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Duel in the Ministry Atrium

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Duel in the Ministry Atrium
Event information

Atrium, Ministry of Magic Headquarters in London, England


18 June, 1996

  • Albus Dumbledore
  • Lord Voldemort

Lord Voldemort and Albus Dumbledore battle to stalemate; the duel ends with the inability of Lord Voldemort to maintain possession of Harry Potter and the arrival of Ministry Aurors and Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge

The duel in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic was a critical duel fought between Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic at the end of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in June of 1996.

The Duel

Books chapterart ootp 36

Voldemort fighting Dumbledore.

The duel began when Voldemort entered the Ministry, to find out if the Prophecy was destroyed and to try once again to kill Harry Potter, who had been chasing Bellatrix Lestrange from the Department of Mysteries and was then in the Ministry Atrium. Dumbledore, following Harry, intervened as Voldemort was about to kill Harry. Enchanting the statues from the Fountain of Magical Brethren to protect Harry, immobilise Bellatrix, and warn important Ministry officials, Dumbledore proceeded to take on the Dark Lord. Voldemort responded by Apparating near the fountain pool and firing a curse at Dumbledore, which Dumbledore easily dodged by Disapparating and Apparating by the fountain.

Grandpre Dueling Wizards

The duel.

After Voldemort missed Dumbledore, Dumbledore then sent a powerful spell at Voldemort, one which the Dark Lord was forced to block with a Silver shield; the spell did not harm the shield, but made a deep gong-like sound as it was deflected. Voldemort realised that the nature of the spell was not meant to kill him, and, surprised, tried once again to kill Dumbledore; this time, the animated centaur statue intercepted the curse and was destroyed. Dumbledore then cast a fiery rope around Voldemort, which Voldemort transfigured into a snake and sent after Dumbledore. Voldemort again Disapparated and Apparated in the middle of the fountain, sending another Killing Curse at Dumbledore. The snake and the curse nearly struck simultaneously, but Fawkes the phoenix sacrificed himself by diving into the path of the curse. He burst into flames and was immediately reborn as a tiny, featherless phoenix.

Dumbledore then, simultaneously, caused the snake to vanish while raising the water from the fountain to surround Voldemort like a sphere of molten glass. Voldemort struggled unsuccessfully to throw off the suffocating sheet of water, until he finally Disapparated out. After a brief pause where Dumbledore showed his first sign of alarm during the duel, Voldemort attempted to possess Harry, in the hopes that Dumbledore would sacrifice his pupil to kill the Dark Lord. However, the power of Harry's love made it impossible for him to possess Harry, and he fled, taking Bellatrix with him, but not before he was seen by Ministry officials who had just Apparated into the Ministry. The duel was over, Harry was saved, and the Ministry could no longer deny the fact that Voldemort had returned.

Behind the scenes


Ministry Duel (film version)

In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after Harry chases Bellatrix, in rage of Sirius Black's death, he attempts to use the Cruciatus Curse on her. The spell knocks her down, but doesn't cause her prolonged pain. Harry stands over her with his wand pointed at her, while the Dark Lord's voice whispers to him to give into his hatred and kill her. Voldemort Apparates into the atrium and Bellatrix laughs. Harry turns on Voldemort, who Disarms him with a slashing wave of his hand. At that moment Dumbledore appears from one of the fireplaces by way of the Floo Network, and warns Voldemort that the Aurors are on their way.

Dumbledore vs Voldemort

Dumbledore fighting Voldemort in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic.

Voldemort attacks Dumbledore with a jet of green light (possibly Avada Kedavra), which Dumbledore counters with a cord of red light (possibly Expelliarmus or Stupefy). During the chaos, Bellatrix disappears through the Floo Network. As both spells collide and the two wands connect in a manner similar to Priori Incantatem (though not truly Priori Incantatem because one wand does not force the other to relive its most recent spells, this only happens if both wands share the same core), Harry backs away to a wall behind Dumbledore. Voldemort attempts several times to direct his curse (still locked in battle with Dumbledore's wand) towards Harry, with lightning-like tendrils popping off from the main beam, but is unsuccessful and destroys part of the wall, causing tiles to explode and parts of the fireplace to come crashing down on the wooden floors.

Voldemorts snake

Voldemort's fire serpent.

Voldemort slashes his wand to break the connection and quickly with his hand breaths fire into conjuring a huge, fiery serpent (possibly Fiendfyre). The fire transfigures into the form of the serpent immidately and realises the presence of Dumbledore rearing and striking down with exposed fangs and a completely opened jaw in an attempt to devour him. Dumbledore backs up and slashes at the creature with his wand in a flick like movement, dispelling the flames. Dumbledore then gathers the flames for himself whirling them into a fiery ring like mass, and sends them hurtling towards Voldemort. Voldemort likewise defends himself by pushing the fire passed and around him causing the flames to disappear.


Dumbledore's water sphere.

Dumbledore then nonverbally casts a hydrokinetic spell, where he draws the waters of the Fountain of Magical Brethrensothat it erupts and flows out surrounding and encasing Lord Voldemort inside an enchanted sphere of water in an attempt to drown him and finish the duel. Dumbledore maintains the shape of the complex water sphere by continually sculpting and spinning it. Harry gets too close to the duel, necessitating that Dumbledore magically repels him away whilst attemp

ting to maintain his spell and breaks Dumbledore's concentration, this combined with Voldemort slashing through the water causes the sphere to collapse, allowing Voldemort to escape from his watery prison. Voldemort then casts a large, continuous torrent of darkness towards Harry, but Dumbledore holds it back with an exceedingly powerful charm (possibly Protego or Protego Horribilis). In a second attack, Voldemort gathers the black energy into a ball of incandescent light, which he releases with roar, sending the energy in all directions; this explosion of Dark energy knocks over Dumbledore and Harry and causes all the windows in the Atrium to shatter.

"You're the weak one. And you'll never know love. Or friendship. And I feel sorry for you."
Harry breaking Voldemort's possession over him.[src]
Dumbledore shield

Dumbledore defends against Voldemort's attack.

The millions of tiny shards of glass start to rain down upon Voldemort and with a flick of his wand he magically diverts their path, causing them to hone in on Dumbledore and Harry mid-way through their descent, to which Dumbledore responds by transfiguring the shards into sand en route by means of a transparent, bluish-white shield. The Dark Lord then conjures a small whirlwind which whips up the sand around him. As it falls to the ground, the Dark Lord appears to have Disapparated. However, he then attempts to possess and torture Harry. Harry tries to fight back but is unable to do so until his friends enter the hall. He is reminded of all the happiness he has had with the people he loves and is able to eject Voldemort from his body.

Voldemort materialises above Harry and appears to nonverbally cast some form of Shield Charm around himself and Harry. A faint ring of sand encircles them, floating in mid-air, and whilst Dumbledore seems to be touching the edge of the barrier, his gaze appears fized on Voldemort. Voldemort advances on Harry, but at that moment the Minister for Magic and various Aurors arrive through the fireplaces in time to see Voldemort just before he Disapparates in another whirlwind of sand.

Auror Dawlish, Cornelius Fudge and Percy Weasley

Cornelius Fudge sees Voldemort after the duel

The duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort ends in a stalemate as Voldemort flees. Harry and Dumbledore are vindicated, Fudge is forced to admit that he has been wrong about the Dark Lord, and the Second Wizarding War begins.

Ministry Duel (game version)

Voldemort vs Dumbledore game

Albus Dumbledore tries to stun Lord Voldemort in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic.

  • In the video game for consoles, PlayStation, PC, Wii, XBox, Dumbledore arrives and duels with Voldemort. There are four stages for the player to complete. The player as Dumbledore duels Voldemort using the spells learned in the game in Stage 1. Then in Stage 2 Voldemort can absorb any spell that the player casts at him and then throws it back at Dumbledore. Stage 3 is the same concept as Stage 1, but this time Voldemort will be floating chairs and tables against the player. Stage 4 the player becomes Harry forcing Voldemort out of his mind. After Voldemort has been dealt enough damage a cutscene happens with Harry telling Voldemort he'll never know love or friendship or true loyalty and he feels sorry for him (exactly what he says in the film). The Aurors appear and so does Fudge and they must admit Voldemort has returned.
  • In the DS version they engage in a duel like the one in the film.
  • In the LEGO game for consoles it is kind of the duel in the film, however with small differences. Harry chases Bellatrix and fires multiple Cruciatus Curses at her. Bellatrix trips and just before Harry reaches her, he runs into Voldemort, who just Apparated in front of Bellatrix, and is knocked back. When Harry points his wand at Voldemort he uses a slashing movement with his hand, like the film, to disarm Harry. Then Dumbledore Apparates in front of Harry. Voldemort and Dumbledore engage in a duel with their green and red spells, while Harry runs around and defeats Apparating Death Eaters (Voldemort has three lives). When defeated, Voldemort jumps onto the edge og the Fountain of Magical Brethen and conjures a fiery snake, like in the film, which Harry and Dumbledore has to avoid, along with it's fire balls and fiery gangs. They have to build the sprinkler-system, turn it on and extinquis the snake with water. Then Dumbledore creates a watery sphere and traps Voldemort inside it, like in the movie, and lifts it up onto the height of the top of the Fountain and drops it in an attempt to hurt Voldemort, however Voldemort quickle jumps off and back to the Fountain's edge. Then Voldemort jumps down and duels Dumbledore with same spells as before. When defeated again, he Apparates away and smashes all the offices' windows in the entire Atrium, then picks them up and throws them at Dumbledore who has conjured a shield to protect him and Harry, like in the movie, while Harry tries to find and build an object to throw at Voldemort (three rounds with this). Then Voldemort uses Legilimency to travel into Harry's mind and looks at Harry's bad memories, however when his friends turns up Voldemort accidentally shows him the good memories and Harry then overpowers Voldemort (like in the movie), and then Fudge and Williamson shows up and sees Voldemort (like in the book).


  • Benchmark for the start of the Second Wizarding War.
  • Causes the Minister for Magic to finally accept Voldemort's return
  • Voldemort realizes that Harry, via the ancient magical power of Love, can fight off Voldemort's Legilimency.
  • Albus Dumbledore and Lord Voldemort are now definitively proven to be of equal magical power and the reader sees why The Dark Lord fears the Headmaster of Hogwarts (book).  Due to this stalemate, Voldemort (possibly) realizes he will have to exploit Dumbledore's guardianship of his students in order to kill him, and that Dumbledore must die in order for him to be able to kill Harry (perhaps motivating Voldemort to order one of Dumbledore's students to kill him (Draco)). 


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