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I am currently reading the fourth chapter of Book 3 (The Prisoner of Azkaban).

I have seen that people respect Fudge in the magical world (for example: Tom, the owner of Leaky Cauldron, the bus driver of the Knight Bus, etc).

However, as far as I seen he isn't depicted as being as great as Dumbledore (in fact, not even close), and he tries to substitute activity for progress (where he arrests Hagrid just for the world to imply that some activity is happening).

So, is there any mention of how great a wizard he is? He is a Minister of Magic, which means that he must be very competent?


Edited for clarification for the comments below:

I understand that you don't need to be the best for becoming a Minister. But, atleast one needs to be competent enough to become one!

So, I'm asking about how competent was Cornelius Fudge.

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Remember that Fudge wasn't the first choice for Minister; Dumbledore was everybody's favourite. And he leant heavily on Dumbledore for advice for years. He was appointed sometime after Voldemort's first downfall, which means a lot of the most talented and capable candidates were dead. Basically, Fudge as Minister =/=> outstanding competency. – alexwlchan Jan 18 at 11:38
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Just because you are a good wizard you are not automatically a good political leader and vice versa. – Thomas Jacobs Jan 18 at 13:23
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@ThomasJacobs Yeah, I understand that. But, for becoming a Minister of Magic, you must be atleast competent enough! So, I'm asking about how competent is Fudge? :) – Dawny33 Jan 18 at 14:45
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Warning - asking questions on a series that you haven't finished is very likely going to result in spoilers, intentional or not. I'd recommend you store your questions for the end of the series, or if you must answer, specify no spoilers. – DavidS Jan 18 at 17:47
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I'd argue that "for becoming a Minister of Magic, you must be atleast competent enough" ... in the political and sociological aspects of using, coordinating and regulating magic, and understanding of the wizarding community and it's inner politics and relations. It is an administrative (though influential) job that doesn't involve actually using any magic in it besides it's ordinary applications in communication and transportation. There's IMHO no good reason why a squib couldn't be an excellent minister of magic. – Peteris Jan 19 at 11:48
up vote 21 down vote accepted

If you're asking about his wizarding capabilities, I'd say he is not considered an exceptional wizard by any standards. Here is an example where Dumbledore easily beats Fudge, two wizards and one witch (all from the Ministry of Magic) in an attempt to arrest him(Dumbledore):

Order of the Phoenix (5th Harry Potter book), Chapter 27: The Centaur and the Sneak

“So,” sneered Fudge, recovering himself, “you intend to take on Dawlish, Shacklebolt, Dolores, and myself single-handed, do you, Dumbledore?”

“Merlin’s beard, no,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “Not unless you are foolish enough to force me to.”

“Enough of this rubbish!” said Fudge, pulling out his own wand. “Dawlish! Shacklebolt! Take him!”

A streak of silver light flashed around the room. There was a bang like a gunshot, and the floor trembled. A hand grabbed the scruff of Harry’s neck and forced him down on the floor as a second silver flash went off—several of the portraits yelled, Fawkes screeched, and a cloud of dust filled the air...

Panting slightly, Harry saw a very tall figure moving toward them. “Are you all right?” said Dumbledore.

“Yes!” said Professor McGonagall, getting up and dragging Harry and Marietta with her.

The dust was clearing. The wreckage of the office loomed into view: Dumbledore’s desk had been overturned, all of the spindly tables had been knocked to the floor, their silver instruments in pieces. Fudge, Umbridge, Kingsley, and Dawlish lay motionless on the floor.

If he had any sort of superior magical ability, he would not be beaten so easily, even though Dumbledore is considered the best wizard of the generation.

If you're asking how he became Minister for Magic, Sirius Black explains to Harry, Ron and Hermione (Crouch was a very famous Ministry official and warrior against the Dark forces during Voldemort's first reign, but Crouch's son became a Death Eater, and was caught, tried and sent to Azkaban)

Goblet of Fire (4th Harry Potter book), Chapter 27: Padfoot Returns

"So old Crouch lost it all, just when he thought he had it made,” he continued, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “One moment, a hero, poised to become Minister of Magic...next, his son dead, his wife dead, the family name dishonored, and, so I’ve heard since I escaped, a big drop in popularity. Once the boy had died, people started feeling a bit more sympathetic toward the son and started asking how a nice young lad from a good family had gone so badly astray. The conclusion was that his father never cared much for him.

"So Cornelius Fudge got the top job, and Crouch was shunted sideways into the Department of International Magical Cooperation.”

As to whether he is a respected member of the magical society, well he was for a while. But in Order of the Phoenix we see Harry and Arthur Weasley speculating about him taking bribes from Malfoy. There is also the business of Fudge refusing to believe that Voldemort had returned at the end of the fourth book, and his harassment of Harry, Dumbledore and known Dumbledore supporters for the majority of the 5th book.

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A duel has a very specific meaning in the HP universe, of which a 4-on-1 arrest probably doesn't qualify. Also, Shacklebolt was a member of the Order, meaning it was, at best, 3-on-1, and they were facing the most talented wizard in the world on his home turf. Fudge may be incompetent, but this isn't a good example of why; virtually anyone who isn't Voldemort would have had similar results. – WannabeCoder Jan 18 at 14:10
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+1 for quoting the best scene in the entire series, IMO. – Salmononius2 Jan 18 at 14:30
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It should be pointed out that they were in Dumbledore's sanctum, so they were already at a disadvantage, not counting the fact that he was the superior wizard. – rcollyer Jan 18 at 15:45
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Shacklebolt also assisted Dumbledore, so really it was 3-on-2, but Shacklebolt was a sleeper, so he and Dumbledore had the element of surprise. Against a sleeper Shacklebolt (one of the most skilled aurors in the Ministry) and Dumbledore himself (who had previously defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald in a duel), 3 middling wizards and witches don't stand a chance! – TylerH Jan 18 at 15:59
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Why is each paragraph in its own spoiler? – immibis Jan 18 at 20:52

Not very.

From this Pottermore article by JK Rowling (emphasis mine):

As often happens with such highly coveted awards, Ministry of Magic favourites seem to receive the Order of Merlin, especially the higher classes, more often than one might expect. While nobody argued when Albus Dumbledore received his O.M. (First Class) for defeating the Dark wizard Grindelwald, there was a good deal of muttering in the wizarding community when Cornelius Fudge, Minister for Magic, awarded himself an O.M. (First Class) for a career that many considered less than distinguished. Other less worthy recipients of the highest class of Order include Arcturus Black, Sirius Black’s grandfather, who was widely believed to have bought it by loaning the Ministry a large amount of gold.

For a Muggle comparison, see Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (thanks DVK!):

enter image description here enter image description here

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This answer could benefit from including a picture of Leonid Ilyitch Brezhnev :) – DVK-in-exile Jan 19 at 1:58
    
@DVK Sorry, you'll have to explain that one ... – Rand al'Thor Jan 19 at 2:02
    
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belvpo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/… ? (no, that's NOT a 4-chan fake. Official portrait) – DVK-in-exile Jan 19 at 2:26
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@DVK If I could upvote this post again just for Brezhnev, I would. – Iwillnotexist Idonotexist Jan 19 at 2:38

Apart from the other two answers:

Fudge is a disappointment, really. IMO, he's no better than any other wizard and he's a typical politician. If you're in the third book, you should already have read how he was in the Leaky Cauldron, and he's corrupt, bribing and getting bribed, even, from the right people.

Once you're near the end of the fourth book, Harry'll have a revelation of Fudge that I got to share with him, and I was not happy.

He could be an Auror(assuming you need to be that to be in a high-ranking Ministry position), but he never shows that kind of magical talent anytime in the series.

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