Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 98

This week, we take one of your Audioboo questions as our question of the week. The question asks you to consider what is going on inside the Minister for Magic’s head.

Since Fudge and Umbridge think that Hagrid of going to see the giants in his absence from Hogwarts, and given we know Fudge does not believe Voldemort is truly back, do you think Fudge believes Dumbledore sent Hagrid to the giants in a recruiting effort to build an army against Fudge?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and tune in next week to see if your ideas are discussed on the show!

  • Yes.

    • HallowsMaster97

      i couldn’t have said it better. Fudge is a very biased and cynical man at this point in the books and I believe that the first conclusion he would have jumped to was Dumbledore using giants against the ministry.

  • AstroBlack

    I think it’s most likely that Fudge is interpreting Dumbledore’s actions as a continuation of Dumbledore’s plot to use the ruse of Voldemort’s return as a means to usurp him. In other words, (from Fudge’s perspective) OF COURSE Dumbledore would recruit the giants! They were used in the first wizarding war! Obviously Fudge isn’t the sharpest tool, so I have trouble giving him the credit to be creative enough to offer any explanation other than a simplistically cockamamie appeal to a red herring (a thing for which he seems in constant search).

    Also, and this is more for next week (so you can freely ignore it)… It’s hard to stop between chapters… But credit to Noah because on p. 462 of the American edition, when Harry is dreaming about his experience with Cho after the DA meeting, Hermione tells Harry he should have at least given Cho his Firebolt if not his chocolate frogs. And in that moment, I knew the Firebolt’s connection to a phallus was not merely unconscious. So you win, sir.

    • Kat

      I approve of this comment, on Noah’s behalf. I read it to him over the phone and he LOL’d! Great work 🙂

  • Celestina Is My Homegirl

    I definitely believe that Fudge thinks Hagrid and Maxime are recruiting giants for Dumbledore’s supposed army.

    This is a Minister who won’t allow students at Hogwarts to practice defensive magic for fear that Dumbledore will recruit them o fight against the Ministry. If he’s nervous about a group of teenagers I think it’s definitely reasonable to assume that the threat of giants being part of the uprising would be nothing short of terrifying to him. At the end of Goblet of Fire, when Dumbledore is trying to convince Fudge to act on Harry’s information that Voldemort is back, he tells Fudge that he should attempt to negotiate with the giants. I think that it’s highly likely that Fudge, with this advice in mind, would believe that Dumbledore would attempt to recruit the giants and what’s more, with two half-giants doing the negotiating, I think Fudge would believe that Dumbledore could succeed in doing so.

  • Hufflepug

    I think Fudge may have immediately believed Dumbledore was recruiting the giants for the fight against Voldemort, but he convinced himself (and Umbridge, Percy, and the gang) that they were for an army against the Ministry. This is because Fudge seems to be in denial. Any sane person would have responded to Dumbledore’s claims about Voldemort returning with further investigation – keeping an eye on those who were associated with him in the past, looking for signs of dark magic, using veritaserum or the pensieve, etc. Not Fudge. I think there is a tiny part of Fudge that truly believes what Dumbledore is telling him since he knows Dumbledore is wise, but his fear of Voldemort returning and his insecurities about his capabilities as Minister vs. Dumbledore’s superiority cause him to suppress those beliefs enough to make Dumbledore out to be the liar. Like I said, he and most of the wizarding world are in denial and they are searching for ways to reinforce their false beliefs. It’s kind of like those people who think Elvis is still alive – of course he’s not; they just can’t accept that. So I think Fudge truly believes the giants are for the fight against Voldemort, but that tiny belief is in the farthest, darkest corner of his mind.

  • WizardorWhat

    I don’t think that the Ministry know where Hagrid and Madam Maxime have gone – Hagrid tells us that they ‘ managed ter give the berk tailin’ us the slip round abou’ Dee-John’. This also explains why Umbridge attempts to interrogate him on his return – why do that if you already know where he’s been? Had Fudge known about the trip, I’d have expected him to do the same thing that he did later when he found ‘evidence’ that Dumbledore was raising an army – attempt to arrest him/Hagrid and send them to Azkaban.

    • I agree, but think that while Fudge doesn’t know, Umbridge has been able to figure it out – she pointedly asks if he’s been in the mountains.
      Maybe she thinks Fudge would think the idea way too far-fetched, so she doesn’t run it by him. Instead, she asks/interrogates Hagrid on her own accord, hoping to get a confession out of him – which would not only confirm her theory to Fudge, but also get Hagrid fired or even arrested.

      • WizardorWhat

        After Hagrid says that he’s been on holiday for a ‘change o’ scene’, the exact words are ‘”Mountain scenery?” said Umbridge swiftly’.

        Umbridge clearly suspects (or possibly knows) that Hagrid’s been near mountains. Presumably this can only be through Ministry intelligence. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the Ministry knows where he’s been. The only thing that we know they know is that Hagrid was heading east through France (since they followed him as far as Dijon), and might have surmised that he was heading toward whatever mountain range he was heading toward. However, the suspicion that he’s been carvorting with giants could still be at a very vague level, and might well have been one of various theories being considered by the Ministry as to where Hagrid had gone. Since the Death Eaters know (through Macnair), it could also be that Lucius Malfoy has been dropping hints to the Minister, though these could only be at the vaguest possible level.

        I agree that that Umbridge is probably simply testing this theory to see how Hagrid would react. But since she doesn’t push the question, and there’s no later suggestion that the Ministry know what Hagrid’s up to, I find it hard to believe that they have reached any concrete conclusion that Hagrid was sent to court the giants for Dumbledore.

        • Yepp! I definitely agree – Umbridge connected two and two, and suspects where Hagrid was, but has no evidence.
          As for why it’s never brought up again: Ultimately, her goal is to get rid of Hagrid. She probably figured it’d be quick and easy to weasel (sorry, Ron) the information that might confirm her theory out of Hagrid, based on her opinion of half-breeds. But it wasn’t (go, Hagrid!), and she has neither the time nor the patience to keep on that route, so she went for the easier, quicker method (inspection, probation, firing).

  • DisKid

    Of course! No doubt in my mind. Dumbledore could be finding the cure for being a werewolf and Fudge would be convinced he’s really trying to sick a whole bunch of werewolves on him.

  • ChocolateFrogRavenclaw

    I think that Fudge is refusing to even think this through, because I think that deep down, Fudge does suspect that Voldemort is back. However, admitting that would mean conceding to Dumbledore (in his view) and that is not something that Fudge is going to do. He probably thinks that Dumbledore is recruiting to raise an army up against Fudge just so he doesn’t have to even remotely consider that Voldemort is back. We know Fudge is not necessarily a supporter of rights for magical creatures (from Dumbledore, we also know that Fudge puts emphasis on whether or not people are purebloods) and because of this, he probably views Giants as inferior to wizards. Combined with his fear of Dumbledore and fear of losing his power, I definitely think that he views the whole situation as something against him.
    On a slightly related note, we see that Fudge is incredibly narcissistic. He cannot think outside the box of the ministry and of himself. No matter what happens in the greater world, he will take it personally and offensively.

  • SnugglesWithNifflers

    I like the idea of MacNair being a double agent. I wonder if Fudge actually did take Dumbledore’s advice to send envoys to the giants seriously, and sent MacNair. Much like how later in the book Snape pretends not to listen to Harry’s warning about Sirius being in the Ministry later, but still takes it seriously and checks into it. Or, it is possible that Fudge sent MacNair to the giants to try to recruit them in a war against Dumbledore. If Fudge believes Dumbledore is undermining him, he may take a more aggressive role to prevent his power being stolen from him. Macnair must to some extent have been there on Ministry orders, otherwise how could he take off that much time off from his important job executing creatures?