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Magnate and gentry affinities in post-War Wizarding Britain - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Magnate and gentry affinities in post-War Wizarding Britain


From the Diricawl History of Wizarding Britain, vol. 194, Et ego in Arcadia: professionalism, order, and challenge, 2009 - 2010:


… a system of magnate and gentry affinities complemented, and not infrequently absorbed or at the least overshadowed, the official mechanisms for preserving the peace.  The reduction in an already small population as a result of two wars, coupled with the resistance to too active government that was the legacy of the Ministry’s discreditable and all too well remembered performance in the two spasms of the Great Rebellion, made it almost inevitable that informal structures for order and stability would come to displace the formal.


Much of Wales and the Scottish Borders remained outside these affinity systems, as did the Orkneys and Shetland; Ireland, both sides the Muggle frontier, was only partly engaged in them, with the Finnigans and their connexions acting almost as Viceroys for matters magical, yet so acting against a backdrop of large uninvolvement in the affairs of the other kingdoms of the realm.


A graphical illustration of the situation shows the system of affinities that had emerged by 2009.


Fig 1.

Affinities and loyalties


This may be better understood in terms of the connexions represented in Figure 2:


Fig. 2.

Magnate connexions


The strategic consequences for the better preservation of the Sovereign’s Peace are obvious.


More specifically, in Scotland, the influence of the Royal Burgh of Hogsmeade exemplifies the role that civic communities had by 2009 come to play in maintaining the fabric of peacekeeping.  Staunchly independent, it profited from a careful balance amidst the competing influences of magnate affinities that centred upon the MacDougals and the Macmillans.  It, like the Kinrick of Scots on a larger scale, profited still further from the careful maintenance of Potter and Black interests in strategic areas: the Potter affinity in Nairnshire, Fife, and Midlothian, and the Black affinity – latterly the Black-Lupin-Tonks affinity – in Renfrewshire, Buteshire, and Ayrshire, where a cadet branch of that ancient Midlands family had been established as a sept of the Clan Niall since well before the days of Phineas Nigellus Black.  Scotland in fact remained a structure of delicately poised and creative tension, cantilevered between the MacDougal interest and its affiliated Urquharts, and the Macmillan grouping that encompassed the McGonagall holdings in Banff, Kinross and Clackmannan, and West and East Lothian, the Wood primacy in Lanarkshire, and such minor adherents as the Abercrombies.  If the influence of Clann ’icDhughaill and its clients extended to Dunbartonshire, equally did the Macmillan interest maintain a local supremacy in Ross and Cromarty, in what was otherwise the MacDougal heartland of the Gaelic West.  Kirkcudbrightshire, anomalously, was aligned with the Thomas affinity, simply in virtue of its ancient character as an artist’s retreat, Dean Thomas being in any such community a natural leader. 


If the main of the Border stood out from this scheme, the same could not be said for England south of it.  Lancashire and Westmorland were very much the domain of the Longbottom affinity, with Cumberland as a satellite of the Longbottom-Harfang-Leatherbarrow-Device interest.  Further southwards, Cheshire, Salop, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, and the Welsh counties of Monmouthshire and Glamorgan had long been the province of the more northerly, cadet branches of the great Potter family; Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Dorset were of course the Potter homelands.  The only other assertions of influence in the Principality itself were those of the Flints in Flintshire, loosely allied with the Malfoy affinity, which held dominance in Denbighshire, and the Davies faction, who held what was in effect almost a fief in Montgomeryshire.  In the West of England, across the Bristol Channel, Devon and Cornwall, with the Isles of Scilly, were firmly held in the light grasp of the Weasley affinity, traditional lieutenants of the Potter interest.  By 2009, with the effective dying out of the Dumbledores, the Weasley-Prewett affinity was most notably supported by the civic interest of Tinworth and by such local powers as the Slughorns and the Lovegoods.


Naturally, the Potter caput of Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Dorset commanded the loyalties of the Bristol Shacklebolts, of the citizenry of Godric’s Hollow, and of the Wizards and Witches in the district of Mould in the Wold.  Correct, if not always wholly friendly, relations in the post-War period with the Malfoy affinity, and its lesser members such as the Bulstrodes, rendered the Malfoy primacy in Wilts and Berks, and its satellite spheres of influence in Oxon and Hants, at the least harmless and at best allied; ancient Potter claims and holdings in the western portions of Wiltshire were also significant in preserving this balance.  Moreover, the web of connexions that made up the Malfoy affinity found themselves flanked in Surrey and Sussex by a new extension of Weasley influence, due to the marriage of Ron Weasley to Hermione Granger; and to the eastwards, Kent had become very much the site of the Thomas primacy.  Finally, of course, under Harry Potter as the heir of Sirius Black and the godfather of Teddy Lupin, the Black supremacy in Northants, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire, an affinity that now included the Creevey interest in Staffs, was very closely linked to the forces of order that mustered under the Potter and Longbottom banners in the lands that marched beside the bounds of the Black Country.


It was in more easterly areas that this almost feudal scheme began to break down.  Bucks, Beds, Hertfordshire, and Middlesex formed an affinity of interest, dominated by an intelligent alliance between the Bedfordshire Flitwicks, the Corporation of Wizarding London, and the Goldsteins of Middlesex.  East Anglia was devoted to the Finch-Fletchley interest, centring upon Cambs and extending to Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Rutland, and Huntingdonshire; yet this was and remains primarily an affinity of mutual regard and interest, and a deliberate rejection of prior affinities such as those of the Carrows and Yaxleys, with less of the feudal character that is so notable a feature of the great, if informal, fiefdoms of the West. 


Perhaps, however, the most anomalous case, and the most interesting, is what is often called the York affinity.  The Parkinsons either side the Pennines had forfeited all claim to leadership during the Great Rebellion.  The Smith heir had proven a broken reed, although the family had sufficiently retrieved its post-War fortunes to claim some secondary rank in the regional alliances.  In keeping with tradition – the judicial murder of Sir John Fenwick, Bt, at the hands of William of Orange in the first years of the secrecy regime being a classic sample of the family’s ill-luck – Benjy Fenwick had died gallantly in the First War, leaving no clear successor in the counsels of that ancient Northumbrian family.  And of course, other recent regional figures, such as Tom Riddle and the Gaunts, were gone and their memory execrated.  Into this vacuum the civic leadership of Upper Flagley perforce stepped, and carefully crafted an alliance with families of the second rank or those in eclipse, to create a regional power structure dominant in Yorkshire and County Durham and exerting influence from Notts to Northumberland.


It was upon this stable and orderly scene that the storm broke from an unexpected quarter….


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2 comments or Leave a comment
absynthedrinker From: absynthedrinker Date: February 18th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sometimes I marvel at how your mind works.

wemyss From: wemyss Date: February 18th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Er, yes. As have others.

And not always in a commendatory wise.

Yet I thank you (I think).
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