|Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince||Chapter 2|
The Other MinisterEdit
The Muggle Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is sitting alone in his office, waiting for a call from a foreign head of state. He has had a bad week, with a number of unfortunate events which his political opponents have been trying to blame him for--a bridge collapse, two nasty murders, a freak hurricane, and the erratic behaviour of one of his junior ministers, Herbert Chorley. There is also an mist lingering over the country, unusual for July.
As he is looking out of his window, he hears a familiar cough behind him. He turns and, sure enough, it is coming from a dirty painting in the corner of his office. Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, is requesting an urgent meeting. When the Prime Minister says he is waiting for a phone call, the painting replies that the foreign president will be induced to call the next night instead. As the Prime Minister acquiesces to the meeting, Fudge himself appears through the fireplace.
The Prime Minister remembers Fudge's previous visits. After he first assumed the office, he had been terrified by the talking painting and then Fudge's arrival, and dumbstruck by Fudge's speech on the Ministry of Magic and its responsibilities. Fudge assured him that they would be unlikely to speak again except in highly unusual circumstances. After the visit, the Prime Minister attempted to have the painting removed, but it proved impossible.
Three years earlier, Fudge had returned, talking about Sirius Black, Harry Potter and Azkaban. He sketched out the story of Voldemort, and asked the Prime Minister to put out a watch for Sirius Black. A year after that, there had been a problem with the Quidditch World Cup, but Fudge assured him that they were dealing with the Muggles who had been involved. Fudge also told him about the dragons and sphinx being brought in for the Triwizard Tournament. A year or so after that, Fudge had appeared with news a mass breakout from Azkaban.
Fudge complains about his week as well, and says that most of the Prime Minister's problems have been Fudge's as well. Voldemort is back, and his servants are hard at work--the bridge collapse, the murders, and Herbert Chorley(who Fudge says is being moved to St. Mungo's Hospital)are are their fault. The Prime Minister asks about Sirius Black, and is informed that he was innocent, but is now dead, and killed on Ministry of Magic property at that.
Fudge says that they are now effectively at war. The bridge collapse was a mass Muggle killing threatened by Voldemort and carried out when Fudge didn't step down. He says that there are Aurors searching for Voldemort and his followers, but to little avail. The hurricane was not actually a hurricane, but a lot of property damage caused by Death Eaters and possibly giants.
Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, was killed, probably by Voldemort himself. The Prime Minister recognizes her as one of the murder victims, from a vicious and mysterious locked-room murder case. Emmeline Vance was also a victim of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and she lived quite close to the Prime Minister's office. Furthermore, the Dementors have left Azkaban and joined Voldemort's service, and are beginning to breed, causing the omnipresent mist.
As a result of all this, Fudge has been fired as Minister For Magic, and he is really here only to bring the Prime Minister up to date and introduce his successor. The painting says that he is just finishing up a letter to Dumbledore, who Fudge complains of having had trouble persuading. The painting then announces the imminent arrival of Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister For Magic.
Scrimgeour appears from the fireplace and locks the Prime Minister's door, preferring that they not be interrupted. He says he has made arrangements for the Prime Minister's security, preferring that the head of the Muggle government not be put under the Imperius Curse. He mentions the Prime Minister's new secretary, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and the Prime Minister protests strongly against his removal. Scrimgeour replies that Shacklebolt is an Auror who has already been assigned to the Prime Minister's protection. He says that Herbert Chorley's mind was likely muddled by an Imperius Curse gone awry.
- Albus Dumbledore
- Amelia Bones
- Emmeline Vance
- Harry Potter
- Herbert Chorley
- Kingsley Shacklebolt
- Sirius Black
- Death Eater
- Department For The Regulation And Control of Magical Creatures
- Department of Magical Law Enforcement
- Imperius Curse
- Ministry of Magic
- Muggle Liaison Office
- Office of Misinformation
- Triwizard Tournament