Many elements in Harry Potter’s Wizarding World mirror those in the muggle world, but what if some of these are not mere coincidence or just the magical version, but a consequence of a battle between wizards and muggles? And one where wizards were somehow defeated by muggles. J.K. Rowling introduced readers to the Wizarding World in 1997 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first entry in a series of seven books.
Although the last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published in 2007, Rowling kept expanding on her magical world through companion books and prequel movies like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – and yet there are still a lot of questions to be answered about it. In an effort to bring some clarity to some elements from the Harry Potter universe, fans have come up with all types of theories, and there’s one that suggests there was a war between wizards and muggles, and the consequences of it could be felt for decades.
One of the most compelling theories (via Reddit) is that there was a war between wizards and muggles, in which the latter were the winners. In the fourth book (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), the Minister of Magic was required to tell the (muggle) Prime Minister that he was bringing a dragon into the country for the Triwizard Tournament. Wizards usually use magic to hide everything from muggles, so this policy seems a bit odd. On top of that, it's noted, “Ministry of Magic” doesn’t sound like the name of a government but more like the name of a department – and the head of this department is the “Minister of Magic”, as opposed to simply being “Minister”. Going further still, the Wizarding World doesn’t seem to hold elections, so it’s unknown where its authority comes from.
The author’s explanation for this is simple: at some point, near the end of the Middle Ages, there was a war between wizards and muggles, and muggles somehow managed to not only defeat the Wizarding World but kill their most powerful wizards – thus why there were no more truly powerful wizards left (even though Albus Dumbledore was pretty powerful). As a result of this war, muggles destroyed all evidence of magic and created the Ministry of Magic to keep an eye on the activities of wizards, hence why all spells and animagi must be registered, and powerful artifacts (such as time turners) have to be hidden. Another consequence is that wizards are not familiar with muggle affairs and all their technology, some of which could be of use to them, and it’s all part of the control muggles have over them.
It certainly seems odd that wizards completely ignore some technological advances used daily by muggles that they could also use to their advantage, although it could also be justified by them wanting to keep their traditions – as well as magic – intact and active. This “wizards vs muggles” theory is not crazy, and it would be interesting to watch the Harry Potter series with it in mind and see how well it fits.