MYTHTERY: You Didn’t Get Your Hogwarts Letter Because of Voldemort
Voldemort destroyed records of Muggle-born witches and wizards, meaning they never got their letters of admittance to Hogwarts.
The theory goes that Voldemort, in his second rise to power, destroyed all the records of Muggle-born witches and wizards who hadn’t yet hit 11 years of age, thus eliminating their chance of receiving a Hogwarts acceptance letter.
Voldemort gained (again) peak power during the years 1997 and 1998. If our calculations are correct, then the last set of 11-year-olds to receive their letters would have been born in 1983 and 1984. It is conceivable then, knowing his hatred for mixed blood, that Voldemort had the remaining Muggle-born records deleted – records from 1985 through 1998 when he fell. He could have done it too; he controlled the media and the Ministry. This means that anyone born between the years of 1985 and 1998 could, theoretically, be of magical blood.
As a Muggle-born within this timeframe, I delighted in imagining that my letter was misplaced and dove into this theory further.
The first question that comes to mind is if this covers all Muggle-born witches and wizards or just those in the UK and Ireland where Voldemort held the most power and influence. Let’s assume that all Ministries were subjected to a rigorous deletion of records during Voldemort’s reign and that the theory extends to all countries. Getting excited? Me too. However, I had further questions…
If Ministries keep records of this, how do they find Muggle-borns? Discussions online suggest they simply keep an eye out for underage magic in non-wizarding communities, dispatching a team of Ministry employees to investigate and report back. This, though effective, has several holes, such as a Muggle family living near wizards or the Muggle-born in question not displaying any kind of magic in the presence of the dispatch team, not to mention human error – also known as the plethora of mistakes occurring in everyday bureaucracy. Children would simply slip through the cracks, right?
If you follow this theory, then you will soon find further intriguing details. Legends go on to say that in extreme situations, Ministry employees would note if the family in question displayed anti-magical beliefs (read: were fundamentalist religious households), such as trying to rid their child of magic by harming or even killing them. In this instance, the delegation of Ministry wizards would intervene, “block” the child’s magical gift, and inform the parents that an exorcism had been performed.
Taking everything into account, could it be possible that Muggle-borns born between 1985 and 1998 are unknown to the Ministry and are secret witches and wizards even to themselves? Unfortunately, no. As much as it kills me to write this, the Ministry does not hold a monopoly on Muggle-born records. If they did, there would have been no need for Voldemort to set up the Muggle-born Registration Commission.
Muggle-born records are, in fact, noted down at Hogwarts by two artifacts called the Book of Admittance and the Quill of Acceptance. WizardingWorld.com describes these items:
In a small locked tower, never visited by any student at Hogwarts, sits an ancient book that has not been touched by human hands since the four founders placed it there on completion of the castle. Beside the book, which is bound in peeling black dragon-hide, stands a small silver inkpot and from this protrudes a long, faded quill. These are the Quill of Acceptance and the Book of Admittance and they constitute the only process by which students are selected for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
This very cool but unhappy discovery squashes any theories of Voldemort ridding your potential magical records. While he may have controlled almost everything in the UK, he did not control Hogwarts. Also, the book has apparently never been wrong.
It is believed that Professor McGonagall checks the Book of Admittance once a year and then sends off acceptance letters to the children about to turn 11.
Well, bugger. Myth debunked. This was a roller coaster ride of emotions to research and did not have the happy ending I had hoped for. However, what about when Voldemort did control Hogwarts? 1997-1998? Did he have access to the book then? Professor McGonagall was still deputy headmistress, but did she dare send out acceptance letters to Muggle-borns, knowing their likely fate under the ruling of Voldemort?