Squibs were looked down upon by most wizards and witches in the wizarding world, especially the ones that prided themselves for being Pure-blooded, as it was very unusual for squibs to exist. Also, since squibs could not perform magic, they were the equivalent of Muggles, except that they lived in the wizarding world. Squibs had at least one parent who was a witch or wizard, and sometimes despite both parents being magically capable, they would give birth to a squib child.
It was believed that Squibs were the reason that Muggle-born wizards and witches existed. It is possible that when a Muggle married a squib, the magical ability was introduced in the bloodline, and a few years down the line, there would be children born with magical abilities. Also, most squibs would realize their lack of magical ability by age seven, as this is when most magical children exhibit magical abilities. However, there were exceptions to this rule in case of some late bloomers who would take a longer time to show magical abilities as in the case of Neville Longbottom.
History of Squibs in the Wizarding World
Squibs, although rare, have existed in the wizarding world for quite some time. One of the most popular early squibs in wizarding history was Isolt Sayre’s squib daughter Martha Sayre. Isolt was the famed founder of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Isolt Sayre. Martha was born in the 1600s in America and had a twin sister named Rionach. Incidentally, Rionach was able to perform magic, but Martha was unsuccessful despite several attempts. Martha did study at Ilvermorny but was constantly ridiculed and treated like a No-Maj or non-magical people. Eventually, Martha decided to move on from this episode in her life and ended up marrying a No-Maj and lived her life as a No-Maj.
All seven sons of Thaddeus Thurkell were revealed to be squibs. He was so furious when he eventually found out and transformed all of them into hedgehogs in spite.
Another popular squib in history was Angus Buchanan. He had a very interesting beginning at Hogwarts as despite being a squib and not getting the acceptance letter for Hogwarts, he traveled all the way to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1858. On September 1, the day of the Sorting Ceremony, Angus was successful in entering the castle without being stopped, and just as someone else’s name was being called for the sorting, Angus ran towards the hat and yanked it on his head with the expectations of being sorted. However, the Sorting Hat claimed that despite being a good-hearted lad, Angus was not a wizard. Dejected, he left the castle in tears.
However, Angus’s story didn’t end there. In essence, he proved to be a very talented squib. Despite being estranged from his magical family for being a squib, he made it big after writing an inspirational book named My Life as a Squib in 1900. He was the single known case of a squib doing so well in life despite the stigma attached to being a squib. He also went on to play the Muggle sport of Rugby and became a star in the sport. Many people, including wizards and witches flocked to see him play for the Scottish Rugby Team and to admire his sporting talents.
There were also some squib rights marches that surfaced around the time Eugenia Jenkins became the Minister of Magic. These were probably started in sheer desperation and the horror of the moment that demanded ending the taboos of squib culture and the treatment of these “wizard-born Muggles” as second-class citizens in the wizarding world. However, a lot of pure-bloods were enraged by these marches, and this led to a lot of pure-blood riots across the country.
Differences between Squibs and Muggles
Although they were quite similar to each other, squibs and Muggles were quite different. For instance, Squibs were capable of seeing magical items, beasts and making sense of the magical world in a lot more clarity than Muggles, especially as they were born and brought up in that community. Since they had magical blood in them, they were still integrally a part of the magical community. It is just that their magical blood was not expressed completely, which is why they couldn’t perform magic. They could also see magical creatures and use magical items like a normal wizard or witch.
Squibs, since they could not perform magic, were encouraged to immerse in the Muggle world early and were also sometimes sent to Muggle schools as they were believed to have a stronger affinity towards Muggles than wizards and witches. Squibs were kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards in that their parentage was magical, but they still couldn’t perform magic, unlike Muggle-born wizards who had no magical parentage but performed magic. Ancestry and possible squib unions with Muggles in history played a major role in creating Muggle-born wizards and witches. Hermione Granger, one of the most talented and gifted witches of her time, the friend of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, was a Muggle-born witch.
Squibs in the Harry Potter Universe
Several squibs have been featured in the Harry Potter universe. The first squib to appear in the Harry Potter universe is Arabella Figg. Although she was only revealed to be a squib in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, she had specifically been placed in Privet Drive to report and keep an eye on Harry by Albus Dumbledore after Harry was sent to live with his uncle and aunt there. Arabella Figg was known for breeding a lot of cats, some of which were later revealed to be kneazles. However, she managed to blend in quite well in the Muggle community, and nobody ever considered her one of the squib members of the magical community. Even Harry’s relatives, the Dursleys, had no clue that Arabella Figg was a member of the magical community.
The next squib that appears in the Harry Potter universe is Argus Filch. He works as the caretaker of Hogwarts and is very angry and resentful most of the time, probably because of his lack of magical skills and his inability to control the students from performing pranks and dirtying the castle. However, when Dolores Umbridge comes to power at Hogwarts, he is overjoyed as she gives him unlimited power to punish students too.
It is also possible that Gilderoy Lockhart was sort of a squib as he barely knew how to perform any magic. Furthermore, two of his older sisters were documented squibs. However, he did know a few spells, and although they didn’t do the required, they did have some effect which is why it is possible that he was a terrible wizard.
Ariana Dumbledore, the sister of Albus and Aberforth Dumbledore, was rumored to be a squib, although it was later revealed that she was an Obscurial. In the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the son of Aberforth Dumbledore, initially known as Credence Barebone but later revealed to Aurelius Dumbledore, is also considered to be a squib but turns out to be an Obscurial. Gellert Grindelwald was capable of controlling Credence for a while, but eventually, Credence realized that Grindelwald was just using him and turned against him by joining the allies of Albus Dumbledore.
Marvolo Gaunt, his son Morfin and his daughter Merope were all descendants of Salazar Slytherin, but Merope was considered to be squib as she was never seen performing magic. She would later give birth to Tom Riddle who would become one of the most powerful wizards to have ever lived and change his name to Lord Voldemort.
In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, there were doubts early on about the possibility of Albus Potter being a squib and was also referred to as the Slytherin Squib by one of his classmates, Karl Jenkins.
In the Black family, Marius Black was a squib and was disowned by the Blacks because of this.
Squibs – Possibly Psychologically Hurt?
Although it clearly stated in the Harry Potter series that squibs were incapable of performing magic, it is possible that they were merely traumatized by the amount of pressure they went through to perform magic. We theorize that there may not have been anything specifically wrong in squibs biologically or genetically but that early in their childhood, they failed to show signs of magic, and the fear of never being able to perform magic just made it very difficult for them to cope with that possibility thereby hampering their abilities further. One could see the psyche of a squib as similar to a writer going through the infamous ‘writer’s block.’ There is nothing actually challenging the writers to express themselves, but it still feels impossible to write because of their complicated mindset.
Is Petunia a squib?
No, Petunia was not a squib; she was a Muggle. It is not possible for Petunia to have been a squib because she was born to Muggle parents. Squibs were people born to magical parents but couldn’t perform magic. Petunia’s sister Lily could perform magic, but that had nothing to do with Petunia as she was just born a Muggle.
Is Neville a squib?
No, Neville is not a squib. Despite his inability to prove his magic in the early years of his life, even after joining Hogwarts, Neville eventually became a very skilled wizard who knew how to deal with most difficulties without needing any help from his friends. In fact, he managed to single-handedly lead the Dumbledore’s Army in Harry’s absence. He also killed Nagini, the pet snake of Voldemort, which was his last Horcrux.
Can Squibs go to Hogwarts?
No, Squibs are not sent the acceptance letter that is usually sent to wizards and witches who eventually join Hogwarts. So, squibs cannot attend Hogwarts. However, there were instances where squibs were allowed in Hogwarts and also to work at Hogwarts, as in the case of Mr. Filch.