Among the many fan theories about the Harry Potter universe floating around the internet is a compelling one: Cornelius Fudge was a Death Eater, and therefore a supporter of Voldemort. Specifically, he was a deeply undercover agent for Voldemort — so undercover that not even the Order of the Phoenix suspected him. Let’s go through Fudge’s various actions in the books, and see how they match this theory.
Actions in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Although he’s in the chronology in much more stated ways, Fudge first appears in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the book, he arrives to arrest Hagrid, allegedly to stop the attacks throughout the school. Lucius Malfoy also arrives to remove Dumbledore from the headmaster position.
It’s good that Fudge is attempting to make Hogwarts less of a giant deathtrap, but there are two flaws in this. First, Moaning Myrtle could verify that Hagrid wasn’t responsible. This is in line with Fudge’s pattern of only appearing to deal with problems rather than actually doing something about them. The other flaw is why doesn’t Fudge do anything all the other times Hogwarts has been a massive deathtrap? In the previous book, the school held a three-headed dog the size of a double-decker accordion bus! Fudge did nothing. Also, when students were ordered into a forest that was known to have someone killing unicorns, flesh-eating spiders the size of a truck, and other dangerous things, Fudge did nothing. Fudge also doesn’t do much about Lucius Malfoy removing Dumbledore either. Yes, he verbally protests, but that’s it.
Fudge’s actions make more sense if he is a Death Eater. First, it’s obvious that Hagrid wasn’t responsible, as the spider he raised can’t even petrify people which is what was going on. Furthermore, Moaning Myrtle can verify his innocence. Fudge’s actions make no sense until you remember that a Death Eater would want to eliminate a supporter of Dumbledore. And Hagrid supports Dumbledore. A politically smart Death Eater would want to look like a hero in the process of eliminating a Dumbledore supporter. And Fudge is good in politics. These actions point to the theory that Fudge was a Death Eater eliminating an enemy in a way that was to his political advantage.
Dumbledore’s Removal is a Mistake
As a side note, Ron states that without Dumbledore, the attacks will get a lot worse. This is exactly what happens when Ginny is taken to the Chamber. If it’s obvious to Ron, then shouldn’t it be obvious to the Minister of Magic that removing Dumbledore is a bad idea? If the safety of his constituents were Fudge’s priority, he would have kept Dumbledore in office. Yet he doesn’t.
A Death Eater would want Dumbledore out of the way so the plan would go more smoothly, which is exactly what Lucius Malfoy, a known Death Eater, shoots for. Fudge barely acts. The theory here is that Fudge knew about the plan to resurrect Voldemort, and was aiding the plan. It would explain why the Ministry barely reacts to the attack of three people and a cat in what is obviously a serial hate crime. Perhaps Fudge was impeding the investigation. It would also explain why no further investigation happens after Ginny is rescued. Ultimately, Fudge’s actions in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets make more sense if you believe that Fudge was a Death Eater.
Actions in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Fudge appears several times in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Fudge’s first appearance is after Harry blows up Aunt Marge by accident. This doesn’t do much for Fudge other than show he’s willing to ignore a horrible person being nearly killed. Considering how Death Eaters routinely murder muggles for LOLs, it makes sense that Fudge is a Death Eater in this storyline. It also makes sense if you assume that he wants to laugh at the suffering of terrible people, but hides it.
The most interesting scene Fudge appears in is much later in the book. After Harry wakes up in the hospital wing of the school, Fudge plans to get a Dementor to kiss Sirius Black. This doesn’t make sense for the Minister for Magic. A competent leader would keep Black alive to interrogate him. Smart people would want to figure out how he escaped Azkaban to prevent future breaches. Fudge doesn’t do this. Do you know who would want as many security holes in Azkaban as possible? A Death Eater. The Death Eaters run several mass breakouts over the course of the books, and they would want the prison to have as many holes as possible for their advantage.
Furthermore, Sirius Black was a member of the Order of the Phoenix – enemies of Death Eaters. By giving a Dementor an opportunity to kiss Sirius Black, a Death Eater could eliminate an enemy and reinforce an alliance with an ally. Fudge’s actions are lockstep with the agenda of the Death Eaters.
Fudge’s actions make no sense for the Minister of Magic. They do, however, make perfect sense for a Death Eater.
Actions in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The most obvious evidence that Fudge was a Death Eater was in The Goblet of Fire. First of all, Fudge approved the restart of the Triwizard Tournament. It was discontinued because the death rate was absurdly high. Anybody who deliberately restarted that tournament is effectively a murderer! That’s not proof Fudge is a Death Eater, just proof that he’s a homicidal sociopath.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Death Eaters attack the Quidditch World Cup. At this point in the books, this was the largest attack the Wizard community had seen since the downfall of Voldemort. Yet, we never hear of any investigation of it. It’s almost as if someone in the government was actively suppressing an investigation.
Fudge Maintains His Cover
Fudge’s most obvious actions are at the end of The Goblet of Fire. Barty Crouch Jr. had escaped Azkaban and was impersonating Mad-Eye Moody. When his cover was blown, Fudge got a Dementor to kiss Crouch. Even Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall call him out on this being evil and stupid. Fudge’s actions here make no sense for the Minister of Magic. Again, the sane thing to do would be to interrogate him and have him go to trial to name as many Death Eaters as possible, to try to limit any damage he could do. Fudge has a Dementor kill a critical witness.
However, Fudge’s actions make perfect sense for a Death Eater. The last time Crouch Jr’s cover was blown, he tried to reveal the identities of a bunch of other Death Eaters to the court in exchange for a lenient sentence. The Death Eaters didn’t want this to happen again. The Death Eaters knew that if Crouch Jr. was captured, he would be a massive security breach. Fudge then has a Dementor kiss Crouch Jr. This would reinforce their alliance with the Dementors by providing another soul. This also eliminates the potential security breach. Fudge’s actions here make perfect sense for a Death Eater, and no sense for the Minister of Magic.
Actions in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Fudge doesn’t appear as much in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but his actions still contribute to this theory.
Fudge’s first appearance is when he instigates the trial against Harry Potter for using underage magic. In that trial, there are many witnesses available that indicate rogue Dementors. There’s Mrs. Figg and Harry as witnesses, and the Dursleys could be called to testify as well. Eventually, the court agrees by a majority that the rogue Dementors would be a significant threat, thus allowing underage magic, so they find Harry not guilty. This is compelling proof for rogue Dementors. Dumbledore states that this is grounds for a VERY in-depth investigation. However, no investigation happens, at least, none shown in the books. It’s almost as if Fudge didn’t want to disturb the Death Eaters’ allies.
The most critical piece of evidence is this: Throughout Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix, Fudge actively tries to discredit Dumbledore and vindicate him. He even makes an absurd public theory that Dumbledore is plotting a coup. Except, as Hermione Granger points out, this makes no sense, since Dumbledore had turned down the position before. So Fudge’s only stated reason for making Dumbledore look bad makes no sense. Who else would want Dumbledore to have as few followers as possible? The Death Eaters.
Criticisms of the Theory
A criticism of this theory is that Fudge could be under the Imperius Curse. However, as indicated in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, as well as the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, you can tell when a person is under this curse. In Order of the Phoenix, it’s explicitly stated that the Order is pretty sure that Fudge isn’t under the curse.
Having looked at all of his important actions throughout the books, I have concluded that Cornelius Fudge was, in fact, a Death Eater.