The Burrow: Ministry Mysteries

by Damon

The Ministry of Magic is fast becoming my favorite subject to discuss when we turn to Harry Potter in my group of friends. That’s why I am glad to have an excuse to put my own theories into writing. Of all the things in Harry’s world, I see this as the most interesting right now. Every fan has their own theory and idea about what it is the Ministry does, and where they are going. I am going to approach this in three sections. First, a look at Fudge, which we all agree needs to be addressed as he really is the public face of the Ministry. Second, what the Ministry does, and third, where it is going. I am also going to address some internet theories about the Ministry and what I believe them to mean for the series.

Now we can’t really analyze the Ministry without taking a good look at Fudge. Every time the Ministry comes to stick its nose where it does not belong, Fudge is there. Up until now the Ministry has been nothing but a hindrance for the Anti-Voldemort crowd. Were they doing this on purpose? Or did they actually see Dumbledore as a threat? My thought on this: Fudge dropped the ball. He irrationally saw Dumbledore as a threat, probably with more than a little whispering from his supporter and backer Malfoy. Personally, I am waiting to see what comes to light about him as he is pushed out of office in the next book.

I also want to make it very clear that I do not agree with the conspiracy theories about him. For those who don’t know what I mean, I will give a brief explanation. There are a few out there that believe Fudge is in league with You-Know-Who. Everything from, he helped set Sirius up, to he is a full blown death eater. Hogwash I say! He’s not bright enough. That isn’t to say that he wasn’t helped along the way by those in league with Voldemort, but I don’t believe he had any idea that he was doing his bidding. A clueless pawn is about where I rate Fudge.

When Fudge was elected, they really wanted Dumbledore for the post but he turned it down. My main question is, who are they? Who elects these officials? Are there free elections? Does the Wizengamot do it? If so, who elects them? We have no idea. Think about it, what information has JKR really given us about the Ministry? We have some idea of who is involved in it. We have some idea of what goes on there and how they do it, but that’s it. We also know that other countries have a similar form of government.

It has become a practice on the net of trying to figure out who Fudge’s successor will be. How can we do that if we don’t know how the ministers come to power? If the people elect them, then I say Dumbledore is the next Minister. This time I don’t think he will turn it down because he knows that with open war with Voldemort, that is where he needs to be. Yet if it is the Wizengamot or another political body that elects him, they will remember that he made them all look like fools for a whole year. They’re going to remember that.

Now, what does the Ministry do? That’s a really hard question. We know they are responsible for everything from magical law enforcement and international cooperation, to muggle affairs. My first memory of the Ministry is when Harry gets his letter in CoS. I thought, “Ok, something to make Harry think twice about breaking the rules.” I never dreamed JKR would use it to bring politics, corruption, and intrigue into her story. We know now that they run a government, very much like our own, with the exact same likelihood for human (or wizard) error.

The Ministry handles law enforcement using the Aurors to track down dark wizards. What about other law enforcement? We know that there is a department that handles the misuse of muggle artifacts and that they can enforce laws and make charges regarding that. I came to that conclusion when they used that department to get Mad Eye a lesser charge. Does that mean Ludo Baggman (Head of Sports) would handle legal matters of sport? Or is there a more general police force for the wizarding world that we have not run into yet. Transportation, and international cooperation, and everything else are routine and aren’t extremely susceptible to corruption and Fudge’s plans. The one exception is the Department of Mysteries. This one is even weirder. Every government has a research and development branch or office. The Department of Mysteries feels very much like a military research branch to me. Other than the Aurors, do we know anything about Wizard Arm Services? What secrets will Fudge run off with when he is kicked out? For that matter, what are the Unspeakables really up to down there? What they are really depends on where the Ministry is going.

Where are they going? Well one thing is for sure, Fudge is gone. With war coming, the whole Ministry is going to gear up in that direction. Look for a very tactical minded new minister. Look for every aspect of the Ministry being used to fight Voldemort. If I were Voldemort and now have to plan for all-out war, I have two targets at the top of my list: Hogwarts and the Department of Mysteries. Which is first on Voldemort’s list? Probably the Department of Mysteries. He is still looking for a way to hear the whole prophecy and the easiest way is probably in there. Look for an attack on the Ministry early in Book 6 that is either repelled or takes out the Department of Mysteries. If the Ministry has no formal defense force (military and such) look for the formation or activation of one.

The only thing certain is that the Ministry will change drastically to confront Voldemort now that people know he is back. I think the changes will benefit the Anti-Voldemort movement. The books have been growing more and more dark ever since Book 1. I think Book 6 is going to be the darkest of them all. So who says anything is going to go right for the Anti-Voldemort crowd? At the worst, I can see Voldemort hit the Ministry hard, and take it out completely as a prelude to going after Hogwarts.