Rufus Scrimgeour Character Guide

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Rufus Scrimgeour was made the Minister of Magic after spending his life as an auror, fighting Death Eaters and other dark wizards. He continued the Ministry’s efforts to recruit Harry Potter and give the public appearance that Harry was on the side of the ministry. Harry never agreed, much to the chagrin of Rufus Scrimgeour. It was said that he was tortured by Death Eaters for information on Harry Potter’s whereabouts before they killed him, but he never gave in, and protected Harry with his dying breath. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Quick Facts

Full Name Rufus Scrimgeour 
Birth Date Before 1968
Birth Place Great Britain
Nick Name None
Death Date  
Age When Series Starts 23+
Zodiac Sign Unknown
Siblings None
Children None
Partner / Spouse None
Most Memorable Moment Taking over as Minister of Magic
Magical Heritage Pureblood
Hogwarts House Unknown
Wand Unknown
Patronus Non-corporeal
Actors Who Played Bill Nighy
Last Updated May 6, 2022

Rufus Scrimgeour Birthplace

Rufus Scrimgeour was born in Great Britain. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Parents

Very little is known about his family, and there’s no information on his parents, although it is likely that they were pureblood wizards residing in Great Britain.

Rufus Scrimgeour Physical Traits

Rufus Scrimgeour Physical Traits
Image from Fandom

Rufus Scrimgeour was described as looking like an old lion with tawny hair and bushy eyebrows, streaks of gray running through them. He had a rangy grace and walked with a limp. His eyes were yellowish, and he wore wire-rimmed glasses which didn’t hide the shrewdness and toughness behind his eyes. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Early Life

Nothing is known about his early life. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Hogwarts Years

Seeing as Rufus Scrimgeour was likely a pureblood wizard, he probably attended Hogwarts at the age of 11 and graduated after great academic achievements, or he would not have been able to go on and start a career as an auror. 

Rufus Scrimgeour After Hogwarts Years

Rufus Scrimgeour graduated and started working in the auror office fighting dark magic. He spent most of his life fighting dark wizards and eventually became the head of the Auror Office. He worked with people like Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt. While serving under this position, he questioned Tonks and Kingsley regularly about the location of Sirius Black, as those two were in charge of investigating where Sirius Black went after he escaped from Azkaban.

Once Voldemort openly declared war on the wizarding community, Cornelius fudge resigned. Almost immediately after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Rufus Scrimgeour was appointed the new Minister of Magic.

After being selected for this appointment, he made a speech about the dark times and the fact that the world was facing no greater threat than it was in the present moment, but that the Ministry would continue to defend wizards and fight the dark wizards upon the magical world. 

The Other Minister

Rufus Scrimgeour Physical Traits (1)
Image from Fandom

At the start of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the “other” Minister is introduced: the muggle prime minister. By way of a magical picture, the Ministry of Magic was able to communicate directly with the British Prime Minister to arrange for meetings. When the British Prime Minister first took office, Cornelius Fudge appeared in the fireplace and made introductions, assuring the Minister that they would likely never meet again. When the Prime Minister asked why the former Prime Minister never warned him, Fudge chuckled and remarked to the effect that no doubt the current Minister would never tell anyone what had happened either for fear of being seen as crazy. 

However, their meetings continued when Sirius Black escaped; the Ministry of Magic needed muggle help spotting him (saying he was using a gun–a type of muggle weapon used to kill people). Then Fudge appeared to report the breakout at Azkaban and then the death eaters who had been responsible for the collapse of a recently constructed muggle bridge, all the bad weather in summer, and a recent murder. 

At the end of his rope, the British Prime Minister was furious that he and his cabinet had been blamed for Fudge’s blunders. It was here that Fudge explained he had been chased out of the office and was only there to facilitate the meeting of the new Minister of Magic: Rufus Scrimgeour. 

When Rufus appeared in the fireplace, his conversation was succinct. He noted that Fudge would be happy to liaise moving forward and left. During that short meeting, he gave the appearance of being much more put together, straightforward, and powerful. 


Rufus Scrimgeour_At the Burrow
Image from Fandom

Just as Fudge has begun to distrust Dumbledore near the end, so, too, did Rufus Scrimgeour when he assumed the office. He regularly disagreed with Dumbledore, flooding him with owls as soon as Scrimgeour took office, demanding to meet with Harry Potter over what happened. Throughout the year, their feud continued as Rufus Scrimgeour demanded to use Harry Potter to boost public morale by showing him off as “the chosen one.” 

In large part due to Dumbledore’s refusal and subsequent refusal to inform the Ministry where he disappeared throughout the year, Rufus Scrimgeour showed up at the Burrow over the Christmas holiday under the pretense that Percy Weasley was in the area with him and wanted to see his family (with whom he had not spoken all year). 

During this Christmas morning, Rufus Scrimgeour pretended he wanted to recuse himself from the family reunion by asking Harry to show him about the grounds since Harry was clearly finished eating (he wasn’t). 

While on a walk, Rufus Scrimgeour asked about the prophecy, where Harry and Dumbledore got off to during the year, and whether Harry would be willing to side with the Ministry publicly. Rufus Scrimgeour made the mistake of remarking that it didn’t matter whether Harry Potter was actually the chosen one; they could just lie and pretend that he was because it would boost morale. 

Harry didn’t appreciate the hypocrisy and reminded Rufus Scrimgeour that he was not allowed to tell lies by showing the still deeply embedded scar “I mustn’t tell lies” on his hand from his multiple detentions under Dolores Umbridge, approved by the Ministry of Magic the year prior.

Harry Potter also stated that he didn’t appreciate the Ministry arresting Stan Shunpike just for the sake of presenting the appearance of taking action and fighting the dark wizards when they had no real justification for Stan as a Death Eater.

Annoyed by the fact that Harry Potter refused to be used as a puppet, Rufus Scrimgeour referred to him as Dumbledore’s man through and through.

After Dumbledore’s death, Rufus Scrimgeour attended the funeral with a small delegation of other officials. Wasting no time, Rufus Scrimgeour took Harry Potter aside after the funeral to ask once more about what he and Dumbledore had been doing whenever they left the castle. Rufus Scrimgeour tried, once more, to point out that they were on the same side, but Harry still did not comply with his requests.

The Burrow Once More

Rufus Scrimgeour_At the Burrow Once More
Image from Fandom

As the Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour showed up at the Burrow once more on July 31. He did so to read the will of Albus Dumbledore and provide the items Dumbledore had left to Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley.

However, it was Hermione who figured out that the Minister was only getting around to reading the will almost one month after Dumbledore’s death because the Ministry had the legal right to withhold items bequeathed in a will if they suspected dark magic, but only for 30 days. She also pointed out that he had likely spent that time trying to figure out why Dumbledore left each of these items to the three children and what it might mean.

Clearly, Rufus Scrimgeour was unable to ascertain the reasoning behind the items because, as he read Dumbledore’s will and handed the items out, he asked a series of questions to each of them in turn with a suspicious attitude. He asked each of them why they thought Dumbledore would have left that particular gift to them. 

For example, with Ron Weasley, Rufus Scrimgeour asked if they were very close, and when Ron initially started to say they weren’t close, Rufus Scrimgeour jumped on that and asked why then would Dumbledore give him a highly unique and valuable item as his Deluminator – something Dumbledore likely created himself.

When he gave Hermione The Tales of Beedle the Bard, he asked why Dumbledore would have given her a book and what the symbols on the front of the book meant to her. She pointed out that Dumbledore probably knew her love of reading, and if the Ministry of magic was unable to find any special code or hidden item in the book, it was unlikely that she would.

To Harry Potter, Dumbledore had left the first golden snitch he ever caught and Godric Gryffindor’s sword. Rufus Scrimgeour watched carefully as he handed the snitch to Harry Potter, knowing that snitches had flesh memories, so they would only open for the person who first touched them. When nothing happened, Rufus Scrimgeour was disappointed because he assumed Dumbledore had hidden something inside (which he did). Similarly, he refused to give the Sword of Gryffindor to Harry Potter, noting that it wasn’t Dumbledore’s to give and that they didn’t know where it was.

Harry Potter wasted no time criticizing Rufus Scrimgeour for his behavior, particularly for having wasted time and energy going over these three items when they could have instead been trying to find the Death Eaters who escaped from Azkaban. Rufus Scrimgeour was so angry at what Harry Potter said that they almost had a duel, stopped only when Arthur and Molly Weasley came in because they heard shouting.


The following day the Ministry was taken over by Death Eaters. Rufus Scrimgeour was captured and brutally tortured for information about where Harry Potter was. It was said that he put up quite a fight and refused to talk even though he clearly knew that Harry Potter was at the Burrow. His last act was to save Harry Potter even though they had always butted heads. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Magical Abilities and Special Skills

Rufus Scrimgeour was a skilled leader, something he demonstrated during the First Wizarding War and Second. He was made a department head before he was made the Minister of Magic, owing to these abilities to lead others in combat, boost morale, and guide his colleagues. 

He was very good at nonverbal magic, able to cast spells without speaking. He could apparate successfully. He was also good at producing a Patronus charm. 

As an auror he possessed advanced charms skills, tracking skills, dueling, transfiguration, potions, and stealth. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Wand

Rufus Scrimgeour_Wand
Image from Fandom

Nothing is known about Rufus Scrimgeour’s wand other than he likely got it from Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Trivial and Fun Facts

One of the biggest reasons that Harry Potter refused to work with Rufus Scrimgeour when Rufus Scrimgeour appeared at the Burrow over Christmas was because Harry Potter didn’t agree with the way the Ministry was running things and therefore didn’t want to give the public appearance that he was on the side of the Ministry. He specifically said the fact that the Ministry still had Stan Shunpike arrested and in Azkaban, even though there was “no way” Stan was a death eater, spoke to the fact that the Ministry wanted to give the appearance they were taking action, even if that action was incorrect. However, during the Battle of the Seven Potters, Stan Shunpike was one of the Death Eaters trying to kill members of the Order of the Phoenix. It was at this point that Harry Potter realized he was probably under the imperius curse and had been broken out of Azkaban. They never qualify whether Stan was working for the Death Eaters at the time the Ministry arrested him and sent him to Azkaban or whether he was broken out of Azkaban by the Death Eaters and forced to work for them under the imperius curse thereafter.

The entire scene involving the British prime minister meeting the newly-elected Rufus Scrimgeour is left out of the film. 

In the books, Luna Lovegood once said that Rufus Scrimgeour was a vampire, a story that her father had published in The Quibbler. The actor who portrayed Rufus Scrimgeour also played a vampire in Underworld. 

Rufus Scrimgeour Appearances in Books 

Rufus Scrimgeour appears in the following books:

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Rufus Scrimgeour Appearances in Films

Rufus Scrimgeour appears in the following films:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Rufus Scrimgeour Quotes 

Rufus Scrimgeour_Quotes
Image from Fandom

Rufus Scrimgeour having a row with Harry at the Burrow:

Rufus Scrimgeour: “Dumbledore’s man through and through, aren’t you, Potter?”

Harry Potter: “Yeah, I am. Glad we straightened that out.”

Harry Potter and Dumbledore discussing the new Minister:

Harry Potter: “Is he… Do you think he’s good?”

Albus Dumbledore: “An interesting question. He is able, certainly. A more decisive and forceful personality than Cornelius.”

Harry Potter: “Yes, but I meant —”

Albus Dumbledore: “I know what you meant. Rufus is a man of action and, having fought Dark wizards for most of his working life, does not underestimate Lord Voldemort.”

Rufus and Harry almost having a duel at the Burrow:

Scrimgeour: “Remembered you’re not at school, have you? Remembered that I am not Dumbledore, who forgave your insolence and insubordination? You may wear that scar like a crown, Potter, but it is not up to a seventeen-year-old boy to tell me how to do my job! It’s time you learned some respect!”

Harry Potter: “It’s time you earned it.”


Question: Was Rufus Scrimgeour a Death Eater?

Answer: No. He was an auror and eventually the Minister of Magic, replacing Cornelius Fudge. He spent most of his career and life fighting death eaters and dark magic. At no point was he under the imperius curse either. 

Question: Why was Rufus Scrimgeour Killed?

Answer: He was captured and tortured for information on Harry Potter. When he would not disclose that information, he was killed. 

Question: Was Rufus Scrimgeour a Good Minister of Magic?

Answer: He took strong control during a difficult time, replacing a minister who had ignored Voldemort’s return and subsequent rise to power. It was a challenging position that not many people wanted. He did not come under Death Eater control, indicative of his strength and power. 

Research Citations

IMDB. Harry Potter Full Cast.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Listening Library, 2003.

Rowling, J. K. (2010). Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury. Chicago (Author-Date, 15th ed.) Rowling, J. K. 2010.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.

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