8

The Ministry of Magic seems a really friendly place to work. It's like everyone there knows you on a first-name basis. Consider Arthur Weasley's encyclopedic knowledge of his fellow Ministry employees at the Quidditch World Cup.

Their tent seemed to be pitched right alongside a kind of thoroughfare to the field, and Ministry members kept hurrying up and down it, greeting Mr. Weasley cordially as they passed. Mr. Weasley kept up a running commentary, mainly for Harry’s and Hermione’s benefit; his own children knew too much about the Ministry to be greatly interested.
“That was Cuthbert Mockridge, Head of the Goblin Liaison Office...Here comes Gilbert Wimple; he’s with the Committee on Experimental Charms; he’s had those horns for a while now...Hello, Arnie...Arnold Peasegood, he’s an Obliviator - member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, you know...and that’s Bode and Croaker...they’re Unspeakables...”
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7, Bagman and Crouch).

Mr Weasley knows everyone. And everyone knows him. Even the random witch who checks people's tickets on the way into the World Cup stadium knows him personally.

“Prime seats!” said the Ministry witch at the entrance when she checked their tickets. “Top Box! Straight upstairs, Arthur, and as high as you can go.”
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 8, The Quidditch World Cup).

Is this just a case of Mr Weasley being a generally stand-up guy that everyone wants to know? Or is this a case of the Ministry of Magic being an organisation where everyone is on first-name terms? I understand that the wizarding community is a relatively small, tight-knit one, and some people will obviously know one another from their school days. Yet the Ministry must employ hundreds if not thousands of people. I mean, in Deathly Hallows they have a dozen people working solely on pamphlet production. That's a lot of names to learn.

Do we ever see anyone from the Ministry not knowing a colleague's name, or failing to address them by name? Is it reasonable to suppose that everyone who works at the Ministry literally knows every single other employee by name?

  • 1
    Could his name have been on his ticket? – Valorum Jan 25 '17 at 12:42
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    He's worked there his entire life and is very much a talker. The goal is to present him as someone who knows everyone but has no real power. Sort of a reverse Slughorn – Valorum Jan 25 '17 at 12:47
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    Crouch never seemed to know Percy's name... – ibid Jan 25 '17 at 13:08
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    Cheeky little Lord, thinking you could manipulate the ministry like that. On a more serious note, it could be that it depends on the department you are working for. – Schneejäger Jan 25 '17 at 13:37
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    It says people greeted him cordially. Except for the witch, it does not say that they greeted him by name. "Good morning, sir" is a cordial greeting that may be uttered without knowing a person's name, or who they are. – phantom42 Jan 25 '17 at 14:01
10

It is safe to assume that Arthur Weasley has been working in the Ministry for 15+ years. So it is not that unbelievable that he knows lots of people in there.

Another point is that most of the people working in the Ministry studied at Hogwarts so some of them studied together with Arthur. This is also a good place where he could know Amos Digory from since Amos is about the same age as Arthur.

Also Sirius once mentions that most of the pure-blooded families are more or less related. One usually knows the names of at least part of his/her relatives. The Weasleys are a big family so most probably Arthur met a lot of people even before working at the Ministry.

To make an analysis of the people he knows:

That was Cuthbert Mockridge, Head of the Goblin Liaison Office

There are not that many heads of offices so knowing him is not that unusual.

Gilbert Wimple; he’s with the Committee on Experimental Charms; he’s had those horns for a while now

A guy with (permanent or semi-permanent) horns is unusual even for the magical world. Even if you don't work directly with him - there is still gossip in the canteen at lunch.

Hello, Arnie...Arnold Peasegood, he’s an Obliviator - member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad

The main job of the Obliviators is to adjust the memories of muggles when necessary. Arthur works in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office and most probably his job includes lots of contacts with Obliviators.

Bode and Croaker...they’re Unspeakables

No good explanation here but a top-secret department could also be a good gossip target.

About the witch checking the tickets - first of all she might not be a ministry employee but just a temporary hire for the job. Still she calls him "Arthur" which indicates she knows him personally.

A bit of an out-of-universe answer - myself:

I have been working for my current employer more than 10 years now with office size from 200 to 600 people and I can tell you that I know by name most of the people that have been in the company for more than 5 years.

5

I don't dispute that Mr. Weasley knows a lot of people from the Ministry. This isn't, however, to say he knows everyone.

It is stated that

Mr. Weasley kept up a running commentary

and yet despite the fact that

their tent seemed to be pitched right alongside a kind of thoroughfare to the field, and Ministry members kept hurrying up and down it

he really only mentions the names of people of interest and people he knows personally.

Notice all of the names he mentions: Cuthbert Mockridge, Gilbert Wimple, Bode and Croaker, he only says their full names or surnames, so we can assume that whilst he knows them, he doesn't necessarily know them personally.

The people who he mentions the full names of he probably would be aware of, as a head of a department and a guy with enchanted horns on his head. He only mentions Bode and Croaker by surnames, meaning he may only know them by reputation and isn't even familiar enough with them to be on a first-name basis.

The only person he mentions who isn't of note is Arnold Peasegood, who is a member of the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, but considering he calls him "Arnie" it's very probable that he is at least personally acquainted with him (as @vap78 mentions it's likely that their departments overlap significantly).

It is very possible a great deal of people at least recognized Arthur from around work, as apparently anyone can recognize a Weasley from their red hair and hand-me-down robes clothing, so they would at least recognize him as a colleague, if not know him personally, so it is not unusual that they would greet him in a friendly manner.

So overall it's doubtful that people at the Ministry know all of their colleagues by name. Arthur only points out very specific figures to Harry and Hermoine, and it's not outside the realms of possibility that many people would at least recognize him as a coworker. It's likely that Arthur's incredible friendliness in greeting them first is the only reason they bother to interact with him at all.

  • Love the strike through of 'hand me down robes'. But your answer is certainly valid. We don't even know of all the officials and it's extremely likely that some if any would actually encounter every one in the MoM at all. – Pryftan Jul 13 '18 at 2:17
3

There is no canon answer for this question.

Depending on what department a witch or wizard works for, he or she may or may not know all his or her colleagues by name.

  • 3
    +1 pretty much this, Mr. Weasly has been in the business for years at this point so its natural that he seems to know "of" most of the people. – Himarm Jan 25 '17 at 13:51
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    There's plenty of canon on Ministry people interacting with one another though. What makes you think we can't know definitively? – The Dark Lord Jan 25 '17 at 14:17
  • @TheDarkLord because almost all the ministry employees named are major players in the ministry, we never see secretary number 6, hell the fact that crouch cant be bothered to remember percys name means he probably doesnt know alot of people below him. – Himarm Jan 25 '17 at 14:30
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    @Himarm - no, that's just crouch being a.h. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 25 '17 at 15:16

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