After Harry Potter completed the Triwizard tournament in the Goblet of Fire, he used a Portkey and returned to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry grounds holding the dead body of his classmate, Cedric Diggory.
He announced, “He’s back. Voldemort is back” – but who truly believed him? He was in a state of shock and there are a million questions circling the incident. Why did no one believe that Voldemort was back? Let us find out. . . .
Why did no one believe that Voldemort was back?
Here are some of the reasons why Harry was considered a ‘fraud’ by most people:
#1 The Unsuspecting Inside Man – Cornelius Fudge
Voldemort’s return would be unbearable for Fudge, firstly because no one wants to be the bearer of bad news. Fudge was responsible for shaping the narrative so as to ensure that the dominant fiction was not disrupted. Harry’s delusions about Voldemort’s resurrection were twisted by the Minister through the media.
“Voldemort has returned,” Dumbledore repeated. “If you accept that fact straight away. Fudge, and take the necessary measures, we may still be able to save the situation. The first and most essential step is to remove Azkaban from the control of the dementors.” . . . . . . . “Remove the dementors? I’d be kicked out of the office for suggesting it! Half of us only feel safe in our beds at night because we know the dementors are standing guard at Azkaban!”– Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
In maintaining the dominant fiction, Fudge and the Daily Prophet employed a technique known as social adaptation and relearning. The person who reframes or reprocesses how the traumatic event happened within the mind and memory in both direct and indirect ways depends on how they experienced the event.
By doing so, the person can move on from the event and reduce guilt over what happened. Fudge used social adaptation and relearning when he said Barty Crouch, Jr.’s statements before being given the Dementor’s Kiss could not be truthful because the man was a “raving lunatic.” Cedric Diggory’s death was a tragic accident during the Triwizard tournament, an event with a previous history of participant deaths.
The name of the Death Eaters who had been tried and were declared witnesses to the return of the Dark Lord was found by Harry, who wanted to get attention for the story. It was becoming easier for Dumbledore to lose his marbles as he aged. Using Sirius Black‘s help, the Azkaban breakout was accomplished in Order of the Phoenix. For nearly 15 years, the world could function as usual as long as none of the aforementioned events were linked to Voldemort.
“Accepting that Voldemort’s back would mean trouble like the Ministry hasn’t had to cope with for nearly fourteen years”– Remus Lupin, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Maintaining the status quo meant Fudge could stay in power. Fudge knew there were smarter wizards who inspired more loyalty than himself (such as Albus Dumbledore), and people would want someone else to lead magical Britain in the aftermath of Voldemort’s return.
Granted, Fudge also had little incentive to want to disrupt the dominant narrative since all the indications are there that the people Harry accuses of being Death Eaters were lining the Minister’s pockets. So in the end, Fudge’s refusal of Voldemort’s return lies in the fact that he was a bumbling man who liked to be in power.
#2 Ignorance is Bliss, and the Truth is Daunting
The main reason was that they were apprehensive about Voldemort’s return. In his rise to power, Voldemort brought fear, mistrust, death, and a great deal of loss to the Wizarding World. Many people would rather not believe that similar events were about to repeat themselves and instead trust the Ministry of Magic when they say this is not true.
The initial celebrations following Voldemort’s fall from power were huge when he attempted to kill Harry. There was immense relief among everyone, which led to them interacting openly with Muggles.
Once again, Harry thwarted Voldemort’s plans ten years later. Even though he is still The Boy Who Lived, it is obvious that he is not surviving by pure luck alone. After he lost to Voldemort for the very first time in Goblet of Fire, he returns from the Triwizard tournament clutching a fellow student’s corpse and saying Voldemort has returned.
You now have a very powerful dark wizard who was once considered nearly unstoppable by many, returned and back from the dead. The hero you admire, Harry Potter, has failed to prevent him from regaining his body and power.
Putting your head in the sand is not going to help you, but it is certainly easier than accepting what’s ahead!
#3 A Cry for Attention
Harry has a bit of a reputation as a troublemaker. Though he’s a protagonist in our point of view, it seems that for every bump that happens at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are involved, and usually blamed.
We only know the difference because we’re seeing it from their point of view.
It is common knowledge that Harry Potter ‘The Boy who Lived’ was the largest story in the Wizarding World since the fall of Grindelwald. People may have assumed that the coincidence of Lord Voldemort returning around the same time Harry is back in Hogwarts to be suspicious.
It was almost like Harry made it up to ensure that he was once again at the centre stage spotlight as the boy who kept living despite coming face to face with the Dark Lord.
This notion could have been made worse considering he never truly got to reap the benefits or glory when it happened the first time as he was still in his infancy stages.
Although this is complete speculation, it is a possibility that Harry might have made this up considering no one else saw Voldemort or any signs that actually led to the belief that he was back.
Harry was a little more than 14-15 when he announced Voldemort’s return, and of course, the Ministry of Magic and the Wizarding World had no reason or motive to trust Harry.
Half of the Wizarding World had witnessed the First Wizarding World, and none of them wanted to repeat it, and the thought of Voldemort’s return would only spark more rebellion, fighting, blood shed and general chaos.
#4 A Blame Game
The general consensus of the press was that the blood shed was caused by a prisoner that escaped from Azkaban. Harry’s God Father, Sirius Black.
One can assume that Harry was merely mistaken and placing his blame on the ‘even worse’ evil, Voldemort, when in fact it could have been the wrong doings of lesser evils (but equally capable of violence) Death Eaters.
Keep in mind, Sirius Black was still considered a threat in the outside world (referred often as Undesirable No. 1) and therefore could have easily fooled Harry into believing the Dark Lord was back.
Harry was, after all, only a child and in the eyes of the Wizarding World and the press, an easy target to fool because he had neither knowledge of the Magical world nor the experience to know the difference between being charmed to ‘recall’ seeing a figure like Voldemort or the actual thing. It is quite easy to make that misconception especially if a spell or a Boggart was introduced to Harry in order to make him see the events that followed in that particular light.
#5 A General Disinterest in the Truth
There has been speculation that Harry could have shown people his memories of Voldemort returning through the usage of a Pensieve.
There are multiple issues with this course of action, namely that Harry must be the one who puts the memory in the Pensieve, and nobody can do it for him. Harry was also only fourteen years old at this point. He had only had four years of magical education, and his brain was still growing. Should they expect him to know how to put his memories in a Pensieve if he had never done anything similar before?
And what if he failed and damaged his brain permanently? There were too many risks here.
Additionally, we can also assume that Harry would have wanted to show Fudge those memories. He would have ideally preferred to be called a liar over showing someone he did not trust memories of him being tortured.
At this point, Harry sort of blamed himself for the entire thing, and he might have been afraid Fudge (and other members of the Ministry in powerful places) would have blamed him, too, and punished him, if he was allowed to see everything.
If Dumbledore suggested it, and Harry refused or even hesitated, Fudge and alike, could have seen it as another proof he lied. Lastly, and most notably, Memories can be altered. Even if they, somehow, were able to put Harry’s memories in a Pensieve and managed to get people to watch them, people could have said they were altered, just like Fudge ignored all the other proof he had that we covered in possibility #1.
You can find out why Dumbledore tried to ignore Harry during the Order of the Phoenix here.
When we think about it further, as you recall, Fudge himself gave Barty Crouch Jr. the Dementor’s Kiss so he would be unable to be a witness ever again. Fudge let the newspapers ridicule Harry all summer so people would not believe what he said.
Cornelius and other members of the Ministry went out of their way to ensure that no people were to believe in Voldemort’s return because they did not want to deal with the repercussions that would cause. The recollection of the Pensieve would not have changed that. And Dumbledore knew it!
To conclude, although there are multiple speculations as to why no one but Harry’s close circle believed him, we will never truly know the root cause. We can only assume, it could be one of the reasons mentioned above, or more likely, a combination of them. The sad truth of the matter is that if more people had believed Harry early on, there could have been proactive measures taken which would have drastically reduced the blood shed that took place between Harry’s first encounter and the turn out of the Battle of Hogwarts in the Deathly Hallows.
As we know, this was not the case and the reaction of those in power has a significant portion of the blood that was shed from that period of time on their hands.
Like Albus Dumbledore said;
“The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Can’t get enough of Harry Potter?
Join our community on Telegram and Twitter here!
Are you passionate about Harry Potter and want to earn some flexible income?