Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Rufus Scrimgeour

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Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character
Rufus Scrimgeour
Gender Male
Hair color Tawny, streaked with grey
Eye color Yellow
Related Family Unknown
Loyalty Ministry of Magic

Overview[edit]

Rufus Scrimgeour is the Minister of Magic during Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, replacing Cornelius Fudge after the disastrous events at the Ministry of Magic at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Scrimgeour is a former Auror.

Role in the Books[edit]

Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Order of the Phoenix[edit]

Rufus Scrimgeour is mentioned in passing as Harry Potter and Arthur Weasley pass through the Auror's office at the Ministry of Magic, just before Harry's hearing.

Half-Blood Prince[edit]

In the first chapter of the book, Cornelius Fudge introduces the Muggle Prime Minister to Rufus Scrimgeour, saying he has been sworn in as Minister of Magic after the disastrous events at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the following summer. These events include the escape of many prisoners from Azkaban, the deaths of two wizards, apparent Giant attacks in parts of England, and the collapse of a bridge with many Muggle casualties.

We hear that there has been some sort of confrontation between Scrimgeour and Albus Dumbledore, but we don't immediately learn what that confrontation involved.

Shortly before Christmas, when Harry is taking Luna Lovegood to Professor Slughorn's party, Harry mentions that there will be a vampire there; Luna immediately asks if that would be Scrimgeour. Apparently, her father had written a story about how Scrimgeour is a vampire, but had had to shelve it on orders from the Ministry.

At Christmas, which Harry is spending at The Burrow, Scrimgeour visits, using Percy Weasley as a pretext. Scrimgeour takes Harry for a walk around the garden, during which he tries to get answers out of Harry about what Dumbledore is doing, and suggests that the Ministry would be grateful if Harry was to visibly align himself with them. Harry, who is revolted by the Ministry's hypocrisies, asks if they have freed Stan Shunpike yet. Scrimgeour waffles, saying essentially that they have to appear to be doing something. Harry refuses further assistance, saying that the new Ministry is as bad in its own way as the old one was.

In discussion with Professor Dumbledore immediately after Christmas break, Dumbledore tells Harry that what Scrimgeour had talked to Harry about over the break is what the earlier confrontation had been about. The plan to use Harry as the Ministry's poster boy had been initially suggested by Fudge, and had not died when Fudge had left office. Dumbledore had been refusing to allow Harry's use as a figurehead.

At the end of the book, Scrimgeour again talks to Harry, asking what Dumbledore was doing, and again trying to elicit Harry's visible co-operation with the Ministry. Harry again refuses, saying he has seen no differences in the Ministry since Christmas that would make him change his mind.

Deathly Hallows[edit]

Scrimgeour first re-enters our story when he appears at The Burrow on Harry's birthday. His arrival is announced by Arthur Weasley's Patronus, which causes Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks to depart hastily, as apparently werewolves are out of favour with the Ministry at present. Scrimgeour asks to see Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and tells them that they have inherited items from Albus Dumbledore, and he is there to present them. Hermione points out that he is only doing this because the Ministry is only allowed to hold on to bequests for thirty-one days, and they have used all thirty-one of them. Scrimgeour does not contradict her.

The specific bequests are: for Hermione, an original copy of the Tales of Beedle the Bard; Scrimgeour asks if there is any significance to this choice, and Hermione says she is unaware of any. For Ron, Dumbledore's Deluminator. For Harry, there are two bequests. The first is the Golden Snitch that was used in the first-ever Quidditch game that Harry played for Gryffindor. Hermione says that Scrimgeour wants to see Harry take the Snitch because of its flesh memory: it is designed to remember the first hand that touches it, to assist in determining the winner of a match that is disputed, and may react to Harry's touch now. Again, Scrimgeour does not deny this, but quite evidently expects Harry to take the Snitch, bare-handed. Harry does, and nothing happens.

Dumbledore's second bequest to Harry is the sword of Gryffindor. Scrimgeour says that it is property of the school, and is not Dumbledore's to give.

The following day, the Death Eaters take over the Ministry of Magic, and according to the message from Kingsley Shacklebolt, Scrimgeour is killed. We later hear from Remus Lupin, who heard from Arthur Weasley, that Scrimgeour was tortured for the whereabouts of Harry before he was killed. However, he did not give Harry away.

The official version of Scrimgeour's murder is that he resigned, and has been replaced by Pius Thicknesse. We learned in the start of the story that Thicknesse is under the Imperius Curse.

Strengths[edit]

Weaknesses[edit]

Relationships with Other Characters[edit]

Analysis[edit]

It was inevitable that once the knowledge of Lord Voldemort's return became public, Cornelius Fudge's days as Minister would be numbered. When Voldemort was seen in the Ministry, it became immediately obvious that Dumbledore had been telling the truth about his return for a year, and Fudge had been trying to discredit him for what suddenly seemed very petty reasons. It is not surprising that Fudge's tenure was less than two weeks after this revelation; it is equally not surprising that, given the fact that the Wizarding world was suddenly under siege, the obvious choice for Fudge's replacement would be someone from the Auror's office.

Scrimgeour seems to be cut of the same fabric as Bartemius Crouch Sr., there to get the job done, and to tread on toes if that's what it takes. While we don't yet know if Scrimgeour has authorized the use of deadly force by Aurors, as Crouch did, he is keeping Stan Shunpike locked up without trial. Sirius Black told us long before that the same had happened to him; he had been sent to Azkaban without trial by Crouch.

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.