At the heart of the Potterverse sits the British Ministry of Magic, the government authority that oversees everything in the British wizarding world. Even though audiences get a look inside its offices throughout the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films, most movie fans know more facts about the halls of Hogwarts than they do about the Ministry of Magic and its many divisions, such as the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Details about Ministry of Magic jobs and history aren't covered fully in the movies or even in the books, but these facts are still considered canon thanks to J.K. Rowling's expanded wizarding universe.
Even though the Ministry oversees everything from wands to Aurors, many Muggles still have a lot to learn about this bastion of wizarding society.
1. The Ministry Didn't Construct Azkaban - It Discovered The Wizarding PrisonPhoto: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros.
Casual fans of the Harry Potter franchise may not realize that the Ministry of Magic had nothing to do with the formation of Azkaban. The Dementor-filled wizard prison in the North Sea was initially built as a trap to lure Muggle sailors to its rocks (and their deaths) by a wizard named Ekrizdis.
The fortress was shrouded by concealment charms, but after Ekrizdis passed, his magic faded and left the fortress out in the open for the first time. Members of the Ministry of Magic investigated the building and found a nest of Dementors (among other terrifying sights). Rather than destroy Azkaban outright, the Ministry decided to make use of it.
In 1718, the island was finally put to use as a magical prison where the inhabitants were drained of their life force by the on-site Dementors. It held its place for generations until the Second Wizarding War.Interesting detail?
2. The Minister For Magic Banned Wizards From Taking Part In WWIPhoto: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire / Warner Bros.
On numerous occasions, the Minister for Magic has prohibited the wizarding community in Great Britain from lending a helping hand to Muggles. Minister Archer Evermonde, for example, strictly stated that no wizard could involve themselves in WWI, despite that's conflict's horrific circumstances.
Some wizards, however, made their way to the Muggle world to fight alongside the Allied forces.Interesting detail?
3. The Department Of Mysteries Is Older Than The Ministry Of MagicPhoto: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix / Warner Bros.
The Ministry of Magic's Department of Mysteries, established in the 17th century, has been part of the wizarding world for longer than the Ministry itself (which was established in 1707). The autonomous department, which doesn't report to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement like other Ministry subdivisions, has an opaque purpose. According to the former Pottermore site, "The Department of Mysteries is, unsurprisingly, pretty damn mysterious: a top-secret Ministry of Magic department dedicated to the queries of creation, to the study of life, magic, and death."
The confidential research carried out by this group, whose members are known as "Unspeakables," is known to few in the wizarding world. It's believed that whatever they're doing - whether it's studying death, time, or space - is important, so they're mostly left to themselves.Interesting detail?
4. Aurors Are More Like MI6 Or CIA Operatives Than DetectivesPhoto: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them / Warner Bros.
Throughout the series, Harry and Ron talk about what they want to be when they grow up: Aurors, like Alistor "Mad-Eye" Moody, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Nymphadora Tonks. But what exactly is an Auror? The brief glimpses movie viewers get of this profession make Aurors look like wizard cops, but they're actually closer to British MI5/MI6 or United States CIA/FBI agents than pavement-pounding detectives.
To become an Auror, applicants need a minimum of five NEWTs (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests) with solid marks, and a positive write-up on "a series of character and aptitude tests." This is similar to what MI5/M16 or CIA and FBI agents have to go through today, although there are security clearances involved for Muggles that don't seem to have a parallel in the wizarding world.Interesting detail?