Within the humid, idyllic countryside of Scotland lies a vast castle that resembles the foundation for all magical education in Europe. This castle is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the renowned institution throughout the wizarding world since the year 990 AD.
Most historians, students, and even illiterate magical citizens know of the founding of the marvelous Hogwarts, being named after a warty hog that showed up in a dream that Rowena Ravenclaw had. Ravenclaw was one of four Founders, alongside Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, and Helga Hufflepuff. Each of the Founders had “Houses,” or grouping of students that they led based on their image of the ideal student that they would like to see attend the school. Although down the line, idealism turned into stereotypes, but at the moment the Houses were set up, they were set in such a definitive way. For instance, Gryffindor was considered to be for the brave and courageous; Hufflepuff was considered for the loyal and the trustworthy; Slytherin was for the sly and calculated; Ravenclaw was for the intelligent and the creative.
Unlike other magical schools and their founders, the Hogwarts Founders never held the title of Headmaster, instead leaving it to another trusted man to lead the school amongst the others. This was primarily done due to the fact that the Original Four had figured they would consistently argue over schooling policies. A prime example of this dissonance was between arguments of Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin over the attendance of Muggle-born students. Although Salazar’s wishes were not granted as the first Headmaster allowed all magical students to the school, he still practiced anti-muggle-born ideology throughout his mannerisms that carried on well into the future. Yet, there were certain boundaries that the Founder could not cross, as dictated by the control and rule of the Headmaster.
The concept of a Headmaster, one professor to be considered the above all the others in dictating educational and social policies of the school, is far before its time. Although, there is always going to be a natural leader overseeing a large group of people, as seen through the rise of civilization itself in the wizarding and non-magical worlds. The primary aspect that is far ahead of its time is the concept of a place of learning for magical humans. Surely, small urban groups would be taught by the local sorcerer or sorceress who was said to be the most omnipotent of all witches and wizards. However, the creation of Hogwarts shined an exposing light on this ideation, although the Headmaster was still seen as the primary sorcerer.
It later became a requirement for the Headmaster to somewhat live up to this reputation and yield a vast knowledge of magic, whether it be in relation to Charms, Transfiguration, Alchemy, Herbology, or even Care of Magical Creatures. The Headmaster was, essentially, supposed to be the omnipotent when there was still much to be discovered in magical theory and application.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was said to be the hub of European magical expansion, and its impact was largely seen in centuries to follow, considering both Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang Institute were founded in the late 1200’s. The Founders, and subsequent Headmasters of each school were the top tier of witch or wizard there was in their area, despite the many challenges that ensued.
However, there was another school that had risen up within the United Kingdom far into the future within the early 1600’s that really went against the concept of an omnipotent Headmaster knowing all there is to magic (despite the ideation still being put into practice). This school was Malvern Academy of Witchcraft, founded by Jarvis Malvern, who never considered himself an all-knowing wizard and instead took on the role of a student consistently learning. This precedent towards the avoidance of having an all-knowing wizard as Headmaster was seen as radical in its days and was not even to be considered until the very aged Jarvis Malvern went to Hogwarts on a pilgrimage of peace. Although true peace was not attained until much later, an agreement was struck between the schools in that they would share any new curriculum that passed their way, whether they were integrating it into their current teachings or not. This was seen as a way for Malvern to check up on Hogwarts or even vice-versa, but it was quite the contrary for Malvern Academy as they later decided to focus on education beyond the elementary essentials for wizarding children. This cornerstone for education began the movement for mastery level education to be eventually certified to teach or practice magic at such an advanced level. Malvern Academy of Witchcraft had begun to hold more classes at differing levels, calling into question the true meaning and definition of an all-knowing Headmaster. Instead, the role began to depend more on the family line, and even beyond that, if the descendant to the role was more than capable of running a school along with academically prevailing. This assurance of capability is something that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry did not look for until many years and even centuries down into the future.
Nevertheless, as time did progress, the role of Headmaster at Hogwarts was passed down from one notable professor (or strong figure) to another. Given the rather commonplace nature of the history of Hogwarts, we shall bring the story to the 1920’s, a time where things are at a social and political unrest within the wizarding world and even more at Hogwarts.
Our story truly begins with one particular Headmaster of Hogwarts, Phineas Nigellus Black. Now unfortunately, Phineas Black was not a very empathetic person and remained intolerant towards the problems of others. This led to vast disagreement between a Headmaster and the majority of the staff, yet he remained in office for quite the amount of time. This is due to the fact that despite his apathy for others, he still cared enough about the school to ensure that the students were moderately safe and that the proper curriculum was being taught.
This, of course, could be taken in a variety of ways considering that pure-blooded Phineas Nigellus Black was a true Slytherin at heart. To illustrate, his policies mimicked that of the late Founder Salazar Slytherin, as he was very restricting on the social acceptance of muggle-born wizards and very lenient with the (sometimes rowdy and troublemaking) purebloods. Naturally, he could not close off the admittance of muggle-borns, as he would be inherently removed from the position, but he was tempted with each passing day. This prejudice for muggle-born students would then take a rather unprecedented turn of events.
As the wizarding world entered the 1920’s, it was taken ahold by a growing threat of dark forces under the command of one Gellert Grindlewald. This man was said to be the darkest wizard of his time, who stuck to a radicalized ideology of Salazar Slytherin’s view on muggle-borns and, even further, muggle affairs with wizards. This clearly put Phineas Black in quite the conundrum, as he held similar, but not exactly the same views as this mad dark wizard. He also knew that potentially his family, and even his children, could be involved within these alleged growing dark forces. This hidden knowledge followed by overt secrecy piqued the interest of the Ministry of Magic, and in 1924 they began their formal investigation into the Hogwarts Headmaster. Fortunately, they respected some of his already invaded privacy and allowed this investigation to undergo without notice of the public, for the parents at Hogwarts would most likely rescind their admittance of students. While he was under investigation though, Phineas Black was on the search for a successor.
The staff at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at this time were considered the “Silent Staff” as they didn’t want to speak out against the Headmaster in fear they would lose their jobs, or even worse events would transpire. This made the search rather difficult for Phineas, for he began to notice that he was unapproachable unless it was absolutely necessary for someone to speak to him. Naturally, this was a result of his personality, but this started to take a worse turn as he was beginning to become irritated with all of them. It wasn’t until one curious professor began to notice such a change, that the future began to look just a little brighter.
Jaye Elsweyr, a stoic but very knowledgeable man was this alleged curious professor to note that his boss was acting exceptionally strange. Elsweyr, a stereotypical Slytherin who was at the time Potions Master, knew that this was not necessarily the best of ages for anyone within Slytherin House with the rise of Grindelwald. Therefore, he decided it best to try and warm up to the very unimpressionable Headmaster and try to act as his confidante. It took some time for Phineas Nigellus Black to finally reveal aspects of his worries (without exposing the investigation) to the similarly unemotional Elsweyr, but he finally felt that Hogwarts had at least one good man. As time went on, Black saw the similarities between himself and his confidante, especially bonding over the fact that they were both Slytherin, rather apathetic and exceeding expectations at their brewing methods. The only thing that dissuaded Black from seeing it through that Elsweyr would take his place was the fact that Jaye was indifferent to the inclusion of muggle relations and attendance of muggle-born students. It was at the moment Jaye exposed his ideologies that Phineas Black finally revealed that he was under investigation, a fact where Elsweyr had to pretend to be surprised. At the revelation though, it was within minutes that the Ministry of Magic arrived, having known that a Secret-Keeper had revealed the secret.
The Ministry of Magic went through extensive measures to ensure the secrecy of the investigation of Phineas Nigellus Black, even going so far as to producing a Fidelius Charm. Unfortunately for Jaye, this meant a thorough background check and investigation of character. Yet, Elsweyr accepted fate with open arms and was completely compliant with the Aurors and Department of Magical Investigation. The questioning was over in a matter of minutes, as a result of a few drops of his own well-draft Veritaserum recipe that he learned during his tenure studying mastery of Alchemy at Uagadou Advanced School of Magic. This particular brew was one of his early brews, one that he was said to have draft while still attending Uagadou. He knew its effectiveness due to the fact that he shared some with fellow classmate and friend, Bradley Malvern. The two were merely messing around with the potion when Bradley accidentally ingested some and began to tell the truth of how he was going to leave Uagadou within the next week after receiving a rather fateful letter from his mother stating that Malvern Academy was in poor conditions and in need of a proper Headmaster- himself. Having known that the topic was probably not one of the best to be told to a friend, Jaye pocketed the Veritaserum for another day of detriment (and wished the best for his colleague).
Upon clearance of the investigation, Phineas Black began to trust Elsweyr even more, despite Jaye’s unenthused reactions to school, and even social politics. Although, at the same time Jaye was conducting his own investigation, as to why his boss was allowing him to be the confidante and holding information that he would not normally share with the rest of his staff. He figured initially that this was due to the fact that he was one of the only few, prominent Slytherin staff. It was becoming more and more apparent to Elsweyr that Phineas Black was telling him these things, such as how to react and respond to policies in relation to the school, for a reason. It then became clear to Jaye that despite the secrecy and all the hush surrounding the investigation upon the Headmaster, that Phineas Nigellus Black was guilty and clearly had something to hide. Of course, Jaye did not let this affect anything, for now he knew his true purpose, and he began to become more engaged in the conversations that were initiated by his boss and even responded accordingly and in the “proper” way. Although it was a clear facade and mask that Jaye put upon himself, it was being bought by the Headmaster and was never unveiled, even after the Ministry of Magic found compromising evidence against Phineas Black.
After the Ministry of Magic got their hands on such incriminating evidence, they immediately sieged the Headmaster’s office with Aurors. Phineas Nigellus Black’s last wish before being arrested that day in 1925, was that Jaye Elsweyr would be summoned to the office and formally declare it as his. Upon leaving the office bound in chains, what was left for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a small letter, which then revealed only to the reader the true nature of the disappearance of Phineas Nigellus Black. When Jaye Elsweyr walked into the office and saw the bound letter, he already knew what its contents were, along with the Final Order of the Headmaster, which instated the successor which was to be himself. Instead of showing this letter to the staff, and potentially the public, Jaye decided to store it above one of the bookshelves in a small hole he would artificially create. This same location would later turn into a holding safe with the portrait of the renowned Headmaster on its canvas.
Thus, Jaye Elsweyr was quietly inducted as acting Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He took the role upon himself with a reaction of indifferent acceptance, in that he knew nothing could be changed about it, but he would not let Hogwarts suffer and be further impacted by the rise of dark forces. Elsweyr was well-versed in policizing and more than competent enough to ensure that Hogwarts would once again rise to the top of wizarding education in safety and academic excellence.