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Wizarding schools - new "canon" - thoughts [Jan. 30th, 2016|06:53 pm]
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As always, new Pottormore "reveals" cause a lot of talk.

The current controversy seems to be "is JKR just careless/really bad at math OR is this deliberate worldbuilding that has XYZ ramifications." Honestly, I think JKR is just that bad at math/is kind of careless about everything HP these days. But then again, I'm not a huge fan of JKR.

There's been this idea going around that the 11 schools are meant to be the Ivy League of the wizarding world and that they are somehow prestigious and whatnot.

But how? If a school is "prestigious/exclusionary" it must be selective about its students. But on what grounds?

Ways to be exclusionary:

  • Heritage - only people who have a certain pedigree in their family line or whose parents have gone to the school.

  • Money - steep tuition costs that only allow for really well-off families to send their children there.

  • Entrance Exams/Pre-school education - necessitates that children have a certain amount of education before entering school (and typically must prove this in an exam).

  • Raw magical talent/ability - there is a magical way to determine the "specialness" of children with magical abilities and only those who have the most potential are selected.

Now, looking at Hogwarts we can throw out 1 and 3, because both these necessitate the exclusion of muggleborn students and we know that mugglebornds attend Hogwarts. Number two also seems unlikely because how otherwise were the Weasleys, who are pretty obviously not rich, able to afford to send that many kids to Hogwarts, especially in a row/simultaneously? Which leaves us with the last option. But then how do we explain people like Crabbe and Goyle? Even accounting for the bias in Harry's POV, it just doesn't seem like they would have made the cut into a international-level prestigious type school.

The one thing I suppose could make sense is if this is a combination of factors, like you have to have one of three: either you're rich, you're a heritage student OR you're really talent. But I feel like that's a very-very broad range there since just about every (British) person with a magical parents would likely qualify under heritage. And "elite" schools wouldn't want that. They'd want to be very restrictive to either wealth or talent or maybe both. But that doesn't seem to be the case Hogwarts either...

[User Picture]From: nearlyconscious
2016-01-31 04:17 am (UTC)

Very true, this Ivy league analogy doesn't seem to make any sense.

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[User Picture]From: deslea
2016-01-31 04:42 am (UTC)
I think JKR is really crappy with maths at the best of times, and I don't think much of her post-book tinkering with the universe, as you probably know.

So having said this, and freely admitting I haven't been following this, is it possible that these are well-known schools simply because they're among the oldest and/or started by a prominent person in magical history? (Obviously if any of these eleven are new schools, this theory can be dismissed). In other words, they aren't necessarily unusually good schools, they've just got a bit of nostalgic cred about them that's led them to be seen as prestigious.

Another possibility is that they are prestigious in the sense that they are considered to be the source of up-and-coming great wizards and witches, but it doesn't automatically mean that all witches and wizards there are great. So they aren't particularly selective in terms of admission, but they will identify and nurture talented ones and give them the best start. So a modern analogy might be a good school with a well-regarded gifted and talented program, but that doesn't mean only gifted kids can go there.

I'm just spitballing ideas here, I have no stake in this. For my own sanity, I basically think of Pottermore as JKR's after-canon fanfic, and only deutero-canonical at best.
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