Fudge was thought to be very ineffective. He sacked an advisor, Albus Dumbledore when the Chamber of Secrets was opened at Hogwarts School. He faced criticism when Sirius Black escaped Azkaban, and he failed to find the prisoner.
Fudge denied Voldemort was back, causing inaction at the beginning of the Second Wizarding War and gave him time to gain power. Instead he focused towards building a campaign to ruin Dumbledore and Harry Potter, because he thought Dumbledore wanted to steal the job of Minister for Magic.
Fudge was soon proven wrong, and any good opinion people had of him was lost. He was forced to resign by the wizarding community and was replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour. Fudge became an advisor.
In 1981, Fudge was Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. He was first on scene to respond to Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew's deadly fight. Pettigrew had destroyed a street, killed twelve people and injured dozens of Muggles. Fudge arrived when Pettigrew had run away, and instead he found Black standing in the middle of the street laughing in front of Pettigrew's blood-stained robes and finger.
Fudge thought Black was responsible for what happened and had killed Pettigrew. The wizarding world thought he was a Dark wizard who betrayed James and Lily Potter, and that he was loyal to Death Eaters. The deduced that Pettigrew had confronted Black for what he had done, hence why he was killed. Fudge had knowledge of things not widely known in the wizarding world, including that Black was supposedly a Secret Keeper.
In 1990, Fudge was elected Minister for Magic even though many in the wizarding world had wanted Albus Dumbledore to be Minister. But Dumbledore declined because he had never wanted the job and Fudge was elected instead. Fudge lacked confidence and many soon thought he was incompetent and ineffective. Fudge ended up sending many, many owls to Dumbledore to ask for advice.
Chamber of Secrets
In April 1993, Fudge was sent to Hogwarts School to take Rubeus Hagrid to Azkaban. Four students were Petrified by a Basilisk due to a second opening of the Chamber of Secrets. Hagrid was thought to be responsible the first time, and Fudge was pressured to do something and thought taking Hagrid to Azkaban was a necessary precaution. Dumbledore told Fudge he had full confidence in Hagrid's innocence. He apologised and told Dumbledore if Hagrid was proved innocent, he would let him go.
Lucius Malfoy soon showed up at Hagrid's Hut to find Professor Dumbledore. He announced Dumbledore was suspended by the Board of Governors and gave him an Order of Suspension. Fudge objected but he was powerless because the appointment and suspension of Headteachers was up to the Board. Fudge led Hagrid out of the Hut and was shocked when Hagrid suddenly shouted about following spiders. Fudge had been unaware Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley were hiding in the Hut.
In July, Fudge inspected Azkaban and gave Sirius Black a newspaper when he asked for it. He spoke to Sirius and he was disturbed by how normal he was to other prisoners who had been surrounded by Dementors for years. Fudge thought he sounded bored. Sirius later saw Peter Pettigrew in the newspaper and escaped Azkaban.
Fudge led a hunt for Sirius when he escaped. He had to go to Azkaban to find out what had happened, and he was told by guards how Black had been sleep-talking and saying "he's at Hogwarts". He knew of Black's supposed Death Eater connections and betrayal of James and Lily Potter, and thought he was talking about hurting Harry. He was now concerned for Harry's safety, but wanted that to be kept secret and wouldn't let the newspapers know.
The search for Black was a failure. He told the Muggle Prime Minister in confidence about Black because he was concerned he posed a danger to the Muggle world too, and it was soon vaguely announced in their news. He had to defend doing so to the International Federation of Warlocks by telling them how how they had to be informed because Black was crazy.
In August, he heard about Harry accidentally inflating Marge Dursley before running away. He found out Harry was heading towards the Leaky Cauldron via the Knight Bus, and was waiting when Harry finally arrived. Stan Shunpike was shocked at who greeted Harry. He took Harry inside and informed him he wasn't in trouble and Marge was being tended to.
He told Harry how Vernon and Petunia Dursley were angry but happy to take him back the following summer, but he had to encourage him to go because he was determined to never go to Privet Drive again. He spoke to Tom to get Harry a room in the pub until September. Fudge was concerned for Harry due to Black's escape and warned him to keep safe and in sight.
He wouldn't tell Harry why he was personally concerned about him specifically, choosing to spare him knowledge of Black's connection to him and fear he would target Harry. Harry asked how Black's search was going, and Fudge told him he had full confidence in the Dementors, before declining to sign a Hogsmeade permission form, thinking it was best he didn't wander.
Fudge was soon lying by telling people he was near to catching Black. Arthur Weasley thought Harry deserved to know what was happening and who Black was. He told Fudge so, but he was unable to persuade anyone to tell Harry. Harry later heard Arthur speaking about it and learned the truth anyway.
In December, Fudge headed to Hogsmeade because Black had been sighted at Hogwarts and he was certain that he was staying nearby. He had a drink in the Three Broomsticks Inn, and spoke to Minerva McGonagall, Filius Flitwick, Rubeus Hagrid and Rosmerta. He asked for a redcurrant rum, and Rosmerta told Fudge how annoying she thought the Dementors were, and he told her he wasn't fond of their presence but they were necessary to finding Black.
Fudge told the table about what Black had done, and who he was to Harry (unaware that Harry was listening). He thought Black's plan when he had killed Harry was to go and join You-Know-Who again, and that he was disturbed by how collected he was in Azkaban when he should have gone insane. Black was unhinged for a while, and Fudge thought it was because of You-Know-Who's defeat. Fudge had dinner with Dumbledore that evening.
In June, Fudge needed to check in at Hogwarts about the search for Black, and agreed to be a witness to Buckbeak's execution. Ron was confused, because there was supposed to be an appeal hearing. Fudge told Ron the appeal was yet to happen but he, an elderly Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures official and the executioner kept acting like it was going to happen and Hagrid's appeal was going to be declined anyway.
Fudge was a short, stout little man who had rumpled grey hair. He was known for wearing a strange combination of clothes: a pin-striped suit, a scarlet tie, black coat, purple shoes and green bowler hat being such an unusual combination.
Notes and sources
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 4
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 16