Minister Pius Thicknesse was a British wizard and a Ministry of Magic official in the mid to late 1990s. During the Second Wizarding War, he became Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement as well as, later in the War, Minister for Magic under Lord Voldemort's puppet regime while under the Imperius Curse and thus essentially Voldemort's puppet himself.
He replaced Rufus Scrimgeour as Minister of Magic, who had been murdered by Voldemort. Thicknesse took part in the final conflict of the War, where he fought alongside the Death Eaters, still under the curse.
Thicknesse was born to the likely Pure-blood or Half-blood Thicknesse family. He most likely attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in his youth, where he would have received his magical education. He ultimately joined the Ministry of Magic, at some point in his adult life.
Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (1996-1997)
When Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, was murdered by Voldemort in the summer of 1996, Thicknesse was appointed her successor, presumably by then-Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour.
When one takes into consideration that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is the largest Ministry department (to which the remaining six departments are all, in some respect, answerable with the possible exception of the Department of Mysteries), it seems to be safe to presume Thicknesse was high up at the Ministry at the time of his appointment in 1996.
Under the Imperius Curse (1997-1998)
- Lord Voldemort: "Well, Yaxley? Will the Ministry have fallen by next Saturday?"
- Yaxley: "My Lord, I have good news on that score. I have — with difficulty, and after great effort — succeeded in placing an Imperius Curse upon Pius Thicknesse."
- Lord Voldemort: "It is a start. But Thicknesse is only one man. Scrimgeour must be surrounded by our people before I act. One failed attempt on the Minister's life will set me back a long way."
- — Lord Voldemort and Yaxley during the Meeting at Malfoy Manor[src]
In the summer of 1997, as part of Voldemort's plan to take over the Ministry, Death Eater Yaxley placed the Imperius Curse on Thicknesse. He mentioned that this was more difficult than he had expected and had to do it with "great effort" (as Thicknesse's great strength of will allowed him to resist), which made him very nearly late for an important Death Eater meeting at Malfoy Manor. Many of the other Death Eaters were impressed with Yaxley's work, Antonin Dolohov clapping him on the back in congratulations, but Voldemort pointed out that Thicknesse was only one man, as well as that he needed Minister Rufus Scrimgeour surrounded by his agents before he acted.
Thicknesse proved useful, however. As head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Thicknesse had regular contact not only with the Minister himself, but also with the Heads of all the other Ministry departments, making it easier to subjugate the others. Thicknesse proceeded to do just that, remaining undiscovered and using his position to infiltrate the senior ranks of the Ministry, slowly working together to bring Scrimgeour down.
Thicknesse also aided Voldemort in trapping Harry Potter at 4 Privet Drive, mainly by making it an imprisonable offence to connect the house to the Floo Network, to place a Portkey there, or to Apparate in or out. Presumably, all of this was done for Harry's protection, but in reality, it was pointless, as Harry was already protected by a charm from his mother's blood while living with his relatives. The true reason was to prevent Harry from getting out of the house safely. The Trace was also in effect, so if Harry or anyone around him cast a spell to get him out of there, Thicknesse would know about it and so would the Death Eaters.
The Order of the Phoenix, as a result, believed Thicknesse had "gone over", which made it a big problem with the plan to move Harry. They abandoned the original plan, as they were unable to wait for the Trace to break: the moment Harry turned seventeen, all the protection he received from his mother would be lost. In short, Thicknesse thought he had Harry cornered good and proper, to which Harry could not help but agree. As such, the Order was reduced to using the only means of magical transport left to them: broomsticks, Thestrals and Sirius Black's motorbike, setting the stage for the flight from Little Whinging, and the murder of Alastor Moody by Voldemort.
As Minister for Magic
- "As your new Minister for Magic I promise to restore this temple of tolerance to its former glory. Therefore, beginning today, each employee will submit themselves... for evaluation. But know this: you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide."
- — Pius Thicknesse addresses Ministry employees in the Atrium following the implementation of the Death Eater regime[src]
Eventually, Thicknesse and the other subverted high-ranking Ministry officials, launched a "smooth and virtually silent" coup alongside the Death Eaters, and on 1 August, 1997, the Ministry fell. The Daily Prophet was also taken over, the official version of Scrimgeour's murder was that he resigned, as well as Thicknesse replaced him. Only the Order seemed to be aware that he was under the Imperius Curse. As a result, Thicknesse was nothing but a puppet, taking care of everyday business while Voldemort, effectively the true Minister, was free to extend his power beyond the Ministry.
Thicknesse, at Voldemort's direction, installed a new regime at the Ministry that was more in line with Death Eater ideology. His actions included having a statue depicting a witch and wizard on top of a throne made from the bodies of crude-looking Muggles, inscribed with the motto "Magic is Might" set up in the Ministry Atrium, replacing the Fountain of Magical Brethren. Yaxley succeeded Thicknesse as head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and several other Death Eaters, such as Travers and Selwyn, were appointed to other powerful positions within the Ministry.
Meanwhile at Hogwarts School, the Dark Arts and prejudiced depictions of Muggles were taught by professors Amycus and Alecto Carrow respectively under the new Headmaster, Severus Snape. Hogwarts attendance became mandatory, as well as students must prove their blood-status, with Muggle-borns removed. Harry Potter was declared "Undesirable No. 1", wanted for questioning about the death of Albus Dumbledore with a ten-thousand-Galleon reward on his head (which was by March, 1998 increased to two-hundred-thousand when attempts to find him all over the country continued to fail).
Using falsified research done in the Department of Mysteries, the Ministry claimed that Muggle-borns "stole" their magic from "real" witches and wizards. As a result, the Muggle-Born Registration Commission was set up to persecute and imprison Muggle-borns, with Dolores Umbridge as its head. To round up any Muggle-borns or blood traitors on the run, the Snatchers organisation was formed. Also people with known connections to the Order of the Phoenix or sympathies for Muggles, such as Arthur Weasley, were put under surveillance.
Encountering Harry Potter
- Thicknesse: "What brings you here, Runcorn?"
- Harry Potter (as Runcorn): "Needed a quick word with Arthur Weasley. Someone said he was up on level one."
- Thicknesse: "Ah. Has he been caught having contact with an Undesirable?"
- Harry Potter (as Runcorn): "No. No, nothing like that."
- Thicknesse: "Ah, well. It's only a matter of time. If you ask me, the blood traitors are as bad as the Mudbloods. Good day, Runcorn."
- — Thicknesse encounters whom he believes to be Albert Runcorn[src]
When Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley infiltrated the Ministry in search of one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, Harry encountered Thicknesse while in the form of Albert Runcorn, with whom Thicknesse seemed familiar. Thicknesse, at the time, was wearing magnificent robes of black and gold.
Harry witnessed Thicknesse's altered nature while under the Imperius Curse, which showed him having a strong hatred for Muggle-borns, referring to them as "Mudbloods", as well as blood traitors, whom he claimed to despise just as much. While Harry was searching for the Horcrux in Umbridge's office, Thicknesse arrived momentarily to jot down a note, as well as almost discovered Harry while he was under the Invisibility Cloak, though he ultimately failed to notice him.
In late 1997, Xenophilius Lovegood's daughter was kidnapped in order to stop his telling the truth to the public and encouraging support of Harry Potter in his magazine, The Quibbler. Hoping to get her back, he sent an owl to the Ministry when Harry, Hermione and Ron came to see him. Thicknesse promptly dispatched Travers and Selwyn to investigate. They arrested Lovegood, but failed to capture the trio.
During the Battle of Hogwarts, Thicknesse was stationed within the ranks of the Death Eaters and fought with them against the castle's defenders. He was amongst a group of masked and hooded Death Eaters who successfully penetrated Hogwarts and duelled with Percy Weasley. His hood slipped off as he tried to avoid being cursed and Percy mocked his former boss before using a sea urchin jinx, causing Thicknesse to sprout sea urchin-like spikes all over his body. The corridor they were in was then damaged in an explosion that killed Fred Weasley. Thicknesse and his comrades later retreated at Voldemort's command.
Later life (Post 1998)
- "[…] the Imperiused up and down the country had come back to themselves, that Death Eaters were fleeing or else being captured, that the innocent of Azkaban were being released at that very moment, and that Kingsley Shacklebolt had been named temporary Minister for Magic."
- — Description of the events immediately after the end of the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
It is uncertain if Thicknesse was killed during the battle, or just stunned. The latter seems more likely, as Arthur Weasley, like the rest of the Order of the Phoenix, knew Thicknesse was under the influence of the Imperius Curse. After Voldemort's death, all the people across the country who had been under the Imperius Curse came back to themselves. If he survived the battle, this would include Thicknesse. Right after the battle, Kingsley Shacklebolt was named temporary Minister for Magic, which later became a permanent appointment. If Thicknesse did survive the battle, it is unclear if he rejoined the Ministry or was incarcerated. The latter possibility is unlikely, as he was acting under the Imperius Curse and had no control over his actions.
In spite of effectively having served as the 34th British Minister for Magic from 1997 to 1998, Thicknesse was omitted from most official records about the Death Eater regime, as his unconsciousness eschewed any responsibility for his actions at the time.
Thicknesse was described as having long black hair and a beard streaked with silver, as well as "a great overhanging forehead" that shadowed his glinting eyes. Harry Potter thought he resembled a crab looking out from beneath a rock.
Personality and traits
It is unknown what Thicknesse was like before the Imperius Curse was placed upon him, or after it was removed when Voldemort was defeated. While under the effects of the Curse, however, his air of lofty authority mixed with his appearance made him generally intimidating and supportive of the way things were being run at the Ministry under himself and the Death Eaters. casually espousing the view that blood traitors were as bad as Mudbloods to Harry Potter, who was disguised as Albert Runcorn at the time.
It would be unfair to judge Thicknesse solely on his activities during his tenure as Minister for Magic, however, as he was being controlled by the Death Eater Yaxley at the time and was not responsible for his actions. However, since the Death Eaters ended up resorting to the Imperius Curse to get Thicknesse in the position of Minster for Magic and his name was removed from most official records afterwards, it is safe to say that he was likely not a sympathiser of their ideals.
As Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the largest department in the Ministry, it can be presumed that he was a fairly capable wizard and law enforcement official. It is implied that he was a strong-willed individual, as he tried very hard to resist the effects of the Imperius Curse.
Magical abilities and skills
- Leadership skills: It can be assumed that Thicknesse had the necessary skills of leadership when then-Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour appointed Thicknesse to replace Amelia Bones as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement during the Second Wizarding War; additionally, Voldemort likely would not have instated him as a puppet Minister if he was known to be weak-willed or a poor leader.
- Charms: Thicknesse was capable of conjuring a non-corporeal Patronus, a highly advanced and powerful piece of magic, as well as a mark of superior magical skill.
- Strong willpower: Corban Yaxley revealed that he only could place the Imperius Curse upon Pius with difficulty and after great effort, which indicates Pius had an exceptionally strong willpower.
- Wand: Thicknesse owned a wand, which was of an unknown length, wood and core material. Like most wizards in Great Britain, he likely purchased his wand from Ollivanders in Diagon Alley. He would have wielded his wand throughout his career in the British Ministry of Magic and as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
- The name Pius is derived from the Latin word pius, which despite being similar to the English word "pious", has a different shade of meaning: that is, it refers to one who has reverence for law, government, as well as order. Thus it is particularly appropriate for a head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Minister of Magic.
- Thicknesse, meanwhile, is a likely allusion to the word "thick," a British-origin slang word. Someone who is "thick" is considered stupid, dumb, or otherwise obedient or non-thinking; in this sense, Thicknesse may refer to Thicknesse's being under the Imperius Curse, being a mere puppet, not thinking for himself, and obeying Voldemort's every command.
- This is noticeably reflected in foreign language translations of Thicknesse's name; in Serbian translations, Thicknesse was renamed "Pije Glupsije", the word "glupsije" being derived from the word "glup" which means "dumb". In Italian, Thicknesse was renamed "Pius O'tusoe", that sound like the word "ottuso", an Italian word for "dumb".
Behind the scenes
- Thicknesse was portrayed by British actor Guy Henry in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Thicknesse is present at the Death Eater meeting at Malfoy Manor, implying that either he has already been Imperiused (though it isn't mentioned), or that he is an actual Death Eater or accomplice (note that he wears a three-piece pinstripe suit and tie instead of Death Eater robes in this scene). He appeared, however, quite uncomfortable at this meeting presenting the alternative that he might have been coerced by the Death Eaters to do their bidding (Thicknesse seems upset when Nagini curls up intimidatingly right beside him on the floor, and when addressing Ministry officials his hand can been seen trembling). In the actual novel Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he is not present at the meeting.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, he is often seen standing quite close to Voldemort, suggesting that he is indeed a Death Eater of high rank. It is possible that he was given this status as a result of his role as a puppet-Minister.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Pius is ruthlessly killed by Voldemort in frustration after he interrupts his concentration with an unwanted interjection during the Battle of Hogwarts. This is not canonical, however, as he continued to live in the books.
- In the Harry Potter Pronunciation Guide at the Scholastic official website, Thicknesse's name is spelt phonetically as "PY-us THIK-nuss" (as in "thickness"). However, Rowling pronounces it as "PY-us thik-NESS" (as in "Loch Ness").
- Pius Thicknesse has the distinction of being the Minister for Magic with the shortest term in office, out of the Ministers featured in the books: 274 days (9 months and 1 day). Pottermore, however, established that Basil Flack was in office for only two months in 1752 before resigning due to a mismanaged goblin rebellion.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Thicknesse does not appear in the main storyline at any point, but is an unlockable character. Somewhat inaccurately, Thicknesse is depicted as a Dark Wizard, with the ability to cast the Unforgivable Curses and manipulate cursed objects. His character can be found wandering around Knockturn Alley.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- As he was made head of Magical Law Enforcement in 1996, he must have been at least of age at that time
- While it is never stated what Thicknesse's blood status is, it is unlikely Thicknesse would be appointed Minister for Magic by the Death Eater regime instead of other powerful and prominent pure-blood Death Eaters with Ministry connections like Yaxley, Travers or Selwyn, if he were Muggle-born.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Magical Beasts in Hiding
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 19 (The Silver Doe)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
- Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ministers for Magic" at Wizarding World
- Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ministers for Magic" at Wizarding World
- Guy Henry to Play Pius Thicknesse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Pronunciation Guide on Scholastic.com
|Department of Magical Law Enforcement employees|
|Heads of Department|
|Justus Pilliwickle · Torquil Travers · Bartemius Crouch Senior · Amelia Bones · Pius Thicknesse · Corban Yaxley · Arthur Weasley · Harry Potter|
|Heads: Theseus Scamander · Rufus Scrimgeour · Gawain Robards · Harry Potter
|Mordecai Berrycloth · John Dawlish · Penelope Fawley · Dorian Fungbury · Timothy Hale · Alice Longbottom · Frank Longbottom · Neville Longbottom · Alastor Moody · Riya Patel · Proudfoot · Savage · Kingsley Shacklebolt · Nymphadora Tonks · Ronald Weasley · Williamson · Unidentified Aurors · Unidentified male Auror at Hogwarts · 4 Unidentified Aurors at Hogwarts · Director of the Investigation Department No. 61042|
|Improper Use of Magic Office|
|Heads: Travers · Dolores Umbridge
|Mafalda Hopkirk · Honoria's fiancé · Mafalda Hopkirk's Ministerial Superior · Rufus Fudge · Orabella Nuttley · Chester Davies · Linderina Crane|
|Leta Lestrange · Minerva McGonagall · Elphinstone Urquart · Alastor Gumboil · Arnold Peasegood · Arthur Weasley · Perkins · Cerberus Langarm · Hermione Granger · Bob Ogden · Tulip Karasu's mother · Tulip Karasu's father · Dempster Wiggleswade · Amelia Bones's assistant · Arthur Weasley's ten subordinates · Unidentified Hit Wizard · Unidentified Wizengamot clerk|
|Leader: Lord Voldemort|
Avery (II) | Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Crabbe | Bartemius Crouch Junior (deceased) | Antonin Dolohov | Gibbon (deceased) | Goyle | Gareth Greengrass's brother | Jugson | Barnaby Lee's father | Barnaby Lee's mother | Bellatrix Lestrange (deceased) | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Walden Macnair | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Pyrites (possibly) | Augustus Rookwood | Rosier | Evan Rosier (deceased) | Thorfinn Rowle | Selwyn | Merula Snyde's father | Merula Snyde's mother | Travers | Wilkes (deceased) | Corban Yaxley | Unidentified Death Eaters
|Death Eater defectors|
|Death Eater allies|
Borgin | Vincent Crabbe | John Dawlish | Delphini | Golgomath | Gregory Goyle | Fenrir Greyback | Mafalda Hopkirk | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) | Ismelda Murk (unofficially, supposedly) | Nagini | Mr Padgett | Mrs Padgett | Pansy Parkinson | Quirinus Quirrell | Albert Runcorn | Stanley Shunpike (Imperiused) | Scabior | Serpent of Slytherin | Pius Thicknesse (Imperiused) | Dolores Umbridge
British Ministry of Magic (under Voldemort's control) | Daily Prophet (Under Voldemort's control) | Dementors | Draco Malfoy's gang | Kreacher (formerly) | Tom Riddle's gang | Gang of Slytherins | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Inferi | Charmed skeletons | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Theodore Nott (possibly) | Snatchers | Werewolf army | The Unforgivable
|Death Eater establishments|
Abandoned nuclear power plant | Borgin and Burkes | British Ministry of Magic Headquarters (under Voldemort's control) | The Cave | Chamber of Secrets | Forbidden Forest | Gaunt Shack | Lee family house | Lestrange Vault | Little Hangleton graveyard | Malfoy Manor | Misty Dell | Riddle House | Snatcher Camp | Spinner's End | The Abandoned Substation | The Ruins | The Quarry