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In the Pottermore article "Ministers for Magic" by J.K. Rowling, the years given for Cornelius Fudge's term are 1990 - 1996:

Cornelius Fudge

1990 - 1996

A career politician overly-fond of the old guard. Persistent denial of the continuing threat of Lord Voldemort ultimately cost him his job.

However, in Goblet of Fire Sirius explains that Crouch lost out on becoming minister to Fudge when his son died:

"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 for Magic... next, his son dead, his wife dead, the family name dishonoured, 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 towards him, 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."

This seems to indicate that Fudge became minister shortly after Crouch Jr. died. Earlier Sirius had said that Crouch Jr. died about a year after coming to Azkaban:

"No," said Sirius dully. "No, he’s not in there any more. He died about a year after they brought him in."

Voldemort was defeated in October of 1981. That leaves us about nine years until Fudge became minister according to J.K. Rowling. If we subtract the year that Crouch Jr. was in Azkaban, we have eight years.

When they come out of the Pensieve in Goblet of Fire Dumbledore tells Harry the following about the attack on the Longbottoms (the crime for which Crouch Jr. was imprisoned):

He and his wife were tortured for information about Voldemort's whereabouts after he lost his powers, as you heard.

And:

"The attacks on them came after Voldemort's fall from power, just when everyone thought they were safe.

This seems to indicate that the crime was comitted shortly after Voldemort's downfall. Even if we give a full year for time between Voldemort's downfall and Crouch Jr.'s imprisonment, we still have about seven years until Fudge became minister.

How can the timeline be reconciled?

  • Sirius was in Azkaban, perhaps he just overlooked Minister Bagnold's term. – Harry Johnston Oct 9 '18 at 5:19
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OP originally had the year of Voldemort's initial defeat and the death of Harry's parents as 1980. They've since corrected that. I still think my argument holds.


Your time line is wrong. Voldemort was defeated on October 31st, 1981. That means that Millicent Bagnold had been Minister for Magic for about a year by then. She was a good and popular minister.

Millicent Bagnold
1980 - 1990
A highly able Minister. Had to answer to the International Confederation of Wizards for the number of breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy on the day and night following Harry Potter’s survival of Lord Voldemort’s attack. Acquitted herself magnificently with the now infamous words: ‘I assert our inalienable right to party,’ which drew cheers from all present.

Crouch jr. and friends tortured the Longbottoms shortly after, were arrested and sentenced to Azkaban. Crouch sr.'s fall within the Ministry must have begun shortly after, possibly even before the switcheroo and the death of his wife.

Bagnold had only been a year in office. So Crouch sr. wasn't about to succeed her right away; he likely was the "heir-apparent", on track to become the next Minister. After his son was revealed to be a Death Eater, he was derailed from that track. But it will likely have been a gradual proces; people avoiding him, not involving him.
Meanwhile, Fudge will have been up and coming himself.

When the time came to elect a successor to Bagnold, Fudge won the vote that Crouch sr. would've won nine or eight years earlier.


Neither Crouch sr. nor Fudge would've become the next Minister in the short term; the line "Cornelius Fudge got the top job" should be read as "[...] in the end".

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    Ah, 1980 was a minor mistake (I think I misread what I was quoting from), and I will correct it, but I don't think that affects the substance of the question. Sirius says that Crouch was poised to be minister but then people realized he didn't really care about his son so Fudge got the top job. It's hard to see how that could mean something like seven years later. And why would it take all that time for him to get shunted sideways? – Alex Oct 9 '18 at 9:02
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    JKR's bad maths aside, I think SQB's answer provides what's likely the best in-world answer. It's not like a feeling so vague as "Oh, maybe he didn't care for his son" is something that's going to gain enough traction to affect one's career over night. It could conceivably take years of small slights; not being invited to the right occasions; not being involved in the right discussions; slowly losing that position of privilege he once had as he loses the respect of those around him. Finally the post opens up and he's gone from obvious choice to not even in the running. – delinear Oct 9 '18 at 12:43

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