In the Harry Potter universe, young wizards and witches are sometimes born to Muggle parents. In this case, someone from the wizarding world visits them to offer the child their place at Hogwarts.

Anyway, attendance at Hogwarts isn't mandatory because parents can home school their children, but is this true for all children, or only those whose parents can teach them magic?

Would a Muggle-born wizard or witch be left to their own devices, not taught magic or integrated in the wizarding community, basically be left to live as a Muggle?

The only example I know of is Harry (the Dursleys didn't want him to go, but they were intimidated into letting him) but then again he is Harry Potter and there is no other way (even for Dumbledore in-universe) than to make an exception for him.

Do we know what the general rule would be for muggle born wizards and witches, or do we have any clues?

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    Leaving someone with untrained magical abilities to grow up in the non-magic world would be a danger to pretty much everyone around them. Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 10:46
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    @maguirenumber6 That's also what I think, but I didn't find a lot of evidence for this. Since on a meta level children's inability to control their magic represents their emotional immaturity, we don't know if it could really end up in a Frozen-like situation.
    – Pwassonne
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 14:35
  • Yes. Hogwarts training is voluntary, but muggle raised wizards sleep with the fishes. -Abe Vigoda Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 18:14
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    I think that at one point one of the muggle-borns says that his parents don't want to remove him from school because he didn't tell them about the attacks - thought it was in Chamber of Secrets but can't find it. If I'm remembering this more or less correctly, it suggests that there are other options. (I don't suppose there's anything stopping muggle parents from arranging for private tutoring, at least if they can afford it. Besides, untrained magic doesn't seem particularly dangerous, at least not by wizarding standards.) Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 0:44
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    Ariana had PTSD or something like it, though. I think we can assume that mentally stable people would not be too dangerous with untrained magic... but of course there might be untrained wizards and witches with mental issues... :/
    – Pwassonne
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 20:09

3 Answers 3


Muggle parents aren't allowed to refuse

Although JKR previously stated that attendance at Hogwarts isn't mandatory, the best example I can think is Harry Potter's (muggle) legal guardians refusing to send him to Hogwarts. They point-blank said he couldn't go, whereupon Dumbledore sent a gigantic and mentally unstable enforcer to intimidate the family into allowing him to go.

Presumably it's much the same principle as Jedi recruitment. A failure to allow their child to reach their full potential (by attending Wizarding school, obviously) is taken as prima facie evidence of the parent's unfitness to make proper decisions about the welfare of their child.

Note that we learn in Fantastic Beasts that suppressing one's magical power can result in a dangerous build-up of energies in a Witch or Wizard, ultimately resulting in their (messy) deaths and a grave risk to those around them. This may also apply to failing to train a Wizard how to control their powers and relying on them intermittently releasing any pent-up magic at inappropriate times, in unsafe ways or without due care for those around them. This may or may not lead to the creation of an Obscurus, but it certainly sounds highly undesirable.

NEWT: I met one in Sudan three months ago. There used to be more of them but they still exist. Before wizards went underground, when we were still being hunted by Muggles, young wizards and witches sometimes tried to suppress their magic to avoid persecution. Instead of learning to harness or to control their powers, they developed what was called an Obscurus.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Screenplay

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    Is it not possible that the Boy Who Lived is a slight exception to the rule?
    – Mac Cooper
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 10:46
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    Nah, he's perfectly normal! :D All kidding aside, I don't think that Dumbledore intentionally sent Hagrid to intimidate the Dursleys. The Dursleys did all their best to hide or destroy all the letters which would have explained to Harry the fact that he was a wizard. To Hogwarts, the best shot they had to inform Harry was to send someone and talk to him. Why Hagrid? We don't know if other teachers (apart from Dumbledore) do this kind of work so, save Filch and the house elves(!), they could only send him. Hagrid did lose his shit (and frankly I understand him), just not on Dumbledore's orders.
    – A. Darwin
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 12:26
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    I take exception at the slight towards Hagrid. I don't think it is at all canonically established that he is mentally unstable. Also you provided only an exceptional case to show the Muggle Parents aren't allowed to refuse with HP.
    – DBPriGuy
    Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 15:26
  • An obscurus occurs from being persecuted into not using their magic. Being told "it's a dangerous thing to use and we do not feel you need to go to a school for wizards" isn't persecution. After all, there are probably many wizards who went to regular muggle schools just fine and were merely advised not to use their magic recklessly. Not going to Hogwarts or formally learning magic does not automatically mean someone's magic is going to be suppressed.I think the case here would be more like "ignored or not brought to full potential" rather than "punished so that they continually hold it in".
    – user64742
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 2:00
  • @TheGreatDuck - That may well be the case. Or equally, it may not. We certainly don't have enough info to state with the kind of certainty your comment suggests.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 7:36

If parents don't allow their children to attend Hogwarts -- we saw exactly what happens: Harry Potter.

If there was a law allowing children to be seized, then Harry Potter was the case for its application, if ever there was one. Dumbledore and the entire magic community would have had every reason to simply compel Harry's attendance and overrule the Dursleys. They did not.

They did, however, use many methods of trying to convince the Dursleys to comply with the invitation to Hogwarts. It seems their permission (or at least acquiescence) was required. This seems to imply seizing of children by the Ministry of Magic on behalf of Hogwarts was not the norm.

One could argue that Dumbledore or the Ministry of Magic would have seized Harry if it weren't for the special magic protecting Harry's home till he was 17 because they realized that spell would be broken if they seized Harry but that seems like a stretch. After all, the Ministry remained little involved. It was Hogwarts (on direction of Dumbledore) that watched over Harry and encouraged his attendance.

As Harry's magic was already beginning to wreak havoc on the lives of the Dursleys we can imagine the case is similar for other parents. They quickly recognize they can't manage a child with magic and make their choices accordingly.

This seems far more humane than simply confiscating children.

As for what happens when you have an obstinate family, like the Dursleys, we saw that the magic community was persistent to a fault. I imagine the magical demonstrations would have grown more extreme the longer the guardians of a magical child refused but they would not have ever kidnapped a child.


Well, they can't force them to go to Hogwarts (I think Harry's case was a bit special - he is the Chosen One, Dumbledore definitely wanted him there, under his watchful eyes...) I mean, they surely want a response from the child whether to attend Hogwarts or not. But possibly they can force the parents to educate her or him, at least home-school the kid? Look at what happened to Ariana when she refused to use her magic. No parents would want that, and it is very dangerous to people around the untrained wizard too. In the seventh book, Hermione mentioned that under Voldemort's reign he ordered all kids to attend Hogwarts so he could totally supervise what they learn. So we can assume there are home schooled kids.

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    The question is how a muggle family would home-school a magical child. Would they even be allowed to?
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 22:04
  • That wizarding parents can homeschool their kids is Pottermore canon, so your assumption is correct. But it is unclear whether that also applies to Muggle parents of magical children, and that's what my question is about.
    – Pwassonne
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 7:58
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    I don't see what would prevent a Muggle family from hiring a magical tutor to homeschool their child. +1. Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 1:41

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