Cedric's dead body was found at the edge of the maze constructed for the third task of the Triwizard tournament, with Harry lying by his side clutching onto his arm.

He was killed by Peter Pettigrew using Avada Kedavra.

While we know that Fudge (and hence the Ministry of Magic) does not believe Voldemort is back, there is no mention of any sort of investigation into Cedric's death. We hear Umbridge briefly mention it in OotP:

“So, according to you, Cedric Diggory dropped dead of his own accord, did he?” Harry asked, his voice shaking.
“Cedric Diggory’s death was a tragic accident,” she[Umbridge] said coldly.
(brackets my own)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, Chapter 12: Professor Umbridge

We can assume "tragic accident" is the official position of the Ministry regarding Cedric's death. Surely, the circumstances surrounding his death were highly suspicious and hence demanded an investigation. I'm sure there would be experts in the Ministry who could have easily figured out that he was, in fact, killed by the Avada Kedavra curse. At the very least, why wasn't Harry questioned about it? He was the one found clutching Cedric's dead body. My question is

How did the Ministry come to the conclusion that Cedric's death was a tragic accident?

I'd appreciate answers from canon.

  • 13
    That's the Ministry for you; they throw you in Azkaban with no proof or trial, but when you show up with a dead body they do nothing. Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 17:49
  • 8
    People in high places can lean on those below them to influence the outcomes and official conclusions of such things. Especially in the wizarding world, which seems to have virtually zero legal due process. Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 17:51
  • 1
    I edited the question, as Peter Pettigrew is the one that killed Cedric Diggory, not Voldemort. Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 17:56
  • 8
    It was investigated. The investigation revealed that he got drunk in the middle of the maze and fell down an elevator shaft. Onto some spells. It was a complete accident, quite unavoidable.
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 22:42
  • 3
    cf. Myrtle's death. Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 2:23

2 Answers 2


Given that Cedric was participating in the TriWizard Tournament (which was known for killing its participants) and the Ministry didn't want to even hint that Voldemort may be back, it is likely that his death was covered up completely. All anyone outside of the Great Hall would have heard from 'official sources' would be that he died in the last challenge of the Tournament, possibly with a description of the maze and its many tricks, traps, and monsters.

It is likely that any investigation was a complete whitewash, where Ministry officials provided Fudge with the results he wanted in very short timeframes with minimal real study or investigation.

Fudge decided that there was no way Cedric could have been killed by Voldemort. He then pressured his underlings to support this story, and likely assigned his most loyal followers to 'look into' the matter. They would have done so, and since 'qualified people' were already looking into it, Fudge would have blocked any alternative investigations as being wasteful of Ministry resources.

That's how corrupt governments roll.

  • 1
    Yeah I realized it was obviously a cover up by the Ministry (Fudge mainly). I guess I'm just surprised at how obvious the holes in Fudge's explanation of the events are. And also how he blatantly chose to ignore evidence. And also how almost everyone in the Ministry (and the Daily Prophet) chose to blindly follow him. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 14:42
  • 3
    The Daily Prophet is pretty much completely owned by Lucious Malfoy. It doesn't print things he doesn't want printed, and there's a serious dearth of independent journalists in Magical Britain. Also, most wizards seem to be just completely non-curious. They accept what they've been told without asking many questions.
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 14:56
  • 2
    @ʀᴇᴅ_ᴅᴇᴠɪʟ226 The Gleiwitz incident (the beginning of WWII in Germany) was simply fabricated by Germany to invade Poland and was so blatantly obvious that it caused the UK and France to declare war. Yet it was still done because the victor woud write history and then Nazi Germany thought it would be victorious. It was obvious to anyone but no one felt to have enough power to actually challenge Fudge on it and he might have known that.
    – Adwaenyth
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 14:59
  • @Adwaenyth Yeah I get that. But unless Fudge was voluntarily supporting Voldemort's cause, I don't see how he could have benefited in the end. Unless he was trying to pull an Umbridge, hoping he'd be in the Death Eaters' good books when they took over. IMHO, I just don't see Fudge having the brains or the forethought to be that devious. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 15:33
  • 1
    @RED_DEVIL226 - he did, indeed, truly believe that Voldemort was gone forever. He buried his head in the sand and refused to entertain any thought that could threaten the story he had in his head - where he was the strong, determined leader fighting against subversive elements trying to seize power by playing up a phantom enemy.
    – Jeff
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 15:40

Fudge and the Ministry

Fudge refused to believe something he did not want to be true. Of course, Fudge had an explanation for himself to believe in, that Barty Crouch jr. was acting alone. This allowed him to believe that while some awful events had occurred, everything had been resolved and general order hadn't been upset.

"Why he killed them? Well, that's no mystery, is it?" blustered Fudge. "He was a raving lunatic! From what Minerva and Severus have told me, he seems to have thought he was doing it all on You- Know-Who's instructions!"
"Lord Voldemort was giving him instructions, Cornelius," Dumbledore said. "[...] Voldemort has been restored to his body."
Fudge looked as though someone had just swung a heavy weight into his face. Dazed and blinking, he stared back at Dumbledore as if he couldn't quite believe what he had just heard. He began to sputter, still goggling at Dumbledore. "You-Know-Who . . . returned? Preposterous. Come now, Dumbledore . . ."


"You fool!" Professor McGonagall cried. "Cedric Diggory! Mr. Crouch! These deaths were not the random work of a lunatic!"
"I see no evidence to the contrary!" shouted Fudge, now matching her anger, his face purpling. "It seems to me that you are all determined to start a panic that will destabilize everything we have worked for these last thirteen years!"


"You are blinded," said Dumbledore, his voice rising now, the aura of power around him palpable, his eyes blazing once more, "by the love of the office you hold, Cornelius! [...]"

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, chapter 36, "The Parting of the Ways"

Fudge did not want Voldemort to have returned, so he refused to believe that had happened.

It seemed Fudge could think of no answer to this. He rocked backward and forward on his small feet for a moment and spun his bowler hat in his hands. Finally, he said, with a hint of a plea in his voice, "He can't be back, Dumbledore, he just can't be . . ."


The Wizarding World

So Fudge had an explanation for himself to cling to. He also had an explanation for the wizarding world in general.

The Triwizard Tournament was known to be dangerous, deadly even. This was even deemed acceptable until the death toll mounted too high.

"The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. A champion was selected to represent each school, and the three champions competed in three magical tasks. The schools took it in turns to host the tournament once every five years, and it was generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities — until, that is, the death toll mounted so high that the tournament was discontinued."

Dumbledore explaining the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, chapter 12, "The Triwizard Tournament"; emphasis mine.

Of course, we're now centuries later.

"There have been several attempts over the centuries to reinstate the tournament," Dumbledore continued [...]


But it is still dangerous.

"[...] the tournament tasks will still be difficult and dangerous, whatever precautions we take [...]"


All in all, Cedric's death could be chalked up to his participation in a dangerous tournament that has been known to cause deaths in its previous instalments.

  • 1
    +1 for the 'Crouch Jr. did it' angle, that seems like the most plausible story, especially considering what had happened at the World Cup the previous year. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 14:18
  • I thought about Fudge blaming Crouch Jr. But a simple Priori Incantatem spell would have revealed that he couldn't have done it (since Cedric was obviously killed by Avada Kedavra). Also, as dangerous as the tournament was touted to be, I doubt many previous participants had died from the Killing Curse. But yeah yours is a plausible explanation. I guess I'm just pointing out the obvious holes in Fudge's cover up. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 14:37
  • @ʀᴇᴅ_ᴅᴇᴠɪʟ226 The whole thing could've been handled better if they wanted to investigate it properly. The most obvious path, even on Dumbledore's side, it to investigate Harry's memory. Not only is knowing Voldemort's means of resurrection vital intel (it would've solved most of book six two books early), it would've showed that Harry had accurate knowledge of very dark magic that he was unlikely to know, giving strong evidence that what he saw wasn't a delusion. Fudge would find this very hard to argue with.
    – J. Mini
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 11:44
  • @ʀᴇᴅ_ᴅᴇᴠɪʟ226 "[...] the Avada Kedavra Curse does not usually leave any sign of damage [...]"–Dumbledore. So it was by no means obvious that Cedric was killed by Avada Kedavra.
    – SQB
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 13:12
  • @SQB if it leaves no mark or damage, than it would be obvious if a body had been AK'd
    – ava
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 13:21

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