On Halloween, J.K. Rowling released six new Pottermore articles, expanding different aspects of the Wizarding World. While most people fixated on Umbridge’s backstory (and I did too – I truly pity her Squib brother, she must have been such a bully to him), I found myself fascinated by (and later rambling to my mom about) the horrifying Azkaban backstory and the list of every Minister of Magic up until Kinglsey Shacklebolt. (If you don’t have a Pottermore account, see the Harry Potter Wiki articles here and here to get in the loop). As tomorrow is Election Day, I thought it might be fun to highlight my favorites.
Ulick Gamp (1707-1718)
I have to, of course, give props to the guy who created the position. Gamp had to deal with the chaotic wizard masses still reeling from the International Statute of Secrecy (which made wizards go into hiding for the first time), and seemed to have survived long enough to ensure the job would be passed. He also founded the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, future employer of Barty Crouch Sr., all of the Aurors, Arthur Weasley (as Misuse of Muggle Artifacts falls under Law Enforcement) and Hermione Granger. It is his portrait that hangs in the British Prime Minister’s office, through which current Ministers for Magic can contact the PM.
Eldritch Diggory (1733-1747)
Diggory, surely the ancestor of the noble Cedric Diggory, established the Auror recruitment program, and fought to shut down Azkaban, which had only been in operation for 15 years. He had visited the prison and was horrified by the conditions, prisoners driven insane by constant exposure to the island’s Dementor population. Despite his colleagues fears that the Dementors would flee to the mainland if deprived of a food source, he campaigned on, but was struck down by dragon pox before any decision could be made. No Minister until Kingsley Shacklebolt questioned Azkaban again. (Why are the Diggory’s so noble and tragic?! WHY?!)
Artemisia Lufkin (1798-1811)
The first female Minister, she ensured the Quidditch World Cup would be held in Britain during her term, and established the Department of International Magical Cooperation, future employer of Barty Crouch Sr. and Percy Weasley. It is said that after her appointment, several of the oldest Wizengamot wizards stepped out of their positions in protest (rude, but typical).
Ottaline Gambol (1827-1835)
A bit like the Arthur Weasley of her time, Ottaline was fascinated by Muggle ingenuity. She suggested the creation of the (totally awesome) Hogwarts Express, much to the consternation of Muggle-hating purebloods, to safely get Hogwarts students to the school (previously, a full third of students failed to show up the first day due to Portkey malfunctions). She also established committees to investigate Muggle brainpower (because at this point in British history, the nation was the foremost in innovation).
Leonard Spencer-Moon (1939-1948)
Seems to have been conceived as the wizard equivalent of Winston Churchill and FDR, Leonard even had a good working relationship with the former (oh, how I’d love to see the moment those two met). He got Wizarding Britain through the both the Muggle conflict of World War II and the London bombings, and the wizarding conflict of Gellert Grindelwald rising to power, so he’s bound to be awesome. Plus, look at his name. That is an awesome name.
Nobby Leach (1962-1968)
First muggle-born Minister. Faced the critics, but died (possibly killed?) while in office. We raise our glass to you, Sir.
Millicent Bagnold (1980-1990)
The reigning Minister when Voldemort fell the first time, she handled the multiple violations of the International Statute of Secrecy that happened that night with the phrase, “I assert our inalienable right to party” (McGonagall probably didn’t approve, but come one, that’s pretty awesome). She also ensured all those Death Eater incarcerations that came after (although… she also ensured Sirius’s incarceration without trial. Well, no one’s perfect).
Also, she was a Ravenclaw (woo!).
Kingsley Shacklebolt (1998-Present)
Because Kingsley Shacklebolt! He was only meant to be a temporary replacement, but was so well-liked he was subsequently elected! He instituted Aurors in Azkaban and better conditions! It has been said that those most worthy of leadership are those who never asked for it. Kingsley, I think, proves this statement.
Look for a new post next Monday. Learn more about the blog here, about me here, and resources here. Check out the links for related works and Pinterest boards, and leave a comment to let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas.
Until next time,