Harry Potter: What happened to expelled Wizards and Witches?


Did they go on a register? Where they cast off and banished into the muggle world? What happened to expelled Wizards and Witches in the world of Harry Potter?

All magic users are supposed to go to schooling until they are of age. The aim of this, as Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore eloquently states in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is that “we teach you, not only to use magic but to control it”. This is a laudable objective, but what about Wizards and Witches whose behavior is so bad they are expelled from school?

The bar to being expelled seems quite high and particularly if certain danger zones are triggered. These are 1) Revealing the wizarding world recklessly to muggles, as both Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were almost expelled for when they traveled to Hogwarts via a flying car 2) Causing harm to fellow wizards, as Hagrid was expelled for when he was falsely blamed for opening the Chamber of Secrets and 3) The use of magic not permitted by Wizards, which is what Grindelwald was expelled from Durmstrang for.

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So, one would think that Wizards and Witches are not expelled for ordinary day-to-day stuff such as dueling. Of course, it depends what curses are used, but most wizards and witches at Hogwarts will not yet know how to master dangerous spells. For instance, the Unforgivable Curses require, as Bellatrix Lestrange cackles in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the wizard or witch to “mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain, to enjoy it”. This is certainly beyond most students.

It is true there are exceptional wizards such as Snape who created his own nasty spell Sectumsempra while still at Hogwarts. However, Snape was wise enough to not use it openly. However, Harry was certainly fortunate not to be expelled when he unleashed it upon Draco Malfoy, although this was in self-defense. Given the explosive nature of some of the spells wizard and witches handle even while students, one would hope that expulsion would only be colder blooded and deliberate use of dangerous magic, rather than mishaps.

Many wizarding schools, however, are centuries old. In the case of Hogwarts, it is millennia old. It stands to reason then that there must be some wizards and witches expelled lost down the years. It makes one wonder what the policy to tackling these wrongdoers must be. Perhaps for minor cases, they could return on some form of probation. In major cases, it might be that they become teenage fugitives living outside the system and using their skills for criminal gain.

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Students at wizarding schools might be still learning but they could still cause plenty of trouble, especially if they had an ax to grind. Indeed, the Ministry of Magic was lucky that Hagrid, who was falsely expelled, is of a very compassionate temperament. Hagrid’s wand was broken when he was expelled as part of the punishment. However, Hagrid could have obtained another wand, or used his rather formidable skill he possesses with his umbrella as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. A student with more of a grudge could have done serious damage with Hagrid’s raw physical strength alone.

Some expelled wizards and witches might have in the past before widespread schooling been able to make it one way or another. However, given that schooling in the wizarding world seems to have become increasingly formalized with OWLS and NEWTS, expelled wizards might feel strongly disenfranchised. Fortunately, both Albus Dumbledore and his rightful successor McGonagall both believe if “innocent until proved guilty” and second chances. In fact, they both save Harry and Ron from Snape’s wrathful desire to see them kicked out of Hogwarts in the Chamber of Secrets.

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The main thing when considering the expulsion of wizards and witches from magical schools is those who did acts worthy of expulsion but avoided being caught. One of the reasons why Lord Voldemort took the magical world by such a surprise is that Tom Riddle was a perfect student, in fact, one above suspicion. As Dumbledore notes in his speech at the beginning of the Half-Blood Prince, Riddle seemed to be a “student like any other”. Riddle and his cronies no doubt got away with a variety of evil deeds, while students who had committed less grievous offenses and were not so cunning got expelled for less.