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Battle of the Astronomy Tower

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Dark Mark Over Hogwarts
Battle of the Astronomy Tower
Part of the Second Wizarding War
Date

30 June, 1997[1]

Location

Astronomy Tower and the corridors at its base, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Result

Death Eaters tactical victory; Albus Dumbledore murdered; Order of the Phoenix Strategic victory through Snape; minor to major injuries of several of Hogwarts' defenders. Draco Malfoy unknowingly becomes master of the Elder Wand

Combatants
Casualties

Albus Dumbledore

Gibbon

"The lightning-struck tower. Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time..."
Professor Trelawney before the battle commences[src]

The Battle of the Astronomy Tower, also known as the Battle of the Lightning-Struck Tower, was a battle of the Second Wizarding War that took place in the topmost tower of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the evening of 30 June, 1997.[1] It occurred per the design of Lord Voldemort, who had ordered sixteen-year-old Death Eater Draco Malfoy to find a way to sneak other Death Eaters into the school and to assassinate Albus Dumbledore, the leader of the Order of the Phoenix. Malfoy succeeded in the former, but was unable to do the latter. As the Order and the Death Eaters battled, Severus Snape killed Dumbledore, an act that was later discovered to have been planned between Dumbledore and Snape.

Background

Spinner's End

Unbreakablevow

Snape and Narcissa make the Unbreakable Vow.

As a result of Lucius Malfoy's failure to obtain the prophecy during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in June of 1996, Lord Voldemort decided that Lucius's son Draco should become a Death Eater, and that he should carry out the mission of killing Dumbledore. Narcissa Malfoy suspected that this was revenge from Voldemort and that the Dark Lord did not expect Draco to fulfill his mission. Determined to save her family, Narcissa ventured to Severus Snape's house at Spinner's End to ask him to help Draco and to complete the mission if the boy was unable to do so. Snape asked Bellatrix Lestrange, who had reluctantly accompanied her sister, to bind him and Narcissa with an Unbreakable Vow.

1996/1997 school year

Draco spent most of his sixth year at Hogwarts repairing a Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement in order to connect it with the one in Borgin and Burkes so that Death Eaters could enter Hogwarts Castle. During periods of desperation, Draco invented more conventional ways to kill Dumbledore. He placed the Imperius Curse upon Madam Rosmerta, who in turn placed the Imperius Curse on Katie Bell, forcing her to give a cursed necklace to Dumbledore; however, Katie accidentally touched the necklace and suffered from the curse instead. Draco also made Rosmerta sell Horace Slughorn a poisoned bottle of mead, anticipating he would give it to Dumbledore as a Christmas present, but Ron Weasley was accidentally poisoned instead, though Harry Potter was able to save him with a bezoar.

Horcrux cave

13

Throughout the year, Harry had been having private lessons with Dumbledore regarding Lord Voldemort's past and his quest for immortality. They found out what a Horcrux was, and that Voldemort had made at least six, wanting to make his soul into seven parts. Through Voldemort and Dumbledore's memories of Voldemort's childhood orphanage, Dumbledore determined that one of Voldemort's horcruxes was placed in a cave where the orphanage had taken the children for a daytime outing.

Before leaving the castle with Dumbledore, Harry met Sybill Trelawney, who told him that she had been unable to enter the Room of Requirement, and had heard someone expressing triumph. Although thinking it strange, Harry said nothing about it to Dumbledore. He and Harry set out to find and perhaps destroy the horcrux. Once at the cave, Dumbledore had to drink a potion that greatly weakened him, and he and Harry had to fight an army of Inferi. They obtained the horcrux, Harry later finding out that it was fake and someone else had taken the real one. Back at Hogwarts the Order kept watch on the corridors and the grounds as Draco Malfoy went to the Room of Requirement to let Death Eaters into the school.

Battle

Death Eaters enter Hogwarts

Death Eaters entered the Hogwarts Castle

Death Eaters penetrate Hogwarts' defences.

Harry warned Ron and Hermione after he met with Dumbledore that, during his and Dumbledore's absence, Death Eaters might penetrate Hogwarts. Hence, he gave them Felix Felicis and ordered them to rouse Dumbledore's Army members to help them patrol the corridor of the Room of Requirement, as well as Snape's office. Only Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood (and possibly Ernie later on) answered the call. While Ron, Ginny, and Neville kept guard outside the Room, Hermione and Luna were stationed outside Snape's office. Dumbledore had also deployed members of the Order of the Phoenix to patrol the corridors and the grounds.

Dark Mark on top of Hogwarts Castle

The Dark Mark over Hogwarts.

Inside the Room of Requirement, Draco watched as Death Eaters Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Yaxley, Thorfinn Rowle, Gibbon, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Fenrir Greyback emerged from the Vanishing Cabinet. When Draco saw that there were people watching the corridor, he used Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder to prevent Ron, Ginny, and Neville from seeing the Death Eaters leaving the Room, while ensuring his own visibility with the Hand of Glory as he led the Death Eaters from the room. The students immediately alerted the Order, and the battle began in the corridors of the upper floors. In order to catch Dumbledore's attention, Death Eater Gibbon placed the Dark Mark above the castle, but after he returned to the battle, he was accidentally killed by fellow Death Eater Thorfinn Rowle, who was casting Killing Curses all over the place. Filius Flitwick was sent to ask Snape to join the battle. However, the Charms professor was stunned by Snape, who then told Hermione and Luna that Flitwick passed out and asked them to look after him.

Dumbledore's death

"Severus... please..."
—Dumbledore pleading for Snape to end his life[src]
Avada

Snape casts Avada Kedavra.

When Dumbledore and Harry returned to Hogsmeade village, they were immediately apprised by the Imperiused Madam Rosmerta to the appearance of the Dark Mark above the Astronomy Tower. They flew to the Astronomy Tower on Madame Rosmerta's brooms. When they reached the tower they were confronted atop the Astronomy Tower by Draco Malfoy, and before Harry could reveal himself, Dumbledore immobilised Harry with a nonverbal Full Body-Bind Curse. Simultaneously,
Lostwand

Dumbledore, moments before his death, lost the loyalty of the Elder Wand to Draco Malfoy

Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore, and admitted that he, Draco, was behind a series of attacks on Hogwarts students, and that Voldemort had ordered him to kill Dumbledore. Dumbledore revealed that he knew all along of Draco's mission, along with the failed attempts on his life, and that he allowed Draco to remain at school to protect him from Voldemort, then proceeded to offer Draco the chance to change sides, and promised to hide Draco and his mother where Voldemort would never find them. Draco could not bring himself to kill the headmaster, even after the arrival and encouragement of several Death Eaters, who were smuggled into the castle by Draco, and had blocked the stairway behind them with a barrier. When he proved unable, Fenrir Greyback attempted to kill Dumbledore in his own way, but was blasted aside by Yaxley. Draco was not able to complete his task, and Snape - who had been awoken by Professor Flitwick to assist the Order - arrived through the barrier. After Dumbledore had pleaded with him in a way that did not reveal Snape's real allegiance, Snape cast Avada Kedavra, ending the life of one of the greatest wizards of all time.
Albus Dumbledore falling from the tower

Dumbledore's demise.

After Dumbledore's corpse plummeted down the tower under the light of the Dark Mark, Snape dragged Draco by the collar, ordered the rest of the Death Eaters to immediately flee the tower, and went downstairs to order the fighters there to follow. Harry, who was forced to watch the entire spectacle from the Full Body-Bind Curse, was set free upon Dumbledore's death, and in an enraged desire for revenge, he immediately set off to pursue Snape, hitting Yaxley with the Full Body-Bind Curse in order to get a clear way down the stairs.

Pursuit

Harry: "Kill me then. Kill me like you killed him, you coward-"
Snape: "DON'T- CALL ME COWARD!"
— Harry fighting Snape when the Death Eaters escape Hogwarts[src]
Snape fleeing

Death Eaters fleeing Hogwarts.

After cursing Yaxley, who was the last remaining Death Eater in the tower, Harry tore after Snape. Just as he entered the castle, Harry found himself in the midst of a full battle, as Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army members were still fighting the fleeing Death Eaters. Harry saw the dead body of Gibbon, as well as a severely wounded Bill Weasley, who had been brutally attacked by Greyback, on the floor. As Harry rid himself of the werewolf, he saw Ginny duelling Amycus Carrow, and Nymphadora Tonks trying to contain Rowle, who was still causing great damage. All of the Death Eaters, however, began to retreat on Snape's orders before the Ministry arrived to reinforce Hogwarts. Knowing that Snape had escaped the fighting unscathed, Harry cut through the castle's secret passages to catch up. Before leaving the castle, Bellatrix walked over the Gryffindor table at the Great Hall, and smashed the windows. Meanwhile, Snape blew an auror away from the Entrance Hall.

Snape duelling with Harry

Harry vs. Snape.

In the grounds, Rubeus Hagrid tried to stop the fleeing Death Eaters, but his hut was set afire by Thorfinn Rowle. As Harry stormed across the grounds, he was cursed from behind as he was trying to attack Snape. Rolling over, Harry cast an Impediment Jinx behind him and knocked over both Carrows. Once Draco and the other Death Eaters had reached the gates and Disapparated, Harry confronted Snape. He tried to use a myriad of spells including numerous Dark spells against him, but Snape repelled all of them using Legilimency. After revealing that he was the Half-Blood Prince — the owner of the Potions textbook Harry had been using all year — and reminding Harry to close his mind, Snape cast an unknown spell on Harry which hit him like a whip to the face knocking him to the ground, but the boy was aided by Buckbeak, who chased Snape until he Disapparated at the school gates.

Aftermath

See also: Funeral of Albus Dumbledore
Professor McGonagall: "I- I know that it was Dumbledore's wish to be laid to rest here, at Hogwarts-"
Harry: "Then that's what'll happen, isn't it?"
— Hogwarts professors discussing the fate of Hogwarts and Dumbledore's funeral[src]
Albus Dumbledore's Funeral - 2nd Concept Artwork

The funeral of Albus Dumbledore

Because of their use of Felix Felicis, the members of Dumbledore's Army who fought in the battle were unharmed. Bill Weasley, however, was left horribly scarred by Fenrir Greyback's attack. Because the werewolf was not transformed when he brutalised Bill, his victim only retained mild lycanthropic symptoms, such as a taste for very rare steaks. His fiancée Fleur Delacour reaffirmed her desire to marry him, earning the respect of her future in-laws and prompting Nymphadora Tonks to declare her love for Remus Lupin.

The battle and Albus Dumbledore's death had a great impact on the wizarding world. The only wizard Voldemort had ever feared and who had power to match him was now gone. Furthermore the battle showed that there was now no safe place from the Death Eaters, as they had entered the castle. Hogwarts staff members were not even sure whether the school would remain open. Some parents, such as Zacharias Smith's father, and the parents of Parvati and Padma Patil, arrived to get their children out of the castle. Others, such as Seamus Finnigan's mother, stayed in Hogsmeade and waited until after Dumbledore's funeral to collect their children.

DH tent 1

Harry and Hermione on the hunt for Horcruxes

Harry, devastated by his mentor's death, decided to forgo his last year at Hogwarts in order to search for Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, per Dumbledore's instructions. Ron and Hermione committed themselves to helping him.

Harry would later discover that Dumbledore's death had been according to his own plan, as devised between him and Snape, who was loyal to the Order of the Phoenix out of lifelong love for Lily Evans, Harry's own mother. Dumbledore was already dying, and wanted Snape to give him a more merciful end than he would receive at the hands of Death Eaters and to avoid making Draco Malfoy into a murderer and damaging his soul. Snape fulfilled his wish, and although the Order thought him to be a traitor, Snape was covertly assisting Harry, and thus contributing to the defeat of Lord Voldemort.

Behind the scenes

  • According to David Heyman, the Battle of the Lightning-Struck Tower was left out of the sixth film because, due to there being another battle at Hogwarts (the actual Battle of Hogwarts) in the eighth film, they were trying to avoid repetition.
  • Chapter 27 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which most of the battle occurs, is titled "The Lightning-Struck Tower". Earlier in the novel, Professor Trelawney mentions having drawn the tarot card The Tower in a reading and how Headmaster Dumbledore was ignoring her warnings that this foreshadowed "calamity...coming near all the time". In Divination, this tarot card is usually taken to mean catastrophe and chaos, much like the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. However, it can also mean epiphany and the letting go of pretences (illusions or self-delusions) one has clung to, which Harry was forced to do following Dumbledore's death. The tarot card is usually depicted as a tower being struck by lightning and two figures falling from the tower—ironic as there are two casualties in the Battle: Albus Dumbledore and the Death Eater Gibbon.
  • When Harry Potter is running after Severus Snape he notices the Gryffindor Hourglass is broken and its rubies are being spilled across the floor. This could be a symbolisation of Gryffindor losing its greatest member, where as in the Battle of Hogwarts the Slytherin hourglass is struck and emeralds are on the floor foreshadowing Lord Voldemort's death as Slytherin house's greatest member (or perhaps Severus Snape's death).
  • In the film and video game adaptations of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry does not cover himself with the Invisibility Cloak, but instead Dumbledore tells him to hide by the stairs. Also in the film, as Snape enters the Astronomy Tower he tells Harry to be quiet.
  • In the novel a lot of people are duelling, while in the film only Harry duels and he only duels Snape on the grounds. Also in the video game only Harry duels, in this adaption he, however, duels the Carrows in the Astronomy reading room and the Fifth Floor hospital tower corridor, Greyback in the Clock Tower Courtyard and Bellatrix on the grounds.
  • In the novel, as Harry and Snape are duelling, Snape is shouting at Harry. It is difficult to tell if this is taunting, instruction, or some combination of the two as he says things such as, "Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!"
  • Bellatrix Lestrange only appears in the film version of the battle and is not mentioned in the book. In the film, she praises Draco on successfully cornering Dumbledore but later shots at him to kill Dumbledore. In the film Fenrir Greyback then says outloud that Draco hasn't got the stumoch just like his father (which doesn't happen in the book) and he is prevented from attacking the Headmaster himself by Bellatrix in the film instead Yaxley as it is done by in the book. Bellatrix then casts the Dark Mark after Dumbledore's death instead of Gibbon doing so beforehand. Also in the film Bellatrix burns Hagrid's hut and briefly tortures Harry instead of Thorfinn Rowle.
  • In the film Thorfinn Rowle is absent from the battle and Bellatrix does most of his lines and actions. 
  • Ernie Macmillan might have participated, since in the book he talked with Harry.

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 According to Rufus Scrimgeour (and Hermione Granger) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter 7 (The Will of Albus Dumbledore), the Ministry has the right to maintain possession of Dumbledore's bequests for thirty-one days only, in accordance with the Decree for Justifiable Confiscation. Dumbledore's bequests were delivered to Ron, Hermione and Harry on 31 July, 1997: Harry Potter's seventeenth birthday. As it is referred in that chapter that the "thirty-one days are up", Dumbledore died exactly thirty-one days earlier, in the evening of 30 June.

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