Harry Potter theory sheds light on Ministry of Magic corruption

With accompanying books, films and stories, Harry Potter has covered almost every corner of its tradition. In fact, in the short time it’s been around, the franchise has done almost as much for its lore as star wars. But one of the best things about detailed canon in a fictional world is the many theories that could help improve the overall story. For example, an idea regarding the rules of underage magic can show just how corrupt the Ministry of Magic really was.

According to the Rules of Minor Magic, witches and wizards between the ages of eleven and seventeen are not allowed to use magic outside of Hogwarts, thanks to the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Minor Witchcraft. While the decree helped young magic users control their powers, it was far from perfect as those who broke the rule were not identified by the Ministry’s Trace Charm. As a result, Reddit user LapisLazuliisthebest believed it was to help weed out muggle-born wizards from the wizarding world.

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At first, the concept might seem highly conspiratorial for the canon as it would involve a huge level of bias within the Ministry of Magic. However, past movies and books have shown that this reality isn’t as far from the truth as it seems. But in dissecting the underage magic rule, it became clear that this theory could potentially lead to a massive revelation. For starters, those using underage magick and outside of school received two strikes. The second their wand would be destroyed, eliminating the child’s ability to focus their powers. Comparatively, the laws of the real world would never be so severe because the goal would be to avoid hindering the growth of a child, especially if they are inconvenient.

The theory then destroyed the ruler’s policing system, which was run by the UK Ministry of Magic’s Office of Misuse of Magic. The trace charm used to track when a child used magic was inherently blurry. This was because the charm had to search for magic used within a radius of the area to identify who was using the magic. However, as seen when Hermione fixed Harry’s glasses on the Hogwarts Express, the charm was largely redundant when around other magic users. But one example came when Harry used a Patronus to protect Dudley from Dementors. After the event, Harry was prosecuted by the Ministry and would have lost his wand due to his second offense if self-defense had not played out.

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Because of these unique points, it might be easy to assume that the underage use of magic was manipulated to weed out any witch or wizard who wasn’t pureblood. The reasoning was that if a wizard used magic, the trace charm would easily find one surrounded by muggles, which would only happen in half-blood or muggle-born families. However, these young magic users would still have to practice both ways, and this could also explain why some purebloods were more adept at magic than others. To make matters worse, the decree was implemented in the 1870s, when magical prejudices still existed.

Ultimately, this theory has yet to be proven as fact. But what is certain is that the egregious flaws in the decree were difficult to dispute because the more time passed, the more it was evident that those without magical parents were inherently disadvantaged. And even more discouraging, it shows that even in more modern times, the corruption within the Ministry of Magic was still as evident as it was centuries ago.

Robert M. Larson