I actually found the scene at the beginning to be amusing. There was Harry, probably rumpled and messy, brandishing cork boards and scribbled notes for approval, just radiating earnestnes. And there was the Minister, possibly also rumpled and messy, firmly attached to his quill and approval ratings, and radiating standoffishness. What a contrast, and how amusing. It really fits, though, even if Harry did remind me of a slightly more scatterbrained version of Percy. I admire his determination, though, even if Scrimgeour did rightly identify a few holes in his plan.
I am impressed by your portrayal of Voldemort. He is utterly terrifying, very cold and brutal. The way he treated Erickson was completely in line with what I would have expected to read had this been an actual Harry Potter book. This definitely is one of the best characterizations of Voldemort I have read. I could almost (though not quite) feel sorry for Erickson (the slimeball) after the way Voldemort treated him (but he really asked for it, didn't he?). I definitely feel sorry for his wife and child, because they didn't ask for it!
The bit about the newspaper at the beginning . . . Scrimgeour says his approval ratings have dropped 10 percent, according to the Prophet. According to the Prophet. Hm. I wonder if the editor is under the Imperius Curse yet? Once the Prophet begins to suggest that Scrimgeour's popularity is plummeting, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Author's Response: Haha, I wrote that scene with an undercurrent of humor, but now that you describe it that way...it makes it funnier. =] I didn't make Harry go behind the Minister's back without appealing to him first, because like you said, he's earnest, and as untrusting of the Ministry as he is, he's still thinking for the good of the wizarding world and he's humble enough to put his pride aside. [Which is how he is different from Percy, I suppose.] Scrimgeour, on the other hand, is a politician. And he's only thinking of proving his superiority above Harry, which is quite stupid if you think about it, seeing as not considering the whole Voldemort debacle, Harry is only a seventeen year old wizard living with him. ^_^
Wow, what a compliment! *fans self* Voldemort is definitely one of the harder characters to write. In future chapters, he might be slightly less terrifying, because everything is going his way and he is very happy [although that in itself is quite terrifying]. But here, I wanted the huge contrast between him and Erickson, and I'm glad it worked.
The editor has not been Imperius'd yet - you'll know when she has. *evil grin* Scrimgeour's ratings are dropping by themselves. If Voldy had control of the Prophet, there'd be more than just ratings dropping. =] But you are absolutely correct about self-fulfilling prophecies, which will come into play later. People will believe anything these days...