|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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|Attack at the Burrow|
|Part of The Second Wizarding War|
The attack at the Burrow refers to the short and rather chaotic skirmish at the Burrow in Ottery St. Catchpole almost immediately following the fall of the Ministry of Magic, on 1 August, 1997. After taking over the Ministry, the Death Eaters rapidly arrived at the Burrow, crashing the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour and interrogating those present, including several Order of the Phoenix members.
The Second Wizarding War had entered its peak phase in the summer of 1997. Albus Dumbledore, leader of the Order of the Phoenix, was killed during an assault on Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there was a break-out of Death Eaters from Azkaban which the Ministry of Magic kept secret from the public. The Death Eaters attempted to kill Harry Potter when the Order removed him from his relatives' home in late July, and a battle ensued, but Harry escaped to the Burrow. Others were not so lucky, as Alastor Moody was killed in the fighting. Once at the Burrow, the Weasley family and friends celebrated the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour on 1 August.
However, that same day, the Death Eaters made use of the many high-ranking Ministry officials they had under the Imperius Curse, such as Pius Thicknesse, to execute a virtually silent coup d'etat, taking over the Ministry. During the coup, the Death Eaters interrogated the Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour in the hope of extracting the location of Harry Potter. Scrimgeour resisted his interrogators and did not disclose the information - for this he was killed.
- "...the Death Eaters have got the full might of the Ministry on their side now. They've got the power to perform brutal spells without fear of identification or arrest. They managed to penetrate every defensive spell we'd cast against them, and once inside, they were completely open about why they'd come."
- —Remus Lupin telling Harry, Hermione, and Ron about the attack[src]
At the same time, more Death Eaters broke into all Order-connected houses. Dedalus Diggle's house was burned down, although thankfully he was not there, and Ted and Andromeda Tonks were tortured for information, and left shaken but otherwise intact. However, there were no fatalities.
In the meantime, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were tracked, after inadvertently breaking the Taboo on the word "Voldemort", by two Death Eaters, Antonin Dolohov and Thorfinn Rowle, to a small cafe. After a brief skirmish, the trio defeated the pair of Death Eaters and escaped to Grimmauld Place.
- "Harry drew his wand again and spun around to see a silver Patronus soar through the drawing room window and land upon the floor in front of them, where it solidified into the weasel that spoke with the voice of Ron's father. "Family safe, do not reply, we are being watched."
The Patronus dissolved into nothingness. Ron let out a noise between a whimper and a groan and dropped onto the sofa: Hermione joined him, gripping his arm. “They’re all right, they’re all right!” she whispered, and Ron half laughed and hugged her."
- —Arthur Weasley's Patronus gives the trio news[src]
Ultimately, those at the Burrow were released relatively unharmed. Arthur Weasley sent a Patronus message to that effect to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, warning them not to attempt contact, as the Weasleys were subsequently placed under constant surveillance by the Voldemort-controlled Ministry.
Ron's cover story of being ill at home with spattergroit was maintained until the spring of 1998, when the trio were captured by Snatchers and brought to Malfoy Manor. This forced the other Weasleys to abandon the Burrow and go into hiding at Shell Cottage and Muriel's home.
Behind the scenes
In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the Burrow had been attacked previously, when Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange and the werewolf Fenrir Greyback attacked and set fire to the Burrow during the Christmas season of 1996.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7