- "The Ministry of Magic wishes you a pleasant day..."
- —The Welcome Witch's voice at the Ministry's headquarters[src]
The Ministry of Magic (M.o.M.) is the main governing body of the magical community of Great Britain (i.e. England, Scotland and Wales) and Ireland with the intention of preservation of magical law. The Ministry connects the British government to the wizarding world. The headquarters of the Ministry are in Whitehall, in central London, deep underground. It is headed by the Minister for Magic. The current Minister in Britain is Garrett Douglas. Each Prime Minister of Great Britain is visited by the Minister for Magic. During the heights of the Dark Lord, the Minister for Magic worked with the Muggle Minister to ensure protection for the Muggle World.
The same Ministry also appears to govern the wizarding population in Ireland.
The Ministry of Magic was formed as a successor to the earlier Wizards' Council and came into being sometime during the 1600s. It was involved in the International Confederation of Wizards' decision to create the Statute of Secrecy in 1692 and still today takes the responsibility of enforcing said Statute in the United Kingdom. The laws against magic-use by underage wizards and against wand use by non-wizard folk are also enforced by the Ministry, in part to maintain secrecy.
The Ministry of Magic succeeded the earlier Wizards' Council. It was founded in 1707. In 1717, the Ministry classified the Imperius, Cruciatus, and Avada Kedavra curses the Unforgivable Curses, with the strictest of penalties attached to their use. By the 1990s, their use would command a life sentence in Azkaban.
When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, the Ministry of Magic had to decide whether they were to intervene and help their Muggle neighbours. In 1777, the then President of the Magical Congress of the United States of America, Elizabeth McGilliguddy enquired as to what they had decided to do. The Minister for Magic at the time was Maximilian Crowdy who replied with a simple four word letter stating that they were "sitting this one out". Elizabeth replied with an even shorter letter stating "mind you do".
Shortly before Minister Millicent Bagnold's retirement in 1990, many of the wizarding population wanted Albus Dumbledore to become Minister. He was offered the job four times, but turned it down, because of his previous negative experiences with power.
The most likely person to become Minister from that point on was Bartemius Crouch Snr, who as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement had gained popularity from his purges of Death Eaters after the first fall of Lord Voldemort, including arresting his own son for participating in the Cruciatus Curse torture of Alice and Frank Longbottom. However, he fell out of favour when people suspected that his son's actions and death in Azkaban were the result of Crouch neglecting his son and by not spending enough time at home due to his ministerial pursuits.
Under Cornelius Fudge
Cornelius Fudge was Minister for Magic during the events surrounding Lord Voldemort's second rise to power. He became Minister for Magic in 1990 and stayed on as Minister until being sacked in 1996. Early on in his administration he requested frequent help from wizards such as Albus Dumbledore, but he later became suspicious of Dumbledore and believed that he was trying to usurp Fudge's position.
In summer 1992, the Improper Use of Magic Office sent Harry Potter a letter of reprimand after the Malfoy family house-elf, Dobby, performed magic in an attempt to keep him away from Hogwarts. In early 1993, Fudge went to Hogwarts to send Hagrid to Azkaban on suspicion of opening the Chamber of Secrets, an accusation that had led to his expulsion from Hogwarts 50 years earlier. Hagrid was freed in June.
Convicted murderer Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban in summer 1993, leading to a massive Ministry manhunt. Severus Snape captured Black and turned him over to Fudge in June 1994, but Harry Potter and Hermione Granger helped him escape and made the Ministry a "laughingstock."
Organising the 1994-1995 Triwizard Tournament involved substantial efforts from the Department for International Magical Cooperation, the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and other parts of the Ministry. The Tournament concluded with the death of Cedric Diggory and the Rebirth of Lord Voldemort on 24 June, 1995. Fudge refused to believe Dumbledore and Harry Potter's accounts of these events, leading Dumbledore to re-activate the Order of the Phoenix to counter Voldemort. Because of Fudge's refusal to see the truth the wizarding community was put at a disadvantage when dealing with the immanent threat of Lord Voldemort and his followers.
After Voldemort's return, the Ministry campaigned to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, as Fudge, his mind "twisted and warped by fear", refused to believe this horrifying possibility. This trend of attempting to minimise the immediate damage included the Ministry's attempts to get Harry drummed out of the wizarding community, forcing teachers and oversight on Hogwarts, removing privileges from Dumbledore and anyone who accepted his statement that Voldemort had returned, and encouraging the Daily Prophet to publish stories denigrating Dumbledore and Harry. On 12 August, Harry was summoned to a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry, pertaining to what the Ministry termed "offences committed under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Statute of Secrecy". The hearing was changed to a full court trial, which was unorthodox and was outside the context of the law, in a biassed attempt to further discredit Harry.
Ministry activities ended up having to include concealing the reason for the mass breakout from Azkaban, as the Ministry couldn't explain, or justify, the defection of the Dementors. Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters tried to retrieve a specific prophecy pertaining to Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort from the Hall of Prophecy on Level Nine, the Department of Mysteries. In order to do that, they placed both Broderick Bode and Sturgis Podmore under the Imperius Curse, to no avail, as only Harry could take it from its shelf.
Shortly after midnight on 18 June, 1996, the Death Eaters managed to lure Harry and and five other Dumbledore's Army members into the deserted Ministry. A battle broke out over a prophesy concerning Harry and the Dark Lord. The D.A. members did well holding the Death Eaters at bay until help arrived. The Order of the Phoenix went to rescue them, and the Death Chamber standoff ensued, which resulted in the death of Sirius Black at the hands of his cousin Bellatrix Lestrange. The standoff also included a duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore themselves in the Atrium of the Ministry. After the battle, Fudge and several other personally witnesses saw Voldemort with their own eyes, and this position of denial became untenable. Thus, the Ministry was forced to acknowledge the return of the Dark Lord and Fudge was unceremoniously replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour, although he was allowed to aid in an 'advisory capacity'. The public was then made aware of the growing threat to its population and this marked the start of open warfare.
Under Rufus Scrimgeour
- "Maybe the Ministry should put some people onto that, instead of wasting their time stripping down Deluminators or covering up breakouts from Azkaban... People are dying — I was nearly one of them — Voldemort chased me across three counties, he killed Mad-Eye Moody, but there’s no word about any of that from the Ministry, has there? And you still expect us to cooperate with you!"
- —Harry Potter's position regarding the way the Ministry is operating[src]
In response to the war situation the country was facing, Rufus Scrimgeour, the previous Head of the Auror Office, was appointed Fudge's successor in the summer of 1996, and was responsible for the creation of several new bureaucracy, such as Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects.
Despite this, unfortunately, Scrimgeour did not fare much better than Fudge. Again reacting to public opinion, Scrimgeour tried desperately to make the Ministry look like it was making progress, despite the reality being to the contrary, such as by wrongfully imprisoning Stan Shunpike. Under Scrimgeour's regime actual progress was not getting done. He was too concerned with the appearance of false safety, something that would ultimately lead to his downfall and the downfall of the Ministry.
Harry had two meetings with Scrimgeour, in which Harry Potter's co-operation with the Ministry was solicited for his propaganda value: the Ministry wanted Harry to be the "poster child" for the Ministry so as to give the public hope, by telling them that the Ministry remained a source of safety, strength, and that "the Chosen One" endorsed the Ministry's investigations. Harry turned Scrimgeour down flat both times. Harry made it perfectly clear that he did not approve of what the Ministry was doing and made his opinion of Scrimgeour known. This lead the Minister of Magic to believe that Harry was arrogant and the two parted on bad terms. The two remained on bad terms during the reading of the last will and testament of Dumbledore and it came to an argument in which Scrimgeour lost control of his temper and Harry stated that he will never cooperate with the Ministry if they keep conducting themselves as they have previously done.
In summer 1997, shortly after Albus Dumbledore's murder, the Atrium at the Ministry was the setting for a speech by Scrimgeour about the "dark times" in which the wizarding world was living, and how the Ministry remained "strong" and active in the fight against the dark forces. In the meantime, the Death Eaters were managing to infiltrate the Ministry by magically controlling some of the its higher-ranking officials. As a result, later in the summer, on the evening of 1 August, 1997, the Ministry was the stage of a silent coup, during which Scrimgeour was murdered while refusing to give the Death Eaters any information on Harry Potter.
Under Pius Thicknesse
After the Death Eater coup, the Ministry of Magic was headed by Pius Thicknesse, who was under Death Eater control by means of the Imperius Curse; Voldemort chose not to openly reveal himself as Minister, in order to keep an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty within the community. Much more security was added to the building. In addition, employees were now forced to go to work via a toilet network, accessible inside a set of underground public toilets in Whitehall. The Ministry became very corrupt under Pius' time in office.
Under Thicknesse's control, the Ministry became totalitarian, placing surveillance upon those of whom it was suspicious, such as Arthur Weasley, and creating the Muggle-Born Registration Commission to prosecute Muggle-borns for allegedly stealing magic. Unfair trials were held in order to weed out Muggle-borns and to give the impression of justice, despite the fact that it was anything but. The Ministry also acquired the motto 'Magic is Might', which was inscribed upon a sculpture with a witch and wizard sitting on thrones made of Muggles. Death Eaters such as Yaxley gained high positions within the Ministry, as well.
Snatchers or bounty hunters were also employed by the Ministry. Snatchers appeared to be a relatively informal organisation with the main purpose of rounding up or arresting Muggle-borns and "blood traitors". There were Snatcher camps set up all over England. If they succeed in catching their intended targets, said targets were either killed or sent to Azkaban.
After the Battle of Hogwarts
In 1998, after the destruction of Lord Voldemort and the end of the Second Wizarding War, Kingsley Shacklebolt became Minister for Magic and led a massive reform of the Ministry, in effort too weed out corruption and prejudice. Kingsley replenished the Auror office and saw that the Death Eaters that escaped custody were caught and tried for their crimes against the wizarding community. The revitalisation and reform included the efforts of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in the Auror Office, and Hermione Granger advancing the rights of non-humans, and eradicating pro-pure-blood laws in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and later the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The Ministry is now a much happier place to work thanks to the reforms.
- "All right, Fudge is leaning on the Prophet, but it comes to the same thing. They won't print a story that shows Harry in a good light. Nobody wants to read it. It's against the public mood. This last Azkaban breakout has got people quite worried enough. People just don't want to believe You-Know-Who's back."
- —Rita Skeeter on the Daily Prophet's role during the campaign to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter[src]
The Ministry's employees are largely unelected, but the Minister for Magic is elected by an unknown group. Employment with the Ministry can be obtained directly upon completion of a wizarding education, although different offices require different levels of education and sometimes specific exam results. Both the Minister and the Ministry as a whole are seen to be sensitive to wizard public opinion, which they attempt to influence via the wizarding newspaper the Daily Prophet.
The Ministry of Magic have no rights to punish Hogwarts students for misdemeanours, nor do they have privilege of their expulsion and wand confiscation unless charges have been successfully proven and passed. Dumbledore made it clear to Fudge that the Ministry has little influence of the detailed workings within the school, which Fudge tried to change with his via a series of Educational Decrees, effectively annexing the school into the government.
Minister for Magic
The Minister for Magic is the elected leader of the Ministry. The Minister and Support Staff occupy Level One of the Ministry. During the puppet regime set up by Lord Voldemort in 1997-1998, this level also housed the office of the Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission.
It includes these offices:
- Office of the Minister for Magic
- Office of the Advisor to the Minister for Magic
- Office of the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic
- Office of the Junior Assistant to the Minister for Magic
The Ministry has seven departments in all, each dealing with different aspects of the wizarding world, with the Department of Magical Law Enforcement being the largest and all others more or less answering to it (except the Department of Mysteries).
Each Department has a level of Ministry Headquarters assigned to it, although Law Enforcement has not only level two but also the courtrooms of level ten. There are also many minor offices within the departments. The departments communicate through "interdepartmental memos" written on pale-violet paper aeroplanes, which fly on their own to destinations. The known departments and their offices are the following:
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
|The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is a combination of police and justice facilities and has power over all other departments except the Department of Mysteries. It includes the following offices:|
|Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects|
|Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office|
|Improper Use of Magic Office|
|Wizengamot Administration Services|
Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
- "Level Three, Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, incorporating the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, Obliviator Headquarters and Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee."
- —Voice of lift at the Ministry of Magic[src]
|The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes is responsible for repairing accidental magical damage. It includes the following offices:|
|Accidental Magic Reversal Squad|
|Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee|
|Invisibility Task Force|
|Muggle Liaison Office|
Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
- "Each wizarding governing body will be responsible for the concealment, care and control of all magical beasts, beings, and spirits dwelling within its territory's borders. Should any such creature cause harm to, or draw the notice of, the Muggle community, that nation's wizarding governing body will be subject to discipline by the International Confederation of Wizards."
- —Clause 73 of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy[src]
|The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is responsible for studying, regulating, and controlling magical creatures. It includes the following offices:|
|Goblin Liaison Office|
|Centaur Liaison Office|
|Pest Advisory Board|
|Office of Misinformation|
Department of International Magical Cooperation
- "Level Five, Department of International Magical Cooperation, incorporating the International Magical Trading Standards Body, the International Magical Office of Law and the International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats."
- —Voice of lift at the Ministry of Magic[src]
|The Department of International Magical Cooperation deals with foreign affairs, both political and public. It includes the following offices:|
|International Magical Trading Standards Body|
|International Magical Office of Law|
|International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats|
Department of Magical Transportation
- "Level Six, Department of Magical Transportation, incorporating the Floo Network Authority, Broom Regulatory Control, Portkey Office and Apparition Test Centre."
- —Voice of lift at the Ministry of Magic[src]
|The Department of Magical Transportation is responsible for various aspects of magical transportation. It includes the following offices:|
|Floo Network Authority|
|Broom Regulatory Control|
|Apparation Test Centre|
Department of Magical Games and Sports
- "Level seven, Department of Magical Games and Sports, incorporating the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters, Official Gobstones Club, and Ludicrous Patents Office."
- —Voice of lift at the Ministry of Magic[src]
|The Department of Magical Games and Sports deals with organising sports events and enforcing game-related laws and regulations. It includes the following offices:|
|British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters|
|Official Gobstones Club|
|Ludicrous Patents Office|
Department of Mysteries
- "The lift clattered into view and they hurried inside. Every time it stopped Mr Weasley cursed furiously and pummelled the number nine button. 'Department of Mysteries,' said the cool female voice, and left it at that."
- —Voice of lift at the Ministry of Magic[src]
|The Department of Mysteries, located on Level Nine, is a section of the Ministry of Magic that carries out confidential research regarding particular enigmas (death, time, space, thought, and love) and stores copies of prophecies. Most of its operations are carried out in total secrecy from the general wizard populace. The Department contains the following chambers in which various mysteries of life are studied:|
|Hall of Prophecy|
|Love Chamber (a.k.a. The Ever-Locked Room)|
- "A long-awaited Ministry for Magic [sic] report made public today warns against the dangers of underestimating Muggles. A Study into Muggle Suspicions about Magic draws conclusions which may shock the wizarding community. Professor Phoebus Penrose, who headed the committee which drew up the report, says that Muggles are more observant than we might like to think."
- —Daily Prophet, 31 July 1998[src]
Possible offices or affiliates
Ministers for Magic
The following is a list of the Ministers for Magic and their tenures in office:
Heads of Departments and Offices
|Justus Pilliwickle||Head of Magical Law Enforcement|
|Amelia Bones||Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement, murdered by Voldemort|
|Bartemius Crouch Snr||Head of Department of International Magical Cooperation; previously served as head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement|
|Ludovic Bagman||Head of Department of Magical Games and Sports|
|Percy Weasley||Head of Department of Magical Transportation, previously served as Assistant to the Head of Department of International Magical Cooperation and Junior Assistant to the Minister for Magic under Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgeour and Pius Thicknesse|
|Bob Ogden†||Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Office|
|Arthur Weasley||Head of the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects (under Rufus Scrimgeour); previously served as Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office (under Cornelius Fudge)|
|Cuthbert Mockridge||Head of the Goblin Liaison Office|
|Gawain Robards||Previous head of the Auror office|
|Yaxley||Head of Magical Law Enforcement under Lord Voldemort's regime|
|Harry Potter||Former head of the Auror office, now the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement|
The Ministry keeps in touch with the Muggle Prime Minister of the United Kingdom through the help of a portrait in the Downing Street office. The portrait is fixed to the wall with a Permanent Sticking Charm so no Muggles will be able to remove it, and the subject of the painting will notify the Prime Minister of Muggles of the Minister for Magic's impending arrivals. The British Crown, including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Monarch, are in full knowledge of the Ministry.
Each new Muggle Prime Minister receives a visit from the Minister for Magic, who informs him or her that the wizarding world exists. He explains that he will contact the Prime Minister only in circumstances in which the events of the wizard world may affect Muggles. For example, the Minister has to inform the Prime Minister if dangerous magical artefacts or animals are to be brought into the U.K.
The Ministry keeps in touch with the British Prime Minister via a portrait depicting Ulick Gamp, in the Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street. The portrait, which cannot be removed from the wall (because of a Permanent Sticking Charm in place), notifies the Prime Minister of the Minister for Magic's arrival via the Floo Network. No Muggle Prime Minister has ever set foot in the Ministry of Magic; as summed up by former Minister Dugald McPhail, "their puir wee braines couldnae cope wi' it". Ministers Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour tended to act in a somewhat patronising manner towards the Muggle Prime Minister.
However, after the Fall of the Ministry of Magic into the hands of Lord Voldemort and Pius Thicknesse became minister as Voldemort's puppet, a new era of Wizard-Muggle relations was brought on that was more in line with Death Eater ideology. These actions included the instalment of the "Magic is Might" statue in the Ministry Atrium to replace the Fountain of Magical Brethren, which depicts a witch and wizard on top of a throne made from the bodies of crude-looking Muggles.
While prejudiced depictions of Muggles were taught by professors Amycus and Alecto Carrow at Hogwarts School under its new headmaster, Severus Snape, the Ministry began claiming that Muggle-borns "stole" their magic from "real" witches and wizards. The Muggle-Born Registration Commission, headed by Dolores Umbridge, was set up to persecute and imprison Muggle-borns. Furthermore, the Snatchers organisation was formed in an attempt to round up any Muggle-borns or blood traitors on the run. People with known connections to the Order of the Phoenix or sympathies for Muggles, such as Arthur Weasley, were put under surveillance, and a reward for the capture of Harry Potter, known to the Ministry as "Undesirable No. 1", was offered.
Presumably, after Voldemort's defeat and Kingsley Shacklebolt's installation of Minister for Magic, the cruel, prejudiced measures imposed under the Death Eater regime towards Muggles (such as the Muggle-Born Registration Commission) were abolished and the Ministry went on communicating with the Muggle Prime Minister when necessary.
The magical government sometimes has given the impression of, at various times, either incompetence or malice, which are demonstrated by successful break-outs from Azkaban and the campaign to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, respectively. The Ministry has been known to be corrupt in nature, as it is shown to be quite prepared to decree and enforce draconian laws without notice, and seem uninterested in solving serious problems, choosing instead to ignore or cover up bad news. More often than not, the Ministry was focused on positive publicity rather than genuine betterment of the community, and took the pressures from the satisfaction of the majority citizens as a factor to their decisions.
- Dolores Umbridge: "I have testimony from Willy Widdershins, Minerva, who happened to be in the bar at the time. He was heavily bandaged, it's true, but his hearing was quite unimpaired. He heard every word Potter said and hastened straight to the school to report to me--"
- Minerva McGonagall: "Oh, so that's why he wasn't prosecuted for setting up all those regurgitating toilets! What an interesting insight into our justice system!"
- Dexter Fortescue: "Blatant corruption! The Ministry did not cut deals with petty criminals in my day, no sir, they did not!"
- — Umbridge, McGonagall, and the portrait of Fortescue discussing the Ministry's actions[src]
The Ministry of Magic gives an appearance of, at various times, either confounding incompetence or malice. The Ministry has been seen to decree and enforce harsh and tyrannical laws without notice. The few rights that human wizards do have are denied to non-humans. Even people who have been later found to be innocent have been subjected to the horrors of Azkaban, and not all of the accused are given trials, as was the case with Sirius Black. Modern governments would ostensibly consider some of the actions of the Ministry to be cruel and inhumane. Under the direction of Minister Cornelius Fudge, trials were short and did not employ juries; instead, a Wizarding Council heard every case regardless of what prior knowledge they had of this case, it was unlikely to be able to appeal the verdict and lawyers were not allowed. It is likely that conditions have improved with the new administration. During Hagrid's appeal case before the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures, the executioner (Walden Macnair) was present with his axe before a verdict was even decided on, and mostly the Committee's decisions are influenced by Lucius Malfoy, who threatens and intimidates the members into doing his bidding.
After the return of Lord Voldemort, the minister at the time, Cornelius Fudge, refused to believe that the evil wizard was back despite mounting evidence, and the Ministry even mounted a campaign to damage Harry Potter's credibility, an effort fuelled in part by Fudge's on paranoid fear that Albus Dumbledore wanted his job. Eventually, the Ministry was forced to acknowledge the emergency and act. Fudge was removed from office for incompetence and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour.
Rufus became as bad as Crouch Snr, making scape goats locking the wrong people in Azkaban such as Stan Shunpike, to try and make it look like the Ministry was doing a good job. When he asked Harry to be a mascot so that the public would support them, Harry refused because he knew it was still corrupt.
After the Fall of the Ministry of Magic, the entire Ministry was under Voldemort and doing his bidding under the puppet government headed by Pius Thicknesse. The various laws implemented in this regime included in the persecution and harassment of Muggle-borns and Muggles and propaganda suggesting the inferiority of Muggles and how they should be treated as sub-humans by wizards. However, after Lord Voldemort's fall and Kingsley Shacklebolt being appointed minister, Harry, Ron, and Hermione work for the Ministry and change it in ways to make it drastically less corrupt.
- Fall of the Ministry of Magic
- Andorran Ministry of Magic
- Bangladeshi Ministry of Magic
- Bulgarian Ministry of Magic
- Burkina Faso Ministry of Magic
- German Ministry of Magic
- Indian Ministry of Magic
- Iranian Ministry of Magic
- Mongolian Ministry of Magic
- New Zealand Ministry of Magic
- Norwegian Ministry of Magic
- Pakistani Ministry of Magic
- Wizards' Council
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