main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Headscratchers: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Hogwarts And Ministry Of Magic
Please check JK's FAQs before asking a question that may have already been answered.
  • Other than the Default Answer, how did Voldemort and his Death Eaters take over ALL OF BRITAIN just by placing an Imperius Curse on just a few officials? The citizens just accepted the new regime despite being in an open war with the Death Eaters and still VASTLY OUTNUMBERING THEM! Shouldn't there have been some sort of resistance from the Aurors and normal citizens alike? I mean, they were just allowing citizens to be dragged away and killed. Don't tell me they didn't know, everyone did.
    • Same story as with any such regime. The tyrant was cracking down hard, and not enough people were willing to organize out of fear. (And the rumors about how, for instance, Harry killed Dumbledore, can't have helped.)
      • This isn't the same story because: 1. the citizens all had weapons (their wands) and 2. Voldemort has, what, 1 to 2 hundred Death Eaters against thousands of armed citizens. And as for the rumors, what kind of idiots would believe a regime that includes known mass murderers (Bellatrix and others)?
      • With regard to the weapons, it's a myth that merely owning a weapon means you can't be oppressed. Just look at a lot of regimes across Africa and the Middle East where gun control is "do you have the money?" and have some of the worst regimes on the planet. It's really difficult getting ordinary people to use weapons against other people, even in live or death situations. Armies spend a lot of time, money, and effort physically and psychologically breaking that mindset in their recruits. And even then it isn't that successful, most trained soldiers still have enormous difficulty firing on other human beings. Add into that wizards are taught, almost as soon as they get it, that their wand is a tool, most would never think of it as a weapon.
    • Believe me when I say people under oppressive regimes are are reluctant to rise due to many reasons other than weapons. I come from one. Yet we call ourselves a democracy. We have known child rapists and murderers in the government. They manipulate and intimidate law and court system. But people are used to it. Most people hate them. But it doesn't make anyone stand up against them because they don't want to be adversely affected, and they aren't sure that even if they do stand up, others will rise up with them to get rid of the oppressors. The government controls the state media. Half the population believes the lies they spout out. Some people support the regime because they and their families benefit from it. People are scared of more things than outright death. People fear losing jobs or not getting a good one. We fear other subtle retribution. They don't want to risk our families. It is harder to stand up against a regime which makes a mockery out of democracy than an outright killing rampage. In short, wizarding community is totally believable to me. I see it every day. If I had a gun, I won't use it one the random chance of getting past their security. They, after all, control the the security forces of the country. Even if I do manage to kill one, it's effectively the ruin of my family. Rowling's representation of wizards is very accurate as I see. But I do get that most people from places without that sort of thing will not get that mentality.
      • After what we've seen of the Ministry in Order of the Phoenix, that they went along with the Thicknesse policy even after it became clear he was under Voldemort is hardly a stretch. And even outside the Death Eaters, there's a mainstay of pureblood supremacism. But as for your main point, about the wands... yeah, all right. Rowling never did strike me as big on gun rights, so it's pretty reasonable to say that she never gave the idea of an armed citizenry much thought.
      • Still, known Death Eaters working for the Ministry? Come on, someone must have noticed that! You also wonder why no one noticed the tremendous imbalance of numbers in favor of the general public, who hate Voldemort. As for the pureblood supremacy part, only the purebloods themselves believed that, there weren't many left, and not all of them believed in it. Of course, Voldemort is the exception.
      • Voldemort and the Death Eaters effectively divided and conquered. They forced all the kids to come to Hogwarts, splitting them from their parents, then kept each in line with threats to hurt the other (ex: The Lovegoods).
      • You mean Yaxley? He's one of the folks who wriggled out of Azkaban, and was in the Ministry long before the coup. And there's still the dementors, giants, and Inferi. The former two being the ones Dumbledore mentioned as critical to the war effort.
      • Hey, a known Death Eater ran Durmstrang. If they'll let their kids be educated by one, they'll let them do anything.
      • From all we've seen, Voldemort tended to focus on Britain first. It's entirely possible that most of the people who send their kids to Durmstrang don't know what a Death Eater is - and that the rest would be happy to see him in charge (remember, the Malfoys considered sending Draco there).
    • Wizards are well known for sticking their heads in the sand, and Voldemort carefully forged a reputation for blowing the families of those who opposed him into little pieces. Add to that the fact that the Ministry pretty much centralized all authority, and the Wizarding world is pretty much leaderless. Death Eaters Apparating to the area whenever someone says Voldemort's name can't have helped much either.
      • That's a reasonable explanation; however, some things still need to be addressed. Voldemort seized control of the Ministry through the Imperius Curse, and not a word was muttered in opposition by the wizarding world. There would have been some form of resistance, even if it was not well organized, in the beginning. Death squads would have eventually stamped them out, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't have tried. The author comes across a significant problem in this regard, because Voldemort takes control of the Ministry, and... literally within a matter of seconds, his rule is accepted outright, the wanted criminals and villains forming his ranks are allowed to operate openly in society with absolute impunity, and people still recognize the Ministry as the legitimate authority. Furthermore, the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters have been engaging each other in literal death matches for years (essentially mounting to open war between the two groups), and yet once the Ministry is taken, both sides immediately stop fighting. Members of the Order are allowed to continue operating normally in society (e.g., Mr. Weasley maintains his job at the Ministry) and the Death Eaters are no longer challenged. The problem is that history and human nature inform us that if Voldemort had seized uncontested control of the Ministry, one of the first things he would have done would have been to eliminate the greatest threats to that control, namely the Order. Mr. Weasley would have at least been removed from the Ministry. Explanations may abound, some of them may even make sense, but in the end, the lack of interest Rowling showed in addressing these questions leaves the reader with a sense that Adults Are Useless and All Adults Are Stupid.
      • By letting them keep their normal jobs, Voldie's rubbing their noses in the fact that they failed. Not to mention the fact that he considers just about anyone who's not a threat or an ally beneath his notice.
      • So firing them both was going to make it easier to keep tabs on them, to see if Harry tried to contact them or their son?
      • Voldemort himself probably didn't bother too much with running the Ministry after setting up his puppet Minister. He wasn't even the one who Imperiused Pius. Voldy probably saw to it that the Ministry was under Death Eater control, got some of his followers planted to keep an eye on things/run everything, and concentrated on stuff like killing Harry.
    • And there was a sizable resistance, though it doesn't seem to have been doing very much. Note Radio Harry, and the huge numbers that turn up at the end.
      • The sizable resistance consisted of people, some with ill-repute and others with strong repute, hiding in the shadows doing nothing. Sure, they resisted intellectually, but big deal. Meanwhile, Vold-dude and his cronies killed and enslaved people. There may be good explanations as to the reason why the general wizarding populace didn't rise up in rebellion, but the significant problem is that those explanations were not given in the book. The author did a poor job in this regard. In a society as highly educated and sophisticated as the wizarding world, it is very unlikely that a notorious criminal (one so vile, so evil, so undeniably malicious that none but a significant minority dared even mutter his name) could seize control and not be met by a massive uprising. It would be akin to the world's most renowned murderer taking control of a democratic government and no one having the balls to stand up to him (even though numerous members of the armed forces [aka aurors, etc] were opposed to him as well).
      • The explanation was clearly stated within the first few chapters of the book. The wizarding populace is afraid that their families will be attacked by Voldemort, just like other families have been. And, like most people, they rely upon the government to handle these threats. Even in the US, we would reasonably expect these kinds of things handled by one of the various law enforcement agencies at the national or state levels at the least. Even if civilian assistance was needed, there's the draft. And the Geneva Convention makes distinctions between combatants and civilians and how they are treated.
      • Like the Nazis in the 30s, oppressive regimes rely on the fact that most people won't actively resist and they concentrate their efforts on the hard core that do until the reign of terror is well established. "First they came for the communists and I did not speak out, because I was not a communist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade Unionist.... Then they came for me. And there was no one to speak up for me," is probably just as true for the wizarding world as it was for Germany.
      • Yes, but the Nazis also came to power because a lot of the people were buying what they were selling. They would never have lasted as long as they did if, at minimum, the majority of the army wasn't willing to obey the orders coming down. A lot of the population of 1930s Germany wanted Germany to be a strong national power again and get out of the Weimar-era depression and were willing to back anybody who looked like they could pull it off. Making the same analogy re: Magical Britain leaves Magical Britain looking really really bad.
      • And along that line, consider that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement apparently has no equivalent of the "illegal orders doctrine" used by most Western militaries, seeing as how there is nothing in canon to indicate that the already-existing Aurors on duty either resigned en masse or bugged out to form their own Resistance Army and had to all be replaced by Death Eaters. Nope. Yaxley gets made their new boss and they get sent out to drag Muggleborns in for Umbridge's show trials and the Aurors actually do it. If somebody Imperio'ed the US President tomorrow and had him issue orders to the federal law enforcement agencies and the military to start rounding up all people of [insert whatever ethnic background here] for concentration camps, the best-case scenario he could hope for was impeachment. Worst-case, it starts the Second American Civil War. But everybody just snapping to and going 'Hokey-dokey boss, ethnic cleansing it is!'? Not happening.
      • Highly educated? Wizards are, quite frankly, not the brightest lights in the firmament. Don't forget that at age thirteen, Harry is taught that the historical witch burnings were "pointless" because none of the tens of thousands of victims were actual wizards or witches. And this is under Dumbledore's supposedly progressive leadership. This is not the sort of thinking that results in a population that is inclined to defend itself.
      • Do not get me started on JKR's take on the witch burnings.
      • How can Wizards be highly educated when Hogwarts has no math, science, or English teachers? Hell, they don't even have a gymnasium! The real question is, why aren't they all fat little functional illiterates?
      • ^ Wizard children are home-schooled or Muggle-public-schooled before getting their letters and going off to boarding school. Besides, they ARE taught math and science and presumably, literature: Potions, Herbology, Arithmancy, and some others we probably didn't hear about; why teach them useless Muggle versions, like Algebra and Chemistry? Not to mention, I'm sure that flying and Quidditch involve more physical fitness than just hanging on to a broomstick — if dodging Peeves and out-racing the moving staircases don't count as exercise.
      • Since when the hell are algebra, chemistry, and other such subjects useless because magic exists? To make things like guns, for example, you need to know the properties of metal, the explosives of gunpowder, and the ballistics of the bullet, which take science and mathematics to know. And that's just a directly practical application; one of the most important things to learn from science, apart from the facts it has discovered, is the thinking of the method itself (the idea of finding evidence and testing hypothesizes and applying Occam's razor and so on). Those would make wizards better thinkers, if nothing else.
      • Yes, and the problem with the Hogwarts subjects is that they consist almost entirely of following directions. They learn how to do the things they're taught to do in class, but there's no non-magical skill-building: no critical thinking, no learning how the natural world works, and so on. The only class they have that isn't all about the direct practical application is History of Magic, and that's all about listening to lectures, not to mention entirely focused on the Wizarding minority. A Hogwarts education is the equivalent of an apprenticeship. They may have learned some basic skills before age 11, but they're not "highly educated" by any stretch of the imagination.
      • It's easy to forget that wizards aren't soldiers. Just because Mrs. Smith has a stick that could create a mushroom cloud doesn't mean she's ever used it for anything more destructive than clearing out the gutters. The schoolchildren have been taught some combat-effective spells because Dumbledore thought it was necessary, not because blowing people to bits is part of an ordinary Wizarding education. Most witches and wizards are ordinary people, not heroes, not adventurers, not shining warriors of the light. They're just people who happen to have magic instead of elbow grease.
      • The Ministry (before its fall) had published free pamphlets on how to use defensive spells and distributed them to all wizarding homes. Therefore, most wizards should be capable of a simple Stunning Spell and should have no problem fighting with magic. So logically, there are thousands of armed citizens that should have been easily able to overwhelm the Death Eaters through sheer numbers, if nothing else.
      • You can't learn to be a duelist from a pamphlet. Umbridge vs Harry Re: Defense Against the Dark Arts in book five should have made that clear.
      • Anyone remember Snape's puzzle from Philospher's Stone? During it, Hermione says something like "Even the greatest wizards have no logic whatsoever," and that is what made it an effective guard for the Stone. I haven't read the book in a while, but the gist seems to be that wizards rely on their powers a bit too much, and looking for answers outside of them is clearly not a strong suit. See also Muggle subjugation of wizards, possibly.
    • Using Inferi? The ones that can only be created through Dark Magic? Hmmm, looking mighty suspicious there, new regime. And the fact that Dementors were working for the Ministry even though it was made public that they had joined Voldemort. Wow, how did no one notice that even with all of those creatures, the citizens still had a massive numerical advantage? Plus, they can do magic, while those creatures can't. And if a few hundred students managed to drive those same creatures back, how do you think they would hold up against thousands of fully trained adults?
      • I think the answer here pretty much has to be "Because 99% of normal people will not organize and resist when an evil regime comes to power, because they're either scared of dying (Big V is really good at murdering people), misjudge the threat (Rumor has it that Voldemort can kill you with just a dour look), aren't entirely sure the new regime is worse than the old one (Specifically relevant here, since it's taboo to even speak Voldemort's name, so most of the Wizarding world can't actually discuss the matter safely. I think someone explains that most people aren't 100% sure that Voldemort really has taken over), don't think it's their place (He's only going after the mud-bloods), don't realize that most everyone else feels the same way (Sure, they've got numbers on their side. But classic thief's dilemma. If everyone else stays home and doesn't resist, it's a really bad idea for me to go out and resist; our superior numbers aren't worth much if I'm the only one who shows up), or has better things to do (If I go off and join the Order, who's going to look after my wife and kids?
      • There's also something to be said for a regime that has at its disposal creatures capable of inducing the symptoms of depression — I really don't doubt that the Riddle administration was strategically deploying Dementors to maximize feelings of powerlessness and anxiety (recalling that very few members of the general population would be capable of casting the counter-charm, much less knowing it).
      • The Wizards weren't even sure that Voldemort was capable of dying (as it turns out, he wasn't, but they didn't have all the details). Assaulting a tyrant who is literally invincible is suicide, and not everyone is brave enough to make a suicidal charge to prove a point.
      • So, in a word, it's the Bystander Effect. Nobody does anything because they think everyone else is doing it. Typically, the larger the group of people, the worse the effect gets. An entire nation of people suffering it is brutal.
      • And on the point of the Inferi being created by Dark magic, how often in Real Life have people let their governments get away with immoral things for the greater good? If it's possible for the wizards burying their heads in the sand to convince themselves that it's all part of the Ministry's efforts against Voldemort, then they probably will.
    • The book is told from Harry's point of view. Harry spent about 90% of his quest hiding in forests with Hermione and Ron for company. How do we know that there weren't more active resistance groups than Potterwatch? It was mentioned that there were witches and wizards who cast defensive magic spells on their Muggle neighbors, and we find out later that a good number of students at Hogwarts were actively defying the Carrows and Snape.
    • The one who said "wizards sticking their heads in the sand" is closest to correct. The way the book portrayed, it was that Voldemort's rule was so accepted because no-one really knew whether or not it was really him in control, and no-one particularly wanted to know, as that would get them in trouble. If he had openly seized power all at once, there would have been rebellion, but he did not. Actually, his finesse in the matter reminds me of Palpatine and the whole Clone Wars bit. Only the Order knew definitively that the Ministry had fallen, and they didn't move because many of them were still in the Ministry, and could work from the inside out, but most of the citizenry just wanted everything to be okay and move about their business without getting rounded up.
      • Keep in mind that Voldemort wasn't the Minister of Magic. Pius Thicknesse was. Officially, Voldemort was still an enemy of the state, though the fact that the government was suddenly following his philosophy was probably a dead giveaway. Even so, Voldemort controls the Daily Prophet (most wizards' source of news) AND the Quibbler (the primary opposition), so he can keep his activities relatively secretive. Yaxly might have kept on Arthur Weasley to keep some semblance of normalcy. This also explains why no international support came in; as far as wizard France or America is concerned, everything is under control in Britain. That and the bystander effect explain the lack of public uprising. It doesn't help that the Ministry's new official opinion on blood purity is somewhat popular even among some non-Death Eater groups or that a killing-curse-spewing Death Eater is scary to face even as a trainer Auror, let alone someone who got their only combat training from a pamphlet.
  • This has to do with why the Creevey brothers were at Hogwarts. I had always assumed that they came when Neville summoned the DA, but in the scene when they're evacuating the younger students, one or both of them is in the great hall with the regular students, not in the Room of Requirement, and McGonnagal specifically insists that he evacuate, which suggests she has jurisdiction over him still. However, the Creeveys are Muggle-born, so why are they attending school? Wouldn't they have had to have been in hiding up to that point? I know Dean Thomas and others come back for the final fight, but the IJBM is more to do with the fact that they were implied to have been there the whole time.
    • It could be that McGonnagal was using the residual authority she had as acting headmistress - the Creevey brothers did attend school in her house for a number of years, so that "jurisdiction" may have just been force of habit. The Creeveys could have snuck in earlier than the evacuation; people had been arriving all day since Harry arrived, and Minerva was just telling them to forget it and turn back. Alternatively, the Creeveys were simply one of the families to successfully fake their Wizarding heritage in order to attend school.
  • How were Squibs treated under the new regime? It seems like they would be hated, being non-magical and a sign of shame, but they also seem like a good way to scapegoat Muggle-borns (oh, these thieves stole magic away from the poor, virtuous would-be wizard!).
    • It seems like they were probably treated badly; Filch was on Umbridge's side in the fifth book, but was on the light side during the Battle of Hogwarts.
      • Umbridge may be willing to use Dark spells when she deems it necessary, but she's not a Dark witch. She was the second-in-command of the Minister of Magic - a rather respectable position - and at the time of Umbridge's reign in Hogwarts, Voldemort was not in control of the Ministry. So, comparing the situation under Umbridge to the situation under Voldemort is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.
      • Um no its not comparing apples to oranges... since she was on Voldy's side in book 7. Who was it that was in charge of the "Muggle-Born Registration Committee"?
  • To the original question of 'why weren't there more rebellious wizards and witches', well, who says there weren't? We don't see the Mo M until it's stuffed to the gills with Death Eaters, their lackeys and sheeple, or the Imperiused. This troper always pictured at least a few brave souls running out from their offices (if the Death Eaters stormed the place) brandishing wands and possibly trailing poisonous ducks. They were the ones who were taken care of, made into examples. When the rest of the Ministry saw that happening, possibly to skilled witches and wizards that they knew - one could imagine that the 'sticking their head in the sand' propensity that's mentioned above comes into play for those who hadn't yet deserted or gotten sacked.

Back to the main Headscratchers page.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Slytherin HouseHeadscratchers/Harry PotterHarry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Voldemorts Final Duel
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Slytherin HouseHeadscratchers/LiteratureHarry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Voldemort's Final Duel

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy