry and pay tax etc as a Muggle lord at the time would, or would the Muggle system not know of their existence?

    I suppose that does depend on how you see old families like the Malfoys feeling about Muggles/ Muggle-borns. Would it be too far of a stretch to say that the intensity of the racism varied across the centuries, but given thereís no huge upheaval in British society between Henry 8thís break with Rome and the Civil War I think it would be consistent between those dates.

    What role would the King have in the Magical system? Would the Divine Right Of Kings be a concept in the Magical world? Would it be realistic for them to consider him the representative of God on Earth or not?

    I have several other questions, but canít articulate them properly now. I will edit them in- at the moment Iím just anxious to get some more ideas/ see what other people think/ if anyone else has thought about how the two systems would interact before the war.

    This of course influences how the two systems interact after the war, so once Iíve got a firm idea of the consensus/ any ideas others may have on that, then Iíll ask more questions

    Thanks in advance-

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  2. #2
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    Oooh I think this is going to be quite a tough topic with lots of small details that you need to work out... but I'm sure you'll do wonderfully

    About the king thing and divine right -- I can see that while their societies were more sort of intertwined, they would share beliefs with Muggles. However, I can also imagine that over time, if the Muggle monarch refused to grant them protection, they grew apart from this belief. That would mean that you'd have a lot of witches and wizards on the non-royalist side of the revolution which might work well with your plot. So - I believe that they did share this belief in God and the divine right to rule etc. for a while, but that they also realised that the monarchs in turn took no interest in them. The magical community would have started to resent them and ... well. If God grants the monarch the right to rule, and the monarch has no interest in or even actively persecutes witches and wizards, then the consequence is that that God doesn't have a connection with magical people.

    Hope that's not as confusing as it looks right now :x

    I can see the political systems being integrated on a regional/local basis, depending on the openness of both communities in that area.
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  3. #3
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    Interesting. I don't really know much about English history after the death of Mary I, but I'll give this a go...

    Personally, I've never heard of anything like what the wiki have put about the Statute of Secrecy. Since they don't cite a source, I think you're free to ignore it. I've found the wiki to often be unreliable and sometimes seems to just make stuff up. I'm sure I've read in one of the books that the wizarding world had been planning its move into secrecy for a while, so if you want to take that to mean there was an English Statute before the international one, informal or formal, then I think that would be okay.

    Do you think the Muggle and Magical political systems were integrated, or co-existent and each autonomous? To what extent could they be integrated- as in would old wizard families be part of the gentry and pay tax etc as a Muggle lord at the time would, or would the Muggle system not know of their existence?

    Well, there is a Wizard's Council (Ministry of Magic's predecessor) going back into the thirteenth century , which passed laws such as restricting places where Quidditch could be played. The history part of the Lexicon isn't working for me, but the wiki says that the Wizard's Council turned into the MoM in the 1600s, but doesn't say where it got that from. The fact that there's a Wizard's Council in the first place suggests that there's a degree of seperation in government. I wouldn't have thought that the Council would have had to present laws it wanted passing to the monarch or to Parliament just because there isn't any mention of it happening, wizarding history always seems very seperate. There is no mention of Muggle authorities in the tiny amounts of Binn's lecures we see. Of course, the fact that there wasn't anything mentioned could mean that there was involvement of the monarch etc, but I'm inclined to believe they were seperate. You really could work things both ways, though.

    With the gentry side of things, we know that Nearly Headless Nick was a courtier at the court of Henry VII, but also that he was executed for causing a Lady Grieve to grow a tusk. Was he executed because he was a wizard? This could mean that they didn't really know much about the wizarding world and were scared of it. However, the wiki says that Lady Grieve approached Nick and pursuaded him to fix her crooked teeth (I think this is credible- JKR did write a poem about Nick's death), so perhaps the fact that there were wizards out there was sort of a whispered secret.

    I think that Nick was knighted at all shows that wizards made up some part of the gentry. Knighthood isn't hereditary, so Nick must have earned his title on his own merit after he left Hogwarts. He gets executed seven years after Henry VII comes to the throne, and he is portrayed as being old in the films (no idea about the books), so he could have been involved in Muggle politics and the War of the Roses. The Tudors were known for being fond of self-made men like Cardinal Wolsey, Charles Brandon and Thomas Boleyn, mistrusing the older nobility (probably because most of them had better claims to the throne), so perhaps Nick worked his way up through the court.

    However, Brutus Malfoy was publishing anti-Muggle pamphlets in 1673, and they're always referred to as an old wizarding family, and the fact that it's hinted that the purebloods were once more powerful that they were, suggests that not all wizarding 'nobility' like the Malfoy family were involved in Muggle society in any way.

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  4. #4
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    I've been digging around a bit and just found this - maybe it helps, but possibly you were aware of it anyway. This is quoting "A History of Magic", in DH, 'Godric's Hollow':

    ‘Upon the signature of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1689, wizards went into hiding for good. It was natural, perhaps, that they formed their own small communities within a community. Many small villages and hamlets attracted several magical families, who banded together for mutual support and protection. The villages of Tinworth in Cornwall, Upper Flagley in Yorkshire, and Ottery St. Catchpole on the south coast of England were notable homes to knots of Wizarding families who lived alongside tolerant and sometimes Confunded Muggles. Most celebrated of these half-magical dwelling places is, perhaps, Godric’s Hollow, the West Country village where the great wizard Godric Gryffindor was born, and where Bowman Wright, Wizarding smith, forged the first Golden Snitch. The graveyard is full of the names of ancient magical families, and this accounts, no doubt, for the stories of hauntings that have dogged the little church beside it for many centuries.’

    And this is from Quidditch Through The Ages:

    Why should the humble broom have become the one object legally allowed as a means of wizarding transport? Why did we in the West not adopt the carpet so beloved of our Eastern brethren? Why didn’t we choose to produce flying barrels, flying armchairs, flying bathtubs – why brooms? Shrewd enough to see that their Muggle neighbours would seek to exploit their powers if they knew their full extent, witches and wizards kept themselves to themselves long before the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy came into effect. If they were to keep a means of flight in their houses, it would necessarily be something discreet, something easy to hide. The broomstick was ideal for this purpose; it required no explanation, no excuse if found by Muggles, it was easily portable and inexpensive.
    There's also a chapter in QTTA titled "Anti-Muggle Precautions", which begins like this:

    In 1398 the wizard Zacharias Mumps set down the first full description of the game of Quidditch. He began by emphasising the need for anti-Muggle security while playing the game: “Choose areas of deserted moorland far from Muggle habitations and make sure that you cannot be seen once you take off on your brooms. Muggle-Repelling Charms are useful if you are setting up a permanent pitch. It is advisable, too, to play at night.”

    We deduce that Mumps’s excellent advice was not always followed from the fact that the Wizards’ Council outlawed all Quidditch-playing within fifty miles of towns in 1362. Clearly the popularity of the game was increasing rapidly, for the Council found it necessary to amend the ban in 1368, making it illegal to play within a hundred miles of a town. In 1419, the Council issued the famously worded decree that Quidditch should not be played “anywhere near any place where there is the slightest chance that a Muggle might be watching or we’ll see how well you can play whilst chained to a dungeon wall.”

    As every school-age wizard knows, the fact that we fly on broomsticks is probably our worst-kept secret. No Muggle illustration of a witch is complete without a broom and however ludicrous these drawings are (for none of the broomsticks depicted by Muggles could stay up in the air for a moment), they remind us that we were careless for too many centuries to be surprised that broomsticks and magic are inextricably linked in the Muggle mind.
    Sorry - long quote is long, oops. But I think this helps a bit to sort of get an idea of how the society might ahve worked. This is well before the Statute of Secrecy, yet there are established rules for anti-Muggle security. QTTA continues like this:

    Adequate security measures were not enforced until the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy of 1692 made every Ministry of Magic directly responsible for the consequences of magical sports played within their territories. This subsequently led, in Britain, to the formation of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.

    Aaaaand lastly, and possibly most interestingly, from Tales of Beedle the Bard (Beedle is mentioned as being a 15th century wizard btw), Dumbledore's notes for the Hopping Pot story:

    The young wizard’s conscience awakes, and he agrees to use his magic for the benefit of his non-magical neighbours. A simple and heart-warming fable, one might think – in which case, one would reveal oneself to be an innocent nincompoop. A pro-Muggle story showing a Muggle-loving father as superior in magic to a Muggle-hating son? It is nothing short of amazing that any copies of the original version of this tale survived the flames to which they were so often consigned.

    Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles. The persecution of witches and wizards was gathering pace all over Europe in the early fifteenth century. Many in the magical community felt, and with good reason, that offering to cast a spell on the Muggle-next-door’s sickly pig was tantamount to volunteering to fetch the firewood for one’s own funeral pyre.1 “Let the Muggles manage without us!” was the cry, as the wizards drew further and further apart from their non-magical brethren, culminating with the institution of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy in 1689, when wizardkind voluntarily went underground.

    Children being children, however, the grotesque Hopping Pot had taken hold of their imaginations. The solution was to jettison the pro-Muggle moral but keep the warty cauldron, so by the middle of the sixteenth century a different version of the tale was in wide circulation among wizarding families. In the revised story, the Hopping Pot protects an innocent wizard from his torch-bearing, pitchfork-toting neighbours by chasing them away from the
    wizard’s cottage, catching them and swallowing them whole.

    As I have already hinted, however, its pro-Muggle sentiment was not the only reason that “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot” attracted anger. As the witch-hunts grew ever fiercer, wizarding families began to live double lives, using charms of concealment to protect themselves and their families. By the seventeenth century, any witch or wizard who chose to fraternise with Muggles became suspect, even an outcast in his or her own community. Among the many insults hurled at pro-Muggle witches and wizards (such fruity epithets as “Mudwallower”, “Dunglicker” and “Scumsucker” date from this period), was the charge of having weak or inferior magic.

    Influential wizards of the day, such as Brutus Malfoy, editor of Warlock at War, an anti-Muggle periodical, perpetuated the stereotype that a Muggle-lover was about as magical as a Squib. In 1675, Brutus wrote:

    This we may state with certainty: any wizard
    who shows fondness for the society of Muggles is
    of low intelligence, with magic so feeble and
    pitiful that he can only feel himself superior if
    surrounded by Muggle pigmen.
    Nothing is a surer sign of weak magic than a
    weakness for non-magical company.

    This prejudice eventually died out in the face of overwhelming evidence that some of the world’s most brilliant wizards were, to use the common phrase, “Muggle-lovers”.
    Actually, Beedle has quite a few lines about Wizard-Muggle-relations, so that might be worth another look. I just feel like I'd end up pitchforked if I quoted the whole book here :x In general, it seems like the magic community was sort of withdrawing from Muggles before the Statute. But I'm sure that you have some leeway with which parts of the community that were, and who decided to stay involved with the Muggles. There must always have been people like Dumbledore, who felt like Muggles needed their help, for example, or who just didn't care about what the other wizards called them.

    Sorry for this enormous post. I didn't want to cut the quotes too short.
    Last edited by Karaley Dargen; 11-11-2011 at 10:22 PM.
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