The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

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Prof. Jetta Delaney
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The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

Post by Prof. Jetta Delaney » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:48 am

Jetta was fascinated by Hogwarts. Not necessarily in an awed, hushed way, but certainly not in a blasé way either. She couldn't precisely describe it. It was completely unlike the tiny old stave building, she and her peers had learned magic in in Gammla Uppsala. It was certainly unlike the brief stint she taught Introduction to Magical Business at Ilvermorny, though she supposed there were more than a few passing similarities in structure. Having different houses to be sorted into, for instance. But the grandeur of Hogwarts was something she was all together unfamiliar with in a school until agreeing to teach here. Even here in her classroom, undoubtedly the most mundane in the school, there was an ancient energy. It was as old as the energy surrounding her childhood school, but something about it ran deeper and stronger, much like the walls of the building itself.

She sighed and took a deep swig of tea out of the Muggle travel thermos she'd brought with her to Hogwarts. It was quite a brilliant invention really, keeping drinks hot or cold without a hint of magic. Looking off to the side, her eyes caught the non-magical photograph of her family. While all of her children (except RJ) had been seemingly complacent in their move to the UK, she knew it was hard on them, especially her dear sensitive son Vesper. The twins, Lyssa and Dahlia, had immediately taken to the idea of new scenery, and Morrigan was very enthusiastic about going to a more academically famous school. It had also been a great opportunity for her nephew, who was struggling at the very small, very ethnically homogenous and pureblooded school in Gamma Uppsala. But Roman, Jr. had been apoplectic at the thought of leaving. It was still a very sore spot for him. He had quickly retreated into himself at the new school. Despite working there, Jetta had seen very little of her youngest child outside of the Great Hall during meals.

It hurt. It hurt a great deal. But she couldn't look back to where they had been. The decision--and the harm that came with it--had already been made. Now, all that could be done was repairing it in its own time.

Praying for a distraction of absolutely any sort, Jetta fought falling into her own sour thoughts, when she heard the classroom door open. Looking up and thanking the gods for whatever it was that was headed her way, she smiled softly and greeted the person at her door.

"Hello. May I help you?"
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Imogen Blackwood
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Re: The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

Post by Imogen Blackwood » Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:51 pm

Imogen needed an answer. It had been burning in her brain since her cousin had mentioned it over summer holidays. Her muggle uncle had confirmed the statement but it still didn’t make sense to her. Surely a witch versed in Muggle tradition would have a better understanding of the complexities of the situation than your average muggle who only had a general understanding of magic.
 
Gen asked an older student who taught muggle studies and where their office was before walking determinedly to Professor Delaney’s office. She didn’t know anything about this professor, a realization that gave her a moment of pause as her hand touched the doorknob. Some professors didn’t like students randomly visiting their offices. With a deep breath she opened the door.
 
“Hello. May I help you?” Professor Delaney smiled softly.
 
Gen took a quick, deep breath, nodded to the professor, and strode up to her desk. “Professor, I have a question about muggles. My cousin – a half-blood – told me muggles are visited by a wizard on Christmas Eve who brings them presents built by his house elves. But doesn’t that violate the International Statute of Secrecy? Why is this one wizard allowed to apparate in and out of muggle homes one night a year? My muggle uncle confirmed the existence of this… Sandy Claws but I just don’t see how the aurors haven’t stopped him by now!”
 
Gen closed her mouth tight, realizing she had been ranting, and held her hands in front of her stomach to show she didn’t mean to go on like that.
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Prof. Jetta Delaney
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Re: The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

Post by Prof. Jetta Delaney » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:15 pm

A little student strode in with purpose. Jetta thought she looked familiar; perhaps she had seen her in the Great Hall sitting near to one of her own children. Roman was around the girl's age, she guessed, twelve or thirteen.

She steepled her fingers and looked curiously at the girl as she began her line of questioning, but as she went on, Jetta could feel her face splitting into a grin. She tried to fight it down; she didn't want the girl to think she wasn't being taken seriously. Slowly shifting her hands in front of her mouth, the professor tried to act...well, professorial, nodding along with what was being said.

"I'm very glad you came to me with this question," Jetta stated, as the girl finished up. "The matter of Santa Claus is a very serious controversy among non-magical peoples."

Drawing herself up, she walked around the desk and leaned upon it when she was closer to the student. Carefully considering her words, Jetta began.

"Santa Claus has many names. Santa Claus, obviously, Father Christmas, Julenissen in Norway, Ded Moroz in Russia, Babbo Natale in Italy, Hoteiosho in Japan. But he's not technically a wizard. He's what non-magical people call a 'saint.' Or at least, he was in the original tellings of the story! A saint is someone in religion who has done great things or has great powers. But according to these religions, the powers are not magical. They are gifts from a god or gods. They are given these gifts to help people."

"Saint Nicholas is what is called 'the patron saint of children'. He was known not just for his miracles--a non-magical term for acts of magic done through a person by a god figure--but for his willingness to give gifts freely, especially to children. Over time, the story changed a good deal to become the story of a magical man who uses elves to build toys and bring them to children on Christmas Eve. But they are just stories for non-magical children to believe in. It is really their parents who bring the presents on Christmas, of course. Your uncle was probably just trying to keep a certain kind of...a non-magical version of magic, if you will, alive for his own children. I personally don't believe in teaching it though, despite my husband's objections. It might leave good children, whose parents cannot afford presents, feeling sad at Christmas time. And no one should be sad then."

Jetta smiled and clasped her hands in front of her. She gave the young lady a conspiratorial grin. "It is very important you do not tell your cousin this though! It is a very important non-magical tradition for the young person to discover that Santa is their parents by themselves!"

"I don't think I got your name, by the way? I don't believe you're in any of my classes. If I'm mistaken, I apologize."
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Imogen Blackwood
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Re: The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

Post by Imogen Blackwood » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:58 am

Professor Delaney seemed both kind and understanding. Imogen listened intently; taking in the information and turning it round in her head to understand. More questions were formulating in her mind but she decided to distill them down to the most important points.

The professor asked her name - Gen had just barged in without introducing herself. Her parents would be disappointed in her rudeness.

"My apologies!" Imogen piped. "I'm Imogen Blackwood - second year. I'm not old enough to be in your classes yet."

"So…" Imogen paused, formulating her first follow up question more carefully than before. "Why is it important to muggles to lie to their children? Or am I misunderstanding?" She looked away, folded her arms across her chest and tilted her head to the side frowning while considering this strange tradition. "That must be strange for muggle-borns - magic being real but not this Nicholas fellow."
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Prof. Jetta Delaney
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Re: The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

Post by Prof. Jetta Delaney » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:44 pm

Jetta nodded at the name and perked up a bit.

"Nothing to apologize for, my dear. You were distracted by the pursuit of knowledge. My youngest son is a second year actually. Roman Delaney. He's a Ravenclaw. You wouldn't happen to have any classes with him, would you?" she quickly added a small grin to the end of her comment, so as not to unintentionally embarrass herself. Not seeing RJ in awhile had deeply hurt her. Though she had never been as close to her youngest child as he was with his father he was still her baby, of course.

She listened carefully as Imogen continued, still grinning softly at the innocent curiosity of the girl.

"It isn't exactly about the fact that it's lying...it's--well, it's hard to explain, I suppose. My husband explained it to me as being a part of growing up for many non-magical children, just like learning to ride a bicycle--a non-magical transportation device for children and adults--or learning certain non-magical songs. But it's also very culturally based, as well, I believe? The way I parse it, is that it first gives children the guidance to be rewarded for doing good. Then it tests their critical thinking skills, whereupon they discover that there is no Santa Claus. Personally, between the idea that poorer children could rarely be "good enough" for a visit and the rather creepy idea of an old man spying on children, I put my foot down and wouldn't allow such a tradition for the children. They did learn to ride bicycles, however," she smiled.

"Though most non-magical cultures on earth have a Santa Claus, not all non-magical people teach him. It might even be against their religion to do so. Non-magical culture is very complex in all their different belief systems."

She considered Imogen's final comment.

"I imagine it is very strange for muggleborns, yes. Though I imagine a great deal of being introduced to the magical world is confusing for them. I've always felt we could do a better job with that," she sighed.
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Imogen Blackwood
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Re: The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

Post by Imogen Blackwood » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:25 am

“Oh, RJ?” Imogen echoed. “Yeah we’re in a few classes together!”

Imogen nodded to the professor as she spoke. Muggles seemed awfully complicated. Especially with all they had to do to make up for their lack of magic. Gen felt bad for muggles – surely life would be easier for them if wizards and witches could step in and help them in the areas they needed? Like with this Santa Claus thing… Wizards could conjure and deliver gifts to muggle children if they really wanted. Well, except for the international statute of secrecy. It really put a damper on a lot of Imogen’s best ideas.

Imogen realized her own thoughts had slightly covered up the professor’s voice. Oops, she thought. Gen had promised her mother to listen more when people spoke, but for some reason she was always “searching for a snitch” as the saying goes.

“I understand, professor…” Imogen paused. “Or, at least I think I do.” Gen felt a bit foolish. Some of this was really over her head, but she didn’t want to look dumb in front of a professor. Gah! She’s so nice, too… quick! Think of something, Gen! She drew back to the bits she recalled from the conversation and had an idea.

“Can you ride a bicycle, Professor?” Phew. Saved it.
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Prof. Jetta Delaney
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Re: The Trouble in Muggle Studies [OPEN]

Post by Prof. Jetta Delaney » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:35 pm

Jetta smiled at Imogen's familiarity. Perhaps RJ was making friends after all! Even if he was still angry with her, she only ever wanted for her son to be happy. He'd always been so melancholy, even as a very young child. But maybe the new environment would turn out to be the best for him.

"It's okay if you don't understand it in detail," she stated. "You didn't grow up with the story, so it's understandably confusing. We've barely scratched the surface of the story in talking about it. But you have enough knowledge to have a passable story amongst non-magical people. You can just say you were raised with a family or religion that didn't believe in telling tales like that, and most people will let it go. Non-magical people tend to get sensitive around discussions of religion or politics, and they'll avoid the topic. Be wary of the people that refuse to let those things go though. They are...most unpleasant," she said generously.

She could see the girl scrambling for something to say, but huffed a bit in amused surprise at where the conversation went.

"Never as a child, no. I was raised in a very strictly pureblood environment for the first years of my life. But as I got oldr, I was exposed to more non-magical people and ideas. I've never ridden a bicycle; I'm rather on the tall side for that. But I have ridden other forms of non-magical transportation, like cars, motorcycles, and planes. They are all very interesting and have their own merits. For instance, unlike a long broom ride, you get served food on a plane and someone else does the work flying. It's rather refreshing. Not as easy as Apparation, but still. Not as fond of trains as the British wizards are though, apparently."

"Of course, I'm talking about all of this, and you have little frame of reference," she commented, waving her wand to summon a book. The Encyclopedia of Transportation flew over to her. She quickly flipped through it, and asked "Would you like to see anything in particular?"
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