- Bob Ogden: "Mr Gaunt, as I've said: the reason for my visit–"
- Marvolo Gaunt: "I heard you the first time! And so what? Morfin gave a Muggle a bit of what was coming to him – what about it, then?"
- Bob Ogden: "Morfin has broken wizarding law."
- Marvolo Gaunt: "'Morfin has broken wizarding law'. He taught a filthy Muggle a lesson, that's illegal now, is it?"
- Bob Ogden: "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
- — Bob Ogden talking with Marvolo Gaunt at the Gaunt Shack in the 1920s[src]
Bob Ogden (fl. 1925) was a British wizard who worked in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, a department of the Ministry of Magic, and led the Magical Law Enforcement Squad in the 1920s. As part of his duties, he once visited the Gaunt Shack, as the Department believed that Morfin Gaunt had not only performed magic in front of a Muggle but also accosted that Muggle, Tom Riddle Snr, and performed a dark charm on him. After encountering little cooperation from the inhabitants of the Gaunt Shack, Ogden Apparated to the Ministry then returned with reinforcements, with whom he overpowered the Gaunts and subsequently turned them over to the Wizengamot to await judgement. His life after this incident is unknown, but he died sometime before 7 September 1996 of natural causes.
Ogden was born either under a pure wizarding family or under a half-Muggle, half-wizarding family. He also seemed to have trouble disguising as a Muggle like most wizards, thereby ruling out the possibility that he was a Muggle-born. He presumably attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and after Hogwarts was employed by the Ministry of Magic.
Visit to the Gaunt shack
Around the 1920s, Ogden, "disguised" in a strange assortment of Muggle clothes (due to his inexperience with trying to look like Muggles) which included a frock-coat and spats over a striped men's one-piece suit, went to the Gaunt Shack, to interview one of its occupants. The Department had reason to believe that not only did Morfin Gaunt perform magic in front of a Muggle the previous night, but he accosted that same Muggle and performed a dark charm on him (Tom Riddle Snr) and caused him to erupt in highly painful hives.
Upon arrival, Ogden was shocked when he found himself held at knife and wand-point by Morfin and was unable to understand his use of Parseltongue, in which Morfin commanded Ogden to scram. Morfin then fired a dark charm at him, that caused pus to erupt from his nose. Ogden, stunned by this, was thrust backwards and collided with two Muggles, one being the same Muggle who had been the victim of the crime in question and the other his lady friend. After regaining his senses, Ogden apologised to the Muggles and continued his mission to serve a warrant to Morfin. Morfin's father, Marvolo Gaunt, who instead used English, called Morfin off and confronted Ogden. Ogden was polite and courteous and was reluctantly allowed to enter to discuss Morfin's serious breach of wizarding law which occurred in the early hours of that morning.
Upon entry into the dilapidated and filthy shack, Ogden politely greeted the third and final occupant, Merope Gaunt, and then engaged in conversation with Marvolo, informing him of Morfin's crimes. Ogden had said that the Ministry sent an Owl earlier in the day, but Marvolo snidely remarked he had no use for Owls, as in his view, reading was for wimps, to which Ogden replied that the Gaunt men had no excuse for ignoring a police order. Ogden witnessed the deplorable treatment of Merope by her family and Marvolo's stubbornness and belief in pure-blood superiority, ignoring Ogden's claim that Morfin had broken wizarding law and proclaiming Muggles "had it coming to them." Ogden then pulled out a small scroll of parchment, which he revealed was a summons to a Ministry hearing, though this made matters far worse, as Marvolo went into a tirade about how their "superior" family should not be summoned by anyone. Ogden justified that it was his right as Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad that allowed him to summon suspects of magical crime and largely ignored Marvolo's ranting. Afterward, Ogden said that Morfin made an unjustified attack on the defenceless Muggle, which warranted investigation and punishment.
Seeing that their discussion was getting them nowhere, Ogden rose to leave, informing Marvolo of the time and date of the hearing and Morfin's expectancy to attend it, when suddenly the three people began using Parseltongue again, leaving Ogden bewildered and irritated by the sudden outbreak of incomprehensible language usage. Marvolo suddenly lunged to choke Merope, and Ogden, concerned for her safety, promptly performed a Revulsion Jinx, making Marvolo fall away, but causing Morfin to begin firing hexes indiscriminately at him. Ogden fled for his life. As he left, Ogden was hit by the Muggle victim, Tom Riddle Snr's horse carriage, and, after a brief moment of disorientation, Ogden set off again, Apparating back to the Ministry and returned with reinforcements within fifteen minutes. Ogden and his men overpowered the Gaunts when they attempted to fight, removed them from the cottage, and turned them over to the Wizengamot, where they passed judgement.
- Harry Potter: "Who was Bob Ogden?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "He was employed by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. He died some time ago but not before I tracked him down and persuaded him to confide these recollections to me. We are about to accompany him on a visit he made in the course of his duties."
- — Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore before entering Ogden's memory[src]
Ogden died some time before 7 September, 1996, of natural causes, but not before Albus Dumbledore, during his investigations into Lord Voldemort's mysterious past, tracked him down and persuaded Ogden to confide his recollections of his encounter with the Gaunt family to him. These memories were placed in his Pensieve and later shown to Harry Potter. Ogden remained unaware that his actions set the stage for the creation and rise of Voldemort himself. Although Bob Ogden had helped set the events into motion, he did so in the performance of his police duties, and would have never done so had Morfin Gaunt kept the wizard law. Ultimately, had it not been for Morfin's attack on Tom Riddle, there would have been no Voldemort.
Bob Ogden was described as being a "short, plump man wearing enormously thick glasses that reduced his eyes to molelike specks". Like most wizards, he was inexperienced when trying to look like a Muggle; his choice of clothing was a frock coat and spats over a striped one-piece bathing costume. Despite his appearance, Ogden was an extremely competent wizard and a straight-to-the-point man, who tolerated a great deal from others, and felt no need to justify his Blood status to anyone, prompting Harry Potter to reflect that his respect for the man when he saw him in a memory was greatly improved by his dismissal of blood status as being important to any kind of discussion.
Personality and traits
- Bob Ogden: "I'm head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad."
- Marvolo Gaunt: "And you think we're scum, do you? Scum who'll come running when the Ministry tells 'em to? Do you know who you're talking to, you filthy little Mudblood, do you?"
- Bob Ogden: "I was under the impression that I was speaking to Mr Gaunt."
- — Bob Ogden standing his ground against Marvolo Gaunt, who calls him a "Mudblood" despite not knowing Ogden's blood status[src]
A diligent officer of the law, Bob Ogden took his duties seriously and maintained a professional and courteous demeanour despite Marvolo's hostility toward him and the Ministry. He was utterly unintimidated by Marvolo Gaunt's aggressive behaviour, and notably also appalled by the way Gaunt treated his daughter Merope, and displayed both bravery in compassion when he defended her from her father's assault, who tried to strangle her to death when he learned that she was in love with a Muggle.
He also earned the posthumous respect of Harry Potter, as he was a dedicated policeman who confronted two dangerous men unflappably, and did not seem to think blood purity was relevant to the topic of enforcing wizarding law.
Magical abilities and skills
- Magical aptitude: Ogden successfully used the Revulsion Jinx to prevent Marvolo from attacking his daughter. He also quickly repaired a pot with the Mending Charm that was accidentally smashed by Merope, as well as using a Counter-curse when Morfin used a dark charm on him.
- Apparition: Bob Ogden used Apparition successfully to get back to the Ministry of Magic and returned with reinforcements to help him subdue Marvolo and Morfin Gaunt.
Behind the scenes
- Bob Ogden and his memory scene with the Gaunts were completely omitted from the the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
- It is possible that Ogden is related to former-Wizengamot member Tiberius Ogden, though it remains unconfirmed.
- It is also quite possible he was the inventor - or a relative thereof - of "Ogden's Old Firewhiskey", though this is merely speculation.
- Ironically enough, his actions were what set in motion what would lead to the very existence of Lord Voldemort himself – if Ogden had not returned with reinforcements, Merope would have never been freed and had the opportunity to seduce Tom Riddle Snr; had none of this happened, Lord Voldemort would have never been conceived. However, Ogden was a law enforcement agent who reacted to a violation of wizard law committed by Morfin Gaunt, and as such Morfin was the mastermind behind the chain reaction.
- Marvolo Gaunt referred to Ogden as a 'Mudblood', an insult usually reserved for a wizard or witch of entirely Muggle birth. His complete unfamiliarity with proper Muggle dress, however, suggests that he was at the very least half-blood. Gaunt may simply be using the term as a general insult, due to his prejudices. J. K. Rowling later confirmed that the term can also be used for half-bloods.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Ogden is able to stop Marvolo Gaunt by using magic. As he wasn't arrested for this and was working for the Ministry in 1925, he had to be born in 1908 at the latest to be 17 and graduated from Hogwarts. This, coupled with the fact that he is the Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad, implies that he has been at the Ministry for several years at least to have worked his way up to be the head.
- The exact date is uncertain, but it is known know that the first lesson is the Saturday immediately following the first day of classes Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 09 (The Half-Blood Prince), so it is most likely September 7, as said on this page: https://legacy.hp-lexicon.org/timelines/calendars/calendar_hbp.html
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt) Odgen is shown wearing "the strange assortment of clothes so often chosen by inexperienced wizards trying to look like Muggles," which indicates that he was not Muggle-born, as a Muggle-born would have at least some experience with putting together a Muggle outfit...
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)