Ministry of Magic
|Founded||in or prior to 1629|
|Location||Ministry of Magic Headquarters, Whitehall, London|
|Leader||Minister for Magic|
|Key people||Cornelius Fudge
|Purpose||Preservation of magical law|
|Affiliations||International Confederation of Wizards|
|Enemies||Order of the Phoenix
The Ministry of Magic is the government of the Magical community of Britain in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. First mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Ministry makes its first proper appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Throughout the books, it is generally depicted as either corrupt, incompetent, or both, with its high officials blind to actual events and dangers. It reaches a nadir of corruption before being effectively taken over by Lord Voldemort.
- 1 Composition and status
- 2 Departments
- 2.1 Department of Magical Law Enforcement
- 2.2 Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
- 2.3 Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
- 2.4 Department of International Magical Cooperation
- 2.5 Department of Magical Transportation
- 2.6 Department of Magical Games and Sports
- 2.7 Department of Mysteries
- 3 Ministry officials
- 4 Reception
- 5 In popular culture
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Composition and status
Connection to "Muggle" world
Each new Muggle Prime Minister receives a visit from the Minister for Magic, who informs him or her that the wizarding world exists. He explains that he will contact the Prime Minister only in circumstances in which the events of the wizard world may affect Muggles. For example, the Minister has to inform the Prime Minister if dangerous magical artefacts or animals are to be brought into Britain.
The Ministry keeps in touch with the British Prime Minister via a wizard's portrait in the Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street. The portrait, which cannot be removed from the wall (because of a Permanent Sticking Charm in place), notifies the Prime Minister of the Minister for Magic's arrival and, after they have been notified, the Minister for Magic appears in their office via the fireplace which has specifically been hooked up to the floo network.[HP6] The Ministers for Magic who appear in the Harry Potter series, such as Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour, tend to act in a somewhat patronising manner towards the Muggle Prime Minister.
The Ministry government succeeded the earlier "Wizards' Council," the earliest-known form of government for the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
In the Harry Potter books, the Ministry's employees appear to be a largely unelected body. The post of Minister itself, however, is stated to be an elected position. Who has the power to elect or dismiss ministers is never explained. Nevertheless, both the Minister and the Ministry as a whole are seen throughout the Harry Potter series to be highly sensitive to (and reliant on) wizard public opinion, which they attempt to influence via the Daily Prophet, the wizarding newspaper. In the books, employment with the Ministry can be obtained right after completion of a wizarding education[HP4], though different offices require different levels of education and sometimes specific exam results.
Furthermore, the government gives the impression of (at various times) either incompetence or malice. It often appears woefully incompetent, to the point of being unable to detect or prevent an assault on the Department of Mysteries, apparently its most heavily guarded department. Due to lax security, a group of Hogwarts students, as well as Voldemort, a dozen Death Eaters, and the Order of the Phoenix, all of whom were wanted by the government, are able to enter the department on whim and without provoking any response whatsoever, even signing in as a "rescue mission" without attracting attention. However, these events occurred under Cornelius Fudge's reign, a Minister who is renowned in the books as corrupt and incompetent.[HP5] Fudge's resignation in the next book is hinted to be as a direct result of these events.[HP6]
Judicial system and corrupt nature
In the books and films, the wizarding courts have displayed at times, a marked lack of interest in evidence for or against a suspect, even relying on personal prejudice to decide the outcome as quickly as possible.[HP5] Not all of the accused are even given trials, as in the case of Sirius Black.[HP4] In Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry is shown to be quite prepared to decree and enforce draconian laws without notice. At times, the Ministry can also seem uninterested in solving serious problems, choosing instead to ignore or cover up bad news. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Fudge takes a long time to respond to the attacks on Hogwarts. In the fifth instalment, Fudge refuses to believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, despite mounting evidence. The Ministry even mounts a campaign to damage Harry Potter's credibility, an effort fuelled in part by Fudge's Self Inflicted persecutory delusions and paranoid fear that Albus Dumbledore wants his job. Eventually, the Ministry is forced to acknowledge the emergency and act on it (along with the fact that they were lying the whole time). Fudge is subsequently removed from office for incompetence and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour.
When interviewed, Rowling stated that when Harry, Ron and Hermione work for the Ministry, they change it drastically, making it less corrupt.
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is a combination of police and justice facilities. It is located on the second level of the Ministry of Magic. At the beginning of the series, it is headed by Amelia Bones, who is replaced by Pius Thicknesse after Voldemort murders her.[HP6] Thicknesse is replaced by Yaxley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after Voldemort has Thicknesse appointed the puppet Minister for his regime. Bartemius Crouch Sr. once headed the department, prior to the first book.[HP4]
According to Rowling, this is the department that Hermione Granger joins, after the events of the seventh book, transferring from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, where she began her post-Hogwarts career.
An Auror is an employee of the Ministry whose mission is to pursue and apprehend Dark wizards. According to Minerva McGonagall, the Auror Office takes in new recruits with a minimum of 5 N.E.W.T.s (with marks no lower than "Exceeds Expectations"). She suggests that Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology N.E.W.T.s are the most appropriate for someone who aspires to be admitted to the training program. (A potential recruit will also have to pass "...a series of character and aptitude tests.") Nymphadora Tonks mentions that two of the program's courses of study are "Concealment and Disguise" and "Stealth and Tracking" and that the training is hard to pass with high marks (a requirement).
Aurors in the Harry Potter series include Alastor Moody, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, John Dawlish, Frank and Alice Longbottom, Rufus Scrimgeour, Gawain Robards, Proudfoot, Savage, and Williamson, Hesphaestus Gore. According to Rowling, Harry Potter joins the department at the age of 17 and is promoted to department head in the year 2007. Ron Weasley becomes a member of the Auror office as well.
During the First War against Voldemort, Aurors were authorised to use the Unforgivable Curses on suspected Death Eaters: that is, given the license to kill, coerce and torture them. Many of the Dark criminals in the Harry Potter universe first duel with the Aurors sent to arrest them before finally giving up their freedom. Aurors are also used to protect high-profile targets such as Harry, Hogwarts, and the Muggle Prime Minister.
Improper Use of Magic Office
The Improper Use of Magic Office is responsible for investigating offences under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Confederation of Wizards' Statute of Secrecy. They regulate an under-age wizard's or witch's use of magic and prohibit wizards and witches from performing magic in the presence of Muggles or in a Muggle-inhabited area in the Harry Potter universe. An enchantment called "the Trace" is placed upon children and helps the department detect offences; it breaks when they reach the age of 17.[HP7] However, Dumbledore explains to Harry that the Ministry cannot tell who exactly uses magic in a given area, only that it has been used. This can be seen as unfair to young witches and wizards who grew up in the muggle-world (such as muggle born wizards or those with one magical and one muggle-parent) as they are more likely to be caught using magic than those who grow up in the wizard world. Those living in the muggle-world generally have no contact with other witches or wizards away from school and the Ministry simply presumes that any magic performed where they are is an act of under-age wizardry, while at the same time presuming that any magic performed in a wizard home that has minors present was performed by those aged 17 and over. This means that minors living in the wizard world have a much greater chance of escaping punishment for the use of under-age magic. The Ministry has to rely on wizard and witch parents to enforce the ban on under-age magic within their homes.[HP6]
It is not known how or when the Trace is placed upon a child, though it may be assumed that it begins either when the child begins to show magical talent or when they first go through the barrier to Platform 9¾. The Ministry seemingly ignores the trace during the school year as students at Hogwarts are expected to perform magic and are under the supervision of teachers. This 'blind eye' also seems to be extended to places such as Diagon Alley, Platform 9¾, the Hogwarts Express and the village of Hogsmeade (the only settlement in Britain inhabited solely by wizards and other magical beings) which is located close to Hogwarts and which 3rd year students and above can visit on weekends provided they have a signed permission slip from their parent or guardian. The Ministry also seems to turn a blind eye to the use magic in the muggle-world when the child is under the age of 11 as their powers have generally not been developed enough to cause a problem, with a number of witches and wizards, including Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Lily Evans and Severus Snape all known to have performed some under-age magic while growing up in the muggle-world that went unpunished.
After Harry's first minor violation—a Hover charm that was actually performed by Dobby the House-elf—he is merely warned.[HP2] His second violation, blowing up Aunt Marge, is forgiven by Fudge because the Minister fears that Sirius Black is after Harry and feels that his safety after running away from the Dursleys takes precedence.[HP3] After his third offence (creating a Patronus to protect himself and Dudley from two Dementors), the letter sent to him states that he is expelled from school, that representatives will arrive at his home to destroy his wand, and that he is required to appear at a disciplinary hearing, given that the offence occurred after he had already received one warning.[HP5] Dumbledore reminds Fudge that the Ministry doesn't have the power to expel students from Hogwarts or confiscate wands without benefit of a hearing.[HP5] Interestingly, Harry did go unpunished for using the Lumos (torch light) spell in his bedroom at the Dursleys in Prisoner of Azkaban which happened before he blew up Aunt Marge, giving the impression that the Ministry does allow minor spells to be used.
At Harry's hearing, he is tried by the entire Wizengamot court and cleared of all charges upon Dumbledore's intervention. Such proceedings are highly unusual, however, for a simple case of underage magic; Harry was originally supposed to be interviewed solely by Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.[HP5]
The only known worker at the office is Mafalda Hopkirk.
The Wizengamot serves as the wizard high court of law. The word "Wizengamot" is a portmanteau created from the words "wizard", and "Witenagemot", which was a council of powerful people summoned to advise and appoint kings in Anglo-Saxon England. The word derives from the Old English for "meeting of wise men" (witan – wise man or counsellor / gemot – assembly)
In Order of the Phoenix, about fifty people are present at Harry Potter's hearing, wearing plum-coloured robes embroidered with a silver "W" on the left-hand side of the chest. During the hearing, the Minister for Magic sits in the middle of the front row and conducts most of the interrogation, while Percy Weasley (the Junior Undersecretary), acts as stenographer. Other officials seen at the Wizengamot include the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister and the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Dumbledore has long – for about 50 years – held the position of Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, but was removed during the events of Order of the Phoenix. He was reinstated during Half-Blood Prince, and remained in that post until his death at the end of that novel.
Other offices include the Magical Law Enforcement Squad, which pursues day-to-day law offences; the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, headed by Perkins, and the job in which the reader first sees Arthur Weasley; and the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects Office, created by Rufus Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, into which Mr Weasley is promoted, to be its head.
Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes is responsible for repairing accidental magical damage in the world of Harry Potter. It is located on the third level of the Ministry of Magic and houses the following offices:
- The Accidental Magic Reversal Squad is a squad of wizards whose job it is to reverse "accidental magic." These accidents are normally caused by young witches and wizards who have not learned to control their magic. They may also be caused by older wizards out of control, or severe, unintentional effects of charms or spells, such as splinching (in Apparition when a wizard or witch is split with one part remaining at the point of origin, and the rest of the wizard at the destination). For instance, two members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad were sent out in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban book and movie when Harry Potter inflated Aunt Marge; they "deflated" her and erased her memory of the inflation (the memory modification done by Obliviators).
- The Obliviator Headquarters. "Obliviator" is the designation for a Ministry of Magic employee who has the task of modifying the memory of a Muggle who witnesses incidents belonging to the Wizarding world. They are first called so in the sixth volume, although the practice is mentioned in the previous novels: any wizard can modify memories in the Harry Potter books by using the spell "Obliviate". In contrast to the incompetence displayed by the Ministry as a whole, the Obliviators appear to perform their task with a near-perfect success rate, keeping the Muggle world completely oblivious to the existence of the Wizarding World. They were sent out in the third book and movie when; after they deflated Aunt Marge, they erased her memory of the inflation.
- The Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee explains any major magical accidents to the Muggles by creating a non-magical reason for the accident. For example, Peter Pettigrew killed twelve Muggle bystanders and tore apart the street (so as to reach the sewer pipe and escape) by means of an immense explosion curse during his altercation with Sirius Black. The massive and obvious damage and mortality was explained by the committee as due to a tragic accidental explosion of the gas main.
Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
As noted in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is divided into three divisions (the Beast Division, the Being Division, and the Spirit Division) and contains the Goblin Liaison Office and Centaur Liaison Office, though the centaurs, being isolationists, have never interacted with the office since its creation. Thus, "being sent to the Centaur Office" has become a euphemism at the Ministry for those about to be fired.[HPF] For further detail on the distinctions between these divisions, see Regulation and classification of Magical creatures. It is also noted that Hermione began her post-Hogwarts career here before transferring to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in this office. It is located on the fourth level of the Ministry of Magic.
Department of International Magical Cooperation
The Department of International Magical Cooperation is an agency that attempts to get wizards from different countries to cooperate in wizarding actions both political and public.[HP4] This department on the fifth level of the Ministry of Magic includes the headquarters of the International Magical Trading Standards Body, the International Magical Office of Law, and the British seats of the International Confederation of Wizards. The former head was Barty Crouch, Sr., until his death. This is also where Percy Weasley began his Ministry career.
This department is similar in function to the real-life Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, and various organs of the United Nations. Among the duties of the Department of International Magical Cooperation are:
- Work with magical governments of other countries
- Set standards for trade
- Create regulations for things like cauldron thickness
- Work with Department of Magical Games and Sports on the Triwizard Tournament
- International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats
Department of Magical Transportation
The Department of Magical Transportation is responsible for various aspects of magical transport. It is located on the sixth level of the Ministry of Magic and includes the following offices: the Floo Network Authority, responsible for setting up and maintaining the network, and distributing the greenish floo powder; the Broom Regulatory Control, that controls the traffic of broom travel; the Portkey Office, the regulation of Portkeys; and the Apparition Test Centre, that grants licences to witches and wizards so that they can apparate.
Department of Magical Games and Sports
The Department of Magical Games and Sports, seen as the most relaxed department (posters for favourite Quidditch teams are found tacked to the walls), deals with organising sports events the likes of the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament. Ludo Bagman used to be the Head of Department here, but his gambling problem forced him to flee from Goblin creditors. The department is located on the seventh level of the Ministry of Magic, and includes the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters, Official Gobstones Club, and the Ludicrous Patents Office – other sports and games-related aspects of the Harry Potter world.
Department of Mysteries
The Department of Mysteries, located on Level Nine, is a department in the Ministry of Magic which studies particular enigmas (death, time, space, thought, and love) and stores copies of prophecies made in the Harry Potter universe. During Voldemort's discriminatory regime, he forces the department to lie and claim that Muggle-borns actually steal magic from Pure-bloods, making them "illegal magicals" and allowing their arrest.[HP7]
Because of the covert nature surrounding this particular branch of the Wizarding government, the Department of Mysteries can be likened to real-world intelligence agencies like the CIA or MI6 in that most of their operations are kept in total secrecy from the general wizard populace. However, the primary operations of the department seem to be more like those of scientists as they attempt to uncover the sources and rules that govern magic.
The rooms at the Department each seem (although not spelled out directly) to refer to various mysteries of life. These rooms include:
|Brain Room||This long, rectangular room is lit by lamps hanging low on golden chains from the ceiling. It is quite empty except for a few desks.||A glass tank of deep green liquid. In this tank a number of pearly-white brains drift around. When removed from the potion in the tank, the brains fling out streamers of thoughts which can seriously injure someone if they wrap themselves around them. Other doors open off this room.|
|Entrance Room||Large, circular room – everything black. Identical, unmarked, handle-less black doors are set at intervals around in walls. Dimly lit by blue flamed branches of candles.||Whenever one of its doors is shut, the room's walls rotate, disorienting its occupants for several seconds. This is presumably a security device to keep non-employees of the department from reaching a desired room. Responds to a verbal request for an exit by opening the correct door.|
|Space Chamber||A dark room possibly simulating outer space. Visitors find themselves floating as well.||Magically stimulated floating solar system.|
|Death Chamber||A large, dimly lit, rectangular room with stone tiers (as benches) leading down to a pit in the centre. It is similar to an amphitheatre. Called the Death Chamber by Dumbledore.||In the pit is a raised, stone dais, on which stands an ancient arch with an ancient, tattered black curtain hanging from it. Despite an absence of wind, it continuously flutters slightly, and entrances its viewers. Harry Potter hears faint voices from beyond the veil when he comes near it in the books. It was through this archway that Sirius Black fell and died in Order of the Phoenix. It is implied that the veil somehow leads to the afterlife, as some (perhaps those who have seen someone die) are able to hear voices whispering from behind it. Different people are affected differently. Harry and Ginny are attracted. Hermione and Ron, however, are disconcerted by it.|
|Time Chamber||A room lit by "beautiful, dancing diamond-sparkling light".||A room in which various time-related devices are kept, such as clocks of every description and Time-Turners (necklaces with hourglass pendants, which will send the wearer back in time when the pendant is turned over). It also contains a mysterious bell jar, inside which anything will grow steadily younger and younger, and then slowly return to its original age in a never-ending cycle. Hermione mentions that the department's entire stock of smashed Time-Turners were not even replaced by September 1996.[HP6]|
|Hall of Prophecy||A cathedral-sized room, dark and very cold, illuminated by the dim blue fire emitted from more candle brackets.||Vertical to the door are towering shelves holding thousands of orbs (recordings of prophecies). To the left of the door are row Nos.1 – 53, while on the right of the door are rows Nos.54 and beyond. They are magically protected, so that the only people who can lift them off their shelf are the Keeper of the Hall of Prophecies and the subject(s) of the prophecies; all others are afflicted with instant madness. Whenever an orb breaks, the recorded prophecy it contains is repeated aloud once, after which the recording is useless. Sybill Trelawney's 1980 prophecy of "the boy who would defeat the Dark Lord" is kept in here until the events of Order of the Phoenix in which it was smashed.|
|The Ever-Locked Room (Love Chamber)||A room behind a door that remains locked at all times and which neither the "Alohomora" spell nor magical unlocking knives can unlock.||According to Dumbledore, behind that door is the most mysterious subject of study in the department: a force "that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature... It is the power held within that room that Harry possesses in such quantities and which Voldemort has none at all." In Half-Blood Prince, this power was confirmed through a dialogue between Harry and Dumbledore to be love.|
The Unspeakables are the group of wizards who work in the Department of Mysteries (their identities classified for security reasons). Known Unspeakables include Broderick Bode, Croaker,[HP4] and Augustus Rookwood who is a Death Eater.
Ludovic "Ludo" Bagman is a retired professional Quidditch player, formerly a highly successful Beater for the Wimbourne Wasps and England's international team, whose good looks have gone a bit to seed; his nose is squashed in (apparently having been broken by a stray Bludger) and he is quite a bit thicker around the middle than he was in his Quidditch days. He was the head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports. Rowling uses Dumbledore's Pensieve to reveal in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that Bagman was accused of being a Death Eater about thirteen years before the events of the fourth book because he had given information to recently discovered Death Eater Augustus Rookwood. It is stated that he had believed Rookwood, who was his father's friend, to be beyond suspicion, and that; consequently, he had thought that he was aiding the Ministry by passing the information on to him.
Bagman loves gambling, which got him in financial trouble so severe that he pays some of his creditors (including Fred and George Weasley) with disappearing Leprechaun Gold, after they have gambled on the Quidditch World Cup. After the World Cup final, some goblins corner him in the woods outside the stadium and take all the gold he had on him, which is not enough to cover his debts. To clear his debts with the goblins, Bagman makes a bet on the Triwizard Tournament, of which he is one of the judges. He bets the goblins that Harry would win. He tries to help Harry over the course of the Tournament, giving him a perfect score in the First Task even though he is injured, and offering him advice. Harry and Cedric Diggory end up tying for first place in the tournament, and Bagman does not win the bet as the goblins argue that Bagman was betting Harry would win outright. Bagman runs away after the Third Task of the Tournament.
Bagman's character was cut from the film adaptation of the fourth book. Some of Ludo's primary functions in the story were performed by Cornelius Fudge and Barty Crouch Sr, in the film adaptation. Bagman appears in the Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup video game as a Quidditch announcer.
Barty Crouch, Sr
Bartemius "Barty" Crouch, Sr was the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement when Voldemort first came to power. Crouch was somewhat megalomaniacal and intensely preoccupied with presenting the appearance of respectability. Crouch was a narrow, inflexible man who stiffly followed the rules. Though he despised the Dark Arts, the lengths to which he was willing to go in order to disassociate with anything that might blemish his reputation led him to behave almost as cruelly as many on the Dark Side, and gave Aurors powers to kill rather than capture suspected Death Eaters who resisted arrest. He sent Sirius Black to the wizard prison Azkaban without a trial. Crouch appeared to be the favourite to become the next Minister for Magic until his son, Barty Crouch, Jr, was caught with the Lestranges, Death Eaters who were trying to bring Voldemort back to power. Crouch gave his son a trial before sending him to Azkaban; however, according to Sirius, the trial was a sham, merely a public demonstration of how much he hated the boy. About a year after the trial, Crouch's terminally ill wife begged for her son's life to be saved, so Crouch abetted the two in trading appearances using Polyjuice Potion, and Mrs Crouch took her son's place in Azkaban. After the supposed death of his son in prison, public sympathy fell on Crouch Jr; the wizarding world placed all the blame on Crouch Sr, accusing him of driving his son to join the Death Eaters because of his neglect of his family. After the scandal, Crouch lost much of his popularity and he was shunted sideways to a post as the head of the Department of International Magical Co-operation.
Barty Crouch, Sr makes his first appearance in the series at the Quidditch World Cup in Goblet of Fire. Crouch accuses Harry, Ron and Hermione of attempting to set off the Dark Mark, and when Winky is found to have Harry's wand, he angrily dismisses Winky, as the house-elf is supposed to look after his son, who is always under an Invisibility Cloak. Voldemort and his servant Peter Pettigrew show up at the Crouch family home and put Crouch Sr under the Imperius Curse, freeing Crouch Jr from the Imperius Curse placed on him by his father and thus allowing him to rejoin Voldemort. Crouch continues to appear in public at first and is one of the five judges at the Triwizard Tournament. However, worried that Crouch will fight off the Imperius Curse, Voldemort later keeps him imprisoned within the house and has him communicate exclusively through supervised owl post. Later in the book, Crouch, who has escaped from his home, meets Harry and Viktor Krum in the Forbidden Forest and begs to see Dumbledore. However, Harry, while on his way to inform Dumbledore of the events, unwittingly alerts Crouch Jr, in the disguise of Mad-Eye Moody, to his father's presence. Crouch Jr immediately goes to the Forest, kills his own father, transfigures the body into a bone, and buries it on the Hogwarts grounds.
John Dawlish is an Auror. He is very capable and self-assured, and is described as a "tough-looking wizard" with "very short, wiry" grey hair. He leaves Hogwarts with Outstandings in all his N.E.W.T.s, (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test). However, it is a running joke of the books that in any appearance or mention of him, he is eventually hexed, usually due to a combination of far superior opponents and sheer bad luck.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dawlish accompanies Fudge to Hogwarts to confront Harry about the secret Dumbledore's Army meetings. Dawlish is knocked out along with Fudge, Umbridge, and Kingsley when Dumbledore, who put the blame for the Army on himself, escapes. A few weeks later, Dawlish is among the wizards who attempt to arrest Rubeus Hagrid when Umbridge sacks the gamekeeper. Still later, Dawlish arrives at the Ministry of Magic with Fudge after the battle at the Department of Mysteries is over. Fudge then sends him to attend to the captured Death Eaters. Dawlish appears again in Half-Blood Prince guarding Hogwarts after the commencement of the Second War. He is sent to follow Dumbledore when the Headmaster leaves school to search for Voldemort's Horcruxes, but is "regretfully" hexed by the Headmaster. He is Confunded by an Order member early on in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and gives Death Eater Yaxley false information on Harry's removal from the Dursleys' home. Being Confunded, he is defeated by Dirk Cresswell, who escapes halfway on the way to Azkaban. Later, Dawlish is sent to arrest Augusta Longbottom. After a struggle, her attack places Dawlish in St Mungo's Hospital.
Dawlish's first name is not revealed in the books or films. However, Rowling said in an interview with the podcast "PotterCast" that she named him John, owing to host John Noe's appreciation of the character.
Cornelius Oswald Fudge is first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as the Minister for Magic of Britain. He makes his first appearance in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when he arrives at the school to take Hagrid to Azkaban, even though he does not firmly believe that Hagrid is guilty. He also removes Dumbledore as Headmaster when pressured by Lucius Malfoy who insisted that all the school governors had voted on it. However, it is not until Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that Fudge meets Harry for the first time. Fudge does not press charges against Harry for accidentally inflating Aunt Marge, and advises him to be careful because an escaped convict is at large. When Fudge goes for a social drink at the Three Broomsticks pub, he inadvertently tells an unseen Harry that Sirius was James Potter's best friend and was believed to have betrayed the Potters to Voldemort. Fudge allowed the near-execution of Buckbeak to occur, once again intimidated by Lucius Malfoy. In this book, it is revealed that, before becoming Minister for Magic, he worked in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes.
His kindly relationship to Harry abruptly changes in Goblet of Fire. When Harry emerges from the Triwizard Tournament's third task after having seen the rebirth of Voldemort, Fudge refuses to believe it. He is worried about the fallout of announcing Voldemort's return, marking the end of the Wizarding world's years of peace, and the sudden outbreak of gloom and terror; hence he decides to merely ignore all of the evidence rather than accept the truth. J. K. Rowling has since stated that Fudge's behavior mirrors that of Neville Chamberlain in the lead-up to World War II.
In Order of the Phoenix, Fudge orchestrates a vicious smear campaign through the Daily Prophet to present Dumbledore as a senile old fool (even though he was constantly asking for Dumbledore's advice in his early days of being Minister for Magic) and Harry as an unstable, attention-seeking liar. He also passes a law allowing him to place Dolores Umbridge, his Senior Undersecretary, as a teacher at Hogwarts. He then appoints Umbridge as Hogwarts' "High Inquisitor", with the power to inspect and sack teachers, and ultimately Dumbledore's successor as Headmaster, which gives her (and by extension, Fudge himself) primary control of how Hogwarts is managed. Fudge is concerned that Dumbledore is a threat to his power and that he is planning to train the Hogwarts students to overthrow the Ministry. After Voldemort appears in the Ministry of Magic at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Fudge is sacked in disgrace from his position of Minister for Magic after the wizarding community calls for his resignation and is replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour, though he stays on as an advisor in Half-Blood Prince. He makes several attempts to have Dumbledore arrange a meeting between himself and Harry so that Harry can lie on Fudge's behalf and make it look as though the Ministry is winning the war, but Dumbledore refuses, knowing how ridiculous Harry would find the idea. Fudge is last mentioned in the series as one of the attendees at Dumbledore's funeral; his fate during Voldemort's takeover of the Ministry during the following year is unknown.
In the film series, Fudge is portrayed by Robert Hardy.
Bertha Jorkins was a student at Hogwarts at the same time as James Potter and company. She was known as nosy, with a good head for gossip. She became a Ministry of Magic employee after leaving Hogwarts. In the summer before the events of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she was killed by Voldemort. Rowling later revealed that her death was used to turn Nagini, Voldemort's snake, into a Horcrux. Some months before her murder, she accidentally discovered that Barty Crouch, Jr, who supposedly died in Azkaban prison, was still alive and being hidden by his father. Barty Crouch Sr. silenced her with a powerful Memory Charm, which made her a little befuddled. Voldemort irreparably damaged her mentally and physically while breaking the Memory Charm, through which he gained information about the Triwizard Tournament and Crouch Jr.. During the duel between Harry and Voldemort in the graveyard at Little Hangleton, Bertha is one of the shadows that spills out from Voldemort's wand and helps Harry escape. She appears to be wiser after her death, and supports Harry during The Goblet of Fire so he can defeat Voldemort, her murderer.
Bertha Jorkins's character was written out of the film adaptation of Goblet of Fire due to time constraints.
Rufus Scrimgeour serves as the Minister for Magic of the United Kingdom, succeeding Cornelius Fudge who was ousted by the wizarding community due to his failure to announce the return of Voldemort, discrediting Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore and allowing Dolores Umbridge to become Headmistress of Hogwarts, from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince until his death in the following book. He is described as looking like an old lion with tawny hair and bushy eyebrows, with yellow eyes and wire-rimmed spectacles. Before being selected as minister, Scrimgeour headed the Auror Office of the Ministry and he is heavily battle-scarred from his years of service as an Auror, giving him an appearance of shrewd toughness. As minister, he visits the Muggle Prime Minister with Fudge, now an advisor, to inform him about recent wizarding events, crucial to internal security.
Scrimgeour proves to be a more capable leader than Fudge. Scrimgeour seeks to raise the wizarding population's morale by asking Harry, who has been labelled as the "Chosen One", to be seen visiting the Ministry, so that the public would believe that Harry supports the Ministry's actions against Voldemort. This becomes a source of contention between the Minister and Dumbledore, who does not support this idea. Harry also rejects the role, primarily because of his own antagonistic history with the Ministry, and because of the Ministry's treatment of Dumbledore and Stan Shunpike. Scrimgeour makes a short appearance, looking tired and grim due to the pressures of his position, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at The Burrow with Dumbledore's will; a final argument promptly breaks out between Harry and him.
Scrimgeour is assassinated shortly after the visit when Death Eaters take over the Ministry. He is rumoured to have been tortured for Harry's whereabouts by Ministry officials, under the control of the Imperius Curse, before he is killed. Harry felt a "rush of gratitude" to hear that Scrimgeour, in his final act, attempted to protect Harry by refusing to disclose his location. With the Ministry in Death Eaters' hands, the official line for Scrimgeour's death is that he resigned.
Pius Thicknesse is first introduced in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He is the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the start of the book, when he is placed under the Imperius Curse by Yaxley, who uses his position to infiltrate the senior ranks of the Ministry. Thicknesse is described as a man with long hair and a beard, which are mostly black but tinged with some grey, along with a great overhanging forehead and glinting eyes. Harry's immediate impression is of "a crab looking out from beneath a rock."
After the coup in which Scrimgeour is killed, the Ministry comes under the de facto control of Voldemort, who appoints Thicknesse as his puppet Minister. Thicknesse joins the ranks of the Death Eaters for the rest of the book and fights with them at the Battle of Hogwarts, where he duels against Percy Weasley (who Transfigures him into a sea urchin). Following the end of the battle, the Imperius Curse that was placed upon him is broken. Kingsley Shacklebolt replaces him as interim (later permanent) Minister for Magic. Not much is known about the "real" nature of Thicknesse, as he has been under the control of Yaxley for nearly the entire book.
Guy Henry plays Thicknesse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2, in which he is portrayed as being a Death Eater even before Scrimgeour's death; there is no mention of the Imperius Curse being used to secure his support. In Part 2, Thicknesse is killed by Voldemort himself.
Dolores Jane Umbridge is the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. She is a short, squat woman described as resembling a large pale toad, with "short, curly, mouse-brown hair". She speaks with a quiet, childish, high-pitched voice, and loves kittens, chocolate cakes, biscuits, tea and other cute things, decorating her office with related paraphernalia. She has a tendency to speak to people she feels are her lessers in a very condescending tone, as if they are simpletons or very young children.
Umbridge is first presented as an interrogator at Harry's trial for under-age use of magic in the opening chapters of Order of the Phoenix. It is later revealed that Umbridge had the Dementors attack Harry in an attempt to silence him from contradicting the Ministry's statement about Voldemort not returning from the dead. Umbridge is subsequently installed at Hogwarts as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor by order of the Ministry. Her teaching consists only of defensive magical theory, due to Fudge's paranoid fear that Dumbledore intends to use his students as an army to bring down the Ministry. She is soon appointed the first "High Inquisitor" of Hogwarts, in which she is given extraordinary powers over the students, teachers, and curriculum. She dismisses Sybill Trelawney as a teacher, though Dumbledore points out she cannot send her away from the school itself. Ultimately, she deposes Dumbledore after he 'confesses' to plotting against the Ministry to prevent Harry being expelled, and has herself instated as Headmistress by the Ministry. However the Headmaster's Office (the room itself) rejects her authority by sealing her out, meaning she has to continue to use her own office. She creates the "Inquisitorial Squad", which rewards its student members for reporting on others and sanctions them to act as enforcers of Umbridge's rules, including the ability to take points from the other students for the House Cup competition. All the members of the Inquisitorial Squad are Slytherins. Her authority is initially challenged by Fred and George, who leave Hogwarts after turning a corridor into a swamp and bombarding Umbridge with fireworks. She then faces trouble from the non-Slytherin student body and Peeves at every opportunity, with the teachers doing very little to stop them. Filch the Caretaker tries to help her, delighted at being given permission to whip students, but there is too much trouble for him to keep order. Towards the final chapters of Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge attacks Hagrid, but her attempt is thwarted partly due to Hagrid's half-giant heritage which grants relative immunity to spells. Hagrid escapes Hogwarts, and Minerva McGonagall is severely injured by Umbridge's followers and is sent to St. Mungo's hospital, clearing the way for Umbridge to assume complete control of the school.
Umbridge's time at Hogwarts is characterised by cruelty and abusive punishments against students; she forces Harry Potter, Lee Jordan and other students to whom she gave detention to write lines using a blood quill, which cuts the same words written into its victims as they write. Umbridge even attempts to use Veritaserum and the Cruciatus Curse to extract information from students. By speaking derisively to a herd of centaurs, she provokes them and they abduct her. Umbridge is rescued not visibly harmed, but traumatised, by Dumbledore, and is eventually removed from Hogwarts due to the wizarding community pressuring Fudge for his resignation. She later makes a short appearance in Half-Blood Prince when she attends Dumbledore's funeral with an unconvincing expression of grief and Harry is disgusted to hear that Rufus Scrimgeour has continued to employ her at the Ministry of Magic.
Umbridge plays a smaller role in Deathly Hallows as the head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission, and appears to have written a leaflet called "Mudbloods and the Dangers They Pose to a Peaceful Pure-Blood Society", indicating her full support of Voldemort's regime, whether or not she knew the truth about who was running it. She has somehow obtained Mad-Eye Moody's magical eye after his death, and uses it to spy on the other Ministry workers from her office. She has also taken Slytherin's locket as a bribe from Mundungus Fletcher after he stole it from 12 Grimmauld Place but was selling without a license. She uses the trinket to solidify her pure-blood credentials, claiming the "S" on the locket stands for "Selwyn", rather than "Slytherin". Harry and his friends manage to penetrate the Ministry and steal the Horcrux back from Umbridge after stunning her during the trial of a Muggle-Born. Despite Harry being unable to conjure a Patronus while wearing the locket due to the malign presence of a piece of Voldemort's soul, Umbridge managed to do so. Rowling explains this is due to Dolores being a "very nasty piece of work" such that the evil object aids her instead of hindering her. Following Voldemort's demise, according to Rowling, Umbridge is arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned for crimes against Muggle-borns.
Novelist Stephen King, writing as a book reviewer for 11 July 2003 Entertainment Weekly, noted the success of any novel is due to a great villain, with Umbridge being the "greatest make-believe villain to come along since Hannibal Lecter..." IGN called Umbridge their 16th top Harry Potter character.
In Pottermore, it is revealed that Umbridge is half-blood.
Percy Ignatius Weasley is the third son of Arthur and Molly Weasley. In direct contrast to his younger brothers, he is a stickler for rules and often pompous due to his love of authority, though he does have good intentions at heart. When readers first meet Percy in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, he is a Gryffindor prefect, and in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he becomes Head Boy, much to his mother's delight. In both these circumstances, he becomes physically attached to his badge, wanting to polish it and wear it even when out of school. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Percy secretly has a girlfriend – Ravenclaw prefect Penelope Clearwater. Academically a high-performing student, Percy received twelve OWLs and twelve NEWTs. When he finished school, this academic distinction plus his having served as Head Boy secured him a job in the Ministry in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. His immediate supervisor is Barty Crouch Sr; Percy somewhat idolises Mr Crouch, but Crouch never seems to remember Percy's name, calling him "Weatherby." When Crouch is ill, Percy replaces him as a judge in the second Triwizard Tournament task.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Percy is promoted to Junior Assistant to Minister Fudge; because Fudge and Dumbledore are at odds over Harry's claim that Voldemort has returned, a dispute between Percy and Arthur erupts, resulting in Percy's subsequent alienation from his family. Although Harry notes he has always liked Percy "the least of Ron's brothers", he is still shocked to hear of this. When Percy learns Ron is made a prefect, he sends him a letter congratulating him for following in his footsteps, and unsuccessfully urges Ron to sever ties with Harry (claiming Harry is an extreme danger to Ron's prefect status), and to pay loyalty to Umbridge and the Ministry – going so far to refer to her as a "delightful woman," much to Harry's and Ron's disgust. Percy later makes an appearance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where he has apparently seen the error of his ways and pays an awkward visit to his family with new Minister Rufus Scrimgeour during the Christmas Holidays, although it is later revealed that this was engineered by Scrimgeour in order to speak to Harry alone. He later attends Dumbledore's funeral with Ministry officials, including Dolores Umbridge.
In the climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Percy returns to his family and manages to make up with all of them, and eventually duels new Minister for Magic and Voldemort puppet Pius Thicknesse in the Battle of Hogwarts. While dueling Thicknesse, Percy announces that he is resigning, the first joke he has made in many years, much to Fred's delight. While dueling alongside Percy, his brother Fred Weasley is killed in an explosion, and Percy clings to the corpse and shields it from further damage. In the last part of the battle, he and his father work together to defeat Thicknesse. His final appearance is in the book's epilogue, at King's Cross Station, talking loudly about broom regulations.
Percy is portrayed by Chris Rankin in the films.
|Broderick Bode||A worker in the Department of Mysteries. He is placed under the Imperius Curse by Lucius Malfoy, who sought to obtain the prophecy concerning Harry and Voldemort. Bode suffered spell damage from his attempt to steal the prophecy and was sent to St Mungo's Hospital; he was subsequently strangled by a potted Devil's Snare plant at Christmas to prevent him from revealing any information about the Death Eaters' plot.|
|Amelia Susan Bones||Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She is aunt to Susan Bones (Harry's classmate from Hufflepuff), and sister to Edgar Bones (a member of the Order of the Phoenix killed by Death Eaters during the first war). During Harry's trial in book 5, Madam Bones expressed admiration for Harry's ability to produce a corporeal Patronus at such a young age; her fair handling of the trial also helped lead to Harry's acquittal. Bones is believed to have been brutally murdered by Voldemort himself shortly before the events that take place in book 6. She is called a "great witch" by Professor Dumbledore in the fourth chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. She is portrayed by Sian Thomas in the film adaptation.|
|Reginald "Reg" Cattermole||Works for magical maintenance in the Ministry. In the final book, Ron uses some of his hair to impersonate him and enter the Ministry to steal Slytherin's locket. His wife, Muggle-born Mary Cattermole, was being interrogated at the time that Harry, Ron and Hermione stole the locket. Steffan Rhodri portrays him in the film adaptation of Deathly Hallows.|
|Dirk Cresswell||Muggle-born, member of the Slug Club during his time as Hogwarts student. He was Head of the Goblin Liaison Office until Albert Runcorn exposed his falsification of his family tree and caused him to be sent to Azkaban. However, he escaped, but eventually was killed by Snatchers along with Ted Tonks and Gornuk the goblin.|
|Amos Diggory||Father of Cedric Diggory. Works in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Unlike his son, who is quite modest, Amos likes to boast about his son's accomplishments and can give Harry a hard time (although in the film version of Goblet of Fire, he is presented as amicable). In the film adaptation of Goblet of Fire, Diggory was portrayed by Jeff Rawle.|
|Madam Edgecombe||Works in the Department of Magical Transportation, Floo Network office. She helped Dolores Umbridge to police Hogwarts fireplaces. She is the mother of Marietta Edgecombe, the Ravenclaw who betrayed Dumbledore's Army to Umbridge.|
|Mafalda Hopkirk||Works in the Improper Use of Magic Office in the Ministry, and is responsible for sending out warnings when magic by the underaged is detected. In the beginning of the fifth book and movie, Harry receives a Howler with a subpoena to the hearing, written and narrated by Hopkirk. Hermione uses some of her hair to impersonate her and enter the Ministry, and gets close to Umbridge prior to their stealing of Slytherin's locket. Her voice is portrayed by Jessica Hynes in the film version of Order of the Phoenix, but in Deathly Hallows, she is played physically by Sophie Thompson.|
|Griselda Marchbanks||An elder witch who resigned from the Wizengamot and was already working for the Wizarding Examinations Authority in Dumbledore's time as student. Marchbanks personally examines Harry and some of the students of his year when they sit for their O.W.L.s.|
|Bob Ogden||Dumbledore uses one of Ogden's memories to show Harry the background of the House of Gaunt, Voldemort's maternal family. Ogden worked as a Magical Law Enforcer and was Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad before he died.|
|Tiberius Ogden||Though never explicitly introduced, Ogden is mentioned several times in the fifth instalment as a staunch ally of Dumbledore in the face of the headmaster's growing unpopularity. As a result, allegations (probably invented) are made against him, claiming he is involved in goblin riots. A member of the Wizengamot until he resigns to show solidarity with Dumbledore.|
|Perkins||A friend of Mr Weasley who lends him and the Weasleys his tent during the Quidditch World Cup. Harry, Ron and Hermione use the same tent in the final book during their search for Horcruxes.|
|Albert Runcorn||While his allegiance is never made explicit, it is implied that he is a supporter of the Death Eaters. In a discussion with Arthur Weasley, he is revealed to have discovered the falsified genealogy for Dirk Cresswell. Harry uses some of his hair to impersonate him to enter into the Ministry to steal Slytherin's locket. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, he is played by David O'Hara.|
|Wilkie Twycross||A Ministry teacher who teaches sixth year students how to apparate; notable for his three Ds: determination, destination and deliberation. Due to the difficulty of apparition, the three Ds give him various nicknames from students, such as Dog-breath & Dung-head.|
In connection with her portrayal of the bureaucratised Ministry of Magic and the oppressive measures taken by the Ministry in the later books (like making attendance to Hogwarts compulsory and the "registration of Muggle-borns" with the Ministry), Rowling has been asked whether there is a parallel with Nazism. She replied that "It wasn't really exclusively that. I think you can see in the Ministry even before it's taken over, there are parallels to regimes we all know and love." Jennifer Barnett of People's Weekly World stated that the reader is drawn "into the politics of the wizarding world—the 'Educational Decrees' from the toad-like Ministry of Magic representative, the high-level connections of 'war criminals' from the last rise of Voldemort, the prejudice against 'mudbloods' and 'half-breeds,'" and suggested connections "to the world we live in, to the similarities and differences between the Fudge administration and the Bush administration." Julia Turner of Slate Magazine also interpreted Rowling's depiction of the ministration as criticism of the Bush and Blair administrations, suggesting the Ministry's security pamphlet recalls the Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System). University of Tennessee law professor Benjamin Barton notes what he considers to be libertarian aspects of Harry Potter in his paper, Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy, published in the Michigan Law Review, stating that "Rowling's scathing portrait of government is surprisingly strident and effective. This is partly because her critique works on so many levels: the functions of government, the structure of government, and the bureaucrats who run the show. All three elements work together to depict a Ministry of Magic run by self-interested bureaucrats bent on increasing and protecting their power, often to the detriment of the public at large. In other words, Rowling creates a public-interest scholar's dream—or nightmare—government."
In popular culture
One of the most influential Wizard rock bands is named Ministry of Magic after the government structure in the series. Ministry of Magic has made numerous performances, amongst the most notable of them taking place in Wrockstock.
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- Barton, Benjamin H. (2006). "Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy" (PDF). Michigan Law Review (Social Science Research Network) 104. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 10
- "New 'Wizard' for October". HPANA. 30 September 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2007.
- Brown, Jen (26 July 2007). "Exclusive: Finished 'Potter'? Rowling tells what happens next". Today. NBC.
- Rowling, J.K. Order of the Phoenix. Scholastic.
- Vander Ark, Steve (27 December 2000). "The Wizengamot". The Harry Potter Lexicon. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
- "Online Chat Transcript". Bloomsbury Publishing. 31 July 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- Anelli, Melissa, John Noe, Sue Upton (18 December 2007). "PotterCast 130: The One with J. K. Rowling" (Podcast). PotterCast. Retrieved 18 December 2007.
- "J. K. Rowling Discusses Inspiration for Minister for Magic and More in New Interview", The Leaky Cauldron, 4 February 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008.
- Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; 2005; Chapter 16; Pages 345–347 (American edition).
- "Bill Nighy to star in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Newsround. United Kingdom: CBBC. 6 July 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Chapter 32: "Out of the Fire"
- Anelli, Melissa (30 July 2007). "Online Chat Transcript". The Leaky Cauldron. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
- Potter Gold (2003) Entertainment Weekly
- Brian Linder, Phil Pirrello, Eric Goldman, Matt Fowler (14 July 2009). "Top 25 Harry Potter Characters". IGN. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
- J. K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall Reveals Dumbledore is Gay; Neville Marries Hannah Abbott, and Much More
- Barnett, Jennifer (July 10, 2003). "Harry Potter and the irresistible read". People's Weekly World
- Turner, Julia (20 July 2005). "When Harry Met Osama; Terrorism comes to Hogwarts". Slate Magazine
- Ministry of Magic on Harry Potter Wiki, an external wiki
- The HP-Lexicon talks about the various departments in The Ministry of Magic
- Mugglenet page on The Ministry of Magic