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From the top answer on this question: What are Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione's professions?

Harry became an Auror under the new Minister of magic Kingsley Shacklebolt and Ginny became a professional Quidditch player for the Holyhead Harpies.

Harry Potter, who always voiced a desire to become an Auror, or someone who fights dark wizards, was named head of the Auror Department under the new wizarding government headed by his friend and ally, Kingsley Shacklebolt.

J.K Rowling Beyond the Epilogue

JKR has also stated that Ron and Harry never went back and graduated:

From the Pottercast interviews with JK Rowling in 2007:

SU: Oh, speaking of Ron/Hermione—

JKR: Yeah, did they graduate from Hogwarts?

SU: Yes, did they?

JKR: Harry and Ron didn't go back, Hermione did. Did you bet right? You must've, I mean, come on. No one's gonna think Hermione wouldn't go back.

However, McGonagall in OtP states the requirements for becoming an Auror:

You'd need top grades for that,... They ask for a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, and nothing under 'Exceeds Expectations' grade, I see. Then you would be required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office. It's a difficult career path,... they only take the best

Now I will admit, destroying the Horcruxes and then Voldy is probably enough resume anyone needs, but is there a canon reason stating how Harry and Ron became Aurors without graduating and taking/passing N.E.W.T. exams?

12 Answers 12

57

Two reasons spring to mind:

  • Kingsley Shacklebolt explicitly sought out Harry’s help.

    Several interviews with J.K. Rowling make it sound like Kingsley explicitly sought him out, and thus would be able to waive the usual formalities.

    Could you tell us what professions Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Luna go on to have? Did the trio do their final year at school and take their NEWTs?

    Thank you! I've already answered about Hermione. Kingsley became permanent Minister for Magic, and naturally he wanted Harry to head up his new Auror department.

    J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com (July 2007

    And then another excerpt of the interview you quoted:

    Ron was really done with schooling. It would be kind of tempting to go back just to mess around for a year and have a break, but he goes into the Auror department. He's needed. Anyone. Anyone who was in that battle on the right side, Kingsley would want them to help clean up the-- I mean, anyone who's old enough to do it, who's over-age. But Kingsley would've wanted Ron, Neville, Harry and they would've all gone, and they would've all done the job. And I think that that would've been a good thing for them, too. Because to go through that battle and then be religated to the sidelines, I think they would've felt a need to keep going and finish the job. So that would've been rounding up, really, the corrupt people who were doing a Lucius Malfoy and trying to pretend that they weren't really involved.

    Pottercast interviews J.K. Rowling, part one (December 2007)

    That alone would probably be enough.

  • Harry’s knowledge of DADA is exceptional.

    Putting aside his defeat of Voldemort, consider that at age 15, he was teaching fellow students about advanced defensive magic and could cast a corporeal Patronus. Many of those trainees would go on to duel with Death Eaters while still at school. Frankly, there aren’t many adults who could teach at that standard, and he did it as a teenager.

    His other skills (Potions, Transfiguration, etc.) may not be on quite the same level, but he still seems reasonably competent. Certainly enough that he probably could pass an NEWT if pressed to do so, but he has better things to do.

  • There's nobody else to staff the Auror office.

    As suggested by @ssmart's answer, their ranks are pretty thin. When Harry first expresses interest in being an Auror, McGonagall reminds him:

    “It’s a difficult career path, Potter; they only take the very best. In fact, I don’t think anybody has been taken on in the last three years.

    Order of the Phoenix, chapter 29 (Career Advice)

    I’ll assume that McGonagall is correct. DADA education at Hogwarts got a bit rough after this: Umbridge, then Snape, then no DADA at all. I think it’s very likely that nobody else qualified before the end of the war. That’s five years with nobody joining the department.

    Further consider that their ranks were severely thinned by the war: many Aurors were killed or incapacitated. A lot of other people were killed in the war (including students), so it’s a fairly small pool of people who could even consider becoming an Auror, let alone qualify.

    Kingsley’s intervention aside, you can see why they might waive the usual academic requirements (for anybody competent, not just celebrities like Harry and Ron). There are still plenty of Death Eaters and Snatchers on the loose; Voldemort’s death didn’t just make them all vanish. They need Aurors, and badly.

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    Keep in mind that he got his (apparently mediocre) potions skills under a teacher who hated and actively antagonized him. His DADA instruction wasn't especially consistent, either. Three were evil, one was an incompetent blowhard, one was the aforementioned hateful teacher, and the last, while generally helpful, was strangely absent on a regular basis. – KSmarts Jan 15 '15 at 22:55
  • Think about Harry and Kingsley's relationship and wonder no more how he could have been made an Auror. Do you think the Minister of Magic couldn't bend or change a rule to his liking? I think you're spot on here, @alexwlchan. +1! – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 15 '15 at 22:58
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    @KSmarts: Further to that, the majority of the generally helpful teacher’s lessons were on dark creatures, not the sort of defensive magic that Harry was teaching. – alexwlchan Jan 15 '15 at 23:00
  • @algioga - true. And done. – JohnP Sep 5 '16 at 18:58
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There's no canon answer I'm aware of. But out of universe, there are plenty of clear mechanisms for such things in Real World:

  1. Honoris Causa degrees being awarded on the basis of achievement OR notoriety.

  2. Credits for classes granted by passing exams. Happened to me personally in university, twice.

  3. Getting hired for achievements without degrees (our company has BS in CompSci as a requirement for hire for programmers. Several great programmers employed have no CS degree, including one with English and one with Philosophy).

  4. Getting hired for being celebrity instead of fulfilling professional needs (Chelsea Clinton @ NBC being one of the more famous recent examples on this side of the pond). Not likely to be the case with Harry and Ron, but still an option.

  5. Ministry is an executive outfit. Meaning, the boss gets the say over what happens. Shacklebolt is fully within effective power (even if not within official rules) to just say "hire this guy, okthx?" and who in HR is gonna tell him "No"?

  6. Rules can be changed. Again, Shacklebolt very well could have simply adjusted the rules to say "5 NEWTS OR a major role in defeating a Dark Lord", officially.

  7. Rules may already have loopholes. Just because McGonagall stated the "standard" rule, doesn't mean there weren't 3 pages worth of addendums she didn't bother mentioning or knew about.

  8. For that matter, there is no canon information that Harry and Ron did NOT actually study out of school and taken the N.E.W.T.s. I find that unlikely but it's not contradicted by canon.

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    In reference to #7, McGonagall does want Harry to apply himself more, anyways. – Clockwork-Muse Jan 16 '15 at 11:47
  • What pond are you referring to in your answer? – Darth Egregious Jan 16 '15 at 19:02
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    When a major war disrupts the system you commonly use for education and certification, then people become more relaxed in their requirements. The second wizarding war was very active for a few years; so for a real world example you can look to "battlefield zones" after WW2 - there were cases of teachers that hadn't formally graduated even the same level they were teaching in, and officers, engineers and medics doing the work without the certification that was mandatory for others before and after them. The system is either ignored or the official certification granted 'for demonstrated skill'. – Peteris Jan 16 '15 at 22:29
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    @DVK says "there's no canon answer that I'm aware of"; well then there's no canon answer :). – Möoz Apr 23 '15 at 21:09
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There isn't anything in canon that explains how Harry and Ron were able to become Aurors. However, I think it's safe to assume that the wizard who was able to permanently stop the greatest single thread to the Wizarding World would be given a pass as far as actual academic requirements.

And, as Ron helped in the Battle of Hogwards, said "pass" likely applied to him as well.

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    Ron helped in the Battle of Hogwarts, as well as helping to destroy the Horcruxes, including saving Harry's life as he was getting the Sword of Gryffindor. I would imagine that this counts as passing their practical exams. – KSmarts Jan 15 '15 at 22:48
10

The majority of the replies here are discussing variations on normal government/bureaucracy processes that could lead to Harry being hired. I think these answers miss out on a significant point.

The country and government that Kingsley Shacklebolt took over would not have been normal and fully functioning with a smooth bureaucracy.

The Aurors would have been decimated. Some would have died, or been fired. Their command structure had been subverted after the takeover of the ministry. The cohorts leaving school would have been smaller than normal (for a number of years, given the number of muggleborns killed). Essentially all of the muggleborns in government or civil service roles would no longer be there.

The role that Kingsley (and other senior appointments) in the ministry after the fall of Voldemort would be to rebuild normal functional government. This would be a very different process to the normal hiring that takes place to maintain numbers. Especially given just how many people will have had interrupted schooling. The ministry will have had to hire a wider range of people than normal, and probably give them more training than usual as a result.

It would be more surprising if the same standards and processes had been maintained.

  • "The Aurors would have been decimated" +1 for this. And remember that McGonagall tells Harry there haven't been any Aurors accepted in three years. The pipeline is empty; they need new people. – alexwlchan Jan 16 '15 at 9:24
  • I was thinking exactly this. Emergency measures and all that- with very few Aurors left, they would have likely taken on anyone that showed willingness and ability. That would, in fact, be the primary concern of the Ministry at that point. – PointlessSpike Jan 16 '15 at 10:27
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The post of Head of Auror Department is a political one, not a technical one. It is like being Director of the CIA. Do you need to be a superspy for that? No, you just need to be appointed by the President and accepted by the Congress.

2

Although I believe alexwlchan's answer to be the correct one. Give all of that information, the question of 'how' still sit's on "Kingsly said so".

Though that's good enough as the Minister of Magic seems to be able to do whatever he/she pleases without diplomatic process, I'll add another answer...

Harry defeated Voldemort. Killed him in front of a large audience. Grades and tests aside, how could the Auror Office deny entrance of HARRY POTTER? "The boy who lived" who became the vanquisher of he-who-must-not-be-named. From a PR standpoint alone, they had to accept him, and from an internal standpoint, he'd be an excellent ally. Even if he isn't as good as his reputation, any dark wizard who confronts him will still be battling the morale killer that they're going up against the one who defeated Voldemort.

this is the equivalent of seeing a job posting requirement as 'such-and-such education or related experience'.

  • Would be a bit like denying Linus Torvalds a programming position, wouldn't it? Even that seems to be understating it a bit. – Neil Jan 19 '15 at 10:48
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    I would deny Torvalds a programming position. Because everyone knows Torvalds isn't a team player... – Drunken Code Monkey Feb 14 '17 at 3:28
1

Another point worth mentioning is character. The Ministry of Magic and Hogwart's faced a series of humiliatations throughout the HP books, culminating in the corruption of the Ministry at its highest levels, as key personnel were exposed as death-eaters and/or pureblood racists. Maybe a "character test" provision got added to the hiring practices manual, or maybe it became an unwritten rule, but the next batch of Aurors needed to be wizards who had demonstrated an unequivocal opposition to Voldemort and a rejection of magical racism. Trusting an Auror isn't just about trusting their magical skills; it's about trusting them to be on, and stay on, the right side of the fight. McGonagall's answer may have been accurate at the time she gave it. It also reflects the culture within the wizarding community that magical talent was valued above all else. That culture allowed people like Lucius Malfoy to maintain their social and political standing within the wizarding community in spite of his past association with Voldemort and his outspoken racism. We can only hope that the people rebuilding the Ministry after the war would have learned from this lesson. One might imagine that a student having the same conversation a few years later might be told that "An Auror must demonstrate spotless character and a conviction to serve selflessly to protect the weak." Harry would have been seen as a weak candidate, not because of his mediocre grades, but because of all of his demerits, evasiveness, and involvement in scandals.

1

Late answer, but browsing around I found a precis on the interview with J.K. Rowling "Beyond the epilogue", which states:

An often asked question is what are Harry, Ron and Herione doing now? J.K. said that Harry, along with Ron, is working at the Auror Department at the Ministry of Magic, and after all these years, Harry is now the department head.

"Harry and Ron utterly revolutionized the Auror Department," Rowling said. "They are now the experts. It doesn't matter how old they are or what else they've done."

Meanwhile, J.K. said that Hermione, Ron's wife, is "pretty high up" in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, despite the fact that she laughed at the idea of becoming a lawyer in the scene with Scrimgeour in ly Hallows.

"I would imagine that her brainpower and her knowledge of how the Dark Arts operate would really give her a sound grounding," J.K. said.

An important point for J.K. was that Harry, Ron and Hermione don't join the same Ministry of Magic they had been at odds with for years. In joining it, they revolutionize it and help evolve the Ministry into a "really good place to be."

"They made a new world," Rowling said.

So along with alexwlchan and DVK's excellent answers, this reinforces their theory. NEWTs were not needed, as they basically redesigned the Auror department from the ground up, as well as the Ministry itself.

  • I'm assuming she mostly referred to the anti-Muggle bias and Malfoy-corruption angles, in terms of evolving; and not changing the rules to not require NEWTs :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 23 '15 at 21:28
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    @DVK - Possibly. But "What about NEWTS?" "Do you have NEWTS?" "No, do you?" "No. Do we really need them?" "Uh...no?" :) – JohnP Apr 23 '15 at 21:29
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The question asks for canon, which is sadly lacking. The Epilogue is the weakest part of the whole series, giving no information to support or refute the generally excellent conjectures above. The closest we can come is that Dumbledore routinely waived or disregarded rules, so presumably Shacklebolt could and would do the same.

  • A headmaster at a school waiving rules is hardly the same as the head of a law enforcement agency waiving rules. – phantom42 Jan 17 '15 at 5:25
  • I said it was the closest argument to canon: Shacklebolt certainly saw Dumbledore's approach to rules. I should have added that Fudge also waived or broke rules (sometimes in Harry's favour, sometimes not). If you want conjectures about the details, see other answers. (Perhaps the Wizengamot passed a law that anyone who showed extraordinary magical ability against Voldemort or the Death Eaters could be considered as an Auror.) – Jorgen Harmse Jan 19 '15 at 13:35
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After the end of second wizarding world war, the Ministry was in shambles and needed large number of employees to rebuilt it's departments. Most importantly, like the end of first wizarding world war, they were rounding up all the dark wizards around them hence they needed new and large number of Aurors for the job. Looking at the circumstances, Kingsley (temporary Minister of Magic) had tone-down the qualifications required to enter in Auror training and simply allowed all the students, who directly participated in the Battle of Hogwarts, to join the Auror Department.

Grades merely reflects your academic achievements but your experiences teach you much more. Harry did not complete his education formally but he had learned all during his horcrux hunt. What he learned during his exile was absolutely above the educational syllabus of the school. One should also note that Harry just did become an Auror by entering into that department. He probably had to go through few months (generally it's two years but the training period might have been shortened due to circumstances) training where he had to pass the test to become an official Auror. Whatever scandals Harry was involved it were nothing but false rumors. By the end of the war, anyone would be stupid to think Harry was involved in dark arts business for wrong reasons.

0

I was under the impression that there was additional Auror training which was acquired on the job. I think it was supposed to an additional three years of classes in an applied graduate school. The time that the they were searching down Horcruxes is an equivalent to those three years. It is analagous to a battlefield commission as an officer in military service. Kingsley could have asked Hogwarts to accept a written thesis on the last year quests for horcruxes and graduate both Harry and Ron. I would have made it a part of the offers to Harry and Ron for the job as Auror. I would have explained to them that we need the thesis to help teach other potential Auror students. Harry was recognized as a teacher anyway by Hogwarts. Here the school has a vote. It gave the students the room of requirements to teach in. It would not have done so if it did not think that Harry should have been recognized as a teacher. Didn't Harry return and teach the Defense against the Dark Arts classes every so often. Hogwarts recognized Harry as a teacher then also. Would it have done so if it did not think that Harry had graduated. What else were they going to do? Hogwarts would not have been open right away for classes anyway. Desperate times require that the rules change under extreme circumstances. War is such a circumstance.

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Well for one thing: Harry didn't become the head of the Auror Department right away. But he didn't need to do the training, I read, since he already passed by doing what he had done fighting.

  • 3
    and where did you read that ? – Rocket Jan 29 '15 at 1:22

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