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The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

- Chapter 6

"Size is no guarantee of power. Look at Ginny. You've never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey hexes, have you?"
-- George Weasley (OP6)

OP6: The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

Harry, Hermione, Ron, Sirius and the rest of the Weasleys clean the Black house; Kreacher, the Black family house-elf, shows another darker side to house-elves; Harry is shown the Black Family Tree tapestry; and we learn that Sirius is not only related to the Weasleys and Tonks, but to the Malfoys and the Lestranges.

Calendar and Dates

The chapter begins late the night Harry arrives at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place and continues through the night before his hearing. The chapter tells us the hearing is on 12 August and, since we know he arrived at Grimmauld Place on 6 August, we know it covers roughly 5 days.

Interesting facts and notes

There is not a lot of action in this chapter, although the story moves forward a bit: the cleaning methods are interesting, the relationship of Sirius Black and his house-elf Kreacher is appalling, the Black family tree tapestry is revealing, and Harry's frustration at being "ignored" by Albus Dumbledore grows. However, there is one discovery that will prove extremely important later.

Harry looked round. Fred was holding a struggling Doxy between his forefinger and thumb.
"Right-o," Fred said brightly, spraying the Doxy quickly in the face so that it fainted, but the moment Mrs Weasley’s back was turned he pocketed it with a wink.
"We want to experiment with Doxy venom for our Skiving Snackboxes," George told Harry under his breath.

Since they were the recipients of the Triwizard Tournament winnings that Harry wanted rid of, Fred and George Weasley have been secretly developing their product line over the summer. Their plans are quite advanced if they are already operating by mail order via the Daily Prophet and are on the point of looking for premises.

"Were – were your parents Death Eaters as well?"
"No, no, but believe me, they thought Voldemort had the right idea, they were all for the purification of the wizarding race, getting rid of Muggle-borns and having pure-bloods in charge...."

The Black family tree tapestry shows exactly what Sirius' family feel about those who betray their "Pure-Blood". The holes blasted into the tapestry are for the members of the Black family who have "married out", "let the side down" or, like Sirius, have run away.

There was a musical box that emitted a faintly sinister, tinkling tune when wound, and they all found themselves becoming curiously weak and sleepy, until Ginny had the sense to slam the lid shut; a heavy locket that none of them could open; a number of ancient seals; and, in a dusty box, an Order of Merlin, First Class, that had been awarded to Sirius’s grandfather for 'services to the Ministry'.

The Dark magic items found in the cabinet include a locket: a locket that they couldn't open. But it turns out that this is a locket that originally belonged to Salazar Slytherin and had been inherited by the Gaunt family (HBP10). It was later searched for by both Lord Voldemort (HBP13, HBP20) and Albus Dumbledore (HBP23, HBP26). This locket will finally end up being destroyed by Ron (DH19).

Exceptional character moments

Fred and George trying to secretly collect dark items from the house for use in their Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes product lines.

Sirius Black's treatment of Kreacher.

Kreacher trying to save the items that Sirius and the others are throwing away.

Mundungus Fletcher actually thinking that he would be able to store stolen goods right under Molly Weasley's nose.

Memorable lines

"Size is no guarantee of power. Look at Ginny. You've never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey hexes, have you?"

They moved from the drawing room to a dining room on the ground floor where they found spiders large as saucers lurking in the dresser (Ron left the room hurriedly to make a cup of tea and did not return for an hour and a half).

"The pure-blood families are all interrelated," said Sirius. "If you're only going to let your sons and daughters marry pure-bloods your choice is very limited; there are hardly any of us left. Molly and I are cousins by marriage and Arthur's something like my second cousin once removed. But there’s no point looking for them on here – if ever a family was a bunch of blood traitors it’s the Weasleys."

Words and phrases

Characters Introduced

OP 6 — The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black
Author
Publication
Abbreviation OP6: The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black
Canonicity Primary Canon

Commentary

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