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Accidental Magic and Their Consequences

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Barelyhere, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. Barelyhere

    Barelyhere Squib

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    Hello again, everyone :)

    I don't believe there has been a thread about this. I've searched through google and nothing popped up that caught my eye, at least. So here's a thought experiment.

    We've all seen in the books examples of accidental magic, which are mostly exhibited in children. Summoning teddy bears, changing the color of one's hair, little harmless things. I think Harry once teleported himself to the top of a building, though I am not sure if that was Apparation per se. But, can accidental magic be such that it causes severe harm to others?

    For example, can accidental magic cause explosions? Summon peanuts into someone's food when they are allergic to peanuts? What if those explosions cause injury or death? What if that person dies from eating the peanut?

    Playing to these hypotheticals, can a child/minor be held responsible for these events? Will they have to stand trial? And if the answer is yes, how harsh do you believe the Ministry would charge them?

    Would the answer change if the ones harmed were Muggles instead of Wizards and witches?

    Thank you for playing along and I look forward to your responses!
     
  2. Tempestuous Ocean

    Tempestuous Ocean Second Year

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    Ariana Dumbledore comes to mind.

    The child would be investigated and possibly isolated from others. Or at least, the Dumbledore family seemed to think so.
     
  3. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Groundskeeper

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    The obscurus from the Magical Beasts movie is basically accidental magic on steroids, and is extremely dangerous to bystanders.

    The authorities actively seek to kill the kid in question, so yes, they can be held responsible.
     
  4. Chengar Qordath

    Chengar Qordath The Final Pony Prestige

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    In Fantastic Beasts, I think the situation was less that they felt obscurials are morally responsible for their actions, and more that they've become far too dangerous to others and (at least in the case of Credence) too powerful to be contained.

    For other examples of accidental magic, when Harry blows up his aunt there aren't any consequences beyond the Ministry needing to do a lot of quick cover-up.
     
  5. DrSarcasm

    DrSarcasm Unspeakable

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    Think of it like potty training: If the kid is still in diapers (underage wizard), you don't punish him for accident(al magic)s. But once he's grown up (OWL/NEWT), then he should know better than to crap his pants (insert metaphor here).
     
  6. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    I mean Voldemort is implied to have done quite a bit of accidental magic to his fellow orphans. And hurt quite a few of them too, although not always directly.

    He was never held accountable, but there is the argument to be made that the Ministry was likely too busy to deal with accidental magic when Grindelwald was gaining power.
     
  7. DrSarcasm

    DrSarcasm Unspeakable

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    That wasn't really 'accidental' magic though. Accidental magic is like when Harry regrows his hair overnight because he's afraid of being mocked, or when he vanishes the glass in the zoo when he's angry. They're accidents brought about by strong emotion and a lack of control.

    Little Tom Riddle's 'hurting people who are mean to me' and 'forcing people to tell the truth' were the result of him knowing that he could cause those effects and deliberately choosing to do so. There's actual intent to create the magical effects and malicious intent in how to apply them. It's better phrased as unfocused magic than accidental magic in that case.

    Accidental or underage and unfocused magic seems a bit outside the purview of the Ministry though. Pre-Hogwarts age kids would be the responsibility of their guardians when it comes to law and order for the most part. It's only when they get their wand or if things get really bad--for example, becoming an Obscurial or when Ariana Dumbledore kills some people--that the Ministry would step in. Otherwise, it's an invasion of a parent's rights--how often does child services or the police get called in to deal with a preschooler, unless the situation is really, really bad?
     
  8. Miner

    Miner High Inquisitor

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    Sure, but at the same time the first few times that it happens it should be classified as accidental.
     
  9. pbluekan

    pbluekan High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    *Points at Marge Dursley*. She would most certainly have been harmed had she floated away and was likely harmed in the inflation.
    The magical government seems to have a fairly coherent legal system, even though they are largely ignored in the course of the books. We do see hints of it, even at Harry’s trial in book 5.

    Charging anyone with something that is completely outside of their control is absolutely ludicrous. It isn’t like manslaughter, where an individual was very clearly responsible for the action, but did not mean for it to happen. Charging children who are likely under the age of eleven is equally stupid. Regardless of what actually happened, the child would, at worst, be isolated a bit and taught some control. If anything, the parents would be the ones charged if any criminal charges were ever even filed, which, again, is ridiculous.
     
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