Black and silver
Minister Pius Thicknesse was a wizard and a Ministry of Magic official in the mid to late 1990s. During the Second Wizarding War, he became Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as well as, later in the War, Minister for Magic under Lord Voldemort's puppet regime while under the Imperius Curse and thus essentially Voldemort's puppet himself. He replaced Rufus Scrimgeour, who had been murdered by Voldemort. Thicknesse took part in the final conflict of the War where he fought alongside the Death Eaters, still under their curse.
Thicknesse was born somewhere in the British Isles to the likely Pure-blood or Half-blood Thicknesse family. It is likely he attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in his youth, possibly earning some O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s.
As Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement
When Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, was murdered by Voldemort in the summer of 1996, Thicknesse was appointed her successor, presumably by then-Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour.
When one takes in consideration that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is the largest Ministry department (to which the remaining six departments are all, in some respect, answerable with the possible exception of the Department of Mysteries), it seems to be safe to presume Thicknesse was high up at the Ministry at the time of his appointment in 1996.
Under the Imperius Curse
- Lord Voldemort: "Well, Yaxley? Will the Ministry have fallen by next Saturday?"
- Yaxley: "My Lord, I have good news on that score. I have – with difficulty, and after great effort – succeeded in placing an Imperius Curse upon Pius Thicknesse."
- Lord Voldemort: "It is a start. But Thicknesse is only one man. Scrimgeour must be surrounded by our people before I act. One failed attempt on the Minister's life will set me back a long way."
- — Lord Voldemort and Yaxley during the Meeting at Malfoy Manor.[src]
In the summer of 1997, as part of Voldemort's plan to take over the Ministry, Death Eater Yaxley placed the Imperius Curse on Thicknesse. He mentioned that this was more difficult than he had expected and made him very nearly late for an important Death Eater meeting at Malfoy Manor (as Thicknesse's nature allowed him to resist). Many of the other Death Eaters were impressed with Yaxley's work, Antonin Dolohov clapping him on the back in congratulations, but Voldemort pointed out that Thicknesse was only one man, as well as that he needed Minister Rufus Scrimgeour surrounded by his agents before he acted.
Thicknesse proved useful, however. As head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Thicknesse had regular contact not only with the Minister himself, but also with the Heads of all the other Ministry departments, making it easier to subjugate the others. Thicknesse proceeded to do just that, remaining undiscovered and using his position to infiltrate the senior ranks of the Ministry, slowly working together to bring Scrimgeour down.
Thicknesse also aided Voldemort in trapping Harry Potter at 4 Privet Drive, mainly by making it an imprisonable offence to connect the house to the Floo Network, to place a Portkey there, or to Apparate in or out. Officially, all of this was done for Harry's protection, but in reality, it was pointless, as Harry was protected by a charm from his mother's blood while living with his relatives. The Trace was also in effect, so if Harry or anyone around him cast a spell to get him out of there, Thicknesse would know about it and so would the Death Eaters.
The Order of the Phoenix, as a result, believed Thicknesse had "gone over", which made it a big problem with the plan to move Harry. They abandoned the original plan, as they were unable to wait for the Trace to break: the moment Harry turned seventeen, all the protection he received from his mother would be lost. In short, Thicknesse thought he had Harry cornered good and proper, to which Harry could not help but agree. As such, the Order was reduced to using the only means of magical transport left to them: broomsticks, Thestrals and Sirius Black's motorbike, setting the stage for the flight from Little Whinging, and the murder of Alastor Moody by Voldemort.
As Minister for Magic
- "As your new Minister for Magic I promise to restore this temple of tolerance to its former glory. Therefore, beginning today, each employee will submit themselves... for evaluation. But know this: you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide."
- —Pius Thicknesse addresses Ministry employees in the Atrium following the implementation of the Death Eater regime.[src]
Eventually, Thicknesse and the other subverted high-ranking Ministry officials, launched a "smooth and virtually silent" coup alongside the Death Eaters, and on 1 August, 1997, the Ministry fell. The Daily Prophet was also taken over, the official version of Scrimgeour's murder was that he resigned, as well as Thicknesse replaced him. Only the Order seemed to be aware that he was under the Imperius Curse. As a result, Thicknesse was nothing but a puppet, taking care of everyday business while Voldemort, effectively the true Minister, was free to extend his power beyond the Ministry.
Thicknesse, at Voldemort's direction, installed a new regime at the Ministry that was more in line with Death Eater ideology. His actions included having a statue depicting a witch and wizard on top of a throne made from the bodies of crude-looking Muggles, inscribed with the motto "Magic is Might" set up in the Ministry Atrium, replacing the Fountain of Magical Brethren. Yaxley succeeded Thicknesse as head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and several other Death Eaters, such as Travers and Selwyn, were appointed to other powerful positions within the Ministry.
Meanwhile at Hogwarts School, the Dark Arts and prejudiced depictions of Muggles were taught by professors Amycus and Alecto Carrow respectively under the new Headmaster, Severus Snape. Hogwarts attendance became mandatory, as well as students must prove their blood-status, with Muggle-borns removed. Harry Potter was declared "Undesirable No. 1", wanted for questioning about the death of Albus Dumbledore with a ten-thousand-Galleon reward on his head (which was by March, 1998 increased to two-hundred-thousand when attempts to find him all over the country continued to fail).
Using falsified research done in the Department of Mysteries, the Ministry claimed that Muggle-borns "stole" their magic from "real" witches and wizards. As a result, the Muggle-Born Registration Commission was set up to persecute and imprison Muggle-borns, with Dolores Umbridge as its head. To round up any Muggle-borns or blood traitors on the run, the Snatchers organisation was formed. Also people with known connections to the Order of the Phoenix or sympathies for Muggles, such as Arthur Weasley, were put under surveillance.
- Thicknesse: "What brings you here, Runcorn?"
- Harry: "Needed a quick word with Arthur Weasley. Someone said he was up on level one."
- Thicknesse: "Ah. Has he been caught having contact with an Undesirable?"
- Harry: "No. No, nothing like that."
- Thicknesse: "Ah, well. It's only a matter of time. If you ask me, the blood traitors are as bad as the Mudbloods. Good day, Runcorn."
- Harry: "Good day, Minister."
- — Harry Potter, disguised as Albert Runcorn, talking to the Minister.[src]
Harry witnessed Thicknesse's altered nature while under the Imperius Curse, which showed him having a strong hatred for Muggle-borns, referring to them as "Mudbloods", as well as blood traitors, whom he claimed to despise just as much. While Harry was searching for the Horcrux in Umbridge's office, Thicknesse arrived momentarily to jot down a note, as well as almost discovered Harry while he was under the Invisibility Cloak, though he ultimately failed to notice him.
In late 1997, Xenophilius Lovegood's daughter was kidnapped in order to stop his telling the truth to the public and encouraging support of Harry Potter in his magazine, The Quibbler. Hoping to get her back, he sent an owl to the Ministry when Harry, Hermione and Ron came to see him. Thicknesse promptly dispatched Travers and Selwyn to investigate. They arrested Lovegood, but failed to capture the trio.
Battle of Hogwarts
During the Battle of Hogwarts, Thicknesse was stationed within the ranks of the Death Eaters and fought with them against the castle's defenders. He was amongst a group of masked and hooded Death Eaters who successfully penetrated Hogwarts and duelled with Percy Weasley. His hood slipped off as he tried to avoid being cursed and Percy mocked his former boss before using a sea urchin jinx, causing Thicknesse to sprout sea urchin-like spikes all over his body. The corridor they were in was then damaged in an explosion that killed Fred Weasley. Thicknesse and his comrades later retreated at Voldemort's command.
- " […] the Imperiused up and down the country had come back to themselves, that Death Eaters were fleeing or else being captured, that the innocent of Azkaban were being released at that very moment, and that Kingsley Shacklebolt had been named temporary Minister of Magic."
- —Description of the events immediately after the end of the Battle of Hogwarts.[src]
It is uncertain if Thicknesse was killed during the battle, or just Stunned. The latter seems more likely, as Arthur Weasley, like the rest of the Order of the Phoenix, knew Thicknesse was under the influence of the Imperius Curse. After Voldemort's death, all the people across the country who had been under the Imperius Curse came back to themselves: if he survived the battle, this would include Thicknesse. Right after the battle, Kingsley Shacklebolt was named temporary Minister for Magic, which later became a permanent appointment. Pius was most likely sacked from his job at the ministry but being under the Imperius Curse he was probably not sentenced to Azkaban.
Thicknesse is described as having long black hair and a beard streaked with silver, as well as "a great overhanging forehead" that shadowed his glinting eyes. Harry Potter thought he resembled a crab looking out from beneath a rock.
His film appearance, particularly his distinctive goatee, is strongly reminiscent of 19th-century Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
Personality and traits
It is unknown what Thicknesse was like before the Imperius Curse was placed upon him, or after it was removed when Voldemort was defeated. While under the curse however, his air of lofty authority mixed with his appearance made him generally intimidating and a little too happy with the way things were being run at the Ministry under him and the Death Eaters (most promently Yaxley), casually espousing the view that blood traitors were as bad as Mudbloods to Harry Potter, who was disguised as Albert Runcorn at the time.
It would be unfair to judge Thicknesse solely on his activities during his tenure as Minister for Magic however, as he was being controlled by the Death Eater Yaxley at the time and was not responsible for his actions. However, since the Death Eaters had to resort to the Imperius Curse to get Thicknesse on their side, it is safe to say that he was not a sympathiser of their ideals. As head of the largest Ministry department, one can presume he was a fairly capable wizard and as a law enforcement official, he is implied to have been an impartial and strong-willed individual, as he tried very hard to resist the effects of an Imperius Curse.
Magical abilities and skills
- Duellist: During the Battle of Hogwarts, Thicknesse duelled against Percy Weasley and was defeated when the younger wizard Transfigured him into a sea urchin. Later in the battle, it took Percy and Arthur Weasley to floor Thicknesse alone.
- Imperius Curse resistance: Thicknesse had a certain level of resistance against the Imperius Curse, as Yaxley claimed that he had difficulty on subduing him. Thus, the Imperius Curse that was placed on Thicknesse had to be particularly powerful.
- Demagogism: A politician, Thicknesse proved to be a good speaker and demagogue.
- The name Pius is derived from the Latin word pius, which despite being similar to the English word "pious", has a different shade of meaning: that is, it refers to one who has reverence for law, government, as well as order. Thus it is particularly appropriate for a head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Minister of Magic. It has also been the regal name of twelve popes. Thus, the name of the man who created an organisation to oppress Muggle-borns may allude to the Inquisition, which persecuted heretics as well as, ironically, witches.
- Thicknesse, meanwhile, may mean "thick" and the Proto-Germanic word nessye (or nessieh), meaning "tongue", probably alluding to the anti-Muggle-born propaganda passed during his tenure as Minister.
- In Swedish, Thicknesse was renamed "Pius Korpulens", the word "korpulens" meaning "girth". In Serbian, Thicknesse was renamed "Pije Glupsije", the word "glupsije" meaning "dumb". In Italian, Thicknesse was renamed "Pius O'tusoe", that sound like the word "ottuso", an Italian word for "dumb". These translations may have been inspired by the fact that "thick" is also British slang for "not too bright".
Behind the scenes
- Thicknesse was portrayed by British actor Guy Henry in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Thicknesse is present at the Death Eater meeting at Malfoy Manor, implying that either he has already been Imperiused (though it is not mentioned), or that he is an actual Death Eater. Since Voldemort asked him about the night of Harry's departure from Privet Drive after Yaxley had given his information, the latter is much more likely. He appeared, however, quite uncomfortable at this meeting presenting the likelihood that he was an accomplice of the Death Eaters, but not actually a member (note that he wears a pinstripe suit instead of Death Eater robes in this scene). Alternatively, in the film, there is a hint he may have been coerced by the Death Eaters to do their bidding (Thicknesse seems upset when Nagini curls up intimidatingly right beside him on the floor and when addressing Ministry officials his hand can been seen trembling).
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Pius is ruthlessly killed by Voldemort in frustration after he interrupts his concentration with an unwanted interjection.
- In the Harry Potter Pronunciation Guide at the Scholastic official website, Thicknesse's name is spelt phonetically as "PY-us THIK-nuss" (as in "thickness"). However, Rowling pronounces it as "PY-us thik-NESS" (as in "Loch Ness").
- Pius Thicknesse has the distinction of being the Minister for Magic with the shortest known term in office: 274 days (9 months and 1 day).
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Thicknesse does not appear in the main storyline at any point, but is an unlockable character. Somewhat inaccurately, Thicknesse is depicted as a Dark wizard, with the ability to cast the Unforgivable Curses and manipulate cursed objects.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 While it is never stated what Thicknesse's blood status is, it is unlikely Thicknesse would be appointed Minister for Magic by the Death Eater regime instead of other powerful and prominent pure-blood Death Eaters with Ministry connections like Yaxley, Travers or Selwyn, if he were Muggle-born.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
- ↑ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Magical Beasts in Hiding
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 19 (The Silver Doe)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Chapter 2 (Dark Lord Ascending)
- ↑ Guy Henry to Play Pius Thicknesse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Pronunciation Guide on Scholastic.com