4

Throughout the 7 books we are introduced to animals that exist only in the wizarding world. Why would the Ministry go to all the trouble of hiding them from muggles when lots of them are similar to animals that muggles are very familiar with? It seems like a waste of time and resources. What makes these animals worth hiding?

  • 1
    Two reasons that spring to mind: 1) Preserving the secrecy of the magical world. If Muggles never see an animal, they can't study it and learn the existence of magic. 2) Risk of harm. Humans have a history of being quite nasty to the things they encounter. And in the other direction, a Muggle who met a Manticore or Lethifold would probably end messily. – alexwlchan May 20 '15 at 16:09
  • Reason 2 is quite interesting, do you have any cannon references to back it up? – itsuki May 20 '15 at 16:13
  • I don't think Rowling has ever addressed the question of whether Darwin's theory of evolution is true in the Harry Potter universe, but we could speculate that while it is true for "mundane" animals, the creatures that are kept hidden are the ones that were created artifically by people with magical abilities in the distant past--we know this is true of the first Basilisk which was created by Herpo the Foul, so it seems at least plausible it's true of the others. – Hypnosifl May 20 '15 at 16:24
  • Possible dupe? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/86650/… – Valorum May 20 '15 at 17:45
  • 1
    If ground tiger bones are a supposed miracle cure, just imagine the ground bones of -insert magical beast here-. – Theik May 21 '15 at 9:23
11

If you want more background on why magical creatures are hidden from Muggle eyes, then I recommend reading the introduction of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It contains a “brief” history of Muggle interactions with magical creatures, and why, in 1692, the wizarding community decided to conceal twenty-seven species of creature from Muggle eyes.

A couple of reasons:

  1. It could be dangerous for the magical community.

    Dumbledore explains that Muggle sightings of magical creatures made the magical community less safe:

    Imperfect understanding is often more dangerous than ignorance, and the Muggles’ fear of magic was undoubtedly increased by their dread of what might be lurking in their herb gardens. Muggle persecution of wizards at the time was reaching a pitch hitherto unknown and sightings of such beasts as dragons and Hippogriffs were contributing to Muggle hysteria.

    (This follows a Muggle monk’s account of a particularly dangerous ferret, which Dumbledore guessed was a Jarvey, a sort of talking ferret.) That’s probably not as much of a problem today as it once was, but you can see why it was considered when the ban was first enforced. And the law has probably never been re-examined.

  2. It would risk the secrecy of the magical community.

    Today, we largely accept that creatures from historical legend are fictitious. Now imagine we found conclusive proof of dragons, and perhaps even proof that they’d existed for hundreds of years. That would cause us to examine a lot of assumptions about historical legends.

    There are enough historical accounts of magic to make the magical community quite nervous. They don’t want us re-opening old wounds.

    (If you read Fantastic Beasts, it sometimes explains what makes a creature unusual and worth hiding from Muggles. For example, Kneazles are “sufficiently unusual in appearance to attract Muggle interest”; remember that Crookshanks looks like a normal cat because he’s only half-Kneazle.)

    This goes for small creatures too: enough sightings of weird-looking ginger cats is going to get prying eyes aroused.

  3. It would be dangerous for Muggles and the creatures involved.

    Muggles and unusual creatures don’t mix. There is a long history of humans hunting creatures to extinction, and even scientific missions of discovery can end with the creatures coming worse off. (For example, the giant tortoises that Darwin discovered on the Galápagos turned out to be so tasty that a lot of them got eaten.) Given Muggle barbarism, can the wizarding community be blamed for wanting to protect a few special creatures from us?

    On the flipside, a lot of magical creatures would be dangerous to Muggles, who are ill-informed and ill-equipped to deal with them. (Remember that it’s a UK-centric universe, where guns among Muggles would be scarce.) There are lots of dangerous creatures – Lethifolds, Quintapeds, Dragons, Manticores – which would wreak havoc among Muggle communities.

| improve this answer | |
  • An excellent answer. – Valorum May 20 '15 at 18:06
  • In fairness to the muggle world, we don't know how many Wizards sailed on the Beagle, and Wizards aren't exactly benign, let alone peaceful. I seem to recall several Wizards who too great pleasure in the torture of muggles. This is why I think the Minister for Magic should be a muggle, to keep a track on these dangerous miscreants. – user20155 May 23 '15 at 9:29
2

It reveals that magic does exist to the non-wizarding world

"everyone would be looking for a magical way. it would be absolute chaos"

and the wizarding world wants to stay hidden, since its better for everyone.

| improve this answer | |
  • I'm not asking why creatures like dragons are kept hidden but more why creatures like kneazles are – itsuki May 20 '15 at 16:09
  • well, maybe you should have specified that that is what you meant. either way, its the same answer. – albusseverus potter May 20 '15 at 17:19
2

First off, animals from the wizarding world would not react well to Muggles. A lot of them need special care and a Muggle wouldn't know what to do with it. The animals might be dangerous or exhibit magical powers.

Therefore (secondly), Muggles would be put in danger by being exposed to things like dragons and hippogriffs.

Thirdly, this would break the Statute of Secrecy, with was sanctioned for a good reason. The Wizards had some past experiences with Muggles and would not like to repeat that.

| improve this answer | |
1

Remember in Book One when the Owls flood the house with letters for Harry?

The Dursley's reaction to regular animals displaying magical events was over the top frightened. Imagine if they were in front of a hippogriff.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    The Dursley's are a parody of a muggle. Many muggles would react with curiosity to a hippogriff. – vap78 May 20 '15 at 19:37
  • True. Maybe an Acromantula and a Manticore are better examples – iSkore May 20 '15 at 19:54

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.