Magical Mondays: When Magical Education Is Lacking

How many of us wanted to learn magic as a child? Magic is just so… magical. And let’s face it: if magic were real, the world would be so much more fun to live in. One of the reasons Harry Potter was so captivating was because of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I didn’t know a single person growing up who wouldn’t have rather have had an education there than at a boring Muggle school.

Hogwarts SchoolReading about Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts was one of the best parts of my childhood, and I will always love the series for that. After all, Hogwarts has moving staircases, talking sentient pictures that exist to serve the people who painted them, household slaves who’ve internalized their subjugation, a class system that encourages segregation, and a student mortality rate that can rival a Game of Thrones episode. Wait, what?

Yeah, looking back, Hogwarts is nowhere near as wonderful as it first seemed. In fact, it’s actually a really horrible place. The professors, most notably Albus Dumbledore, did not implement magic in a way to be beneficial for any student’s safety. And all the horrible things that happen at Hogwarts could have been avoided had magic been used more responsibly.

As the Malfoys constantly like to tell us, Albus Dumbledore is the worst thing to happen to Hogwarts. I’m inclined to agree. While we can certainly argue that Dumbledore has a good heart and wanted to do the right thing, he fails more often than the other characters realized. And I’m not so certain that I even want to argue that deep down Dumbledore is a good person. Regardless of his intentions, his actions are rarely thought through and it’s hard to believe that the safety of his students is even his priority. Many of his decisions put them in danger, and had Dumbledore been more responsible and logical with using magic, numerous travesties could have been avoided.

It doesn’t take long before Dumbledore’s irresponsible behavior rears its ugly head, and when he misuses magic the results can be deadly. We can see this in how he handles the Philosopher’s Stone in the first book and in the reason behind planting the Whomping Willow years before the series even starts.

Harry Potter FluffyDuring The Philosopher’s Stone, Dumbledore decides to hide the aforementioned stone at Hogwarts, knowing full well that Voldemort is after it. By taking the stone to Hogwarts and not somewhere else, Dumbledore inadvertently lures one of the world’s most dangerous wizards to a school filled with children—and I have a hard time believing that Dumbledore didn’t suspect that would happen. The wards Dumbledore places to guard the stone are all but ineffective against a wizard as smart and powerful as Voldemort. But even worse, those same protections are outright deadly to the students. Dumbledore brings a giant three-headed, man-eating dog into the school and only uses a lock that any eleven-year-old child can easily magic her way through. This exact thing happens when Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville are hiding from Filch and Hermione uses a simple spell to get through the locked door leading to the dog. They’re almost eaten as a result.

This entire situation could have been avoided by Dumbledore hiding the stone literally anywhere else. Voldemort is not omnipotent; he doesn’t know what Dumbledore is thinking, and Dumbledore has access to numerous resources that could help him in hiding the stone. Instead, he chooses the most obvious place. The situation is eventually resolved when Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel decide to destroy the thing. This leaves me wondering why they didn’t just do that to begin with.

Then there’s the Whomping Willow: a giant murderous tree that attacks people in the middle of school grounds. I have spent years trying to figure out why the hell anyone ever though planting this tree was a good idea, and the reasoning we’re given is pretty shoddy. The Whomping Willow guards the entrance to an underground tunnel that leads out of Hogwarts. When Dumbledore accepts Remus Lupin, a werewolf, as one of his students, he plants the Whomping Willow so that Remus can go someplace else once a month and no other students would run the risk of being bitten.

Whomping WillowThose other students do, however, run the risk of being mauled by a tree. In fact, we hear of one student who almost loses an eye to the Whomping Willow. It’s hard to believe that a violent Whomping WIllow was really the best way to keep everyone safe. Dumbledore could have solved this problem by just locking Remus in a room away from all the other students during the full moon (and using a magical lock that no eleven-year-old child can break). But instead, like with the Philosopher’s Stone, Dumbledore’s solution was superfluous and potentially deadly to innocent bystanders.

None of this is that surprising considering Dumbledore’s other bad decisions. During The Chamber of Secrets, numerous students are injured from basilisk attacks. While the basilisk’s presence is not Dumbledore’s fault, allowing the attacks to continue by not shutting down the school and sending all the students home is. Instead, Dumbledore only considers closing Hogwarts. His bad decisions also affect his students’ home situations—he leaves an infant Harry on the Dursleys’ doorstep in the middle of the night, which was needlessly endangering. Then, when Harry is older and it turns out his guardians are abusive, Dumbledore just leaves him there. In the last book, Dumbledore even admits that he knows that Harry and Harry’s cousin, Dudley, were both abused, and yet he did nothing about it.

On top of that, Dumbledore doesn’t hire decent staff. Professor Binns is horrifically incompetent, as are numerous DADA professors, and then there’s Severus Snape, the potions master, who runs around the school verbally attacking and abusing students. Again, Dumbledore does nothing about this.

Dumbledore might not actively try to be a bad person, but he certainly doesn’t try to be a good person either. His decisions and use of magic show a genuine disinterest in consequences or practicality. He really is one of the worst Headmasters to run Hogwarts. And one thing is certain: while Dumbledore is headmaster, Hogwarts is hardly the greatest school of witchcraft and wizardry.

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About MadameAce

I draw, I write, I paint, and I read. I used to be really into anime and manga until college, where I fell out of a lot of my fandoms to pursue my studies. College was also the time I discovered my asexuality, and I have been fascinated by different sexualities ever since. I grew up in various parts of the world, and I've met my fair share of experiences and cultures along the way. Sure, I'm a bit socially awkward and not the easiest person to get along with, but I do hold great passion for my interests, and I can only hope that the things I have to talk about interest you as well.

5 thoughts on “Magical Mondays: When Magical Education Is Lacking

  1. When I was a kid I always wanted to go to Hogwarts. Looking back now I’ve rather changed my mind. It’s dangerous, for sure, but now I realize that dividing kids into houses gets incredibly problematic as they’re sorted during an age when they don’t know who they are yet or have yet to be molded into the people they’re going to be for the rest of their lives. Then this hat thing comes up and tells them they belong in this certain category of which certain outcomes are expected? Granted, you /can/ choose where you go, but you’re freaking eleven years old. You don’t know what you want. This is the biggest thing that bothers me about Hogwarts. Your post also sheds light on how Dumbledore, known as ‘the greatest sorcerer in the world’, ran the school irresponsibly. From turning a blind eye to Snape’s mistreatment of students to disappearing when Harry needs him.

  2. For one, it’s pretty clear throughout the series, Dumbledore is rather preoccupied with broader wizard politics that he probably shouldn’t be involved in, as a someone who’s job is to run a school. And the Ministry of Magic- which in theory should be regulating it, or can Hogwarts pretty much just do what they want? anyway- they’re incompetent at running things, and then later they became essentially semi-fascist, but they’re still crappy at that too!

  3. You forgot to look at another important point Dumbledore encouraged discrimination among students. He does nothing to guide slytherin students who we should admit are still children but instead he stands aside as they are shunned by the whole school. He encourages Harry to continue risking his life for a fight that would kill him eventually and he did not know that Harry will survive the deadly curse again. In actual fact he grooms Harry the same way we would groom a goat to be sacrificed at the altar. He should never have been put in charge of children. Look at how he reacts when Harry almost kills Draco Malfoy would he have done the same thing if it had been Draco who had almost killed Harry. Sorry for babbling but l am a strong supporter of Draco Malfoy.

  4. Pingback: Magical Mondays: When Magical Education Fails Part 2 | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

  5. Pingback: How Dumbledore is Complicit in the Abuse of Others | Lady Geek Girl and Friends

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