- "You are blinded by the love of your office, Cornelius! You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!"
- — Albus Dumbledore condemning Fudge's faulty and inaccurate values[src]
Minister Cornelius Oswald Fudge, O.M. (First Class), was a wizard who was the Minister for Magic from the years 1990–1996. He thus had complete control of the Ministry of Magic, the main governing body of the British wizarding world. Fudge began his career in the Ministry as Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. He then succeeded Millicent Bagnold as Minister for Magic, and thus had the responsibility of meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister when necessary.
In the 1992–1993 school year, Fudge had to deal with the pure-blood supremacist criticism directed against Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office Arthur Weasley's proposal of a Muggle Protection Act, which was nonetheless losing reputation when Weasley was found in possession of a Flying Ford Anglia and his daughter Ginny started carrying out attacks on Muggle-born students at Hogwarts School, using the Basilisk concealed within the Chamber of Secrets; as Fudge believed the legend surrounding the Chamber to be a threat to society as well as to the boy Harry Potter, he took Hogwarts gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid to Azkaban for his alleged connection to the attacks.
In the 1993–1994 school year, Fudge had to deal with assumed mass-murderer Sirius Black's escape from Azkaban. As Fudge believed Black to be a threat to society as well as to Harry, he had Dementors stationed at Hogwarts and in Hogsmeade. However, Black narrowly escaped from Fudge's fingers.
During the summer holiday, he organised the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament with Ludo Bagman and Bartemius Crouch Senior. After Cedric Diggory's death in the Tournament and Harry claiming Voldemort had returned, Fudge refused to believe it, because it would mean the end of the peace he and the Ministry had worked so hard to maintain for the last thirteen years. Instead, he used his influence at the Daily Prophet to launch a smear campaign against both Harry and Albus Dumbledore, as Fudge was paranoid that Dumbledore was after his job and was simply telling lies.
However, following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Fudge saw Voldemort with his own eyes and was forced to admit that Harry and Dumbledore had been telling the truth the whole time, causing the wizarding community to protest and scream for his resignation. 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.
His reputation and image had been completely destroyed and he became known as the man who stepped aside and allowed Voldemort a second chance to destroy what the Wizarding community tried so hard to rebuild. His cowardice, arrogance and incompetence led him to become the most disgraced and least effective Minister in British wizarding history.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life (Pre 1965–1981)
- 1.2 Hogwarts years
- 1.3 Early career at the Ministry (1981–1990)
- 1.4 Minister for Magic (1990–1996)
- 1.5 Legacy and later life (Post 1996)
- 2 Physical appearance
- 3 Personality and traits
- 4 Magical abilities and skills
- 5 Possessions
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Media
- 8 Etymology
- 9 Behind the scenes
- 10 Appearances
- 11 Notes and references
Early life (Pre 1965–1981)
Early career at the Ministry (1981–1990)
By 1981, Fudge was the Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. After the Attack at Godric's Hollow, he was one of the first on the scene after Sirius Black seemed to kill Peter Pettigrew, but, unknown by anybody else, Black had been framed by Pettigrew himself. Fudge watched Sirius laughing maniacally, and twelve years later still remembered the giant crater in the street.
Albus Dumbledore was the top candidate to succeed Millicent Bagnold as the next Minister for Magic, as many people requested him to accept the position, but he refused multiple times. Therefore, Bartemius Crouch Senior was favoured to be the next Minister for his effective methods of fighting the Death Eaters, but it was Fudge who finally replaced Bagnold when Crouch lost popularity following his son's trial. However, Fudge never forgot how much popularity and support Dumbledore received during the election. He also never forgot how much Crouch was admired in the Ministry, leaving him so jealous and with a strong dislike of Crouch that his very first act as Minister of Magic was to have Crouch reassigned to the department of International Magical Cooperation.
Minister for Magic (1990–1996)
- "A Fair Deal for Wizards Who Deal Fair with Muggles."
- — Cornelius Fudge's campaign slogan[src]
In 1990, Fudge was appointed Minister for Magic, and had his first meeting with the Muggle Prime Minister to introduce himself and to explain the existence of the wizarding world. Fudge cheerily hoped that the pair would never need to meet again due to the Prime Minister trying to throw Fudge out of his office window, as he believed their meeting was an attempt at the hands of the opposition to sabotage his career and position in the muggle world.
- "They wanted Dumbledore fer Minister, o’ course, but he’d never leave Hogwarts, so old Cornelius Fudge got the job. Bungler if ever there was one. So he pelts Dumbledore with owls every morning, askin’ fer advice."
- — Rubeus Hagrid regarding Fudge's lack of confidence as Minister[src]
In Fudge's early days as Minister, it was said that he was not very self-confident, and constantly sent letters to Albus Dumbledore, asking for advice. At a certain point in the 1990–1991 school year, he asked for an urgent report on magical transportation, which was completed by Alastor Moody based on Jacob's sibling's research.
According to the magazine The Quibbler, Fudge desired to conquer Gringotts Wizarding Bank, and in order to do so, he allegedly had Goblins killed in ludicrous ways such as drowning them, dropping them off buildings, poisoning them, and cooking them in pies, earning him the epithet "Goblin-Crusher." However, as The Quibbler was a tabloid magazine, this theory was extremely debatable and almost certainly false. Similarly, according to Luna Lovegood, daughter of the editor of The Quibbler, Cornelius had a private army of Heliopaths, spirits of fire whose existence was doubted by almost everyone else.
At some point early on during his Ministerial career and before 1995, Fudge arrogantly and controversially awarded himself the Order of Merlin, First Class award. This caused a good deal of muttering among the wizarding community, since the common view was that his career was "less than distinguished", thus subverting the worth of this award (which was given out "for acts of outstanding bravery or distinction").
The Chamber of Secrets
- "Bad business, Hagrid. Very bad business. Had to come. Four attacks on Muggle-borns. Things’ve gone far enough. Ministry’s got to act."
- — Cornelius to Rubeus Hagrid[src]
After four attacks on Muggle-born witches and wizards, Fudge arrived at Hogwarts in the spring of 1993 to bring Rubeus Hagrid to Azkaban prison, mainly because Hagrid's record was against him. Dumbledore tried to convince Fudge that taking Hagrid would make no difference, but Fudge was quick to cite that out of dutiful obligation he had no other choice. However, Fudge had his doubts, and reassured Hagrid that if another person was found to be responsible, he would be released immediately. At the same time, Lucius Malfoy, a then school governor, had Dumbledore suspended, which Fudge tried to protest against, but in futility. Eventually, when it was proven that Hagrid was indeed innocent, Fudge was as good as his word and immediately released him.
That summer, Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban. A few weeks prior to Black's escape, Fudge had visited him while on a tour of Azkaban prison and was unnerved at how normal Black seemed relative to the other prisoners.
Convinced Black would be caught quickly, Fudge alerted the Muggle Prime Minister of the situation, and asked that the Muggles keep an eye out for Black, as well; the Ministry set up a special hot line for the Muggles to call with any information. Because of Black's connection to Harry Potter, Fudge was reluctant to inform Harry of the truth, something to which Arthur Weasley voiced his opposing opinion.
Targeting Sirius Black and rescuing Marjorie Dursley
- "Well, Harry, you’ve had us all in a right flap, I don’t mind telling you. Running away from your aunt and uncle’s house like that! I’d started to think… but you’re safe, and that’s what matters. Eat, Harry, you look dead on your feet. Now then… You will be pleased to hear that we have dealt with the unfortunate blowing-up of Miss Marjorie Dursley. Two members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Department were dispatched to Privet Drive a few hours ago. Miss Dursley has been punctured and her memory has been modified. She has no recollection of the incident at all. So that’s that, and no harm done."
- — Fudge regarding an incident that took place earlier that evening[src]
When Harry left the Dursleys' after blowing up Dudley's Aunt Marge, Fudge intercepted him outside the Leaky Cauldron after disembarking from the Knight Bus during his misguided attempt to go on the run. Fudge assured Harry that the problem had been dealt with; Marge had been punctured by members of the Accidental Magical Reversal Squad and her memory modified by Obliviators. When Harry asked what would happen to him, Fudge told him not to worry, and that he would not receive punishment, since the circumstances had changed. The truth was, Fudge had let Harry off because he had been relieved to find him alive and told him that running away at night while a killer was on the loose was very irresponsible. Fudge then asked that for his protection, Harry stay at the Leaky Cauldron for what remained of the summer and not to venture back into Muggle London. Harry agreed and then asked Fudge if he would consider signing his Hogsmeade permission slip, to which Fudge uncomfortably declined, as he was not a parent or a guardian. Fudge then bid Harry goodbye, and he left the room.
As a misguided attempt to protect the students, Fudge posted Dementors around the school, which nearly produced tragic results. The teachers, as well as Madam Rosmerta in Hogsmeade, found the creatures' presence distracting and highly unpleasant, and Harry was a frequent target of the Dementors' actions.
In October, Fudge was alerted to Black's entry into Hogwarts on Hallowe'en night. Convinced Black was hiding either in or around Hogsmeade, Fudge had the Dementors search the area, calling it a necessary precaution. In December, he journeyed to the school, and stopped at the Three Broomsticks with Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, and Hagrid. Inviting Rosmerta to join them, Fudge proceeded to explain Black's connection to Harry Potter, and that all evidence pointed out that Black told Voldemort where the Potters were hidden almost a week after he was appointed their Secret-Keeper. Fudge then admitted that he believed Black's eventual plan was to find Voldemort and return him to power. After this, Fudge left the pub for a meeting with Dumbledore. Unbeknownst to him, Harry Potter overheard this conversation and was greatly affected by it, hoping for the opportunity to kill Black.
The Buckbeak case
In June, Fudge arrived at Hogwarts again, this time for two reasons: first, to check on the Black situation, and second, to witness the execution of Buckbeak the Hippogriff. At two o'clock, Fudge attended Buckbeak's appeal, but the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures did not reverse its decision. At five that evening, Fudge returned to Hagrid's cabin to witness the execution, but when Macnair stepped outside to perform the act, he noticed that Buckbeak had disappeared.
When Severus Snape returned Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Black to the school after the events in the Shrieking Shack, Fudge informed him that for his actions, Fudge would try to wangle an Order of Merlin, Second or First Class for him. Moments later, Fudge entered the hospital wing after hearing Harry's shouts; Harry and Hermione attempted to convince Fudge that Peter Pettigrew was still alive, to no avail. Several minutes later, when Professor Dumbledore arrived to speak privately with Harry and Hermione, Fudge decided to meet the Dementors and rendezvous with Dumbledore later. While talking to Snape soon after, he said he suspected that once Harry was back in his right mind he would want to tell the Prophet exactly how Snape saved him.
When they learned Black had escaped again, Fudge returned with Snape and Dumbledore to the hospital wing, where Snape furiously ordered Harry to explain his involvement. However, Fudge seemed to think Harry being involved was impossible, and left to inform the Ministry about the situation, and agreed to remove the Dementors from the grounds due to their attempt to use the Dementor's Kiss on Harry the previous night.
Quidditch World Cup
Fudge met again with the Muggle Prime Minister, to inform him of the magical creatures he was bringing into the country for the Tournament.
At the World Cup, Fudge greeted Harry in a fatherly fashion and introduced him to several foreign wizards, including the Bulgarian Minister for Magic. Fudge also extended friendly greetings to the Malfoy family.
After the match ended, Fudge was irritated to learn that the Bulgarian Minister could speak English and that his own need to communicate through sign language had not been necessary. Along with the Bulgarian Minister, Fudge then shook hands with the two teams.
Campaign to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter
- "Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing. He had always thought of Fudge as a kindly figure, a little blustering, a little pompous, but essentially good-natured. But now a short, angry wizard stood before him refusing, point-blank, to accept the prospect of disruption in his comfortable and ordered world — to believe that Voldemort could have risen."
- — Harry's incredulity at Fudge's denial of Voldemort's return[src]
In the spring of 1995, Fudge was summoned to Hogwarts after Barty Crouch was seen going mad and then disappeared. Fudge decided to cover up this embarrassing situation, and also refused to believe anything Crouch said, believing it to be the words of a lunatic. Fudge even suggested that Olympe Maxime had murdered him due to her being a half-giant, since the incident occurred near the Beauxbatons Carriage that night. When Dumbledore expressed his belief that Fudge's accusation was due to his personal prejudice towards so-called 'half-breeds,' Fudge, in turn, believed that Dumbledore's friendship with Rubeus Hagrid, another half-giant, was clouding his judgement. Harry also pointed out that Madam Maxime would have had a difficult time hiding, due to her abnormal size, this left Fudge feeling embarrassed. Fudge was later asked to fill in for Mr Crouch as a judge of the 1994 Triwizard Tournament, since his assistant, Percy Weasley, was hauled in for questioning regarding the incident and was unable to attend.
When Harry exited the Triwizard maze holding Cedric Diggory's dead body, Fudge informed the crowd and then tried to get Harry to release him. After an injured Harry released Cedric's corpse, Fudge suggested that he go to the hospital wing. Dumbledore refused the suggestion, wanting Harry to remain where he was. When Fudge was informed the Death Eater responsible had been caught, and feeling his personal safety was in jeopardy, he summoned a Dementor to accompany him into the castle, disregarding both Dumbledore's obvious dislike for the creatures and the fact that the culprit was already restrained; said Dementor then sucked out Barty Crouch Jnr's soul, leaving him an empty shell of his former self, unable to give testimony about Voldemort's return. This lack of testimony helped Fudge discredit Dumbledore the following year.
Paranoid that Dumbledore may have had designs on the role of Minister himself, Fudge refused to believe the warning that Voldemort had returned. Fudge's decision was also influenced by one of Rita Skeeter's articles about Harry. In the article Skeeter wrote that Harry's scar had long-term negative effects on his mental health. This led Fudge to suggest that Harry may have been hallucinating. This made Harry an unreliable witness in Fudge's mind; when Harry started naming the identities of the Death Eaters who returned to Voldemort's side, he could only identify those who had been cleared by the Wizengamot, which Fudge claimed Harry could have looked up in old copies of the Daily Prophet, and took it as a great offence.
Dumbledore, however, 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, whether he remained in office or not. If he did nothing, then he would be immortalised as a coward who allowed Voldemort the opportunity to try and destroy the world they tried so hard to rebuild.
However, Fudge saw Dumbledore's suggestions as ludicrous (fearing he would be forced out of office for even suggesting it). As such he and Dumbledore acknowledged that they had reached a parting of the ways; Fudge was left to act as he saw fit, while Dumbledore acted immediately to reactivate the Order of the Phoenix. Even a screaming argument with Minerva McGonagall and seeing Severus Snape's reactivated Dark Mark branding did not convince Fudge in the very least; if anything, he was increasingly angry at Minerva and revolted at Severus. Before leaving the school, Fudge was courteous enough to hand Harry his winnings for the Tournament, though he cancelled the award ceremony due to the circumstances.
He made it clear that anyone in league with Dumbledore could consider themselves dismissed from the Ministry, leading to many members of the Order of the Phoenix to become more discreet with their meetings. He also changed many laws in an attempt to stop Dumbledore and Potter from gathering supporters, turning a simple case of under-age magic into a trial by the entire Wizengamot; in his great haste to withhold certain laws, he ended up neglecting a few, as well. He also invited Percy Weasley to become his Junior Minister, in an attempt to spy on the Dumbledore-loyal Weasley family. Even though Percy accepted, he defected from his family due to a quarrel, though Fudge was allegedly gracious of this (at least, according to Percy).
When Harry was accused of using magic illegally in the presence of a Muggle, Fudge took a leading role in Harry's prosecution before the Wizengamot. He actively sought to discredit Harry, going so far as to change the time and location of the hearing in an attempt to make him miss it. During the actual hearing he introduced irrelevant considerations and highly biased accusations based around Harry's past offences; offences he himself excused. While at the same time seeking to deny Harry's right to a fair chance to present his side of events. Only the intervention of witness Arabella Figg and Dumbledore himself spared Harry from expulsion, though Fudge attempted to deny their testimonies and unfairly voted for Harry's conviction himself. After the hearing, Fudge outright ignored Harry and Arthur Weasley as he walked past them.
Sacking Albus Dumbledore
- Cornelius Fudge: "So, you intend to take on Dawlish, Shacklebolt, Dolores, and myself single-handed, do you, Dumbledore?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "Merlin’s beard, no. Not unless you are foolish enough to force me to."
- Minerva McGonagall: "He will not be single-handed!"
- Albus Dumbledore: "Oh yes he will, Minerva! Hogwarts needs you!"
- Cornelius Fudge: "Enough of this rubbish! Dawlish! Shacklebolt! Take him!"
- — Fudge intenting to arrest Dumbledore[src]
Driven by paranoia, Fudge sought to undermine Dumbledore's credibility and authority both at Hogwarts and at large in the wizarding world, which he accomplished, first by ensuring that Dumbledore was presented in the news as a crackpot. Soon afterwards, Fudge's Senior Undersecretary, Dolores Umbridge, was installed at Hogwarts as the school's new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor. Fudge had Umbridge teach Hogwarts students to read their textbooks instead of practising defensive spells, out of a paranoid belief that Dumbledore intended to train his students into an army to overtake the Ministry. By means of numerous Ministry decrees, Fudge gradually extended her powers while suppressing Dumbledore's and Harry's freedom of expressing their claims. Fudge eventually handed full control of Hogwarts to Umbridge when, one evening, Harry was caught violating Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four; Dumbledore took the blame and escaped after swiftly defeating Fudge, Umbridge, Kingsley Shacklebolt and John Dawlish, thus being dismissed as headmaster and became a wanted criminal.
After the mass breakout of Azkaban in 1996, Fudge continued to refuse to believe Harry and Dumbledore, instead suggesting that Sirius Black was the leader of the breakout, due to the fact that he and Bellatrix Lestrange were cousins, either unaware or neglecting that Sirius had been disowned by his family and the two were mortal enemies. Throughout all of this, Fudge unknowingly became an ally to Voldermort, giving him an entire year to rebuild his forces uninterrupted. Because Fudge ignored Dumbledore's previous warnings, Voldemort was also able to convince the Dementors, Giants and other factions mistreated by the Ministry to join him. The Dementors' defection also allowed Voldemort to free the majority of his loyal followers, including Bellatrix Lestrange. Lucius, amongst other falsely-reformed Death Eaters, remained in Fudge's trust, while discreetly manipulating him to assist their master and their own benefits. While the Order and Harry considered the possibility of Fudge being under the Imperius Curse, Dumbledore believed otherwise, which was of little comfort. Within a year of his return, Voldemort had a sizeable, still growing army at his disposal and was ready to begin his conquest.
Dismissal from office
- "My dear Prime Minister, you can't honestly think I'm still Minister for Magic after all this? I was sacked three days ago! The whole wizarding community has been screaming for my resignation for a fortnight. I've never known them so united in my whole term of office!"
- — Fudge to the Muggle Prime Minister about his resignation[src]
Fudge's term ended in 1996 when, shortly after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, he and several other Ministry officials saw Voldemort for themselves in the Ministry Atrium. Forced to accept the truth, Fudge was pressured by the public and media, and was ultimately sacked within a fortnight of the incident, on 2 July, 1996, for failing to see the danger at hand and act on it. The whole of Great Britain were not prepared for the open warfare that followed. Under Fudge's ineffective leadership, Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters had an entire year of uninterrupted planning.
Prior to his dismissal, he made desperate attempts to remain in office, and tried to have Dumbledore arrange a meeting with Harry to persuade him to tell the wizarding world that the Ministry was doing a good job in maintaining order and security (in short, Fudge wanted Harry to lie to the wizarding world, which is ironically what Fudge accused Harry of prior). This failed, as Dumbledore refused to make the arrangement, knowing that Harry would think the idea outrageous, but the idea did not die out when Rufus Scrimgeour took over. Also, prior to his dismissal, Fudge was threatened by Voldemort to stand aside as Minister, or a mass murder of Muggles would take place. Fudge refused, which resulted in the collapse of the Brockdale Bridge.
He stayed on as an adviser and messenger to the Muggle Prime Minister for Scrimgeour, as Scrimgeour was too busy to contact the Muggle Minister himself. It remains unknown if he complied with the new regime, was forced to go on the run, incarcerated alongside the Death Eaters' political enemies, or killed after Voldemort took over the government.
Legacy and later life (Post 1996)
- "Take the steps I have suggested, and you will be remembered, in office or out, as one of the bravest and greatest Ministers for Magic we have ever known. Fail to act, and history will remember you as the man who stepped aside, and allowed Voldemort a second chance to destroy the world we have tried to rebuild!"
- — Albus Dumbledore's warning to Fudge of how his actions of denial will make him go down in history as a disgrace[src]
When the full consequences of Fudge's actions (or at least, lack of it) after Lord Voldemort's return became known, the wizard community issued a virtually unanimous condemnation of his tenure. Fudge would later comment sadly that he had never known the wizard community to be so united on any other issue during his administration. Given this universal disapproval, he was likely memorialised, like Dumbledore warned, as one of the least effective Ministers in British history.
In 1997, Fudge was one of the many citizens of the wizarding world to attend the funeral of Albus Dumbledore. It is unknown what happened to Fudge after Lord Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic, or his later life after Voldemort's final defeat. Whatever was the case, his most prized possession, his reputation and image, had been completely destroyed as endangering the entire world, both Magic and Muggle, made him as Dumbledore had warned him; the man who stepped aside and allowed Voldemort a second chance to destroy what the Wizarding community tried so hard to rebuild.
Despite Fudge's actions being what cost him his position and reputation, as well as endangering the community as a whole, the Ministry at the time did not learn any moral lessons from it, as his idea of persuading Harry to lie for the Ministry was taken up by his successor, who also made similar mistakes of worrying about the bureaucracy's reputation over actual security. Fudge's corruption initiated a downward spiral that allowed Voldemort and his forces to gather sufficient forces to eventually overthrow the Ministry of Magic, and Scrimgeour was killed because he walked the same political path as Fudge did. Only when the Ministry was retaken after Voldemort's Last Stand was Kingsley Shacklebolt able to undo all the damage that Fudge and his administration had started.
Fudge was described as a "portly little man", with rumpled grey hair. He was recognisable by his lime green bowler hat, which he usually wore or held and often wore a pinstriped cloak, but not exclusively. When Harry Potter first saw him, Fudge was wearing a pinstriped suit, scarlet tie, long black travelling cloak, pointed purple boots, and lime green bowler hat. On another occasion he wore a bottle-green suit. For the execution of Buckbeak he had a gold pocket watch dangling from his waistcoat.
Personality and traits
- "What other options does he have? He can hardly say, ‘Sorry everyone, Dumbledore warned me this might happen, the Azkaban guards have joined Lord Voldemort’ — stop whimpering, Ron — ‘and now Voldemort’s worst supporters have broken out too.’ I mean, he’s spent a good six months telling everyone you and Dumbledore are liars, hasn’t he?"
- — Hermione Granger's reaction to Fudge's Daily Prophet interview about the Azkaban mass breakout of 1996[src]
During his tenure as Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge appeared in the early years as a bumptious, good-natured wizard trying to manage and smooth over the occasional crisis, such as Harry Potter's misuse of magic to inflate his Aunt Marge in 1993. Several people, including Rubeus Hagrid, considered Fudge a well-meaning, but ineffective, bumbler while he was in office. This failed to worry many, as long as he was willing to accept advice from more confident and trustworthy people, particularly Albus Dumbledore.
However, this was ultimately a facade to hide his true colours, as Fudge was in fact an extremely prejudiced individual, a trait that seemed to rub off on his puppet, Dolores Umbridge. He seemed to favour people born with high status, particularly the Malfoys, over lower class, such as the Weasleys, as seen in his friendship with Lucius Malfoy and selective neglect of Arthur Weasley, all the while being unable to tell Lucius was manipulating him. Also, despite being accepting towards Muggles, Fudge appeared to favour pure-bloods, and showed little respect for Squibs and half-breeds, as he spoke in disinterest when interrogating Arabella Figg, while on two known occasions irrationally accusing half-giants of murder; first Rubeus Hagrid of killing Myrtle, and later Olympe Maxime of killing Barty Crouch; Fudge neglected Arthur due to believing the man's obsession with Muggles to be a telltale sign of lacking "proper wizarding pride". When Dumbledore offered to summon the house-elf Dobby to the hearing for testimony, Fudge blatantly stated that he had no time to listen to house-elves, showing his disregard for what he considered to be an inferior species, and his overall belief that the elves are lower than wizards, indicating he could be prejudiced against sentient creatures in general.
His favouritism had limits, though, for he was not so hasty to imprison Rubeus Hagrid as compared to Olympe Maxime, possibly due to the male half-giant's relationship with Dumbledore. Even so, he turned a blind eye to Lucius Malfoy's own record as a Death Eater because he was cleared in the past (as Lucius lied about being under the Imperius Curse) as well as his vaunted position in Wizarding society and frequent cash donations. He was rather tactless, as he was making crude body gestures to communicate with the Bulgarian Minister for Magic and revolted aloud the moment he saw Marietta Edgecombe's disfigured face, having little sensitivity to the girl's feelings. Upon discovering Harry was a Parselmouth, Fudge caved into prejudice, and started to doubt Harry simply because he could speak a language that was usually affiliated with the Dark Arts, making him comparable to Ernest Macmillan and Rita Skeeter. His arrogance, in fact, was egregious enough for him to award himself with the Order of Merlin, First class medal, which caused controversies throughout the community, as it was common view that Fudge's career was "less than distinguished".
- Cornelius Fudge: "Laws can be changed."
- Albus Dumbledore: "Of course they can. And you certainly seem to be making many changes, Cornelius. Why, in the few short weeks since I was asked to leave the Wizengamot, it has already become the practice to hold a full criminal trial to deal with a simple matter of underage magic!"
- — Cornelius Fudge and Albus Dumbledore arguing[src]
Despite his claims that he always strove to figure out what was best for everyone, Fudge was ultimately a delusional and selfish hypocrite, a sycophant who favoured peace and tranquillity for the sake of his own position over a truth that would cause disruption of that peace. This was demonstrated when he was reluctant to tell Harry Potter the supposed reason for Sirius Black's escape from Azkaban, due to not wanting to worry Harry, despite the importance to Harry's safety. Preferring to tell the public what they wanted to hear instead of what they needed to hear, and deluding even himself with such lies, Fudge would use virtually any means to cover up the truth as long as he deemed the evidence to be insufficient, and would not hesitate to ruin the reputation of those who dared to oppose him, even if it meant abusing the powers of his position and making changes in the laws to do so. This included temporarily pardoning Willy Widdershins for his crime in enchanting regurgitating toilets because he made a deal with the Ministry for his release due to providing testimony against Harry for forming Dumbledore's Army, showing that he was even willing to make deals with criminals if it meant discrediting those who opposed him. Even prior to his dismissal, Fudge attempted to persuade Harry to lie to the wizarding world that the Ministry was performing well in security and maintenance, despite how he mistreated Harry for an entire year, as well as the fact that his inadequacy had already endangered the entire world by denying Voldemort's return; he was seemingly more desperate in saving his own career and reputation than repairing the damage he inflicted to the community's defences against the Death Eaters, making him a truly remorseless and self-centred wizard. He created several new rules and regulations at Hogwarts in order to increase control and chances to punish students through his puppet Umbridge, despite many of them being ridiculous and unfair. Fudge also used falsified propaganda to maintain his own position at the expense of those who he believed were his enemies, even if that so-called enemy was someone who had helped him out for many years, to which he had no trouble in being ungrateful, and then later shamelessly asking favours from people he had offended, the result of a welled-up penchant for corruption harboured for years in context.
Fudge also appeared to be more reactive than proactive; he would often wait for a solution to appear, rather than take the initiative and create a solution. Because of his indecisive nature, he would often ask Dumbledore for advice in his early days as Minister. Unfortunately, when Fudge did take the initiative and make his own decisions in attempt of accomplishing his job, they were often misguided and led to disastrous consequences, such as when he placed Dementors at Hogwarts to recapture Sirius Black, which led to students being traumatised and Harry Potter to nearly receive the Dementor's Kiss at the end of the school year. He later insisted on summoning a Dementor to Barty Crouch Jnr's interrogation for his own protection, despite knowing that Barty had been restrained and guarded by Professor McGonagall, and the possibility that the Dementor would attack the prisoner on sight, which did happen, resulting in the destruction of their most critical piece of evidence at that time. His trust of Dementors also proved useful when he vehemently denied a Dementor would go anywhere near Little Whinging in his attempt to discredit Harry Potter.
However, the mistake that led to Fudge's undoing was when he led a smear campaign against Dumbledore and Harry Potter, denying the wizarding world the chance to protect themselves and effectively allowing Voldemort a full year to build his forces uninterrupted. With each passing month, his facade as a well-meaning and harmlessly eccentric man waned further and further. Even after his folly had been exposed, Fudge was more concerned about his own reputation than actual security and attempted to deceive the community by persuading Harry to tell them the Ministry under him was achieving positive results, which would have endangered them further by giving them a false sense of security. Despite this, he was willing to stand against Voldemort and showed more courage in this regard than Umbridge did, as he refused to step aside as Minister when threatened, though due to poor preparations Fudge failed to prevent Voldemort from causing the Brockdale Bridge to collapse, and while he cited that no one in their right mind would yield to such blackmail, it was highly likely that this was another of his desperate attempt to remain in office.
The only known case where Fudge was reluctant to act against his better judgement was the case of Hagrid in spring 1993. While he knew that Hagrid's record was against him, he didn't wish to send him to Azkaban for supposedly opening the Chamber of Secrets without definitive evidence. But Fudge couldn't put off the pressure from the Ministry forever. The situation wasn't entirely hopeless: Fudge promised that if proven innocent, Hagrid would be released and given an apology. In the end, the Minister proved as good as his word.
Nevertheless, Fudge was, at his core, an extremely arrogant, paranoid, delusional and selfish person. He believed himself to be the smart one, and Albus Dumbledore a troublemaker who conspired to overthrow him for the post of Minister for Magic (despite the fact that Dumbledore had previously refused the post three times when offered) and apparently being more ungrateful for Dumbledore's years of friendly and helpful advice. This was partly due to Fudge remembering Dumbledore's superiority and popularity in the past and present. As stated before, this paranoia was usually kept suppressed, as Fudge continued to (in public) respect Dumbledore over the years, and accepted many of Dumbledore's decisions. By ignoring the professor, however, Fudge had metaphorically shot himself in the foot. With Dumbledore's help over the years, Fudge grew more confident on his own, which made him delude himself into believing that his poorly made choices were correct, making him, in a much more twisted way than Umbridge, the hero in his own story. His increasing lack of preventive action affected his popularity with the wizarding world: despite Fudge's efforts of keeping control, several people chose to believe Dumbledore and Harry over him, and by the summer of 1996, he had been forced to resign from office in disgrace and replaced by the more proactive Rufus Scrimgeour.
However, despite all his faults, Fudge was not devoid of redeeming qualities; although it is unclear how many of them were to avoid projecting an air of tyranny, and how many came from his own heart. Even Umbridge believed that she would be crossing a line by using the Unforgivable Curses with his knowledge, since after Hermione Granger speculated retribution from Fudge, she did not hesitate to agree with the teenager. He also demonstrated compassion when he protested Dumbledore's suspension as Headmaster of Hogwarts, even though the motion had already been carried. He also intended to protect Harry from the recently escaped Sirius Black to the best of his ability. After hearing that the Dementors had attacked Harry twice within Hogwarts' grounds, he had the sense to order them immediately away from the school. At times, Fudge could develop a sense of humour as well: he once assured Harry that "the Ministry doesn't send people to Azkaban for blowing up their aunts". He also sarcastically responded that Harry might have "a twin brother" when Dumbledore attempted to absolve him of forming the DA.
Although his behaviour between 1995 and 1996 made him appear to be such, Fudge was not a totally unreasonable man and was more rational than Umbridge or Voldemort by nature, as he simply buried himself in his own self-denial, love of office, delusions and paranoia. He was capable of admitting when he was wrong, but only with damnable and solid evidence which he could see with his own eyes. After witnessing Voldemort's return with his own eyes, Fudge could no longer bury himself in lies and cleared Dumbledore's and Harry's names alongside the names of notable members of the Order of the Phoenix unjustly persecuted by the Ministry (most notably Rubeus Hagrid, Arthur Weasley, Sirius Black), at the price of him being removed from his position. For instance, he was able to admit to the Muggle Prime Minister, with somewhat humbleness, that starting a ruthless manhunt for Sirius Black may have been aimless since he was in fact innocent all along, which Fudge realised when he learned that Black was killed by his own cousin in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries (despite incorrectly believing earlier that the two were working together). Interestingly, however, in the article in the Daily Prophet absolving Dumbledore and Harry, it states the two of them prevailed despite being constantly slandered, ignoring the fact that it was Fudge who ordered the Daily Prophet itself to do such. Additionally, even though he already turned against Harry Potter at the time due to his paranoia and refusal to accept Voldemort's return, he was still courteous enough to personally hand Harry his Triwizard winnings but was unable to hold a celebration due to the circumstances of Cedric Diggory's death.
Magical abilities and skills
Despite rarely being shown to use magic, Fudge was shown to use some rather advanced, or at least difficult, spells. However, he seems to be limited with certain areas of magic, as he could not remove Hermione's "SNEAK" jinx off of Marietta Edgecombe's face. He also had very little political skills, as he would bombard Dumbledore for advice in his early years, while making very poor choices in the last few years of his tenure.
- "Fudge pulled out his wand, conjured two large glasses full of amber liquid out of thin air, pushed one of them into the Prime Minister’s hand, and drew up a chair."
- — Fudge conjuring whiskey[src]
- Transfiguration: During his first visit to the British Prime Minister, Fudge used a number of transfiguration spells proficiently, which included turning a teacup into a gerbil, and making whisky appear out of thin air. His spells were also non-verbal which shows further skill. Transfiguration is, by common consent, a particularly difficult branch of magic. Fudge was also known to be the Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes, which given its haphazard and on the spot nature for responses, which likely required Fudge to often use transfiguration spells in order to rectify them.
- Duelling: Fudge challenged Albus Dumbledore to a duel but this was only because he was being backed up by Dolores Umbridge, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and John Dawlish. Dumbledore effortlessly defeated Fudge, Umbridge and Dawlish and put a hex on Kingsley to make it convincing since Kingsley was a member of the Order of the Phoenix. The fact that he was willing to challenge Dumbledore, even with backup, suggests that he had some skill in duelling and in martial magic.
- Charms: Fudge was able to produce a non-corporeal Patronus, which is a mark of superior magical ability, given the immense difficulty of casting this spell.
- Nonverbal magic: Fudge was able to cast non-verbal transfiguration spells. Given the difficulty and the accuracy required to perform transfiguration correctly, and even the ability to perform said spells non-verbally, is proof Cornelius was a highly competent wizard.
- Wand: Fudge owned a wand of unknown materials.
- Pocket watch: By 1994, Cornelius Fudge owned a pocket watch.
- Order of Merlin (First Class) medal: Fudge awarded himself an Order of Merlin, First Class, medal despite his less-than-distinguishable career, which caused much controversy within the magical community. This was possibly forfeited when his disgraceful lack of action against Lord Voldemort's return was exposed.
- "Deep down, Fudge knows Dumbledore's much cleverer than he is, a much more powerful wizard, and in the early days of his Ministry he was forever asking Dumbledore for help and advice. But it seems that he's become fond of power now, and much more confident. He loves being Minister for Magic, and he's managed to convince himself that he's the clever one and Dumbledore's simply stirring up trouble for the sake of it."
- — Remus Lupin on Cornelius Fudge's attempts to discredit Dumbledore[src]
In Fudge's early days as Minister for Magic, he was forever bombarding Albus Dumbledore for help and advice. In return he expressed confidence in Dumbledore. When Lucius Malfoy had an Order of Suspension for Dumbledore due to his failure to prevent petrification-attacks on students, Fudge was against the suspension, saying it was the "last thing we want just now," and "if Dumbledore can't stop them... who can?"
Besides advice, it seems that Albus Dumbledore informed Fudge of important events at Hogwarts, such as Sirius Black's and Buckbeak's escape from there being due to "a reversal of time." Apparently, he did not inform Fudge that Harry Potter was a Parselmouth, and learned of it after Rita Skeeter's article in the Daily Prophet.
Over the years, though, Fudge became paranoid that Dumbledore was seeking the Minister position for himself, despite Dumbledore clearly showing lack of interest in the position, rejecting it at least three times. This paranoia was kept suppressed, as Fudge continued to respect Dumbledore over the years and accepted his decisions, despite their eccentricity. Despite constantly seeking advice from the more able wizard, Fudge would nevertheless succumb to the public's views and sometimes go against Dumbledore's insistence on certain issues, such as sending Hagrid to Azkaban or placing Dementors around Hogwarts as guardians. Fudge was only successful in gaining the people's confidence because they knew he was willing to accept Dumbledore's advice.
However, in 1995, after Dumbledore told him that Voldemort had returned, Fudge refused to believe him, even when Severus Snape showed him the reactivated Dark Mark, as he finally succumbed to his paranoia. As a result, Fudge started a smear campaign to discredit and ruin Albus' reputation, ungratefully rejecting and forgetting all the assistance and advice he received from Dumbledore for the past years. As an attempt to wrest control of Hogwarts from Dumbledore, he appointed Dolores Umbridge as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher against the headmaster's will, and empowered her greatly and eventually attempted (in failure) to arrest Dumbledore on a trumped-up charge.
After seeing Voldemort's return in the Ministry, Fudge was forced to accept it all, as well as reinstate Albus' reputation. Following this, Fudge resigned as Minister in disgrace because he refused to take the steps Dumbledore offered him. When Fudge requested Dumbledore to persuade Harry Potter to lie for the Ministry's behalf to the wizarding world in a last ditch effort to cling onto his position, Dumbledore refused, seeing no more desire or purpose in helping Cornelius.
In 1997, Fudge attended Dumbledore's funeral, with a miserable expression on his face and twirling his green bowler. Harry had wondered whether any of the Ministry officials who showed up were genuinely saddened by Dumbledore's death, or simply putting up a facade.
- "After everything Fudge did last year? After Umbridge?"
- — Harry showing disgust at Fudge's shamelessness[src]
Initially, Fudge treated Harry Potter like a favourite nephew, and gave him lenience when the underage wizard accidentally inflated his aunt Marge from his anger, rather than expel him, despite a previous offence (which was actually Dobby's doing). This was partly due to the Azkaban escapee Sirius Black, who Fudge believed to be seeking to return to Voldemort; however, in a misguided attempt to protect Harry, Fudge was too reluctant to tell the boy about Black's supposed goals, as well as Harry's importance as Black's godson. In addition, Fudge refused to listen to Harry and Hermione's attempts to explain Sirius' innocence, instead going with Severus Snape's suggestion that they might have been confunded. Harry initially thought fairly well of Fudge, regarding him as a somewhat blustering and pompous, but essentially good-natured person.
This kindly relationship continued until the end of the Triwizard Tournament, when Harry brought back Cedric Diggory's corpse and explained Voldemort's return to Dumbledore. Fudge, in fear that this would jeopardise the peace of his community and his seat as Minister for Magic, refused to believe Harry and Dumbledore, and spread a smear campaign to make it look like they were liars and nutters who were trying to gain attention, as well as take over the Ministry; his decision had partly been influenced by Rita Skeeter's writings, believing Harry to be hallucinating and that being a Parselmouth made him even more untrustworthy. Because of this, Fudge transformed Harry's disciplinary hearing of underage magic used to defend against Dementors into a heavily biased full-court trial, made the Daily Prophet print slander stories against him as though he was something of a slip-in joke, and granted Umbridge many new privileges to extensively punish and torment the boy. One of Fudge's ultimate goals was to expel Potter from Hogwarts and oust him from the magical community as an untrustworthy troublemaker.
At first, Harry was shocked by Fudge's blatant denial, and somewhat desperate in regaining recognition during the trial, which did not occur, while, in extension, trying to persuade his right-hand woman Umbridge. However, as Fudge's antagonism continued, Harry lost faith in the Minister, and began to feel more disgusted at Fudge's increasingly tyrannical hold; Harry only felt more angry when Fudge chose to blame the Azkaban mass breakout on Sirius instead of accepting that Voldemort had returned. When Fudge came to Hogwarts to deal with the Dumbledore's Army business, he sneered at the captured Harry, who replied with the dirtiest look he could muster, and thought it was worth watching Fudge's blood pressure rise from anger by denying his transgression of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four.
When undeniable evidence of Voldemort's return was finally given, Fudge, in a last ditch effort to remain in office, tried to persuade Harry to lie to the wizarding world (which ironically was what he had accused Harry of for a whole year) that the Ministry was doing a good job in security. This failed, as Harry hated Fudge for his actions and held him in contempt; when Harry was notified of Fudge's attempt to even ask him for such a feat, Harry expressed disgust at the former Minister's shamelessness.
- "What Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him."
- — Umbridge attempting to break the law behind Fudge's back[src]
Dolores Umbridge was Fudge's right-hand woman, being his Senior-Undersecretary, and he trusted her greatly to place her into Hogwarts to control it. He granted her many powers through his Educational Decrees, and full-heartedly agreed with all of her comments and mockeries against Dumbledore and Harry. It is unclear whether Fudge knew the extent of Umbridge's sadistic and dark nature, but Umbridge was loyal to Fudge only because of the power he was offering her, and felt no true attachments to the misguided man. She was also willing to break the law behind the Minister's back to achieve results, such as summoning Dementors in an attempt to expel Harry, as well as using the illegal Cruciatus Curse for interrogation, all the while stating that "what Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him". Curiously, however, in spite of believing Fudge would draw a line there, and in spite of Umbridge often and unfairly receiving far more blame (mostly from Hogwarts) than Fudge for everything that happened that year, both of them were immoral in very similar ways. Still, Umbridge ultimately used Fudge to further her lust for power, making him think she was a mindless extension of his own hunger. When Fudge was dismissed, Umbridge stood beside the new Ministers instead.
- Lucius Malfoy: "Shall we go up to your office, then, Minister?"
- Cornelius Fudge: "Certainly. This way, Lucius."
- — Fudge being manipulated by Lucius Malfoy[src]
Fudge had a close professional association with Lucius Malfoy who was a wealthy and respectable pure-blood. (Lucius was cleared in 1981 of serving Lord Voldemort, claiming to have been under the Imperius Curse, which Fudge believed absolutely.) This association may have encouraged Fudge's own belief in the superiority of pure-bloods over those with mixed parentage, as well as "half-breeds" and creatures with "near-human intelligence" which his senior assistant, Umbridge, expressed. Fudge admired Lucius for giving donations of gold to the right causes. In return, Fudge granted him many privileges, such as personal access to him, favours in delaying laws and revealing classified information (e.g. the Triwizard Tournament). Fudge gave Lucius tickets to sit in the top box for the Quidditch World Cup final after his generous gift to St Mungo's. Fudge first met Narcissa Malfoy and Draco there in the top box, which suggests the Malfoys and Fudges did not meet socially prior to that. Despite receiving the Minister's favours, Lucius caused him great embarrassment by secretly leading the unconvicted Death Eaters and anti-Muggle supporters in a riot that night.
Fudge did have disagreements with Lucius and his views. For instance, Fudge did not oppose Arthur Weasley's Muggle Protection Act, and allowed Ministry officials to conduct raids on wizard homes (later including Lucius'), searching for artefacts harmful to Muggles. This may have turned Lucius back to the Dark Arts as his plot to re-open the Chamber of Secrets and discredit Arthur Weasley came about when he did not get his way. Then, when the twelve school governors suspended Dumbledore for not being able to prevent the Chamber of Secrets incident, Fudge said it was the wrong thing to do, but did not use the law to interfere with the running of Hogwarts as he would later.
After Harry survived Voldemort's rebirth and reported to him that Lucius was one of the Death Eaters who came to the re-gathering after receiving the Dark Mark invitation, Fudge took this as a great personal offence, and absolutely refused to believe it, continuing to treat Lucius with great respect and meeting him at the Ministry. He said Harry was just throwing out names of people who were cleared thirteen years previously, and began a campaign to discredit Harry and Dumbledore. The next year, when Lucius' son, Draco Malfoy, captured Harry for being in the illegal organisation calling itself Dumbledore's Army, Fudge commented that his father must be informed of this achievement. Fudge was completely oblivious to Lucius' dark nature. Lucius, in turn, used this to his advantage and manipulated the gullible Minister to delay laws and other factors that would benefit the Death Eaters. By the time Lucius was caught red-handed as a renewed Death Eater, Lord Voldemort had a year to regain power and followers while being unopposed by the Ministry, making it that much harder for his successor to protect the wizarding world, even with Lucius being locked up in Azkaban. As a result, Fudge suffered almost exactly the same consequences as Lucius: both lost their positions of influence, while desperately and unsuccessfully trying to reclaim it.
As Arthur was a lower-class person and having a poor family, Fudge always neglected Arthur while having a manipulated friendship with his wealthy rival, Lucius Malfoy, due to Fudge's swaying of money and power. As Arthur was considered an odd duck due to his fascination with Muggle culture, Fudge was able to use that as an excuse that Mr Weasley "did not fit" into the Ministry norm and that he was unfit for promotion to higher office. However, despite his disapproval and neglect of Arthur, Fudge did not oppose Arthur's Muggle Protection Act as he was also accepting towards Muggles, and once allowed Arthur and his family to sit at the Top Box during the Quiddich World Cup. When Lord Voldemort had returned, Fudge suspected Arthur being in league with Dumbledore since he was aware that the two of them were friendly. He even invited Arthur's son, Percy to become his Junior Assistant in an attempt to spy on the Weasley family and Dumbledore, which led to Percy defecting from his family after a row with Arthur. Fudge ignored Arthur and Harry's existences when he and the Wizengamot exited Courtroom Ten. After Fudge was disgraced and forced to resign, Arthur was instantly promoted by Fudge's successor.
Prime Minister of Muggles
- Fudge: "Prime Minister, I am very sorry to have to tell you that he's back. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is back."
- Prime Minister: "Back? When you say 'back'...he's alive? I mean —"
- Fudge: "Yes, alive. That is- I don't know- is a man alive if he can't be killed? I don't really understand it, and Dumbledore won't explain properly- but anyway, he's certainly got a body and is walking and talking and killing, so I suppose, for the purposes of our discussion, yes, he's alive."
- — Cornelius Fudge and Prime Minister of Muggles about Lord Voldemort[src]
Because of his position, Fudge was able to contact the Prime Minister of Muggles whenever the Wizarding world faced a crisis most likely affecting Muggles. In 1996, when Lord Voldemort returned and Fudge had been forced out as Minister for Magic, he went to alert the Muggle Minister concerning the return of Voldemort. He also visited when the Prime Minister was elected, when Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban.
Percy Weasley and his family were originally looked down on by Fudge, due to their lack of wealth and having more affiliation with Muggles.
However, in 1995, Fudge promoted Percy to become his Junior Minister. This was an attempt to spy on the Weasley family, but Percy's defection from his family made it pointless. However, Percy commented in his letter to his younger brother Ron that the Minister would not be more gracious to him for this defection, and he agreed with Fudge on that Harry was violent and disturbed and Dumbledore is plotting to overthrow Fudge when the Ministry began publishing articles, leading to a quarrel with his family. By Percy's claim, Fudge was actually glad that Percy left his family for the sake of the Ministry. This may have been a contradiction as this meant Percy was no longer a source of information of the Weasley family's involvement with Dumbledore and Potter. Over the final year of Fudge's term as Minister, he kept using Percy as the court scribe for both Harry's disciplinary hearing and the discovery of Dumbledore's Army. Percy, during both moments, heartily agreed with Fudge's decisions, and laughed when Fudge made insulting mockeries at Harry and Dumbledore. When Fudge's folly had been exposed and he was forced to resign as Minister in disgrace, Percy remained loyal to the Ministry, but did not show any sympathy for or against Fudge's dismissal.
Barty Crouch Senior
- "I see two possibilities, Alastor. Either Crouch has finally cracked — more than likely, I’m sure you’ll agree, given his personal history — lost his mind, and gone wandering off somewhere —"
- — Fudge expressing a contemptuous lack of interest in the disappearance of his rival Barty Crouch Senior[src]
Fudge had a huge hatred for Barty Crouch Snr. This was because of Barty being one of his main competitors during the election for Minister of Magic in 1990, where he was jealous of how much Crouch was admired in the Ministry. Despite winning, the election left Fudge with such a strong dislike of Crouch, so much that, Fudge's first act as Minister of Magic was to have Crouch reassigned to the Department of International Magical Cooperation, using Crouch's falling popularity after Crouch's son's trial to his advantage. Fudge's dislike of Crouch was strong to the point where he refused to take Crouch seriously when Crouch vanished after trying to warn Dumbledore about his son and Voldemort despite being in a delusional state, Fudge simply dismissed his warnings as the ramblings of a lunatic, and refused to believe the real reason he was gone until he was forced to acknowledge Voldemort's return the following year. This dislike also extended to Crouch's son, as he believed Crouch Jnr was not a true Death Eater and that he only acted through insanity rather than his loyalty to Voldemort, calling him as a lunatic just like his father, and had no regret about Crouch Jnr receiving the Dementors Kiss and therefore ending the Crouch family line, even though Crouch Jnr could no longer testify Voldemort's return as a result. Despite his dislike of Crouch Snr, Fudge apparently required Crouch for translating foreign wizards and creatures who didn't understand English, as he struggled to communicate with the Bulgarian Minister of Magic (who was pretending to not understand English in order to prank Fudge) during the Quidditch World Cup while Crouch was absent. It is unknown what Crouch thought of Fudge, although given his serious and rule abiding nature, he likely disliked Fudge in turn for his bumbling and incompetent nature, and for reassigning him to the Department of International Magical Cooperation, which permanently ruined any further chances of Crouch becoming Minister of Magic despite his fall in popularity.
- "The whole wizarding community has been screaming for my resignation for a fortnight. I've never known them so united in my whole term of office!"
- — Fudge sadly commenting on how the world turned against him[src]
When Fudge first ascended his ranks to the Minister for Magic, his bumbling nature failed to worry the citizens, as long as he was willing to take advice from more able people such as Albus Dumbledore. However, Fudge never forgot how much the community supported Dumbledore to become the Minister in the past. As his position was the leader of the entire government, he was nevertheless highly influenced and affected by the opinion of the people as a whole. When a few people would oppose his rule which threatened his administration, he would abuse his powers to discredit such people to maintain his hold on the likings of the rest of them, as well as threatening any employees with dismissal for not supporting his rule; ironically, Fudge only became popular because he took Dumbledore's advice to begin with. When Fudge awarded himself with the Order of Merlin, First Class medal, it caused controversies throughout the community, as it was common view that Fudge's career was "less than distinguished".
However, by ignoring Dumbledore's and Potter's warning of Voldemort's return, Fudge endangered the entire world, and despite his increasingly tyrannical hold on them, about half of the British wizard community chose to believe Dumbledore and Potter instead. When undeniable evidence of the truth finally came out, the entire community issued a virtually unanimous condemnation of Fudge's tenure, while Fudge made one last (unsuccessful) attempt to lie to them to regain their trust, which would have further endangered them by denying more preparation. Fudge was ultimately forced to resign after two weeks of pressure, and was remembered by history, as Dumbledore had warned him, "as the man who stepped aside, and allowed Voldemort a second chance to destroy the world we have tried to rebuild".
As with the majority of the wizarding world, Fudge deeply feared Lord Voldemort, to the point of being unable to say his name aloud, using the evasive alternatives or writing it out. Fudge preferred the peace and tranquillity that came with Voldemort's first downfall that he refused to spoil it as long as there is insufficient evidence of his return. His fear and self-denial led him to campaign to discredit those who tried to say Voldemort is back, instead of making preparations of ensuring their victory and safety in the upcoming war. Cornelius continuously sought excuses of the increasing disappearances and the Azkaban mass breakout instead of accepting the fact that the most evil Dark Wizard has came back. Only when seeing Voldemort in the flesh did Fudge accept the Dark Lord's return. Voldemort was able to take full advantage of Cornelius' besotted moves to rebuild his forces with no interference, and by the time the truth came out, it was too late for the disgraced Minister to defend the community. Despite his fear, Cornelius refused to stand aside when Voldemort threatened him with a mass murder of Muggles.
- Cornelius is an old Roman clan's name, possibly related to the Latin word cornu (horn). Name of early Christian saints with a mediaeval cult in the Low Countries.
- Oswald is of old Germanic origin, and means "godly rule" or "power of a god" (from Anglo-Saxon ós, which means "god" in a polytheistic context, and weald, "rule"). This is a reference of Fudge's political power amongst the British wizarding world is the highest, to the point of god-like. The name Oswald has had negative connotations since the 1930s due to British Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley - and ally of Adolf Hitler - as well as Lee Harvey Oswald - assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy - since the 1960s. Both can allude to Fudge's negative impact upon the wizarding world, the former due to his blood purity and social elitism, as exemplified by his favouritism of Lucius Malfoy, and the latter due to his attempt to assassinate Dumbledore's reputation.
- Fudge (verb): To alter something from its true state, as to hide a flaw or uncertainty. Always deliberate, but not necessarily dishonest or immoral.
- (intransitive) To try to avoid giving a direct answer; to waffle or equivocate.
- "Fudge", besides being a toffee-like confection (though softer, and crumbly rather than chewy), can mean "nonsense". This meaning originated from (probably 18th-century) sailors; it was derived from a merchant-Captain Fudge, who was renowned as a teller of tall tales. As a verb, it means to "evade" or to "falsify". In technological jargon, it means "to perform in an incomplete but marginally acceptable way."
Behind the scenes
- While Fudge disagrees with Dumbledore and Harry, they were actually trying to help him with his career (albeit indirectly) by announcing Voldemort's return. In contrast, the people Fudge is friendly with, Lucius and Umbridge, are merely using him to help with their own personal agendas and have no true attachments to him. Fudge's inability to differentiate this led to his downfall.
- Cornelius Fudge was portrayed in the Harry Potter films by the late Robert Hardy. He appeared in Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Order of the Phoenix.
- His appearance in Goblet of Fire, however, is very brief, and only his voice is heard with him not being visible at any point in Half-Blood Prince.
- He sports a hairstyle unusual for the time period in the 2nd film.
- Cornelius Fudge was voiced by Dov Reiser in a dub of the fifth video game.
- While Fudge avoids using Voldemort's name throughout the series, to the point of being rude to the Muggle Prime Minister when he began to read it aloud, Fudge calls him "Lord Voldemort" in the fourth book.
- It is always mentioned in the books that Fudge sports a lime green bowler hat. However, in the films, Fudge is shown wearing a black bowler hat. He is also not as short as Fudge is described to be in the books.
- Fudge is described in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with a gold pocket watch, yet in the films he is shown with a silver pocket watch.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, both Fudge's order for the Dementor's Kiss on Barty Crouch Jnr, and the beginning of his doubt of Dumbledore and Harry, were omitted. The latter part is covered in the following film.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
- Fudge's removal from office via resignation is revealed. In the books, Fudge's removal, a sacking, was revealed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
- Fudge didn't seem as antagonistic towards Harry and Dumbledore as he was in the book, though this was simply because he was not given much screen-time in comparison to the novel or possibly because in the films, antagonism between some characters is reduced to being less obnoxious than in the novels.
- 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 term as minister ending in disgrace.
- Several comparisons have been made between Fudge and real-life British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who gave in to Adolf Hitler at the Munich Conference and foolishly announced "peace in our time" in 1938, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Despite any of his other accomplishments, he has largely had a historical reputation as a bumbler.
- Ironically, actor Robert Hardy was well known for playing Chamberlain's successor, Winston Churchill, in a series of television miniseries.
- Fudge entered office in 1990, the same year as real-life British Prime Minister Sir John Major.
- Fudge, who became Minister in the year above, states to the Muggle Prime Minister that his predecessor was worse at accepting the wizarding world than him (the predecessor tried to throw Fudge out the window, thinking he was a hoax.) It is likely that either Fudge used to work in the capacity of advisor to the Prime Minister and Minister for Magic prior to 1990, or this particular Prime Minister was only in office for at least two years, which would have been a rather sudden change in the Muggle government.
- Fudge's wand in the films has a striking resemblance to Filius Flitwick's wand.
- There was a real person named Cornelius Fudge, who was a naval captain on the H.M.S. London in the 19th century. However, J. K. Rowling has denied basing Minister Fudge's name off of this person or any other real personage, saying as much in a letter to John Jeffries, the owner of a narwhal tusk that had been engraved to the real Fudge. Despite the two characters not having any link, Jeffries gave a small portion of the proceeds from the auction of the tusk to a multiple sclerosis charity, a cause with personal importance to Rowling.
- A very early draft of J. K. Rowling's first Harry Potter novel – which is on display at the British Library's Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition – reveals that the author had originally depicted Fudge as a Muggle politician who met with the wizarding world's envoy, Rubeus Hagrid, to discuss a series of mysterious deaths and vanishings.
- In the original version, Hagrid attributed these deeds to a villain whom he refused to name and begged Fudge to warn the public about the mysterious threat. A stunned Fudge thought about the strange encounter for a while and then called a press conference to warn Muggles about a "little man with red eyes" and urged them to "be careful not to tell this little man where anyone lived".
- The Muggle version of Fudge also had a connection to a very important character in the Harry Potter novels: Vernon Dursley. Vernon was originally one of the Muggle Minister's enemies, who Fudge feared would be after his job now that he was "clearly nuttier than a bag of salted peanuts". But rather than attempt to oust him, Mr Dursley actually came to chat with Fudge about the wizarding world and his nephew, who'd been placed in his care following the death of his parents.
- This draft can now be read in the book Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic. It was later re-purposed for "The Other Minister," the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (GBC version only) (Heard in PS1 version)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (GBA version only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- 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
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Voice heard in opening titles) (Seen in flashback on Disc 2)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- Daily Prophet Newsletters (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Heard on speaker)
- Wizarding World
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Fudge also says that he was a Junior Minister of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes in 1981; he had to have been at least seventeen at the time (the wizarding age of majority), so he cannot have been born after 1964.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways) - Dumbledore to Fudge: "You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognise that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be! Your dementor has just destroyed the last remaining member of a pure-blood family as old as any -" Fudge has also always favoured pure-blood wizards like Lucius Malfoy, also disdaining families like the Weasleys, considered "Blood traitor" by supremacist, indicating he is most likely at least a half-blood who strongly favours his wizarding side, possibly even a pure-blood.
- Bartemius Crouch Snr mentions "My wife and son will be arriving shortly, we are attending a concert tonight with Mr and Mrs Fudge".
- "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge) - "The stranger had rumpled grey hair and an anxious expression, and was wearing a strange mixture of clothes:"
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 8 (The Hearing)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film), Chapter 29 (Onlookers to the rescue.) - Dumbledore comments "You remember this footpath, Minister, from your school days here?"
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 10 (The Wampus Cat's Out of the Bag) - Assignment "Transportation Regulation"
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19 (The Lion and the Serpent)
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Order of Merlin" at Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 2 (Aunt Marge's Big Mistake)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4 (The Leaky Cauldron)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3 (The Knight Bus)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 8 (The Quidditch World Cup)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28 (The Madness of Mr Crouch)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak) - Fudge states "Haven't we got a counter-jinx for this?", implying he does not know how to remove the word "SNEAK" from Marietta's face
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
- Martin Gardner, The Annotated "Hunting of the Snark", W. W. Norton and Company, 2006; footnote 60
- JK Rowling denies finding Harry Potter inspiration on narwhal tusk - The Telegraph
|Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes employees|
|Cornelius Fudge (Junior Minister - 1980s)|
|Arnold Peasegood · Mnemone Radford · Dudley · Leonard Spencer-Moon · Two unidentified agents · Unidentified Obliviator (I) · Unidentified Obliviator (II) · Unidentified Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee clerk|
|Level 10 employees|
|Amelia Bones · Elphias Doge · Albus Dumbledore · Cornelius Fudge · Griselda Marchbanks · Tiberius Ogden · Ralston Potter · Henry Potter · Dolores Umbridge · Two elderly witches · Dumpy, heavily-moustached wizard · Frizzy-haired witch|
|Council of Magical Law members|
|Albus Dumbledore · Alastor Moody · Bartemius Crouch Senior · Female juror · Male member · Clerk|
|Muggle-Born Registration Commission members|
|Dolores Umbridge · Yaxley|
|Minister for Magic and Support Staff|
|Minister for Magic: |
|Advisor to the Minister for Magic |
|Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic: |
|Junior Assistant to the Minister for Magic: |
|Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission |
(1997 to 1998 only)
|Others: Eduardus Limus (Exotic Symbol Analyst) • Mdme. Miraforum (Quill Control & Rune Translation) • Loretta Fieldwake (Special Advisor for Elf Legislation)|