Feb 26, 2021 11:01 AM
Demon Cam in the Potterverse
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A couple of neighbors stop by to say hello and find out if they know his grandparents.

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They probably don't, as he's American.

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Oh, well, that would do it, wouldn't it. Anyway, welcome to Hogsmeade.

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He feels very welcomed!

When the symposium rolls around he heads thataway.

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Vancouver's magical district is accessible by taking the subway past the end of the map and getting off at what would, without Cam's anti-muggleproofing necklace, look like a stretch of track with no room between the door and the tunnel wall. Instead it looks like a shopping mall, complete with signs indicating the location of the bookstore, the apothecary, the magical focus store, various equipment stores, the food court, and the conference center.

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Aww, it's been so long since he's been to an actual mall as opposed to the mall-inspired concourse in Dite. He strolls through and looks for a Floo or a charmingly stupid vehicle to his convention center.

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There's a little cable car for going around the mall! Also, once he's out of the atrium the mall takes advantage of being in an enclosed underground space to have high ceilings which are also floors, with gravity changing direction in the middle. The cable car gets to the near end of the main concourse, does a barrel roll, and goes back the other way, hanging from the other side of its loop of cable but now in the opposite direction.

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How charmingly stupid! He will ride the cable car and appear at the convention center. In his snazzy trenchcoat so as not to be distracting.

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Then he will be among the most sensibly dressed people there, because a number of the other symposium attendees (there are about few hundred total) seem to have attempted to wear muggle clothing despite very limited information on fashion or ability to go to muggle stores. Outfits range from "pretty reasonable" to "the 1920s called, they want their dress back" to "Hawaiian shirt and jeans with a necktie" to "literally a bathrobe", plus the smaller range of typical wizarding clothes.

The entrance has a box of pamphlets with the schedule of talks. The first three are a panel discussion on muggle journalism, one on how muggle governments might legislate about magic if they knew about it, and a collective AMA by three people who had to explain magic to their muggle spouses. People who aren't particularly excited about any given talk are encouraged to mill around the convention center floor and network.

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Cam will go to the one on likely legislation! Also he will find someone with a badge and ask if it's okay to record talks.

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Recording talks for his own personal use is alright, but if he wants to share the recordings he should get the panelists' permission and be wearing a press hat while he's recording. The staff witch points at another reporter as an example; he's wearing a standard black pointy hat but with a neon green ribbon spiralling from the brim to the tip.

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Cam puts tripods with press hats atop them in each room and makes a note to solicit panelist permission before everyone disperses, and then attends his chosen talk in person.

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Someone tries to start a conversation with one of the tripods, but on finding it unsociable they wander off.

The panel on legislation starts! The panelists are a witch who's a lawyer, a witch whose Muggle cousin is a lawyer and who is herself an amateur economist, a wizard who is on his Muggle neighborhood's neighborhood association, and a wizard who's a  historian. They start off with some discussion of areas where wizards doing their thing openly and muggles doing their thing with knowledge of wizards might cause problems for each other. For instance, transfiguration would put a lot of people out of work, and secrecy is a major deterrent to wizards robbing muggle banks and counterfeiting muggle currency. On the other end, a lot of magical creatures either are endangered, or would quickly become endangered if more people knew all the awesome things you could do with their corpses. Still other creatures are dangerous as well as useful and the governments of the territories in which they currently live would probably prefer more control over that situation than they currently have.

The panelists speculate for a while about whether this sort of thing would be better handled by treaties between magical and muggle countries or by Muggle countries directly legislating the wizards in their territories, and about whether wizards would end up having to register themselves the way some countries register various shapeshifters, and then open the floor to questions.

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"Would Muggle trade put any wizards out of work?"

"Why can't we just domesticate dragons and bowtruckles and so on?"

"This really isn't a question, more of a comment, but there is a Muggle picture book where people with powers have to register themselves and the Muggles writing it feel that's inhumane of their government..."

"Do all magical countries handle it about the same as we do if there's an interaction with the Muggle authorities?"

"If we reveal ourselves what negotiating position do we really have from there after all? I mean, short of declaring war."

"Are there really enough wizards to put much of a dent in the industries you mentioned?"

"Just out of curiosity, how hard would it be to rob a Muggle bank?"

"Have you given much thought to areas where the Muggle governments are unstable or particularly repressive?"

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The people hardest hit on the wizarding end would be restaurants, craftspeople who manufacture things optimized for wizarding use but don't do the enchantments themselves, and also entertainers and artists who currently have a much smaller competition pool and access to venues muggle performers don't know about. Also people who breed magical creatures would face some competition in cases where there isn't a lot of magic required for the maintenance of the species in question, but most of the valuable ones require magic to raise so that might not be an issue.

The questioner who asked about domesticating dragons is invited to try it themself, by which the panelists mean they should not try it themself. Though the historian adds that some species have been domesticated, or induced to hybridize with domesticated species, in the past several centuries and they probably haven't seen the end of that trend.

The comment about the muggle picture book is interesting, because it suggests there might not be an overwhelming consensus one way or the other, though it's unlikely that the powers are coincidentally similar enough to magic to really reason from that. Also the neighborhood association guy is totally putting that on his reading list; it sounds neat.

Different magical countries are broadly similar in their approaches to incidents with muggle authorities, at least in the rich countries where the governments have broadly similar powers. In places where there isn't as centralized of a government things on the wizarding side get a lot more ad hoc, because you can't just find one contact person and let them in on everything.

Negotiating positions short of war is a pretty complicated question, because it would depend on how much of a united front the magical community was able to put up. Some options would include refusing to trade with countries that mistreat their wizards, voting with their feet by moving to friendlier countries en masse, and magical governments offering to help enforce the laws on wizards conditional on muggle governments enforcing laws that protect wizards.

The question about whether there are enough wizards to seriously hit muggle industries gets the economics witch and the historian into an argument that gets excessively meta until neighborhood association wizard cuts them off.

The panelists have no idea how easy it is to rob a muggle bank because they have never tried it because that would be wrong.

Areas where muggle governments are unstable or repressive don't tend to have a lot of wizards, because people who can turn invisible and teleport have very robust exit rights, but the continued appearance of muggleborns in those populations does make them a concern. The lawyer mentions, in the manner of a tasteful elevator pitch, a charity that finds muggleborns in areas too underpopulated by wizards to have much of a community or education system and offers to get them and their parents settled elsewhere.

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"Does that violate Muggle immigration law? I hear they're awful about immigration law," someone asks as a followup.

Cam raises his hand and asks if it's currently conventional anywhere in the magical world to Memory Charm Muggles for reasons other than secrecy.

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Some muggles are awful about immigration! Free movement for wizards would probably be one of the biggest things magical governments would push for in negotiations, given how many places a muggle border runs right through a wizarding polity and vice versa.

There are places where it's legal to do anything to a muggle so long as it doesn't threaten secrecy, and more places where it's technically illegal but you can basically always get away with memory charms by claiming you had to for secrecy reasons, and then get away with a lot of other things via nobody remembering you did them. Putting a stop to that is probably the main thing muggle governments would push for in negotiations, except that a lot of broadly pro-integration people want to focus on cleaning up the magical world's act on that score before any reveal, because it would also be the most likely way for a war to start.

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"Can you give the executive summary of current act-cleaning measures?"

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There are people lobbying the governments who don't ban miscellaneous mistreatment to ban it. There are people trying to get wizards to join various muggle social groups in the hope of them realizing that muggles are people just like them and deserve the same protections. There's a public awareness campaign emphasizing how much record-keeping muggles do and that memory charms aren't a perfect solution to everything and you just shouldn't do anything you don't want anyone knowing about. In the handful of countries that still allow honor duels people occasionally get in duels on behalf of muggles, usually non-immediate relatives and close friends, but dueling is dangerous enough that this is generally a risky strategy physically as well as socially.

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Good to know, and who are those lobbying groups?

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The big one in North America is One Law For All and there's a European one called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Muggles.

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...of course it is called that, thank you. Cam has no further questions for this panel.

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The panel takes a few more questions before wrapping up. They speculate about whether wizards and muggles would end up using the same currency and the neighborhood association wizard once again has to stop the economist and the historian from arguing, this time about the gold standard. They speculate about whether it's more important for wizards to be allowed to run for office in muggle governments or to ban muggles from running for office in magical governments, and about whether muggleborns will be stuck paying double taxes when they can't just drop off the grid before legal adulthood. And then they are out of time and people start filing out.

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What's next?

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There's a talk on Muggle urban legends and the reactions to various imaged supernatural entities by muggles who believed in them, and a panel on modern muggle Christian thought about magic.

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