The new release Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a much-anticipated addition to the Harry Potter film franchise. The protagonist, Newt Scamander, will find himself in a number of dangerous situations thanks to his enchanted, monster-filled suitcase, but presumably he comes out on top in the end.
While it’s nice to be a wizard who can get out of trouble with the wave of a wand, there were plenty of times in the Harry Potter universe when Muggle laws could have been seriously helpful to the magical folk.
The emancipation of Percy Weasley
It seemed that characters in Harry Potter were in one of two camps: Trying to become part of the warm-hearted Weasley family, or spending their time dissing the red-headed bunch. As it turns out, one of the elder Weasleys – Percy, former head boy of Hogwarts – ended up quite smug, working directly for the Minister of Magic. And he shunned his family who supported and loved that nuisance of a boy, Harry Potter. No doubt, before he came of age, Percy would have emancipated himself from the Weasley family tree if he could have.
Your brain on Quidditch
Concussion? Torn meniscus? Not so much. Quidditch players in Harry Potter dealt more with a bludger to the gut, a fall from a broom, or bones gone missing. Chances are, though, those pro Quidditch players (especially the likes of Viktor Krum and other members of the Triwizard Tournament) would have liked to have had personal injury attorneys on retainer, to help them receive just compensation for their pain and suffering, with lawsuits against their team, the tournament, coaches, and faulty equipment manufacturers.
Defamation or just a really good story?
The Daily Prophet newspaper – was its reportage fact or fiction? With writer Rita Skeeter at the helm, it seemed to be a publication that might fit in the National Enquirer category of embellishment, stretched truths, and bald-faced lies. While Skeeter’s gossipy ways ultimately didn’t work out for this animagus (shape-shifter, for you Muggles out there), a good libel attorney could have no doubt helped her talk her way out of defamation charges.
A matter of custody
Harry Potter was left with his begrudging aunt and uncle as an infant when his parents were brutally murdered by Voldemort. Their family is certainly not the one Harry would have chosen for himself. In a Muggle court of law, without a will to instruct as to the well-being of Harry, his custody arrangement could have ended up quite differently, like in a family that actually wanted him.
Doing her school time
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dolores Umbridge from the Ministry of Magic descends on Hogwarts, evaluating teachers and ushering out those instructors she considers unsuitable. Professor Sybil Trelawney, longtime divination teacher, was ousted from the castle and stranded in the courtyard until Professor Dumbledore insisted that Hogwarts was her home, whether she was employed there or not. In a Muggle court of law, surely an employment lawyer could have used the argument of tenure to help Trelawney fight her ouster.
Innocent until proven guilty
While the Death Eaters tattooed their loyalty to Voldemort on their arms, most of the wizarding world knew that he was an irredeemable character. Nevertheless, in a Muggle court of law, even those who’ve uttered a frightening number of Avada Kadavras would be innocent until proven guilty. And that goes for the former Tom Riddle. Suffice it to say, this nose-challenged wizard would have needed one heck of a defense team to be set free, but stranger things have happened (Lizzie Borden, anyone?).
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