The wizard government of Britain, ostensibly a secret ministry of the Cabinet, but in truth a state unto itself. The Ministry is controlled by the Minister of Magic, who enjoys nearly autocratic powers, and the secretive Wizengamot, making the Ministry a police state on many occasions.The primary purpose of the Ministry is keep wizards secret from the British public. It is usually very conservative, but becomes outright fascist after Voldemort takes over. It is reformed after the latter's defeat.
Good Is Not Nice: It used very brutal tactics during the first war against Voldemort, including torture and mind control.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: The bunch of students easily breaks into the secret labs in OTP. Harry and company comment on this at the time, its implied that the Death Eaters had already been through and countered all the security to let them in.
Police Are Useless: These guys don't succeed at the hunting down the Death Eaters. At least, at the Second War.
Averted in the First War. The Ministry fights Voldemort to a stalemate for eleven years. While things were grim, there were also successes, such as the Aurors driving the giants out of Britain and killing many Death Eaters.
Police State: Useless against Voldemort, harsh against its own people.
Pretentious Latin Motto: The Department of Magical Law Enforcement bears the motto "Ignorantia juris neminem excusat" ("Ignorance of the law excuses nobody").
Took a Level in Dumbass: From a government that fought Voldemort for eleven years and wiped out the British giant community to an utterly corrupt and incompetent madhouse that completely fails to stop Voldemort after he returned.
There are a few hints that until Voldemort returned, his former followers were insinuating themselves into the Ministry and/or using bribery and blackmail to pave the way for an eventual coup. Their master's return allowed him to pick up and combine his followers' schemes in a Evil Plan.
Cornelius Oswald Fudge
Portrayed by: Robert Hardy
The Minister for Magic for most of the series, initially a rather affable figure with a keen fondness for Harry who continually asks Dumbledore for advice, he outs himself as a slanderous, incompetent coward when he refuses to believe that Voldemort has returned, instead opting to act as if nothing is wrong and making Harry and Dumbledore out to be insane. After Voldemort's return is revealed to all, he is sacked from his position and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In Books 2 and 3 and for most of Book 4, he comes across, in Harry's own words, as kindly, if a little pompous. By the end of Book 4 and through all of Book 5, he reveals himself to be a pretty nasty piece of work.
Evil All Along: While "evil" might be a stretch, there are indications that he was never really a good guy to begin with, notably when Molly reveals that he's kept Arthur at his low ranking, low paying job for years because Fudge thinks Arthur "lacks proper wizarding pride."
Meaningful Name: In British idom, to "fudge" an issue either to evade addressing it or to devise a pathetic and useless compromise. Furthermore, "Oswald" has fallen out of favour in Britain ever since Oswald Moseley, who led the British Union of Fascists.
Nice Hat: Frequent attention is paid to his green bowler hat.
Pointy-Haired Boss: He's definitely there by the fifth book, though Hagrid's remarks about him in the first book suggest that he was never a particularly effective leader. Even before he takes his level in jerkass, he is willing to send Hagrid to Azkaban on the mere suspicion of having opened the Chamber of Secrets just so that the Ministry appears to be taking action, and considering the nature of Azkaban, that's not a very nice thing to do.
Too Dumb to Live: Fudge's overall stupidity on Voldemort's return ends up being a subversion of this trope. Voldemort realizes that it's actually in his own best interest to leave Fudge alone and allow him to continue to misrule the Ministry and persecute the people who'd stand the best chance against Voldemort.
Took a Level in Jerkass: At first, he was a kindly, generous old man who relieved Harry of being punished without a second thought. Then Voldemort came back and he became a...well, yeah.
Turn In Your Badge: The beginning of the Sixth Book reveals that, thanks to his discovery that Voldemort has in fact returned, Fudge resigned in disgrace, and introduces the Prime Minister of Britain (Muggle Britain) to his successor.
What Happened to the Mouse?: A pretty major character for 5 of the 7 books, we hear nothing at all of him in Book 7, even though Voldemort's coup of the Ministry would undeniably have affected him one way or another, since he still worked there.
Written-In Absence: According to Robert Hardy, at least. Given what happens to Fudge in the books, it doesn't seem especially likely that he would have been in the last three movies anyway, but nevertheless Hardy claims he got written out due to being too old to insure.
Bartemius "Barty" Crouch Senior
Portrayed by: Roger Lloyd-Pack
The Head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation in the fourth book and one of the organizers and judges of the Triwizard Tournament. In the first Wizarding War, he was Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and one of the main forces opposing Voldemort. However, he fell from grace in the public eye after sentencing his own son to Azkaban on the charges of being a Death Eater. He was right in doing so, though, as Barty, Jr. really was one of Voldemort's supporters and ends up killing him after using him as a pawn through most of the fourth book.
A former professional Quidditch player, and the head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports in the fourth book. He's also one of the organizers and judges of the Triwizard Tournament. A rather easygoing and jovial fellow, he's also a gambling addict who has bet on Harry to win the Triwizard Tournament, and tries to help him win so he can pay back gold he borrowed to cover his gambling debts.
A high-ranking Ministry functionary and perhaps the most universally despised character in the series, Umbridge affects the mannerisms of a kindly old aunt or grandmother, but they're only a thin veneer that covers governmental corruption at its worst incarnate in one woman. Sent to Hogwarts by Cornelius Fudge to keep an eye on Dumbledore, Umbridge wasted no time in turning it into her own personal fiefdom, running the school as a sugar-coated dictator. She lost her post at the end of Order of the Phoenix but retained her Ministry job under Fudge's successors, Scrimgeour and Thicknesse. Umbridge is loyal only to the Ministry itself, no matter who runs it, and will gleefully uphold the status quo it lays down, no matter how horrible. The books make no mention of her final fate, but Word Of God confirms that she was ultimately tried, convicted, and sent to Azkaban.
Adaptational Attractiveness: In the books and the illustrations she's portrayed as resembling a large toad. In the movies she looks like someone's young grandmother, which actually helps mask her foul demeanor even better by not making it as obvious at first glance.
Animal Motifs: Umbridge uses the Cats Are Mean motif, but it's partially subverted - while she has paintings of cats and a cat Patronus, she's never actually shown with a living pet cat, and is thus juxtaposed against Hermione and Ms. Figg.
Judging by Harry's descriptions, her toad motif is another viable example.
Bullying a Dragon: During the events of Order of the Phoenix, she insists on insulting a herd of angry centaurs, currently surrounding her and armed with bows, eventually calling them "filthy halfbreeds". To their faces. She is promptly abducted and dragged off into the depths of the forest; it takes intervention from Dumbledore himself to save her life.
Fantastic Racism: She is noted to have an intense loathing of those she considers "half-breeds" or "part-humans," including ranging from werewolves to centaurs. It comes back to haunt her at the end of Order of the Phoenix, where she is carried off into the Forbidden Forest by a herd of centaurs.
Just a Kid: Umbridge loves to use this trope. Nearly everything she says to the student characters can be translated into, "How DARE you children form opinions! I'm the adult, so I'm always right! Now shut up and agree with me or you'll be punished!"
Light Is Not Good: Unlike the Death Eaters, she can summon a Patronus, and unlike the heroes, she is not the least bit impaired by Slytherin's Locket, thanks to the fact that what she considers "happy thoughts" are pretty much the exact opposite. To say nothing of her Glurge Addict status.
Meaningful Name: Dolores means "sorrows" or "pains," Umbridge = umbrage (outrage)
My Country, Right or Wrong: Umbridge doesn't care who runs the Ministry so long as she gets to keep her job, though one rather gets the impression that she enjoys enforcing the most ruthless laws more than anything.
Politically Incorrect Villain: Her prejudice against non-humans and half-breeds seems a little shoehorned in just to make her more hateable, but it might have been Foreshadowing to explain why she so gleefully goes along with the New Order's persecution of Muggle-borns.
Smug Snake: Umbridge is highly competent at exploiting the system to get what she wants. Otherwise, she's largely inept, and the best way to deal with her is to put her in a situation where her connections can't get her out (like the middle of a herd of angry centaurs, for example...)
Straw Hypocrite: She teaches the students that the Unforgivable Curses are illegal and unforgivable. The Cruciatus Curse appears to be one of her favorite spells.
Too Dumb to Live: Surrounded by centaurs aiming arrows at you... and you still insult them for being "filthy half-breeds"? Dumbledore has to personally bail her out of that one - and she's not even grateful for it in the slightest!
Vocal Dissonance: Her high-pitched girly voice surprised Harry the first time he heard her speak, as her "frog-like" appearance had left him expecting a croak.
Would Hurt a Child: Forces the 15-year-old Harry to carve the words "I must not tell lies" to his own hand so many times that it leaves a permanent scar. In the film of Order Of The Phoenix, we get a shot of a crying boy of eleven or twelve years, implied to have been subjected to the same punishment, and Umbridge commenting "Naughty children deserve to be punished."
Which is weird when you consider Thatcher's usually blunt demeanor.
Some critics have likened her to Freddy Krueger meets Hannibal Lecter.
You Do Not Want To Know: According to some who know their mythology, and to one Cracked.com article, there's a reason why it was centaurs who dragged off Umbridge, and also why we were not told what they did to her — it was gang-rape.
Portrayed by: Bill Nighy
Cornelius Fudge's successor as Minister for Magic. Though he's unquestionably more competent than Fudge, he shares with him a healthy dose of distrust for Dumbledore and Harry, and much like Barty Crouch, is harsh in his methods of fighting Voldemort, such as imprisoning people on the mere suspicion of being Death Eaters. He is killed when Voldemort takes over the Ministry, but in his final moments, he refuses to tell Voldemort Harry's whereabouts.
Heroic Sacrifice / Redemption Equals Death: Harry reacts to his death by realizing that, although he never liked Scrimgeour and the feeling was mutual, the last act of the Minister's live was likely protecting him from Voldemort.
Jerkass Has a Point: His meddling and spying on Dumbledore seems like Fudge-esque paranoia until you consider that Dumbledore IS in fact withholding crucial information that could lead to Voldemort's defeat (the existence of the horcruxes) from Scrimgeour.
Large Ham: Has the wildest eyes this side of Steve Buscemi. It's BILL NIGHY!
Our Vampires Are Different: Luna Lovegood says he's a vampire, though this is questionable to say the least. If it's true, he either gets to the Ministry extra early to beat sunrise from potentially killing him (and likewise extra late to avoid the residue of the sun), or his species, contrary to the myths, is completely immune to sunlight.
The Black Sheep of the Weasley family. At the start of the series, Percy is a pompous, ambitious prefect with No Sense of Humor. Oh wait, did we mention he's a prefect? Well, he's a prefect, in case that hadn't been mentioned. He's The Dutiful Son who thinks himself the "respectable" one in the family. His self-important manner made him the target of teasing from his younger siblings, making him a bit of a Butt Monkey. Molly continuously failed to make the twins, Ron, and Ginny view Percy as a role model, but not through lack of trying. Basically, his portrayal in the early books was that of an officious twit, but this was Played for Laughs and he was mostly a sympathetic character.After finishing Hogwarts, he joined the Ministry of Magic, and this is when he Took a Level in Jerkass. When Voldemort returned, he chose to believe Fudge over Harry, leading him to become estranged from the rest of the family. Even after the Ministry acknowledged Voldemort was back, Percy continued to give his family the silent treatment and seemed to have become an unthinking cog in the Ministry's machine. At the end of Deathly Hallows, he pulls a Changed My Mind, Kid and returns to his family and to the side of good.Also, he was a prefect. We mentioned that, right?note "Yes, you did, but you forgot to mention that I was head boy!" - Percy Ignatius Weasley, Personal Under-Secretary to the Minister for Magic
Demoted to Extra: After the third movie, his only appearances consist of non-speaking cameos in Phoenix and Hallows, Part 2. Unless you watch the backgrounds, you wouldn't even notice he's there and is apparently still going through his book plotline, albeit almost entirely off-screen.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: It seemed only Molly gave Percy the respect he believed he deserved, and often told the twins they'd do well to take a page out of his book. Even his dad would sometimes snicker at the cracks the twins made at him.
Green-Eyed Monster: In Goblet of Fire, it's briefly mentioned that Percy is envious of the more relaxed and familiar relationship Harry had with Cornelius Fudge. Until Fudge and the Ministry tried turning Harry and Dumbledore into pariahs.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Especially in the first three books when he was still a Hogwarts student. At least when Harry interacted with him, he was actually quite nice, albeit pompous and a bit too formal, as long as people abode by the rules, and he even tried helping Harry with understanding aspects of the wizarding world that Harry wasn't familiar with yet. But when around people who did not abide by the rules or did not take him as seriously as he wanted to taken, his annoying and unpleasant side would appear.
Which is Lampshaded by Fred immediately after. Who is then tragically killed a second later by Death Eaters.
Not so Above It All: In "Prisoner of Azkaban" he makes a ten galleon bet with his girlfriend that Griffindor will beat Ravenclaw in the upcoming Quiditch match. He then begs Harry not to lose the match because he hasn't got ten galleons.
A Ministry official who is initially head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He is put under the Imperius Curse by the Death Eaters and made Minister for Magic when Voldemort takes over the Ministry. He participates in the Battle of Hogwarts but is beaten by Percy Weasley, and later by Percy and Arthur.
Meaningful Name: "Pius" is Latin and means, among other things, "devoted to order." Pius was also the name of several popes, one of whom created the Inquisition, not to mention Pius XII and his behavior during WW 2. "Thicknesse" sounds like "thickness" and can be broken into "thick nesse" (thick tongue) referring to his speaking abilities.
Albert Runcorn is a massive, deep-voiced man who works at the Ministry. Under Voldemort's dictatorship, he is charged with investigating and persecuting Muggle-born witches and wizards, which makes him a favorite of Umbridge, but an enemy of Arthur Weasley. He is known to have falsified wizards' family trees when he considers them a political enemy. When the Trio infiltrated the Ministry of Magic, Harry disguised himself as Runcorn. In this disguise, Harry finds that many of his allies are being tracked by the Ministry, and he later steals the locket of Slytherin from Umbridge.
Putting on the Reich: In the film, his suit and leather coat make him look like a Gestapo agent, fitting his duties.
Portrayed by: Steffan Rhodri
Reginald "Reg" Cattermole is a small man who works in Magical Maintenance as a janitor. His wife, Mary, is a Muggle-born witch who is subjected to a show trial on the day the Trio infiltrate the Ministry. Reg Cattermole is impersonated by Ron Weasley, and is unable to attend the trial, but later shows up and takes his family into hiding.
Mafalda Hopkirk is a short, middle-aged witch who works in the Improper Use of Magic Office. In that capacity, she sends Harry Potter notices on two occasions (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for Dobby's Hover Charm and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for a Patronus) warning him about the use of underage magic. By the time of Voldemort's dictatorship, she is still working at the Ministry, and is impersonated by Hermione during the infiltration. Umbridge conscripts her as a stenographer for the show trial against Mary Cattermole.
A Posthumous Character in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As a Hogwarts student, she was dim-witted and gossipy. She grew up to work for the Ministry of Magic. While working for Barty Crouch, she learned that his son was still alive and imprisoned in his home; Crouch placed a Memory Charm on her so powerful that it permanently damaged her memory, making her extremely forgetful. She was bounced hopelessly from department to department for years afterwards, ultimately coming to work for Ludo Bagman in the Department of Magical Games and Sports.Shortly before the start of Goblet, Bertha Jorkins was captured by Wormtail and horribly tortured interrogated by Voldemort. From her, Voldemort learned information crucial to his evil plot, including the revival of the Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. He even broke through the Memory Charm to learn the fate of Barty Crouch, Jr. This "damaged" her beyond repair and Voldemort subsequently killed her. Her death was the murder used to turn Nagini into a Horcrux.Throughout the book, the disappearance of Bertha Jorkins is talked about. Ludo Bagman and much of the Ministry assumes there was no foul play involved and that she will turn up alive sooner or later. While the characters don't know what happened to her until the end of the book, the reader does as her fate is mentioned in the Villain Opening Scene.She appears in the book when Harry sees her sixteen-year-old self in the Pensieve and when her spirit reappears during the graveyard battle. She is not seen or mentioned in the film.
Cloudcuckoolander: Apparently partially the result of the Memory Charm placed on her by Barty Crouch, Sr. Her memory was actually good before that, at least for gossip. This is also why Bagman isn't concerned about her disappearance for quite a while. He assumes that she just got lost again.
The Stool Pigeon: Despite her being a Gossipy Hens, her actual classification under this trope is Lacerated Larry, since the reason she squealed was because she was tortured by Lord Voldemort and Wormtail.
Sirius Black: She was at Hogwarts when I was, a few years above your dad and me. And she was an idiot. Very nosy, but no brains, none at all. It's not a good combination, Harry. I'd say she'd be very easy to lure into a trap.
The celebrated Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.Madam Bones, having a seat on the Wizengamot, presided over the disciplinary hearing of Harry Potter. She was fair, unlike Cornelius Fudge, the prosecutor, and was astounded by Harry's ability to conjure a corporeal Patronus. She voted for the clearing of all of his charges, and Harry was allowed to leave. A year after, Madam Bones was killed by Lord Voldemort himself during the summer, though she put up a good fight.Harry's classmate Susan Bones is Amelia's niece.
Badass: Amelia Bones was considered to be one of the greatest witches of her time. She was a highly skilled duellist and was able to hold her own against Lord Voldemort himself, when the Dark Lord arrived to murder her
Badass Baritone: A rare variation where it’s a female. Her voice is described as “booming”