- Pius Thicknesse: "Has he been caught having contact with an Undesirable?"
- Harry Potter (as Runcorn): "No. No, nothing like that."
- Pius Thicknesse: "Ah, well. It's only a matter of time. If you ask me, the blood traitors are as bad as the Mudbloods."
- — Pius Thicknesse in discussion with Albert Runcorn (actually Harry Potter in disguise)[src]
Pius Thicknesse was a Ministry of Magic official who, during the Second Wizarding War, became Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and later Lord Voldemort's puppet Minister for Magic while under the Imperius Curse.
Thicknesse is 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.
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
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 made him very nearly late for an important Death Eater meeting at Malfoy Manor. This may indicate that Thicknesse is a strong-willed individual who tried very hard to resist. 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, and 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. Officially, all of this was done for Harry's protection, but in reality, it was pointless, as Harry was protected by a charm from his mother's blood while living with his relatives. The Trace was also in effect, so if Harry or anyone around him casted 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 couldn't 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 motorcycle, setting the stage of the Flight from Little Whinging, and murder of Alastor Moody by Voldemort.
Minister for Magic
Eventually, Thicknesse and the other subverted high-ranking Ministry officials, launched a "smooth and virtually silent" coup alongside the Death Eaters, and the Ministry fell. The Daily Prophet was also taken over, the official version of Scrimgeour's murder was that he resigned, and 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 everday 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:
- 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", was set up in the Ministry Atrium.
- 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.
- At Hogwarts, the Dark Arts and prejudiced depictions of Muggles were taught by professors Amycus and Alecto Carrow under the new Headmaster, Severus Snape. Hogwarts attendance became mandatory.
- Harry Potter was declared "Undesirable No. 1", wanted for questioning about the death of Albus Dumbledore with a 10000 Galleon reward on his head.
- Using falsified recent research done in the Department of Mysteries, the Ministry claimed that Muggle-born witches and wizards "stole" their magic from "real" witches and wizards. As a result, the Muggle-Born Registration Commission was set up to prosecute 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.
- People with known connections to the Order of the Phoenix or sympathies for Muggles, such as Arthur Weasley, were put under surveillance.
When Harry, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley infiltrated the Ministry in search of one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, Harry encounted Thicknesse while in the form of Albert Runcorn, whom Thicknesse seemed familiar with. Thicknesse, at the time, was wearing magnificent robes of black and gold at the time.
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. While Harry was searching for the Horcrux in Umbridge's office, Thicknesse arrived momentarily to jot down a note, and almost discovered Harry while he was under the Invisibility Cloak, though he ultimately failed to notice him.
In 1998, 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 did not capture the trio.
Fall from Power
During the Battle of Hogwarts, Thicknesse was discovered 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 dueled with Percy Weasley, but was forced to back off from the massive amount of curses being fired by Harry, Hermione and Ron. Thicknesse, however, backed off too fast, however, and his hood slipped, and they all recognized him instantly. Percy then sent a neat jinx straight at Thicknesse, who then dropped his wand and clawed at the front of his robes, apparently in awful discomfort. As he did, Percy mockingly greeted his former boss, who fell to the ground with tiny spikes erupting all over him, as the jinx was Transfiguration-based. Thicknesse barely survived Augustus Rookwood's curse, which destroyed a great deal of the castle, before retreating along with his comrades at Voldemort's command.
When the battle later recommenced, Thicknesse was floored by Arthur and Percy Weasley. After Voldemort's death, all the people across the country who had been under the Imperius Curse came back to themselves, including Thicknesse. By this time, however, he was in no condition to lead or serve the government. As a result, Kingsley Shacklebolt was named Temporary Minister for Magic, and later permanent.
Behind the Scenes
- The name Pius is derived from the Latin word pius, meaning "pious"; that is, possessing a desire and willingness to perform religious duties. It has been the regnal name of many popes. Thus, the name of the man who created an organisation to oppress Muggle-borns may allude to the Inquisition, which prosecuted heretics and, ironically, witches.