- "They were standing at one end of a very long and splendid hall with a highly polished, dark wood floor. The peacock-blue ceiling was inlaid with gleaming golden symbols that were continually moving and changing like some enormous heavenly notice board. The walls on each side were panelled in shiny dark wood and had many gilded fireplaces set into them. Every few seconds a witch or wizard would emerge from one of the left-hand fireplaces with a soft whoosh; on the right-hand side, short queues of wizards were forming before each fireplace, waiting to depart."
- — Harry Potter entering the Ministry for the first time[src]
The headquarters of the British Ministry of Magic were located deep underground, below Whitehall, in London. They were comprised of a very large, ten-story building housing several offices, departments and courtrooms. Although all the structure was underground, magical windows showed whatever weather the Magical Maintenance Department chose for the day, from bright sunshine to hurricanes. Lifts provided access to every level, except Level Ten, the Wizengamot Courtrooms, which was only accessible via a set of stairs from Level Nine, the Department of Mysteries.
The Ministry of Magic Health and Safety Regulations (345-01 & 346-01) existed to protect those on the premises.
- 1 History
- 2 Description
- 3 Departments
- 3.1 Level 1 - Minister for Magic and Support Staff
- 3.2 Level 2 - Department of Magical Law Enforcement
- 3.3 Level 3 - Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
- 3.4 Level 4 - Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
- 3.5 Level 5 - Department of International Magical Cooperation
- 3.6 Level 6 - Department of Magical Transportation
- 3.7 Level 7 - Department of Magical Games and Sports
- 3.8 Level 8 - The Atrium
- 3.9 Level 9 - Department of Mysteries
- 3.10 Level 10 - Courtrooms
- 4 Behind the scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Notes and references
It is unknown when the underground building was built. If it was built when the Ministry of Magic was founded, then it dated back to the early eighteenth century, although it is unknown whether it was already used as headquarters of the Wizards' Council. If the latter is the case, it was presumably much older.
Under Cornelius Fudge
Cornelius Fudge became Minister for Magic in 1990. After the Return of the Dark Lord on 24 June, 1995, the Ministry campaigned to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, as Fudge, his mind "twisted and warped by fear", refused to believe it. To further express Fudge's control of the Ministry, a large banner of him was erected in the Atrium. On 12 August, Harry Potter was summoned to a disciplinary hearing at the Ministry, pertaining to what the Ministry termed "offences committed under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and the International Statute of Secrecy".
Between late 1995 and mid-1996, Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters tried to retrieve a prophecy record pertaining to Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort from the Hall of Prophecy on Level Nine. In order to do that, they placed both Broderick Bode and Sturgis Podmore under the Imperius Curse to no avail, as only Harry could take it from its shelf. Shortly after midnight on 18 June, 1996, the Death Eaters managed to lure Harry Potter and Dumbledore's Army into the deserted Ministry. The Order of the Phoenix went to rescue them, and a battle ensued. After the battle, the Ministry was forced to believe the return of the Dark Lord and Fudge resigned in disgrace.
Under Rufus Scrimgeour
In response to the war situation the country was facing, Rufus Scrimgeour, appointed Fudge's successor in the summer of 1996, was responsible for the creation of several new bureaucracies, such as Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects. In the summer of the next year, shortly after Albus Dumbledore's death, the Atrium at the Ministry was the setting of a speech by Scrimgeour about the "dark times" the wizarding world was living, and about how the Ministry remained "strong" and active in the fight against the dark forces.
Under Pius Thicknesse
In the meantime, the Death Eaters were managing to infiltrate the Ministry by magically controlling some of the its higher-ranking officials. As a consequence, later in the summer, on the evening of 1 August, the Ministry was the stage of a silent coup during which Scrimgeour was killed while refusing to give the Death Eaters any information on Harry Potter.
After the Death Eater coup, the Ministry of Magic became headed by Pius Thicknesse, who was under Death Eater control by means of the Imperius Curse. Sometime between the coup and 2 September of the same year, the Atrium became host to the Magic is Might statue, a black stone statue illustrative of the new regime, which depicted a wizard and witch sitting atop thrones made from the contorted bodies of Muggles, each with a stupid expression. Much more security was added to the building., which included employees being forced to go to work via a toilet network, accessible inside a set of underground public toilets in Whitehall.
Under Kingsley Shacklebolt
In 1998, after the destruction of Lord Voldemort and the end of the Second Wizarding War, Kingsley Shacklebolt became Minister for Magic and led a massive reform of the Ministry. This included the efforts of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in the Auror Office, and Hermione Granger advancing the rights of non-humans, and eradicating pro-pure-blood laws in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and later the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Part of the discussion of the Ministry premises revolved around the problem of keeping such a large organisation hidden from the Muggles, it being simpler to hide than to explain the presence of a multi-storey building, apparently Government-owned, but with no apparent purpose. To solve this issue, the Ministry was located entirely underground, and thus one of the issues facing the Ministry maintenance wizards was the underground environment. In Harry's first visit to the Ministry, he learned that the windows spotted around the Ministry did not reflect the outside world, but were fabrications of the maintenance workers, and that a contract dispute had resulted in the windows showing grim, rainy weather for a solid month no matter what the outside weather was doing. The maintenance workers had full control of the office environment; in 1997, it apparently became fairly common for rainstorms to occur in the offices of those who the maintenance workers didn't approve of.
More than twenty service lifts stopped at all floors, Levels One through Nine. Stairways provided access to all ten levels in the Ministry, and had to be used to access Level Ten. As the entire Ministry was underground, the higher the floor number, the further underground the level was.
Entrances to the Headquarters
The visitor's entrance of the Ministry of Magic was an abandoned red telephone box; one entered the Ministry by dialling "62442" ("magic"). Following the prompts of the operator, passes would be issued and the telephone box would descend through the ground into the Atrium (Level Eight).
The official entrance to the Ministry was located in underground toilets in Whitehall. Two stairways were labelled GENTLEMEN or LADIES. They led into an underground public bathroom. A golden Ministry of Magic coin was used to open the stall doors. The act of flushing oneself down the Ministry toilet caused the person to emerge from a fireplace on the left side of the Atrium, which faced the Fountain of Magical Brethren (later the Magic is Might statue). To depart the Ministry, one had to stand in one of the fireplaces on the right side of the Atrium, causing them to come out of another toilet in the underground bathroom. At this point one could Apparate to a separate location. After Voldemort took over the Ministry, employees and officials were forced to enter the Ministry by flushing themselves.
Level 1 - Minister for Magic and Support Staff
This Level contained the offices of the highest-ranking Ministry officials. This Level's floor was covered in thick purple carpets and all the offices within contained a gleaming mahogany door, each bearing a small plaque with the owner's name and occupation upon it. It contained the offices of the Minister for Magic and other administrative personnel such as:
- The office of the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic
- The office of the Junior Assistant to the Minister for Magic
- During Lord Voldemort's puppet regime in 1997-1998, this Level also housed the office of the Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission.
Level 2 - Department of Magical Law Enforcement
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was the largest department at the Ministry of Magic. Arguably the most important of the various departments, it housed a combination of police and justice facilities. Around the corner from the access lift and past a set of heavy oak doors lay the Auror Office: a large open area divided into small cubicles, one for each Auror.
After another set of double doors and another passage, one would find themself in a dimly lit and distinctly shabby corridor, at the end of which lay a broom cupboard to the left, and, opposite it, the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, in a room of almost the same size as the cupboard; two desks and overflowing filing cabinets crammed inside. This level also included:
- Improper Use of Magic Office
- Wizengamot Administration Services
- Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects (created in 1996).
Level 3 - Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
Level Three housed the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes whose employees held the responsibility for repairing accidental magical damage. The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes included the following offices:
Level 4 - Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures was the second largest Department in the Ministry. The Department incorporated the following offices:
Level 5 - Department of International Magical Cooperation
The Department of International Magical Cooperation was an agency concerned in foreign affairs, which attempted to get wizards from different countries to cooperate in wizarding actions both political and public. It incorporated the following offices:
- International Magical Trading Standards Body
- International Magical Office of Law
- International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats
Level 6 - Department of Magical Transportation
The Department of Magical Transportation was responsible for various aspects of magical transport. It included the:
Level 7 - Department of Magical Games and Sports
Level Seven housed the Department of Magical Games and Sports, which was responsible for organising sports events, such as the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, as well as enforcing game-related laws and regulations. The Department had a very relaxed ambiance, the corridor off the access lift being somewhat "untidy-looking" in comparison to the other Ministerial Departments: various posters of Quidditch teams were tacked lopsidedly on the walls. Magical Games and Sports incorporated the:
Level 8 - The Atrium
On Level Eight lay the Atrium, an area that served as a lobby and reception room to the visitors and employees. The Atrium was a very long hall with a highly polished dark wood floor. The ceiling was peacock blue and was filled with golden symbols that kept moving like a notice board. The walls on each side were covered in gilded fireplaces; the left-hand side ones served for arrivals and the right-hand side ones for departures. Halfway down the Atrium lay the Fountain of Magical Brethren ( In 1997-1998, during Lord Voldemort's puppet regime, the Magic is Might statue replaced the fountain.) On the far end of the hall was the Security Desk, the Ministry Munchies café and a set of double golden gates leading to the at least twenty access lifts. In a room off the Atrium was the Security Office, a room containing spare keys to the offices and lift information.
Level 9 - Department of Mysteries
The Department of Mysteries was a section of the Ministry of Magic that carried out confidential research. Most of its operations were carried out in total secrecy. Few wizards within the Ministry actually knew what was located within this department. The wizards who worked in the Department of Mysteries were known as Unspeakables because of the confidential nature of their work.
This Level bore a striking difference to those above: the black-tiled walls were bare with no windows and no doors apart from a plain black one at the end of the corridor that led into the Department proper. Light was provided only by torches. A small flight of steps to the left led to Level Ten. Upon entering the Department, one would find themself in a circular room of dark marble floor, lit by candles emitting a cool blue light. The room held several doors leading to at least the following offices:
- Death Chamber
- Brain Room
- Time Room, which itself lead to the Hall of Prophecy
- Space Chamber
- Love Chamber
Level 10 - Courtrooms
Level Ten hosted about half a score of courtrooms, which were used by the Wizengamot and the Council of Magical Law in full-scale criminal trials (such as the Death Eater trials in 1981). In 1997, the Muggle-Born Registration Commission also used these courtrooms during their questioning of Muggle-born wizards.
Level Ten was accessible via a flight of steps leading down from Level Nine. The corridors here had rough stone walls and torches in brackets. The doors leading to the courtrooms proper were heavy and made of wood, with large iron bolts and keyholes.
Courtroom Ten had walls made of dark stone, dimly lit by torches, with serried rows of benches, rising in levels all around the room, all positioned so that they had a clear view of the chair at the centre of the room, in which the person charged with a crime would sit.
There was a detention area below the courtrooms, in which convicted wizards were imprisoned while awaiting transportation to Azkaban Prison. It was also a dark-tiled area, with gilded gates closing the cells.
Behind the scenes
Over 30,000 individually placed tiles were used to create the Ministry of Magic. As actual ceramic tiles would have been far too expensive to use, the "tiles" were instead made out of thick card, each tile undergoing a lengthy painting process to make them look as realistic as possible.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- The Archive of Magic: The Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
- Wizarding World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: The Wand Collection
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 7 (The Ministry of Magic)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 8 (The Hearing)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
- J. K. Rowling's official site
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 5 (An Excess of Phlegm)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Chapter 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)}}
- "J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript" on The Leaky Cauldron
- "Vieira, Meredith. "Harry Potter: The Final Chapter" Dateline (NBC) , 29 July 2007" on Accio Quote
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 4 (Number Twelve Grimmauld Place)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Magical Beasts in Hiding
- 'Harry Potter' Set Visit: Inside The Ministry of Magic (MTV Movie News)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7 (Bagman and Crouch)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) - Chapter 26 (The Department of Mysteries)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30 (The Pensieve)