Madam Puddifoot’s: Why Marry a Muggle?
by Theresa Faustina
All of the best shipper essays and debates have paired the favorite wizarding students together. That makes sense, as it would be difficult to get worked up arguing that Hermione is going to marry a Ravenclaw she met in Arithmancy class, that Ron is going to marry Susan Bones, or that Luna is marrying Fred, etc. I just want to say right now that I do think that Jo is going to pair the most popular characters with other wizards. I do NOT think that the epilogue is going to hold a little note that Harry married a Muggle.
However, I would be shocked if Jo didn’t have any of her currently single characters marry Muggles. Why? The theme of ‘blood purity’ and wizard snobbery has been crucial to the books, and to pair all the wizards and witches together (whether pure-blood, half-blood, or muggle-born) would be a bit disappointing. Yes, they wouldn’t be as snobbish as the true blood-purists, but to have only truly magical matches would, I think, belie the notion that a person’s nature is not as important as their character. All I’m expecting is one little footnote (like maybe that Ernie Macmillan married a Muggle). Nothing too big, nothing too earth-shattering. In this essay, I’ll look at things from the wizard point of view and answer some questions on the motivations in dating muggles.
First of all, to marry a Muggle, you first must have been willing to date them. The major advantage dating Muggles has is that it greatly increases the sheer numbers of available people. If you already had a high school sweetheart, you’d probably get married fairly soon, as Molly and Arthur and Lily and James did. If you aren’t already in a fairly committed relationship by the time you graduate Hogwarts, you’ve exhausted a lot of the possibilities in the wizarding world. You haven’t fallen in love with the Housemates of your year. If you’re a Gryffindor or Slytherin, you probably have eliminated at least one-fourth of the school because they are in the Enemy House. The other Houses may have people already paired off for marriages, leaving few options for you.
If you didn’t find that special someone at Hogwarts, you might hope to meet someone of a different age than yourself at work. But what if they are all a lot older than you? Think of Tonks; she’s an Auror, but far younger than her co-workers. There must be other people her age in the Ministry, but as an Auror she probably doesn’t interact with them much. So, if you are in a small department in the Ministry, or are in another business that doesn’t get a lot of adult customers, your workplace romance options are highly limited. You can either date people much older or younger than you are, or you can date Muggles. Both options have their own difficulties. If you feel the single wizards or witches your age aren’t really your type, there are millions of cute Muggles in your city! Just buy some jeans, ditch the cloak, and you’re on your way to romance. There are only so many fish in the Magic Pond, but there are limitless opportunities in the Muggle Sea.
Secondly, you may also greatly enjoy Muggle culture. Perhaps you were muggle-born, and wish there was someone you could talk to about football, non-moving portraits, or films. Maybe you are just crazy about the Muggle culture and really want to meet lots of them. In the process, you might just happen to fall in love. As a wizard or witch married to a Muggle, you can live and work with magic while enjoying the many Muggle cultural perks. You get the best of both worlds, as you’d have eckeltricity and fellytones to make your spouse happy, and you’d still get to send off owls and use Floo Powder.
Finally, you might have something that appalls the Wizarding community but wouldn’t offend ignorant Muggles. Take Tonks’ mother. She was a Black, but was in Gryffindor. The people who were closest to her family were probably disgusted that she was in Gryffindor to begin with. The people in other Houses probably liked her fine, but she could still have faced prejudice as a Black when she got out into the work force. But what do Muggles know of the Black history? Nothing!
The secret wouldn’t necessarily have to be a big one. If you bungled your way through school, like Neville did, your peers might see you wrongly as some sort of moron and never consider you in a romantic light. A Muggle wouldn’t care how many cauldrons you had exploded when you were in school. You can shed your old evil, clumsy, or bungling image when you date an ignorant Muggle.
The drawback for the witch or wizard is simply accusations of ‘Blood Treachery.’ Yet if they’ve already been dating Muggles, they probably don’t care all that much about Blood, and don’t much care for those who do. The other risk is that the Muggle won’t forgive the secrecy, won’t understand the magical nature, and won’t want to continue the relationship. So, the biggest risk in dating a Muggle is falling in love…you have to reveal your secret at some point, but when? Mr. Riddle took his wife’s secret pretty hard, it seems. Seamus’ dad got a ‘bit of a nasty shock’ when he found out his wife was a witch.
Is it the law that you can only reveal your true nature after marriage? That’s a pretty big risk to take, I think, as Mrs. Riddle found out the hard way. It might be easier to tell your secret close to engagement time, and if your true love freaks, you can either explain slowly or just memory charm them. If the couple do end up staying together though, you as the witch know you have a man who can forgive even a big secret like that, who is willing to be a part of a world that is hostile to him, and who can let his children grow apart from him in a big way. It would be pretty tough to be a Muggle married to a wizard, I think. All of a sudden, you are “beneath” your magical in-laws, your children can be the victims of prejudice (obviously that would be a lot more shocking to white parents), and you can’t help them or understand a lot of their schoolwork and work problems. Your children will probably definitely be going to boarding school at an early age, and your spouse may be unhappy if some of them aren’t qualified to do so. I have a feeling that Riddle left his wife not only because he was scared of magic, but also because his snobbish ego couldn’t take the idea that there were people out there who thought he wasn’t good enough for his wife.
So, what characters could conceivably marry Muggles? Any random students, like Lee Jordan or Parvati, could easily be plugged into the epilogue as having wed Muggles. Tonks could easily marry one, as she already knows a lot of their culture from her dad, and is younger than the people she works with but is too old to marry into Harry’s group. In her work as an Auror, she may also have the opportunity to meet muggles when she interviews witnesses to Dark Attacks.
Remus might feel it would be irresponsible to date anyone, but if he did marry a Muggle, he could benefit from having someone who is completely unprejudiced against werewolves, never thought that Sirius Black was evil, etc. Snape could benefit from marrying a Muggle (though he never would) because in his career as a student and teacher he has probably alienated every British and Irish witch between the ages of 11 and 40, and he does like showing off and impressing people.
Neville could benefit by a relationship (whether friendship or greater) with a Muggle; he has never known any true Muggles and therefore wrongly thinks his powers are nothing. His biggest problem is lack of confidence, and knowing someone who needs him for protection could help him out. The advantage of a Muggle for Harry would be that she wouldn’t think of him as The Boy Who Lived or The Boy Who Conquered Voldemort Again (but there are plenty of girls at Hogwarts who don’t see him that way anymore). Charlie may not meet many witches his age in Romania, but there are plenty of attractive Muggle women he may see in town on the weekends.
In conclusion, I suggest that while we probably can’t predict with any degree of certainty who exactly will marry a Muggle, I think that we can say that, logically at least, one person will do so. The precedent of mage-muggle marriages is established with the Riddles, the Tonkses, the Finnegans, and according to Jo’s website, the Thomases. And even ‘pure-blood’ Ron has said at one point that his family isn’t truly ‘pure,’ that none of the ‘pure’ families are, as if they hadn’t occasionally married Muggles, they’d have died out. The several advantages or reasons for dating and eventually marrying Muggles may appeal to even the characters we know and love best! I doubt we’ll get to watch such a romance develop, but leave some room in your shipping theories for the odd Muggle or two.