Lesson 9) All That Glitters Is Not Gold

The students enter the History of Magic classroom full of trepidation. Some of their hands shake as they set out their quills and parchment; readying themselves for the examinations they are about to take. 

The professor smiles at the class and helps a young man collect the books that he spilled to the floor in his obvious attempt to in a moment of clumsiness, or perhaps shaky hands. Raising her wand to the ceiling, a calming, classical melody fills the air. The students start to visibly relax and slowly the magic fades away.'

I know you have come to expect quite difficult finals in this class, however you need not fear them. I have personally prepared your assignments for this year, and I guarantee that while challenging, passing grades are completely attainable. Do not fret - it is my job to see you succeed, not to make your lives difficult.

Before we get to our final examinations for this year, there is one more topic I wish to cover. Yes, this topic will be included on your finals, so please be sure to pay close attention.

The Dark Side of Magic in Asia

By the dark side of magic, I am not referring to a band of dark witches and wizards roaming around the countryside terrorizing the locals. Nor am I speaking of Kala Jadoo, Gong Tau, or any of the more grisly magical practices. While this may have painted a picture of a continent replete with nefarious sorcerers, there is no greater proportion of dark wizards in Asia than in any other part of the world. 

A more accurate parallel would be to reflect upon the darkest times in our own European history - that of the Inquisitions and the witch trials. That time was quite simply the most horrific period for our people. Unfortunately, that reality still exists today in some parts of Asia. This is the “dark side” of magic I am referring to.

To illustrate this, we will be taking a brief look at one specific country: India (though this problem is not just confined to this nation). A recent statistic states that over 2,100 suspected witches were killed in the two years between 2000 and 2012 in rural parts of India. Much like in our own history, the vast majority of these women were not in any way magical, but instead mundane victims of jealousy, misunderstanding, and pure spite. While not all of India or its Muggle citizens believe these things or behave in this way, Indian witches and wizards in certain regions of the country must still be very, very careful. While yes, hedge witch practices are common, and the citizens are more open to the idea of magic’s existence than those in the Western world, there is a price to be paid. Because many believe in witchcraft, you can still be tried or killed for it here, whereas a person attempting to arrest someone for magic in Great Britain would be laughed out of the courts.

As mentioned, India is, by far, not the only country with serious dangers for magical practitioners. North Korea is also not a recommended location for witches and wizards to travel to, let alone live in. Witches and wizards, or suspected witches and wizards, are often immediately killed upon accusation, however some are spared immediate death in favour of other serious consequences simply for being who they are (or are thought to be). Surviving suspected witches and wizards are sent to concentration and forced labour camps where they are treated like slaves and lab rats. Real witches and wizards can, in most cases, Apparate away from these places. However, the Muggles who have been wrongly accused face a tragic and horrible fate as they ultimately perish from the ordeal.

Now, I do not wish to scare you, but the world can still be a very dangerous place for witches and wizards, not to mention Muggles or really anyone who is seemingly different from others. Keep your wits about you, avoid dangerous travel destinations if you can, and I’m sure you will all live long and happy lives!

Course Review

I’m afraid we’ve ended our year with a bit of a dark topic, however, I have prepared a brief review/study guide for you to follow when preparing for the finals. I would strongly suggest you review your notes from previous years as well when preparing for the final essay.

Please note: this guide is simply a list of the topics you should know. It does not provide the exact information, only reference to the topics you should be studying for the final.

 Lesson 1: A Comparison of East and West

  • Basic information regarding Asia (geographically, demographically, etc.)
  • The overall acceptance of magic
  • Brief overview of magical practices

 Lesson 2: Magic and Mythology

  • The “separation” of myth from historical records
  • The “separation” of myth from magic
  • The Four Symbols
    • The symbols and what they represent (element, cardinal direction, season)
    • The fifth symbol
    • Mythical vs. Magical creatures
    • Connection to magical fields

 Lesson 3: Magical Education in Asia

  • Mahoutokoro School of Magic (魔法所)
  • Li De Magical School (力德魔法学院)
  • Koldovstoretz School (колдовсторец)
  • Different views on importance of education in Asia

 Lesson 4: The Silk Road

  • History
  • Items traded
  • Cultural importance
    • Cultural diffusion
    • Magical collaboration
    • “Escape routes”

 Lesson 5: The Mongol Empire

  • Ghengis Khan
    • Early life
    • Formation of the Mongol Empire
    • Use of magic
    • Effects of Ghengis Khan/the Mongol Empire on Asia

Lesson 6: Ethnocentrism and its Effects

  • History
  • Lifestyle and culture
  • Harnessing Magic
  • Magical Education

Lesson 7: Alternative Magical Practices

  • Common Muggle Misconceptions
    • Ancestral magic
    • The Evil Eye
    • Love potions
    • Kitsune
    • Djinn/Jinn
  • Nuances of Asian Magic
    • Alternative foci
    • Black magic

 Lesson 8: Asian Magical Theory and Education

  • Famous persons, highlighting Zheng, Veles and Movsesyan

Lesson 9: All that Glitters is not Gold

  • Treatment of suspected magic users in parts of India and North Korea

And that brings us to where we are now. It seems so little when we block it all out, but there’s quite a wealth of knowledge hidden between those lines. And now is the time to show how much of it you’ve retained! I’m sure you’ll impress me. Please take out your quills as I distribute the finals. Once everyone has one, you may turn them over and begin. Don’t worry; you can handle this!

 Original lesson written by Professor Liria Morgan
Image credits here

Known as the largest continent in the globe, Asia is home to many mysterious cultures and beliefs that are unfamiliar to us, but no longer! Come explore the many wonders of the continent to the East and its rich history.
Course Prerequisites:
  • HOM-301

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