Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 1 Summary
How It All Goes Down
The Other Minister
The newly elected British Prime Minister waits for a call from the president of a foreign land. He is full of worry as the country has been afflicted with a series of strange, inexplicable tragedies lately, including a bridge collapse and a hurricane. Things are not right.
An enchanted portrait requests an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister on behalf of Cornelius Fudge.
The Prime Minister isn't too excited about this potential meeting, but he doesn't really have a choice in the matter.
Cornelius is flustered. He has recently been replaced as the Minister of Magic by Rufus Scrimgeour.
Fudge has come to pay the Prime Minister one last visit and to update him on the state of affairs in the Wizarding world. Things aren't good. He informs the Prime Minister that the bridge collapse and hurricane were caused by magic.
"The point is," says Fudge, "we're at war, Prime Minister, and steps must be taken" (1.69).
Rufus Scrimgeour, the new Minister of Magic, shows up, meeting with the Prime Minister to introduce himself and to inform him that the Ministry of Magic has decided to take measures to strengthen security around the Prime Minister and his office.
At the end of his wits, his mind reeling from all of the bad news doled out to him by both Fudge and Scrimgeour, the Prime Minister cries, "but for heaven's sake – you're wizards! You can do magic! Surely you can sort out – well – anything!" (1.131).
"The trouble is, the other side can do magic too, Prime Minister," replies Scrimgeour (1.132).