Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/Ministry of Magic
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The Ministry of Magic is the government body of the wizarding world in Britain, and has physical offices in London, apparently deep underground. In The Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter, as in the Harry Potter series in general, the term is used to refer both to the physical place, and to the government body housed therein. This article will concentrate on the physical location, with events that occur therein; the organization, and its effects, are discussed in another article.
We first hear of the Ministry in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Hagrid comments disparagingly about it while reading the Daily Prophet. However, we don't actually get to see the physical Ministry location until the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
The visitor's entrance of the Ministry of Magic is an abandoned red telephone phone booth; one enters the Ministry by dialing "62442" ("magic"). While we don't know if it was different before the accession of Voldemort's puppet Minister, Pius Thicknesse, by the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of the normal means of entrance for employees is via a particular public lavatory; one opens the lavatory booth with a special token and then flushes oneself to the Ministry. We are told that the Atrium is lined with fireplaces, so we must also assume that there are multiple connections to the Floo network; however, we do not see anyone traveling to the Ministry with Floo powder, though we are led to believe that the toilets deposit one in one of the fireplaces. It is difficult to imagine either Cornelius Fudge or Pius Thicknesse using a public lavatory to go to work, so we suppose that they, at least, are able to use the Floo network to reach the Ministry directly.
We see the inside of the Ministry on three occasions; however, as is to be expected with such a large organization, we actually see very little of the workings of the place.
Early in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is summoned to a hearing concerning his apparent breaking of the Statute for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery. He accompanies Mr. Weasley to his work, entering through the Visitor's Entrance, and passes through the Auror offices on his way to Mr. Weasley's office. Finding that the hearing has moved, Mr. Weasley takes Harry down to the courtrooms on the level below the Atrium.
Later in that same book, Harry comes to believe that Sirius Black is being tortured by Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries in the basement of the Ministry, and, along with five other students, flies to London to rescue him. It turns out to be a trap set by Voldemort, and a battle ensues, in the course of which the Atrium's Fountain of Magical Brethren is destroyed.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, Hermione, and Ron, searching for the Locket Horcrux, enter the Ministry in disguise. They have learned that Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry functionary, currently has the locket, and hope to find some clue as to where it could be. In the course of this visit, we see the floor of the Ministry which is used by the Minister and his close staff, the Atrium, and the courtrooms. One of the areas we visit seems to be a flourishing propaganda production group. In the course of this visit, Harry does manage to recover the locket.
We should note that Level 1 of the Ministry is the top floor, with the Atrium and main entrance being located seven floors below it.
- Level 1: Minister of Magic and Support Staff
- Level 2: Department of Magical Law Enforcement
- Improper Use of Magic Office
- Auror Headquarters
- Wizengamot Administration Services
- Level 3: Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
- Accidental Magic Reversal Squad
- Obliviator Headquarters
- Muggle-Worthy Excuses Committee
- Level 4: Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
- Beast, Being and Spirit Divisions
- Pest Advisory Bureau
- Level 5: Department of International Magical Cooperation
- International Magical Trading Standards Body
- International Magical Office of Law
- International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats
- Level 6: Department of Magical Transportation
- Floo Network Authority
- Broom Regulatory Control
- Portkey Office
- Apparition Test Center
- Level 7: Department of Magical Games and Sports
- British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters
- Official Gobstones Club
- Ludicrous Patents Office
- Level 8: Department of Magical Education
- Wizarding Examination Authority
- Department of Mysteries
Part of the discussion of the Ministry premises revolves around the problem of keeping such a large organization hidden from the Muggles, it being simpler to hide than to explain the presence of a multi-story building, apparently Government-owned, but with no apparent purpose. We learn that the Ministry is entirely located underground, and that one of the issues facing the Ministry maintenance wizards is the underground environment. In Harry's first visit to the Ministry, he learns that the windows spotted around the Ministry do not reflect the outside world, but are fabrications of the maintenance workers, and that a contract dispute had resulted in the windows showing stormy weather for two solid months no matter what the outside weather was doing. We also learn that the maintenance workers have full control of the office environment; in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it apparently has become fairly common for rainstorms to occur in the offices of those who the maintenance workers don't approve of, such as Yaxley who worked for the Muggle Born Registration Committee.
- We see rather a lot of the Department of Mysteries during the battle. We actually see rooms or wings dedicated to three mysteries, and hear later of a room dedicated to a fourth. What are the four mysteries that we see or hear about? What other mysteries might there be?
In the Battle at the Department of Mysteries, Harry first opens a door onto a room full of brains in tanks; presumably this is the Mystery of Consciousness or Thought. The second, the amphitheatre with the Veil, is apparently the mystery of Death. The third, that Harry cannot open, we learn later is the room of the mystery of Love. The fourth is the room of the mystery of Time. Everything that we find in the first room is somehow related to Time. The Hall of Prophecies beyond that is also clearly related to Time. We learn that in the course of the battle, Ron, Ginny, and Luna pass through a room containing a model of the planets; this may be dedicated to the mystery of Space, though it is probably more to do with Astronomy, and the effects of planetary position on various spells.
While this is never explicitly stated, it appears from the directions that people travel through the Department that there are often physical connections between related Mysteries. As mentioned, the Hall of Prophecies is clearly related to Time, but clearly it is also related to Consciousness, and so there should be a door from that room to the brain room. The mysteries of Death and Consciousness are clearly related, and we see that there is a direct passageway from one to the other as Harry chases Bellatrix out of the amphitheater of the Veil. The library area where Harry and the students are cornered is obviously intended for the study of many Mysteries and has direct links to several.
As the circular chamber leading into the Department of Mysteries has twelve doors, one of which is the exit, there must be a total of eleven mysteries. If Space is one of them, we have heard of five, and six must remain, assuming none of the doors are traps. We can safely guess that one of the remaining six is Magic, and that it will be a large and extremely busy area with connections to nearly all other Mysteries.