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Legends in Harry Potter

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MF DOOM, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. MF DOOM

    MF DOOM Second Year

    May 7, 2019
    Land of Dreams
    How powerful do you think people like Nicholas Flamel, the Four Founders, the Peverell brothers and Merlin were?

    Maybe it's because of fanfics or maybe something else but I always thought they were crazy powerful. I mean, Nicholas created Philosopher stone, Peverell brothers had Deathly Hallows, Four Founders created Hogwarts and Merlin is Merlin.

    So yeah, I always thought they know some really fascinating Magic.

    But how powerful do you think they were?
  2. Jarizok

    Jarizok High Inquisitor

    Sep 22, 2015
    I think the founders get way too much cred. Hogwarts wanted to be built, they were just there at the right time.

    I think of the Peverells and Flamel like great artists. They were geniuses that created one of a kind works of art. That really doesn’t equate to great power though. Flamel gets the nod for being Da Vinci here after x-hundred years spent learning stuff.

    Merlin was basically wizard Jesus and outclasses Dumbledore like Dumbledore outclasses Stan Shunpike.
  3. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Mar 5, 2006
    United Kingdom
    High Score:
    Magic in canon tends to act as a technology analogue and advance over time. For example:

    - We see that there are journals like Transfiguration Today which top wizards like Dumbledore publish in.

    - Brooms are steadily getting faster/more manoeuvrable.

    - New magic being invented by Snape, Voldemort, Dumbledore.

    - Voldemort is considered the most powerful dark wizard of all time; Grindelwald is number 2. So the two most powerful dark wizards are both from recent times.

    - Dumbledore has been referred to as the greatest wizard in history.

    - When Hogwarts is in need of defence, they don't rely on its ancient protection spells but erect new magic (both by the Ministry in HBP, and by the teachers in DH).

    The exception to this trend are singular objects of great power like the Hallows, philosopher's stone, etc. But these seem to be anomalies, the exception to the rule. Like Jarizok, I view these as more like the Mona Lisas of the magical world - great works, but not indicative of what wizards of those eras could achieve on the fly with regular magic.

    With all that in mind, I expect that if you put a modern wizard against an ancient one, it would rather be like a man in a tank versus an archer. No matter how accomplished the archer is within his own paradigm, he's getting flattened. So Dumbledore or Voldemort would wipe the floor against Merlin or the founders.

    In any case, I never really got the sense that Merlin was considered a particularly powerful wizard. Rather he would be remembered for his role in the Arthurian legend i.e. for his social achievements and cooperation with Muggles. Even within his own era, I view him as more of a Flitwick than a Dumbledore - a Charms specialist.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  4. Donimo

    Donimo Professor

    Jul 4, 2015
    The older is better trope is one of my least favorite things, and it's so pervasive.
  5. Download

    Download Second Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

    Aug 6, 2014
    Adelaide, Australia
    High Score:
    It's probably next to "ye olde pureblood law" in my most hated.
  6. Eilyfe

    Eilyfe Chief Warlock

    May 27, 2014
    Pff. I like it. There's something exciting about ancient things, something that makes me want to believe there's a hidden depth, a great power, just beyond the surface of every artifact from a thousand years past. Is that realistic? Probably not. @Taure makes good points. And still I vastly prefer stories where searching ruins of old holds the keys to finding incredible spells, and every bauble found could potentially unleash a curse never heard of before in modern times.

    It's simply more exciting that way. Imagine being a curse breaker and everything you find is easily overcome because the new versions are always better. Bah.

    So, in my severely non-canon tinted glasses, hell yeah, ancient legends are fucking legendary for a reason.
  7. Niez

    Niez Third Year

    Jun 26, 2018
    Taure makes good points as always, but arguing that magic and technology are completely analogous is a bit of a stretch for me. Here is why:

    1. Magical Artefacts.

    I know Taure addresses this point but I remain unconvinced. His analogy, first of all, is pretty weak. The stone, deathly hallows, RoR, etc., are not really comparable to the Mona Lisa.
    The Mona Lisa is valuable because it is beautiful, not because it is technologically advanced. The philosopher's stone, on the other hand, is incredibly magically advanced. Inmortality is something far beyond the average modern wizard's grasp. Even Voldemort, splitting his soul into annihilation, only ever receives 'the meanest imitation' (a direct quote from PS I believe). Now it could be that Flamel hit the right ingredients through sheer dumb luck, but that seems unlikely and incredibly dull. Let him be the keeper of secrets past, before some dark lord or other ruthlessly hunted down all the alchemists in the world for the knowledge they possessed - we only ever hear of one, after all. [In some, as of yet unwritten, AU, Harry must convince Flamel to share his most closely held secrets before his dwindling supply of elixir runs out, or risk the death of one of the oldest fields of magic.] In any case, 13th century alchemists clearly knew something Voldemort didn't, even if it was just ingesting great deals of Felix Felicis before they began their experiments.

    2. Horcruxes.

    One of the things that makes Voldemort one of the worst Dark Lords of all time are his Horcruxes. Yet Horcruxes are not something Voldemort invented. It was Herpo the foul, which also created the first Basilisk(?) and probably some other terrible stuff which thankfully no one remembers. And he did it 3000 odd years ago. This is important because Horcruxes are something which even Dumbledore was originally unaware of. The magic that prevents the fall of the darkest wizard of all time is something literally out of some dusty tome (and don't tell me he innovated on it, as far as we know killing is all it takes to make one, and murdering seven people instead of one is hardly groundbreaking progress). If this isn't an example of ye Olde magic straight out of canon I don't know what is.

    3. General Counterpoints which go here because I don't know how to structure a response.

    Hogwarts defenses being new instead of old:

    A) Canon doesn't have Wards.
    B) Spells fail upon the casters death.

    It is literally impossible for spells to last beyond a wizard's lifetime, much less the thousand or so years between the founding of Hogwarts and the final battle in book seven. Flitwick erecting the Protego Horribilis, or the other protection charms cast on properties or persons throughout the story, tells us exactly nothing of how powerful protection spells might have been in the past. (I know this interpretation is inconsistent with other things in Canon - Bill's job in Egypt, for one - but it bears pointing out)

    Dumbledore being the greatest wizard of all time, Voldemort being the worst Dark Lord, Harry having the biggest cock... etc.

    I mean... Hearsay? Has J. K. Rowling said anything to that effect? If so, forget I said anything. In any case, I freely believe the third, and Dumbledore tells us of the second. But the first is not really conclusively stablished.

    Also as an aside, because I'm lazy. Werewolves. At some point someone made them, and no one can unmake them. The best modern magic can do is prevent them going berserk when the full moon strikes. Via a potion, of all things.

    Conclusion, or the TLDR version.

    I am perfectly fine with imagining that certain fields such as Potions and Transfigurations have advanced throughout time, and are 'better' now that in the past. Magic is invented all the time, and that's fun. Yet I believe that there is strong evidence that some magic has been either lost or purposefully suppressed throughout the centuries.

    And isn't that more interesting? I too would prefer Bill Weasley to be a dashing adventurer, purveyor of ancient secrets, rather than some snotty faced magical grave robber. Then again, he is British, so the term would probably be 'magical archeologist' .