If you mention “Barty Crouch” and “evil” in the same sentence to a Harry Potter fan, they’ll probably assume you’re talking about Jr – after all, he was part of the group that tortured Neville’s parents into insanity, and he kept Moody locked up for MONTHS so that he could put a plot for Voldemort to abduct Harry into motion. But no. Today we are talking about Barty Crouch, Sr., head of the Department for International Magical Cooperation. And evil man.
Yup, I said it. Now, do not get it twisted – Barty Crouch, Sr. was definitely no Death Eater. But neither was Umbridge – as Sirius reminds us, “The world is not split into good people & Death Eaters”. Let’s take a look at his actions during the First Wizarding War – as the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement:
- He did away with trials for suspected Death Eaters – including giving them sentences up to life in prison without ever being given the opportunity to defend themselves
- He authorized the use of Unforgivable Curses while attempting to apprehend suspected Death Eaters
- His Department operated under the dual principles of “kill rather than capture” and “attack first, ask questions later”
Most of the wizarding population seemed to support Crouch’s decisions, probably because the Death Eaters themselves were so ruthless that there was a feeling that an equal level of ruthlessness was needed to stop them. Obviously, after the war this sort of behavior fell out of favor, since he was moved from Law Enforcement to International Magical Cooperation (the wiki lists this as a demotion, but I’m not so sure – after all, he remained head of the department – so I think this may have been just a case of one department being seen as more prestigious than the other).
Lets be clear here: fighting fire with fire never fucking works. Sure, you may eventually “win”, but at what cost? You’ve brought yourself down to the level of the enemy – and just like wrestling with a pig, you’re covered in mud. What’s the point of winning a war if the winning side has become just as bad as what they were fighting against when it all started? After all, you can just shift the people in charge into less important positions and right the ship, can’t you?
Well, no, you can’t. Because there are always casualties when you fight a war, never more so then when the good side winds up down on the evil side’s level. Sirius Black is the immediate, in-your-face reminder of this – he spend twelve years in Azkaban, for a crime he did not commit, while the man who did commit the crime was free (ish. pretending to be a rat isn’t exactly free, but it’s better than Azkaban). Had Crouch not done away with trials for suspected Death Eaters (except, you know, his own kid) he might not have lost 12 years of his life.
And that’s not even counting the people who surely died for the “crime” of being near a suspected Death Eater when the Ministry arrived, or the people who were tortured or killed mistakenly. Oops.
I’m just gonna say it: Bary Crouch, Sr. is the most evil character in the Harry Potter books, and there are actual people in our world today who are exactly like him.