- "The Prime Minister's first, foolish thought was that Rufus Scrimgeour looked rather like an old lion. There were streaks of grey in his mane of tawny hair and his bushy eyebrows, he had keen yellowish eyes behind a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles and a certain rangy, loping grace even though he walked with a slight limp. There was an immediate impression of shrewdness and toughness; the Prime Minister thought he understood why the wizarding community preferred Scrimgeour to Fudge in these dangerous times."
- —The Prime Minister's thoughts on Rufus Scrimgeour.[src]
Minister Rufus Scrimgeour (d. 1 August, 1997) originally joined the Ministry of Magic as an Auror, where he became a hardened veteran, spending most of his life fighting Dark Wizards. Eventually he rose to become Head of the Auror Office. During the Second Wizarding War, Scrimgeour was appointed to succeed Cornelius Fudge as Minister for Magic. While he appeared to provide a much tougher and resolute stance against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, he made the same mistake of creating the appearance of safety and security, while in truth Scrimgeour's efforts were waning in progress in the war. This policy ultimately cost Scrimgeour his life, as it left the Ministry open to infiltration by the Death Eaters, who used several high-ranking Ministry officials, all of whom had been subverted to their control, to launch a successful coup and bring the Ministry under Voldemort's control. Voldemort, wanting the location of Harry Potter, captured and brutally tortured Scrimgeour, though when Scrimgeour refused to talk, Voldemort killed him.
- Horace Slughorn: "Now, you, Cormac. I happen to know you see a lot of your Uncle Tiberius, because he has a rather splendid picture of the two of you hunting Nogtails in, I think, Norfolk?"
- Cormac McLaggen: "Oh, yeah, that was fun, that was. We went with Bertie Higgs and Rufus Scrimgeour; this was before he became Minister, obviously —"
- Horace Slughorn: "Ah, you know Bertie and Rufus too? Now tell me…"
- — Horace Slughorn hosting a small luncheon at the Hogwarts Express with his Slug Club.[src]
Scrimgeour was born somewhere in the British Isles, most likely in Scotland, into the wizarding Scrimgeour family. He attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he would finish his education earning at least five N.E.W.T.s, with nothing under the Exceeds Expectations mark.
Head of the Auror Office
Eventually, after serving as an Auror for some time and having fought Dark wizards for most of his working life, Scrimgeour rose to the post of Head of the Auror Office, which he occupied at least in the early-to-mid-1990s. In this capacity, Scrimgeour worked alongside John Dawlish, Proudfoot, Savage, Nymphadora Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Gawain Robards.
When he was the Head of the Auror Office, he often questioned Tonks and Shacklebolt about Sirius Black, as they were in charge of the investigation of his whereabouts after his escape from Azkaban.
Minister for Magic
- "These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has, perhaps, faced no greater threat than it does today. But I say this to our citizenry: we, ever your servants, will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you! Your Ministry… remains… strong!"
- —Scrimgeour makes a speech on the situation of wizarding world.[src]
In the fortnight following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and the Ministry's acknowledgement of Lord Voldemort's return in June of 1996, Minister Cornelius Fudge was, as The Quibbler went on to report, "chased from his office". The previous year, the Ministry under Fudge had denied any evidence of Voldemort's return and branded Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter liars for saying the opposite. As a result, when Voldemort finally stepped into the open and declared open war on both Britain's wizarding and Muggle communities, Fudge left office in disgrace and was replaced by the ostensibly more proactive Scrimgeour. Gawain Robards replaced Scrimgeour as Head of the Auror Office.
- Rufus Scrimgeour: "Some would say it's your duty to be used by the Ministry!"
- Harry Potter: "Yeah, and others might say it's your duty to check people really are Death Eaters before you chuck them in prison. You're doing what Barty Crouch did. You never get it right, you people, do you? Either we've got Fudge, pretending everything's lovely while people get murdered right under his nose, or we've got you, chucking the wrong people into jail and trying to pretend you've got the Chosen One working for you!"
- — Harry Potter argues with Scrimgeour on Christmas Day, 1996.[src]
Scrimgeour, though seemingly more capable than Fudge, decided to prioritise appearances over truth in his battle against Voldemort. Apparently, Scrimgeour distrusted Albus Dumbledore in a similar way to Fudge before him, as he assigned Auror John Dawlish to follow Dumbledore during his frequent departures from Hogwarts, resulting in the Auror being jinxed by Dumbledore. He ordered the arrest of Stan Shunpike, a conductor on the Knight Bus, to give the impression that the Ministry was actively seeking and arresting Death Eaters, even though it was apparent to Harry that Shunpike was innocent and merely foolish.
On Christmas Day 1996, which Harry spent at The Burrow in Devon, Scrimgeour came to visit him, accompanied by Percy Weasley, whom he used as a pretext. Scrimgeour took Harry for a walk around the garden, during which he tried to get answers out of Harry about what Dumbledore was doing, and suggested that the Ministry would be grateful if Harry was to visibly align himself with them. Harry, revolted by the Ministry's hypocrisy, refused further assistance, saying that the new Ministry was as bad in its own way as the old one.
After Dumbledore's death atop the Astronomy Tower, in the summer of 1997, Scrimgeour and a delegation of Ministry officials came for a short stay at Hogwarts Castle, so that they could attend Dumbledore's funeral. Scrimgeour was seated in the front row, with Minerva McGonagall, looking "grave and dignified". After the service, Scrimgeour once more tried to convince Harry Potter to openly support the Ministry's endeavours, and Harry once again refused.
Scrimgeour spoke to Harry once more at the Burrow on 31 July, a month after Dumbledore's death, to release the contents of the late wizard's will to Harry, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger, interrupting Harry's birthday party.
Scrimgeour appeared to have aged considerably as a result of working to retain control of the wizarding community, which was in a state of open warfare. He had delayed releasing Dumbledore's personal bequests for thirty-one days, under the Decree for Justifiable Confiscation, in order to inspect the items. Scrimgeour bombarded the trio with questions, attempting to discern Dumbledore's intentions, and was highly suspicious of the gifts he had left them: the Deluminator for Ron, a Golden Snitch for Harry, and an original copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard for Hermione. Scrimgeour refused to give Harry Dumbledore's final bequest, Godric Gryffindor's Sword, believing it to be an historical artefact and public property, which Dumbledore therefore had no right to dispose of as he saw fit.
When Harry criticised Scrimgeour for wasting his time scrutinising Dumbledore's things, and for covering up the recent escape of dozens of Death Eaters from Azkaban, the two came close to a duel, in spite of Scrimgeour's claim that he in fact sought to work together, in order to fight Voldemort. The arrival of Arthur and Molly Weasley forced Scrimgeour to regain composure and then depart. Scrimgeour correctly guessed that there might be something hidden inside the Golden Snitch, although he never found out what, as Dumbledore had ensured that the Snitch would only open "at the close".
The following day, 1 August, 1997, the Death Eaters staged a successful coup on the Ministry, as they now had agents loyal to them surrounding the Minister, and as such were able to make a successful attempt on his life. Pius Thicknesse, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and several other high-ranking Ministry officials had all been placed under the Imperius Curse. Scrimgeour was captured and brutally tortured by Voldemort for information on Harry's whereabouts, but Scrimgeour, having "put up quite a fight" in his final moments, refused to talk despite knowing where he was. The official line to Scrimgeour's murder was that he resigned, and Thicknesse was appointed as a puppet Minister.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione came to respect Scrimgeour after learning of his sacrifice. It is assumed that after Lord Voldemort's defeat Scrimgeour's assassination was exposed, but the subject is unclear.
Scrimgeour was a man with a certain rangy loping grace; he walked with a slight limp, and looked rather like an old lion with grey streaks in his mane of tawny hair and bushy eyebrows. He had keen yellowish eyes and wore wire-rimmed spectacles. He sometimes used a walking stick. With time, the stresses of the failing conflict reached him, and when last seen he appeared badly-shaven, scraggy, and grim.
Personality and traits
- Rufus Scrimgeour: "Remembered you're not at school, have you? Remembered that I am not Dumbledore, who forgave your insolence and insubordination? You may wear that scar like a crown, Potter, but it is not up to a seventeen-year-old boy to tell me how to do my job! It's time you learned some respect!"
- Harry Potter: "It's time you earned it."
- — Scrimgeour after discussing Albus Dumbledore's will with Harry, Ron and Hermione[src]
Scrimgeour was, according to Dumbledore, a "man of action", having fought against Dark Wizards throughout his career as an Auror and climbed ambitiously through the Ministry. He gave an impression of shrewd toughness and was more decisive and forceful than his predecessor, Cornelius Fudge. Scrimgeour did not underestimate Voldemort and cared a great deal about the Ministry's reputation, though at the expense of justice; he even allowed the arrest of innocent people - such as Stanley Shunpike - to give the impression that the Ministry was doing something, not unlike Bartemius Crouch Sr.. He tried unsuccessfully at various times to convince Harry to work for the Ministry as a "mascot" to improve morale: once during the Christmas holidays, and another time after Dumbledore's funeral. Like Snape, he thought of Harry as arrogant and conceited, and disliked him for it. In the end however, Scrimgeour proved his bravery and strength of character when he refused, under torture, to tell Voldemort of Harry's whereabouts.
Magical abilities and skills
Auror Skills: Rufus Scrimgeour was highly regarded as an excellent Auror in his time, to the extent of being choosen to head the Auror Office after having spent several years working with defending the wizarding world against the Dark Forces. His abilities as a wizard in general was also great, and he was proficient in at least Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Herbology, and Charms. Given his status as Head of the Aurors, his skill presumably surpassed most of the highly trained Dark Wizard Capturers working under him, having fought many Dark Wizards during his career as an Auror, which displayed his considerable duelling abilities, one of the most essential ability to everyone in his profession. Scrimgeour was also noted to have put up a valiant fight against Lord Voldemort, though it is unknown if this meant duelling prowess or resilience to torture, although it is likely both.
Rufus is a Latin name meaning "red". It was a Roman cognomen as well as the nickname of King William II of England, who had the reputation for being an effective soldier but a ruthless and unpopular ruler. Scrimgeour is a Scottish surname that is believed to probably mean "skirmish", from the French escrimeur, meaning "swordsman". His name therefore loosely translates to "Red Skirmish" or "Red Swordsman".
Behind the scenes
- Bill Nighy portrayed Scrimgeour in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
- Nighy was originally cast for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; however, Scrimgeour was cut from that film.
- Although it is likely Scrimgeour was raised in Scotland, Nighy played the character with a Welsh accent.
- In the film, Scrimgeour does not sport a mane-like beard, and he doesn't seem to be as tough and ruthless as he is in the book.
- Due to his being cut in Half-Blood Prince, Scrimgeour's relationship with Dumbledore is not mentioned in the film, and Harry's relationship with him is less antagonistic.
- Luna Lovegood once mentioned to Harry Potter that Scrimgeour was a vampire, a story her father was supposed to publish in the magazine The Quibbler. The authenticity of this claim is quite questionable, as The Quibbler has a reputation for publishing unlikely and outrageous stories. Interestingly, Bill Nighy also played Viktor, a vampire in the Underworld series.
- It is possible that he is related to Brutus Scrimgeour, the author of the book The Beaters' Bible, and a reviewer of the book Quidditch Through the Ages.
- Scrimgeour shares the same given name as his predecessor's nephew.
- Although stated in the book Scrimgeour sports glasses, in the film he does not — even though Nighy himself does.
- In the film adaptations, Scrimgeour's negative personality aspects never come to light in the way and to the extent they do in the book.
- Scrimgeour's anti-Death Eater propaganda, particularly the Ministry's attitude towards Stan Shunpike, is similar to Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist ideas during the Second Red Scare in the 1950s.
- In the books, Scrimgeour protects Harry's whereabouts when the Ministry has fallen. This shows his protection of Harry, though arguing with him many times in the books.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Mentioned as "Minister for Magic")
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Voice only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 7 (The Ministry of Magic)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
- ↑ Quidditch Through the Ages - (Praise for Quidditch Through the Ages)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 7 (The Will of Albus Dumbledore)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 3 (Will and Won't)
- ↑ In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Bill Nighy depicts Scrimgeour with a noticeable Scottish accent. Scrimgeour is a Scottish surname.
- ↑ In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 29 (Careers Advice), Minerva McGonagall establishes that Aurors require a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, and nothing under 'Exceeds Expectations' in order to be elegible for training to join the Auror Office.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
- ↑ J. K. Rowling's Official Site - Rumours!
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 16 (A Very Frosty Christmas)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 11 (Hermione's Helping Hand)
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn)
- ↑ HPL: Rufus Scrimgeour
- ↑ "Bill Nighy as Rufus Scrimgeour for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" at The Leaky Cauldron
- ↑ "Up close: David Yates"