|“||He's NOT back!||„|
|~ Cornelius Fudge denying Lord Voldemort's return.|
|~ Cornelius Fudge upon seeing Lord Voldermort is alive and in person, as well as realizing his horrible mistake.|
Cornelius Oswald Fudge is a recurring but influential character in the Harry Potter franchise. Fudge made his debut in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as a minor character, before receiving a proper introduction in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. In both the aforementioned novel/film and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fudge was a supporting character but returned as the central antagonist of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He made his final appearance, as a minor character in the novel Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Fudge was the British Minister for Magic from 1990 to 1996. He thus had complete control over the Ministry of Magic, the main governing body of the British wizarding world. Despite being a respectable figure on a first glance, he proved to be sloppy at best (constantly relying on Dumbledore for the best advice in maintaining Ministry of Magic since he lacked desirable capacity to do so), and a corrupt tyrant no better than his more detestable predecessors at worst, a fact that became prominent through the final days of his career.
In the Harry Potter film adaptations, he was portrayed by the late Robert Hardy.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early career
- 1.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1992 - 1993)
- 1.3 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1993 - 1994)
- 1.4 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (1994 - 1995)
- 1.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (1995 - 1996)
- 1.6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and later life (1996 - ?)
- 2 Trivia
- 3 Navigation
Nothing is known about Fudge's early life, but it can be assumed that like most of the wizards living in Britain, he was educated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His house has never been revealed. In regards to his personal life, Fudge had at least one sibling by whom he had a nephew. Fudge himself was also married but it is unknown if he and his wife had any children.
Fudge began his career at the Ministry at some point before or during the First Wizarding War. By 1981 he was serving as Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. He was one of the first people on the scene at of Sirius Black's supposed murder of Peter Pettigrew. Fudge, like everybody else at the time, believed Sirius to have been the recently deceased James and Lily Potter's secret keeper, who betrayed them because he was secretly in league with Lord Voldemort. In truth, it was Pettigrew that had betrayed them, who framed Sirius for it before making his escape.
In 1990, Fudge succeeded Millicent Bagnold as the Minister for Magic. Thus, he had the responsibility of running the magical community, and meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister when necessary fell to him. Fudge wasn't the first choice for Minister, however. Many people had originally wanted Albus Dumbledore or Barty Crouch Sr. to lead them, following the Dark Lord's demise. Dumbledore politely declined all offers, not trusting himself with power, whilst Crouch fell out of favor following the treatment of his Death Eater son, Barty Crouch Jr.
In his early years, Fudge kept asking Albus Dumbledore for help and advise, which the Hogwarts headmaster was more than happy to provide. Although he eventually gained enough confidence to start governing on his own, Fudge never forgot how popular Dumbledore was. This lead to him gaining a form of insecurity due to not feeling right for the position, and in turn, became more attached with retaining both it and his image.
Many people, like Rubeus Hagrid, viewed Fudge as a well-intentioned minister, but also viewed him as a bit of a bungler. While Fudge was accepting of all blood types of Wizards and witches, he mostly favored Pure Bloods, but he also agreed with Arthur Weasley's Muggle Protection act. However, Fudge did allow for the passage of laws that would oppress half-breeds such as Werewolves, Giants and Centaurs (an act which would come back to haunt him, as it led to both the Giants and the majority of the Werewolves to join Voldemort's side).
At some point during his time as minister, Fudge awarded himself the Order of Merlin: First Class, an extremely gracious and coveted medal meant for outstanding acts of bravery and distinction. This caused some upheaval of controversy within the wizarding community over dispute of how Fudge actually earned it, especially seeing as his career at that point was considered "less than distinguished".
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1992 - 1993)
During Harry Potter's second year at Hogwarts, there were a series of attacks on Muggle-born students at Hogwarts School due to the opening of the Chamber of Secrets. In 1993, Fudge bowed to public pressure and had Rubeus Hagrid taken to Azkaban so it would look like the Ministry was doing something.
Despite Dumbledore's firm belief in Hagrid's innocence, Fudge insisted he had no choice, as Hagrid's record was against him. Fudge, however, appeared to have his doubts about Hagrid's involvement, as he reassured Hagrid that if someone else was found to be responsible for the attacks, then he would be released.
Fudge was present when Lucius Malfoy arrived to issue Dumbledore his letter of suspension. Like Hagrid, Fudge objected to this, but backed down when Dumbledore agreed to step aside for the time being. Ultimately, it turned out that Voldemort was the guilty party, as his horcrux diary possessed Arthur Weasley's daughter Ginny. Upon being presented with this evidence, Fudge was as good as his word and immediately released Hagrid.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1993 - 1994)
In the 1993 to 1994 school year, Fudge had to deal with the escape of the notorious prisoner Sirius Black from Azkaban. Fudge later revealed to Hagrid, Madam Rosmerta, Professors McGonagall and Flitwick that he had visited the prison a few weeks prior to Sirius' escape. He was unnerved by how normal Black appeared despite being in close proximity to the Dementors both day and night.
It later turned out that Fudge had unwittingly provided Sirius with his motivation to escape. During the visit to Azkaban, Sirius had asked if he could have Fudge's newspaper (since he missed doing the crossword), which the unnerved Minister handed over. Inside was an article mentioning Arthur Weasley, who had won a prize draw at the ministry. A photograph of the family was included, which featured Peter Pettigrew disguised as Ron Weasley's pet rat Scabbers. Recognizing his former friend turned enemy and knowing that he was in a perfect position to kidnap Harry, Sirius, who also desired personal revenge, gained motivation to escape.
Unaware of these details, Fudge, who believed Black to be a threat to society, took several measures to protect both the magical and muggle communities. He alerted the Muggle Prime Minister to the danger and believed that Sirius was planning to kill Harry. He forgave Harry's unintentional illegal use of magic against his Uncle Vernon's sister Marge, but he also firmly told him that running away with a killer on the loose was very irresponsible.
Unable to capture Black before the start of the Hogwarts term, Fudge, in a desperate bid to protect the students, had Dementors stationed around Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. This action was disapproved of by both Dumbledore and the Hogsmeade residents, but Fudge viewed it as a necessary precaution. He said as much to Madam Rosmerta when he visited the Three Broomsticks, before telling her the tale of Sirius' supposed betrayal. Unknown to Fudge or any of the other adults, this conversation was overheard by Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and Harry was devastated upon hearing this (in the film Harry, who overheard the conversation alone, instead swore he would kill Black if he saw him).
Fudge was present for the execution of the supposedly dangerous Hippogriff named Buckbeak, who was, in fact, innocent and harmless, and only attacked when provoked by Draco Malfoy despite clear warnings from Hagrid. Buckbeak's death had been enforced by the influence of Draco's father Lucius. Thanks to the intervention of a time-travelling Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, Buckbeak was saved, leaving Fudge confused.
Later that same evening, Sirius Black was captured following a near-fatal Dementor attack near the Hogwarts lake, one that almost saw Harry Potter killed as well. Fudge was delighted at having finally caught Sirius, and immediately sanctioned his execution via the Dementors kiss, whilst promising to award Severus Snape, the supposed hero of the incident an Order of Merlin. He ignored Harry and Hermione's declarations that Sirius was innocent, believing them to be under the influence of a magic spell or traumatized and confused by the events of that night.
Ultimately, the time travelling Harry and Hermione were able to save Sirius from right under Fudge's nose, leaving the Minister both displeased and infuriated, but unaware of their involvement. As he left to bring the Ministry up to speed, Fudge promised to remove the Dementors right away for attacking Harry, and was heard suggesting that they should get dragons to guard the castle instead.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (1994 - 1995)
In the summer of 1994, Fudge, with the help of Ludo Bagman and Barty Crouch Sr., began organizing two major events. Both of these were relayed by Fudge to the Muggle Prime Minister. The first was the Quidditch World Cup final between Bulgaria and Ireland. Fudge attended the match in the top box, alongside the Bulgarian Minister of Magic and the Malfoy family, who were his guests of honor.
There, he met Harry and greeted him warmly. In the movie, Fudge served as an announcer, opening the match. At the end of the game, Fudge and the Bulgarian Minister shook hands with the players from both teams. Although happy that Ireland had won, Fudge, none the less, was left a little humiliated, as the Bulgarian Minister had been pretending he couldn't speak English, forcing Fudge to use sign language.
The second event was the Triwizard tournament. This was an international competition between three schools, Hogwarts, Beaubaxton and Durmstrang, in which three champions were selected to represent their schools, and face a number of dangerous tasks with the intention of winning. As part of this event, Fudge authorized the importation of dangerous creatures, including four dragons and a sphinx for the champions to face.
What Fudge didn't know was that the Dark Lord Voldemort was making plans from behind the scenes. Thanks to the help provided by Peter Pettigrew, and information from the now deceased Ministry worker Bertha Jorkins, Voldemort had learnt about the Triwizard Tournament, and of the survival of his loyal servant Barty Crouch Jr. As such Voldemort came up with a plan that, if successful, would allow him to return to life and instigate another war.
Voldemort and Wormtail freed Crouch Jr. and placed his father under the Imperius Curse. They then captured and imprisoned the famed Auror Alastor Moody, who was due to start teaching at Hogwarts that year and had Crouch Jr. take his place via poly juice potion. The plan was to have Harry Potter enter the tournament as a champion, then fix events so that he would win, then transport him to Voldemort, who would use his blood as part of a dark ritual to restore himself to life before killing the boy.
The plan was almost undone by Barty Crouch Sr. who started to fight off the Imperius curse and ran to Hogwarts, intending to tell Dumbledore everything. Unfortunately, Crouch Jr. managed to kill his father before he could reveal anything. Fudge for his part believed that Crouch had simply gone mad and that Madame Maxime had murdered him (which Dumbledore believed his accusation of Madame Maxime had more to do with her status as a half-giant due to Fudge having a strong dislike towards half-breeds).
With Crouch 'missing' Fudge took his place as a judge for the third task. He had the prize money for the champion on him and was probably going to present it to the grand champion at the end of the tournament. Things took a nasty turn, however, after Harry emerged from the maze, clutching the Triwizard Cup and Cedric Diggory's dead body. The cup had been transformed into a portkey by Crouch Jr., which took both of the Hogwarts students to the Little Hangleton graveyard. There Voldemort had Wormtail callously murder Cedric, who was simply in the way, then fulfilled his plans and restored himself to life. Unfortunately for Voldemort, Harry managed to escape bringing news of the Dark Lord's return back to Dumbledore, Fudge and the wizarding world.
Fudge initially showed great concern for Harry, was horrified at the death of Cedric Diggory, whose father Amos worked at the Ministry, and was forced to deal with an equally horrified crowd. Crouch Jr. was captured by Dumbledore shortly afterwards and interrogated. Dumbledore also had Harry explain everything that had happened to him after he touched the Triwizard cup. After hearing all of it, Dumbledore understood everything that had happened following Bertha Jorkin's disappearance and knew that another Wizarding War was just around the corner. Realizing what needed to be done, Dumbledore sent word to Fudge that the Death Eater responsible for these events had been caught, intending to bring the Minister up to speed.
This proved to be a disastrous decision, as Fudge, fearing for his personal safety, summoned a Dementor to the castle as his escort, despite Barty Crouch Jr. already being restrained. Upon entering the room, the Dementor swooped down on Crouch before McGonagall or Fudge could do anything and administered its terrible kiss, leaving the Death Eater worse than dead and unable to provide testimony. Making his way to the Hospital Wing, Fudge, who was searching for Dumbledore, was met there shortly afterwards by the Hogwarts Headmaster.
It was here that Fudge's true colors were revealed. He refused to accept that Crouch Jr. had been acting under the services of Voldemort, dismissing his testimony as the ravings of a madman. He also didn't view Harry as a viable witness, having read several scathing articles by notorious Rita Skeeter, who in her writings claimed that the attack on Harry in 1981 had left him unhinged. Harry tried to persuade Fudge by listing the names of several Death Eaters present at the rebirth, but since all of these people had been cleared by the Wizengamot, Fudge took offence to this.
As such, Fudge, out of paranoia, refused to believe that Voldemort had returned, because it would mean the end of peace to the wizarding world. Dumbledore, however, refused to back down and instead insisted that the situation was still salvageable if they took the necessary precautions; they needed to remove Azkaban from the control of the Dementors and send peace envoys to the giants. Fudge was horrified at the mere prospect of both of these, stating it would mean the end of his career if he did either one. Dumbledore, in turn, countered that Fudge was blinded by the love of his office, and his own prejudices. He provided a warning that the decision Fudge made here and now, would affect how he was remembered in the future: If Fudge took the necessary measures, he would be hailed as a hero throughout the ages. If he did nothing, then he would be immortalized as a coward who allowed Voldemort the opportunity to try and destroy the world they tried so hard to rebuild.
Even when Snape presented his Dark Mark to Fudge as a sign of Voldemort's return, the Minister wasn't convinced, only further enraged. As such, he and Dumbledore acknowledged that they had reached a parting of the ways and that from this point onwards, both men would act as they saw fit. The two men then parted as adversaries. Before leaving, Fudge was courteous enough to give Harry his award money, but he refused to look at the boy, and ultimately, this was the last kind thing he ever did for Harry.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (1995 - 1996)
The Campaign against Harry and Dumbledore
In the weeks following the disastrous conclusion of the Triwizard tournament, Fudge's paranoia grew out of control. Completely disregarding both Harry and Dumbledore's claims, Fudge convinced himself that Dumbledore was after his job and that Harry was a pathological liar, trying to stir up trouble because he enjoyed being famous. Therefore, Fudge used his influence over the Daily Prophet to launch a smear campaign against both them.
He also kept a strict watch over his employees, making it clear that anyone in league with Dumbledore was no longer welcome at the Ministry. This forced all of the Order of the Phoenix members inside the Ministry, such as Kingsley Shacklebolt, Arthur Weasley and Nymphadora Tonks, to be discreet. Fudge also used his influence to manipulate several laws to his advantage so that he could achieve further control over both the wizarding community and Hogwarts. Things got so bad that at one point, the Order of The Phoenix wondered if Fudge was acting under the Imperius curse. Dumbledore assured them that this wasn't the case, which was by no means comforting.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore was not concerned with Fudge's actions and continued to do his best to alert the Wizarding Community about the dangers posed by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. This cost him several high ranking positions within the wizarding court, with the Ministry threatening further action and the Daily Prophet labelling him a senile old fool. Dumbledore responded to these actions with his usual grace, telling Fudge flat out that he did not care what the Ministry did to him, just as long as they didn't take him off of the chocolate frog cards.
The Court Trial of Harry Potter
In the summer of 1995, Harry was forced to cast the Patronus Charm in order to protect himself and his cousin Dudley Dursley, when a pair of Dementors (sent by Dolores Umbridge) tried to attack him. For this breach of the International Rules of Underage Wizardry, Fudge immediately ordered Harry's expulsion, but the timely intervention of Albus Dumbledore prevented this. Instead, Harry was summoned to the Ministry to face a disciplinary hearing.
When Harry arrived at the Ministry on 12th August 1995, he found himself tried before the entire Wizengamot. Fudge, who was serving as one of the interrogators, had organized this event more like a criminal trial, rather than a minor incident. At the hearing, it became clear that any affection Fudge had once had for Harry had completely disappeared, and that the Minister for Magic wanted Harry expelled from both Hogwarts and the Wizarding Community. Throughout the proceedings, Fudge tried his best to discredit Harry. He barely gave the boy any time to speak in his defense, introduced several biased facts and past offences (offences he himself had once cleared) and dismissed Harry's explanation about the Dementors as a weak excuse. Harry initially tried to be friendly and cooperative, but when Fudge continued to ignore and disregard him, Harry lost his patience with the Minister.
Dumbledore's intervention, the testimony of Harry’s Squib neighbour Arabella Figg and the fair, unbiased actions of Wizengamot member Amelia Bones ultimately saved Harry from any criminal charges. Fudge was one of the few people to demand Harry be punished further alongside Dolores Umbridge, Percy Weasley (in the book only) and a few other people, but was ultimately outvoted. As such, Fudge reluctantly cleared Harry of all charges.
After the trial, the Minister completely ignored both Harry and Arthur Weasley on his way out of the courtroom and was later seen talking to Lucius Malfoy, whom Harry had identified as one of the Death Eaters who attended Voldemort's rebirth. This further irritated Harry, but the Minister paid him no attention. Although Harry managed to escape further repercussions and was allowed to return to Hogwarts, the events of this hearing opened his eyes to Fudge's megalomania and set him firmly against the corrupt Minister from that point onwards.
Intervening at Hogwarts
Harry would not learn about the full effectiveness of Fudge's smear campaign until he returned to Hogwarts. Several of the students, including some that Harry had previously been on friendly terms with, like Seamus Finnigan and Lavender Brown, believed the Ministry's propaganda. These people treated Harry like a dangerous object, refusing to get close to him, flinching and bunching closer together at the mere sight of him. Despite this, some students, such as Neville Longbottom and Ernie MacMillan, declared their support for Harry and Dumbledore, arguing they had been proven right on numerous occasions. A similar rift existed outside the Hogwarts community, with some people like Percy Weasley choosing to side with the Ministry, whilst the rest of his family supported Harry and Dumbledore.
When Dumbledore was unable to find anybody willing to fill the vacancy for Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, Fudge used his newly altered laws to install his undersecretary, Dolores Umbridge to the position. Umbridge, like Fudge, believed that Dumbledore was using the school as a recruitment ground against the Ministry. As such, they forced the students to use a ministry approved program, one based around non-aggression than actual defense. Umbridge was also sent to spy upon Harry and Dumbledore. She frequently punished the former any time Harry spoke out of line, taking away many of the things that made his life at Hogwarts enjoyable. With Fudge's assistance, Umbridge gradually whittled away Dumbledore's authority during her term as High Inquisitor so that Fudge was the one in true control of Hogwarts.
Fudge did none the less suffer a small set back in the Spring of 1996, when a mass breakout happened in Azkaban. Fudge brushed this aside since his priority was ousting Harry and Dumbledore. He claimed it to be the work of Sirius Black partly due to his family connection to one of the escaped convicts, Bellatrix Lestrange. What he didn't know was that the two cousins completely despised each other due to Sirius being disowned from their family, the House of Black for refusing to uphold their prejudiced beliefs. However, many people weren't satisfied with this simple explanation. Coupled with an interview that Harry had given to the Quibbler earlier that year, this caused a number of people (both in and outside of Hogwarts) to wonder if there was in fact some truth to Harry and Dumbledore's claims. Fudge, of course, continued to deny any of this.
Triumph at Hogwarts
Shortly after the mass breakout, Fudge was called to Hogwarts by Dolores Umbridge, who had discovered an illegal defensive organization, led by Harry Potter. Fudge arrived at Hogwarts in a triumphant, jubilant mood, thinking he was finally about to expel the troublemaking Harry Potter at long last. Brought to the headmaster's study, Harry deliberately feigned ignorance and made several rude faces at Fudge, making the Minister even more infuriated.
During this confrontation, Dumbledore once again intervened, making it appear as though he was the leader of this organization, whilst covert Order of the Phoenix member Kingsley Shacklebolt, discreetly modified the snitch's memory to fit these facts.
- In the novel, the traitor was a Ravenclaw called Marietta Edgecombe, the friend of Harry's current love interest Cho Chang. She had reluctantly sold out Dumbledore's Army to keep her mother from losing her job at the ministry. Due to Hermione Granger placing a curse upon the parchment the members signed, Marietta ended up covered in permanent blemishes and Harry and Cho later broke up.
- In the movie, Umbridge had illegally used Veritaserum, a truth telling potion on Cho. Snape reveals this near the end of the film, making Harry and the other DA Members, realize that Cho wasn't in control of her actions.
Now in possession of the "proof" he needed, coupled with a confession, Fudge disregarded Harry and moved to arrest Dumbledore. However, Dumbledore made it clear that he had no intention of being arrested, and when Fudge, Umbridge and his two Aurors continued to advance upon him, Dumbledore quickly incapacitated all of them. Nevertheless, the Headmaster was forced to leave the castle, but only after telling Minerva McGonagall and Harry that Fudge would soon come to regret the day he tried to arrest him. When Fudge came to and found Dumbledore gone, he gloatingly told the Transfiguration teacher that this was the end of her precious Dumbledore, only for Professor McGonagall to mock him in turn for thinking as such.
Even so, with Dumbledore gone, Fudge was now able to appoint Dolores Umbridge as the new Headmistress of Hogwarts, which brought the school entirely under the Ministry's control. Under Umbridge's rule, Hogwarts descended into nothing short of a dictatorship. In response to this, many of the students, with the exception of some Slytherins, turned against Umbridge and the Ministry completely, making sure that Umbridge paid dearly for ousting the former Headmaster. It's not known what Fudge thought of this rebellion, but with Dumbledore gone, Fudge's chief concern would have been expelling Harry.
Learning the Truth/The Beginning of the End
|“||Cornelius, I am ready to fight your men - and win, again! But a few minutes ago you saw proof, with your own eyes, that I have been telling you the truth for a year. Lord Voldemort has returned, you have been chasing the wrong men for twelve months, and it is time you listened to sense!||„|
|~ Albus Dumbledore to Fudge, after the Minister for Magic sees the Dark Lord standing in the Ministry atrium|
From the moment the Triwizard Tournament had ended, Fudge had unknowingly become an ally to the Death Eaters, giving Voldermort an entire year to rebuild his forces uninterrupted. Because Fudge had ignored and neglected Dumbledore's previous warnings, Voldemort was able to convince the Dementors, Giants and other factions mistreated by the Ministry to join him. The Dementors' defection also allowed the Dark Lord to free his most loyal followers, including Bellatrix Lestrange. This meant that within a year of his return, Voldemort had a sizeable and still growing army at his disposal. By June 1996, Voldermort was ready to begin his conquest.
Ultimately, Fudge's triumph at ousting Dumbledore would ultimately be very short-lived as karma would finally catch up with him on 18th June 1996. At the conclusion of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the Minister and several other Ministry officials were alerted to a commotion taking place at the Ministry itself. Upon entering the atrium, the group saw none other than the Dark Lord Voldemort standing in front of them with their own eyes. Before anybody could stop him, Voldemort managed to grab onto Bellatrix and escape, but the harm had already been done.
At long last, the completely shocked and horrified Fudge finally realized that Harry and Dumbledore had been telling the truth all along. Even so, when Dumbledore made his presence known, Fudge was still partially inclined to arrest him. Only after Dumbledore reminded him about what had just transpired (see the above quote), did Fudge finally relent and back down.
Issuing a series of instructions to his staff, Fudge then asked Dumbledore to explain what had happened. Dumbledore assured him that he would do so, but only once Harry was safely back at Hogwarts. Although taken aback to learn of Harry's presence, Fudge still objected when Dumbledore created an unauthorized portkey in order to transport Harry to safety. However, the older wizard silenced the Minister with a look. He then gave Fudge a series of instructions, which demonstrated who was in real control of the situation, whilst also foreshadowing Fudge's loss of power.
Dumbledore made it very clear that he intended to return to Hogwarts as its headmaster. He told Fudge that he wanted Dolores Umbridge removed from her position and that the Ministry was to call off its witch hunt for Hagrid (whom Umbridge had driven out of Hogwarts two days earlier). The reinstated Headmaster then made it clear that the meeting between himself and Fudge, as well as any future correspondence would take place on his terms, not Fudge's. Ultimately, Fudge could do nothing more than gawk.
Whilst this was happening, Fudge's Aurors rounded up the remaining Death Eaters that Voldemort had sent to retrieve the prophecy, whom Dumbledore had managed to capture before his battle with the Dark Lord. Amongst their number where Lucius Malfoy, Waldon MacNair, Mr. Crabbe and Mr. Nott. Although the group were subsequently thrown into Azkaban, their arrest was a further blow to Fudge. Not only were Macnair and Malfoy close associates of his, Fudge had personally defended these men the previous year when Harry claimed that they were among the Death Eaters that returned to Voldemort's side following his resurrection.
A few days after the battle, Fudge released a press statement, which confirmed Voldemort's return and that the Second Wizarding War had begun. The same article also revealed that Dumbledore had been reinstated to all of his previously revoked positions, whilst treating Harry as a hero. The declaration was met with extreme shock and outrage, since Fudge had repeatedly assured the public that everything was fine. Although Fudge assured the wizarding community that both he and the Ministry were now taking the necessary measures to combat this new threat, it was already too late, Voldemort and his forces already had a massive head start.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and later life (1996 - ?)
A couple of weeks after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, in July 1996, Fudge met with the Muggle Prime Minister to bring him up to speed. Like everybody else, the Prime Minister was shocked to hear about Voldemort's return, whilst also noting several changes in Fudge's demeanor and appearance. When the Prime Minister insisted that Fudge had to take action in order to protect the muggles as well as the wizards, Fudge stated that he was no longer in a position to do so, because, he was no longer the Minister for Magic.
What exactly happened between the events of the 18th June and this meeting remain unknown. However it's clear that Fudge had experience a massive fall in his popularity. Although both he and the Ministry had never acknowledged its cover up about Voldemort's return, or its mistreatment of both Harry and Dumbledore, it's heavily implied that the public had put two and two together. Added to this, many of the Death Eaters arrested at the Ministry, were men that Fudge had both worked with and vouched for. The Dementors, who Fudge had insisted were on the Ministry's side, had revolted and turned to Voldemort. To top it all off, Fudge's incompetence and actions had prevented everybody from taking several steps necessary to combat their enemies.
This led to a massive distrust of the Ministry and every witch and wizard in Britain (no matter what their affiliation) to unanimously turn against Fudge, demanding his resignation. Cornelius Fudge had ultimately left office on July 2, 1996 in complete disgrace. He was replaced as Minister for Magic by Rufus Scrimgeour, but stayed in an advisory capacity and communicated news of the Second Wizarding War to the Muggle Prime Minister if Scrimgeour was unable to.
Towards the end of his meeting with the Prime Minister, Fudge dropped a hint that his dismissal might not have happened if Dumbledore had let him speak to "the boy". This declaration left the Prime Minister confused. The meaning behind this statement was revealed later in the novel.
Dumbledore later recounted that during his final days in office, Fudge had done everything he could to try and stay in power. In an act of desperation, he asked Dumbledore to arrange a meeting between himself and Harry. Fudge had hoped that he could persuade the boy to lie on his behalf, saying that under his leadership, the Ministry was winning the war. Unfortunately, however, Dumbledore refused to even consider it. The headmaster knew straight away that Harry would never agree to it, firstly because of everything Fudge had put him through over the last year. Secondly, Fudge would be trying to get Harry to lie, the very thing he had previously "punished" him. Lastly and most importantly, Dumbledore no longer saw any point in helping the man who had ignored and neglected his advice, which could have prevented all of this in the first place. Even so, Fudge passed the idea of making Harry the Ministry's poster boy along to his successor.
Cornelius Fudge made his last known appearance at Dumbledore's funeral in the summer of 1997. He had a miserable expression on his face and was twirling his signature lime green bowler hat. Fudge seems to have disappeared out of Harry's life after this, with Harry neither seeing nor hearing from him again.
Fudge's inaction between 1995 - 1996 ultimately came back to haunt the wizarding community. In the summer of 1997, Voldemort managed to seize control of the Ministry and effectively take full control of Britain. This only ended in May 1998, when Harry Potter finally defeated the Dark Lord during the climactic Battle of Hogwarts, thus liberating the wizarding community at long last.
The ultimate fate of the former minister is completely unknown, but whatever was the case, Cornelius Fudge's most prized possessions, his reputation and image, had been completely tarnished. Having endangered the entire world, Fudge was most likely remembered as Britain's weakest and most hated Minister for Magic. As Dumbledore had previously warned him, he was immortalized as the man who had stepped aside and almost let Voldemort destroy what the Wizarding community had tried so hard to rebuild.
- Cornelius Fudge's behavior at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and throughout Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is based upon the actions of former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, prior to World War II and during its first eight months. Both men went to extreme lengths to prevent an all out war, which ended in them being pressured into resigning. They also served as temporary advisers to their successors. Despite this there are a number of major differences between them:
- Chamberlain was a pacifist whilst Fudge was a coward.
- By all accounts, Chamberlain was a proper politician, who used his power to try and benefit Britain. In contrast, Fudge was corrupt and deliberately abused his power in his final year in office.
- Although it later came back to haunt him, Chamberlain did genuinely try to negotiate peace with Hitler. Fudge, meanwhile acted as if Voldemort was still dead, denying the possibility that war was just around the corner.
- Despite his reassurances of peace, Chamberlain did use the time provided to secretly start re-arming, whilst Fudge deliberately tried to deny the citizens and students vital skill sets needed to combat their enemies.
- When it became clear that his peace attempts had failed, Chamberlain took full responsibility for his actions. Fudge meanwhile refused to acknowledge that he been in the wrong and continued to try and manipulate both Harry and Dumbledore.
- Although history would later condemn him, Chamberlain resigned with integrity and his reputation intact. Pledging his full support to his successor, Winston Churchill, Chamberlain who died in 1940, continued to do what he could to help the allies win the war. In comparison, Fudge desperately tried to stay in power, going so far as to ask Dumbledore to arrange a meeting with Harry, in order to try and convince the boy to lie that the Ministry was winning the war. Dumbledore refused to do so and Fudge ultimately resigned in disgrace. Following Voldemort's take over of the Ministry, he simply disappeared and his contributions, if he made any remain unknown.
- Fudge is the only villain in the series who started off good and the only one whose corruption is depicted in real-time. Draco Malfoy, who starts off as a petty bully, eventually turns outright evil as well, although he was already technically a villain from the beginning.
- While the scenes of Fudge refusing to believe the truth was cut from the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it's still mentioned that Fudge wished to cover up the truth during Dumbledore's memorial speech for Cedric Diggory, during which Dumbledore mentions that the Ministry doesn't want to acknowledge that Voldemort had returned.
- In the novels, Fudge's resignation wasn't revealed until the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In the films, Fudge's intentions were revealed in the final scenes of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from a Daily Prophet headline. Also unlike the book, where Fudge was forced to resign, in the movie he apparently resigned willingly.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Fudge states that he was 'sacked' rather than resigned of his own accord. This could be an oversight on Rowling's part or an indication that Fudge was ordered to leave his office on a set date by a more powerful wizarding authority, such as the Wizengamot. Then again, this could also be how Fudge viewed his dismissal in the eyes of the people.
- Fudge is often considered to be one of the worst characters in the Harry Potter saga. Firstly, he endangered the entire world by denying Voldemort's return. Secondly, he deliberately hindered both Harry and Dumbledore's efforts to warn people by starting a smear campaign against them. Finally, he sent Dolores Umbridge to Hogwarts so that she could act as his spy and further prevent anyone from spreading word of the Dark Lords return. In the end, it seemed that Fudge cared more about his reputation and position than the lives of the community that he was assigned to protect.
- It's also likely that he promoted Percy Weasley to be his Junior Assistant only to keep tabs on the Weasley family, and by extension Harry and Dumbledore. This failed and ultimately caused a rift between Percy and his family, which would not be resolved until 1998.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, a banner of Fudge is shown in the Ministry Atrium, and it depicts the Minister in the style of 1930s posters from the former Soviet Union. During Dumbledore and Voldemort's duel, the broken shards of glass tear the Banner apart, foreshadowing Fudge's time as minister ending in disgrace.
- Fudge's actions are also similar to American business and media mogul-turned president Donald Trump during the COVID-19 Pandemic, as both men were in denial about the respective threats, refused to accept the truth, lied about them, spiraled into corruption and were responsible for many deaths. However, Trump lost his re-election for a second term, and didn't concede to President-Elect Joe Biden for two months, due to the storming of the Capitol Building, while Fudge's resignation took two weeks.
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