~ * ~ * ~ * ~
MINISTRY OF MAGIC ~ ~ OFFICIAL MEMORANDUM
FROM: Dolores Umbridge, Senior Undersecretary, and Head, Muggle-born Registration Commission
DATE : 27 October 1997
RE: Muggle-borns at Hogwarts; Possible Problems with Hogwarts Staff
Pursuant to rumours that Muggle-born delinquents had infiltrated the student body of Hogwarts despite the new blood-status entrance requirement (Educational Decree #31), I -- the Senior Undersecretary and Head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission -- paid a surprise visit to the school on 23-24 October inst.
What I discovered will horrify all right-thinking witches and wizards: until last week, Muggle-borns did indeed continue to pollute the corridors of Britain's premiere wizarding academy.
Specifically, I found that two members of the House of Gryffindor, brothers Colin and Dennis Creevey, were unable to produce satisfactory evidence of magical ancestry.
When questioned on the subject of his parentage, Colin Creevey at first tried to say that his father was a wizard who worked undercover for the Magical Senate of the United States and was currently living in Somerset, masquerading as a Muggle milkman. Under interrogation, however, Creevey quickly admitted that he was lying and that his father -- in fact, his entire impure family -- are Muggles.
As a Muggle-born, Creevey obviously could have gained his magical abilities only through theft. But as is typical of his kind, he continued to insist that he had stolen neither wand nor magic. (Of course, trying to get a member of the Muggle criminal classes to admit to wrong-doing is an exercise in futility; my considerable experience with these people has proven to me how often stupidity and stubbornness go hand-in-hand.)
I had no hesitation in finding both Creevey brothers guilty as charged of crimes against the wizarding world, namely a) stealing magic and magical equipment and b) falsifying official Hogwarts entry documents. In view of the boys' youth, however, I decided against the Dementor's Kiss, settling instead on a term of imprisonment in Azkaban of no less than five (5) years, to be followed by permanent expulsion from any known wizarding community and from any association with those of magical blood.
(If I may be permitted a weensy personal reflection, Minister, I know that I am often seen as too soft-hearted towards malefactors. You may feel that in not sentencing the Creeveys to the Kiss, I have again fallen victim to the inherent kindness of my nature. You may also feel that I should never have allowed the possibility that yobs like the Creeveys might eventually return to normal society. But in my defence, may I say that I consider the danger to be minimal.
As is to be expected with mudbloods of the Creeveys' ilk [I know the expression "mudblood" is crass, but truly, no other term suits these boys], both Colin and Dennis are perfect examples of the congenital dangers and weaknesses of Muggle-borns. They are both small, frail, and spindly. Even their form of depravity is pathetic: it is not the robust sort of anti-social behaviour that one finds in genuine wizards who go to the bad -- no, the Creeveys' turpitude manifests itself in slyness, shiftiness, and [if I may be so colloquial] a general lack of bottle. Colin, for instance, was unable to withstand even five minutes' worth of magical interrogation techniques. Thus I think it highly unlikely that either Creevey brother will survive his term in Azkaban to be let loose again as a potential hazard to wizardkind.)
I have left to Headmaster Snape the responsibility of seeing that the Creeveys are removed to Azkaban. I'm sure you will agree that I have too many other duties to be able to spare attention to the logistics of prisoner transport, and in addition, I believe that Headmaster Snape needs to bear some of the burden of fixing this regrettable admissions error. After all, it was on his watch that the boys were allowed to return to Hogwarts.
I know that the Ministry maintains the highest trust in the Headmaster, and of course I would never presume to question this judgment. (As I have said before, I fully support the decision to appoint Professor Snape as Head of Hogwarts, even though at least one other, more experienced candidate [myself] was also available.) But I do think that if the Headmaster been more alert, he would never have allowed "undercover milkman" to pass as evidence of magical parentage.
The situation with the Creevey brothers, though serious, is only one example of what I see as a much larger problem with leadership at Hogwarts overall. I would like to be able to offer an unqualified "yes!" in answer to the question of whether Headmaster Snape is governing Hogwarts in accordance with Ministry standards and expectations, but sadly, I cannot say that I am completely satisfied with what I have seen.
To be sure, I have noted several encouraging developments. For instance, I spoke with many students who expressed laudable views on the topic of blood status. And my observation of Muggle Studies and DADA classes confirmed that the proper Ministry-approved curriculum is being taught. The new professors, Amycus and Alecto Carrow, seem eminently suitable as teachers; their views on discipline are particularly reassuring. Even Headmaster Snape, a man I had hitherto found to be surly, sneering, and unhelpful, was polite (if decidedly untalkative) during my recent visit.
However, I must also report that there are quite a few ominous signs. First of all, the Headmaster has not been able fully to eradicate dissent within the student body. I refer, of course, to the continued subversive activities of the so-called "Dumbledore's Army," rumours of which had reached me (see my report of 17 October), but which I had devoutly hoped to be false. Unfortunately, it appears that they are all too true.
We should not be surprised, perhaps, to encounter destructive ideas and behaviours from children whose pure-blood families are already known to be blood-traitors (Longbottoms, Weasleys, Lovegoods). But we are, I think, entitled to be surprised that Headmaster Snape has not more strenuously combated said ideas and behaviours.
He assures me that the unruly students are being carefully watched and that steps are being taken to minimise their poisonous effects, but if I may venture to comment, he should not be allowing them any quarter at all -- he should be silencing them completely. (If he fails to do so in the near future, the Ministry may have to intervene. I would recommend that these students be removed from the school and taken to a secure facility where they can be re-educated as productive members of pure-blood society.)
I wish I could say that misguided students are the only disturbing element at Hogwarts, but I cannot. Even more worrisome are the attitudes of some of the other teachers, particularly Minerva McGonagall. As you know, I objected to her continued appointment as Professor of Transfiguration; I had seen enough of her during my year as High Inquisitor and Headmistress to know that she holds problematic views about blood-purity.
Still, no one would have been happier than I to see her willingly accept her position within the new wizarding order. Since she is a half-blood, we could not, of course, expect her to have the leadership abilities of a pure-blood, but there is certainly room in our world for hardworking, properly-appreciative subordinates who know their place.
Alas, Professor McGonagall appears unable to adapt to the realities of her situation; I fear that her long exposure to Albus Dumbledore's lax and improvident administrative style has given her ideas above her station. For an example of her unacceptable behaviour, we need look no further than the Creevey brothers' hearing.
I required Professor McGonagall's presence at the proceedings; I thought it important that she witness first-hand the unhappy consequences that will befall anyone -- student or staff -- who tries to subvert the legally-mandated Ministry rules that determine which students deserve the privilege of a Hogwarts education. Yet instead of sitting quietly and attempting to learn something, she stood up during Colin Creevey's interrogation and dared to interfere with his questioning.
Professor Amycus Carrow had been administering -- on my orders -- a Ministry-approved disciplinary curse designed to encourage Creevey to start telling the truth. But scarcely had Professor Carrow begun when Professor McGonagall blocked his spell and then bewitched his wand so that it kept darting out of his reach.
I am sure you will agree that I was perfectly justified in subduing her with an X-acto hex, just a small one, of course. I was confident that the sting of a cut across her cheek would return her to her senses, and I was correct: since superficial abrasions of that nature can bleed copiously, she was obliged to stop and attend to her wound before she could disrupt the hearing further, and in the meantime, I was able to restore order.
This particular incident ended well -- I prevented Professor McGonagall from causing additional disturbance, and Headmaster Snape has promised that he will decide on an appropriate disciplinary action to be instituted against her. I also managed to neutralise the threat represented by the Muggle-born Creeveys.
But I am by no means sanguine that Hogwarts is completely out of danger. You do not need me to tell you, Minister, how important it is to maintain a close watch on the school and its inhabitants, especially those who are entrusted with the education of our precious children. Hogwarts, filled as it is with bright, innocent, inquisitive magical minds, represents the inheritance of us all. Our school is the shining future of a pure, magical Britain -- and I fear the current leadership might be endangering that future.
As much as it would pain us to do it, we might have to face the fact that some of the teachers and administrators in whom we've reposed our trust are not proving equal to it. I hate to raise the spectre of yet another regime change so soon after the appointment of a new headmaster, but such a change may soon be necessary.
Finding a new Head will not be easy, but you can count on me to help with the search in any way I can. In fact, given my experience in educational administration, I could be of use at the school itself. While I would not be eager to give up my important work as Head of the Muggle-born Registration Commission, I would be willing to do so if the Ministry felt that I could better serve our citizens by returning to Hogwarts as a consultant, or even (but only if absolutely necessary, of course) as Headmistress.
If you require further information, I can easily travel to the school at any time. I will be making follow-up visits every few weeks in any case. What with his dissident students and his rogue staff members, Headmaster Snape may soon require the Ministry's help, and I want to reassure him that we are never -- ever -- far away.
Do let me know your thoughts, Minister Thicknesse, on how I can best be of assistance. As I hope I have amply demonstrated by now, I am only too glad to serve.