While reading this answer to a related question, I came across this excerpt from Pottermore.

The new Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour, had more immediate problems pressing in on him than Dolores Umbridge. Scrimgeour was later punished for this oversight, because the fact that the Ministry had never punished Dolores for her many abuses of power seemed to Harry Potter to reveal both its complacency and its carelessness.

This implies that Scrimgeour was punished by the Ministry or some other legal authority for failing to remove Umbridge from the Ministry. Scrimgeour was the Minister for Magic, and as far as I'm aware he was never 'punished' visibly while he was Minister.

If Scrimgeour were punished, then the punishing authority should have removed Umbridge simultaneously. Umbridge was imprisoned after the war, but Scrimgeour was dead by then, killed long before that.


2 Answers 2


I think the "punishment" was never an official one. If you read the sentence again:

Scrimgeour was later punished for this oversight, because the fact that the Ministry had never punished Dolores for her many abuses of power seemed to Harry Potter to reveal both its complacency and its carelessness.

This is about Harry not being able to bear Scrimgeour, as he kindly reminded him when Scrimgeour delivered Dumbledore's will:

"I… regret your attitude," he said, looking Harry full in the face once more. "You seem to think that the Ministry does not desire what you - what Dumbledore - desired. We ought to work together."

"I don't like your methods, Minister," said Harry. "Remember?"

For the second time, he raised his right fist and displayed to Scrimgeour the scar that still showed white on the back of it, spelling I must not tell lies. Scrimgeour's expression hardened. He turned away without another word and limped from the room. Mrs. Weasley hurried after him; Harry heard her stop at the back door. After a minute or so she called, "He's gone!"

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 7, "The will of Albus Dumbledore"

The punishment, then, would be not working together with Harry, and by extension, the Order; maybe the Order could have spotted the Ministry's infiltration by the Death Eaters (via Thicknesse), and helped Scrimgeour defeat them.

If Harry had been on good terms with the Ministry, Scrimgeour might not have died.

  • In Half-Blood Prince the connection between Umbridge still working at the Ministry and Harry not helping Scrimgeour is perhaps even more explicit: Harry felt anger bubbling in the pit of his stomach: So Dolores Umbridge was still at the Ministry, was she?
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 17:30
  • And: I haven’t forgotten, Minister. ...” He raised his right fist. There, shining white on the back of his cold hand, were the scars which Dolores Umbridge had forced him to carve into his own flesh: I must not tell lies.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 17:31
  • 1
    By the way, the Order knew that Thicknesse was under Death Eater control: Moody dropped his sacks at his feet and turned to Harry. “As Dedalus probably told you, we had to abandon Plan A. Pius Thicknesse has gone over, which gives us a big problem.
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 17:33
  • 1
    Also, the cited Pottermore article probably proves you correct, because the very next sentence says: Harry considered Dolores’s continuing employment, and the lack of any repercussions for her behaviour at Hogwarts, a sign of the Ministry’s essential corruption, and refused to cooperate with the new Minister because of it
    – Alex
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 17:36

There was no specific "punishment" for his retention of Umbridge, but his failure to do the right thing was characteristic of his leadership approach, which was "punished" by the law of cause and effect with the fall of the Ministry.

As we learn over the course of the last two books, Scrimegour devoted a not-insignificant amount of energy to finding out what Dumbledore was up to; he assigned an Auror to tailing Dumbledore and spent a good bit of time trying to figure out why Dumbledore was leaving three artifacts to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Some Ministry actions were for the sake of appearances (most notoriously, chucking Stan Shunpike into Azkaban).

While we can't be sure that a wiser set of priorities would have prevented the fall of the Ministry, we cannot help but think that Scrimgeour might have lived longer if he had focused on the job he was supposed to be doing. While his incompetence was not as severe as Fudge's, Scrimgeour was too much a political creature in his thinking, and that led to his downfall.

  • well, Stan actually was among Death Eaters, whether imperiused or not - he was chasing Harry in Seven Potters Commented Feb 7, 2019 at 4:45

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