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In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Mr. Weasley says that carpets are "defined as a Muggle Artefact by the Registry of Proscribed Charmable Objects," and as such were illegal in Britain. Why don't brooms fall into the same category?

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I added the quote for you. Good question, though. +1. –  Gabe Willard Nov 26 '12 at 21:48
    
@GabeWillard Thanks! –  chama Nov 26 '12 at 22:09
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I bet it has to do with regional and national laws. Flying carpets are probably not illegal among Arabian magical communities, where the legendary flying carpet is more common. In British (and American) folklore, witches ride brooms, so their history keeps them legal. This is pure conjecture, however. –  abby hairboat Nov 27 '12 at 0:16
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You expect government laws to make sense? Talk about suspension of disbelief! –  DVK Nov 27 '12 at 0:43
    
Is a flying broom a regular broom that's been charmed to fly or is it a magical item that's been specifically created for the purpose? –  Anthony Grist Nov 27 '12 at 11:51

1 Answer 1

up vote 16 down vote accepted

It has to do with the history of broomsticks. In the days before the International Statue of Wizarding Secrecy, witches and wizards still kept to themselves, simply because they knew that Muggles would try to exploit them as well as coming to them for solutions to all their problems. As a result, the wizards and witches "hid" their magical items, including their means of flight.

The reason for using brooms is given in Quidditch Through the Ages:

"If [wizards and witches] 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."

Quidditch through the Ages - Kennilworthy Whisp - page 2

As this was all before the International Statue of Wizarding Secrecy, there was no such thing as a Muggle Artefact (the whole point of restricting the enchantment of certain objects was to prevent them from falling into Muggle hands and letting out the secret or from harming the Muggle) and therefore brooms couldn't be illegal in this way.

By the time the International Statue of Secrecy did come about, brooms had been around for around 600 years, and there was no way that the Ministry was going to try to control them, especially because Quidditch was so popular:

"The popularity of the game was increasing rapidly, for the Council found it necessary to amend the ban [on playing Quidditch around Muggle settlements] in 1368, making it illegal to play within a hundred miles of a town."

Quidditch through the Ages - Kennilworthy Whisp - page 16

However, the flying carpet having originated in the East, it wasn't nearly as popular at the time, and so wasn't granted this special exception.

For more on the history of brooms and Quidditch, see Quidditch Through the Ages.

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This is a nice answer -- it should have more upvotes! IIRC, the flying magic carpet was used for a while in Britain, but was made illegal by the Ministry for reasons I don't remember. I do remember that it enjoyed a vogue as a family vehicle for a while, although that may have been in the Middle East. :) –  Slytherincess Nov 28 '12 at 5:11
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@Slytherincess Thanks! And you're right about the flying carpet being a family vehicle, I think it's mentioned in Goblet of Fire at the Quiddtitch World Cup and either Crouch Sr. or another ministry official says that his family had a nice Axabraxan (or something like that) when he was a kid. It just logically makes sense that if it originated somewhere else then it wouldn't have caught on enough by 1692 to be given a special exception. –  twoerd Nov 28 '12 at 6:04
    
@aSlytherin, I recall reading the same, though I don't remember where. I think there were accidents where rugs simply rose up under muggles. Brooms required a little skill to get them started providing a small amount of protection to a muggle accidentally flying away on one (You have to mount a broom and have the skill of commanding it whereas a rug only requires you be on it in the same way a muggle might sit on it). –  balanced mama Feb 18 '13 at 19:58

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