"They wanted Dumbledore fer Minister, o' course, but he'd never leave Hogwarts, so old Cornelius Fudge got the job. Bungler if ever there was one. So he pelts Dumbledore with owls every morning, askin' fer advice."
-- Rubeus Hagrid to Harry Potter (PS5)
"You are blinded by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius! You place too much importance, and you always have done, on the so-called purity of blood! You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be!"
-- Albus Dumbledore (GF36)
Cornelius Oswald Fudge was Minister of Magic from 1990 (according to The Quibbler, OP10) until June 1996 when he was replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour. He had been Junior Minister in the Department of Magical Catastrophes when Sirius Black was arrested for the murder of Peter Pettigrew (PA10). Fudge became Minister of Magic upon Millicent Bagnold’s retirement, since Bartemius Crouch Sr. had lost his shot at the job, and Dumbledore refused the post. At the beginning of his tenure as Minister of Magic, he sent Dumbledore owls frequently, seeking advice about what to do.
Fudge is somewhat weak, swayed by money and addicted to his own position and privilege. Fudge is impressed by wizarding families with pure bloodlines and by generous donations. As a result, he favors people like Lucius Malfoy and looks down on people like the Weasleys. Fudge also believed that the ends could justify the means; Fudge’s unquestioning trust and use of the Dementors would be disastrous for the Wizarding world he was charged to protect.
On the surface, Fudge would seem to be a kindly, blustering, somewhat pompous fellow who is essentially good-natured. However, when faced with the worst news possible, Fudge blinked (GF36). He ignored Harry’s eyewitness evidence of Voldemort‘s return — indeed, he used all the power of his ministry to repress Harry’s news. Why? Was he listening too much to the likes of Lucius Malfoy? Was he too frightened of what it would mean? Did he really think that Dumbledore would try to take over? Whatever the reason, instead of helping wizarding Britain prepare for Voldemort’s return, Fudge used the Daily Prophet to spread lies about Harry and Dumbledore, and even installed an operative within Hogwarts in the person of Dolores Umbridge. Fudge was finally forced to acknowledge the truth when he witnessed the duel between Dumbledore and a very real Voldemort the end of the battle of the Department of Mysteries.
Approximately eleven days later Fudge was sacked and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour (HBP1).
- Hair: rumpled, gray.
- Distinguishing features: a portly little man.
- Middle name: Oswald (OP6).
- Age: past middle age (?).
- Clothes: pinstriped suit, scarlet tie, long black cloak, pointed purple boots, lime green bowler hat (CS14); bottle-green suit, pinstriped cloak (PA3)
- After being removed from office Fudge is described as being careworn, thinner, balder, grayer, and with a "crumpled" looking face (HBP1).
- Drink: red currant rum (PA10), amber liquid (HBP1).
- Marital status: married (GF28).
Nephew Rufus Fudge works at the Ministry in the Improper Use of Magic Office (DP2).
Other canon notes and references
His election slogan was "A fair deal for wizards who deal fair with Muggles" (DP2).
Fudge awarded himself an Order of Merlin (O.M.), which caused a few grumbles and raised eyebrows (Pm).
Years later, Fudge was still remembered for denying and ignoring the growing crisis of Voldemort's comeback (CC1.15).
"fudge" (Engl) = to cheat or behave dishonestly; to fail to fulfil a promise or obligation.
Rowling has stated that the character of Fudge was based upon Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister from 1937-1940 (XLS). Chamberlain so hoped to avert another war in Europe that he looked the other way when it came to the Nazi regime's atrocities and allowed Germany to annex parts of Czechoslovakia, calling it "peace for our time." He eventually declared war on Germany when Hitler invaded Poland. Chamberlain was succeeded as Prime Minister by Winston Churchill.
Born c. 1945