The Next Minister of Magic
We all know there’s going to be a new Minister of Magic in Book 6, and it seems that the two major candidates among fans are Arthur Weasley and Lucius Malfoy. Mr. Weasley is, of course, the one we would like to see become Minister of Magic, while if Mr. Malfoy became Minister of Magic, it would stack the odds even more heavily against the Order of the Phoenix, as they would have both Voldemort and the Ministry to fight against and would need to pull of an even more spectacular victory. Of these two people, I find it more likely that Mr. Weasley will become Minister of Magic, and here are my reasons why.
First, is that I don’t believe Mr. Malfoy actually works in the Ministry. The way Draco puts it, it seems like Mr. Malfoy just bribes them a lot. “‘Well, it was pretty much automatic, I mean, she knows my father really well, he’s always popping in and out of the Ministry…” (5.360-1). If Mr. Malfoy actually worked there, he wouldn’t be “popping in and out,” but would be there all the time. I certainly don’t believe that someone could become Minister of Magic without political experience, and Mr. Malfoy has none. True, he was one of the school governors up until the end of Chamber of Secrets, but that’s completely different, and besides, he was sacked. That has to leave some sort of mark on his record.
Second, is that for all Draco’s carrying on about how much influence his father has at the Ministry, and how little Mr. Weasley has, I think we need to figure out how much of that is true. I have no doubt that Mr. Malfoy is very close with Fudge, Umbridge, and the rest of that circle, but if Fudge falls, all his allies will probably fall with him. Mr. Malfoy may not be affected so much if he doesn’t hold a position at the Ministry, but I don’t think he is necessarily so popular with everybody else. We know that he is probably not so popular with the remaining school governors in Chamber of Secrets, since they sacked him. How much influence he has with the rest of the Ministry is hard to say. I don’t see too much evidence either way.
It is true that Mr. Weasley is at a disadvantage in terms of money, but I think he is better connected that Draco and Mr. Malfoy make out. He had a connection in the Floo Regulation Panel to connect the Dursleys’ fireplace at the beginning of Goblet of Fire, and his connection with Bagman got him all those tickets in the Top Box at the Quidditch World Cup. Malfoy’s family also got seats in the Top Box, but notice that they actually sat behind the Weasleys.
Edging along the second row to three still-empty seats right behind Mr. Weasley were none other than Dobby the house-elf’s former owners: Lucius Malfoy; his son Draco; and a woman Harry supposed must be Draco’s mother (4.100).
Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys sat in the first row. “…and Harry, filing into the front seats with the Weasleys…” (4.96). If the seating in the Top Box is an indication of anything, it would seem that there are some things money can’t buy.
I think that the constant jibes the Malfoys make at Mr. Weasley are born out of insecurity. The Malfoys’ grasp on power is not that firm. Even people who are outwardly very friendly toward Mr. Malfoy actually resent him deeply. Take Mr. Borgin, for example.
The moment the door had closed, Mr. Borgin dropped his oily manner.
“Good day yourself, Mister Malfoy, and if the stories are true, you haven’t sold me half of what’s hidden in your manor…”
Muttering darkly, Mr. Borgin disappeared into a back room (2.53).
Mr. Borgin is the kind of person Mr. Malfoy believes is on his side, but would bring Mr. Malfoy down if given the chance. I think there are certainly more people like Mr. Borgin.
Mr. Weasley’s connections, on the other hand, are born out of genuine friendship, and he certainly has plenty of these. “Mr. Weasley kept shaking hands with people who were obviously very important wizards” (4.100). The bonds of friendship are stronger than bonds born out of threats, blackmail, and bribery. I think that while people may do what Mr. Malfoy wants out of fear, they would not want him any more powerful than he is, and certainly would not want him as Minister of Magic. I think Mr. Weasley is regarded as more trustworthy, and therefore has a better chance of becoming Minister of Magic.