Can Muggles Use Magic? Jacob Kowalski’s Wand Explained
J.K. Rowling, the famous author of the Harry Potter books, created a vast Wizarding World that expanded across the big screen as well. We’re eagerly waiting for the third film of the HP prequel series, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. In the trailer, we see Jacob Kowalski, a Muggle, get a wand from Newt and Dumbledore. So, can Muggles use magic?
Muggles, by definition, are those who cannot wield magic. As for wands, Rowling once explained that in her world, wands are merely vessels to direct magic within the wielder. If a Muggle was to wave a wand, the only thing that could happen is ‘something violent.’
In other words, just like a wand can reject a wizard, it would certainly reject a Muggle. So, when you give it a wave, it would cause an outburst of energy, kicking you back. It happened to a monkey who accidentally used a wand in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Why would Dumbledore give Jacob a wand then, you might ask? Let’s explore the possibilities.
Can Muggles Use Magic?
Muggles, or No-Majs, are people without the ability to wield magic. It’s unclear if there’s a magical gene, blood, or something else, but it’s clear that the ability to wield magic is transferred through generations. On the other hand, it can appear in children of two Muggles, such as in Hermione Granger.
One thing is certain, though. Kids who have magic tend to showcase magical abilities even before the age of 11, when the school letters usually arrive. A Muggle is the one who has none of the magic-harnessing abilities whatsoever.
In the interview I’ve mentioned earlier, Rowling explained that Muggles couldn’t even brew magic potions. Even if they followed every step, they couldn’t do it because “there is always a magical component to the potion, not just the ingredients.”
That’s all you need to know. To put it into the simplest words, if you’re a Muggle, magic can affect you, but you cannot use magic. If you have any kind of magical ability, then you’re not a real Muggle – you have some magic in your blood, genes, or whatever.
Some wizards are naturally powerful, like Dumbledore, or Tom Riddle, while others have to work much harder to get to that point, such as Neville Longbottom. However, there’s no clear “magic scale” to determine your “potential” to wield magic, like there is in Star Wars with the Midi-chlorian count.
In the Wizarding World, you either have magic, or you don’t. So, no, Muggles can’t use magic. However, when it comes to wands and other magical artifacts, the answer is a bit more complicated.
Can Muggles Use Wands?
As I mentioned, in the trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie, Newt Scamander gives Jacob Kowalski a Muggle, a wand, saying that Dumbledore wanted him to give it to Jacob. We already established that Muggles couldn’t use magic, but can they use wands? Well, yes, and no.
After explaining the potion-brewing for Muggles, she also explained wielding wands. You see, wands have magical abilities, but they do not necessarily produce magic themselves. Opposingly, a wand is used as a vehicle, a vessel, or a conduit for magic that’s already within the person wielding it.
Seeing that Muggles have no magic, what would happen if a muggle tried to use a magic wand is, as Rowling explains, “probably something accidental, possibly quite violent.” We’ve seen that quite a few times. One without magic cannot cast coherent spells, wield, or control it, but can cause aggressive out-of-control effects.
For instance, when a monkey in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them hits a wand against the floor, it produces a blast that kicks the monkey back, flying. In the Pottermore story named Ilvermony School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a Muggle named James waves a wand and got similarly kicked back and knocked out.
Therefore, a Muggle can activate the magic potential within a wand but can’t produce anything more than a violent, uncontrolled blast. That could also happen because of the wand rejecting the wielder, though, because, as we know, a wand chooses its wielder, not the other way around.
As for other magical artifacts, I think a Muggle could potentially use them because they have magic themselves, unlike wands, who only have magic potential and serve as a vessel for wielding magic and casting spells.
How Can Jacob Kowalski Use A Wand?
If we know that’s the case with Muggles and wands, one might wonder, what would Jacob Kowalski do with a wand? How could he even use a wand? Well, there are a few possibilities.
First, he could use it as any other Muggle could – just wave it through the air and hope for the best. It would probably produce a blast, and you can hope that it hits the bad guy and not the good guys. But why would Dumbledore ever want Jacob Kowalski to wield a wand randomly and expose everyone to an uncontrolled outburst of magic? I don’t see this happening.
The second possibility is that Dumbledore somehow “modified” the wand. I saw theories on forums where people suggest that Albus might’ve pre-charged the wand with a spell and gave it to Kowalski to use in case of emergency. Honestly, I don’t know how that would work, but hey, it’s Dumbledore – he could figure it out. Still, that’s a stretch and too risky.
The third option – the one that I believe is the most plausible – is that they wanted Jacob Kowalski to have a wand so that he could pass for a wizard and enter the Ministry of Magic or some other spot that is off-limits to Muggles. However, we’ve certainly seen Kowalski produce coherent magic in the second trailer, so this option can’t be true.
Finally – the option that I love the most – is that Jacob isn’t quite the Muggle he thought he was. You see, through generations and generations, the blood of witches and wizards mixed with Muggle blood, which is why it’s nearly impossible to find a pure Muggle or wizard.
That’s why Muggles can have children with magic abilities – Muggleborns probably have ancestors who Wizards and Witches – the ability simply skipped a generation or two.
So, it would be possible that Jacob Kowalski had some magic blood within himself but never expressed it before. Maybe the “gene” wasn’t activated, or Kowalski was a late-bloomer, but perhaps Dumbledore somehow knew he had magic in him.
That would also explain how he could remember everything after being Obliviated. I know, it’s a far stretch because kids show magic potential almost right away, but I think it would be an awesome twist to his character, and the fans would love seeing Jacob grow into a wizard.
The options are vast, but I guess we’ll never know until the film officially hits the big screen on April 8, 2022.