Hi, Muggles!

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Wow, chapter four was a wild ride. Honestly, it’s one of my favorites we’ve read so far—so much happened! We see Harry bond with the Weasleys, revisit Diagon Alley using floo powder (which is a disaster), discover Knockturn Alley, learn more about the Malfoy family, meet Gilderoy Lockhart, and much, much more. This chapter was filled to the brim with action, along with little moments between Harry and the Weasleys that were just so touching to see.

In our video this week, we race through all of this information and dig a little deeper into things like Borgin and Burke’s, the Malfoys, and an intro to Gilderoy Lockhart. Check it out!

With everything that happened in this chapter, it was a bit difficult to nail down exactly what to write about for this week’s article. Harry encounters a lot of characters and problems that will follow him through the entire book series. After much thought, I decided to start a discussion about an EXTREMELY important topic that will weigh on all the characters for the rest of our journey. Today, we’re going to talk about the difference between two ideologies that rise to the forefront of the series. In this chapter, these views are represented by two very different characters: Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley.

These different views, as you may have guessed, focus on the issue of the differences between wizards and Muggles (and by extension, Muggle-born wizards), as well as the dangerous discrimination pure-blood purists force on the rest of the Wizarding World. In a nutshell, people like Lucius Malfoy believe Muggles and Muggle-borns are “lesser”—that they don’t deserve to partake in the magical world or even be treated as humans by the wizard community. It’s a horrible mindset that will unfortunately become very prominent in this book especially. We’ll most likely discuss this topic multiple times as the world slowly develops, especially when it comes to the Hogwarts founders, Voldemort, and Dumbledore and Grindlewald’s relationship later in the series. All of these characters (and many more!) are affected by this divisive idea and its basis in the concept of power and control over others.

This chapter is where it all starts, when we first begin to see this view in action. Chapter four is important for laying the foundation for this idea through the introduction of Lucius Malfoy. Although Draco is definitely nasty, he’s twelve—his thoughts and worldview certainly aren’t nearly as developed as his father’s. In the first book, we see Malfoy bully anyone he wants to exert power over. But this is just the beginning: Lucius Malfoy is where Draco has learned this behavior, and this man is steeped in the hate and discrimination that come with the “Mudblood” ideology.

However, Lucius Malfoy is juxtaposed against another character who is a champion for everything Lucius despises in the Wizarding World: Arthur Weasley.

In this chapter, we learn more about Lucius and Arthur’s views and beliefs before their showdown in Flourish and Blotts.

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

First, we need to talk about Lucius Malfoy as a person. He’s… slimy. As we’ve discussed before, the Malfoys are all about appearances and getting in with the right people—no matter the cost. Deception is a key factor in how they operate, but when we look closer, their true nature comes to light. The reason Draco and Lucius are in Borgin and Burke’s in this chapter is that they’re selling some questionable items from their home. But these aren’t just dark artifacts—they’re items specifically aimed toward harming Muggles.

As Lucius talks with Borgin, he mentions the Muggle Protection Act as well as Arthur Weasley’s love of Muggles as he explains his reasons for coming. Then he mentions some poisons that could be embarrassing if they were found. Now, Lucius doesn’t finish his explanation by describing why these poisons might get him into trouble, but based on the context, we can see they were probably used on Muggles specifically. While we may initially believe the dark artifacts were intended for wizards (and some may be), it’s clear Lucius has a history of harming or intending to harm Muggles.

This idea represents a great divide that sprouts and follows us through the rest of the books. Some wizards disdain, or even hate, Muggles and, by extension, Muggle-born wizards, who they view as unworthy to study magic. This ideology is presented to us through Lucius Malfoy and the Malfoys in general before we learn how widespread this dangerous thought really is. It’s a stain on the Wizarding World and is also one of the driving factors behind Voldemort and his followers’ actions.

Then we have Arthur Weasley. While we’ve already learned a lot about Arthur Weasley’s views on Muggles from chapter three—including details about his job and hobby—these ideals are only intensified with the introduction of Hermione’s parents in Diagon Alley. We get to see Arthur’s fascination with the Muggle world in action. But more importantly, we witness his appreciation of Muggles and their culture. They’re not simply creatures to be ogled—he treats them as people who should be respected. Although they live differently than him, he’s interested in and fascinated by who they are and thoroughly enjoys talking with them and getting to know them better.

Man, on another note—isn’t Arthur Weasley just a wonderful human being?

At Flourish and Blotts, we see these two ideologies come to a head—Lucius and Arthur get into a physical altercation! However, to me, this is more than a fight between two men who hate each other; it symbolizes the overall conflict between these two schools of thought and even hints at the bitter battle that will follow us through the series over of these points of view.

When I read this chapter, I was actually a bit surprised about how quickly Arthur Weasley, who seems pretty mild-mannered, physically attacked Lucius Malfoy. His aggressive assault, without magic, shows that this response is passionate, desperate, furious… And when we take a closer look, we can see that the reason Arthur explodes isn’t only because Lucius insults him—he also insults the Grangers, who are standing nearby. Arthur’s actions are in defense of the Muggles.

This first “battle” isn’t the only one we’ll see about this topic, though. This is just the introduction of these two ideologies and the harm discrimination and hatred can cause. This idea will be prevalent in this book, especially when it comes to Draco Malfoy’s comments and the attacks on Muggle-born students at Hogwarts this year. I’m so ready to talk about this more. It really gets me fired up—I’m sure you can relate.

For now… we can be happy we got to witness Arthur Weasley being awesome, a champion who’s dedicated to fighting for and protecting those who need it.

In the next chapter, we have more action! Harry and Ron have an… eventful… trip to Hogwarts. This is definitely one of the moments when I question their decision-making abilities!

Thanks for tuning into this article, and if you have any additional comments and thoughts about this topic, please comment below. Don’t forget the video! I feel like I’m a bit more cheery in those.

Read chapter five! See you next time!

Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Harry Potter series.

3 Comments

  1. Let me start off by saying I LOVE a good, long chapter – and by extension a good, long book. I have a feeling you’ll see my enthusiasm grow the further we get in this series. My love grows in almost exact correlation to how long each book is (we all have our quirks I suppose).

    I want to start off with the part you mentioned at the beginning of your video – when I read that the primary difference that came with living with the Weasleys was that everyone liked him, my heart nearly burst. I love the Weasleys so much, and it’s so tragic that Harry has had to go 12 years without that feeling.

    As for Knockturn Alley, and Borgin and Burkes in particular: it seems to be (especially after taking Hagrid’s reaction to seeing Harry down there into account) a bit of a black market situation down there. As we all know, you don’t really have a society without one of those, and the Wizarding World is no exception. Where there is a society with rules and regulations, there will be those who undermine and ignore those rules. It does seem that actual storefronts are a bold move, so this makes me wonder if they either have a “front” like you touched on in the video, or if there are some “dirty” Ministry employees who turn a blind eye to this area. We do know that Fudge and his administration is pretty inept and corrupt, and that there are Death Eaters and Voldemort sympathizers within their ranks…

    And while we’re on the subject of corruption I’m going to have a quick rant (I need my own stick) about Lucius, and the Malfoy family. This is the perfect first introduction into who the Malfoys are for Harry. We see from the very first second of them walking in that Lucius is a slimy, despicable, spineless creep of a man, and that he’s taught Malfoy everything he knows. I honestly think that if he would just stand up for what he believes I’d respect him a little more, but his proclivity to wheedle himself next to whomever is in power absolutely disgusts me. A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. I also think that, incidentally, Voldemort would agree with me. Later on, he actually chides Lucius for that very thing in the graveyard in book four after he’s been given a new body.

    I also wanted to touch on the Weasleys and their wealth (or lack of it). While it definitely appears to be true that Arthur is under-compensated, I think it’s also worth pointing out that the accumulation of wealth is not a priority for this family. This almost endears them more to me (and to many others, if I had to guess). They are capable of having this wonderful, full, and loving life because they aren’t focused on the material. This obviously puts them in stark contrast to the Malfoys, who are exceedingly wealthy, and also exceedingly unhappy and unfulfilled for their trouble. This is Rowling’s reminder that money doesn’t buy happiness! This is also why I’m not particularly surprised about Arthur’s reaction in Flourish and Blotts. I mentioned this as a response to Parker’s YouTube comment, but we know that Arthur is a Gryffindor and thus already likely to stand up to injustice. And we can also imagine that this would certainly not have been the first time Malfoy has insulted Arthur and his family. I think that we’re seeing the boiling over of a history of cruel insults here, and I’m 100% here for Malfoy getting socked in public! Of course, we also know that in all likelihood Malfoy intentionally provoked Arthur here in order to create a distraction big enough to disguise the fact that he has slipped Tom Riddle’s diary into Ginny’s cauldron. So while it’s satisfying to see him get some payback, at this moment he still has the last laugh…

    I love your comments about the juxtaposition of two huge ideologies in the Wizarding World – this is definitely the first taste of the primary topic for the rest of the series. What we should realize here though is that this conflict didn’t originate with Voldemort – there has been a long line those who believe in the inferiority of muggles (Grindlewald anyone?). This just happens to be the contemporary iteration of what is probably a centuries-old conflict. Not the brightest way to end my comment, but the end of this chapter is a bit of a downer as well so I don’t feel too badly lol.

    Super excited to continue to dive into this topic as we move along!

    Like

    1. Oh my goodness, this comment… I love it!

      Your thoughts on the different “fronts” to cover up the truly dark stuff that goes down in Knockturn Alley is interesting. And you’re right, as the series goes on, we do see how inept the Ministry has become. In the fifth book, they spend most of their time smearing Dumbledore and Harry instead of actually governing the wizarding world, and once he’s accepted to be back, their actions are just sad.

      I’m on board with any rant about Lucius Malfoy. He’s the worst! I laughed out loud at the mention of your rant stick, haha. Once everyone (including Voldemort) understands who Lucius Malfoy is at his core, he’s disliked by ALL. If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for? He’s definitely one of the most phony people in these books (besides Gilderoy Lockhart).

      Your thoughts on the Weasleys’ financial situation touched my heart! While I do wish he was paid a bit more, it is so meaningful to see what’s truly important to this family. While their struggles are touched on every once in a while by different members of the family, it never affects the family’s happiness or defines them. Rather, they’re defined by their love for and encouragement of each other and the warm welcome they show anyone who visits their home. Man. We can really learn a lot from them.

      I’m excited to delve further into this topic, too. It’s one that becomes more and more important as Harry grows up. There’s more to come!

      Like

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