Ideas To Explore in a Next-Gen/Future Harry Potter Story or Roleplay
The Harry Potter novels take place from 1991-1998. This is a world before smartphones, before iPods, before near-ubiquitous sleek laptops. This is a world where most computers were desktops and monitors were deeper than they were wide. This is a world where what’s on TV (or at least American TV) included The X-Files, Beverly Hills 90210, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Law And Order, The Ren and Stimpy Show, and Are You Afraid Of The Dark. A world where Doctor Who was a show that ended in 1989. A world where kids read Goosebumps books, and where films like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Lion King, and Toy Story had just come out or were just coming out. My Chemical Romance wouldn’t appear until three years after Harry had graduated, and Justin Bieber would have been crawling in diapers when Victor Krum took Hermione Granger to the Yule Ball.
The kids of the next generation, however, will grow up in a very different world, one where the biggest threat probably isn't a dark lord, but rather the very traditions and mores of the wizarding world. They will grow up at a time where wizards will have to learn to adapt to the muggle world at lightning speed, because the revelation of magic to muggles is no longer a matter of if, but when.
So, here's a list of possible ideas that could be explored in a next-gen story or roleplay that, if used effectively, could make for one heck of a story or plot.
Table of Contents
- The continued creeping of muggle culture into wizard culture, and the inevitable backlash.
- The increasing difficulty of enforcing the International Statute of Secrecy.
- The young witch or wizard whose life and dreams were derailed by attending Hogwarts.
- The witches and wizards who realize that muggles have cooler things and are doing cooler stuff than they are.
- Magic gene research.
The continued creeping of muggle culture into wizard culture, and the inevitable backlash.
Rose Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy, and Albus Potter begin their first year of school in 2017, a full nineteen/twenty years after the wizarding world was rocked and shaken by the Battle of Hogwarts and the events that lead up to them.
With the introduction of Nymphadora Tonks in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we saw a witch taking fashion cues from the Muggle world as early as 1995. Exactly how commonplace this was in Tonks’s time isn’t made clear, but it isn’t far-fetched to think that she was the only one, and that as time progressed more witches and wizards, particularly those from muggle families, chose clothing more in line with that of their muggle peers.
And then there is the inevitable influx of muggle technology. Although Hermione quotes Hogwarts: A History as saying that technology (or at the very least, electronic technology) does not work around Hogwarts due to the large amount of magic in the area, we also know that wizards use radios and that Hogwarts’s magic level was no impediment to the function of the headlights of Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia or the flash of Colin Creevey’s camera. Furthermore, locations in London that should be highly charged with magic, such as the Ministry of Magic and Saint Mungo’s Hospital For Magical Maladies And Injuries, seem to have no effect on anything around them. It could be argued that the Ministry of Magic does not have this problem because it is located underground, but Saint Mungo’s is not.
From this we could infer at least one of the following:
- The information that Hermione read was either outdated or incorrect, and that high levels of magic do not actually interfere with the function of modern electrical technology.
- Magic does interfere with the function of electronics… but there are ways to account for and overcome this problem.
- Magic can serve in place of electricity if necessary.
If the first item is correct, then that leads to the question of why it’s incorrectly stated that magic interferes with the function of electrical technology. Perhaps…
- Insufficient or poorly-conducted experiments with technology were performed - eg, someone brought a digital watch onto Hogwarts grounds, dropped it in water, and when it was found that the watch no longer functioned, simply assumed that it was the magic in the air that had done it and wrote that in the report.
- It’s a rumor made up to discourage children from bringing muggle doodads to Hogwarts.
In any case, sooner or later someone will realize that the only major obstacle to using laptops at Hogwarts is a dearth of places to recharge the batteries.
But... don’t think that this will mean that students will be using Facebook on their time off, or that they’ll freely wearing Hot Topic when out of uniform! No radical changes come but what the older and more conservative members of society throw a fit… and wizarding culture has shown itself to be very skeptical of, if not outright distrusting of muggle culture in general.
In reality, whenever the older generation fears that the younger one is getting too out of hand… drastic measures are occasionally taken. Historically, many forms of new and important entertainments have been blamed for the corruption of the youth - for example, new styles of musics (a prominent example would be rock and roll), comic books, television, tabletop roleplaying games, and video games. Many individuals have protested and lobbied for the abolishment or censorship of these products with varying degrees of success and support. In light of this, it would not be at all surprising to see the older generation of witches and wizards lashing back against the tastes and pleasures of the younger generation. EG, one concerned pureblood mother might find and read Twilight, and decide that it was exemplary of all muggle literature, and start a movement to ban children from owning and reading muggle literature altogether. Pureblood parents, worried about the influence that the Internet might have on their children, might move to ban electronic devices from Hogwarts.
On a more positive note, you’d almost certainly have some witches and wizards who wanted to recreate things they’d seen on TV. Spells that make things bigger on the inside than on the outside are a thing, and building a fake police box is a pretty easy project...
The increasing difficulty of enforcing the International Statute of Secrecy.
The Golden Trio didn't grow up in an era where every other person on the street had a camera in their pocket. However, the next generation will. No longer will it simply be a matter of finding the muggle who stumbled upon a magical incident and wiping xir memory; muggles may now be taking photos and videos of magic and uploading them to the Internet. As witches and wizards are notoriously tech-impaired, it seems very unlikely that they would be able to remove each and every picture and video before it was long too late.
To complicate matters further, camera surveillance has become increasingly commonplace in Britain. While passersby might not notice a person slipping into the washroom and failing to come out, someone watching security footage later on might.
And then there’s the possibility that witches and wizards might be spotted by Google’s satellites. Inevitably witches and wizards flying on brooms would end up on Google Earth, if not entire Quidditch games. Giants, centaurs, dragons, and hippogriffs would also be caught on camera.
How will people react to this? How will the wizarding community deal with the increasing difficulty of keeping themselves secret? How long will they be able to keep it up until the whole thing finally collapses? (See also Tips & Ideas To Write More Believable Masquerades and Tips To Write Better & More Believable Cover Ups.)
The young witch or wizard whose life and dreams were derailed by attending Hogwarts.
Picture this - 10-year-old Susan has good friends in school, loves watching Doctor Who with her family, and dreams of becoming a doctor so she can one day find the cure for the illness that claimed the life of her grandmother. Then Susan gets a visitor who comes and informs her that she’s magical and that she’s been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
This means leaving behind her school friends, no more watching Doctor Who with the family, and most of all, completely giving up on her dream to become a doctor. Sure, she could become a healer, but she wouldn’t be able to share any cure she did find with the rest of the world because it would be a magical cure. As for becoming a muggle-type doctor anyway, Susan’s education at Hogwarts wouldn’t prepare her for that at all. So when Susan graduates from Hogwarts, she’ll be a woman robbed of her childhood friends and life with her dreams utterly derailed.
The same would go for any muggle-born child with lofty dreams. You want to be an astrophysicist? Sorry kid, we only have astrology here. Calculus? Uhh… we have arithmancy? You want to figure out how to remove pollution from the ocean? Sorry, you couldn’t do that without breaking the International Statute of Secrecy. You want to attend muggle school instead? Nope; you have to learn how to get your magic under control and that isn’t something your muggle parents can teach you.
The witches and wizards who realize that muggles have cooler things and are doing cooler stuff than they are.
On the flip side of the coin, you might have pureblood people who realize that what the general wizarding world is up to these days pales in comparison to what the muggles are doing - they can easily communicate with people around the world instantly, look up and find information in a matter of seconds, can buy things without leaving their homes, and have an extremely wide and varied selection of entertainment to choose from. They’re also exploring space (and discovering exoplanets!), discovering fossils of animals long extinct, and building robots to send down and explore the darkest depths of the ocean.
How would these people act? What lengths would they go to in order to see their dreams through? What would they have to overcome? Who would stand in their way? What would have to change? How would it change?
Magic gene research.
Long story short, muggle scientists research the magical gene, either with the help of a witch or wizard volunteer (perhaps they offered to pay xir good money that xe couldn’t make in the wizarding world), surreptitiously gathered DNA, or even used someone who isn’t so willing.
There are so many ways this could be taken - it could mean magic for muggles and squibs, or it could mean finding a way to suppress magical folks’ magic.
In the first case, how would the wizarding community react to muggles suddenly having magic? Especially purebloods who still think themselves superior? They’d find themselves facing muggles who could not only wield magic, but who also know how to take advantage of modern technology, including modern nonmagical weapons - in essence, witches and wizards unconstrained by the social mores and laws of the wizarding world.
In the second case, how and why would something like that be implemented? How would the wizarding community react? How would the situation resolve?