“There’s nothing you can do, Harry . . . nothing. . . . He’s gone."
-- Remus Lupin (OP35)
Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, and other Death Eaters arrive and attempt to take the prophecy away from Harry. The D.A. members fight the Death Eaters and are separated. Hermione Granger is badly hurt, Neville Longbottom’s nose is broken and, when they are reunited with the others, Ginny Weasley’s ankle is broken and Ron Weasley is badly injured. Later, Luna Lovegood is also hurt. Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, and other members of the Order of the Phoenix arrive to fight the Death Eaters. Sirius duels with Bellatrix, and loses his life falling through the veil.
Calendar and Dates
The entire chapter takes place on a Thursday inside the Department of Mysteries, which had been the final day of O.W.L.s (OP31) - although it may extend past midnight into Friday. The date is probably 20 June 1996 (see the Battle page's Timeline Notes).
Interesting facts and notes
The ending of this chapter is one of the saddest things in the seven Harry Potter books, and it made J K Rowling cry when she wrote it.
"It's time you learned the difference between life and dreams, Potter," said Malfoy. "Now give me the prophecy, or we start using wands."
Lucius Malfoy wants the orb handed over, but Harry doesn't know what the Prophecy it contains is about or why Lord Voldemort wants it. His dreams / visions had led him to believe that Sirius Black was in real danger. He doesn't immediately realise from Bellatrix Lestrange's taunting words that this was all false.
Harry hissed to Hermione, moving his lips as little as possible, "Smash shelves –"
"Dumbledore never told you?" Malfoy repeated. "Well, this explains why you didn't come earlier, Potter, the Dark Lord wondered why –"
"– when I say now –"
Although they are surrounded by Death Eaters, Harry sees a possible way for them to escape. He still doesn't know what the Prophecy is about, but is wisely concentrating on what the D.A. group he has brought here need to do to get away.
He had thought Ron, Luna and Ginny were ahead of them, that they would be waiting in this room, but there was nobody there.
"They must have gone the wrong way!" whispered Hermione, terror in her face.
The chase that is the start of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries runs through several of its rooms, all of which seem to double back on each other. Luna, Ron and Ginny have gone through the door to the Planet Room, while Harry, Hermione and Neville have ended up in the Time Room. Two possible layouts of the department are on its Maps page.
"It's Longbottom, isn't it?" sneered Lucius Malfoy. "Well, your grandmother is used to losing family members to our cause … your death will not come as a great shock."
"Longbottom?" repeated Bellatrix, and a truly evil smile lit her gaunt face. "Why, I have had the pleasure of meeting your parents, boy."
"I DOE YOU HAB!" roared Neville, and he fought so hard against his captor's encircling grip that the Death Eater shouted, "Someone Stun him!"
"No, no, no," said Bellatrix. She looked transported, alive with excitement as she glanced at Harry, then back at Neville. "No, let’s see how long Longbottom lasts before he cracks like his parents … unless Potter wants to give us the prophecy."
In the end, with the others are injured or incapacitated, only Harry and Neville are left standing - or trying to stand - cornered in the Death Chamber. Only the arrival of the Order of the Phoenix changes the balance.
Only one pair was still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw Sirius duck Bellatrix’s jet of red light: he was laughing at her.
"Come on, you can do better than that!" he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room.
The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.
The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock....
....It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall: his body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backwards through the ragged veil hanging from the arch.
And, as quickly as that, Harry loses his godfather, the last of the Black family, who has never had a chance to really live freely in the wizarding world after his escape from Azkaban (PA2) and flying away from Hogwarts on Buckbeak after being re-captured (PA21).
Exceptional character moments
Bellatrix Lestrange is not only horrible and nasty, but also certifiably mad. She makes Lucius Malfoy look reasonable.
Neville Longbottom determined to keep fighting the Death Eaters, especially those who tortured his parents, as he and Harry are the only two left of their rescue mission companions.
"The little baby woke up fwightened and fort what it dweamed was twoo," said the woman in a horrible, mock baby voice.
"Anyway, one of them grabbed Ginny's foot, I used the Reductor Curse and blew up Pluto in his face." [Luna]
And Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather's wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind and then fell back into place.
Words and phrases
From the Web
Writing by J K Rowling on WizardingWorld (Pottermore): Time-Turner
CBBC (Children's BBC) website: BBC Newsnight: interview with Jeremy Paxman, updated 19 June 2003
The Battle of the Department of Mysteries: An Analysis of the Chase and Battle, June 1996 a Lexicon essay by Kendall Smiley
- The Twelve Doors of the Department of Mysteries
- MuggleCast Episode #472: DUBBLEDORE! (OOTP 35 ‘Beyond the Veil’)
- Within the Department of Mysteries
- MuggleCast Episode #374: The Department of Mysteries
Harry Potter Wiki: Department of Mysteries
WizardingWorld (Pottermore) feature:
- Things you may not have noticed about Sirius Black
- The most mysterious things in the Department of Mysteries
Tags: anger attacks black bleeding blood brains confusion corridor crying curious curses dangerous dark death defense doors dreams duelling dust explosions fear fights fire flying foolishness furious ghostly green half-blood heroism injuries laughing light mad masks mocking murders nervous pain pale panic plans prophecy protection purple red reunion running scar scared screaming small stealing stone surprise swelled temper time torture trapped veil warm weak white wood