Muggle-born (No-Maj-born in the United States), once known as Magbobs, is the term given to a witch or wizard who is born to two non-magical parents. Their magical abilities do not seem to be at all affected by their Muggle parentage. In fact, many Muggle-borns have been among the most talented witches and wizards of their age, such as Lily Evans and Hermione Granger.
Origin of magical abilities
Muggle-borns inherit magic from a distant ancestor; they are descended from Squibs who have married Muggles and whose families had lost the knowledge of their wizarding legacy. The magic resurfaces unexpectedly many generations later.
Because of the heritable traits of magic, Muggle-born siblings are possible, as in the case of Colin and Dennis Creevey. However, this is not always the case, as Lily Evans' sister Petunia was a Muggle.
When Muggle-born witches and wizards reach the age of eleven in the British wizarding community, their Hogwarts acceptance letters are delivered in person by a member of the staff, instead of by owl post (the usual postal system for wizards and witches). The purpose is to reassure the parents or guardians about the sudden news, and explain to them about the concealed magical society. They would also assist the family with the preparation for going to their desired wizarding school and for the buying of school supplies.
Attitude towards Muggle-borns
History of persecution
- "No one asked your opinion, you filthy little Mudblood."
- —An example of wizarding prejudice[src]
Muggle-born witches and wizards are often subjects of deeply prejudicial and discriminatory beliefs akin to racism. Derided by pure-bloods and called disparaging names such as "Mudblood", a term implying that they are somehow dirty and impure. Many pure-bloods believe that Muggle-borns are unworthy of magic and should not be allowed into the wizarding world. During the period of time where Muggle-borns were being persecuted, a news article from the Daily Prophet stated that Muggle-borns could have only obtained magic by force or theft.
Those who do not share these beliefs, such as the Weasley family, are often labelled as "blood traitors". Harry Potter who was half-blood was marked as "Undesirable No.1" during the height of the Second Wizarding War for his pro Muggle views and his stance against Lord Voldemort and his new regime.
History of persecution
Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of Hogwarts, argued that the school should only admit pure-bloods as students, as Durmstrang Institute does. Slytherin's views were considered unusual at the time; most wizards of his era not only accepted Muggle-borns but actually considered them especially gifted, and referred to them by the affectionate term "Magbobs". The other three founders of Hogwarts favoured admitting all witches and wizards as students and opposed Slytherin on this point.
As a result of the disagreement, Slytherin left the school. Before leaving, he created the Chamber of Secrets, hoping that his true heir would one day set the monster contained within the Chamber on those who he deemed unworthy of magic. Tom Marvolo Riddle, having discovered his ancestry, went on to set the basilisk on his fellow Hogwarts students in 1943, finally killing one student. Fifty years later in 1992, by means of his diary Horcrux, he possessed Ginny Weasley and reopened the Chamber of Secrets. The monster petrified several people, including Colin Creevey, Penelope Clearwater, Hermione Granger, Justin Finch-Fletchley, and even the Gryffindor ghost, Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, as well as Filch's cat, Mrs Norris.
Tom Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort, took this prejudice to an even greater extreme with his followers, the Death Eaters, despite the fact that he himself was a half-blood.
When Voldemort seized control of the Ministry of Magic in 1997, Muggle-borns were required to register with the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. Political propaganda claimed that Muggle-borns were really Muggles who had stolen magic from "real" witches and wizards, supported by research supposedly carried out by the Department of Mysteries. The Ministry continued to promote the belief with the distribution of agitprop such as the pamphlet Mudbloods and the Dangers They Pose to a Peaceful Pure-Blood Society. The Commission punished anyone who could not prove to have wizarding heritage for this alleged action, sentencing them to Azkaban. Anyone who resisted was threatened with, and perhaps given, the Dementor's Kiss. They also issued two Ministerial Decrees stating that it was any wizards' duty to report suspected "Mudbloods" to them and that failure to do so would result in imprisonment.
This led some Muggle-borns, such as Dirk Cresswell, to forge their family trees. Those who refused to register, such as Ted Tonks, were forced to go on the run and were pursued by Snatchers, sometimes fatally.
This was ended with Voldemort's final defeat in 1998 and the reform of the Ministry under new Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt. Hermione Granger would be crucial in eliminating pro-pure-blood laws as a high-ranking member of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
- Horace Slughorn: "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... Funny how that sometimes happens, isn't it?"
- Harry Potter: "Not really."
- Horace Slughorn: "You mustn't think I'm prejudiced! No, no, no! Haven't I just said your mother was one of my all-time favourite students?"
- — Horace Slughorn and Harry Potter in 1996[src]
There are also indications that a subtler, less virulent form of prejudice against Muggle-borns is relatively common in the wizarding world. For example, Horace Slughorn discriminated more on the grounds of talent or fame, rather than blood status, and thus included particularly talented Muggle-borns such as Hermione Granger, Lily Evans, and Dirk Cresswell among his favourite students. However, he generally expected his more talented students to be pure-bloods and was surprised when Muggle-borns performed very well. When he remarked upon this to Harry Potter in 1996 and Harry responded coldly, Slughorn was genuinely surprised, and insisted that he was not prejudiced. This may indicate that even among those who do not believe Muggle-borns are inherently inferior or "dirty", there tends to be a false belief that most Muggle-borns are less magically talented than those with a full or much recent wizarding heritage. However, Slughorn could have also meant that since Muggle-borns are not raised around magic, it is all the more astonishing when they do very well in school.
The Ministry of Magic also seemed to have mildly favoured pure-bloods for many years before it was reformed after the Second Wizarding War, as there were still "pro-pure-blood laws" in existence, which Hermione later eliminated. Albus Dumbledore also once accused Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge himself of placing too much importance on blood purity, as Fudge was sided more with old, wealthy and influential pure-blood families such as the Malfoys, and looked down upon those who had less wealth and more affiliation with Muggles, like the Weasleys.
It was a widely held belief in the wizarding world that Muggle-borns were more likely to produce Squib children and slower to show signs of magic in childhood than pure or half-blood wizards. These stereotypes were disproven by the Institute of Muggle Studies, though they also disproved the positive beliefs that Muggle-borns have greater immunity to wizarding illnesses and a natural sense of rhythm.
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