Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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The Battle of the Department of Mysteries was the first major conflict of the Second Wizarding War. It took place on 18 June, 1996, after Lord Voldemort lured Harry Potter and five of his fellow Dumbledore's Army members to the Department of Mysteries in an effort to obtain the prophecy concerning his possible defeat.
Once at the ministry, the six D.A. members were cornered by a dozen Death Eaters, whom they managed to fend off until the Order of the Phoenix came to their rescue. In the skirmish, the prophecy was destroyed, Voldemort was seen by the Minister for Magic himself, eleven of the Death Eaters were captured, and Sirius Black was killed by his cousin (Bellatrix Lestrange).
The battle resulted in Voldemort's return being made public, the Ministry of Magic finally taking action against his rising power, and the start of open warfare.
- "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...."
- —Sybill Trelawney's first prophecy[src]
At the height of the First Wizarding War, Sybill Trelawney made a prophecy predicting the coming of the only person who could defeat Lord Voldemort. This prophecy was heard in its entirety by Albus Dumbledore and in part by Severus Snape, a Death Eater who reported what he heard to Voldemort. The Dark Lord came to believe that the prophecy referred to Harry Potter and began seeking out James and Lily Potter's location. They had gone into hiding when Snape, who had been in love with Lily Evans, warned Dumbledore of the approaching danger. On Halloween of 1981, their location was revealed to the Dark Lord, and after killing Harry's parents, he attempted to kill the infant, but the Killing Curse rebounded and his power was broken.
When Voldemort returned in 1995 and failed to kill Harry for the second time, because of Priori Incantatem on this occasion, he became determined to hear the full prophecy, believing it to contain the secret of destroying Harry Potter, a record of which was kept in the Department of Mysteries.
Attempts at theft
- "We have confirmed that ten-high security prisoners in the early hours of yesterday evening had escaped. And of course the Muggle Prime Minister has been alerted to the danger. There is convincing evidence that the escape was engineered by a man who has experienced to escape from Azkaban, notorious mass murderer Sirius Black, cousin of the escapee, Bellatrix Lestrange."
- —Cornelius Fudge announces the 1996 Azkaban breakout[src]
In January of 1996, there was a mass breakout of Death Eaters from Azkaban after the Dementors defected to Voldemort. Ten long-imprisoned Death Eaters — including the Lestrange family and their comrades Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood, Travers, and Mulciber, among others — were free to join their master again. These ten were considered to be some of the most dangerous and highly guarded convicts due to their crimes being legendary. Lord Voldemort had little trouble arranging this, as many of the Dementors were happy to oblige his dark whims. The Ministry of Magic, however, refused to admit that Voldemort had returned and blamed the breakout on Sirius Black. Because the Ministry did not believe that Voldemort had returned and because he now had many servants to do his bidding, Voldemort did not attempt to retrieve the prophecy he sought himself. As he considered such a thing to be beneath him and being seen by the wizarding community was not an option. The Death Eaters made a few attempts at stealing the prophecy in question. All the attempts ended in failure.
Lucius Malfoy placed Broderick Bode, an Unspeakable, under the Imperius Curse to force him to steal the prophecy. However, the protection charm placed on items in the Hall of Prophecies only allows those who are mentioned in the prophecy to access them; Voldemort punished Avery Jr for assuring the Dark Lord that the plan would have worked. Bode was afflicted with a mind-confusing curse and admitted to St Mungo's. When word of Bode's improvement reached the Death Eaters, they sent a potted cutting of Devil's Snare to Bode, to prevent the plot from being revealed, and it strangled him in his hospital bed. Earlier, Sturgis Podmore had also been placed under the Imperius Curse to attempt the same, but was arrested trying to break into the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort also sent his snake, Nagini, to scout Order of the Phoenix defences of the prophecy. Lord Voldemort had sent his snake Nagini to the Ministry to retrieve the prophecy. This resulted in the injury of Arthur Weasley who was guarding the prophecy.
Thus, Voldemort tried a different tactic. Utilising his connection to Harry Potter, who had failed to learn Occlumency from Severus Snape in their lessons, due to his inability to master his feelings. Voldemort planted a false vision in Harry's mind while he was taking his O.W.L. exams that suggested his godfather (Sirius Black) was being tortured by Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the Hall of Prophecy at the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort predicted that Harry would race to the Ministry to save him, as he knew about Harry's hero conflict.
- Hermione Granger: "Voldemort knows you, Harry! He took Ginny down into the Chamber of Secrets to lure you there, it’s the kind of thing he does, he knows you’re the — the sort of person who’d go to Sirius’s aid! What if he’s just trying to get you into the Department of Myst —?"
- Harry Potter: "Hermione, it doesn’t matter if he’s done it to get me there or not — they’ve taken McGonagall to St Mungo's, there isn’t anyone from the Order left at Hogwarts who we can tell, and if we don’t go, Sirius is dead!"
- — After Harry has a vision of Sirius being tortured[src]
Harry told his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger of his dream, intending to immediately leave Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to save Sirius. Hermione, suspecting foul play, managed to talk him into first trying to see if Sirius was at 12 Grimmauld Place. With the help of Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, they sneaked into Dolores Umbridge's office so that Harry could contact Sirius by Floo Powder. Just after Kreacher informed Harry that Sirius was not there — having been prompted to mislead Harry by Narcissa Malfoy, who was a Black by birth and treated the attention-starved house-elf much more kindly than Sirius did — Umbridge arrived with the Inquisitorial Squad.
Umbridge attempted to interrogate Harry, demanding that Professor Snape provide her with Veritaserum. He told her he had none left, and although he pretended not to have any idea what Harry was talking about when he shouted that the enemy had "Padfoot," he went to check that Sirius was still at Order headquarters. Once Snape was gone, Umbridge threatened to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry to force him to talk. This prompted Hermione to lie, making up a story about Dumbledore creating a weapon to use against the Ministry and tricking Umbridge into going into the Forbidden Forest with her and Harry. Umbridge summarily offended the Centaurs who confronted them.
With some assistance from Grawp Harry and Hermione escaped the forest and headed back to the castle. In the meantime, Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Neville Longbottom had escaped the Inquisitorial Squad. They used a combination of Stunning Spells, Disarming Charms, and a Bat-Bogey Hex, curtesy of Ginny. Hermione and Harry were covered in blood after the fracas in the Forbidden Forest, which lured Thestrals. The six DA members rode them to the Ministry of Magic to try to rescue Sirius Black.
The Department of Mysteries
- Lucius Malfoy: "Oh, you don’t know Potter as I do, Bellatrix. He has a great weakness for heroics; the Dark Lord understands this about him. Now give me the prophecy, Potter."
- Harry Potter: "I know Sirius is here. I know you’ve got him!"
- Lucius Malfoy: "It’s time you learned the difference between life and dreams, Potter. Now give me the prophecy, or we start using wands."
- — Death Eaters confront the six D.A. members[src]
The group flew to the Ministry, where they descended to Level 9 and down the corridor to the Department of Mysteries. They found themselves in the Entrance, with 12 identical black, handle-less doors. When each door behind them closed, the walls spun, and the doors returned to different places. They went through one, which turned out to be the Brain Room and go back to the Entrance Room and try another, which turned out to be the Death Chamber. The next door they tried wouldn't open by any means of enchantment, but the next room, the Time Chamber, contained the glittering lights from Harry's dreams. Once in this room, they took another door to the Hall of Prophecy, but don't find Sirius where he was suppose to be.
In the row where Sirius was supposed to be, he spotted an orb with his and the Dark Lord’s names inscribed on it. Against Hermione's advice not to touch it, he picked it up. This prompted twelve Death Eaters — Rodolphus Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Avery, Walden Macnair, Crabbe, Nott, Augustus Rookwood, Jugson, Mulciber, second-in-command Bellatrix Lestrange, and leader Lucius Malfoy — to emerge from the shadows and demand that Harry give them the prophecy.
In the Hall of Prophecy
Harry attempts to buy time by mocking Voldemort in front of his Death Eaters and infuriating Bellatrix, yet Lucius stops her from killing Potter, not through defence, but so that he can protect the prophecy. In their argument, Lucius and Bellatrix break two prophecies, which turn into wraiths and recite the prophecies which forever remain unheard. Harry still refused to hand over the prophecy, so Lucius begins to tease him that the prophecy holds the answer to his scar. That the prophecy reveals why Voldemort wishes to kill him, and the cause of the Second Wizarding War.
Just then, on Harry’s signal, the six D.A. members all used the Reductor Curse to smash the shelves of prophecies, distracting the Death Eaters so that they could flee. As they ran, Nott grabbed Harry’s arm, but was stunned by Hermione and subsequently injured by the collapsing shelves. The six members were than seperated. Harry, Hermione, and Neville fled into the Time Chamber pursued by Crabbe and Rabastan and sealed the door behind them, but then realised they have been separated from the other three. Ron, Ginny, and Luna had taken another path and Harry, Hermione, and Neville did not known where they were.
Pursuit in the Time, Brain, and Space chambers
In the Time Chamber, Harry, Neville, and Hermione hid just as Crabbe and Rabastan forced their way in. As they started to search for the three, Harry stunned Crabbe and rendered him unconscious. Harry, then tackled Rabastan when he attempted to use the Killing Curse on Hermione. Neville accidentally disarmed both Rabastan and Harry, but before Rabastan could retrieve his wand, Hermione stunned him. He was knocked into a bell jar that made his head turn into that of a baby, and then back into an adult, continuously ageing and de-ageing.
The three then ran into an office off the Time Chamber, where they were struck with Impediment Jinxes by Death Eaters, eventually identified as Antonin Dolohov and Jugson. Hermione silenced Dolohov to prevent him from alerting the other Death Eaters as to their location, and Harry placed Jugson in a Full Body-Bind Curse. Dolohov then struck Hermione with an unnamed curse that incapacitated her for the rest of the battle. He broke Neville’s wand, nose, and wordlessly threatened Harry, but was distracted by baby-headed Rabastan, giving Harry the chance to Body-Bind him.
Neville took Hermione’s wand and carried her as he and Harry met up with Ron, Ginny, and Luna in the Brain Room. Ron had been hit by a curse that made him highly confused — possibly the Confundus Charm — and Ginny’s ankle was broken, leaving her pale and in shock. They had managed to get away from the Death Eaters chasing them because Luna used the Reductor Curse on the model of the planet Pluto in the Space Chamber to injure their pursuers. While the students regrouped, the Death Eaters did as well, bringing many of their number out of incapacitating curses.
The group was then discovered by several Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange, in the circular entrance room with the many doors. They burst into the Brain Room. Harry, Neville, and Luna attempted to seal the doors but Death Eaters still managed to get in. Luna was blasted with Stunning Spells. Ron, in his confused state, summoned a brain from the tank and was injured by it as it attempted to strangle him. Harry used a Severing Charm to try and free Ron from the attacking brains, at the same moment Ginny took a stunner to the face from approaching Death Eaters. In a desperate attempt to draw the Death Eaters away from his injured friends, Harry sprinted deep into the Death Chamber, where he was cornered by ten Death Eaters. When Neville arrived to help, Bellatrix briefly used the Cruciatus Curse on him in an attempt to coerce Harry into handing over the prophecy.
The Death Chamber Standoff
- Bellatrix Lestrange: "Come out, come out, little Harry! What did you come after me for, then? I thought you were here to avenge my dear cousin!"
- Harry Potter: "I am!"
- Bellatrix Lestrange: "Aaaaaah... did you love him, little baby Potter?"
- — Bellatrix taunts Harry about her murder of Sirius[src]
Just as Harry was about to hand the prophecy to Lucius Malfoy, Sirius Black, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Alastor Moody of the Order of the Phoenix arrived, and the battle resumed.
Tonks fired a Stunning Spell at Lucius Malfoy giving Harry and Neville enough time to escape from Lucius, but Harry was then grabbed from behind by Walden Macnair. Neville jabbed Hermione's wand hard into the eyehole of the Death Eater's mask, making him release Harry with a "howl of pain". Harry stunned him, only to be cornered by Dolohov, who had defeated and injured Moody. Dolohov hit Neville with the Dancing Feet Spell and used the same curse he previously used on Hermione on Harry, though most of the harm was blocked by Harry’s Shield Charm. Before he could attack again, Sirius slammed into him and the two began to duel. Harry hit Dolohov with a Full Body-Bind Curse and Sirius ran off to duel Bellatrix, who had just defeated Tonks. In the meantime, Kingsley was duelling Rookwood.
Once again, Harry and Neville tried to escape, but were stopped by Malfoy. Harry passed Neville the prophecy and then used a powerful Impediment Jinx to knock Malfoy back. Before he could attack again, Remus jumped between them and told Harry and Neville to get the other D.A. members and leave. As they tried to do this, the prophecy fell through Neville's pocket and broke.
At this moment, Albus Dumbledore arrived and most of the fighting stopped and the Death Eaters that saw him arrive attempted to flee in fear of duelling him. Dumbledore quickly rounded up numerous Death Eaters, but Bellatrix and Sirius were still duelling. Bellatrix used a curse to knock her cousin into the Veil that separates the world of living from that of the dead, killing him. Remus prevented Harry from jumping after Sirius, telling him that his godfather was dead.
Harry pursued Bellatrix and attempted to use the Cruciatus Curse on her in retaliation for her murder of Sirius. He only caused her a brief moment of pain, however, as he was unable to summon enough malice to make the Unforgivable Curse successful. Bellatrix attempted to curse Harry, but they were interrupted by the arrival of Lord Voldemort.
Duel in the Ministry Atrium
- Albus Dumbledore: "It was foolish to come here tonight, Tom. The Aurors are on their way."
- Lord Voldemort: "By which time I shall be gone, and you will be dead!"
- — Dumbledore and Voldemort face off[src]
Voldemort attempted to hit Harry with the Killing Curse, but the blow was prevented; Dumbledore arrived and animated a golden statue to cover Harry and shield him from the curse. He animated the other statues from the Fountain of Magical Brethren to immobilise Bellatrix and warn Ministry officials. Voldemort and Dumbledore duelled, Fawkes taking a Killing Curse for Dumbledore at one point; as a phoenix, the curse caused him to burst into flames and instantly to be reborn.
Throughout the battle Dumbledore dominated marginally despite outlining his peaceful intentions while Voldemort, in rage, struggled to penetrate Dumbledore's defences while suffering against the latter's own stream of assaults.
Voldemort briefly possessed Harry, hoping that Dumbledore would sacrifice the teenager in an attempt to kill him. However, as Harry dwelt on his grief for his late godfather, the power of his love forced Voldemort to release him. Voldemort took Bellatrix with him as he fled, but not before he was seen by Ministry officials, including Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge.
Of the twelve Death Eaters who broke into the Department of Mysteries, all of them but Bellatrix Lestrange were captured and sent to Azkaban. They failed in their aim to seize the prophecy made about Harry Potter and Voldemort, but Dumbledore would subsequently tell Harry of its content and importance.
The Order of the Phoenix suffered the loss of Sirius Black as well as several injuries. Mad-Eye Moody, Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt were all injured, but recovered. Ginny Weasley’s broken ankle and Neville Longbottom’s broken nose were quickly repaired by Hogwarts nurse Poppy Pomfrey, and Neville eventually got a new wand. Ron Weasley had welts for some time from the brains that grabbed him, but they faded with time and treatment. Hermione Granger had to take ten potions a day to treat the curse she was struck with, which might have been fatal had Antonin Dolohov been able to speak it aloud, but made a full recovery.
Harry felt great grief and guilt over the death of his godfather, blaming himself, but Ron and Hermione were there when he needed them to help him come to terms with Sirius's death. It was mentioned that Ron was there to comfort him in his period of mourning more than anyone else. He was also angry at Severus Snape for what he perceived as only belatedly assisting Harry and the Order, and at Dumbledore for not telling him about the prophecy ahead of time. He was also upset to learn that he must be the one to kill Voldemort.
After the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the Ministry of Magic was forced to admit to the public that Dumbledore and Harry had been right all along, and that Voldemort had returned. Dolores Umbridge was removed from Hogwarts and Dumbledore was reinstated as Headmaster, as well as in all his other positions. The ineffectual Cornelius Fudge was soon replaced by the more proactive Rufus Scrimgeour as Minister for Magic.
Behind the scenes
- Although not specifically identified it is likely that the two Death Eaters that chased Harry, Hermione and Neville in the Time Chamber were Crabbe and Rabastan Lestrange. This assumption is made through process of elimination. (It seems safe to assume they aren't any other pair we know for a fact the D.A encountered later in the Chase. That rules out Bellatrix & Rodolphus and Jugson & Dolohov. The only other clue is the fact that Harry never recognises 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 Malfoy all too well. Indeed, he had no trouble recognising Malfoy in the Hall of Prophecy even though Malfoy was masked the entire time. It is hard to 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. (Harry probably knows Macnair better than Macnair knows Harry). Although this is less certain, it is hard to believe Rowling would intend Macnair to be among this pair and not identify him.)
- The film version of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries differs significantly from the novel. Namely:The D.A. members are pursued mostly within the Hall of Prophecies, do not split up, and use mostly different spells — for example, Luna Lovegood uses a verbally-incanted version of Levicorpus against a Death Eater.
- Ginny Weasley's ankle is not broken.
- Neville Longbottom's nose and wand are not broken.
- Ron Weasley is not cursed to be disoriented or injured by brains.
- Luna Lovegood is not stunned.
- In the Death Chamber, all the D.A. members but Harry Potter are captured and held at wand-point by Death Eaters.
- Death Eater Travers is added to the battle holding Ginny Weasley hostage.
- Although all credited only as a Death Eater, Richard Trinder played Augustus Rookwood, while actors for Rabastan Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, Avery, and Nott are unidentified.
- Bellatrix Lestrange does not use the Cruciatus Curse on Neville.
- When the Order of the Phoenix arrives, Sirius Black punches Lucius Malfoy in the face.
- Lucius, rather than Neville, accidentally smashes the prophecy orb.
- Bellatrix knows the prophecy is smashed rather than not knowing when she plays with Harry in the Atrium saying he has it before Voldemort tells her the truth after appearing.
- Harry duels alongside Sirius against Lucius Malfoy and Antonin Dolohov non-verbally, but he is not taught to do non-verbal incantations before sixth year.
- Sirius calls Harry "James", a slip of the tongue, referring to his friendship with Harry's father.
- Bellatrix abruptly kills Sirius with the Killing Curse, which then pushes him into the Veil, rather than with an unknown curse during a duel.
- Albus Dumbledore appears in the Ministry Atrium after Sirius's death rather than in the Death Chamber before Sirius dies.
- Bellatrix escapes by using the Floo Network as soon as Dumbledore arrives, instead of Disapparating with Voldemort after his duel with Dumbledore.
- It is Harry's love for his friends and godfather, rather than his grief over the latter's death, that frees him from Voldemort's possession.
- Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna are in the Atrium when Voldemort flees the Ministry.
- While filming this scene, Helena Bonham Carter accidentally ruptured Matthew Lewis's eardrum by sticking her wand in his ear.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Kingsley Shacklebolt said Travers should be in Azkaban, and Travers escaped in the mass break-out in 1996 so it's possible he fought in this battle.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 33 (Fight and Flight)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
- ↑ Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 38