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I should be studying, but instead I'm thinking about HP stuff... - alley_skywalker [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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I should be studying, but instead I'm thinking about HP stuff... [Apr. 30th, 2015|03:49 pm]
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Here's what I never understood. How is it that the DEs were able to take control of the Ministry (and Aurors) in under 2 years during the Second War, effectively winning the war, with the exception of a very strong guerrilla resistance in the face of the Order/DA/Harry and co., but they were not able to do the same during the First War, which dragged on for about a decade, but at least five years if we assume that it didn't really get going until the mid-70s? It seems to me that the DEs would have been much stronger the first time around and would have had a lot more things going for them: a more stable-minded leader, more resources, more people willing to join (not having been exposed to the disaster of the a civil war yet), more time to prepare (both politically and otherwise). Sure, the Ministry was in denial for about a year after Voldemort's return and there was a lot of misinformation going around, but even then there is a gap of a year before the Ministry was taken and after it was clear that Voldemort was back and a war was inevitable. A year in which the Ministry/Aurors would have been actively working against DE threats and infiltrations. On the other hand, the DEs were likely to be markedly weaker and under-resourced the second time around.

So what changed? Why was the government take over so comparatively easy the second time around? Did they just not try for a coup the first time? But why in the world not? I don't remember canon giving a coherent explanation to this, but I won't discount that I'm forgetting things. (It's been a while.)

Any theories?

[User Picture]From: ars_belli
2015-05-01 08:28 pm (UTC)
I like the implication here that the first time around the DEs were still in that rebellious young adult phase. Old enough to have graduated and to have made a start on the career ladder, but not to have any responsibility. Whereas in the Second War, they were mature enough, had been trustworthy enough, to actually have influential positions when the war started. What better way to do that than decide that Voldemort was never coming back and genuinely switch allegiances, only to find it blow up in one's face when he is resurrected?

They probably did try for a coup — doesn't Hagrid imply that when he talks abot Voldemort in the first book — but didn't complete it? Although I'm rusty on canon - my books are in the wrong hemisphere!
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[User Picture]From: alley_skywalker
2015-05-01 10:33 pm (UTC)
That's an interesting idea. But I don't think it really fits. I mean, sure, for some of the DEs (Sev and his age mates) this would be true. But even Lucius would have been some 7-8 years into his career by the end of the 70s and that's quite a bit, especially given that, as a Malfoy, he would have a lot of contacts de facto from the start. But even just logistically, if we're talking strictly of political contacts, Tom wasn't an idiot (obviously). He would have tried to recruit older generations to his cause. I think it is implied in canon his earliest DEs were his own schoolmates or only somewhat younger. Even if it were only younger wizards/witches who did the actual fighting, political support could have easily come from those who were older. Also, Pureblood supremacy was not a novel concept invented by a new radical conservative group. Pureblood ideals were bread in families for generations so they must have had political support from higher ups during the First War too.

Also, that post implies that "growing up" made the DEs weaker in the end (less people willing to risk everything because ~family) not stronger. Which makes sense, actually, but also kind of derails the idea that maybe they were actually MORE desperate and bonded and willing to rake risks because, perhaps, the seoond time around they felt they had nothing to lose.

(Although, I think it was probably split in a way. Those who had been in Azkaban and escaped didn't have anything left to lose. Those who had avoided in the first time and had settled into civilian life, likely had more. But it also evens things out in the end at best, or creates weakness at worst because ~internaly devided.)
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[User Picture]From: ars_belli
2015-10-01 09:40 am (UTC)
TBH, most of this boils down to the fact that JKR cannot add. That's no problem for canon-era writers, but anyone who wants to write fic set during or immediately after Tom Riddle's schooldays is faced with explaining why it took him so long to recruit and put in motion whatever he was planning. I completely forgot that there were three generations of DEs by the time canon rolls around!

There was an interesting article discussing what the DEs motivations were, or at least Voldemort's and how that might be distinct from the actual DE aims. The "Darklord News" LJ usually has links to interesting meta, although it isn't actively running anymore.
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[User Picture]From: alley_skywalker
2015-10-01 10:44 am (UTC)
Yea...JKR and math really don't get along. (Although, I can see how it took Tom a while to get things going.)
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