In Harry Potter, a lot of big stuff goes down in Great Britain. From the foundation of Hogwarts by 4 of the most powerful sorcerers of medieval times to the days of Grindelwald and Dumbledore, to the wars waged by Tom Riddle, and his ultimate defeat by a British resistance.

What was going on in the rest of the world? Why didn't any of them pitch in? Weren't they strong enough? Did they deal with similar troubles themselves?

  • 1
    Winston Churchill gave speeches that sounded like the end of your question at the start of WW2. – ThruGog Feb 16 '17 at 22:41
  • 7
    Possible duplicate of Why is Harry Potter so Eurocentric? – SQB Feb 17 '17 at 10:31
  • 3
    @SQB That question and its answers appear to be almost entirely about the Triwizard Tournament. – Rand al'Thor Feb 17 '17 at 11:33
  • 1
    What is so special about Maine in Stephen King? – Teem Porary Feb 17 '17 at 15:56
  • 1
    The proposed duplicate deals only with why the three schools in the Tri-wizard Tournament are European. The answers are along the lines of "it's the tradition". That doesn't seem to answer this question. – Blackwood Feb 24 '17 at 3:56

The books are set in Britain, so they focus on British events.

Founding of Hogwarts

This is the British school. There is an American school too - Ilvermorny. However, remember that Hogwarts was founded around the year 1000. The Americas weren't colonized then - the world was very different.

Grindelwald and Dumbledore

This also took place in the Americas - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has Grindelwald and Dumbledore as some central plot points - not going into detail for spoilers.

Tom Riddle

Well yes... He was British, so the British had to take care of him. The Americas have most likely had their share of Dark Wizards too.


The books focus on Britain because J. K. Rowling is British; and other things do happen in the other parts of the world, we just don't see them because it's set in Britain.

  • 6
    exactly "Why were the hunger games set in the USA" "Why was Battle Royale set in Japan" ... the clue is where the author is from – Naib Feb 17 '17 at 14:00

The events you list are indeed rather important... to British wizards. Foreign wizards don't attend Hogwarts and don't live in Britain. Their civil wars would affect a Nigerian wizard about as much as the Syrian War affects someone in the UK.

The only truly "international" involvement you listed was Dumbledore defeating Grindelwald (strongly implied to be German, and the true power behind Adolf Hitler). There, British wizards' involvement was largely coincidental, a result of Grindelwald happening to have a British aunt and happening to become childhood friends with a bright young Briton.

To the other question of why other nation's wizards didn't interfere in the war against Voldemort... why would they? The UK defeated him the first time on their own, and the second time he quietly seized control of the government. They didn't need to request help the first time, and wouldn't have the second time.

  • 13
    "about as much as the Syrian War affects you and me" - I think you're making a wee assumption about your readership there. – Rand al'Thor Feb 17 '17 at 0:59
  • 7
    I happen to be in hearing range of the Syrian War, so I agree with @Randal'Thor ... – Mithical Feb 17 '17 at 5:54
  • 6
    And even a few thousand kilometers away, the effects of the war can be non-negligable (e.g. in the form of refugees who have fled from it). – chirlu Feb 17 '17 at 13:58

The other two answers that imply that the series are merely focused on British affairs, further implying that comparably significant events were happening in other countries as well, are wrong in the sense that a lot of events are more or less implicitly stated to be unique on the global scale. To name just a few:

  • Harry is the only person to survive the killing curse, whose very name implies that it is not a British invention.
  • Voldemort had made six times the amount of horcruxes the previous global record-holder in that respect, a Greek wizard, had.
  • Just recently, reading other questions, I was reminded of a passage saying that Harry's and Voldemort's souls 'were intertwined more than any other wizards' in history'.
  • The lone fact that a profoundly powerful wizard was not only 'defeated' by a baby, but kept being thwarted by a kid.
  • The Deathly Hallows, arguably the most potent class of items possible (especially the ring), are British-made, outnumbering the comparable in terms of power Philosopher's Stone three-to-one.

Edit: Oh sheesh why it is so. As I said in the comment, there seems to hardly be a non-chauvinistic answer one way or another, if we're rejecting the obvious 'it is so because the author is British'. Perhaps that angle could be subverted after a fashion by saying that the answer is that Britain is an intellectually backwards country in a remote corner of Europe, therefore it's lagging behind all other countries with respect to its Muggle population per capita (it's, say, 98 % while other countries' is 99 %), therefore it's naturally a focal point for global magic events too, compared to equally populous nations. (Is joke no ban pls.)

  • 1
    This is quite true, but it doesn’t seem to answer the question of why Britain is so special. Perhaps you can edit to focus on that? – Adamant Mar 28 '17 at 5:53
  • Hmm why. I'm not sure if JKR would approve of a rather nationalist interpretation that British wizards are just inherently superior talent-wise to all other ethnicities, thus accounting for their exceptional magical achievements, much as mentions, of which I think there are more than one, saying that either Voldemort or Dumbledore are the most powerful wizards alive would imply just that. Perhaps one could, a bit more acceptably, attribute it to climate or such -- magic just being in the proverbial water of the region. – user Mar 28 '17 at 5:57
  • 2
    Right, but answers should answer the question. This just establishes the premise of the question (which the question already did). – Adamant Mar 28 '17 at 6:01
  • Well, I could have written what I wrote in reply to the other two answers, which both got the question's titular premise wrong ('The events you list are indeed rather important... to British wizards', 'other things do happen in the other parts of the world'), except you can't submit a comment to multiple answers at the same time. – user Mar 28 '17 at 13:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.