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Infiltration of the Ministry of Magic

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Infiltration of the Ministry of Magic
Part of the Second Wizarding War

2 September 1997


Ministry of Magic, Whitehall, London


Dumbledore's Army acquires Horcrux; Muggle-borns freed

"Blooming pain in the bum, this, eh? Forcing us all to get to work this way! Who are they expecting to turn up, Harry Potter?"
—Ministry employee[src]

There was an infiltration of the Ministry of Magic on 2 September, 1997, during the height of the Second Wizarding War. The Ministry had recently fallen to Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley snuck inside the Ministry in order to steal one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, Salazar Slytherin's Locket. In the process, the three Dumbledore's Army members also freed multiple Muggle-borns who were awaiting trial there as well as reclaiming Alastor Moody's magical eye from Dolores Umbridge that was placed on a peephole in her office door so she could spy on her colleagues.



Salazar Slytherin's Locket

Salazar Slytherin's Locket was an heirloom of Lord Voldemort’s maternal family and one of his Horcruxes. This was discovered at some point during the First Wizarding War by Regulus Black, a Death Eater who grew disillusioned in his allegiances and turned against the Dark Lord. Regulus, with the assistance of his loyal house-elf, Kreacher, tracked the locket to its hiding place in a cave in 1979. He replaced the locket with a fake one, leaving a note to Voldemort admitting what he did, and was killed by the Inferi in the cave’s lake.

Voldemort never learned of this, but Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley deduced it in 1997. They questioned Kreacher as to what had happened to the locket, and he eventually told them what had transpired with Regulus and that Mundungus Fletcher had stolen the locket from 12 Grimmauld Place. Harry sent Kreacher to find Fletcher and bring him back to the Black household, where he and his friends were hiding out.[1]


Dolores Umbridge, holder of the Locket, in the new Death Eater-controlled Ministry.

Harry: "When you stripped this house of all the valuables you could find, you took a bunch of stuff from the kitchen cupboard. There was a locket there. What did you do with it?"
Mundungus: "…I was selling in Diagon Alley and she come up to me and asks if I’ve got a license for trading in magical artefacts. Bleedin’ snoop. She was gonna fine me, but she took a fancy to the locket an’ told me she’d take it and let me off that time, and to fink meself lucky."
Harry: "Who was this woman?"
Mundungus: "I dunno, some Ministry hag. Little woman. Bow on top of ‘er head. Looked like a toad."
— Harry, Ron, and Hermione question Mundungus Fletcher[src]

Fletcher admitted to taking the locket and told them that he was forced to give it up to a Ministry of Magic employee – Dolores Umbridge. The Ministry had fallen under Voldemort’s control in August, and Umbridge was the head of the new Muggle-Born Registration Commission, an instrument of discrimination against Muggle-borns.[2] Harry, Ron, and Hermione spent the next few weeks making a plan to sneak into the Ministry, the most “dangerous place in the whole world” for them to be at the moment.[3]


Sneaking in

Ron Weasley in the Muggle street of London

Ron spying on Mafalda.

The trio waited outside the Ministry under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak. Hermione nonverbally stunned Ministry employee Mafalda Hopkirk and then took Polyjuice Potion to take her form. The trio moved her unconscious form into an empty theatre nearby. Next, Reginald Cattermole arrived and Hermione gave him a "sweet" that immediately made him sick and insisted that he go to St. Mungo's, despite his reluctance. She discreetly acquired hairs from him in the process, and they were used to have Ron take on his form. Hermione and Ron then obtained hairs from Albert Runcorn to disguise Harry.

The Trio infiltrate the Ministry

The Trio grabbed Reg Cattermole, Albert Runcorn and Mafalda Hopkirk

Once inside, Harry, Ron, and Hermione split up to take the employee entrances concealed in a set of underground public toilets. Employees had to "flush" themselves in, though they did not get wet. They then found themselves in the Ministry Atrium, where the Fountain of Magical Brethren had been replaced by a black stone statue of a wizard and witch seated on ornate thrones made from the bodies of Muggles “in their rightful place”. The base of the statue read "Magic is Might".[3]

Splitting up

"If my wife were accused of being a Mudblood – not that any woman I married would ever be mistaken for such filth – and the Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement needed a job doing, I would make it my priority to do this job, Cattermole. Do you understand me?"
Yaxley threatens Reg Cattermole (actually Ron Weasley).[src]

Hermione, Harry, and Ron disguised as Ministry workers

They headed for the lifts, but were intercepted by Death Eater and head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Yaxley, who demanded that “Cattermole” fix his office, where it was raining. Hermione whispered advice on how Ron could fix the problem before the trio was forced to split up.[3] She was then pulled away from Harry as Umbridge arrived, believing that Travers sent "Mafalda" to record-keep for her. Harry was left alone with the puppet Minister for Magic Pius Thicknesse, and then went in search of Umbridge’s office after putting on his Cloak of Invisibility.

As Harry searched for Umbridge’s office in hopes of finding Salazar Slytherin's Locket, he came across Ministry workers creating political propaganda in the form of pamphlets entitled Mudbloods and the Dangers They Pose to a Peaceful Pure-Blood Society. It was implied to have been written by Umbridge. Harry then found her office – with the magical eye of the late Alastor Moody on the door. Harry took the magical eye and searched the room, but could not find the locket. He did, however, find a file on Arthur Weasley that declared him to have “unacceptable pro-Muggle leanings” and to be under surveillance as a known member of the Order of the Phoenix and acquaintance of “Undesirable No. 1”, none other than Harry himself.

Harry and Ron briefly met up again in the lift, where they ran into Arthur. He advised “Reg” on how to fix the rain in Yaxley’s office and then confronted “Runcorn” on turning Dirk Cresswell in as a Muggle-born who faked his family tree, forcing him to go on the run. Harry attempted to warn him about the Ministry watching him.

Arthur: "Dirk Cresswell is ten times the wizard you are. And if he survives Azkaban, you’ll have to answer to him, not to mention his wife, his sons, and his friends –"
Harry (as Runcorn): "Arthur, you know you’re being tracked, don’t you?"
Arthur: "Is that a threat, Runcorn?"
Harry (as Runcorn): "No, it’s a fact! They’re watching your every move –"
— Harry warns Arthur[src]

After Arthur got off the lift, Harry wandered about under his Invisibility Cloak trying to find Hermione, and his attention was caught when he noticed the presence of Dementors.[4]

The Muggle-Born Registration Commission


Umbridge overseeing the trial of Mary Cattermole, a Muggle-born

Harry found a courtroom in which a wizard named Alderton was being tried as a Muggle-born. When he tried to protest that he was a half-blood, he was threatened with the Dementor's Kiss and then sentenced to Azkaban. Mary Cattermole was called next, and Harry entered the room to find that Dolores Umbridge was conducting trials with the assistance of Yaxley and Hermione disguised as Mafalda Hopkirk.

Umbridge: "Could you please tell us from which witch or wizard you took that wand?"
Mary Cattermole: "T-took? I didn’t t-take it from anybody. I b-bought it when I was eleven years old at Ollivander's. It – it – it chose me."
Umbridge: "No, no, I don’t think so, Mrs. Cattermole. Wands only choose witches or wizards. You are not a witch."
— discriminatory and illegal trial of Mary Cattermole[src]

While Umbridge sadistically conducted the trial, she exposed the locket she was wearing around her neck. Hermione asked her about it, and Umbridge told her it was a Selwyn family heirloom, a claim to bolster her “pure-blood credentials”. Harry, enraged, stunned her and Yaxley from beneath the Invisibility Cloak.

DH1 Dementors over the Muggle-Borns Trial Court

Dementors guarding the Muggle-Born Registration Commission trial courtroom.

Umbridge’s Patronus vanished and the Dementor in the courtroom attacked Mrs. Cattermole. Harry used a Patronus Charm, while Hermione took the locket from Umbridge and left a copy in its place so that Umbridge would not later suspect the truth. She then freed Mrs. Cattermole from her restraints with a Revulsion Jinx. Harry and Hermione summoned their Patronuses and freed the other Muggle-born prisoners, telling them to flee the country while Voldemort remained in power.[4]


Harry (as Runcorn): "This lot need to leave before you seal the exits."
Ministry employee: "We’ve been told to seal all exits and not let anyone –"
Harry (as Runcorn): "Are you contradicting me? Would you like me to have your family tree examined, like I had Dirk Cresswell’s?"
— Harry bluffs to help Muggle-borns escape[src]

Harry in Albert Runcorn's robes and Hermione in Mafalda Hopkirk's, being chased by Dementors.

Harry and Hermione met back up with Ron as they and the freed prisoners raced to the Atrium. By then, the Ministry's security had been alerted because Moody's magical eye was missing from Umbridge's office, and there were workers sealing off the exits. Harry used his disguise as the intimidating Albert Runcorn to bully them into stopping momentarily. The Muggle-borns fled as the real Reginald Cattermole arrived and Yaxley appeared, ordering that the exits be sealed again.

Yaxley soon figured out what was happening and tried to stop them from escaping. He grabbed Hermione’s arm as she, Harry, and Ron Disapparated.[4] She used a Revulsion Jinx to force him to release her, but he was taken past the protections around 12 Grimmauld Place, forcing them to abandon it as a safe house[5] as well as causing them to go on the run, aided only by a magical tent.


Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger obtained a Horcrux, retrieved Alastor Moody’s magical eye from the Ministry of Magic, and freed many innocent people who would have been prosecuted by the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. However, 12 Grimmauld Place was exposed to the Death Eaters, forcing the trio to move around in the wild for the next few months. Carrying Salazar Slytherin's Locket with them also exposed them to negative energy that would eventually lead to Ron temporarily abandoning his friends.


Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ch. 10
  2. Deathly Hallows, Ch. 11
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Deathly Hallows, Ch. 12
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Deathly Hallows, Ch. 13
  5. Deathly Hallows, Ch. 14

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