From Nathaniel Givens
...Wizarding society is incredibly reckless relative to Muggle society.
It’s impossible to get even ballpark mortality estimates because the
wizarding world is at war throughout most of Harry Potter, but even the
peacetime activities are frightfully dangerous compared to what would be
acceptable in a Muggle world.
In the very first book, after all,
Dumbledore keeps a vicious, man-eating, three-headed dog monster inside a
school full of young kids who have a hard time knowing where their
classes are. And, oh yeah, Fluffy is separated from the kids by nothing
but a locked door that virtually any of the kids can defeat with a
trivial spell. From
that to Hagrid’s choice of ferocious textbooks to the potentially
lethal Tri-Wizard Tournament, wizards all seem a bit deranged when it
comes to matters of life and death.
But that sort of makes sense in a world where everyone is carrying
the magical equivalent of a loaded bazooka from age 11 whether they want
to or not. Ariana Dumbledore’s death is the most tragic example of
this: she lived and died in peacetime before either Voldemort or
Gridlewald had risen to power. She died simply because her brother got
into a fight with his childhood friend. Similarly, Luna’s mother blew
herself up messing about with potions. Because magic is so powerful,
being a wizard is inherently dangerous, and there’s just no way around
But it’s not just individuals who are prone to early demise in the
Wizarding World. The entire society itself is incredibly volatile
because of all the characteristics noted so far. Wizarding society is
completely dependent on Muggle society for its institutions, culture,
and basic resources. And yet, because wizards aren’t subject to the same
competitive pressures, the link between the Wizarding and Muggle Worlds
is increasingly breaking down. This leaves the wizarding institutions
increasingly arbitrary and brittle.
It’s also a very flat world, where
the relative power of the weakest member is very high relative to the
most powerful institutions. Add to this the very low numbers of wizards,
and it’s clear that the entire society is dangerously volatile and will
only become more so with time.
This satisfyingly solves a puzzle that has frequently recurred when I have been reading the Harry Potter series.
As Givens elucidates; for wizards, danger is intrinsic, universal, unavoidable and ever present - it cannot be avoided.
There is no possibility of 'safety first'.
Therefore risk has become just a part of wizarding life - hardly anyone notices unnecessary perils and hazards, and hardly anybody tries even to reduce risk - let alone minimize it.