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Everything you need to know about Squibs

They’re not quite Muggles and they’re not quite wizards. But what exactly can a Squib do?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

They aren’t quite Muggles

Although like a Muggle they can’t perform magic, a Squib is often far more integrated in the wizarding world. For while a Muggle is as Muggle can be, with Muggle family members and, well, Muggle everything, one of the main differences with a Squib is that they’re related to a witch or wizard, just without the magic.

As Ron explains to Harry, ‘They’re kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards,’ and are often the odd-one-out in one way or the other.

But they usually have a stronger affinity with Muggles

For obvious reasons, Squibs usually lead Muggle lifestyles, and are known to be sent to Muggle schools. Some voluntarily choose to cut themselves off from the wizarding world altogether, like Isolt Sayre’s Squib daughter Martha. Others live as allies to wizardkind, like Arabella Figg. And others, living somewhere in the middle, choose to work with wizards but are not very neighbourly to them. Step forward, Argus Filch.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

They face the same prejudice as Muggle-borns

Due to their lack of magical talent, Squibs are often viewed in the same way as Muggles and Muggle-borns by those who are prejudiced towards the non-magical. Indeed, the word ‘Squib’ itself is used as a slur, which we see used against poor Merope Gaunt. Although we did see that Merope was capable of magic, this severely knocked her confidence. Albus’s sister Ariana Dumbledore, hidden away in a tragic childhood, was falsely rumoured to be a Squib due to her mysterious absence from Hogwarts.

One Squib helped turn things around

Angus Buchanan did not let being a Squib get the better of him, and wrote an inspirational book, My Life as a Squib, in 1900 that helped break the taboos of Squib culture in wizarding society. Angus ended up becoming a star in the Muggle sport of Scottish rugby, and his sporting talents became so well known that wizarding kind fell in love with his inspirational story, not to mention developing an odd interest in rugby.

The Sorting Ceremony
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Squibs fought for their rights

While Eugenia Jenkins was Minister for Magic from 1968 to 1975, Squib Rights marches began to surface. However, these marches attracted pure-blood riots.

Squibs cannot be sorted

During Angus Buchanan’s childhood, he attempted to crash the Sorting Ceremony despite never receiving a Hogwarts letter. Ever wondered what a Sorting Hat does when you’re not magical? Well, it doesn’t put you in a Hogwarts house, but it is very polite about the whole thing, apparently.

It had never happened before and it has never happened since, but Angus got as far as the Sorting Hat before he was exposed. In sheer desperation he threw himself ahead of a girl whose name had been called and placed the Hat upon his head. The horror of the moment when the Hat announced kindly that the boy beneath it was a good-hearted chap, but no wizard, would never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. Angus took off the hat and left the hall with tears streaming down his face.
‘Scottish Rugby’, Pottermore

Even a twin can be a Squib

Fred and George Weasley may be similar in pretty much every way, but not all wizarding twins perfectly match up. The Patil twins, for example, dwell in different Hogwarts houses. We previously mentioned Martha, a Squib twin from Isolt Sayre’s family. Martha’s sister Rionach, on the other hand, was a witch, and even rumoured to be a Parselmouth. This proves being born magical is very much a lottery.

There was a Squib in Dolores Umbridge’s family

A notorious hater of Muggle-borns, Dolores Umbridge actually had a distinctly unmagical family. Her mother Ellen Cracknell was a Muggle who had a Squib son, which did not make for a particularly tight-knit family unit. Umbridge and her father chastised her mother and brother, and it wasn’t long before the family split in half entirely, with Dolores never hearing from the un-magical half ever again.

Umbridge at her desk
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Squibs have been known to try and teach themselves magic

Harry learns about Squibs when he comes across a strange letter in caretaker Argus Filch’s possession. Suddenly, it becomes clear why Filch might not be the most accommodating of Hogwarts staff. As it turns out, Filch is a Squib, and has been partaking in a ‘Kwikspell’ course: a set of magical lessons for wizarding beginners. It’s doubtful, however, that he had much luck with it.

But Squibs can still immerse themselves in the magical

So the life of the Squib doesn’t sound all too fun, but there can still be a connection to the magical world for them, if they choose. After all, Argus Filch has a lot of trouble with the poltergeist Peeves, but at least shows Squibs can interact with the likes of ghosts. If another wizard is flying a broom, a Squib can happily ride alongside them, which is exactly how Angus Buchanan got to Hogwarts.

And although Harry isn’t convinced Arabella Figg can see Dementors, she certainly describes their soul-sucking powers rather well, and protests that she can.

Whatever Squibs can or can’t do, or see and can’t see, they have more than proved their worth in the wizarding world. Power to the Squibs!