<A/N This story is a collection of articles taken from the Daily Prophet. I do not claim they accurately reflect how a newspaper would cover the events they portray. In most cases, I’ve included analysis and secondary plot lines in my main stories rather than writing sidebars and/or columns. This is done simply to keep the number of “chapters” to a minimum. Also, the reader should remember that this is the Daily Prophet. Things should be taken with a certain degree of scepticism.
This article is dedicated to my pre-beta Nancy Goldstein, who convinced me that, since the Prophet is a British newspaper, I should use British spelling. My sincerest thanks to her and to my other betas, LadyChi, Promethean Alchemist and Birgit.>
From the Daily Prophet of 17 May, 2000
Enough of Fudge’s folly
By Melpomene Fitzgerald
It seems things never get any better for scandal-plagued Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge.
Barely a week after he declared the struggle against Dark magic concluded at ceremonies marking the anniversary of He-Who-Need-Not-Be-Named-Anymore’s final defeat, Britain’s chief warlock has again found himself at odds with many of the nation’s most influential wizards. Perhaps this time it will cost him his job.
As always seems to be the case, Harry Potter is at the centre of the Minister’s latest headache. On Friday, the Boy Who Lived apprehended Peter Pettigrew, one of the last alleged inner-circle Death Eaters still at large, after a three-month search of the London Underground.
Though his actions in the service of the late Dark Lord are largely unknown, don’t be surprised if Pettigrew’s name strikes you as familiar. He is the same wizard who was awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class, in 1981 for confronting Sirius Black, the presumed betrayer of the Boy Who Lived’s parents, Lily and James Potter. What complicates the story is that Pettigrew supposedly died in that confrontation along with a dozen Muggle bystanders. Black was blamed for all 13 murders and sent to Azkaban without trial, while Pettigrew became a posthumous hero.
That this same Peter Pettigrew is a still-living Dark wizard, a fact confirmed by sources within the Magical Law Enforcement Squad, is in itself enough to throw serious doubt on the entire account of the events of more than 18 years ago. Add in the fact Harry Potter and other honourable wizards have long maintained Black -- who escaped from Azkaban in 1993 and died fighting alongside the Order of the Phoenix in the first battle of the recent war in 1996 -- was completely innocent, and there seems to be clear grounds for the case to be reconsidered.
According to high-ranking Ministry sources, that is just what the Boy Who Lived argued when he met with Minister Fudge on Monday to ask for Black’s posthumous exoneration. Not surprisingly, Fudge refused.
“Sirius Black was a dangerous man, a murderer,” the Minister told the Daily Prophet. “Nothing Potter, or anyone else, can say is going to make me change my mind.”
This one statement seems to epitomize the entirety of the Fudge regime. Whether it be his refusal to recognize the truth of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s return, his paranoid fear Albus Dumbledore was seeking to depose him, or his total disregard for the Death Eaters remaining at large after the Dark Lord’s fall, the Minister has never once allowed reason to change his mind before it was too late.
While it’s not on the life-or-death scale of his previous blunders, the Minister’s latest controversy could result in one significant casualty -- his own hold on power.
The opposition is already lining up behind Harry Potter in the Wizengamot. Respected members Dumbledore, Arthur Weasley and Nymphadora Tonks, with a growing number of supporters, are said to be pushing for Black’s case to be reopened. Should they gather enough votes to restore the apparently wrongfully imprisoned’s good name, they would also have the power to bring down the government with a no-confidence vote.
We can only hope.
The Minister’s intransigence, inaction and idiocy have repeatedly left Britain’s magical community vulnerable and violated. Only a new government -- one that will respond to difficulties, not ignore them -- will be able to prevent further ruin the next time the Dark side rises to challenge this nation’s tranquillity. In short, the time for change is now.
The response of Fudge’s closest supporters is as predictable as a hinkypunk in a hayfield and almost as compelling. “Who else is qualified to be Minister?” they ask every time a change on the First Level is suggested, and not without justification. Albus Dumbledore has flatly and repeatedly refused to leave Hogwarts, Kingsley Shacklebolt has been implicated in illegally giving aid and information to the Order of the Phoenix before the start of the war, and most of the rest of the high-ranking members of the pre-war government were, or maintained close dealings with, Death Eaters. There is, however, one man within the Ministry who is qualified and unquestionably beyond ethical reproach. He is none other than Harry Potter.
Though only 19, the Boy Who Lived is already the nation’s most distinguished Auror. He is thoroughly experienced in fighting Dark magic after his long-time struggle against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his subsequent capture of notable Death Eaters Pettigrew, Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. Mr. Potter is even familiar with the more underhanded workings of the government. He was the target of one of Fudge’s wizard hunts in 1995 (for the seemingly insignificant and unavoidable crime of using life-saving magic in front of a Muggle) and spent almost two years in the Ministry’s service -- simultaneously struggling against the last of Britain’s Dark wizards and the autocracy of a leadership that wanted the war forgotten before it was over.
What is most important about Mr. Potter, however, is the fact that he has the respect of every one of Britain’s decent witches and wizards. That’s something he’s earned through his stand for the truth and his selfless commitment to what is right.
“Harry is a great lad,” said Mundungus Fletcher, who served alongside Potter within the Order of the Phoenix and has since been elected to the Wizengamot. “He’s brave, honourable and even fun. He would make a fine Minister. If his name were to come up, I’d bloody well vote for him. I know most of my colleagues would too.”
In short, the Boy Who Lived has proven his ability to beat back evil, symbolizes integrity, has experience with the workings of the government and is easily electable. All we, the good witches and warlocks of Great Britain, need to do is make public the inner belief we have all carried these last 17 years -- a faith that Harry Potter will always find a way to triumph over whatever darkness might threaten us -- to make that truth the foundation of our government.
The young man who has already been leading us for so long should be the next Minister of Magic, if only to put an end to the constant folly of Cornelius Fudge.
Melpomene Fitzgerald is the Daily Prophet’s political columnist. Owl her at firstname.lastname@example.org.