24

It doesn't seem like riding a broom requires a wand, though IIRC they do have to say "Up!" to ...animate (right word?) the broom. Does this qualify as magic that only wizards can do? If so, could a Muggle ride a broom after it was animated?

I guess this would apply to most magical transit; Floo powder, Apparition (at least side-along Apparition), Thestrals, magic carpets, etc do not seem to require a wand to work. If a Muggle had access to a broomstick (it doesn't seem as if any old broom will do) or Floo powder, could they use these methods despite being Muggles? Is there any canon evidence for either answer out there?

(This is my first question on here, so I hope it's appropriate and ok to ask this. Thanks!)

15

There seems to be a certain amount of magical ability required to control a broomstick, including getting it to raise off of the floor.

The Wikia page on Broomsticks has this to say:

Long before the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy came into force, wizards were savvy enough to realise that Muggle neighbours would seek to exploit their abilities. Therefore, if they were to keep a method of flight in their homes, it would have to be unobtrusive and easy to hide. The broomstick was ideal - portable, cheap, and it required no explanation.

I suspect, then, that a broomstick would only react in a magical way to the touch of somebody who has some magical ability; you wouldn't want any Muggles who handled your broom to sense that it was anything else.

If that is the case I don't think a Muggle could fly a broomstick, but they could certainly ride one. In the same way that not knowing how to drive a car doesn't prevent you from being a passenger in one, not having the magical ability required to fly a broomstick wouldn't prevent you from being on the back of one that's flown by a witch or wizard (though it may not be that comfortable).

  • 3
    Full disclosure though: Wikia is not really a legitimate canon source, nor does Wikia give a source for that paragraph. In all honesty, though, this question could easily be argued either way. – Donald.McLean Sep 20 '13 at 4:02
  • While I don't think Wikia is canon source, I think I remember this being from the Quidditch Through The Ages book. (I did do some research before asking). This answer makes a bit more sense to me, because as in the "Can a Muggle become a potions maker?" question and answer, it seems like some magic would be needed. I especially like the comparison to a car. Thank you both for your answers! – my_heartbeat's_a_jig Sep 26 '13 at 3:25
7

This question is doubtless related to other muggle related questions such as Who gets Muggle-born studens onto Platform 9 3/4?

When asking questions about muggles, it is common to forget that there are non-magical humans who have access to magical society: squibs and parents of muggle-borns. The only real difference between muggles and squibs, so far as I can tell from the books, is that squibs, having magical parents, are born into magical society. This gives them access to magical businesses and services, though they might require help for some things, such as the Knight Bus (if you don't have a wand, how can you have a wand hand?). Parents of muggle-borns similarly need access to some of these same services in support of their children.

As for riding brooms or accessing the Floo network, I am not aware of any canon information answering this question. On the other hand, there is no particular reason why squibs or parents of muggle-born children would not be allowed to use any form of transportation that is allowed to underage magical children who are not permitted to use magic outside of school.

4

Presumably not

Per Twitter:

Wands and brooms (and flying cars) are tools that channel magic.

Thus the same way that Muggles cannot use wands to perform magic, they wouldn't be able to use brooms to fly.

Also of note is that squibs apparently can not ride brooms themselves.

On the appointed day, his big brother Hamish took him to Hogwarts on the back of his broomstick, hoping against desperate hope that Angus would be allowed to stay once they got there, or that the school might be able to tease some magic out of him.
Scottish Rugby By J.K. Rowling - Pottermore

1

Having read the same article that was mentioned above and based on the book series I kind of came to the opposite conclusion. The wizards decided on brooms because at the time they were an everyday item that even muggle households would own. The reason to hide this means of transportation would tend to suggest that wizards were concerned of theft of their magical devices. In addtion, the fact that the broomsticks had to be constructed by magical means and had specific makes and models makes it seem that this particular item contains magic in itself. As mentioned above there is the "up" command which could mean it requires a wizards startup but in the things ive read about different temperments of the brooms that makes me think its a quirk of the device rather than a requirement. There were times that wizards just grabbed a broom and took off without any word.

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