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"A Squib is someone who was born into a wizarding family but hasn't got any magic powers. Kind of the opposite of Muggle-born wizards, but Squibs are quite unusual."
Ronald Weasley's basic description of a Squib[src]

A Squib, also known as a wizard-born,[1] was a non-magical person who was born to at least one magical parent.[2] Squibs were, in essence, "wizard-born Muggles". They were rare and were looked upon with a degree of disdain by some witches and wizards, particularly pure-bloods.

Muggle-born witches and wizards were believed to be descended from Squibs who married Muggles, introducing the potential for magical ability into the bloodline, thus a few generations later a wizard would be born to two Muggles.[3]


A Squib was a human who had at least one magical parent, but did not inherit magic from said parent. A wizard or witch child would typically show signs of magical abilities by seven years old; any child who did not was very likely a Squib, though they were possibly late-bloomers.

Squibs were rare, even just one being born into a family was unusual. This is why the case of Thaddeus Thurkell's seven Squib sons was particularly noteworthy.[4]

Squibs were incapable of practising magic in any way, as Argus Filch found out when he attempted to use the supplementary course Kwikspell, which was designed to help adult wizards improve inadequate magical skills. His efforts had no effect as he had no magical skills to improve upon.[5]


"Angus Buchanan became world-famous among wizards whilst also being celebrated among Muggles, a hitherto unknown achievement. Wizards of many nationalities began turning up to watch him play sport."
— Squib Angus Buchanan' achievement in Muggle sport[src]

In the 1600s, Isolt Sayre, the famous founder of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, gave birth to a daughter whom she named Martha. Martha was named after her paternal grandmother and while her twin sister Rionach was magical, Martha was not. Martha was the only one in the family to be born a Squib, and because of that she considered her upbringing at Ilvermorny to be painful. Martha went on to marry and lived her life as a No-Maj.[6]

My Life as a Squib by Angus Buchanan

In 1858, Angus Buchanan never received a Hogwarts acceptance letter, but got as far as the Sorting Hat before he was exposed as a Squib. In sheer desperation after managing to get into Hogwarts, 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. This had never happened before and it never happened since. Angus being a Squib caused him to become estranged from his family.[7]

In 1900, Angus wrote an inspirational book, titled My Life as a Squib. His book helped break the taboos of Squib culture in wizarding society. Angus ended up becoming a star in the Muggle sport of rugby, and his sporting talents became so well known that wizardkind fell in love with his inspirational story, not to mention developing an odd interest in the Scottish rugby team.[7]

While Eugenia Jenkins was Minister for Magic from 1968 to 1975, Squib Rights marches began to surface. However, these marches attracted pure-blood riots.[8]

Different from Muggles

Cornelius Fudge: "Incidentally, can Squibs see dementors?"
Arabella Figg: "Yes, we can!"
— Mrs Figg confirms a Squib's ability to see Dementors[src]

Filch scanning students with a Secrecy Sensor

In addition to being born into magical families, Squibs differed from Muggles by their knowledge of the wizarding world. They were able to see things that were hidden from the Muggles and use magical objects and creatures. During the 1996–1997 school year, Argus Filch scanned students with a Secrecy Sensor as part of the school's enhanced security measures,[9] and Arabella Figg made a living breeding cats that had been cross bred with Kneazles. Both of these individuals also formed wizarding-like relationships with their cats.[10]

Squibs were considered different than the Muggle relatives of witches and wizards, who were ordinary people who happened to have some knowledge of the wizarding world— this was because Squibs did have magical blood that wasn't expressed.

Despite the differences between Squibs and Muggles, they usually had a stronger affinity with each other than with wizards. Due to the prejudices in wizarding society, it was generally considered kinder to send them to Muggle schools and encourage them to integrate into Muggle society. Some voluntarily chose to cut themselves off from the wizarding world altogether; for example, Isolt Sayre's Squib daughter Martha chose to distance herself from magic entirely. Others lived as allies to wizardkind and others, living somewhere in the middle, chose to work with wizards but were not very neighbourly to them.

Squib persecution

"You disgusting little Squib, you filthy little blood traitor!"
Marvolo Gaunt to his daughter, whom he angrily accused to be a Squib[src]

Argus Filch

The Ministry of Magic did not keep records of Squib births,[11] a sign of wizard society's general disregard for them. They could, however, check if a person was a Squib using their parents' names, as demonstrated in 1995 during the disciplinary hearing of Harry Potter. The common practice with Squibs was to send them off to Muggle schools as children and encourage them to integrate with the Muggle community, which was much kinder than the other practice which involved letting them live in the magical world where they would always be treated as second-class citizens.[12] Some, however, chose to remain in the wizarding world regardless.

Some pure-blood families, such as the Blacks, disowned any Squib members and removed them from their family trees, as they removed Marius Black.[13] Even Orford Umbridge, an unenthusiastic wizard who was tolerant enough to marry a Muggle woman, would come to despise his son for being a Squib.[14] John Buchanan, proud of his wizarding ancestry, came to loathe his son for being a Squib and violently disowned him, even forbidding his other ten children from seeing him again.[7]

Even families that were tolerant of Muggles and Muggle-borns seemed to regard Squibs poorly. The strongly Muggle-supporting Weasley family didn't talk about Molly Weasley's second cousin, who worked in a financial career and was implied to be a squib. Ron Weasley seemed embarrassed to even mention him to Harry Potter, when Harry asked if all of Ron's family were wizards.[15]

For this reason, many wizarding families were anxious to see early signs of magical ability and were upset by the prospect that a member might have been a Squib. Neville Longbottom was thought to be a Squib by his relatives, leading his great-uncle Algie to put him in various potentially dangerous situations hoping to "force out some magic" from him. In fact Neville had displayed very early signs of ability that his relative missed, until Algie accidently dropped him out of a window and, fortunately, Neville finally displayed his magic by bouncing into the garden unharmed.

Marvolo Gaunt constantly called his daughter Merope a Squib as a slur, due to her poor magical abilities, which were inhibited by her fear of her father and brother.[16] Similarly, Karl Jenkins rudely called Albus Potter the "Slytherin Squib" due to his poor magical skills in his first year at Hogwarts.[17]

Some magical families would blame any Muggle parents for a Squib's birth. For example, Orford Umbridge and his witch daughter would blame his Muggle wife, Ellen Cracknell, for her son being born a Squib.[14]

However, the wizarding world did set up at least one organisation to support Squibs, called the Society for the Support of Squibs.

It was unclear as to Lord Voldemort's attitude towards Squibs. He had personally noted throughout his life that he aimed to purge Muggle-born wizards and witches for "stealing" magic. However, as Argus Filch was allowed to remain in Hogwarts, it is likely they were not prosecuted as blood traitors.

Because of their low status in the magical community, some Squibs who chose to remain in the Wizarding world developed a bitter personality towards witches and wizards. Argus Filch, in particular, was rather unpleasant with most students and would be rather harsh on them; Ron Weasley believed that Filch's Squib status may have been the cause of this attitude.[5] Martha Steward II found it so painful to live among magical folks that she eventually severed ties with the community to assimilate into Muggle society.[6]

Squibs, at times, tried to fight for their rights, as they marched for equality in around 1968 or 1969. However, pure-blood extremists would absolutely refuse to give anything respectful towards Squibs, and even launched an attack against the marchers that led to riots.[18] Even in the 1990s, many years after the protests, the Ministry refused to keep track of Squib births, showing a disregard for Squibs' attempt to earn their rights.[11]

Known Squibs

"If Filch's trying to learn magic from a Kwikspell course, I reckon he must be a Squib. It would explain a lot. Like why he hates students so much. He's bitter."
Ron Weasley's explanation of Filch's grouchy personality[src]
Squib(s) Notes
Angus Buchanan Angus was a Scottish Squib born to the pure-blood Buchanan family. He became famous in both the wizarding and Muggle worlds. Later in his life, he published My Life as a Squib, a groundbreaking worldwide bestseller that brought the plight of Squibs to the wizarding world's attention.
Arabella Figg A dealer of cross-bred cats and kneazles and a member of the Order of the Phoenix.[11]
Argus Filch The caretaker of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[5]
Marius Black Was the third child of Cygnus Black II and Violetta Bulstrode. Marius was disowned and removed from the Black family tree tapestry.
Thurkell brothers Were the seven sons of Thaddeus Thurkell. As they all turned out to be Squibs, this made their father so angry that he transfigured them into hedgehogs.[4]
Dolores Umbridge's brother Son of wizard Orford Umbridge and Muggle Ellen Cracknell. His parents separated and he would return to the Muggle world with his mother.[14]
Gilderoy Lockhart's sisters The two older sisters of Gilderoy Lockhart.[19]
Martha Steward II She was the elder twin daughter of Isolt Sayre and James Steward, who were the founders of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[6]
Constance Pickering's brother The brother of Constance Pickering was a Squib to whom the family Crup acted aggressively towards due to this.[20]
Wally Wimbles Cleaner at Zonko's Joke Shop.[21]
Esme Page Children of Kaleena Page and a Muggle.[22]
Reggie Page

Believed Squibs

Harry Potter: "Are all your family wizards?"
Ron Weasley: "Er — yes, I think so. I think Mum's got a second cousin who's an accountant, but we never talk about him."
— Ron Weasley mentioning Molly's cousin who is believed to be a Squib[src]
Person(s) Notes
Ariana Dumbledore Unable to control her magic after being traumatised by an attack by Muggle boys and kept hidden by her family. Neighbours believed Kendra Dumbledore to be ashamed of her daughter and spread rumours that Ariana was locked in the cellar due to her being a Squib when in fact it was her powers that had gone awry.[12]
Credence Barebone Believed to have been a Squib by Gellert Grindelwald, but turned out to have actually been an Obscurial (a wizard with suppressed magical abilities).[23]
Merope Riddle Believed to be a squib because of her magical abilities was severely dampened in fear of her father and brother. Called a squib by her abusive father more as a slur than actually being one.[16]
Molly Weasley's second cousin Assumed to be a Squib due to working as an accountant in the Muggle world.[24]
Neville Longbottom Discovered to not be a Squib when his Uncle Algie 'accidentally' dropped him out of a window and he bounced down the road.[24]
Kelly Brown Suspected, among wizarding circles, of actually being a talented Squib smuggled into the Scottish rugby team by the WSSRU, in violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.
Stuart Hogg Suspected, among wizarding circles, of actually being a talented Squib smuggled into the Scottish rugby team by the WSSRU, in violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. He was, in fact, a wizard.[25]
Jim Hamilton Suspected, among wizarding circles, of actually being a talented Squib smuggled into the Scottish rugby team by the WSSRU, in violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.

See also

Behind the scenes

  • The term likely comes from the English expression "a damp squib" (dud firecracker), an expected delight that disappoints.
  • The word squib also refers to an incomplete or insufficient discharge of a firearm.
  • Similarly to the previous instances, "squib" is used for a small explosive, generally used theatrically for pyrotechnic effects, such as simulated bullet hits in films.
  • The word could also be a pun on "skip", referring to the fact that the person was "skipped" by magic. In fact, at least one book series (Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth) used the word in a meaning analogous to Squib in several books.
  • The Star Wars series also uses the term Squib as the name of an alien species.
  • Two Squibs (both are minor characters) seen in the series are Arabella Figg and Argus Filch. Both seem to love cats and have the same initials.
  • It is unknown what the term would be for the non-magical offspring of a Squib and a Muggle.
  • Mafalda, a deleted character, was set to be the child of a possible Squib and a Muggle. However since the character was cut this information has yet to be confirmed.[26]
  • Although Muggle-borns are descended from Squibs, there is not a single known case of a Squib having children.


Notes and references

  1. Twitter account of J.K. Rowling
  2. "Squibs" at J. K. Rowling's official site
  3. J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, 30 July, 2007
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry" at Wizarding World
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Scottish Rugby" at Wizarding World
  8. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ministers for Magic" at Wizarding World
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11 (Hermione's Helping Hand)
  10. Squibs Fact File at Pottermore
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  13. Black family tree
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Dolores Umbridge" at Wizarding World
  15. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
  16. 16.0 16.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  17. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act One, Scene Four
  18. J. K. Rowling's official site
  19. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Gilderoy Lockhart" at Wizarding World
  20. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  21. Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World - Case 11: I'll Fly if I Want to
  22. Harry Potter: Magic Awakened
  23. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  25. J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) on Twitter: "That thing where I said Stuart Hogg might be a Squib? He's a wizard."
  26. "Mafalda (Goblet of Fire)" at J.K. Rowling Official Site (archived here via the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine)