The Goblet of Fire makes it explicitly clear that Lucius Malfoy is a Death Eater. However, as Order of the Phoenix begins we see that he is still, in fact, gainfully employed at the Ministry of Magic and his son Draco is still strutting the halls of Hogwarts.

This is a jarring situation. What explanation is given, if any, for the lack of consequences to Lucius being outed?

Sure, the Ministry is slandering Harry via the Prophet, but you'd think "Dude, your dad is totally a Death Eater" would get some attention at least within Hogwarts?!?

(mind you I am going by the movies here, if the books paint a different reality please enlighten me)

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    Few people believed Harry that Voldemort was back or about any of the people he named as Death Eaters. – Jack B Nimble Jan 28 '13 at 15:58
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    Lucius Malfoy is not, and never was, a Ministry employee in the books. In the movie Chamber of Secrets, he says, "See you at work," to Arthur Weasley, but that's only in the movie. JKR expressly says the Malfoys do not have to work and live off their inherited fortune. As for Draco -- he was a fourteen-year-old boy during the events of Goblet of Fire and had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the graveyard when Voldemort killed Cedric, etc. Why on earth should Draco be punished or expelled from Hogwarts for something he wasn't event remotely involved in or his father's crimes? – Slytherincess Jan 28 '13 at 16:20

At the start of Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter's version of events has been widely discredited by The Daily Prophet and the Ministry of Magic. Both describe Potter as vain and attention seeking with his stories of Voldemort's return.

Potter's version is also not widely known at the start (he only explains the full story to Dumbledore at the end of Goblet of Fire) and it's not until late in the book that his version of events becomes known.

It's Potter's word against Lucius Malfoy's, the same Lucius who's having conversations with Fudge while Potter's trying to avoid a conviction for under-age magic use.

An open confrontation does occur between Potter and Draco, but not until much later. Draco is a prefect and Potter is not, and for most of Order of the Phoenix Umbridge is in power and would likely just make Potter scar his hands more for such an accusation.

I strongly recommend reading the books, the films are increasingly nonsensical and rubbish because they have to cut so much out.


Harry saying Lucius is a Death Eater had no effect at the Ministry.

After seeing him in the graveyard, Harry does try to tell the Minister of Magic that Lucius Malfoy is a Death Eater. However, the Minister explains that Lucius was already cleared, and refused to consider the accusation against him any further, seeming offended at the mere suggestion.

“I saw the Death Eaters! I can give you their names! Lucius Malfoy –’

Snape made a sudden movement, but as Harry looked at him, Snape’s eyes flew back to Fudge.

‘Malfoy was cleared!’ said Fudge, visibly affronted. ‘A very old family – donations to excellent causes –”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)

After that, the Minister still was willing to talk to Lucius, despite Harry’s disbelief of this.

“Well, well, well … Patronus Potter,’ said Lucius Malfoy coolly. Harry felt winded, as though he had just walked into something solid. He had last seen those cold grey eyes through slits in a Death Eater’s hood, and last heard that man’s voice jeering in a dark graveyard while Lord Voldemort tortured him. Harry could not believe that Lucius Malfoy dared look him in the face; he could not believe that he was here, in the Ministry of Magic, or that Cornelius Fudge was talking to him, when Harry had told Fudge mere weeks ago that Malfoy was a Death Eater.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 9 (The Woes of Mrs Weasley)

Harry’s attempt to tell the Ministry that Lucius was a Death Eater didn’t affect the Ministry’s opinion, and Harry didn’t really go around Hogwarts trying to tell other students Lucius was a Death Eater. At that point, the Ministry was trying to discredit him, so many of the students at Hogwarts thought he was lying or insane anyway, so they wouldn’t necessarily trust him.

Also, Lucius had been giving money generously to the Minister.

In addition, Lucius Malfoy has been known to give those in power money, which would make them likely more lenient towards him and more willing to think well of him. When Lucius goes to see Fudge, he has a full pocket of what sounds to Harry like gold, implying he might be taking it for him.

“I don’t think private matters between myself and the Minister are any concern of yours, Potter,’ said Malfoy, smoothing the front of his robes. Harry distinctly heard the gentle clinking of what sounded like a full pocket of gold. ‘Really, just because you are Dumbledore’s favourite boy, you must not expect the same indulgence from the rest of us … shall we go up to your office, then, Minister?’

‘Certainly,’ said Fudge, turning his back on Harry and Mr Weasley. ‘This way, Lucius.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 9 (The Woes of Mrs Weasley)

Mr. Weasley tells Harry that Lucius gives generously to all sorts of things to ensure he’s well-connected and the people in power are more willing to do him favors.

“I’ll leave a note for Dumbledore when I drop you off, he ought to know Malfoy’s been talking to Fudge again.’

‘What private business have they got together, anyway?’

‘Gold, I expect,’ said Mr Weasley angrily. ‘Malfoy’s been giving generously to all sorts of things for years … gets him in with the right people … then he can ask favours … delay laws he doesn’t want passed … oh, he’s very well-connected, Lucius Malfoy.”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 9 (The Woes of Mrs Weasley)

Because of this, the Ministry would be even less inclined to think badly of Lucius.

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