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[Hogwart's Musings] Should the House System be Abolished?

Amethyst

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The Slug Club has its issues, but it seems to also be a group that inherently crosses House boundaries in a way that few others do. I can imagine that in its heyday, it fostered between Slytherins and others.
Slughorn, in the WWII analogy that this book is, is the segment of European high society that wasn't a Nazi or a sympathizer. He may harbor some prejudices about those who aren't purebloods, but he doesn't want them all wiped off the map. He liked Lily and Hermione despite having two muggle parents because he considered them exceptional witches. I mean, James was a pureblood, but you never stopped hearing him go on about Lily when Harry was around, so you could see how much he cared about blood status. He's a curator of people, and his Slug Club parties/salons were his way of getting them to network. It makes more sense if you do some reading on European high society from the 1930s and 40s. Slughorn was the type of person who would have introduced Josephine Baker to Gertrude Stein but have Wallis Simpson thrown out on her ear for even being on the same block as his parlor while issuing a semi-polite apology to her husband as he was gently escorted back into his car because the former Edward VIII was such a lovely man that chose to marry so far beneath himself. And you can't be rude to royalty, even the ones who defect.

Though I wonder if, in the past, the Wizarding population was a bigger percentage of the UK population than it is today, based purly on that Wizards have likely had better healthcare, especially for childhood diseases, than the muggles did for a long time...
Yes, but wizards were also subject to a variety of things that muggles weren't, and it probably evened out over the centuries. Also, genetics plays into it. Magic is a dominant trait, per Word of God back when it was reliable, but it may be dominant in the way that having six fingers is dominant or in the way that Huntington's disease is dominant(Which is the current theory since 2012).
 

Isator Levie

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He may harbor some prejudices about those who aren't purebloods
Does he, though? He expresses the sentiment how it's funny and a bit unexpected that people from purely non-magical backgrounds can excel beyond those who grew up with it, which Harry is understandably defensive about it, but... I think it's kind of a fair observation. One way or another, we do see that wizard children might grow up with exposure to magical concepts and even sometimes contact with a wand, and Snape was described (by an admittedly not entirely reliable source) as having come to school already knowing more curses than a lot of advanced students. Somebody who never had any idea about any of that might be expected to have some catching up to do.

I've been critical in the past about ways in which the books' depictions of prejudice against Muggles might be framed or received as analogous to racism or classism, and in this instance I'll draw a line to how a comment such as "I wouldn't expect somebody who grew up with Muggles to be so good at magic" doesn't quite track to comments that might be made about somebody based on race or being below the poverty line because being a Muggle is not a thing created or perpetuated by oppressive systems governed by wizards. Like, it isn't exactly a comment insensitive to the manner in which somebody's possible disadvantages are created by greedy or bigoted agendas.
 

Amethyst

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Does he, though? He expresses the sentiment how it's funny and a bit unexpected that people from purely non-magical backgrounds can excel beyond those who grew up with it, which Harry is understandably defensive about it, but... I think it's kind of a fair observation. One way or another, we do see that wizard children might grow up with exposure to magical concepts and even sometimes contact with a wand, and Snape was described (by an admittedly not entirely reliable source) as having come to school already knowing more curses than a lot of advanced students. Somebody who never had any idea about any of that might be expected to have some catching up to do.
"Your mother was Muggle-born, of course. Couldn’t believe it when I found out. Thought she must have been pure-blood, she was so good."

You're right, but hearing that sort of thing so deep into book 6 is gonna raise a few red flags with certain segments of readership, especially when your POV character bristles at the statement.

Anyway, I think the house system is something American people don't truly get because the closest analogue to that is the Greek system at four-year universities. And I think I mentioned in our last HP thread that the UK boarding school experience maps really well onto the U.S.ian college/university experience, which is a HP/A Different World (specifically a post-Denise ADW with Dwayne Wayne as the protagonist) mashup works so well.
 

dmjalund

Polychromatic Pikathulhu
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I suspect the average wizard waited longer before having children, and except for the Weasleys don’t have a ]arge amount of kids, so when muggle childhood mortality went down, the proportion of wizards to muggles dropped.
 

GabrielPierce

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Part of the whole "Slytherins were largely evil" thing can be placed pretty much square at Voldemort's feet. I think one of the books outright stated the majority of the Death Eaters were Slytherins from his time at Hogwarts, which makes sense given how charming he was supposed to have been before he went balls to the wall crazy. Essentially, the guy had major influence over what, 2 whole generations of Slytherin students? I'm not surprised things got better after he and the majority of his inner circle were killed. It's just that what, 95% of the source material we have for wizarding society is based on the novels, and for that period of time, Slytherin are almost all in on the Death Eater cause - and at least a few who aren't are clearly sympathetic (like Umbridge).

Added bonus - removing Snape's influence as well likely went a long way towards the next generation being able to rehabilitate House Slytherin as a group.

I just assume at this point that major conflicts have happened before, and whichever house was responsible was essentially shunned for a generation or two depending on the damage done.
 

darktalon

Merchant of Chaos
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I just assume at this point that major conflicts have happened before, and whichever house was responsible was essentially shunned for a generation or two depending on the damage done.
And that's assuming the previous dark wizards shared Voldemort's MO of recruiting at school and mainly from a single house. A wizard who wasn't descended from and uniquely obsessed with one of the Founders might have a broader recruiting pool and so not become as associated with a specific house in the way Voldemort did.
 

Isator Levie

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Added bonus - removing Snape's influence as well likely went a long way towards the next generation being able to rehabilitate House Slytherin as a group.
Hmm, now I'm reflecting on the mental rabbit hole that is the lingering matter of how Dumbledore is basically complicit in Slytherin's issues from having both appointed Snape and never appearing to do anything about his abuse of power.

Hmm, I'm kind of feeling an absence of anybody ever calling him out for that. He talked down to Harry for finding Snape suspicious for the... six odd years of bullying and cruelty, and behind the scenes all we ever get is him tutting Snape for letting bias against James Potter cloud his perspective of Harry. Never do anything about him continuously acting on it, mind.

There's the proven occasion in which Snape's prejudice constituted an actual liability, when it compromised teaching Harry to shield his mind before abandoning that task completely, and all Albums can really say of it is that it was an oopsie daisy on his part. No sense of Snape catching hell for it or anything, just because he could get away in the moment from Dumbledore being in hiding.

If I think about it like that, it does lend something of an old boy's club feel to Hogwarts appointments, where Snape gets the position and no oversight because of a quid pro quo. One could almost feel that from Goblet onwards, Snape is left to do whatever because it's too important to not risk pissing him off and losing their inside man.

Old boy's club is certainly the feeling I get from making Hagrid a teacher.

And then there was the time he appointed a wholly unqualified candidate as part of an effort to expose his fraudulence.

But, you know, he said funny nonsense words at the opening ceremony, so most beloved administrator ever.

(Unlike Quidditch, this would be something where I think the initial tone of whimsical silliness has problems with clashing with the books' later introspections)
 

Isator Levie

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Insulting my noble house is one thing, but you crossing a line you start talking smack bout Hagrid.
Harry, Ron and Hermione show wisdom in demonstrating that loving a person does not preclude being mindful of their flaws.

Hagrid is certainly knowledgeable about the subject, but in other qualifications as an educator is clearly lacking. Somebody needed to teach that guy to compose a proper curriculum.
 

Grumpygoat

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Blood "purity" is one of the factors the Hat uses for sorting Slytherin. That criteria goes all the way back to the founder, who wanted it to apply to the school entirely. The problems with Slytherin didn't start with Voldemort, they're in the very foundation of the House itself. That Slytherin may not have always resorted to murder and thuggery, nor death spells and other dark magics, doesn't change that bigotry has always been a major part of the House.
 
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