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Essays

The Battle of the Department of Mysteries
An Analysis of the Chase and Battle, June 1996

by Kendall Smiley

"[Voldemort]'s certainly not going to take on the Ministry of Magic with only a dozen Death Eaters."
-     Sirius Black (OP6)

At turns exciting, suspenseful, horrific, unexpectedly funny, and in the end, tragic, OP35 ("Beyond the Veil") brilliantly captures the chaos and confusion of battle. Harry doesn't have time to fully comprehend everything going on around him, but we the readers have the luxury of going back and re-reading this chapter for new insights and revelations. Within limits, we can even make some deductions and conclusions (mainly the identities of the Death Eaters that Harry and his friends encounter) that poor Harry doesn't have the time to make. The events in this chapter can be neatly divided into two parts: the Chase and the Battle.

I. The Chase

After Harry picks up the prophecy, he and the others are surrounded by twelve Death Eaters. In classic villain tradition, they politely inform Harry of what they're after, why they want it, the trap they've laid for him, and laugh and jeer at all the mistakes he's made, giving him enough time to think out an escape. At Harry's command, the other kids fire Reducto spells at the prophecy shelves around them and race towards the exit in the confusion. A Death Eater lunges at Harry, but he elbows him in the face. Another Death Eater grabs Harry from behind, but Hermione Stupefies him. Harry, Hermione, and Neville reach the exit and seal it off, only to realize they've separated from Ron, Ginny, and Luna. They then overhear Lucius Malfoy making this invaluable speech:

"Leave Nott, leave him I say, the Dark Lord will not care for Nott's injuries as much as losing that prophecy -- Jugson, come back here, we need to organize! We'll split into pairs and search, and don't forget, be gentle with Potter until we've got the prophecy, you can kill the others if necessary -- Bellatrix, Rodolphus, you take the left, Crabbe, Rabastan, go right -- Jugson, Dolohov, the door straight ahead -- Macnair and Avery, through here -- Rookwood, over there -- Mulciber, come with me!"

Thanks to this paragraph, we not only know the names of all the Death Eaters present, we also know in what pairs they're in. Since all but one of them have been at least mentioned before now, we can even do a brief thumbnail sketch of each of them. They tend to fall into two groups.

The first group consists of those Death Eaters who were cleared of any wrongdoing after Voldemort's downfall and have gone on to lead respectable lives in the wizarding community, despite being guilty as sin. I call them the Respectables. Six of them were named by Voldemort in GF33. Five of those are in this chapter. The other group is made up of the ten loyal Death Eaters who were captured, convicted, and sent to Azkaban, where they were freed by Voldemort in OP24 and OP25. I call them the Ten.

Here's a detailed list of the Death Eaters involved in the Battle. I'll put them together in their pairs (and note these pairs in this analysis by using the '&' symbol).

Nott - one of the Respectables, father of Hogwarts student Theodore Nott. Almost definitely the Death Eater Hermione Stupefied (although there's a slim chance he's the Death Eater Harry elbows in the face). His injuries keep him out of the Chase, and possibly even out of the Battle.

Bellatrix - Bellatrix Lestrange, one of the Ten, "convicted of the torture and permanent incapacitation of Frank and Alice Longbottom" (from the Daily Prophet article, OP25).
Rodolphus - Rodolphus Lestrange, one of the Ten, Bellatrix's husband, and convicted of the same crime as his wife.

Crabbe - one of the Respectables, father of Hogwarts student Vincent Crabbe.
Rabastan - Rabastan Lestrange, one of the Ten, Rodolphus' brother, and convicted of the same crime as his brother and sister-in-law.

Jugson - the only Death Eater in this chapter never mentioned before now. Nothing known of this bloke.
Dolohov - Antonin Dolohov, one of the Ten, "convicted of the brutal murders of Gideon and Fabian Prewett" (from the Daily Prophet article, OP25).

Macnair - Walden Macnair, one of the Respectables, employed by the Ministry of Magic as Executioner for the Committee For the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures.
Avery - one of the Respectables, a childhood friend of Snape's (along with the Lestranges). In GF, he was first in line among the Death Eaters at Voldemort's return, crawling like a worm, blubbering like a baby, begging Voldemort's forgiveness. In OP, he gave Voldemort faulty (and rather stupid) information on who could handle the prophecies. Comes across as a bit of a wuss, really.

Rookwood - Augustus Rookwood, one of the Ten, "convicted of leaking Ministry of Magic secrets to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" (from the Daily Prophet article, OP25). The only Death Eater (besides Nott) who wasn't paired off with anybody, he apparently never encountered the kids during the Chase, since all the Death Eaters the kids faced off against were in pairs.

Mulciber - almost definitely one of the Ten (although never referred to as such in OP), "he specialized in the Imperius Curse, forced countless people to do horrific things!" (from Karkaroff's confession, GF30)
Lucius Malfoy - one of the Respectables, father of Hogwarts student Draco Malfoy. When it comes right down to it, he was the true mastermind behind the evil events of CS and is an all around nasty guy.

A. The Time Room

Harry, Hermione, and Neville race toward the exit, but before they get there, two Death Eaters force their way in. Harry Stupefies one. The other Death Eater is about to perform the Killing Curse on Hermione, but Harry tackles him. Neville zaps both their wands out of their hands. The Death Eater gets his wand first and takes his mask off. Hermione Stupefies him, and he falls headfirst into the bell jar, his head turning into a baby's. The kids are distracted by Ginny's scream, and are chased into an office by two more Death Eaters.

Battle of the Department of Mysteries: The Time Room © Marta T. Unsolved Mystery: Which Pair of Death Eaters Are These?
The two Death Eaters met in the Time Room are never identified. To deduce who they were, it's best to start by deducing who they weren't.

  • It seems safe to assume they aren't any other pair we know for a fact the kids encountered later in the Chase. That rules out Bellatrix & Rodolphus and Jugson & Dolohov.

  • The only other clue is the fact that Harry never recognizes them, not even when one of them takes off his mask. That definitely rules out Mulciber & Malfoy, and probably Macnair & Avery. Harry's never met Mulciber, but he knows Lucius Malfoy all too well. Indeed, he had no trouble recognizing Malfoy in the Hall of Prophecy even though Malfoy was masked the entire time. Finally, I can't believe Rowling would intend Malfoy to be among this pair without ever identifying him.

  • Harry also knows Macnair & Avery - not as well as he knows Malfoy, but he does know them, Macnair in particular, whom he's seen and overheard in conversation (you could say Harry knows Macnair better than Macnair knows Harry). Although this is less certain, I again find it hard to believe Rowling would intend Macnair to be among this pair and not identify him.

That just leaves one pair left, Crabbe & Rabastan. The only problem is that Harry knows them, too. Or does he? If you really think about it, it's obvious he doesn't know either one that well at all. The limits in what he knows of them are intriguing. Harry has heard Crabbe's voice (at Voldemort's return, GF33), but has never seen his face. Likewise, he's seen Rabastan's face (in the Pensieve, GF30), but has never heard his voice. Considering all that, it makes perfect sense that this pair is Crabbe & Rabastan, with Crabbe being the baby-faced Death Eater and Rabastan being the one Hermione Stupefied. Through the ingenuity and precision of Rowling's imagination, we can not only deduce the identity of this pair, we can even tell one from the other.

I must make one final note on this mystery before I continue. It must be admitted that later on in the Battle, Harry never recognized Macnair until after he was unmasked. Thus, there's still a slim chance that this pair is Macnair & Avery (in which case, the baby-faced Death Eater would have to be Avery, a man whose face, like Crabbe's, Harry has never seen before). Still, in the absence of any further evidence, I prefer to think that this pair is Crabbe & Rabastan.

B. The Office

The two new Death Eaters Impedimenta Harry, Hermione, and Neville. One of the Death Eaters yells for the others, but Hermione Silencio-es him. Harry body-binds the second. The silenced Death Eater zaps Hermione with a purple flame, knocking her out for the next two chapters. He kicks at Neville, breaking both Neville's wand and his nose. He takes off his mask. It's Antonin Dolohov, who murdered the Prewetts. He has Harry and Neville cornered, when he's distracted by the baby-faced Death Eater. Harry body-binds him.

Easily Solved Mystery: Which Pair of Death Eaters Are These?
We already know who one of them was: Dolohov. That makes the other guy (the one Harry body-bound first) Jugson. Elementary, my dear Weasley.

C. The Planet Room

Harry and Neville carry Hermione into the hallway when they reunite with Ron, Ginny, and Luna. Only now Ginny's ankle is broken, and Ron is giggling and gibbering like a lunatic. Luna explains what happened:
"Four of them chased us into a dark room full of planets, it was a very odd place, some of the time we were just floating in the dark... Anyway, one of them grabbed Ginny's foot [this is probably when Ginny screamed], I used the Reductor Curse and blew up Pluto in his face... I don't know what they hit [Ron] with, but he's gone a bit funny, I could hardly get him along at all..."
They are all about to reach the exit when three Death Eaters led by Bellatrix Lestrange burst in and chase them into another room. To elaborate a little further on what Luna said: it seems one pair of Death Eaters found Ron, Ginny, and Luna and managed to alert another pair. When Luna Reducto-ed that Death Eater, she probably knocked him out, at least for awhile. Bellatrix and her two Death Eaters are probably the three remaining Death Eaters from that Planet Room chase.

Partially Solved Mystery: Who Are These four Death Eaters?
Since Bellatrix seems to have been a part of this group, it seems clear that one of the pairs was Bellatrix & Rodolphus. As to who the other pair is, there is no clue whatsoever. Assuming all my prior deductions are correct (yeah, I know, pretty big assumption), the other pair was either Macnair & Avery or Mulciber & Malfoy. Likewise, there's no clue as to which Death Eater Luna knocked out.

Battle of the Department of Mysteries: Confrontation © Marta T. D. The Brain Room

Harry and the others are chased into the Brain Room. Harry, Neville, and Luna try to seal off all the doors, but Luna is knocked out when five Death Eaters led by Bellatrix burst all at once through the door she was trying to seal. Ron, still all funny in the head, Summons a brain and gets entangled in it. Ginny is knocked out by a Stunning Spell. Holding up the prophecy, Harry leads the five Death Eaters into the Death Chamber (the Veil Room).

Unsolved Mystery: Who Are These five Death Eaters? All that can be stated for certain is that Bellatrix and the two Death Eaters she was with managed to alert the last remaining pair of Death Eaters. If the pair that was with Bellatrix and Rodolphus in the Planet Room was Macnair & Avery, this new pair would have to be Mulciber & Malfoy, and vice versa. Nothing more can be deduced.

E. The Death Chamber

Harry trips into the Death Chamber, followed by the five Death Eaters. Just as many Death Eaters come from doors in the front. Harry is surrounded by ten Death Eaters.

Unsolved Mystery: Hey, Wait a minute! There were twelve Death Eaters in the Hall of Prophecy, but only ten in the Death Chamber. What happened to the other two? And which two were they?
Clearly the two missing Death Eaters were incapacitated during the Chase. The problem is there were six Death Eaters incapacitated at one point or another. They are:

It seems safe to assume that the two missing Death Eaters are among these six.
  • Two of these can be taken off the list immediately.

    • We know for a fact that Dolohov took part in the upcoming Battle; he's even talking.

    • Jugson was no worse off than Dolohov (if anything, he was slightly better off since he hadn't been Silencio-ed). If Dolohov could recover in time for the Battle, there's no reason Jugson couldn't.

    • The only question is how did they manage to recover? My theory is that some time during the Chase, the solitary Rookwood came across them in their body-binds and undid all the jinxes on them. I have no proof for this, but it does answer both how they managed to recover in time for the Battle and what Rookwood was doing during the Chase.

  • Of the four remaining incapacitated Death Eaters, the one who seems most likely to still be incapacitated is the baby-faced Death Eater. We've never encountered this type of magic before, but it doesn't seem like the type that can be undone with a quick and easy spell.

  • His partner, on the other hand, seems more likely to be up in time for the Battle. All he was hit by was a Stunning Spell, and I don't think that'd be enough to keep him out for so long. Ginny seems to confirm this. She's hit by a Stunning Spell just before the Battle, and begins to wake up just after it.

  • The strongest clue for who the other missing Death Eater is provided by a Death Eater who was there. Harry notes that one of the Death Eaters is "bleeding badly". This is either Nott or the Death Eater Luna Reducto-ed Pluto at. None of the other incapacitated Death Eaters were hurt so hard they were bleeding. I have no further proof, but I believe that the badly bleeding Death Eater is the one Luna Reducto-ed Pluto at, just because I think he would've been closer. It seems to me that all the rooms in the Department of Mysteries are inter-connected except for the Hall of Prophecy. It seems you have to go into the Time Room before you can get to it. It seems the Death Eater Luna knocked out would be more likely to come to in time to hear the commotion and join the others in the Death Chamber. The only problem is that all Nott was hit with was a Stunning Spell. I think the key here lies in Malfoy's phrase, "Nott's injuries", implying he has more than one. My theory is that Nott was Stupefied onto the path of several collapsing prophecy shelves that landed on top of him. That's got to hurt, even for a wizard.

So, in the absence of any further proof, I think the two missing Death Eaters are Nott and the baby-faced Death Eater, whom I believe to be Crabbe.

Even without those two Death Eaters, Harry is still outnumbered. Neville tries to come to his aid, but only ends up being a hostage. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, in comes the Order of the Phoenix, leading to:

II. The Battle

Since there's no way to deduce any masked Death Eaters' identity in the Battle, I'm going to try something a little different. Every time a Death Eater falls, I'm going to count how many Death Eaters are remaining in parentheses. I'm also going to add a couple of likely assumptions where there is no further proof.

Anyway, once the Order arrives, the whole thing becomes a pitched battle. According to the glimpses Harry catches of this battle, here's what happens, more or less in order of events (although some of these things happened simultaneously):

(9 Death Eaters still standing) (8 Death Eaters still standing). (7 Death Eaters still standing).
  • Bellatrix defeats Tonks.

  • Sirius rushes in to fight her.

  • Harry spots Kingsley fighting a maskless Rookwood.

    • Assumption: My overall impression of Kingsley is that he's more powerful than the average wizard, but not quite Dumbledore's level. Therefore, I don't think Kingsley defeated both Death Eaters he was fighting earlier and then went on to Rookwood. I think it more likely that Rookwood was one of the two and that Kingsley defeated the other one.

(6 Death Eaters still standing).
  • Malfoy lunges at Harry. Harry tosses the prophecy to Neville and Impedimentas Malfoy, who gets up immediately (clearly Stupefy is more powerful than Impedimenta). Neville's pocket tears and the prophecy is smashed.

  • Dumbledore arrives, which causes most of the fighting to stop.

  • One Death Eater tries to escape, but Dumbledore reels him in

(5 Death Eaters still standing). Battle of the Department of Mysteries: The End © Marta T.
  • Kingsley takes up the fight against Bellatrix

  • Dumbledore binds up the remaining Death Eaters (there would be no more than four, and that's not knowing who Lupin may have fought and defeated).

  • Bellatrix defeats Kingsley and deflects a bolt from Dumbledore. I'd just like to observe here that Mrs. Lestrange defeated three wizards in a row in one-on-one duels and was the only Death Eater able to deflect a bolt from Dumbledore. No doubt about it, she's as powerful as she is loathsome.

What happens next is exciting, but fairly straightforward. Harry chases Bellatrix to the main floor, they have their cat-and-mouse duel, Voldemort shows up, Dumbledore shows just how powerful a wizard he can be, Fudge and his cronies are made to realize they're complete doofuses, and Voldemort escapes with Bellatrix. By the end of the night, all the Death Eaters who took part in the Chase and the Battle (including, presumably, the two incapacitated earlier) are in custody except for Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange.

A Final Note

It's interesting to note that Goyle, father of Hogwarts student Gregory Goyle, was the only one of the Respectables named by Voldemort in GF33 who wasn't part of this chapter and is therefore the only one of them almost certainly not in custody. Also interesting to note that his son was not part of the Inquisitorial Squad Harry and the others had to escape from in order to be in the Battle (Draco was there, and Vincent Crabbe was there, but there's no mention of Gregory). Ah, well, it's probably just a meaningless coincidence. After all, I think we all know by now just how meaningless Rowling's coincidences are...

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