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Chapter 1: The Other Minister

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Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by lianne on 2011-06-01, 01:17

PLEASE, drop by the bulletin board before going through this thread. Thank you!

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The wizarding world is in turmoil. The Ministry of Magic wasted a year trying to deny the return of the Dark Lord and they're feeling the pressures brought about by that mistake. JK showed us all these through quite a different perspective; from the muggle Prime Minister's point-of-view.

1) JK mentioned in one of her interviews that she ALMOST used a chapter similar to this one in three other books from the series, Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix. But she said that it's in Half-Blood Prince that the chapter finally worked. Do you agree? Is The Other Minister a good way to open the book?

2) The muggle Prime Minister was impressed by Rufus Scrimgeour. Were you? Why?

3) We're brought up to speed on the activities of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Why do you suppose they didn't just keep up the ruse and stayed on a low profile? Wouldn't it have created further panic and confusion if they did? What were Lord Voldemort's motives, do you suppose?

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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by geewitch on 2011-06-01, 09:57

To be honest, I'll need to re-read the book to contribute intelligently to the discussion. But I will have a crack at your first question. I think the reason why it worked to have "The Other Minister" in HBP comes from the fact that the audience (us readers) have matured along with the books. You know, something like this in earlier books would just have flown over the heads of younger fans.

Also, it magnifies something we've known all along: that the wizarding world is not far removed from the muggle world. I mean, sure there were always parallels to begin with but it makes for setting up the stage for the big battle to be even grander.


Last edited by geewitch on 2011-06-01, 13:07; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by lianne on 2011-06-01, 12:31

^ Aha! It’s interesting that you mentioned the parallelisms. If I’m not mistaken, people for awhile believed that this chapter reflected the turmoil happening in the real (muggle) world around the time the book was published (2005). That JK meant to make the connection to the terrorist attacks (real world) happening at the time; which were exactly what Voldy and his gang were doing.

But just to nitpick, Half-Blood Prince didn’t happen in 2005. Its timeline was around 1996. Haha! Razz

But yeah, I got their point.


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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by geewitch on 2011-06-01, 13:14

I think we are talking of two different parallelisms here, Lianne. Yours is a valid point which looks at how turmoil in the wizarding world effectively flows into the muggle (real) world.

Mine naman has something to do with the fact that JKR has taken Harry's world closer to home. In most books about magic and fantasy, everything takes place "far, far away" and "once upon a time". What she has done is made the story relevant and tangible in current context, using familiar places around London as a backdrop for the invisible - to muggles at least - wizarding world.
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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by DADAProfAE on 2011-06-02, 10:09

1) JK mentioned in one of her interviews that she ALMOST used a chapter similar to this one in three other books from the series, Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix. But she said that it's in Half-Blood Prince that the chapter finally worked. Do you agree? Is The Other Minister a good way to open the book?

Definitely! I've always wondered how the Muggle world (or at least the Muggle community in Britain) fares vis-a-vis all the happenings in the magical community. We've heard of the dangers presented by the Dark Lord outside of the magical realm, but we need to see for ourselves the extent of the damage. By giving us the scenario through the eyes of the Muggle Prime Minister no less (in my imagination it was Tony Blair, hahaha), the tragedies become much more official and yes, scarier. Not only that, I think this chapter is a fantastic way for JKR to go back to the first 5 books and give some sort of a refresher course to the reader (take note of the various mentions of events significant in the earlier books, for example, the escape of Sirius Black, the deal about importing dragons for the Triwizard Tournament, the mass breakout in Azkaban, etc.)

2) The muggle Prime Minister was impressed by Rufus Scrimgeour. Were you? Why? After Cornelius Fudge? Yeah, I was. Scrimgeour was more a man of action than his predecessor. He came into the office with a plan (even if we don't exactly like or agree with his plans) and he is determined to pull out all the stops just to make sure his plans are not deterred. I think that's the Auror mentality in Scrimgeour.
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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by tanglewood14 on 2011-06-14, 21:52

I think participating in these discussions helps me as a Literature major (plus, it's a discussion on my all-time favorite books, so I'll give it a go).

1) JK mentioned in one of her interviews that she ALMOST used a chapter similar to this one in three other books from the series, Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix. But she said that it's in Half-Blood Prince that the chapter finally worked. Do you agree? Is The Other Minister a good way to open the book?

"The Other Minister" was a good way of opening a book. You see that the Wizarding government - Fudge at least - cares enough to warn the muggle world of the turmoil going on, and to give the muggles a chance to look out for themselves. Here we see that Fudge does not believe in a strict separation between the wizarding and muggle world.

2) The muggle Prime Minister was impressed by Rufus Scrimgeour. Were you? Why?

After rereading the part in the chapter where Scrimgeour meets with the muggle prime minister, yes, I am impressed with Scrimgeour. He's the kind of leader who's confident and firm with his job.

And his most impressive line would have to be this: "The trouble is, the other side can do magic, too, Prime Minister." Sure, his world is capable of "magic", but I think this is where JK Rowling's belief in the power of imagination comes in. I think JK says here that even muggles are capable of creating their own magic - of anything extraordinary.

lianne and geewitch mentioned a parallelism between the turmoil in the wizarding world with the muggle world, and using a historical/social perspective on the work, I believe that somehow JK brought what was going on at the time when she wrote the book to the time when the story was going on.


3) We're brought up to speed on the activities of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Why do you suppose they didn't just keep up the ruse and stayed on a low profile? Wouldn't it have created further panic and confusion if they did? What were Lord Voldemort's motives, do you suppose?

I've always believed that Lord Voldemort isn't exactly the smartest or brightest villain in the literary world (he's selfish and impulsive). I agree, perhaps by staying low-key they would have created further panic and confusion, but then again, maybe that's Voldemort's motive.

And perhaps the Death Eaters and their leader didn't stay low-key because they wanted to make a statement: We're here, we're going to take over the wizarding world, and you better know it.

(This book discussion is fun, I have to say. A LITTLE challenging, but it helps me personally in sharpening my critical thinking and reasoning skills... a couple of things I need in my Literature classes.)
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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by lianne on 2011-06-14, 23:45

tanglewood14 wrote:2) The muggle Prime Minister was impressed by Rufus Scrimgeour. Were you? Why?

After rereading the part in the chapter where Scrimgeour meets with the muggle prime minister, yes, I am impressed with Scrimgeour. He's the kind of leader who's confident and firm with his job.

And his most impressive line would have to be this: "The trouble is, the other side can do magic, too, Prime Minister." Sure, his world is capable of "magic", but I think this is where JK Rowling's belief in the power of imagination comes in. I think JK says here that even muggles are capable of creating their own magic - of anything extraordinary.

Ooooo! Interesting.
You were impressed by that line (actually, so was I). How would you feel if I tell you that it was actually Cornelius Fudge who said it and not Scrimgeour?

Although, I've always read that line as Fudge reminding the muggle PM that while they (Fudge/the good guys) can do magic, the other side (Voldy/DEs) can do magic too. So they're of equal footing just as a muggle nation will feel threatened by terrorists. Magic does not tip the scales towards a certain group.

What do you think?

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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by geewitch on 2011-06-15, 10:30

Fantastic! Thanks, tanglewood14 for your input. For that, I'm awarding you 5 pts. Please notify your Prefect so that it may be recorded.

Keep up the good work!

Prof G
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Re: Chapter 1: The Other Minister

Post by Black_Neo on 2011-06-15, 11:32

1) JK mentioned in one of her interviews that she ALMOST used a chapter similar to this one in three other books from the series, Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban and Order of the Phoenix. But she said that it's in Half-Blood Prince that the chapter finally worked. Do you agree? Is The Other Minister a good way to open the book?

As a casual book reader with 15-16 books under my belt that wasn't ever required by school or any institution. I think It was a good if not a great way to open a book. The number one problem of novels are for people who reads a novel somewhere in the middle of the series. And as half blood prince is the 6/7. Whomever is gonna read it must first understand what is going on. I usually don't like a book where I still couldn't grasp the point of the book at the first half. This one solves the problem properly rather neatly and early.

2) The muggle Prime Minister was impressed by Rufus Scrimgeour. Were you? Why?

A leader is someone who is by definition person who guides. We all have to agree that having a leader who has no goals, nor plans or knows what He want produces a sense of doubt in the group. I was impressed coz after less than a day of being in office. He already had a meeting with the important people (Dumbledore and the other prime minister) that will be crucial for his goals.

3) We're brought up to speed on the activities of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Why do you suppose they didn't just keep up the ruse and stayed on a low profile? Wouldn't it have created further panic and confusion if they did? What were Lord Voldemort's motives, do you suppose?

Keeping quiet or causing turmoil and panic? For me the choice is very easy and Its the same as Voldemort's choices. By keeping quiet and doing nothing too grand. It will give my enemies time to organize or worst use a pre emptive strike. As to scaring people out of their wits. It will be more effective as it will cut down the enemies ability to defend organize and to counter attack.

Clearly Voldemort didn't want to destroy the Ministry, but inhibit its ability to defend the wizard community. After all causing panic and confusion is so much easier than hunting down every single wizard that are against them. But has the same result. Smile




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