Wizarding Culture

Indifference and Neglect


I would file this under "What Not to Say to Someone You Left in the Care of Negligent Family for Ten Years Plus All Intervening Summers."

Still, a valid point--and it wouldn't hurt Harry to acknowledge it.  Timing could have been better.

Dumbledore goes on to talk about the Fountain of Magical Brethren, which they destroyed in the battle at the Department of Mysteries.  The sculpture, into which Harry tosses all of his Galleons after being cleared of all charges in his hearing before the start of term, depicts a witch, wizard, centaur, goblin, and house-elf existing in harmony.  Given the definite tensions between these races, most of which can be linked to some form of stone-cold indifference by wizards/witches to the others portrayed, it is reasonable to relate Sirius' mistreatment of Kreacher to the oppression of magical "fellows," but Dumbledore finishes the thought with some more poor timing:

"We wizards have mistreated and abused our fellows for too long, and we are now reaping our reward."

Harry interprets this, understandably, as an assessment that Sirius "deserved" what happened to him in the Department of Mysteries.  But what Dumbledore seems to mean is that wizards have been complicit in allowing their "magical brethren" largely to be banished from society or forced into a kind of servitude.  Hogwarts students do not usually even question this; it is embedded deeply in the culture.  Goblins ring them up at the bank.  House-elves serve them meals and clean up after their messes.  It is a shock to them, if they encounter a centaur during detention, and it seems unenthusiastic about rushing to their aid.

After the destruction of the Fountain of Magical Brethren, the grotesque Magic is Might statue is erected in its place.  It seems safe to assume that, after Voldemort's downfall, and especially by the time Hermione becomes Minister for Magic, both of these statues would be gone, either replaced by a better, more realistic (and not oppressive) piece of art, or simply left vacant to fulfill another purpose.


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Tags: abuse culture (Muggle) culture (Wizard) cultures damage damaged dislike indifference magical ability mistreatment neglect