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Ministry of magic logo
Ministry of Magic
Organisation information
Leader(s)

Minister for Magic

Headquarters

Ministry of Magic Headquarters, Whitehall, London

Intentions

Govern the magical community of Great Britain

Affiliation

International Confederation of Wizards

Enemies
"The Ministry of Magic wishes you a pleasant day..."
—The Welcome Witch's voice at the Ministry's headquarters.[src]

The Ministry of Magic (M.o.M.) is the main governing body of the magical community of Great Britain with the intention of preservation of magical law. The Ministry connects the British government to the wizarding world. The headquarters of the Ministry are in Whitehall,[1] in central London, deep underground.[2] It is headed by the Minister for Magic. The current Minister in Britain is Kingsley Shacklebolt.

The Ministry of Magic was formed as a successor to the earlier Wizards' Council and came into being sometime during the 1600s. It was involved in the International Confederation of Wizards' decision to create the Statute of Secrecy and still today takes the responsibility of enforcing said Statute. The laws against magic-use by underage wizards and against wand use by non-wizard folk are also enforced by the Ministry, in part to maintain secrecy.

Other countries, such as Norway, Germany, Bulgaria, etc.[3], have their own Ministries of Magic.

History

Early years

Ministry of magic seal C00010 60925

Seal of the Ministry of Magic

The Ministry of Magic succeeded the earlier Wizards' Council. It was founded in or prior to 1629.[4] In 1717, The Ministry classified the Imperius, Cruciatus & Avada Kedavra curses as The Unforgivable Curses, where use on another human being will command a life time sentence to Azkaban.

Shortly before Millicent Bagnold's retirement, many of the wizarding population wanted Albus Dumbledore to become Minister.[2] He was offered the job four times,[5] but turned it down, because of his previous negative experiences with power.

The most likely person to become Minister from that point on was Bartemius Crouch Sr., who had gained popularity from his purges of Death Eaters after the first fall of Lord Voldemort, including arresting his own son for participating in the Cruciatus Curse torture of Alice and Frank Longbottom.[6] However, he fell out of favour when people suspected that his son's actions and death in Azkaban were the result of Crouch neglecting his son and by not spending enough time at home due to his ministerial pursuits.[6]

Under Cornelius Fudge

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Cornelius Fudge

"He's not back!"
Cornelius Fudge, former Minister for Magic, denying the evidence of Lord Voldmort's return and growing power during Harry Potter's hearing.[src]

Cornelius Fudge was Minister for Magic during the events surrounding Lord Voldemort's second rise to power. He became Minister for Magic in 1990[7] and stayed on as Minster until being sacked in 1996. Early on in his administration he requested frequent help from wizards such as Albus Dumbledore, but he later became suspicious of Dumbledore and believed that he was trying to usurp Fudge's position.

1992-1995

In summer 1992, the Improper Use of Magic Office sent Harry Potter a letter of reprimand after the Malfoy family house-elf, Dobby, performed magic in an attempt to keep  him away from Hogwarts. In early 1993, Fudge went to Hogwarts to send Hagrid to Azkaban on suspicion of opening the Chamber of Secrets, an accusation that had led to his expulsion from Hogwarts 50 years earlier. Hagrid was freed in June.

Convicted murderer Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban in summer 1993, leading to a massive Ministry manhunt. Severus Snape captured Black and turned him over to Fudge in June 1994, but Harry Potter and Hermione Granger helped him escape and made the Ministry a "laughingstock." [8]

Organizing the 1994-1995 Triwizard Tournament involved substantial efforts from the Department for International Magical Cooperation, the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and other parts of the Ministry. The Tournament concluded with the death of Cedric Diggory and the Rebirth of Lord Voldemort on 24 June, 1995. Fudge refused to believe Dumbledore and Harry Potter's accounts of these events, leading Dumbledore to re-activate the Order of the Phoenix to counter Voldemort.

1995-1996

"Blatant corruption! The Ministry did not cut deals with petty criminals in my day, no sir, they did not!"
Dexter Fortescue after learning the Ministry's deal with criminal Willy Widdershins.[src]

After Voldemort's return, the Ministry campaigned to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, as Fudge, his mind "twisted and warped by fear", refused to believe this horrifying possibility. This trend of attempting to minimize the immediate damage included the Ministry's attempts to get Harry drummed out of the Wizarding community, forcing teachers and oversight on Hogwarts, removing privileges from Albus Dumbledore and anyone who accepted his statement that Voldemort has returned, and encouraging the Daily Prophet to publish stories denigrating Dumbledore and Harry. On 12 August, Harry Potter was summoned to a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry, pertaining to what the Ministry termed "offences committed under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Statute of Secrecy". The hearing was changed to a full court trial, which was unorthodox and was outside the context of the law, in a biased attempt to further discredit Harry.[9]

1232641013 011

Dolores Umbridge

Ministry activities ended up having to include concealing the reason for the mass breakout from Azkaban, as the Ministry could not explain, or justify, the defection of the Dementors. Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters tried to retrieve a a specific prophecy pertaining to Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort from the Hall of Prophecy on Level Nine, the Department of Mysteries. In order to do that, they placed both Broderick Bode[10] and Sturgis Podmore[11] under the Imperius Curse, to no avail, as only Harry could take it from its shelf.

Shortly after midnight on 18 June, 1996, the Death Eaters managed to lure Harry Potter and Dumbledore's Army into the deserted Ministry. The Order of the Phoenix went to rescue them, and a battle ensued which included a duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore themselves in the Atrium of the Ministry.[12] After the battle, Fudge and several other witnesses saw Voldemort with their own eyes, and this position of denial became untenable. Thus, the Ministry was forced to acknowledge the return of the Dark Lord and Fudge was unceremoniously replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour, although he was allowed to aid in an 'advisory capacity'.[13]

Scrimhallows22

Rufus Scrimgeour, former Head of the Auror Office and Minister for Magic.

-New-Ministry-of-Magic-banner-urging-wizards-and-witches-to-Stay-Vigilant-again-Death-Eaters-harry-potter-15964943-423-1000

Typical Ministry of Magic poster warning about the dangers of the Death Eaters during Scrimgeour's time as Minister.

Under Rufus Scrimgeour

"Maybe the Ministry should put some people onto that, instead of wasting their time stripping down Deluminators or covering up breakouts from Azkaban...People are dying – I was nearly one of them – Voldemort chased me across three counties, he killed Mad-Eye Moody, but there’s no word about any of that from the Ministry, has there? And you still expect us to cooperate with you!"
Harry Potter.[src]

In response to the war situation the country was facing, Rufus Scrimgeour, the previous Head of the Auror Office, was appointed Fudge's successor in the summer of 1996, and was responsible for the creation of several new bureaucracy, such as Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects.[14]

Despite this, unfortunately, Scrimgeour did not fare much better than Fudge. Again reacting to public opinion, Scrimgeour tried desperately to make the Ministry look like it was making progress, despite the reality being to the contrary, such as by wrongfully imprisoning Stan Shunpike. Harry had two meetings with Scrimgeour, in which Harry's co-operation with the Ministry was solicited for his propaganda value: the Ministry wanted Harry to be the "poster child" for the Ministry so as to give the public hope, by telling them that the Ministry remained a source of safety, strength and that "The Chosen One" endorsed the Ministry's investigations. Harry turned Scrimgeour down flat both times.

In the summer of the next year, shortly after Albus Dumbledore's murder, the Atrium at the Ministry was the setting for a speech by Scrimgeour about the "dark times" in which the wizarding world was living, and how the Ministry remained "strong" and active in the fight against the dark forces.[15] In the meantime, the Death Eaters were managing to infiltrate the Ministry by magically controlling some of the its higher-ranking officials.[16] As a result, later in the summer, on the evening of 1 August, 1997, the Ministry was the stage of a silent coup, during which Scrimgeour was murdered[17] while refusing to give the Death Eaters any information on Harry Potter.[18]

Under Pius Thicknesse

"You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide"
Pius Thicknesse speaking on the Ministry of Magic's new stance on Muggle-borns, Harry Potter, and members of the Order of the Phoenix.[src]
Thicknesse regime

Four consequential members of the new regime: from left to right, Albert Runcorn (investigator of alleged Muggle-borns), Dolores Umbridge (Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission), Pius Thicknesse (Minister for Magic), and Yaxley (Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement)

After the Death Eater coup, the Ministry of Magic was headed by Pius Thicknesse, who was under Death Eater control by means of the Imperius Curse; Voldemort chose not to openly reveal himself as Minister, in order to keep an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty within the community. Much more security was added to the building. In addition, employees were now forced to go to work via a toilet network,[19] accessible inside a set of underground public toilets in Whitehall.[19]

Under Thicknesse's control, the Ministry became totalitarian, placing surveillance upon those it was suspicious of, such as Arthur Weasley, and creating the Muggle-Born Registration Commission to prosecute Muggle-borns for allegedly stealing magic. The Ministry also acquired the motto 'Magic is Might' which was inscribed upon a sculpture with a witch and wizard sitting on thrones made of Muggles.[20] Death Eaters such as Yaxley gained high positions within the Ministry as well.

After the Battle of Hogwarts

In 1998, after the destruction of Lord Voldemort and the end of the Second Wizarding War, Kingsley Shacklebolt became Minister for Magic and led a massive reform of the Ministry.[21] This included the efforts of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in the Auror Office, and Hermione Granger advancing the rights of non-humans, and eradicating pro-pure-blood laws in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and later the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.[22]

Government structure

The Ministry's employees are largely unelected, but the Minister for Magic is elected by an unknown group.[2] Employment with the Ministry can be obtained directly upon completion of a wizarding education,[23] although different offices require different levels of education and sometimes specific exam results. Both the Minister and the Ministry as a whole are seen to be sensitive to wizard public opinion, which they attempt to influence via the wizarding newspaper the Daily Prophet.[2]

Minister for Magic

The Minister for Magic is the elected leader of the Ministry. The Minister and Support Staff occupy Level One of the Ministry. During the puppet regime set up by Lord Voldemort in 1997-1998, this level also housed the office of the Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission.

It includes these offices:

Departments

The Ministry has seven departments in all, each dealing with different aspects of the wizarding world, with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement being the largest and all others more or less answering to it (except the Department of Mysteries).

Each Department has a level of Ministry Headquarters assigned to it, although Law Enforcement has not only level two but also the courtrooms of level ten. There are also many minor offices within the departments. The departments communicate through "interdepartmental memos" written on pale-violet paper aeroplanes, which fly on their own to destinations. The known departments and their offices are the following:

Department of Magical Law Enforcement

Department of Magical Law Enforcement

Logo of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement

The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is a combination of police and justice facilities and has power over all other departments except the Department of Mysteries. It includes the following offices:

Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes

Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes

Logo of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes

The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes is responsible for repairing accidental magical damage. It includes the following offices:

Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures

Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures logo

Logo of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures

The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is responsible for studying, regulating, and controlling magical creatures. It includes the following offices:
"Each wizarding governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care and control of all magical beasts, beings, and spirits dwelling within its territory's borders. Should any such creature cause harm to, or draw the notice of, the Muggle community, that nation's wizarding governing body will be subject to discipline by the International Confederation of Wizards."
—Clause 73 of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy.[src]

Department of International Magical Cooperation

Department of International Magical Cooperation

Logo of the Department of International Magical Cooperation.

The Department of International Magical Cooperation deals with foreign affairs, both political and public.[HP4]It includes the following offices:

Department of Magical Transportation

Department of Magical Transportation

Logo of the Department of Magical Transportation

The Department of Magical Transportation is responsible for various aspects of magical transportation. It includes the following offices:

Department of Magical Games and Sports

The Department of Magical Games and Sports deals with organising sports events and enforcing game-related laws and regulations. It includes the following offices:

Department of Mysteries

Dpt of Mysteries

The corridor leading to the Department of Mysteries.

The Department of Mysteries, located on Level Nine, is a section of the Ministry of Magic that carries out confidential research regarding particular enigmas (death, time, space, thought, and love) and stores copies of prophecies. Most of its operations are carried out in total secrecy from the general wizard populace.[12] The Department contains the following chambers in which various mysteries of life are studied:

Other Offices

Department of Magical Education logo

Logo for the Department of Magical Education

The Ministry contains several other offices:

Personnel

Ministers for Magic

Main article: Minister for Magic

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

The current Minister, Kingsley Shacklebolt, replaced Voldemort's puppet, Pius Thicknesse, who had been placed under the Imperius Curse and put in power after Voldemort killed Scrimgeour, who had replaced Fudge.

Albus Dumbledore was offered the job of Minister and refused it at least four times. In his latter days at Hogwarts, Tom Riddle was widely predicted to become Minister due to his intelligence, magical talent, and ability to forge alliances with the people around him, and to gather followers to serve his interests. Riddle, however, refused all offers of assistance to find work at the Ministry.

Heads of Departments and Offices

Other personnel

Muggle relations

The Ministry keeps in touch with the Muggle Prime Minister of the United Kingdom through the help of a portrait in the Downing Street office.[13] The portrait is fixed to the wall with a Permanent Sticking Charm so no Muggles will be able to remove it, and the subject of the painting will notify the Prime Minister of Muggles of the Minister for Magic's impending arrivals.[HP6] The British Crown, including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Monarch, are in full knowledge of the Ministry. 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 the U.K.

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. The Ministers for Magic Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour tend to act in a somewhat patronising manner towards the Muggle Prime Minister.

Magic is might concept artwork

Conceptual design of the 'Magic is Might' statue.

However, after the Fall of the Ministry of Magic into the hands of Lord Voldemort and Pius Thicknesse became minister as Voldemort's puppet, a new era of Wizard-Muggle relations was brought on that was more in line with Death Eater ideology. These actions included the instalment of the "Magic is Might" statue in the Ministry Atrium to replace the Fountain of Magical Brethren, which depicts a witch and wizard on top of a throne made from the bodies of crude-looking Muggles.

While prejudiced depictions of Muggles were taught by professors Amycus and Alecto Carrow at Hogwarts School under its new headmaster, Severus Snape, the Ministry began claiming that Muggle-borns "stole" their magic from "real" witches and wizards. The Muggle-Born Registration Commission, headed by Dolores Umbridge, was set up to persecute and imprison Muggle-borns. Furthermore, the Snatchers organisation was formed in an attempt to round up any Muggle-borns or blood traitors on the run. People with known connections to the Order of the Phoenix or sympathies for Muggles, such as Arthur Weasley, were put under surveillance, and a reward for the capture of Harry Potter, known to the Ministry as "Undesirable No. 1", was offered.

Presumably, after Voldemort's defeat and Kingsley Shacklebolt's installation of Minister for Magic, the cruel, prejudiced measures imposed under the Death Eater regime towards Muggles (such as the Muggle-Born Registration Commission) were abolished and the Ministry went on communicating with the Muggle Prime Minister when necessary.

Criticisms

The magical government sometimes has given the impression of, at various times, either incompetence or malice, which are demonstrated by successful break-outs from Azkaban and the Campaign to Discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, respectively. The Ministry has been known to be corrupt in nature, as it is shown to be quite prepared to decree and enforce draconian laws without notice, and seem uninterested in solving serious problems, choosing instead to ignore or cover up bad news.

Corruption

Dolores Umbridge: "I have testimony from Willy Widdershins, Minerva, who happened to be in the bar at the time. He was heavily bandaged, it is true, but his hearing was quite unimpaired. He heard every word Potter said and hastened straight to the school to report to me--"
Minerva McGonagall: "Oh, so that's why he wasn't prosecuted for setting up all those regurgitating toilets! What an interesting insight into our justice system!"
Fortescue: "Blatant corruption! The Ministry did not cut deals with petty criminals in my day, no sir, they did not!"
Dolores Umbridge, Minerva McGonagall, and the portrait of Dexter Fortescue discussing the Ministry's actions about Willy Widdershins.[src]
The Ministry of Magic gives an appearance of, at various times, either confounding incompetence or malice. The Ministry has been seen to decree and enforce harsh and tyrannical laws without notice. The few rights that human wizards do have are denied to non-humans. Even people who have been later found to be innocent have been subjected to the horrors of Azkaban, and not all of the accused are given trials, as was the case with Sirius Black. Modern governments would ostensibly consider some of the actions of the Ministry to be cruel and inhumane. Under the direction of Minister Cornelius Fudge, trials were short and did not employ juries; instead, a Wizarding Council heard every case regardless of what prior knowledge they had of this case, it was unlikely to be able to appeal the verdict and lawyers were not allowed. It is likely that conditions have improved with the new administration. During Hagrid's appeal case before the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, the executioner (Walden Macnair) was present with his axe before a verdict was even decided on, and mostly the Committee's decisions are influenced by Lucius Malfoy, who threatens and intimidates the members into doing his bidding.
Fudgeposter

The large banner of Cornelius Fudge that used to hang in the atrium, assuring the public that all was well and thus denying the clear evidence of Voldemort's return

After the return of Lord Voldemort, the minister at the time, Cornelius Fudge, refused to believe that the evil wizard was back despite mounting evidence, and the Ministry even mounted a campaign to damage Harry Potter's credibility, an effort fuelled in part by Fudge's on paranoid fear that Albus Dumbledore wanted his job. Eventually, the Ministry was forced to acknowledge the emergency and act. Fudge was removed from office for incompetence and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour.

Rufus became as bad as Crouch Sr, making scape goats locking the wrong people in Azkaban such as Stan Shunpike, to try and make it look like the Ministry was doing a good job. When he asked Harry to be a mascot so that the public would support them, Harry refused because he knew it was still corrupt.

After the Fall of the Ministry of Magic, the entire Ministry was under Voldemort and doing his bidding under the puppet government headed by Pius Thicknesse. The various laws implemented in this regime included in the persecution and harassment of Muggle-borns and Muggles and propaganda suggesting the inferiority of Muggles and how they should be treated as sub-humans by wizards. However, after Lord Voldemort's fall and Kingsley Shacklebolt being appointed minister, Harry, Ron, and Hermione work for the Ministry and change it in ways to make it drastically less corrupt.

Appearances

Wiki
The Harry Potter Wiki has 41 images related to British Ministry of Magic.

See also

External links

Notes and references

  1. "Challenge mode tests wizarding skills" at the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) official site
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 7
  3. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in chapter 5
  4. Balfour Blane's Chocolate Frog Card
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ch. 20
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ch. 27
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
  8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 22 (Owl Post Again)
  9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 8 (The Hearing)
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
  14. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 5 (An Excess of Phlegm)
  15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Chapter 1
  16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
  17. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
  18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 12 (Magic Is Might)
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 13 (The Muggle-born Registration Commission)
  21. "J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript" on The Leaky Cauldron
  22. "Vieira, Meredith. "Harry Potter: The Final Chapter" Dateline (NBC) , 29 July 2007" on Accio Quote
  23. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire




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