Ministry of Magic

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The Ministry of Magic
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The Ministry of Magic logo
First appearanceHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (mention), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (appearance)
LocationLondon
LeaderMinister for Magic
PurposePreservation of magical law
EnemiesOrder of the Phoenix (temporarily), Death Eaters

In J.K. Rowling's fictional universe of Harry Potter, the Ministry of Magic is the Government for the Magical community of Britain and Ireland. The government is first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and makes its first actual appearance in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, with Cornelius Fudge as the Minister for Magic (Minister of Magic in American versions). Throughout the books, the body is depicted as corrupt and blind to actual happenings of the Wizard world, reaching a nadir of corruption during the uprising of the antagonist Lord Voldemort.

This government succeeded the earlier "Wizards' Council", the earliest known form of government for the Wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Composition and status

Name and connection to "Muggle" world

The term "Ministry of Magic" implies that it is a branch of the actual British government (much like the real-life Ministry of Defence or the Ministry of Justice). However, though the exact relationship between the Ministry and the "Muggle" government is vague, it is clear that the Ministry exists as a full-fledged government in its own right, exercising full jurisdiction over the fictional universe of Harry Potter. In the Harry Potter universe, each new Muggle Prime Minister receives a visit from the Minister for Magic who informs him that the wizarding world exists and they will be keeping in touch to be updated only in crucial curcumstances in which the events of the wizard world may affect the "muggles". The Minister has to even inform the Prime Minister if dangerous magical animals are to be entered into the U.K.[1]

The Ministry keeps in touch with the British Prime Minister via a wizard's portrait (which can not be removed) in the Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street, which notifies the Prime Minister of the Minister for Magic's arrival.[HP6] Although the ficitonal Ministry would presumably want to keep up good relations with the "Muggles", the behaviour of their delegates does not reflect this. Most Ministers for Magic (or at least those who are present in the Harry Potter series such as Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour) consider the Muggle Prime Minister to be beneath them and act in a patronising manner towards them. This further shows the discrimination between wizards to muggles in the Harry Potter universe.

Government structure

As seen in the Harry Potter books, the Ministry seems to be largely an unelected body. The post of the Minister itself appears to be just like any 'job' rather than a special office of election. However, whom ever has the power to sack or appoint ministers is never explained in the books, but it is implied that some special body has the authority to do so. 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) public opinion from the wizarding community, which they attempt to influence via the Daily Prophet. In the books, employment with the Ministry can be obtained right after completion of a wizarding education[HP4].

Furthermore, the government gives an apparant nature of (at various times) either incompetence or malice. From events depicted in the novels, it appears woefully incompetent, to the point of inability to detect or prevent an assault on the Department of Mysteries, apparently their most heavily guarded department, due to lax security. Harry, other companions (a mere group of Hogwarts students), and antagonist Lord Voldemort were able to enter it unannounced without provoking any response whatsoever.[HP5]

Judicial system and corrupt nature

Within the Ministry, there appears to be little coherent separation of powers, and its judicial system is regularly seen to be subjected to political influences. Nevertheless, all depicted examples of judicial proceedings of Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter books occur at or around times of upheaval and social unrest, which may be a deliberate reflection on the practices of real-life governments. The Minister and other senior officials seem to preside personally over at least some high profile trials conducted before the Wizengamot (the British Wizards' court), though verdicts in the series are decided by show of hands and may be swayed by skilful representation. Whilst this mixture of powers is unusual in most real-life democracies, it is not constitutionally dissimilar to the arrangement in the actual British Parliament, whereby the Law Lords, who sit in the actual House of Lords and act as the final court of appeal, are also members of the legislature.

As seen in the Harry Potter books, the wizarding courts often display a marked lack of interest in evidence for or against a suspect, often relying on personal prejudice to decide the outcome (another key objective is to get the trial over and done with as quickly as possible).[HP5] Not all criminals are even given trials.[HP4] As read in Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry is quite prepared to decree and enforce draconian laws over the magical community without notice. At times, the Ministry can also seem uninterested in solving problems the wizard world faces in the books, instead choosing to ignore or cover up bad news. In the fifth installment, Cornelius Fudge (Minister) refuses to believe that the antagonist of the books, Lord Voldemort, had returned, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. (Even in the second installment, Fudge takes a long while to respond to the attacks on Hogwarts school). They are however forced to accept the return of Lord Voldemort and act; Fudge was removed from office for incompetence and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour.

Ministers for Magic

At the close of the Harry Potter series, the Minister for Magic in Britain is Kingsley Shacklebolt. Shacklebolt replaced Voldemort's puppet Pius Thicknesse, who had been placed under the Imperius Curse. Voldemort put Thicknesse in power after he killed Rufus Scrimgeour. Scrimgeour himself replaced Cornelius Fudge, who in turn replaced Millicent Bagnold about whom nothing else is known. Other Ministers have included the highly popular Grogan Stump (1770–1884), who was appointed to the post in 1811 and settled the Beings vs. Beasts classification problem, and Artemisia Lufkin, the first witch to be elected to the post. Albus Dumbledore, former headmaster of Hogwarts, was offered the job of Minister and refused it at least three times. In his latter days at Hogwarts, Tom Marvolo Riddle was widely predicted to become Minister due to his intelligence, magical talent and ability to forge friendships and alliances with the people around him, gathering a crowd of followers to serve his interests; however, Riddle refused all offers of assistance to find work at the Ministry.

The following is a list of known Ministers for Magic and their tenures in office:[citation needed]

Cornelius Fudge

Template:HP Character Cornelius Oswald Fudge was first introduced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as the Minister for Magic of Great Britain. Believing that Rubeus Hagrid is controlling Slytherin's Basilisk to attack Hogwarts, Fudge shows himself in the school to send Hagrid to Azkaban; and allows the removal of Albus Dumbledore as Headmaster when pressured by Lucius Malfoy. However, it was not until Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that Harry meets Fudge for the first time, who acts very kindly by not pressing charges against him for inflating Aunt Marge, and also advises him to be careful because an escaped convict is at large, suggesting Sirius Black might have a connection to him. When Fudge gets a drink at the Three Broomsticks pub, he inadvertently tells Harry that Sirius was James Potter's best friend and was believed to have betrayed the Potters to Lord Voldemort. Fudge allowed the near-execution of Buckbeak to occur, once again influenced by Lucius Malfoy.

His kindly relationship to Harry suddenly changes in Harry Potter and the 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, worried about the fallout of announcing Voldemort's return, and that that would be the end of the Wizarding world's years of peace, and decided to merely ignore all of the evidence rather than accept the truth. Author J. K. Rowling has since stated that Fudge's behavior mirrors that of Neville Chamberlain in the lead-up to World War II.[2] In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Fudge also passes a law allowing him to place Dolores Umbridge, his Senior Undersecretary, as a teacher at Hogwarts; he then appoints her "High Inquisitor," and ultimately Dumbledore's successor as Headmaster, giving her (and by extension, himself) primary control of how Hogwarts is managed, because Fudge is particularly paranoid that Dumbledore is a threat to his power and that he is planning to train the Hogwarts students to overthrow the Ministry. However, this is overturned after Voldemort appears in the Ministry of Magic, which forces Fudge to be sacked as Minister for Magic and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour, though he stays on as a powerless advisor in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Fudge is last mentioned in the series as one of the attendees at Albus Dumbledore's funeral, and his fate during Lord Voldemort's takeover of the Ministry during the following year is unknown.

Rufus Scrimgeour

Template:HP character Rufus Scrimgeour served as the Minister for Magic of Britain, succeeding Cornelius Fudge, from 1996 until his death in 1997. He is described as looking like an old lion with tawny hair and bushy eyebrows, with yellow eyes and wire-rimmed spectacles, and was heavily battle-scarred from his years of service as an Auror, giving him an appearance of shrewd toughness.

Scrimgeour was a more capable leader than Fudge and served as Minister for Magic at the beginning of Lord Voldemort's second reign of terror. Before the events of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Scrimgeour headed the Auror Office of the Ministry. After Fudge's sacking, Scrimgeour was selected to be the next Minister, and he visited the Muggle Prime Minister with Fudge, now a powerless advisor, to inform him about recent wizarding events, crucial to internal security.

Scrimgeour sought to raise the wizarding population's morale by asking Harry, who had been labelled as the 'Chosen One', to be seen visiting the Ministry, so that the public would believe that Harry supported the Ministry's actions against Voldemort. Upon becoming Minister, Scrimgeour's desire to use Harry to improve morale was a source of contention between the Minister and Dumbledore, who did not support this idea. Harry also rejected the role primarily because of his own antagonistic history with the Ministry, and the Ministry's treatment of Dumbledore and Stan Shunpike.[3]

Scrimgeour made a short appearance in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at the Burrow with Albus Dumbledore's will. According to Scrimgeour, only three students were mentioned in the will – Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter. He was murdered shortly after the visit when Death Eaters took over the Ministry. He was tortured for Harry's whereabouts by Voldemort before he was 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 was that he resigned.

Pius Thicknesse

Template:HP character 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.

After the coup in which Rufus Scrimgeour is killed, the Ministry comes under the de facto control of Lord 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 Minister for Magic.

Kingsley Shacklebolt

Line of precedence

Below the Minister are various undersecretaries (most notably Dolores Umbridge), and heads of various magical departments. The exact structure of power within the ministry is relatively unknown.

It seems to have been established that in general, the Minister for Magic has a history in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Three of the four past Ministers for Magic with a known back story have come from there; as well, Bartemius Crouch, Sr., a former Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, was widely considered to be a viable candidate for the office, although Crouch lost favour due to the trial of his son. In addition the lines of automatic succession to the office seem to go through Magical Law Enforcement before branching out into other departments, as evidenced by Kingsley Shacklebolt's accession to the office after the removal of Pius Thicknesse, and Thicknesse's own succession to the office after the murder of Rufus Scrimgeour.

Below the minister are various undersecretaries (most notably Dolores Umbridge), and heads of various magical departments:

Name Superior Subordinate Person in Office Description of Office
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot Minister for Magic None Albus Dumbledore Given that the Wizengamot is both judicial and legislative, this post is like the real-life chief justice and speaker of the house. The Chief Warlock is mostly independent from the control of the Ministry and does not have a superior except the Minister who can still appoint and fire who he or she chooses.
Senior Undersecretary Minister for Magic Junior Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge The exact amount of power this office possesses is relatively unknown, due to the fact this person is allowed to sit in on the Wizengamot trials with the minister. The Head of Magical Law Enforcement shows that it is a very high office. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge still keeps her post even after becoming High Inquisitor of Hogwarts.
Junior Undersecretary Senior Undersecretary Heads of Departments Percy Weasley According to Weasley, this is an honourable position to possess.
Heads of Departments Junior Undersecretary Department workers Numerous (See departments below) These high officers are in charge of the day-to-day operations of their departments. The Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement seems to be the most senior department head and the most prestigious as it is one of the main components of the Line of Succession.

Floor directory

To enter the ministry via the Visitors Entrance, one must dial the number 62442 (which can spell out the word "MAGIC" using text-keys) into a specific public telephone and state one's name and reason for entering. Passes are then issued (apparently through a magical system) and the telephone box then descends through the ground into the ministry's lobby in Floor B8.

A floor directory of the Ministry of Magic is as follows; note, as the entire ministry is underground, the higher the floor number, the deeper the floor:

More than twenty service lifts stops at all floors from level 1 to level 9. Stairways may provide access to all ten levels in the ministry. They must be used to access the courtrooms on level 10.

Minister for Magic and Supporting Staff

Level One houses the office of the Minister for Magic and the offices of his supporting staff. These include the Senior Undersecretary and Junior Undersecretary among others. When Harry Potter sets foot in this Level for the first time (in Deathly Hallows), he notices that the corridors are covered with thick purple-colored carpeting. The walls are lined with polished wooden doors bearing a small plaque of the owner's name.

Department of Magical Law Enforcement

Arguably the most important of the various departments, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is a combination of police and justice facilities, and is roughly equivalent to the real-life British Home Office. In the beginning of the Harry Potter books, it is headed by Amelia Bones. She was replaced by Pius Thicknesse after her death by Lord Voldemort.[HP6] Thicknesse is replaced by Yaxley in Deathly Hallows after Voldemort places Thicknesse as puppet Minister for his regime. Bartemius Crouch Sr. once headed the department before the series.[HP4]

According to J.K. Rowling, this is the department that Hermione Granger joins, after the events of the seventh installment, transferring from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures where she began her post-Hogwarts career.

Auror Office

According to Minerva McGonagall, the Auror office takes in new recuits with a minimum of 5 N.E.W.T.s (nothing "Exceeds Expectations" or lower. See Wizarding world#Education). She suggests that Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology N.E.W.T.s are best suited. With that, the office takes in students into its training program ("...a series of character and aptitude tests"). Nymphadora Tonks says that two tests are "Concealment and Disguise" and "Stealth and Tracking", and that the training is hard to pass with high marks (a requirement). Luna Lovegood once told Harry not to join, as according to her, they are part of the "Rotfang Conspiracy" working to bring down the Ministry from within using a combination of Dark Magic and tooth decay.[HP5]

Characters to have been Aurors in the Harry Potter series include Alastor Moody, Frank and Alice Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, John Dawlish, Rufus Scrimgeour, Gawain Robards, Proudfoot, Savage, and Williamson. Harry Potter joins the department at the age of 17 and starts as Head in 2007.[4] Ron Weasley becomes member of the Auror office as well.[5]

During the First War against Lord Voldemort, Aurors were authorised to use the Unforgivable Curses on suspected Death Eaters: given the licence to kill, coerce and torture them. Many of the dark criminals in the Harry Potter universe seem to duel with the Auror(s) sent to arrest them, before finally giving up their freedom. They were also used to protect high profiles such as Harry Potter, Hogwarts school, and the Muggle Prime Minister.

Improper Use of Magic Office

The Improper Use of Magic Office is responsible for investigating offenses 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 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 (respectively). An enchantment called "the Trace" is placed upon children and helps the department in detecting offences; it breaks at the age of 17.[HP7] However, Dumbledore has said that the Ministry can't tell who exactly uses magic in a given area, only that it has been used, and that the Ministry relies on wizard and witch parents to enforce the ban underage magic within their homes.[HP6]

In Harry Potter's first violation, he is merely warned, although his first case was only minor - use of a Hover charm which was actually performed by Dobby the House-elf.[HP2] His second violation, blowing up his Aunt Marge, was forgiven by Minister Cornelius Fudge because the Minister feared Sirius Black was after Harry, and that his safety after running away from the Dursleys took precedence.[HP3] After his third offence, 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 be present at a disciplinary hearing (as he has already received a warning).[HP5] Albus Dumbledore later reminds Fudge that the Ministry doesn't have the power to expel students from Hogwarts.[HP5]

At Harry's hearing, he is tried by the entire Wizengamot court. This is highly unusual, however, for a simple case of underage magic being performed - Harry was originally supposed to be solely interviewed by Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.[HP5]

Wizengamot

The Wizengamot serves as the wizard high court of law (presumably a version of the Law Lords). It also appears to be similar to the real-life Parliament; various decrees that Minister Cornelius Fudge introduces are passed and sanctioned by the Wizengamot, just like in the real-life Parliament.[citation needed] 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 real-life 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 (in Harry Potter's hearing) wearing plum-coloured robes embroidered with a silver letter "W" on the left-hand side of the chest. During his hearing, the Minister for Magic was seated in the middle of the front row and did most of the interrogation while Percy Weasley acts as a stenographer. Other officials seen at the Wizengamot include Senior Undersecretary to the Minister (on the Minister's right) and Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (on the Minister's left) - apparently on the Wizengamot ex officio.

Until his death, Albus Dumbledore held the position of Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. However, he was removed during the period coinciding with Order of the Phoenix. His missing period of time could be why the Minister was seated in the middle of the first row, a seat possibly reserved for the Chief Warlock.

Other Offices

Name Intentions / Actions Known workers
The Magical Law Enforcement Squad Pursuing the day-to-day law offences.
The Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office Regulates the use of magic on Muggle objects and recovers those which have been bewitched; this sub-section is located in a tiny office. The aim of the office is to keep enchanted items out of the hands of Muggles, often necessitating raids to remove such items from circulation. Arthur Weasley, head
Perkins, assistant
Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects Office New offices added when Rufus Scrimgeour came to power as Minister for Magic because of the threat from Lord Voldemort.[HP6] Arthur Weasley is promoted here in Half-Blood Prince

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:

Accidental Magic Reversal Squad

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 in the Harry Potter world. They may also be caused by older wizards out of control, or severe, unintentional effects of charms or spells, such as splinching (in Apparation when a wizard or witch is split with one half in two locations).

For instance, the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad was sent out in the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban book when Harry Potter inflated his Aunt Marge; "deflating" her and erasing her memory (the memory modification done by Obliviators).

Obliviator Headquarters

"Obliviator" is the designation for a Ministry of Magic employee who has the task of modifying the memory of a Muggle after witnessing incidents belonging to the Wizarding world.

They are first called so in the sixth volume, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, although the mentioned practice already appears in the previous novels. Any wizard can modify memories in the Harry Potter books by using the spell "Obliviate." This event, however, is frowned upon in the Harry Potter universe; most believe that memory modification should be done by Obliviators only.[citation needed]Speculation?

Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee

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 charm 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

The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is divided into three divisions ("Being", "Beast" and "Spirit") and contains liaison offices for goblins and centaurs (though the centaurs, being isolationists, have never interacted with the Centaur Liaison Office since its creation)[citation needed]. Thus, "being sent to the Centaur Office" has become a euphemism at the Ministry for those about to be fired. For further detail on the distinctions between these divisions, see "Magical Beasts in Harry Potter". It is also noted that Hermione Granger began her post-Hogwarts career here before transferring to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement on Level Two.[citation needed]

The following are the offices found on Level 4:

Name Intentions / Actions Known workers
Beast Division including...
* Centaur Liaison Office
* Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures
* Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau
* Werewolf Registry
* Werewolf Capture Unit
Control and setting order over magical beasts. Unknown
Being Division, including...
* Office of House-Elf Relocation
* Werewolf Support Services
* Goblin Liaison Office
Control and setting order over magical beings.
Goblin Liaison Office - little is known about the operations of this office but in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,[6] Arthur Weasley indicates Cuthbert Mockridge as the head of this office, although by the time of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,[7] Horace Slughorn is referring to Dirk Cresswell as the holder of this post. No mention is made of the reasons behind the change.
Cuthbert Mockridge
Dirk Cresswell
Spirit Division, including...
* Ghoul Task Force
* Pest Advisory Board
Control and setting order over magical Spirits. Unknown

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.[citation needed] 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 International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats. 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 British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with the notable exceptions that the wizarding world has no equivalent to the Commonwealth, and that this department is created for the purpose of cooperation, whilst the "Muggle" equivalent has no such lofty aims.

International Confederation of Wizards

The International Confederation of Wizards (ICW) has many responsibilities, mostly to enforce the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. For example, Clause 73 of this statute reads:

The full power and role of the ICW has never been explored in much detail, though it is possible that it is a form of magical United Nations meant to unite all the Ministries of Magic in the world. It is known to have met in 1692, at which time numerous important measures were passed, such as the establishment of the right for wizards to carry wands at all times. It is possible the ICW was involved in the final break between the Wizarding and Muggle worlds, due to anti-magical persecution.

Pierre Bonaccord, who also became the first Supreme Mugwump, formed the International Confederation of Wizards. Many of the countries in what is now the European Union attended. Liechtenstein (which, historically, was not created until 1719), however, refused. It is unknown what year its formation occurred, though it must have been before or during 1692.

In Order of the Phoenix, it is revealed that Dumbledore was thrown out as Supreme Mugwump because of his insistence that Lord Voldemort had returned. At the end of the novel, he is reinstated. Dumbledore's death means the post of Supreme Mugwump is once again open; the identity of the current Mugwump is unknown.

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:

Name Intentions / Actions
Floo Network Authority Responsible for setting up and maintaining the network, and distributing the greenish floo powder. The network is composed of the fireplaces of all the wizarding houses and buildings, which are interconnected, and it allows the user to transport themselves to any other fireplace on the network thanks to the magical qualities of the floo powder.
Broom Regulatory Control Control of the traffic of broom travel
Portkey Office Regulation of Portkeys
Apparition Test Centre the magical equivalent of the DVLA; 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.

The Atrium

The Atrium is a long hall, with a highly polished wooden floor and a ceiling in peacock blue, engraved with constantly changing golden symbols. The walls are panelled, and lined with fireplaces, which are used to "floo" and "flush" in and out of the ministry.

Within the Atrium is the Fountain of Magical Brethren, a fountain depicting the golden statues of a wizard, a witch, a centaur, a goblin, and a house-elf. Jets of water fly from various points of the statuary, adding a hiss of water to the other areas of the hall. The witch and wizard are set-up as a focal point of the Fountain, with the "lower beings" looking up in awe at the two humans. It is very unrealistic: centaurs consider themselves much more intelligent than humans and want nothing to do with them, whilst goblins get on poorly with wizards. A sign at the pool's base says that all coins thrown into the fountain are donated to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

In the fifth film adaptation, the fountain is separated into two, with the wizard placed in his own fountain; the wizard statue is much bigger than the other fountain statues. The witch, centaur, goblin, and house-elf statues are separated into another fountain together. This could be a jab at sexism and racism, the wizard being superior to the witch which is put with the lesser beings while the wizard, tall and poised, is placed by his own.

In Deathly Hallows, the fountain is replaced during antagonist Lord Voldemort's racist totalitarian regime with a black statue of a witch and wizard sitting on thrones made of many naked Muggles (non-magical people) twisted together: the words "Magic is Might" engraved in the base. This statue demonstrates the Pure-Blood supremist, fascist and racist nature of the regime. This is seen as an logical symbol and reference to the past Nazi regime of Germany which believed in Aryan supremacy and Anti-semitism. It is very likely that this was destroyed after the downfall of Voldemort.

Department of Mysteries

File:Ootp072.jpg
The Hall of Prophecies as seen in the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Department of Mysteries, located on Level Nine, a department in the Ministry of Magic which studies particular enigmas (death, time, thought, and love) and stores made prophecies in the Harry Potter universe. During Voldemort's discriminatory regime, he forces the department to reveal that Muggle-borns actually steal magic from Pure-bloods - a complete and ridiculous lie - making them "illegal magicals", and allowing their arrest. The reason as to how muggle-borns (born from non-magical parents) acquire magic remains an embraced mystery in the books, and because the department finally "concluded" Voldemort's lie, the world was forced to believe.[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 which most of their operations are kept in total secrecy from the general wizard populace in the Harry Potter world. However, the primary operations of the department seem to be more like those of scientists, the department attempting to uncover the sources and rules the governing magic in the Harry Potter universe. The name "Department of Mysteries" could be a reference to the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece. It shares with those real-life rites a preoccupation with immortality and the cycle of time.

The rooms at the Department each seem (although not spelled out directly) to refer to various mysteries of life, such as "Time", "Space", "Death", and "Love". These rooms include:

Name Description Contents
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. When the entrance door is shut, the walls rotate, disorienting its occupants for several seconds (this happens every time a door is closed in the room). 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.
Thought Chamber A long, rectangular room lit by low hanging golden chains. Contains a few desks and a large tank in which brains swim in a green solution. The brains wrap tentacles around Ronald Weasley, which are described as "memories."
Space Chamber Simply a dark room possibly simulating outer space. Visitors find themselves floating as well. Floating planets
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 amphitheater. 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 come near it in the books. It was through this archway that Sirius Black, Harry Potter's godfather, fell through and died in Harry Potter and the 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.
Time Chamber Simply a room dit 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 Granger 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 emmited from more candle brackets. Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood are lured to this room by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. 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 or subjects of the prophecies; all others are afflicted with instant madness. Whenever an orb breaks, the recorded prophecy it contains is repeated out-loud 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 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in which it was smashed.
The Ever-Locked Room A room behind a door that remains locked at all times and which either the “‘‘Alohomora’’” spell or magical unlocking penknives cannot unlock. According to Albus 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 you [Harry] possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all." In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, this power was confirmed through a dialogue between Harry and Dumbledore to be love.

Unspeakables

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 (friend of Arthur Weasley), Croaker,[HP4] and Augustus Rookwood (a Death Eaters spy). The "Unspeakables" may be a reference to The Untouchables, a group of US Treasury agents gathered by Eliot Ness to preserve Prohibition in the United States.

Courtrooms

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Level ten is accessed from Level Nine down a flight of steps on the left of the Department of Mysteries door. The Courtrooms are located here, entered through heavy wooden doors with iron bolts and keyholes. Harry Potter visits two of them in the series. Wizengamot trials are addressed here.[HP5]

Notable Ministry officials

Ludo Bagman

Template:HP character Ludovic "Ludo" Bagman is a former, highly successful Beater for the Wimbourne Wasps, 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 is somewhat of a celebrity and is the head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports in the Ministry of Magic. It is revealed in the book that Bagman was accused of being a Death Eater about thirteen years before the events in the fourth book because he had given information to recently discovered Death Eater Augustus Rookwood. Rowling uses Dumbledore's Pensieve to provide Bagman's backstory concerning his trial and subsequent acquittal by the Wizengamot. It is revealed 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 loved gambling, which got him in financial trouble so severe that he paid some of his creditors (such as Fred and George Weasley and the father of Lee Jordan) with disappearing Leprechaun Gold, after they had gambled on the Quidditch World Cup. After the World Cup final, some goblins cornered him in the woods outside the stadium, took all the gold he had on him, and it still did not cover all his debts. To clear his debts with the goblins, Bagman made a bet on the Triwizard Tournament (he was one of the Tournament's judges). He bet the goblins that Harry Potter would win. He tried to help Harry over the course of the Tournament, giving him a perfect score in the First Task even though he was injured, and offering him advice. Harry did win the Tournament (tying with Cedric Diggory since they both finished the Third Task together and had equal points from the first two), but Bagman did not win the bet: the goblins argued that Harry had tied with Cedric Diggory, and Bagman was betting he would win outright. Bagman ran away after the Third Task of the Tournament and his current whereabouts are unknown — we know that he has not yet repaid his debts to the goblins. One problem is that he is not fluent in Gobbledegook, the Goblin language. He only knows one word - bladvak (meaning "pickax").

In Quidditch Through the Ages, Bagman was one of the people who gave the book praise, saying: Bet you anything it will be a best-seller. Go on, I bet you.

Bagman's character was cut from the film adaptation of book four, although he was featured in an earlier draft (and it was reported that Martin Landham had won the role). Some of Ludo's primary roles in the story were primarily performed by Cornelius Fudge and Bartemeis Crouch, Sr. in the film adaptation.

Amelia Bones

Template:HP character Amelia Susan Bones (d. July 1996) was the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. She is described as a square-jawed witch with close-cropped grey hair and a monocle. Harry's classmate from Hufflepuff, Susan Bones, is her niece. Her brother Edgar Bones was a member of the Order of the Phoenix during the first war and was killed together with his wife and children by Death Eaters.

Madam Bones sat on the Wizengamot and presided over Harry's trial in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, in which Cornelius Fudge acted as the prosecutor and Albus Dumbledore was the defence counsel. Despite poor treatment of Harry by Fudge, Madam Bones managed to keep the trial unbiased and Harry was acquitted by a large majority of the court. During the trial, Madam Bones expressed admiration for Harry's ability to produce a corporeal Patronus at such a young age.

According to Cornelius Fudge, Bones is believed to have been brutally murdered by Voldemort himself shortly before the events that take place in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Fudge, the recently dismissed Minister for Magic, said that all the evidence at the scene suggested she put up a good fight. The Muggle Prime Minister also referred to her as a "middle-aged woman that lived alone." Afterwards, some members of the Order of the Phoenix referred to her as one of the greatest witches of the era (her abilities were such that Voldemort may have chosen to kill her personally), and several wizards felt deeply troubled by Bones' death.

British actress Sian Thomas portrayed Bones in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.[9]

Barty Crouch, Sr.

Template:HP character Bartemius "Barty" Crouch, Sr. was the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement when Lord Voldemort first came to power. He became as ruthless as some 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, when his own son, Barty Crouch, Jr., was caught with 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 gave her Polyjuice Potion that made her take on her son's appearance while their son drank some that caused him to take on his mother's appearance, and thus escape 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 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Crouch accuses Harry Potter 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 was supposed to look after his son who was always under an Invisibility Cloak. Voldemort and his servant Wormtail showed up at the Crouch family home and put Barty Crouch under the Imperius Curse, freeing Crouch Jr from the Imperius Curse placed on him by his father and thus rejoining Voldemort. Crouch continues to appear in public at first and is one of the five judges at the Triwizard Tournament, attempting to judge the contestants fairly. However, worried that Crouch would fight the Imperius Curse, Voldemort later kept him imprisoned within the house and had him communicate exclusively through supervised owl post. Percy Weasley, who had become Crouch's loyal aid and was known to Crouch as "Weatherby," replaced him, as the British's Ministry's representative on the Triwizard judging panel.

Later, Crouch, who had escaped from his home, meets Harry Potter 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. instantly goes to the Forest, kills his own father, transfigures his body into a bone, and buries it on the Hogwarts grounds.

Crouch is played by Roger Lloyd-Pack in the film adaptation. This portrayal of Crouch is more sympathetic as the film eliminates all of Crouch Sr. and his family's backstory, the storyline involving Winky, and shows Barty as shocked and dismayed by his son's exposure during the trial of Igor Karkaroff. His son is also portrayed as openly evil and not deserving of sympathy.

John Dawlish

Template:HP character John Dawlish is an Auror. He is very capable, self-assured and is described as a "tough-looking wizard" with "very short, wiry" grey hair. He left Hogwarts with Outstandings in all his N.E.W.T.s. It is noted, however, that it is always his lot to take on wizards/witches who end up outmatching him.

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dawlish accompanies Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge to Hogwarts to confront Harry about the secret Dumbledore's Army meetings. Dawlish is knocked out along with Kingsley Shacklebolt, Dolores Umbridge and Fudge when Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, who took the blame for the Army on himself, escapes. A few weeks later, Dawlish is among the wizards who attempt to arrest Hagrid when Umbridge sacks the gamekeeper. Still later, Dawlish arrives at the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic with Fudge after the battle at the Department of Mysteries is over. Fudge then sends him to the Department of Mysteries to attend to the captured Death Eaters.

Dawlish appears again in Harry Potter and the 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 Severus Snape early on in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and gave Death Eater Yaxley false information on Harry's removal from the Dursleys' home. Being Confunded, he was defeated by Dirk Cresswell, who then escaped 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 for Magical Maladies and Injuries and goes on the run.

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.[10]

British actor Richard Leaf portrayed Dawlish in the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.[9]

Bertha Jorkins

Template:HP character Bertha Jorkins (b. circa 1957/1958, d. July 1994) was a Ministry of Magic employee killed by Lord Voldemort. 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 too-powerful Memory Charm, permanently damaging her memory. Voldemort greatly damaged her mentally and physically while breaking through the Memory Charm, through which he gained information about the Triwizard Tournament and Crouch Jr. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort uses Harry in a ritual to restore his body. During the subsequent 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. Rowling later said that her death was used to turn Nagini, Voldemort's snake, into a Horcrux.

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.

Bertha Jorkins' character was written out of the film adaptation of Goblet of Fire due to time constraints.

Dolores Umbridge

Others

  • 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 Potter and Lord 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.
  • Reginald "Reg" Cattermole: Works for magical maintenance in the Ministry. In the final book, Ron uses some of his hair to impersonate him to enter into the Ministry to steal Slytherin's locket. His wife, Muggle-born Mary Elizabeth Cattermole, was being questioned at the time that Harry, Ron and Hermione stole the locket.
  • 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 gives Harry a hard time (although in the film version of Goblet of Fire, he is presented as quite amicable).
  • 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 final book, Hermione uses some of her hair to impersonate her to enter into the Ministry to steal Slytherin's locket.
  • 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's O.W.L.s.
  • Bob Ogden: Rowling used a memory of his that Harry and Dumbledore witnessed to expose the background of the House of Gaunt, Voldemort's maternal family. He worked as a Magical Law Enforcer and was Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad before he died.
  • 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.

Political commentary

Some political commentators have seen J. K. Rowling's 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) as allegorical to criticizing the state.[11][12] Furthermore, under Voldemort's regime (which values Pure-Blood ancestry), the ministry is shown rounding up Muggle-born wizards and imprisoning them, likely even killing many. Many see this as a reference to past Nazi Germany, where they rounded up and massacred those who were not of pure, Aryan blood, most notably Jews among others (see Jewish Holocaust). Many see this as a testament against racism and fascism.

References

  1. ^ Rowling, J. K. (2005). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury/New York City: Scholastic, et al. UK ISBN 0-7475-8108-8/U.S. ISBN 0-439-78454-9., chapter 1
  2. ^ "J. K. Rowling Discusses Inspiration for Minister of Magic and More in New Interview", The Leaky Cauldron, 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  3. ^ Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; 2005; Chapter 16; Pages 345-347 (American edition).
  4. ^ "New 'Wizard' for October". HPANA. 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-10-01. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Rowling, J. K. (2000). Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. London: Bloomsbury/New York City: Scholastic, et al. UK ISBN 0-7475-4624-X/U.S. ISBN 0-439-13959-7.
  7. ^ Rowling, J. K. (2005). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury/New York City: Scholastic, et al. UK ISBN 0-7475-8108-8/U.S. ISBN 0-439-78454-9.
  8. ^ Rowling, J. K.: "A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts", Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 16(65):65.
  9. ^ a b "Exclusive: More Potter casting". BBC. 2006-02-10. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Anelli, Melissa, John Noe, Sue Upton (2007-12-18). "PotterCast 130: The One with J. K. Rowling" (Podcast). PotterCast. Retrieved 2007-12-18. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ Barton, Benjamin, Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy, Social Science Research Network
  12. ^ The Anti-Government Message Is Being Spread Through Sci-Fi/Fantasy and Harry Potter vs. Compulsory Schooling at LewRockwell.com

External links