Muggles is the term used to refer to non-magic folk in Great Britain. In the United States of America, they are referred to as No-Maj, which is short for “No-Magic” or Non Magical people. In France, they are referred to as Non-Magiques. Muggles are humans with no magical abilities born to two non-magic or Muggle parents. Unlike a Squib, both the parents of a Muggle also are Muggles. Squibs are children born to magical parents, but themselves lack any magical ability. Most Muggles throughout the world are unaware of the existence of magic and magical people because of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy signed in 1692, which prevents Muggles from knowing about the existence of witches and wizards.
Relationship between Muggles and Dark Wizards
While there is no evident relationship between Muggles and the practitioners of Dark Arts, most Dark Wizards have always been closely linked with discriminating against Muggles and Muggle-borns. Lord Voldemort, Gellert Grindelwald, and Salazar Slytherin – all three of the most important Dark Wizards in the Harry Potter series have been very critical about the inclusion of Muggleborns in the magical world. While Slytherin built an entire chamber with a giant Basilisk in it to rid Hogwarts of Muggleborn students, Grindelwald and his supporters constantly claimed the supremacy of Pureblooded wizards and witches.
Voldemort was strictly in favor of only admitting Pure-Bloods and Half-Bloods into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. So, in summation, all representations of evil and Dark Wizards have stood against the peaceful existence of Muggles and Muggleborn witches and wizards.
Appearance in the Harry Potter Universe
Muggles and the term “Muggle” make several frequent appearances in the Harry Potter series of books. The first Muggles to appear in the Harry Potter books are the Dursleys, Vernon Dursley, and Petunia Dursley who are mentioned and appear at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. They are uncle and aunt to Harry, and Albus Dumbledore places Harry in their care after the murder of his parents by Lord Voldemort. A brief description of the term “Muggle” and how these humans are different from wizards and witches are also present in the book. The other Muggles mentioned early in the book are Harry’s cousin Dudley Dursley, his friend Piers Polkiss and several others, including his school teachers and classmates. Later, we are also introduced to the parents of Hermione Granger, who are both Muggles.
Once at Hogwarts, very rarely is there an appearance of a Muggle but there are several Muggle-borns, both of whose parents are Muggles. While Hermione is Muggleborn and Harry is a Half-Blood as his mother Lily was a muggleborn, Ron Weasley is a Pure-Blood as both his parents are Pure-Bloods as well. Also, Hagrid mentions that despite Diagon Alley and several of the magical landmarks being in the center of London, they are not visible or accessible to the Muggles in London as they are protected by muggle-repelling charms to prevent them from ever coming in contact with non-magical folk.
However, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we find out that one of the most fascinating things in the Weasley family is Arthur Weasley and his love for the Muggles and their technology. Mr Weasley works at the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office in the Ministry of Magic. Despite being a member of the wizarding world, he is very interested to know about the Muggle world. He is very keen to speak to Hermione’s parents who are both Muggles and work as dentists. Furthermore, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets introduces us to a vast history of hatred against Muggles from the Pure-Blooded wizards and witches. Malfoy calls Hermione a Mudblood, which is a derogatory term for Muggleborn. Several Muggleborn students are attacked and petrified by an unknown beast from the Chamber of Secrets, eventually identified as a Basilisk.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we meet a new Muggle, Aunt Marge. She is the sister of Uncle Vernon. After she insults Harry’s parents he inflates her with his magical powers and sends her afloat over London. Very rarely are any Muggles seen in the rest of the book, but it is mentioned that Sirius Black killed 12 Muggles along with Peter Pettigrew. However, it is found out that Peter Pettigrew was the one who killed the 12 Muggles.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a Muggle named Mr Roberts and his family were publicly humiliated by a group of Death Eaters by levitating them. Also, Frank Bryce, the cook who was accused of the murders of Tom Riddle Sr and his parents, was also a Muggle. We also realize that Tom Riddle Sr. himself was a Muggle, which is one of the reasons Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort) hated him so much.
Several other Muggles appear in the rest of the books, and it is revealed that many important wizards and witches in the books have parents who are Muggles. For instance, Severus Snape’s father Tobias Snape was a Muggle who married a witch Eileen Prince. Nymphadora Tonks’ father, Ted Tonks is Muggleborn. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we are also introduced to the Muggle Prime Minister of Great Britain, who meets with the Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour to discuss the disturbances caused by Death Eaters. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Charity Burbage, the professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts, is killed by Lord Voldemort in front of several Death Eaters at the Malfoy Manor.
Muggles – A Metaphor
While the term Muggle was clearly used by J. K. Rowling to refer to people who weren’t able to perform magic in her universe of wizards and witches, her representation of Muggles, especially through the Dursleys, addresses a deeper metaphor that sometimes goes unnoticed.
Rowling’s portrayal of Muggles through the Dursleys addresses the type of people who never dream and do not understand the world through the lens of love and empathy. Like cogs in the machine, they just go about the ways the system sets up for them and lack deeper and meaningful insights into the world. The Dursleys consider Harry a burden, and despite what he has been through, they treat him very poorly and without showing him any affection. It is through the world of magic that Harry finds affection, love, best friends, the ability to empathize, the ability to do great and glorious things, and to vanquish evil.
Was Harry Potter a Muggle?
No, Harry Potter was not a Muggle. He was a Half-Blooded wizard born to a Pure-Blooded father and a Muggleborn mother. While his mother Lily Evans came from a Muggle family, his father James Potter was a descendant of one of the popular Pure-Blooded families of the Peverells. One of his old ancestors, Ignotus Peverell is believed to be the original owner of the Invisibility Cloak passed down to Harry as an inheritance.
Is Muggle a real word?
While the term ‘Muggle’ is not in popular usage anymore, it once used to be a term that was informally synonymous with the term ‘sweetheart’. However, its introduction in the Harry Potter universe has made it a commonly used word in the 21st century. The term ‘Muggle’ is now used to refer to someone who is not particularly skilled in a field or discipline, just like the Muggles in the Harry Potter universe who couldn’t do magic.
Can a Muggleborn be in Slytherin?
While the founding member of the house, Salazar Slytherin would have probably denied entry to a student who was Muggleborn, it is still possible for a Muggleborn to be in Slytherin. There is no specific rule or requirement that claims for only Pure-Bloods or Half-Bloods to be a part of Slytherin. The traits outlined to be the defining features of a Slytherin are very likely to be found even in Muggleborn students.