Log in

No account? Create an account
Anatomical Natt


Natt's Journal: fandom, fandom, fandom...

Fics! Recs! Yeah!

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Anatomical Natt

Age of majority in the wizarding world.

Is it just me, or is the age of majority in the wizarding world 17, while in Muggle Britain it is 18? I don't want to take into account age 16 (for age of consent) or 21 (for whatever the heck that age means)---just plain 17. I haven't seen anyone acknowledge this myself, but have seen people (in stories) use other ages, which is a tad annoying when the answer, to me, seems to be in the books.

My proofs are the following:

In Gof, Dumbledore says (in reference to the Goblet of Fire), "Only students who are of age---that is to say, seventeen years or older---will be allowed to put forward their names for participation." (American edition, page 188)

He also says, (in reference to the Age Line), "To insure that no underage students yield to temptation [...] Nobody under the age of seventeen will be able to cross this line." (American edition, page 256)

So, 16-and-unders are underage, while 17-and-overs are not. Though, I could be taking this the wrong way. Dumbledore may not be using the term "underage" in a legal sense---just to say that 17-and-overs are overage only in the Triwizard Tournament. But here's something else:

In OotP, Arthur refers to Fred and George, saying, "They are of age [...] they're legally adults now." (American edition, page 91) This is not in reference to any event; it's a general statement. Fred and George's ages are not mentioned in the section, but in GoF it is said that they turn 17 April, which is only a couple months before the aforementioned quote from Arthur occurs. They are 17 at the time.

I don't know whether or not what I'm stating is stupidly obvious, and therefore pointless. It's just that I've never seen anyone (in a story or not) acknowledge that the characters are legal adults once they turn 17.

Am I silly? Correct? Or, perhaps, does the term "legal adult" mean something in Britain that I am not grasping?

  • 1
I've been pointing that out for years. Seriously. The legal age for everything we've seen so far in the wizardry world is 17. Just. Yeah. Seventeen.

- Andrea.

Yay! I'm glad I'm not crazy. :)

No, you're not silly. That's a canon fact.

Yep. That's my take on it. And that's how things happen in my stories.

Good. That's how it happens in my stories too, but I was wondering before if someone would try to tell me I was wrong. :o)

You're not silly at all. I've always assumed that. Well, ever since Arthur stated it so obviously in OotP. And I stick to that age as well in my fics, that 17 makes you a legal adult in the wizarding world.

Yeah--that's been my assumption. I'm not sure of all the rules in Muggle Britain, but this way Harry will be legally an adult wizard in book seven--who knows what JKR is planning for that! *hopes it's more than just Apparating and legal out-of-school magic*

I agree with everyone above, 17 is the age of majority according to cannon. I would guess it has something to do with what JKR has said about there being no Wizarding universities. Some people will still be 17 when they finish Hogwarts (Harry, for one; he won't turn 18 until the summer after his 7th year). With no universities, most would go on to work right after Hogwarts, so maybe one must be a legal adult before they can be hired for a full time job.

(I'm here through daily_snitch, by the way)

I agree with most of what you said, but I don't think that you have to be 17 before you can be hired legally. What about people's whose birthdays are in December? What are they supposed to do for the six months that they can't work? That part just doesn't seem realistic.

I do agree that the legal age is 17, as it's been stated many times. Most fics have that as the legal age- it's the consent age that could be debtable. After all, they do go to a boarding school...

What about people's whose birthdays are in December? What are they supposed to do for the six months that they can't work? That part just doesn't seem realistic.

Yeah--that or the kids who weren't quite magical enough to get sent to Hogwarts in the first place. Do they just sit around at home until they turn 17? Get tossed out into the Muggle world until they're old enough? (And what if they had only been tutored at home in magical things, their parents thinking they don't need to know any maths or Muggle lit or non-magical history, or were pureblood and had no Muggle relatives?)

And what if they had only been tutored at home in magical things, their parents thinking they don't need to know any maths or Muggle lit or non-magical history

Yeah, i've always wondered about that, as they never say if wizards ever actually learn their maths. And what do they do until they turn eleven, those that can't get tutored? Wizarding Daycare, for those who don't know how to control magic? I wouldn't want to be the supervisor; imagine, all those untrained W.s and W.s in one spot. And if they get tutored at home, what if their parents aren't any good at teaching? I've known some parents that think they know what to teach, but don't really have a clue.

And what would squibs do? Muggle world, here I come?

Oops, of course, I didn't think of that. Hermione is younger, isn't she? I can't see her not wanting to go out into the world as soon as she's done with school :-)
It seems I'm right back to wondering why 17, unless JKR just picked a number... Maybe she didn't like having to wait until 18 to be considered an adult herself!

It might just be that she wanted it clear that Harry is an adult for the last book, being as he'd be techincally of age when he (possibly) ends up killing voldemort. *shrugs*

or, it could be that she wanted harry to subject his aunt, uncle and simply marvellous cousin to some perfectly legal magic for his final month at Dursely Manor. *evil grin* I'd so do that.

Yeah, but Hermione's only a couple of months younger than Harry, so she'll still be seventeen for most of her seventh year.

(Appeared via daily_snitch btw)

I thought everyone was 11 when they start at Hogwarts, and that's why Harry got his letter on his birthday? Am I wrong?

What about the people who's birthdays are in November, then? I mean, Hermione's birthday is in September, so she would have gotten the letter before her birthday. *frowns*

I don't really understand it.

I assumed that they didn't do it the way we do (where everyone born in 1985 starts at the same time, for example), but that you started Hogwarts when you were 11, so if you were still 10 when the year started, you waited until the next year. (Is that any clearer?)

Otherwise, why would they have sent Harry's letter on his 11th birthday? Unless that was just coincidence, but that seems unlikely.

Yeah, but Hermione's birthday is in September, at the end of the month.

And actually, i just thought of this, but Harry didn't get his on his eleventh birthday- hagrid found him then, but the letters had been coming for about a week before. so maybe, the letters come a month before term starts so that they can be sure that the person that they're sending the letter to is truly magical, and not just a fluke. also, it means that they get everyone, and don't miss people.

I didn't know Hermione's birthday was in September. And I'd forgotten about the letters coming for a week before Harry's birthday, so you're probably right that they come a month before term starts.

I don't really understand what you mean about making sure the person's really magical or so that people don't get missed, but that's probably because I'm tired.

Meh, that didn't really make sense to me either.

(Daily Snitch link.) You’re right in that seventeen is the age of majority in the Wizarding world, but I think you’ve been reading the wrong kind of fics. I’ve read plenty in which seventeen is acknowledged to be the general age of majority.

I'm pretty sure that in JKR's world, 17 is the wizarding "of age". This is partly because of everything you mention but also for one final reason - the books end with Harry as 17. If he can legally use magic, much more fun can be had in book 7's beginning than if he can't!

  • 1