Chapter 29 : Epilogue
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Extract from A History of Magic in the Modern Era, Rose Weasley 2nd edition, 2082.
The failed 1998 attempt to dismiss Kingsley Shacklebolt is rightly regarded as one of the pivotal moments in the political history of British wizarding society. It marked the beginning of the end of the long standing factional organisation of the Wizengamot and set the stage for the political battles that dominated the first half of the 21st century. Very few at the time, though, had any idea of the significance of the event.
Oliver Grantham’s famous speech is, these days, mainly remembered for its dramatic conclusion, and rightly so. Far from marking the end of his career as so many, including Grantham, thought at the time, it was the foundation of much that he would achieve in the long years to come. It established his unshakeable reputation for integrity and honesty, a reputation, it might be observed, he did not always entirely merit.
Grantham’s speech was important in one other aspect. His outline of his own philosophy and his brilliant critique of PLEJ’s policies framed the political debate for a generation. It was the opening shot in a remarkable contest of ideas between the two major political and social thinkers of the age, Grantham himself and Hermione Weasley. There is no doubt that Weasleys two seminal essays, On Democracy and the Magical World and the Rights of Magical Creatures, both published in 1999, were a direct response to Grantham’s speech.
It is ironic that Weasley herself wrote two speeches for the Shacklebolt debate, neither of which was used. One was for her friend and classmate Neville Longbottom. But for his extraordinary demolition of Gemalla Wenglespon few would even remember the short Wizengamot career of Hogwarts’ beloved Headmaster.
I have had the privilege of being able to interview most of the principal players in the affair and I have watched it in the pensieve, but the Shacklebolt debate is one of those events that, as a professional historian, I would love to have witnessed directly. The world was about to change and no one there really knew it. Four of the six people who would hold the position of Minister of Magic over the next fifty years were there, all heavily involved; Shacklebolt of course, Grantham, Percy Weasley and Hermione Weasley.
Grantham’s prediction of the demise of the powerful Pragmatist faction, widely laughed at at the time, came true far faster than even he could have imagined. Within ten years they had disappeared. PLEJ and the Guardian Party, founded by Grantham three years after his famous speech, came to dominate the Wizengamot as they do to this day.
One can never forget the enormous contribution made by the fighters of the resistance who opposed and eventually destroyed Tom Riddle and his foul regime. It is rightly celebrated. One should never forget, though, the enormous struggle that took place in the succeeding years to reform society and secure the peace so hard won. That, too, should rightly be celebrated.
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