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Smaller Wizarding World

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Skeletaure, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    The now (in)famous quote:

    http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/0705-tlc_mugglenet-anelli-2.htm

    The 3,000 number for wizards in magical Britain is generally considered unworkable when viewed against the size and complexity of the Ministry, the number of professional Quidditch teams, etc. Even saying 40 magical people born a year with an average life expectancy of 130 gets you to a population of 5,200, which would seem to be the absolute bare minimum you could go to be compatible with the Hogwarts we see (and even then, you're contradicting the POA statement of there being 200 Slytherins).

    So people generally correct the population upwards. We have had a lot of threads about that.

    But what if you do the opposite? What if you keep the number of wizards fixed at 3,000, and correct the nature of wizarding society to match?

    What would wizarding society look like, if there really were just 3,000 wizards in Britain?


    If you assume an average life expectancy of 130 years (reasonable lower bound) you're looking at 23 wizards born a year.

    If you assume an average life expectancy of 170 years (reasonable upper bound) you're looking at 17 wizards born a year.

    Either way, this produces a very small Hogwarts population (approx. 120-160). With 17-23 students a year, you can probably just about account for all the reasonably prominent named characters in Harry's year, but they would be the only students in his year. In some ways, this actually works quite well with canon, especially the size of the faculty, but it does remove the general sense of there being a background of a wider student body.

    The Ministry, obviously, would need to be substantially downsized, if it even existed at all. I think my preference would be instead to make the wizarding society more integrated with Muggle society, and have wizards embedded (in secret) within the Muggle government. Basically the illuminati. This also solves so many tricky worldbuilding issues about international borders, wizarding colonialism, etc. Even though wizards are in secret, they belong to the Muggle state and the history of the Muggle state is also the history of the wizarding state. It just so happens that behind the scenes in history, wizards were interfering, unknown to the Muggles.

    You could probably keep Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, but you would need to keep them small, and they would be the only such places in wizarding Britain. Alternatively you could ditch them entirely and have wizarding businesspeople dotted around the country, possibly just selling stuff out of their homes.
     
  2. vr32

    vr32 Squib

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    Is Hogwarts the only magical school in UK?
    if I remember right there are smaller schools and some children whom are home schooled.

    In my opinion the reason we see so little people in Harry's year is because the war, we do know many family were wiped out, or near extinction.
    Second the way MuggleBorns and HalfBloods were treated during the war it's reasonable to believe some fled the county during the first war or right after.
    And with Hogwarts being one of the top schools it would be easy for them to find a job outside of UK.

    The real problem with trying to guess the real numbers of Wizards is because of the scope of the books, the books show us only Hogwarts and very little to none of magical Britain unless it doesn't exist and it really limited to Hogwarts/Diagon alley and then the number 5000 does make sense, but I find it unbelievable.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2021
  3. arkkitehti

    arkkitehti Professor

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    Basically you can't have any kind of institutions with such low population, especially if the average age of your population is over 80 years. There just wouldn't be enough people willing to put the effort in to maintaining them, and not enough people willing to pay those who do.

    So if you still want to have the Statute of Secrecy, it would have to be maintained by a _muggle_ institution using muggle resources to hire wizards to maintain it. Hogwarts might survive as a private institution if you had some kind of independent wealth behind it, but more likely magic would be taught in family while attending muggle schools than in a dedicated magic school.
     
  4. Dubious Destiny

    Dubious Destiny Seventh Year

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    I think wizards will form/join a number of crime families or stay out of muggle affairs. It's feasible for wizards to stay out of an authority's influence and I'm sure they'll hate and slip past (muggle) attempts to stamp authority. I see them living out of reach of the government but still interact with muggles. Muggles have nothing wizards want or can't take and I can't see why wizards would want to earn large amounts of muggle money.

    Hogwarts is the only institution that will definitely be standing and will serve as a starter school.

    Such a low number of kids paired with higher life expectancy will extend the duration of magical education each one has to take. I'd say upwards of a decade and half.

    Any cults that emerge will quickly die out or force out the rest of the wizards in an area. I see cults lasting for at most two generations before dying out. So wizards will be more international in focus.

    The only international nstitution I see standing will be the ICW and its role will be to maintain the Statue of Secrecy.
     
  5. aAlouda

    aAlouda Professor

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    I'd personally roll with the second part of rowlings quote and expand upon it
    Basically expanding the number of magical beings and squibs, and then I'd integrate them much more into the magical world, to do the jobs a society needs, like how goblins are bankers and Dementors prison guards in canon.
    Stuff like Hags growing magical plant and brewing potions, secruity trolls doing the majority of guard jobs, dwarves doing most simple craftman jobs, while goblins do more elaborate ones, vampires being entertainers, accountants and lawyers. Stuff along those lines. I'd imagine if Harry were to enter Diagon Alley he'd see few of the shops actually manned by wizards, but rather creatures selling their own good, or a wizard's good in their name. Though obviously there would be exceptions for services that require the wizard to be there.

    The ministry in particular I could imagine to be a joint effort by various creatures, to keep the whole thing running, while the top level positions and the WIzengamot would of course be almost entirely made up of wizard, I could imagine lots of the lower level bureaucratic stuff being done by squibs or ghosts, while more specialized positions could go to creatures with appropriate skills.

    Even a regional Quidditch League can still work if you include magical beings, which otherwise just wouldn't have the numbers.

    As for the Hogwart size, I'd use 30 per year, with an average life expectancy of 100(backfiring spells, and accidents with potions, magical plant and creatures keep the numbers lower). Otherwise the school would just feel too small for me.
     
  6. Heosphoros

    Heosphoros Fourth Year

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    A greater integration of Beings in the magical society could result in some pretty interesting world building, most of their appearances in the books are quite superficial, throw away flavoring here and there for the most part, like a hag eating liver in the pub. Even the races we see the most (goblin/centaur) we know little about, plus they tend to live almost as apart from the wizards as they from the muggles. Though it would require a lot of novel worldbuilding regarding the various species, and the fanon's work on goblins, veelas and werewolves left me with PTSD.

    Another alternative is having them stay as they are but wizarding Britain is much more centralized. Or just fuse the Alley into Hogsmeade and have the the vast majority of the population just live near Hogwarts. Between the castle, lake, town and forest, there would be a much more condensed and literal Wizarding World. Naturally with severe repercussions to world-building, probably just a mayor office and town council as government, for instance. Hogwarts could gain more functions than just children's education, with a greater population working and moving in and out.
     
  7. Silirt

    Silirt Chief Warlock DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

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    The Falkland Islands happen to have a population of about 4000, including British military personnel. This is an overhead shot of Stanley, the largest city.
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, and from everything that I've read, it's basically a small British town with some families living outside the capital on sheep ranges. If you were to impose zoning regulations and squeeze everything in Stanley to a more urban population density, you may see an environment that looks more like Diagon Alley, with everything outside the capital being left the same. They don't have their own professional sports teams, but they have a relatively nice economy and are fully autonomous except in terms of their defense. A super small wizarding Britain would probably function similarly; everyone in Diagon Alley would know everyone else, and personal transportation would be the preference over public.
     
  8. Skeletaure

    Skeletaure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Port Stanley is an interesting example of how a community that size can be viable. However, in the case of the wizarding world I would be inclined to go the other direction, with a population of ~3,000 British wizards. That is, I'd be inclined to have them geographically dispersed and relatively isolated, rather than put them all into one all-wizarding settlement and clumped together.

    I would also substantially increase the competence of the average wizard. None of the canon "people can't cast shields" stuff. With so few wizards around, I think you can get away with (and indeed need to) increase the typical wizard's abilities so that they can be significantly more self-sufficient, using magic to meet most of their own needs rather than relying on society. A much less consumerist vision of wizarding society, in favour of a more arcane approach.
     
  9. Sorrows

    Sorrows Queen of the Flamingos Moderator

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    It would be interesting to make the wizards a far more minor part of the magical world. It's size is not determined by the wizarding population because they are only a minority there as well. The magical world is equally dominated by beings and their economy/culture etc.

    The statute of secrecy was mainly decided by beings. Their main function of wizards and the ministry is essentially as gatekeepers to keep beings and other magical creatures/places hidden. They are regarded as a anomalous offshoot of muggles, dangerous but useful and reliant on their wands to perform magic. They make their own rules for beings etc that go ignored outside their small enclaves.

    Distance is not an issue, there is no reason to have houses and communities cluster when there is such a thing as instant travel. Though arguably, in past times of strife, safety is in numbers. However shopping and social spaces I can see still congregating because it's simply good business to put one shop in the eyeline of another and because people like to have places to meet up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2021
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