Cornelius Fudge & Aragog

chapters fourteen & fifteen of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Riddle’s diary is stolen from Harry’s dorm room, and Hermione figures out what’s going on, but is Petrified before she can tell Ron or Harry. As a result, the two watch as Fudge and Lucius Malfoy arrive, arresting Hagrid and suspending Dumbledore – and then, on Hagrid’s request, follow the spiders into the Forbidden Forest, where they are nearly eaten but do learn a few things about the last time the Chamber of Secrets was open.

Cornelius Fudge, by Laurence Peguy

“Look, Albus,” said Fudge, uncomfortably. “Hagrid’s record’s against him. Ministry’s got to do something-“


Lucius Malfoy, by Wacca

Mr. Lucius Malfoy strode into Hagrid’s hut, swathed in a long black traveling cloak, smiling a cold and satisfied smile. “Already here, Fudge,” he said approvingly. “Good, good…”

(by Wacca)


Cornelius Fudge, by Keith James

“Oh, now, see here, Lucius,” said Fudge, looking alarmed, “Dumbledore suspended – no, no – last thing we want just now -”


by Laura Freeman

So, with Fang scampering around them, sniffing tree roots and leaves, they entered the forest.


Arachnophobia, by Tealin Raintree

Ron looked exactly like Harry felt.


The Clearing in the Forest, by Michael Dunn

“My sons and daughters do not harm Hagrid, on my command. But I cannot deny them fresh meat, when it wanders so willingly into our midst. Good-bye, friend of Hagrid.”


Aragog, by Keith James

Even as he reached for his wand, Harry knew it was no good, there were too many of them. But as he tried to stand, ready to die fighting, a loud, long note sounded, and a blaze of light flamed through the hollow.


about the chapters


Something You May Not Have Noticed

Oliver Wood’s enthusiasm for Quidditch always cracks me up, but I think this chapter boasts my favorite moment of all when, the morning of a match, he has his Gryffindor team all sit together in the Great Hall and he personally dishes out scrambled eggs for them. Perhaps being the captain has also led to his viewing himself as the ‘Team Mom,’ or perhaps he simply cares so much about his team being ready to play that he wants to see to it personally that they’re well-fed. But the mental image is hilarious, and I wish I could see Fred and George’s faces when he does it.

The Power of Magic

Somehow in bewitching his Ford Anglia to fly Arthur Weasley also managed to give it some sort of sentient personality, for now it seems able to live and think on its own, and to choose to protect Harry and Ron from the Acromantulas. This is an interesting form of magic, and I wonder if it is a separate spell that Arthur intentionally cast or simply a by-product of some of his other spells (perhaps it’s simply “full of” magic). We’ll see this happen with other seemingly inanimate objects too, like the Hogwarts suits of armor forgetting words to songs. I can’t help but wonder what other objects might be able to behave similarly if given the chance.

Life at Hogwarts

I find it striking that once again Dumbledore seems all but omniscient, as it’s pretty clear he’s aware that Harry and Ron are hiding in Hagrid’s hut, invisible. There are several possibilities as to why, of course – perhaps he can sense a human presence, or invisible objects; perhaps he’s got some form of surveillance on the school that alerts him to students out of place; or perhaps he’s got some form of surveillance on Harry particularly – but no matter which explanation you choose, I think it’s fascinating. He’s so permissive of Harry’s roaming the school, even when he knows that the creature on the loose could easily kill him! His quirkiness in the way he runs his school is certainly hard to figure out sometimes.

Something to Remember

The rules McGonagall sets down for her students are logical enough, and almost certainly intended simply to keep students from being alone in the hallways of the school. But one line jumps out at me in particular: “No student is to use the bathroom unaccompanied by a teacher.” Not just unaccompanied – but specifically, a teacher must be with them. Why would such a strict rule need to exist pertaining just to bathrooms…?

46 Responses to “Cornelius Fudge & Aragog”

  1. You keep saying “Stunned” when I think you mean “Petrified”…

  2. I’m pretty sure Dumbledore can cast plenty of wordless magic so uses a silent Homenum Revelio to know they are there under the cloak.

    I love this guide and your analysis of the books.
    It’s great to watch it progress.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. I always thought, that being a leglimens, Dumbledore could just sense Harry´s thoughts in Hagrids Hut. Also, isn´t it ironic that Arthur creates an object of which `you can´t see where it keeps his mind`?

  4. JKR said in an interview (I cant find it right now but it’s there) that Dumbledore knew Harry and Ron were in Hagrid’s hut because he cast a “homenum revelio” spell before entering. It’s worth noting that he probably cast it because he expected Hagrid to have company ;)

  5. I think (just now) that the Ford Anglia has a personality because of Arthur himself. He cares about/spends time with his Muggle paraphernalia so much that he just let some of that into his spells, and so this quirky car that always seems to save people when it comes around (fatherly?) was created.

  6. Thanks Esmestrella, right you are. Sloppy usage on my part. Fixed.

  7. Elizabeth/Lola – I had totally forgotten about that interview but you’re absolutely right. I’ll add it to the commentary, thanks for pointing it out. :) There is a slight problem in that when this spell is cast in book 7, Harry can feel it “swooping low over him” like a “shadow,” and here he feels nothing. And of course, the fact that Dumbledore is casting the spell at all only makes his position all the more interesting….

    Kim – It’s an interesting idea but I’m not sure the Legilimency would work, as it’s always been made pretty clear that eye contact is essential for it.

    Hayley – I love your idea about the car taking on Arthur’s personality, and I think it makes loads of sense. That’s exactly the type of magic I wish we knew more about!

  8. In the case of the rule “No student is to use the bathroom unaccompanied by a teacher.” may be because the last time the Chamber was opened a girl(MM) died in the bathroom.

  9. Why would they arrest Hagrid again, when they know who else went to school 50 years ago?

  10. To Kim’s comment, maybe Fudge didn’t want to admit he was wrong in arresting Hagrid. Fudge has always wanted to ignore the fact that Voldy is gaining power. And Lucius Malfoy would want to put the blame on someone besides Voldy, and Hagrid is the perfect scapegoat

  11. Hayley, that’s a really interesting idea!

  12. Kim & Alysso, it was not generally known that Tom Riddle was Voldy. Dumbldore knew but Fudge did not.

  13. Fudge it’s not a very clever man. He just wants to arrest somebody in order to “get something done”. And I think Hagrid scares him also, he (Fudge) is not a very tolerant person, we see that in other books.

  14. The quote under the first picture on this page sums Fudge up for me – “Ministry’s got to do something-”

    He’s uncomfortable, which suggests he suspects he’s in the wrong. But the ministry has to be doing something, even if it’s sending the wrong person to suffer emotional trauma in Azkaban (or locking up Sirius or Stan, for that matter). Typical ministry attitude.

  15. Kim, I never picked up on the irony of Arthur’s creating an artefact where “you can’t see where it keeps its mind.” Of course, nobody is suggesting he did it deliberately. But I think people should, in fact, be wary of the Ford Anglia. I suspect it is very much Arthur’s creature, so of course it comes racing to save Arthur’s son. But beware of what this car might do to you if you are NOT a friend of the Weasleys!

  16. I’m surprised that Hagrid is over 50 years old. I’d never thought of that in the context of the books. Even the movies didnt’ portray him that old. Being part Giant must keep him youthful looking

  17. Nancy, JKR has stated that wizarding life-expectancy is longer than Muggles’, although she is vague on the details of how this works. Dumbledore apparently lives to be 116, and Bathilda Bagshott must be significantly older. If Hagrid is now about 64, that is probably only middle-aged among wizards. I’m assuming that magical children grow at the same rate as Muggle children, but after age 17, they deteriorate at a much slower pace.

    Cultural point: if Hagrid is still working at age 88 (as the Epilogue states), then retirement age might not be until 90 or even 100. I imagine most Hogwarts students would have working grandparents and retired great-grandparents.

  18. I think it’s funny that Harry ends up simply choosing the same new courses for third year as Ron because Harry figures that “if he was rubbish at them, at least he’d have somebody friendly to help him.” I’m not sure what particular help Harry expects Ron to be, as they both have displayed only an average academic performance at school so far.

    I also love how George completely misinterprets the reason why Percy is in a state of shock over Penelope Clearwater being petrified. Actually, I’m a little surprised (given their knack for mischief) that the twins aren’t a bit more perceptive about what’s really going on with their elder brother this year.

  19. What happens to the car from that point onwards? The author just seems to have forgotten about it or maybe Grawp stepped on it in book 5

  20. RE something you may not have noticed – HAH! That is amazing. You are indeed correct, I hadn’t noticed that at all! Fantastic. I love Wood.

    @Kim …good point.

  21. Oh, and @Andrea, I would be forced to assume it is a little of both reasons (why percy is so shocked about penelope) Obviously he’d be saddened and worried about his girlfriend, but I think he would have been freaking out a bit if it had been any other prefect either. He did expressly state earlier something to the effect of “the monster isnt coming after me, I’M a PREFECT.”

  22. As to the comment that eye contact is essential to Legilimency, I seem to recall Snape saying something about eye contact not being required, however it is helpful. Doesn’t Voldy perform Legilimency on Harry from miles away?

  23. Andrea, I suspect Percy has been picking up tips from F+G about sneaking around and staying out of trouble without noticing for many years making it easy for him to keep out of their way. It’s also something that nobody really expected of Percy so the obvious solution becomes almost ridiculous in the case of PREFECT PERCY!

  24. Re how Dumbledore knew they were there, I don’t recall that interview where she said that. I thought maybe he, unlike the others, heard Ron talking and Harry gasping.

    Andrea – I think the twins just wouldn’t have expected Percy to have a girlfriend. They seemed genuinely taken aback at finding out.

    Grace – Dumbledore’s about 150, not 116. But I think that’s probably considered impressive even for a wizard. Life expectancy may be connected to strength of magical power.

  25. elizabethauthor, regarding Dumbledore’s age, there are lots of conflicting sources – but while Rowling said in an interview (more than once) that Dumbledore was 150, it became pretty clear when the seventh book was out that the timeline put him around the 116 years old that Grace was talking about.

  26. hi, this website is coming up really small on my computer. HELP!

  27. Beansie, I’m afraid I don’t know how to help, aside from suggesting that you check your computer’s display settings and also your internet browser’s display settings. Beyond that you can check for any helpful advice; this site is set up through WordPress and uses one of their templates and style sheets. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about computers to really be helpful beyond that, though… sorry :(

  28. i think that it is very intersting how fudge buckles and arrests hagrid simply to make it look like he’s doing something. he certainly is a weak character from the get go. it just hit me that fudge doesn’t just mean the chocolate variety (a little late i’m sure). it can also mean ‘to evade or dodge’. kinda how he operates as minister by evading the truth for the easier path.

    about penelope clearwater: do we know what her blood status really was? it never said in this book that she was mugggle born but when hermione is captured by the snatchers in book 7, she identifies herself as penelope clearwater, a half blood. her name seemed to have checked out though. but if she was a half blood that was attacked, wouldn’t the students have been even more upset, even if she was in the wrong place at the wrong time with a muggle born?

  29. I tended to think that, as a possessor of one of the Hallows, Dumbledore could somehow sense the presence of another one in the cloak. It seems unlikely that a simple spell would work, especially since the invisibility cloak is supposed to be so strong that Death himself could not find the wearer. Although, now that I think about it…Dumbledore definitely could have done so before entering the cottage and therefore before they put on the cloak…hmm… Where’s JKR when you need her?

  30. As to DD knowing that the boys were there he could have also noticed the three mugs of hot water on the table which at this point would most likely still be steaming. Also Harry and Ron were extremely lucky to have not been seen by Fudge or DD when they came in as it seems they arrived mere minutes after the boys did. Especially since it always seemed that Hagrids hut was a fair walk from the castle. Unless they came from Hogsmead which might not give them a view of Hagrids porch. Speaking of seeing people on that walk, how did DD and Fudge miss Malfoy on their way in, too?
    As to Penelope’s blood status, it’s fairly common debate that has not seemed to be resolved. If I had to guess I would say that she is half-blood at least and just got caught in the crossfire with Hermione like Nick mostly did with Justin. I believe Tom says at some point that he attacked four muffle borns and one squib which would be: Filch, Hermione, Justin and Colin. Leaving Penelope. But I think this could be chalked up to one of JKR’s many discrepancies that she seems to make in the earlier versions. This is understandable, since she never though there would be thousands of people dissecting her every word. That probably makes her a bit crazy if you think about it.
    On a side note, I think it’s hilarious how people here keep calling him Voldy. I bet that would make him insanely angry to hear the name he wanted the world to fear being changed into something as silly sounding as “Voldy”!!!

  31. This is the second time that there were rumors of werewolves in the Forbidden Forest. I wonder if those rumors were started when Lupin started at Hogwarts.

  32. RE: Dumbledore knowing Harry and Ron are in the hut, I agree that Dumbledore could have used his fine deductive skills to figure out who was in the hut. However, how did he know exactly where they were? I don’t believe a spell could find them, due to the cloak’s abilities against spells. I don’t think JKR thought of that when she gave that answer in the interview. Or it was just before she had written that about the cloak in DH. I think he definitely could have heard the soft noises Harry and Ron were making, however I don’t particularly like how “non-magical” that is. Personally, I like to think that Dumbledore can sense and identify different magical “signatures”. When Dumbledore and Harry go into the cave in HBP, Dumbledore says that the cave has “known magic”. This gives at least an inkling to the idea that he can sense some sort of magic. Whether it’s just in areas, or from other witches and wizards, though, is unclear. Another popular opinion I’ve heard quite a bit is that he can simply see through the Invisibility Cloak. However, I’ve heard that from different sources, many of whom haven’t even read DH yet, so that’s pretty unreliable. In the end, I prefer what I said about magical signatures. It has a certain feeling of power that we know Dumbledore to have. He’s almost like the modern-day Merlin n_n

  33. what happened to the Ford Anglia???

    There are several more times that we enter the forest (think Grawp, thestrals). Either the car is extremely rude in not saying hi whenever HRH enter the forest, or something has happened to it.

    Whaddya reckon?

  34. @Casey
    I think it’s completely possible that Dumbledore’s spell could have seen through the cloak. This is not, after all, the only time that someone does. In GoF, Moody/Barty Crouch sees Harry through the cloak at the Three Broomsticks using his magic eye. It might be an inconsistency with what is written about the Cloak in DH, but I haven’t read it in a while so I’m not certain.

  35. She says the bathroom thing because of moaning Myrtle (: Last time the Chamber was opened Myrtle saw the Basilisk and if you look straight at it is kills you but if you see it through something or through a reflection you only get petrified.

  36. I was reading this book again today and I realized for the first time that for the time Harry has the diary, there are no attacks. Once the diary is stolen from him, an attack occurs almost immediately afterwards. We all know the reason for that, but that little fact never clicked in my mind until today.

  37. I think she specifically said bathroom because Moaning Myrtle was killed there.

  38. It’s interesting to read about the students thinking there are werewolves in the forest. To me it’s clear that there obviously aren’t since they would be human for the majority of the month. It just shows the prejudice against people who just happen to be werewolves for one day a month.

  39. Re: How Dumbledore knew how Harry and Ron were there: I like the explanation that Ari came up with; if Dumbledore saw the three steaming mugs when entering (which he probably did, because he seems to be very observant), it wouldn’t take long for him to understand that there’s two more people in there, and what two people usually visits Hagrid, and can dissapear so fast…?

    Re: The car/objects with their own will: I also like the theory about the car having a bit of Arthur’s personality. I used to think it was the Forbidden Forest that made it all wild and living, but then I realized it does behave like something with a mind of its own in the beginning of the book, as well, before it goes into the Forest. Although I think whatever magic is in the Forest may have made the car more independent than it would have been otherwise.

    Josie, you mentioned what other things could have a kind of will of its own, but I think there are lots of objects at Hogwarts and in the wizarding world where the case seems to be the same – there’s staircases that goes to different floors on different days, books that behave like they are more animal than object, suits of armor in the castle that moves around – some of these things may be bewitched to do certain things, like the teaport Mr Weasley mentions in the beginning of the book, the one that sprayed boiling water over Muggles, but I think some of the things may have either developed a will/mind/whatever over time, or perhaps been influenced by the creator or the one performing the spell.

    This makes me think of the paintings, how they move and how that works – does the person that is being portrayed behave like the person they are supposed to look like, as in photographs, or do they become their own indivuduals like some of the paintings in the castle seem to be? And how does that happen – is the character on the painting behaving like the artist that made them, as maybe is the case with Arthur’s car, or like the artist’s imagination of what they would be like..?

  40. I agree with what Ari said. Dumbledore is pretty much observant enough to notice the three cups of steaming water. The way he’s been keeping an eye out for Harry – well, he’s probably deduced enough from his observances that Harry and another one of the trio were in Hagrid’s hut that night. Also, since Dumbledore can make himself invisible even without the cloak, he could also probably see through invisibility cloaks. Just my assumption, though. :)

  41. I think the strangest thing re: Fudge arresting Hagrid again is that Hagrid is not still IN Azkaban. I mean if people really believe that he opened the Chamber of Secrets and killed a student, would he really only be punished by getting expelled? You’d think he’d have served some time in jail. I guess he was a minor, but still.

    Perhaps expulsion would be much more serious in the wizarding world, considering that they really couldn’t do anything without a wand and proper education.

  42. @Amanda – About the paintings… That’s something that’s always fascinated me too. I imagine that portraits of a person retain at least some amount of their personality, as Harry and others have conversations with peoples’ portraits, and we know that portraits of the same person hanging in two different locations can be traveled between…

    I like to think that’s the case, anyway, because I’ve always had this idea of George having portrait of Fred (RIP :( ) made and hanging it on the wall at their shop so he could still have conversations with it. Haha

  43. I read @Amanda’s and @Sara’s comments and they got me thinking….

    You know, I’ve never really understood how magical portraits work. I mean to say, do they keep the artists’ personality, or do they have their own? Or could they possibly have the same personality as the person whom they’re supposed to be a painting of? And if so, why doesn’t every witch and wizard simply have portraits, of their loved ones that have already died, made? Because I’d LOVE (like @Sara) to see George having a portrait of Fred made and then hanging it in their shop! And also, just the thought of a portrait of Dumbledore after he died! I mean, imagine how advantageous that would be! And how about SIRIUS, or Harry’s PARENTS! How helpful would THAT have been to Harry! It would be helpful to EVERYONE in the Wizarding world, in my opinion! Really a fascinating thing to think about. Very unlikely nonetheless… I don’t really think that would be something that J. K. Rowling would include in Harry’s world. It just wouldn’t fit in with the story. And as well it could be disastrous, I mean, that way Voldemort *would* have been able to ‘live’ as long as he wanted (in a way, maybe not dominating the world and killing as many Muggle-borns as he wants, but still ‘alive’ and able to give orders)… I don’t like the idea very much now that I think about it….

  44. I am re-reading the books once more and was struck in this chapter by Harry’s willingness to “die fighting” in the face of the spiders. How, really, can he doubt his being sorted into Gryffindor!? How many twelve year olds would be prepared to die trying to save a friend? What a pure and noble death. Thank goodness for the Anglia!

  45. Bathrooms….. Oh Merlin. You rock McG! After all, she was Prefect when the Chanpmber was last opened and she would remember Myrtle. Without scaring them too much, she’s ensuring it doesn’t happen again. I imagine she,d have to lock the rest in classroom if escorting one student, though. .I am taking Miss Brown to the ladies room and will lock you in. Kindly do not cause trouble in my absence.”
    Maybe there’s a convenient portrait she uses to keep watch….

  46. I never thought much about the bathroom thing except to imagine how one of the trio would look if they had to go to the bathroom right after potions

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