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Obscurial

To survive so long, with this inside you, Credence, is a miracle. You are a miracle. Come with me—think of what we could achieve together.
-- Percival Graves (WFT)

Obscurial

A young witch or wizard, usually under the age of ten but sometimes older, who has kept their magical ability repressed until it becomes an Obscurus – a violent force of Dark Magic which may burst forth from them unexpectedly (WFT).

  • In the 1920s, Newt Scamander encountered an eight-year-old Obscurial in Sudan and tried to save her by removing the Obscurus from her body, but she unfortunately died anyway. A few months later when Percival Graves found the leftover Obscurus inside Newt's suitcase and accused him of using it to kill people and destroy buildings in New York City. Scamander explained that the Obscurus once removed from the Obscurial's body has no magical power and cannot hurt anyone (WFT).
  • Credence Barebone, adopted child of Second Salem anti-magic activist Mary Lou Barebone, was the oldest known Obscurial as he reached young adulthood. The Obscurus force inside him was responsible for the deaths of Senator Shaw and Credence's mother Mary Lou and sister Chastity. His Obscurus went on a rampage through New York City while trying to kill Percival Graves/Grindelwald, who had hoped to use his power against the No-Maj. It was destroyed by Aurors under orders from MACUSA President Seraphina Picquery, although whether this was the end of Credence as a wizard is unknown (WFT).

Harry Potter never became an Obscurial because even though the Dursleys disapproved of magic, they did not completely stop him from using his powers all the time. In a FAQ on her new Official Site, J.K. Rowling wrote: "Even when he was scolded for ‘making things happen’, he didn’t make any attempt to suppress his true nature, nor did he ever imagine that he had the power to do so" (JKR).

Commentary

Notes

It's possible that Ariana Dumbledore was an Obscurial, since she was "damaged" and kept hidden away by her family, and her uncontrolled magic killed her mother, Kendra. Her brother Aberforth described her as "unbalanced ... with magic exploding out of her at moments when she couldn’t keep it in any longer" (DH28). Gellert Grindelwald (Percival Graves) knew all about Ariana through his friendship and proximity with her brother Albus, even telling Aberforth that she "wouldn’t have to be hidden once they’d changed the world, and led the wizards out of hiding, and taught the Muggles their place" (DH28). So perhaps Grindelwald got the idea to find more Obscurials and use them against Muggles/No-Majs from his knowledge of Ariana. ~ SIP

 

Pensieve (Comments)

  • Vaudree

    Can’t find my list of “fear of magic” quotes, but probably should include obscurial (host) obscurus (parasite) with that list due to the fact that the cause is to some degree ego dystonic. The desire to suppress magic seems to be part of it, but there is something else – IF Ariana was an obscurial, she seemed to have what Alberforth refers to as rages – which seems to be a form of anxiety attack – so the incident with the muggles, being very traumatic for her, may have left her with something resembling PTSD. According to Aberforth, a big part of taking care of Ariana was keeping her calm because it was during her rages that her magic burst out of her. All young witches and wizards make things happen when they are upset or angry whether they know that they are doing magic or not – but this strikes me as a more intense emotion – fear – fear of one’s own magic, reliving a fearful event – or both.

    I guess we will find out more about what happens when an obscurial no longer fears nor suppresses their own magic – whether they can learn to keep the obscurus at bay or at least stop it from becoming more powerful. Newt tried removing an obscurus from an obscurial – which may eventually be successful, but helping the person deal with emotional issues surrounding its creation may be equally as important.

    p. 47 (PS/SS 4) – “Harry looked into the fire. Now he came to think about it … every odd thing that had made his aunt and uncle furious with him had happened when he, Harry, had been upset or angry …”

    p. 455 (DH 28) – ‘… She liked me best. I could get her to eat when she wouldn’t do so for my mother, I could get her to calm down when she was in one of her rages, and when she was quiet, she used to help me feed the goats.’

    p. 455 (DH 28) – ‘If I’d been there, I could have calmed her down. …’ ~ VAML

    • Jeanne K.

      Thanks for the quotes and the great comment. Yes, the Obscurus inside is very much like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which is triggered by the recurrence of upsetting events, in Credence’s case being beaten and shamed for his magic.

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