The following excerpt is taken from Hogwarts, A History (312th Edition, Diagon Alley Publishers, London, 2157), Chapter 45: “The Late 20th and 21st Centuries.”
The late 20th and 21st centuries at Hogwarts, while not notable for advances in magical theory or technique or in major changes in the curriculum, did see a number of historical developments in the wizarding world that can be traced, directly or indirectly, to events at Hogwarts itself. There were some minor improvements in the physical and magical structures of the castle as well as some significant discoveries about its history and potential vulnerability.
Administratively, this period was marked by a series of Headmasters and Headmistresses who previously served both as Head of Gryffindor House and Transfiguration Master (see the Table of Headmasters/Headmistresses in Appendix B; Table of Heads of Houses in Appendix D; Table of Transfiguration Masters in Appendix J.).
The most well known of these was Albus Dumbledore (1844-1997; Gr. 1862; Transf. 1903-1956; DADA 1956-1970; H.Gr. 1956-1970; Hdmstr. 1970-1997), who enjoys the dubious distinction of being the only Headmaster (to date) to have been killed while serving in that capacity. Dumbledore is the only staff member known to have fought in all three of the Dark Wars. In the First Dark War, he was a major force in the defeat of Grindelwald (1850-1945), although the contemporary publicity giving Dumbledore sole credit for this accomplishment may have been exaggerated. In the Second and Third Dark Wars, he was titular head of the Order of the Phoenix and its Secret Keeper during the Third Dark War. His invocation of the extension of the Sacrificial Blood Charm (see below) into wards protecting a piece of Muggle real estate during the minority of Harry Potter (1980-2122; Gr. 1998) may have contributed to the latter’s survival through 1997, and consequently the successful conclusion of the Third Dark War.
Although primarily teaching Transfiguration and Defense Against the Dark Arts, Dumbledore’s reputation extended into several other fields as well. His monograph, Dragon’s Blood: The Dodecad (1956), is regarded as the most influential work in potion making since Golpalott’s.
(NB – Technically the period 1992-1996 contained two brief interregnums during which Dumbledore did not serve as Headmaster. During the period May 8 – May 30, 1993, Dumbledore was removed from office and temporarily replaced by Minerva McGonagall (1925-2033; Gr. 1943; Transf. 1956-1997; H.Gr. 1970-1997; Hdmstr. 1997-2011); however this removal was later repudiated by the Board of Governors and consequently is not recorded as an official change of administration. Similarly, during the period March 30 – June 5, 1996, Dumbledore was removed as Headmaster by order of the Ministry of Magic and replaced with Dolores Umbridge (1935-2030, Sl. 1953, DADA 1995-1996), but as this action was never approved by the Governors (and may have been a ploy of Dumbledore’s to enable him to prosecute the Third Dark War without distraction or observation), it also is not recorded as a change of Administration.
Minerva McGonagall, who fought in the Second and Third Dark Wars, is most widely remembered for her classic treatise, The Systemic Effects of Permanent Transfiguration (2001), in which she authoritatively revived LeGuin’s previously discredited Doctrine of Balance: “Every transformation, transfiguration or permanent change brings about an equal and opposite change in the surrounding environment.”
Matthew Schocke (1968-2104; Gr. 1986; Transf. 1997-2011; H.Gr. 1997-2011; Hdmstr. 2011-2032), is more commonly remembered as the first exponent of psychomechanical theory. His groundbreaking Psychomechanics (2005), still required reading in NEWT-level Arithmancy, was the first attempt to use tensor analysis and chaos theory to explain the most obvious results of the Riddle-Potter Effect (see below). His three Laws of Psychomechanics have survived all experimental tests to date: “(1) No two different souls can merge or otherwise bond; (2) Two souls can, through interaction, achieve an enhanced degree of synchronicity; (3) Two copies of the same soul can merge if they occupy the same space at the same time.” Schocke’s Third Law, of course, has not been subject to experimental observation because the Viridian Corollary requires that any such merger would of necessity take place in an alternate timeline and would consequently be opaque to the experimenter.
Hermione Granger-Weasley (1979-2133; Gr. 1998; Transf. 2011-2032; H.Gr. 2011-2032; Hdmstr. 2032-2109), one of the three longest-serving Headmistresses or Headmasters in Hogwarts' history, was as renowned for her contributions to magical history as to transfiguration. Her groundbreaking study, Racist Origins of the Dark Wars (2021), is generally regarded as the most influential single work on both Wizard-Muggle and interspecies relations. Her first published work, False Consciousness Among House-Elves (2014), led to a revolution in the analysis of wizarding domestic arrangements. She is credited with the first active recruitment of non-humans onto the faculty and staff, and the first experimental extension program to discover hidden magical abilities among Muggles. The first successful hires in the former endeavor were the House-Elf Noddy (1930-2130; Chrms. 2050-2130) as Charms Master, and the Goblin Anglegrasp (Born 1901; Pot. 2064-2140) as Potions Master. The Muggle extension program was partially Granger-Weasley’s reaction to the unexpected discovery of latent magical abilities in Petunia Dursley (1958-1998), which contributed to the successful conclusion of the Third Dark War.
Of the minor improvements in the physical plant that were made during this period, the most noteworthy was the recalibration of the Astronomy Tower in 2012-2014. During the 20th century the Tower was contaminated with random magical energies that frequently caused optical telescopes to function as magical telescopes and vice versa. For example, during the Astronomy OWL examinations in 1996, students using optical telescopes reported finding Venus in the sky at midnight, observing Orion during June, and having no difficulty in locating 5th magnitude stars in the presence of full moonlight. Since all three of these observations are impossible using optical telescopes, Aurora Sinistra (1950-2079, Sl. 1968, Astr. 1979-2037), conducted a series of long-term charm surveys and confirmed the optical-magical discontinuity in 2002. Various workarounds were employed until 2012, when Schocke insisted that the problem be fixed permanently.
One significant staffing issue that plagued Hogwarts during the first 27 years of this period was the so-called “DADA Curse”. Tom Riddle, a.k.a. Lord Voldemort (1926-1998; Sl. 1945), placed the first known “curse on a job title” during a brief visit to the campus in 1970. Technically this was not a curse on the position per se, as it is impossible, by Garrett’s Principle of Magical Manifestation, to place a curse on intangibles. What Riddle did (as discovered in 1998 by the curse breaker and demiwolf William Weasley (1970-2072; Gr. 1988)) was to place a series of charms in the physical structure of Hogwarts Castle itself, charms which could be invoked only by a single person speaking six specific phrases within four cycles of the moon. The phrases were all drawn from the required Defense Against the Dark Arts curriculum from the first-, third-, fourth- and sixth-year syllabi. Once activated, these spells acted as a “bad luck” charm (an inversion of the effect usually caused by the Felix Felicis potion), influencing the subject to make a series of tragically unfortunate decisions during a 36-72 hour period. The required phrase from the first year syllabus concerned the formal definition of “Dark Arts”, a topic that was widely known to be excluded from N.E.W.T. examinations (though covered in O.W.L.s) and which consequently would not be among the phrases practiced by students studying for those examinations. The only persons who would be likely to speak all those phrases within the required time period were the DADA Masters themselves. Thus, every year for nearly three decades, each successive DADA instructor inadvertently invoked the spell and subsequently made a series of bad decisions, which invariably resulted in his or her withdrawal or dismissal from the post by the beginning of the next academic year (see the Table of Defense Against the Dark Arts Masters in Appendix M).
Quirinus Quirrell (1963-1992; Hu. 1981; DADA 1991-1992) appears to have invoked the charm while preparing for his first year teaching during the summer of 1990; consequently he made the disastrous decision to delay the start of his teaching for a year in order to do field work in Albania. There he met the disembodied shade of Riddle/Voldemort, who possessed him and eventually led him to his death on June 4, 1992. By contrast, the werewolf Remus Lupin (1960-2055; Gr. 1978; DADA 1993-1994), appears to have avoided invoking the charm until June 6, 1994, when he neglected to imbibe the palliative Wolfsbane potion. At the same time, he left a dangerously incriminating magical map open on his desk. These two decisions led to the disclosure of his status as a werewolf and forced his resignation. It is not clear whether Severus Snape (1960-1998; Sl. 1978; Pot. 1981-1996; DADA 1996-1997; H.Sl. 1985-1997) ever invoked the spell, or whether Riddle, believing Snape to be an ally and knowing he was to be DADA Master, lifted or altered the “curse” to exempt Snape. In any case, Snape made the fateful decision to take the Unbreakable Vow on July 3, 1996. This decision led to his murder of Dumbledore and flight from Hogwarts a year later, and his eventual death protecting Harry Potter from Riddle in June of 1998.
The Second and especially the Third Dark Wars heavily impacted Hogwarts. The only successful invasion of the castle occurred during the Third Dark War on June 22, 1997, when Death Eaters (followers of Riddle/Voldemort) used a pair of Vanishing Cabinets to transport themselves from Knockturn Alley to the interior of the school. This invasion resulted in the murder of Dumbledore and eventually led to a major reorganization of the campus’s defenses in 1998-1999. Other staff members killed in the Third War included Quirinus Quirrell, Severus Snape and Rubeus Hagrid (1928-1998; Gr. (expelled 1943); GK 1943-1998; CMC 1993-1998). The Hogwarts students and graduates killed in the Second and Third Dark Wars are too numerous to list here, but are provided in Appendices W and X.
It was largely events occurring in the Second and Third Dark Wars that marked some of the most significant advances in magical theory during this time period. These events, while not occurring at Hogwarts itself, were in many ways linked to Hogwarts. The unsuccessful attempt, on October 31, 1981, by Tom Riddle to employ the Killing Curse against Harry Potter, the event that ended the Second Dark War, was the first definitive proof of Ramachandra’s Fourth Hypothesis, namely that the Sacrificial Blood Charm carries a level of magical inertia that supersedes other spells, even the Killing Curse, which is otherwise impossible to divert or withstand. It also proved Ramachandra’s Second Corollary, that the Sacrificial Blood Charm is specific to the wizard whose violent spell triggered it. That same event generated a new body of evidence in a theretofore-unexplored region, namely the magical connection of two wizards through a failed Killing Curse. Observations of the “Riddle-Potter Effect” from the next seventeen years and especially the period 1991-1998 (much of which was generated at Hogwarts itself, and can be found in the collected papers of Dumbledore, McGonagall and Granger-Weasley) indicated that the victim of a failed Killing Curse (1) experiences involuntary, mutual Legilimency with the perpetrator; (2) takes on some of the magical energy and abilities of the perpetrator; and (3) is able to inflict physical and psychic pain on the perpetrator through physical contact, Legilimency, or attempted possession. Definitive studies of this phenomenon have not been undertaken, as the Riddle-Potter Effect has had only one exemplar to date.
The events of this period also broke new ground in the area of emotive projection and limitation, sometimes referred to as the Instrumental Love Effect (ILE). First, the final destruction of Riddle/Voldemort (which ended the Third Dark War) came about as a result of his kidnapping and attempted murder of Ginevra Weasley (1981-2122; Gr. 1999) on Midsummer’s Eve, 1998. Potter (who met Weasley at Hogwarts and later married her), erroneously believing that she had been killed, experienced what he later described as an “unbearable pang of grief and love” manifested as a level five wandless force emanation in close proximity to Riddle. Riddle, who had previously fractured his soul using multiple Horcruxes (another area in which groundbreaking information was generated during this period), was peculiarly aversive to love in all its forms, was unable (due to the Riddle-Potter Effect) to screen Potter’s projected feelings, and was disintegrated by Potter’s love-driven emanation.
The second example of the ILE in Potter’s life was a charm he invented for his own use in 1999, which he called the Donec Mors Nos Separaverit charm. This charm (probably cast in violent reaction to the near-death of his future wife) apparently had the effect of limiting the caster’s own lifespan to that of those he loved most dearly. Ginevra Potter, who lived with her husband for 123 years and had eight children by him, died of natural causes on Midsummer’s Day, 2122; Harry’s death followed hers within a few minutes, although there was no recorded prior illness, nor any spell that he appeared to cast at the time.
There are, of course, numerous recorded examples of simultaneous or near-simultaneous deaths among witch-wizard couples and even among Muggles, with no special charms or other spells cast to accomplish it. But Hermione Granger-Weasley, who chronicled these events in her last book, The Boy Who Loved: Affection as Instrument in the Life of Harry Potter (2130), argued that it was the Donec Mors charm that accomplished the coincidence of death in this case. Granger-Weasley, who fought in the Third Dark War and was an eyewitness to the destruction of Riddle/Voldemort, the casting of the Donec Mors charm and the deaths of the Potters, wrote that Harry Potter’s life was “a tapestry of love made manifest.” She suggested that both Riddle and Potter died, essentially, from love, but that Potter’s death was through desire for love while Riddle’s was by aversion to it. The final paragraph of the final work by the most renowned magical scholar of the 21st century reads as follows:
“Ultimately, inevitably, there was no other way this man could die. His life was saved by love; his purpose and his power were fed by love; his skills were in the service of love; ultimately love was his greatest weapon. He did not wish to live, indeed he could not live, beyond the love of his life; this is something he understood even as a boy of nineteen. Life without Ginny was no life at all, and so he left us to follow her.”
Some scholars have suggested that Granger-Weasley had more experience with the Donec Mors charm than she acknowledged; for she died, reportedly smiling and apparently in good health, on March 10, 2133, within fifteen minutes of her own husband of 134 years. Her reported last words to her daughter were “I have a well-ordered mind” (the meaning of which has never been satisfactorily explained). While “dying for love” is something that the author of False Consciousness Among House-Elves probably would have ridiculed had it been suggested to her aloud, one suspects that, like any good scholar, she may have revised her views in light of later information.
Primary contributor: Cuthbert Binns, M.A. (1788–1922, Ra. 1806, Hist. 1833–present)
My thanks go out to Viridian and Runsamok, who served as pre-betas on this piece, and to Ilovecats, who was the final beta.