- "Apparently the man whom Harry was impersonating, Runcorn, was intimidating. "
- —Runcorn's physical and outwappearance[src]
Albert Runcorn was a pure-blood wizard and high ranking Ministry of Magic official during the administration of Pius Thicknesse. His chief function was an investigator of alleged Muggle-borns. In this capacity, he uncovered the falsified family tree — and thus the Muggle ancestry of Dirk Cresswell. After Voldemort's rule of the Ministry fell and Dolores Umbridge was imprisoned, Runcorn may also have been sent to Azkaban for his crimes against Muggle-borns, though his fate is currently unknown.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality and traits
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Etymology
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Appearances
- 8 Notes and references
It is unknown where Runcorn was born, but it is expected that he joined the Ministry of Magic and eventually attained a position of power.
Death Eater control of the Ministry
After Rufus Scrimgeour was murdered by Voldemort on 1 August, 1997, the Ministry of Magic fell and become controlled by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. During Pius Thicknesse's administration of the Ministry of Magic, Runcorn informed on Muggle-borns to the Ministry of Magic, subsequently leading to their arrest and imprisonment. It is uncertain whether he was actively in Voldemort's camp, or was simply making use of the upheaval to advance his own aims within the Ministry as Dolores Umbridge was doing. He did not necessarily have to be a Death Eater in order to pose as one, nor to do their bidding.
Harry Potter's infiltration of the Ministry
In 1997, Harry Potter impersonated Runcorn (who he learned was apparently quite senior in the Ministry) when he, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley infiltrated the Ministry in order to recover Salazar Slytherin's Locket, one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. The Polyjuice Potion used to achieve this impersonation was made with Runcorn's hair. Harry became a fake Runcorn and used the disguise to gain access to the Ministry.
Once in the ministry, a wizard who bumped into him in the Atrium apologised and rushed away, and the Minister for Magic, Pius Thicknesse, addressed him familiarly as "Albert." At one point, Harry, as Runcorn, was sharing an elevator with an unnamed wizard who apparently was applauding Runcorn's revelation of the Muggle ancestry of Dirk Cresswell, and trying to grease his way into the position that Dirk had been ousted from. Later, in another elevator, Arthur Weasley told "Runcorn" that this revelation of Cresswell's background was the sort of thing that would get him (Runcorn) into trouble.
Harry, disguised as Runcorn, with the assistance of Hermione Granger (disguised as Mafalda Hopkirk) and Ron Weasley (disguised as Reginald Cattermole), helped the Muggle-born witch Mary Cattermole escape her trial before the Muggle-Born Registration Commission headed by Dolores Umbridge, as well as obtaining the locket and helping Mary and the real Reginald Cattermole escape with their children.
It is possible that he took part in the Battle of Hogwarts, though it is unconfirmed.
Runcorn was described as more than six feet tall, and powerfully built, with a black beard and a gravelly voice. It was said that he was very intimidating to the likes of Reginald Cattermole.
Personality and traits
Runcorn was very high in the Ministry and had apparently done things that were underhanded in order to achieve his rank. There were wizards who were frightened of him, wizards who were toadying up to him to try and catch a ride on his coattails, wizards secure in their ancestry who were coldly furious at his tactics, and the upper echelons who treated him, apparently, as a near equal.
Runcorn and Arthur Weasley worked at the Ministry of Magic together, and did not get along very well. This was due to the fact that Mr Weasley did not approve of Runcorn's persecution of Muggle-borns.
Dolores Umbridge and Runcorn were colleagues, working in close proximity with each other during the Second Wizarding War. Although Umbridge was Runcorn's superior, they got along quite well as they had similar opinions concerning Muggle-born witches and wizards. Despite this Harry doubted (while disguised as Runcorn) that he would be able to get away with interrupting a trial, suggesting that his power was somewhat limited.
Corban Yaxley, a Death Eater, seemed to like or at least respect Runcorn for his role is persecuting muggle-borns in the Death Eater ruled Ministry. This is especially notable as Yaxley was quite rude or cruel to most other employees, and even fellow Death Eaters on occasion.
- Albert is derived from the Germanic words adal, meaning "noble", and beraht, meaning "bright".
- Runcorn is a town and cargo port within the borough of Halton in Cheshire, England.
Behind the scenes
- The real Runcorn only appears twice in the film adaptation, once when Pius Thicknesse gives a speech in the Atrium, and again before Harry transforms into him using the Polyjuice Potion. He has no speaking lines in the film.
- Albert Runcorn is portrayed by Scottish actor David O'Hara in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
- Runcorn sports a very light stubble in the film, but in the book, he has a full beard.
- Albert's hair is described as being somewhat curly in the book, but in the film his hair is straight. It may have been in the films that the hair was so short it was unable to curl, as Runcorn was seen with a military-style "buzz cut".
- The book says that Albert is more than 6 feet tall, yet he doesn't appear to be quite that tall in the Deathly Hallows Part 1 film. Also Albert is clearly shorter than Reg Cattermole who is much shorter than him in the book.
- The outfit which Runcorn wears in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is in line with the totalitarian imagery of the film. The leather trench coat when combined with Runcorn's duties and demeanour give him the appearance of a Cheka or Gestapo operative.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references
- Yaxley nodded approvingly to Harry, in disguise as Runcorn. Yaxley himself claims that "the brats of Mudbloods [did] not stir [his] sympathies", making it unlikely that he would acknowledge Runcorn approvingly if he was a Half-blood as he disapproved of Half-bloods. However, like Umbridge, he may have lied about his ancestry.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
- Albert Runcorn cast for Deathly Hallows