|Department of Mysteries|
Level 9, Ministry of Magic
Conducts confidential research
The Department of Mysteries is a section of the Ministry of Magic that carries out confidential research. Most of its operations are carried out in total secrecy. Few wizards within the Ministry actually know what is located within this department, though it is learned that the various mysteries of the world are studied there: these include love, space, thought, time, death, and others. Those wizards who work in the Department of Mysteries are known as Unspeakables because of the confidential nature of their work.
Some of the covert research projects this department has undertaken were revealed to Dumbledore's Army, and an important battle of the Second Wizarding War took place within the department in 1996.
The Department of Mysteries lies deep in the lowest level of the Ministry of Magic, on the ninth level. It is accessible via the lifts from the Ministry Atrium. From the lift, a plain corridor leads to a black door, behind which is the Entrance Chamber, which is designed to disorient any unauthorised personnel who enter it. It is a circular room with a highly polished floor that looks almost like standing water and twelve handleless doors. Whenever a door closes, the walls rotate, making it impossible to determine which door is which. This chamber will respond to a verbal request for an exit by the opening of the correct door.
The Department apparently works to uncover the secrets of death, time, space, thought, and love, among other things, and records prophecies whenever they are made. It includes the following known chambers:
This chamber is long and rectangular, lit by low-hanging lamps. It contains a tank of encephala, or brains, that swim in a green solution. These particular brains are highly aggressive and will attack and constrict anything that tries to touch them or pick them up, as was the case with Ron Weasley. The tendrils that the brains possess are implied to be physical manifestations of thoughts. The concept of thought and all related subjects are studied in this chamber.
This large, square room somewhat resembles Courtroom Ten of the Wizengamot. It is dimly lit, with stone tiers leading down to a pit in the centre. In this pit is a dais, upon which stands a very old stone archway with a tattered black curtain hanging from it. This arch separates the worlds of the living and the dead. Some people, such as Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood, heard voices through this veil. Sirius Black fell through the archway during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries after being struck by a curse from Bellatrix Lestrange.
Hall of Prophecy
Records of prophecies are stored in this long, cold chamber with high ceilings and towering shelves lit with blue-flame candles. These prophecies, held in glass orbs, are magically protected, so that the only people who can lift them off their stand are the Keeper of the Hall of Prophecies and the subject or subjects of the individual prophecy. Anyone else who attempts to inspect the orb with their hands will be afflicted with instant madness. Alas, during the battle that took place within the Department of Mysteries in 1996, the six D.A. members used Reductor Curses to smash the shelves of prophecies in order to distract the Death Eaters, and destroyed a great number of prophecies in the Hall as a result.
- "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[src]
A year before Lily and James Potter were murdered by Lord Voldemort, the seer Sybill Trelawney made a prophecy involving Voldemort and a child who would come to be his destroyer. After his return, Voldemort sought to know the entire prophecy and lured Harry and other members of Dumbledore's Army to the Hall in attempt to steal and confirm the contents of the orb. Due to the incompetency and failures of the Death Eaters, the orb was shattered in a commotion that prevented anyone from listening to the contents. However, Harry was able to hear the prophecy from the Pensieve in Albus Dumbledore's office, since Trelawney made the original to Dumbledore himself.
- The first one was made by a male seer, and it was about something "new" that would come at the Solstice.
- The second one was made by a female seer, and it was about "none will come after" something unknown.
Love Chamber a.k.a. Ever-Locked Room
- "There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all."
- —Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter[src]
The Love chamber is a room behind a door that remains locked at all times and which cannot be unlocked by Alohomora or magical unlocking penknives. According to Dumbledore, behind the door is the most mysterious subject of study of the department, and the most powerful force ever to exist in the universe — which is known as "Love". It may also be used in attempts to understand and duplicate the magical protection self-sacrificing love creates, the only magic strong enough to repel the Killing Curse. There is said to be a large fountain of Amortentia in the room.
This is a dark room full of planets floating in mid-air. Presumably, it is from this Chamber where Wizards study the aspect of space, as it is one of the limits of magic (along with time). Visitors may find themselves floating as well. Luna Lovegood deemed it "a very odd place" and used the Reductor Curse on the Pluto replica to block an attacking Death Eater during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
This long, rectangular room is filled with a beautiful, dancing light that sparkles like gems. All kinds of time-related devices completely fill the chamber, such as clocks of every description, and Time-Turners. It also contains a large crystal bell jar at its far end, from which the sparking light comes. Inside it, anything will grow increasingly younger, to its pre-life state, be re-born to grow older, and cycle through endlessly.
At the end of the room there is a door that leads into the Hall of Prophecies. There are also small offices just off the main chamber, in which Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom faced two Death Eaters during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. During this battle, the department's entire stock of Time-Turners was smashed.
It can be assumed that study in the time room has led to the discovery and creation of the ability to magically manipulate time through Time-Turners.
Second Wizarding War
Battle of the Department of Mysteries
- 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 dream of Sirius being tortured[src]
In 1996, Lord Voldemort had his Death Eaters attempt to steal the above mentioned prophecy. After two failed attempts, Voldemort lured Harry Potter and five of his friends there by planting a vision of his godfather being tortured into his mind. Harry, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood flew to the Ministry, where they were confronted by twelve Death Eaters.
The six members of Dumbledore's Army managed to distract their attackers and flee, scattering throughout the Department of Mysteries and combating the Dark Wizards who pursued them. The Order of the Phoenix soon arrived, saving the teenagers but losing one of their own, Sirius Black, killed by his own cousin Bellatrix Lestrange.
Under Voldemort's control
- "Recent research undertaken by the Department of Mysteries reveals that magic can only be passed from person to person when Wizards reproduce. Where no proven Wizarding ancestry exists, therefore, the so-called Muggle-born is likely to have obtained magical power by theft or force."
- —Daily Prophet article in August 1997[src]
On 1 August, 1997, the Ministry of Magic fell under Voldemort's control, with Imperiused Pius Thicknesse the new puppet Minister for Magic. In line with the Death Eaters' ideology about blood purity, the Ministry began distributing anti-Muggle and Muggle-born propaganda, based on research allegedly conducted by the Department of Mysteries. Muggle-borns were forced to register with the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, which convicted them of having stolen magic from "real" wizards and witches and sent them to Azkaban. Since this is not factually true, it is likely that this "research" either did not exist at all or was strongly skewed in order to support false conclusions. Unspeakables may have been intimidated into doing this, as many were shown to be terrified and under surveillance while the Ministry was under Death Eater control.
- Levina Monkstanley (c. 1772)
- Broderick Bode (deceased)
- Saul Croaker
- Augustus Rookwood (Death Eater spy)
- Unidentified intern (disappeared within the Department before early 1995)
- The Keeper of the Hall of Prophecy
Behind the scenes
- Luna Lovegood – probably influenced by an article in The Quibbler – once stated that Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge "uses the Department of Mysteries to develop terrible poisons, which he secretly feeds to anybody who disagrees with him". There is no proof that this is true.
- The name of the department may be an allusion to the Mysteries of the Ancient Greek and Roman religions, in which admission and knowledge was restricted through arcane initiation rites. The word "mystery" literally means "initiation." The Eleusinian Mysteries were the most famous and important of these.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (First appearance)
- 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 Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Exterior hallway only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game) (Exterior hallway only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references