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Background: Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger just narrowly escaped (warned by Ron’s father work works at the Ministry of Magic, warning that the Ministry has fallen to Voldemort) from Death Eaters who crashed the wedding of Ron’s brother Bill to Fleur Delacour, looking for Harry. They managed to make it to Harry’s Godfather’s house (Sirius Black, who was murdered and willed the house to Harry), and have learned from the House-elf Kreacher that Sirius’s brother, Regulus, stole a Horcrux from Voldemort’s hiding place.
They receive a visit from Remus Lupin, a werewolf, Member of the Order of the Phoenix, and sometime professor at Hogwarts, and he tells them about all the changes happening in the Wizarding World, and at the Ministry, now that Voldemort is essentially in charge. Do these changes remind you of anything?
Harry reads the headline in the edition of the Wizarding world’s newspaper, the Daily Prophet:
WANTED FOR QUESTIONING ABOUT THE DEATH OF ALBUS DUMBLEDORE
Ron and Hermione gave roars of outrage, but Harry said nothing. He pushed the newspaper away; he did not want to read any more. He knew what it would say. Nobody but those who had been on top of the tower when Dumbledore died knew who had really killed him and, as Rita Skeeter had already told the Wizarding world, Harry was seen running from the place moments after Dumbledore had fallen.
“I’m sorry, Harry”, Lupin said.
“So Death Eaters have taken over the Daily Prophet, too?”, asked Hermione furiously.
“But surely people realize what’s going on?”
“The coup has been smooth and virtually silent,” said Lupin. “The official version of Scrimgeour’s [the minister of Magic] murder is that he resigned; he has been replaced by Pius Thicknesse, who is under the Imperius Curse.”
“Why didn’t Voldemort declare himself Minister of Magic?” asked Ron.
“He doesn’t need to, Ron. Effectively, he is the Minister, but why should he sit behind a desk at the Ministry? His puppet, Thicknesse, is taking care of everyday business, leaving Voldemort free to extend his power beyond the Ministry.
“Naturally many people have deduced what has happened: There has been such a dramatic change in Ministry policy in the last few days, and many are whispering that Voldemort must be behind it. However, that is the point: They whisper. They daren’t confide in each other, not knowing whom to trust; they are scared to speak out, in case their suspicions are true and their families are targeted. Yes, Voldemort is playing a very clever game. Declaring himself might have provoked open rebellion: Remaining masked has created uncertainty, confusion, and fear.”
“And this dramatic change in Ministry policy,” said Harry, “involves warning the Wizarding world against me instead of Voldemort?”
“That’s certainly part of it,” said Lupin, “and it is a masterstroke. Now that Dumbledore is dead, you–the Boy Who Lived–were sure to be the symbol and rallying point for any resistance to Voldemort. But by suggesting that you had a hand in the old hero’s death, Voldemort has not only set a price on your head, but sown doubt and fear amongst many who would have defended you.
“Meanwhile, the Ministry has started moving against Muggle-borns.” …
“Ron, as we’re on the run with Harry Potter, the most wanted person in the country, I don’t think it matters [said Hermione]. If I was going back to school it would be different. What’s Voldemort planning for Hogwarts?,” she asked Lupin.
“Attendance is now compulsory for every young witch or wizard,” he replied. “That was announced yesterday. It’s a change, because it was never obligatory before. Of course, nearly every witch and wizard in Britain has been educated at Hogwarts, but their parents had the right to teach them at home or send them abroad if they preferred. This way, Voldemort will have the whole Wizarding population under his eye from a young age. And it’s also another way of weeding out Muggle-borns, because students must be given Blood Status–meaning that they have proven to the Ministry that they are of Wizard descent–before they are allowed to attend.”
To me, this sounds very familiar, as if the same kind of changes are happening right here, and right now.
This quote is from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling. Pages 207-211 in the Scholastic edition.Published in