Practically every Harry Potter fan has thought about what it would be like to suddenly find an owl at your house carrying a Hogwarts acceptance letter (I may be twenty years old but I can still dream, damn it!). The Harry Potter universe is pure fictional awesomeness where anything is possible and all of your wildest dreams can come true. But so can your worst nightmares.
Because when you think about it, the Harry Potter universe would be kind of a crappy place to live in. Yes being a wizard would be amazing but behind all of the Butterbeer, charms lessons, and Quidditch, there’s a lot wrong with the wizarding world that should make you think twice about heading to Platform 9¾…
6. The Flawed Banking System
I bet you’re about to label me as obsessive and pedantic for discussing Harry Potter’s finacial system (Which I am) but it’s actually pretty disturbing and ill-thought out when you consider it. Gringotts is basically the wizards’ equivalent of the Bank of England except it’s run by goblins and takes protecting people’s valuables incredibly seriously. You won’t catch Gringotts losing loads of other people’s gold on bad investments.
Although protecting the wealth of practically an entire country is important, the defences of the maximum security vaults at Gringotts take things just a little bit too far. Rather than simply sticking with the rollercoaster-style carts (which really needs to become a theme park ride) that are likely to make you throw up and doors that only Gringotts goblins can open, everything stored inside a maximum security vault is enchanted with Gemino (a spell which replicates something) and Flagrante (a spell that makes something burn when you touch it) curses. So if you do manage to somehow break into a maximum security vault, the second you try to nick anything, you’ll get crushed to death by hundreds of worthless burning copies of whatever you try to steal. And the vaults are only checked to see if anybody is in there every ten years so it would be a while before your crushed and blistered corpse was found.
Outside of the vaults, Gringotts’ lower levels are guarded by dragons that are chained up on a permanent basis, have been partially blinded to make them more savage, and have been repeatedly attacked with burning hot swords in a Pavlovian procedure that makes them scared of loud noises, allowing Gringotts employees and customers to get past them with certain equipment. If the RSPCA existed in the Harry Potter universe, its members would have aneurisms after visiting Gringotts.
Another flaw with wizard banking is that the goblins are in charge of it. Not only are goblins pretty bloodthirsty (as their security measures show) and hate wizards thanks to the huge number of wars between the two species and the law that makes it illegal for goblins to carry wands, but they also have a completely different sense of ownership to wizards.
The goblin philosophy is that the true owner of an object is its creator and that if somebody inherits a goblin-made object (which includes all wizard currency), they have to pay for it again. So all it would really take is for one goblin to say “To hell with this. Let’s take back what’s ours” and British wizards can kiss their money goodbye. Especially since, as Bill Weasley tells Harry, “there is a belief among some goblins, and those at Gringotts are perhaps most prone to it, that wizards cannot be trusted in matters of gold and treasure”. Well done, wizards of Britain. You’ve entrusted the safeguarding of all your money to a race that hates you and doesn’t trust you with it.
And finally, since there is never any mention of any other wizard bank in the UK, it’s fair to assume the wealth of the whole wizard population of the UK is kept within one location. The wizarding population are putting all of their eggs into one basket. A shockingly well defended basket but still one basket.
This article was first posted on August 25, 2013