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Filch is a Squib. And yet, he has a Kwikspell letter in his office. Ron defines a Squib as "someone who was born into a wizarding family but hasn't got any magic powers." Isn't the Kwikspell course just a waste of time? Surely he's noticed over all of the time he's been doing Kwikspell for, that it has no results? Why is he still on Kwikspell?

  • 17
    Yes, it is... it's a scam, I'm pretty sure, targeted to those who don't have magic, or don't have much (either not trainable or not talented). Much like the lose-weight scams, they don't have to work, to attract people desperate to believe who waste time and get scammed out of money. – Megha Feb 12 '16 at 1:11
  • He's probably been on Kwikspell for a long time, given his apparent age. has he noticed nothing? More accurately, why is he STILL on Kwikspell? – CHEESE Feb 12 '16 at 1:13
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    Well, we don’t know—he might just have discovered it recently. It might even be a recent scam, only introduced that year. Then again, Filch isn’t exactly portrayed as the sharpest drawer in the knife. ;-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 12 '16 at 1:15
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    @CHEESE - it could be, though Janus is the one who mentioned it. Or that he tried other things in the past, and had recently tried Kwikspell. Or it had an obvious out, something that said "this is the reason it doesn't work for you (but will for others)". I'm thinking if Ron knew it, it's maybe fairly recognizable - not that that means anything in terms of age or success. – Megha Feb 12 '16 at 1:51
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    @CHEESE People are very good at deluding themselves, especially to mask their deficiencies from themselves. That's why, for example, we commonly say "the first step is admitting you have a problem"--because even when someone has a problem that is obvious to outsiders, it can be hard for the person with the problem to recognize/admit it. Even if Filch has been on Kwikspell for a long time, he could come up with any number of rationalizations for why it hasn't worked yet but might still work: he hasn't tried hard enough, it takes time, student pranksters are siphoning his magic somehow.... – Kyle Strand Feb 12 '16 at 4:57
17

There might be two reasons which I see:

  1. Squibs in the wizarding world still believe that they can get up to speed with magic through those quick and simple courses
  2. As Megha said in the comments above, it must be a scam which made the Squibs in the magical world convinced that magic can be learned even if you were born with zero magical powers

From a Pottermore article:

The proud old warlock went further: a Squib in any family was a sign that they were in decline and deserved to be winnowed out.

So, it is pretty much evident that Squibs can't get up to speed with magic and they are destined to live as magically handicapped people.

So, the Kwikspell thing must most probably be a scam.

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    Scamming the handicapped people.... sounds like a business xD – Zaibis Feb 12 '16 at 9:36
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    It could also be intended for those who have handled their education poorly and who have substandard magical ability, rather than aimed directly at Squibs. The course could conceivably be useful for someone like Neville (in the early books) who had difficulty with the normal curriculum but was NOT a Squib. – Jeff Jan 2 '18 at 2:10
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    @Zaibis: Yes, but the Kwikspell course appears to be a mild version of the scam. In the real world, many desperate parents have spent their entire fortune on a supposed miracle cure for their child's serious birth defect offered by a guru in a distant country. Some even spent their last pennies on a travel plan that assumed that their child suddently won't need special arrangements the way back because the child will be able to stand up and walk on his own after the cure. – b_jonas Sep 27 '18 at 12:54
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Filch hadn't actually started the course (or had only been using it for a short amount of time).

The question presumes that Filch had been using Kwikspell for a prolonged period of time. I don't think that's true.

The Kwikspell excerpt that Harry reads sounds much more like a promotional blurb than the course itself.

Kwikspell
A Correspondence Course in Beginner's Magic

Intrigued, Harry flicked the envelope open and pulled out the sheaf of parchment inside. More curly silver writing on the front page said:
Feel out of step on the world of modern magic?
Feel yourself making excuses not to perform simple spells?
Ever been taunted for your woeful wandwork?
There is an answer!

(Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8, The Deathday Party).

And so on. It doesn't sound as though Filch has the full course at his disposal. It sounds more like he has the promotional brochure which is sent out to prospective customers.

That's not to say that Filch had definitely not started using Kwikspell. The envelope Harry sees also contains lesson one from the course itself.

Harry was just reading 'Lesson One: Holding Your Wand (Some Useful Tips)' when shuffling footsteps outside told him Filch was coming back.
(Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8, The Deathday Party).

Nevertheless, I think it's fair to say that Filch didn't have access to the whole course. Kwikspell would presumably have made its money by sending out one lesson a week in exchange for payment, rather than giving their customers all the lessons in one go. That would be the customary approach for a 'correspondence course'. They probably included lesson one with the promotional kit to give prospective customers a flavour of the course and hopefully encourage them to sign up. All this means that Filch wasn't an experienced Kwikspell user. He had only reached the first lessons - and may not have started the course at all. It's quite likely that he was still weighing up whether or not to sign up for Kwikspell when Harry found the letter.

Since Filch was a novice when it comes to Kwikspell he has no way of knowing whether it works. He only has the word of the promotional parchment to go by. If Kwikspell was a scam then Filch wouldn't have known.

We know that Filch is still a Squib three years later. Whether this is because he gave up on Kwikspell, because it didn't work for him or because he never took it up in the first place (due to the turmoil involving Mrs Norris) isn't clear.

"Don't stun them, Filch!" shouted Umbridge angrily, for all the world as though it had been his incantation.
"Right you are, Headmistress!" wheezed Filch, who as a Squib could no more have Stunned the fireworks than swallowed them.
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28, Snape's Worst Memory).

It also isn't clear whether Kwikspell really is a scam or not. I'm inclined to think it isn't - there's no reason why remedial lessons for people who didn't excel in school for whatever reason wouldn't be effective. As a Squib Filch may have been a poor fit for the course. Kwikspell was aimed at people whose magic is subpar rather than non-existent. Filch was probably considering applying for it out of desperation.

-2

Maybe there are some people who have so little magical power and because they are so powerless people couldn't notice that they are wizards. So by using Kwikspell, which is designed to help wizards with poor magical skills, they can distinguish them from squibs.

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