15

Obviously, in the Harry Potter universe, some Muggles know all about wizards. The Dursleys, for example, and the British government, as well as Hermione's family. But at the same time, the Wizarding World has a vested interest in keeping themselves hidden, often going to extreme lengths to preserve the Muggles' ignorance about what's really going on. Some things (like this question) seem to take care of themselves, but word-of-mouth still seems like it would be an issue.

Are there any details provided about how they navigated this issue? Did Hermione ever mention (before the events of the final book where she straight-up mind-wiped them) an inability to tell her parents about anything she was doing? Was there a legal reason why the Dursleys could know about Hogwarts but Marge Dursley couldn't (aside from the Dursley's self-imposed shame)? Did we ever hear about family members' memories being altered after graduation, or any loose-lipped gossips needing to be told to hush up?

  • 1
    By that logic, much of the efforts the Wizarding World DID take were unnecessary, like punishing the use of magic in front of Dudley, who already knew about Hogwarts. Clearly, they wanted to keep things under as a tight lid as they could. I'm just wondering if we're ever told where that line is drawn, exactly? Who got to know about Wizards, and who had to be kept in the dark? – Nerrolken Jan 13 '14 at 22:56
  • Right, it was a technicality, but clearly there was already a legal framework for that sort of thing. For example, blowing up Marge was similarly disallowed, even though the Dursleys knew about Hogwarts. Was that because they were allowed to know about it but Marge wasn't, or just because she could have but didn't, or because even Muggles who know about magic aren't allowed to witness it for some reason? – Nerrolken Jan 13 '14 at 23:02
  • 2
    When they punished Harry for using the Patronus, it was a political decision, not a legal one. They used the full Wizengamot for what should have been a minor hearing, not a full trial. Fudge and Umbridge were trying to punish Harry and, by extension, Dumbledore. – pleurocoelus Jan 14 '14 at 0:32
  • It wasn't the "whole government" who knew about the Wizarding-world, only the (Muggle) Prime Minister of the time. Also, Hermione didn't "straight-up mind-wipe" her parents memories; it is unclear exactly what she did, but definitely not Obliviate: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/4706/… – Möoz Apr 16 '14 at 23:04
14

This was already covered on another question here, but high level the answer is simple:

  • Muggles who HAD to know (parents/guardians of wand carriers, Prime Minister) knew. Clear canon.

  • Muggles who were blabbed to, 2 options:

    1. The blabbee thought that the blabber was joking, lying, or nuts.

      Example: See Fudge telling Prime Minister nobody would hear it from him:

      "But then," bleated the Prime Minister, "why hasn't a former Prime Minister warned me--?"
      At this, Fudge had actually laughed.
      "My dear Prime Minister, are you ever going to tell anybody?"
      Still chortling, Fudge had thrown some powder into the fireplace, stepped into the emerald flames, and vanished with a whooshing sound. The Prime Minister had stood there, quite motionless, and realized that he would never, as long as he lived, dare mention this encounter to a living soul, for who in the wide world would believe him?

    2. If the blabbee ended up being named Fox Mulder and was ready to believe - they could always be obliviated, or have their memories messed with. No canon support, but again an obvious approach.

  • Muggles who knew (because they had to), were unlikely to blab for one of 2 reasons:

    1. Parents of wizard kids would not want to harm their children (would YOU want your child to end up in MI5 prison/lab?)

    2. People wouldn't want to be thought to be joking, lying, or nuts - see previos bullet point and Fudge/Prime minister quote.

  • Muggles who blabbed anyway, probably were told NOT to again. In the worst case they could be obliviated as well. No canon evidence but reasonably obvious approach.

    Most of them would not blab

  • 2
    OMG. You just explained Mulder's true motivation – Suman Roy Aug 13 '14 at 7:25
5

Hermione's parents, pre-Deathly Hallows, knew pretty much everything. Book 1 established that they knew she was a witch and was attending Hogwarts. They even took her to Diagon Alley for shopping in Book 2. If I recall correctly, Hermione never mentioned restrictions on what she could tell them.

As for telling the Dursleys, they were Harry's legal guardians and they needed to know. Marge Dursley didn't need to know, so regular secrecy rules applied. (DVK covered this pretty well, above.)

Your other question is whether post-graduation memory wipes, or some such, are standard procedure. I don't think there's evidence either way.

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.