Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 48

It’s time again for another question for you all from this week’s chapter! This week’s question comes from Eric, who’s asking about the Ministry response.

In this chapter, all ministry officials are in an “all hands on deck” mode – even Arthur, who is working in an off-department (about Muggle Artifacts) – and Percy, an assistant, are going in to work to try and keep some of the slanderous acts of Rita Skeeter, and the general fright and mayhem from consuming the public and bringing down the government. Since the Dark Mark event didn’t leave a huge physical mess to clean up, how should the Ministry be handling this PR issue, and what do we think everyone is doing, day in / day out??

Post your answers here and they might be read on the show!

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  • Leslie Nichols

    Knowing, the Ministry, I’d say that it’s likely that they’re doing their usual- making it look like they’re doing something when they really aren’t doing anything at all. I’m sure they’re putting out loads of “info” about having leads on those responsible, while reassuring the public that “death eater” activity has no ties to a return of Voldemort. As for what Percy and Arthur are up to: I would say that Crouch is fairly busy with everything going on, and Percy is having to do a lot of menial tasks. I could also see Percy choosing to go in, even if he isn’t really needed. He does tend to make himself seem more important than he is. Arthur on the other hand, is having do what is described in the chapter. He seems to be taking insurance claims. I’m not sure how that fits in his job description, but that’s what I’ve always pictured based on the text.

  • Pigwidgeon

    As Leslie said, Percy is probably picking up Crouch’s slack since he’s probably working on finding the Death Eater’s responsible and arranging court dates, as well as dealing with other magical governments since there were so many at the tournament–explaining what was going on, possibly trying to prevent any legal action, etc. So Percy, (along with a bunch of other assistants) is probably responding to owls and putting stamps on things–basically doing Crouch’s everyday job, even possibly something to do with the Triwizard Tournament. Arthur has been temporarily relocated, as it’s said he’s taking insurance claims. I think it’s been said in previous books that Arthur doesn’t really get to do much and it’s only him and one other guy in their tiny office so he’s almost there just to fill in for whatever needs to be done. We only really see him doing his job in Chamber of Secrets when he has a bunch of raids (“Nine raids, nine!”). Arthur ends up doing this again in Deathly Hallows. He’s probably not looking for misused artifacts at that time, and the fact that the ministry has been taken over the Death Eaters probably don’t want him helping muggles, so he’s assigned some other job to keep him busy and out of the way. At this time, it’s doing whatever needs to be done to get as much cover up done as possible. Maybe even working with that muggle family from the campsite.

  • Marge Miller

    there was no mention of Arthur taking insurance claims. Rather, Percy mentions that people want compensation for destroyed property. Percy is also putting out fires, literally. Howlers have been sent and they are exploding. Arthur, on the other hand, is good at smoothing out messes. He knows how to talk to people, to reassure them that the Ministry is working hard on finding out who cast the Dark Mark.
    Arthur might not be high in the Ministry, but he is still important. If he wasn’t needed to help out, he would have stayed home. It’s people like the Malfoys who put him down, and Fudge didn’t think Arthur had any ambition.

  • Tweak6

    Well, what the Ministry should be doing is trying to calm everybody down, releasing confident statements that assure the public that there is nothing to worry about. We don’t see any more of the aftermath of the incident once Harry goes to school, but based on the complete disbelief that Harry meets when he says that Voldemort is back (however much this attitude is influenced by the ministry), I’d say that the Ministry must succeed in convincing everybody that it was a one off and that Death Eaters arn’t running rampant.

    Arthur probably has to do work tying in with the Magical Law Enforcement’s follow up with obliviating the muggles etc, due to the way his job has to do with muggle artifacts. And Percy’s department is probably having diplomacy issues with hurt foreign wizards, and bet other countries accuse the Ministry of not having security issues, which the Department of International Relations would have to clean up.

  • Leah McCurdy

    The insurance issue is interesting. So is the Ministry involved in insuring people’s property? Or is this just a result of people thinking that the Ministry SHOULD compensate them? If the Ministry does have an insurance function, doesn’t this implicate taxes? How else would they pay out for insurance? Or is insurance privatized in the wizarding world?
    Also, I think there would be a lot of diplomacy going on as well. Making sure all countries are on the same page that this was not an incident orchestrated by the Ministry or at all affiliated. I would even expect that there would have to be damage control about keeping other dignitaries “happy” with the british government.
    I would imagine that there would have to be some medical attention to people that may have been hrt during the riots. The Ministry would probably have to coordinate with St. Mungos to ensure that everyone is taken care of. Related question… do wizards have to pay for treatments at St. Mungos? Is it state-run and so free?
    Also, I would imagine that the Aurors would be mobilized to pursue suspects in the riot events and most especially the individual responsible for the dark mark. Of course, we know who it was but I imagine they would have to pursue other options. I understand about the cynicism of the Ministry but we have to remember that there are competent members …. Kinsley Shacklebolt is working as an Auror and I’m sure on top of his job.
    Also, I imagine there is just a deluge of owls from people and they just need all hands on deck to respond appropriately or ignore the ones that are ridiculous. I think this shows that at least the Ministry tries to do the jobs they’re meant to do.

  • froggyhpmb3

    I would say that in a time of crisis (even if it is just PR) the ministry would want all hands on deck. They want to make it look as though they have everything under control. It’s like in HBP where they arrest Stan Shunpike even though its pretty clear to everyone that knows him that he isn’t a Death Eater. Everyone is probably working overtime at their jobs. The increased work should essentially get a higher amount of work done to make it look like they’re getting something done. Whether that is the case is debatable and it really works against them because it makes them look like they are floundering.

  • Guest

    The Ministry is dealing with a PR disaster, but also a diplomatic disaster and a reparations crisis. PR wise, neither Percy nor Mr. Weasley should be working on this–especially since Mr. Weasley was an instrument in Rita Skeeter’s article. The PR department will probably be working with the press, trying to silence Rita as much as possible.
    Percy, as an assistant, often has more work than his superiors! He has to stay there as long as Mr. Crouch stays there (he probably wants to anyways), in order to be of any help should anything turn up. He also has to deal with the day-to-day of organizing the Triwizard tournament. As a member of the International Relations department, he probably has a huge international fallout from this, and is therefore organising diplomatic conference calls and portkeys, as well as needing to take into account reparations, insurance claims, and probable lawsuits from all around the wizarding world, let alone Britain!
    While Percy deals with the international wizarding fallout, Mr. Weasley is most probably dealing with muggle relations at this time. He might be arguing the case for Mr. Roberts and against using muggle campgrounds in the future, as well as figuring out how to deal with the campsite, stadium, and the reinsertion of Mr. Roberts into muggle life–as well as watching out for other riots which might occur in muggle areas (after all, in our world, riots tend to spread rather than become localised episodes). I would also assume he is putting in a double shift to make up for his ‘blunder’ in the Daily Prophet.

  • Marine

    The Ministry is dealing with a PR disaster, but also a diplomatic disaster and a reparations crisis. PR wise, neither Percy nor Mr. Weasley should be working on this–especially since Mr. Weasley was an instrument in Rita Skeeter’s article. The PR department will probably be working with the press, trying to silence Rita as much as possible.
    Percy, as an assistant, often has more work than his superiors! He has to stay there as long as Mr. Crouch stays there (he probably wants to anyways), in order to be of any help should anything turn up. He also has to deal with the day-to-day of organizing the Triwizard tournament. As a member of the International Relations department, he probably has a huge international fallout from this, and is therefore organising diplomatic conference calls and portkeys, as well as needing to take into account reparations, insurance claims, and probable lawsuits from all around the wizarding world, let alone Britain!
    While Percy deals with the international wizarding fallout, Mr. Weasley is most probably dealing with muggle relations at this time. He might be arguing the case for Mr. Roberts and against using muggle campgrounds in the future, as well as figuring out how to deal with the campsite, stadium, and the reinsertion of Mr. Roberts into muggle life–as well as watching out for other riots which might occur in muggle areas (after all, in our world, riots tend to spread rather than become localised episodes). I would also assume he is putting in a double shift to make up for his ‘blunder’ in the Daily Prophet.

    I know that a lot of the time the Ministry is useless, but I still believe that at moments like this, in the face of potential international humiliation, it is definitely working hard on saving face. However, I would like to point out that we never hear of any arrests made for the riot, why were the Aurors not active in finding the Death Eaters? It might have been nice to get some before Voldemort came back.

  • StoneHallows

    If you think about how we Muggles would react to something like this, there will be plenty for them to do. First, I’m sure everyone in PR is up to their eyeballs in problems, so their regular work is being left undone. If someone else is pulled from their usual job to help the PR department out, then THEIR work needs to be covered, and so on. I know in my engineering firm, if a group of people are pulled to work on a huge project, others have to fill in for the company to continue running smoothly, sometimes doing work they wouldn’t normally do. Secondly, I would think the magic community would be rioting the same way Muggles would. That will only add more confusion and work for all related departments, and thus create even more work that needed to be done. Not to mention that Percy would go into work even if he wasn’t needed, but as an assistant, he would probably be busy doing the grunt work for his boss, who would be very hectic and exhausted at this point. Percy would love to feel as if he is helping lift the weight off the shoulders of his idol.

  • awkwardjenny

    I think everyone has summed it up pretty well. I would also suspect that those in the ministry who deal with foreign affairs are trying to reassure the other wizarding schools involved in the triwizard tournament (Durmstrang and Beauxbatons) of the safety of their students since they will be traveling to the very country where this resurgence of dark wizarding activity has taken place. Aurors are no doubt trying to figure out what everyone saw that night and who was responsible by staking out ex-death eaters and questioning world cup attendees. I’m sure that damage control is being done in the fallout of “leprechaun-gold-gate,” which might involve Arthur communicating with Bill as a go-between with the Goblins who will no doubt be coming after the ministry/Ludo Bagman for their share of the disappearing gold. Besides this, I would bet Arthur is also working with operatives in the muggle community to ensure their protection and the continued secrecy of the wizard world in the wake of a large scale threat to muggle security (as seen by the reprehensible acts of the death eaters to the Roberts family, and the fact that muggles were heavily targeted in the first war). Percy is probably busy folding and charming thousands of inter-departmental paper airplane memos. Ooh, hope he doesn’t get too many paper cuts ;)

  • HallowsMaster97

    So a lot of comments have discussed what Arthur and Percy might be doing at work and I agree with most of them. What I’m wondering is…what are the top guns at the ministry doing?
    I’m curious as to how Fudge is taking this incident. I bet a load of people took this as a sign of Voldemort coming back or getting stronger. Perhaps Fudge was getting the ministry executives to figure out how to calm the public or divert their attention from this incident. I imagine he would be talking with foreign ministers and contacting the international wizard community during this time. Everyone is stressed and since the world cup was the responsibility of the M.O.M, they have some explaining to do.
    Also, I’m sure that there were some concerns for Triwizard tournament from the magical community. I think security would have been upgraded so the ministry could promise safety to the students.
    In general, the ministry had a lot on it’s plate and they required “all hands on deck”. I believe that some ministry workers, Arthur for example, were working a lot harder than others but overall the ministry handled the situation reasonably well.

  • http://book7.co.uk/ Cassandra Vablatsky

    Interestingly, we revisit this very episode in flashback later in the series, throwing some light on your question. In HBP1 (‘The Other Minister ‘), we see Fudge making one of his chaotic visits to the Muggle Prime Minister in the aftermath of the Quidditch World Cup. On this occasion, a visibly flustered Minister of Magic tells his Muggle counterpart ‘”that there had been a spot of bother … that several Muggles had been ‘involved’, but that the Prime Minister was not to worry, the fact that You-Know-Who’s Mark had been seen again meant nothing; Fudge was sure it was an isolated incident and the Muggle Liaison Office was dealing with all memory modifications as they spoke’”.

    Fudge is supposed to inform the Muggle PM whenever something occurs to affect Muggles, so this visit is part of the clean-up operation which extends to the Muggle world. It’s perhaps significant that Fudge is described as ‘harassed-looking’ though his words are (meant to be) reassuring. For all Fudge’s bluster and bravado, I was left wondering if he really believes his own propaganda at this point or is simply willing it to be true? Presumably, the Ministry made some semblance of investigating the ‘incident’ (to rule out Voldemort’s involvement) – but as usual, they fudged it! Interesting too that the Death Eaters seem to have escaped blame: “We can’t prove it was them, Bill’, said Mr Weasley’, (GOF9); Lucius Malfoy’s gold is being well spent…