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In "Prisoner of Azkaban" chapter 20 ("The Dementor's Kiss"), Harry and Hermione follow Sirius to the lake, where they get surrounded by dementors. Harry's Patronus is unsuccessful, and one of the dementors lowers its hood and tries to Kiss Harry, before the dementors are finally driven away.

A couple chapters later, we get this exchange:

"And the dementors?" said Dumbledore. "They'll be removed from the school, I trust?"

"Oh yes, they'll have to go," said Fudge, running his fingers distractedly through his hair. "Never dreamed they'd attempt to administer the Kiss on an innocent boy... Completely out of control..."

Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 22, "Owl Post Again"

How did Fudge know about the Kiss?

Sirius and Hermione both passed out before the dementor lowered its hood, so they didn't know it even happened.

We see all of Harry's dialogue between the lake and that exchange with Fudge, and Harry never mentioned the Kiss to anyone -- not Hermione, not Fudge, not even Dumbledore.

Snape hadn't come on the scene yet:

"What amazes me most is the behavior of the dementors... you've really no idea what made them retreat, Snape?"

"No, Minister... by the time I had come 'round they were heading back to their positions at the entrances..."

Prisoner of Azkaban, chapter 21, "Hermione's Secret"

The Kiss happened before the corporeal Patronus drove the dementors away. If Snape didn't see the Patronus, then he wasn't there in time to see the Kiss either.

The only other ones who were around were Lupin and Pettigrew. Lupin couldn't have told Fudge about it; he was in the forest at the time, probably in no state to observe, and definitely not in any position to communicate. And Pettigrew was hardly going to go talk to the Ministry.

We know dementors can communicate with wizards, so I suppose we can't rule out one of them telling the Minister what had happened after the fact. But it hardly seems they'd admit to being that far out of Ministry control.

So how did Fudge know about it?

  • 1
    Same question could be asked about how Dumbledore knew of the Dementors in Little Whinging in OOTP. I've wondered about this before -- it's a good question! – Slytherincess Aug 7 '13 at 3:20
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    Didn't Mrs. Figg pass word to Dumbledore about the dementors? – Joe White Aug 7 '13 at 12:32
  • I'm not sure, actually. She might have. I'll check OOTP and get back to you on that. – Slytherincess Aug 8 '13 at 23:42
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    As it turns out, it was Mundungus Fletcher who was dispatched to inform Dumbledore about the Dementor attack on Harry and Dudley. Mrs. Figg was a Squib, so she had none of the usual means of magical communication at her disposal, although Harry did offer to lend her Hedwig to send Dumbledore a note. She thought it wouldn't be quick enough. – Slytherincess Aug 8 '13 at 23:49
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this is a great question, I have two possible explanations:

  • Snape had seen the Dementors and on Dumbledore's orders had not told Fudge the truth
  • AND/OR the Dementors do not have any sense of Loyalty to the Ministry and as Hagrid says, they do not care about innocence, so telling Fudge that they were going to perform the Kiss would not have stirred any sense of guilt in them. As Voldemort says later in the books, the Dementors are their natural allies, not the Ministry's. The Ministry offers them only limited use for their powers.
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    Wow. The idea that it never even occurred to the dementors that they shouldn't Kiss someone just for getting in their way, to the point of having no qualms about reporting it to Fudge... that idea actually makes them more frightening. – Joe White Aug 7 '13 at 12:37
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A word of caution: Dementors are vicious creatures. They will not distinguish between the one they hunt and the one who gets in their way. Therefore I must warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. It's not in the nature of a dementor to be forgiving."

~ Dumbledore, The Prisoner of Azkaban

They simply don't care about whether someone is innocent. They see only targets and obstacles, and both deserve no mercy. They'd feel no remorse or embarassment when it comes to administering The Kiss to either.

They're able to communicate with wizards and I can certainly see their reporting it to Fudge when asked, without subterfuge. They don't have any loyalty; all they care about is the hunt and the take down, and whoever will allow and support it.

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Wow. I agree with the idea that Snape was lying to Fudge, but I doubt it was on Dumbledore's orders. Rather, he had recognized Harry's patronus (he had seen the silver stag once, when Draco + co dressed up as dementors during a quidditch match) but refused to publicly admit that the third-year student drove a hundred dementors away.

But they were at the lake, not entirely out of sight from Hogwarts. Anyone could have seen them. A house-elf, for example. There were plenty of them in the school, and at 9 pm I doubt they all would have been at the kitchen.

  • 1
    Perhaps. Could you add some citations for this, though? – Adamant Nov 15 '16 at 0:02
  • House-elf? That’s a huge stretch...And I doubt anyone saw it but what’s certain is that Severus said something like only a very powerful wizard could have produced a Patronus that would have driven that many Dementors away. Sure he wouldn’t have said it was Harry but otoh he did say to Fudge that Sirius escape was Harry and Fudge called him mad, more or less. Are we sure Severus did see his Patronus at the match? Even if he had there isn’t any canon evidence that he saw the Patronus driving the Dementors away. – Pryftan Mar 4 '18 at 22:24

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