|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- "I shall attend to the boy in person. There have been too many mistakes where Harry Potter is concerned, Some of them have been my own. That Potter lives is due more to my errors than to his triumphs. I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best-laid plans. But I know better now. I understand those things that I did not understand before. I must be the one to kill Harry Potter, and I shall be."
- —Lord Voldemort announcement during the meeting[src]
The meeting took place during the week preceding the Battle of the Seven Potters, and happened at Malfoy Manor, in Wiltshire, England, the home of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy and their son, Draco, being used as a Death Eater headquarters for Voldemort. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Death Eater's subsequent take-over of the Ministry and for Voldemort to hear Severus Snape relay information useful in the plotting the murder of Harry Potter.
By the summer of 1997, Lucius Malfoy and many other Death Eaters had escaped Azkaban prison, and the Dark Lord had made the Malfoys' home his headquarters. While the Malfoys were very uncomfortable with this, Bellatrix Lestrange, Lucius's sister-in-law, who also resided there, claimed there could be "no higher pleasure" than having Lord Voldemort stay with them.
Harry Potter/Infiltration of the Ministry
- Yaxley: "My Lord, I have heard differently. Dawlish, the Auror, let slip that Potter will not be moved until the thirtieth, the night before the boy turns seventeen."
- Snape: "My source told me that there are plans to lay a false trail; this must be it. No doubt a Confundus Charm has been placed upon Dawlish… I assure you, Yaxley, the Auror Office will play no further part in the protection of Harry Potter. The Order believes that we have infiltrated the Ministry."
- — Excerpt from the meeting at Malfoy Manor[src]
Shortly before Harry Potter's seventeenth birthday, Severus Snape and Yaxley enter Malfoy Manor and find Voldemort sitting at a table with gathered Death Eaters. Snape then informs Voldemort that the Order of the Phoenix is moving Harry Potter from the Dursley home to a secret location the following Saturday, four days before the birthday, at sunset. Snape reports that the information comes, "from the source [they] discussed." This contradicts the information that Yaxley obtained from Dawlish, an Auror, but that is determined to be unreliable; Snape suspects the Ministry has been infiltrated, and is feeding them false information.
Yaxley reports that he has succeeded in placing Pius Thicknesse, the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, under the Imperius Curse, a major step in taking over the Ministry of Magic. However, Voldemort says that Thicknesse is only one man, "and Scrimgeour must be completely surrounded by our people before I act." Yaxley discusses how it will be easier to take over the Ministry with Thicknesse under their control, as he has regular contact with the Minister and the other department Heads, the latter which he could be made to Imperius to do the Death Eaters' bidding and help bring down the Ministry. The resulting plans would lead to Voldemort's take-over of the Ministry, using Thicknesse as a puppet Minister for Magic, and the Battle of the Seven Potters.
Lucius Malfoy's wand
- Voldemort: "As I was saying, I understand better now. I shall need, for instance, to borrow a wand from one of you before I go kill Potter...No volunteers? Let's see...Lucius, I see no reason for you to have a wand anymore."
- Lucius: "My Lord?"
- Voldemort: "Your wand, Lucius. I require your wand."
- — Voldemort taking Lucius Malfoy's wand[src]
After the Priori Incantatem effect happened during the Duel in Little Hangleton Voldemort knew that he would need a different wand to use against Harry as his wand and Harry's shared the same wand core, a Phoenix tail feather from Fawkes. Because of this, Voldemort was unable to fatally harm Harry. He told the gathered Death Eaters that if he was to kill Harry Potter he would have to do it with someone else's wand, and asked if anyone would volunteer their wand for the honour.
No one did, as a wizard rarely would want to part with his or her wand. However, Voldemort eventually decided to take Lucius Malfoy's wand, to further humiliate him after Lucius's failure during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries to retrieve a prophecy Voldemort desired. After that battle, Lucius was arrested and sent to Azkaban, but when he broke out Voldemort punished him by forcing his son kill Albus Dumbledore, but it was eventually done by Snape. As further punishment, Voldemort had Malfoy's house to be their meeting place and told Lucius to hand over his wand. Lucius reluctantly obliged, and the wand was later destroyed during the Battle of the Seven Potters when Harry's wand reguritated some of Voldemort's own magic at him, thus, Lucius's wand was no match for this sort of power.
Decline in Pure-Blood Families
- Voldemort: "I'm talking about your niece, Bellatrix. And yours, Lucius and Narcissa. She just married the werewolf, Remus Lupin. You must be so proud."
- Bellatrix: "She is no niece of ours, my Lord. We — Narcissa and I — have never set eyes on our sister since she married the Mudblood. This brat has nothing to do with either of us, nor any beast she marries."
- Voldemort: "What say you, Draco? Will you babysit the cubs?... Many of our oldest family trees become a little diseased over time. You must prune yours, must you not, to keep it healthy? Cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest."
- — Voldemort discussing blood purity with the Death Eaters[src]
After Lucius is humiliated by Voldemort taking his wand, Voldemort taunts Lucius about how the Malfoy family is unhappy to have him in their home. Though Lucius protests, Voldemort sees through the lies, and Voldemort further asks if the Malfoy's are unhappy despite professing that his return to power was what they desired for so many years.
Lucius denies this, Bellatrix Lestrange boasts that she, unlike her sister, Narcissa, considers there "no higher pleasure" to have him in their house. Despite this show of loyalty, Voldemort proceeds to humiliate and insult her by japeing about her niece having recently married a werewolf, while the gathering Death Eaters laugh jeeringly, while Bellatrix furiously declares that she is no niece of theirs. Voldemort tells Bellatrix to prune her family tree by getting rid of those who disease it, to which Bellatrix readily agrees, and Voldemort tells the gathered Death Eaters about the importance of cutting away "the canker that infects us until only those of true blood remain".
- "Not content with corrupting and polluting the minds of Wizarding children, last week Professor Burbage wrote an impassioned defence of Mudbloods in the Daily Prophet. Wizards, she says, must accept these thieves of their knowledge and magic. The dwindling of the purebloods is, says Professor Burbage, a most desirable circumstance.... She would have us all mate with Muggles... or, no doubt, werewolves.... Avada Kedavra! Dinner, Nagini."
- —Voldemort speaking before murdering Charity Burbage[src]
Above the table Voldemort and his followers are seated at, a bound, unconscious figure is suspended upside down, slowly rotating. The captive, awake and sobbing, pleads for help from an impassive Snape. Voldemort casts a Killing Curse at the woman, Professor Charity Burbage, the Muggle Studies instructor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, for teaching the subject and for publishing an opinion suggesting that the declining pure-blooded wizard population is actually beneficial and that blood purity should no longer matter. Her body is given to Nagini as the snake's dinner.
Impact of the meeting
The Death Eaters' actions at the meetings give much insight into how Voldemort's ranks are assembeled. Despite Voldemort having gathered key supporters around him, there is little solidarity among them, showing a major difference between Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix. The Death Eaters constantly compete with one another to ascend in the Dark Lord's eyes, and many are affronted that Snape, who is still regarded with suspicion by others, is invited to sit at Voldemort's right hand while the Malfoys now occupy a lower position at the foot of the table; it is obviously galling to them and shows how far and how quickly they have fallen from favour, particularly Lucius Malfoy, whose arrogance and wealth have, until now, shielded his rather weak character. Now the Malfoys must endure this latest humiliation, though they apparently still retain hope to somehow redeem themselves to the Dark Lord.
This will likely prove difficult, as Voldemort has shown that he demands absolute loyalty and servitude while offering his followers little in return. It is creating an atmosphere where disharmony can quickly set in, prompting Voldemort's followers to seek their own reward any way they can, even by turning against another. Even his most ardent follower, Bellatrix Lestrange, is taunted by Voldemort, who likely considers her "tainted" for being related to the Malfoys (her sister, brother-in-law, and nephew) and also to the Tonks clan. In the Order, however, the organisation rallies around Harry in a unified goal to protect him and defeat Voldemort; this is far more important than material gains or an individual's status within their group, and it serves to strengthen, rather than divide them.
The murder of Charity Burbage it serves to demonstrate just how bloodthirsty Death Eaters are, which makes murdering a helpless victim logical to the plot. That she is a Hogwarts professor re-enforces that the school is not as sacrosanct as it once seemed, and there is no one better to kill than the Muggle Studies instructor. Despite Professor Burbage teaching Muggle Studies, this is the first time we hear about her despite Hermione taking her class during her third year.
Killing Burbage may also have been a means for Voldemort to test Snape's loyalty by gauging his reaction to it, seeing if he registers any emotion or attempts to intervene in any way, for any reason, to spare Burbage's life. As it happens, Snape was loyal to Dumbledore, and so one can only imagine what he must be thinking and feeling, not only as he witnesses Burbage, a fellow Hogwarts teacher, being so horribly murdered, but also helplessly listening to her desperate pleas for her life.
The known people who attended the meeting were the following:
- Lord Voldemort
- Severus Snape
- Bellatrix Lestrange
- Lucius Malfoy
- Narcissa Malfoy
- Draco Malfoy
- Peter Pettigrew
- Antonin Dolohov
- Alecto Carrow
- Amycus Carrow
- Thorfinn Rowle
- Rodolphus Lestrange
- Rabastan Lestrange
- Francis Crabbe
- Pius Thicknesse
- Gaspar Avery
- Other Death Eaters
- Charity Burbage (as a prisoner/victim of Voldemort)
Behind the scenes
- Pius Thicknesse is among those in attendance at this meeting in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. The film does not specify whether he has already been placed under the Imperius Curse or if he has allied with the Death Eaters under his own free will, though his actions seem to suggest the latter.
- Several changes are present in the version of this scene shown in the video game adaption of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Rather than being seated at a table, Voldemort and the other Death Eaters are standing in a circle around Charity Burbage, who is tied up in a sack rather than magically floating above the assembled crowd. Several plot elements, including the planned infiltration of the Ministry, the Order's misdirection about when Harry would be moved from the Dursley's care, and Voldemort taking Lucius Malfoy's wand, are all omitted from this scene.
- Considering how Delphini, the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix, was born at the Malfoy Manor, it's possible that the reason Voldemort raised the topic of Nymphadora was not only to humiliate Malfoys for their failures, but also because now he had personal concern about Bellatrix's family tree as relatives of Bellatrix would be now relatives of Voldemort's child. Voldemort's telling Bellatrix to prune her family tree and "cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest" may have been due to the Dark Lord's disinclination for his offspring to have such unworthy relatives, as Tonks would be Delphini's first cousin, half-blood and married to a werewolf, something unthinkable for Voldemort. It's notable that Voldemort wasn't particularly interested in Bellatrix's family tree before this, despite the fact it was already tainted for a long time as Bellatrix's sister Andromeda caused a major disgrace for the Black family by marrying a Muggle-born wizard and producing a half-blood child with him, a child that grew up to be Auror and friend and supporter of other half-bloods and muggle-borns. Since Delphini was born at the Manor, it's possible that at the moment of the Meeting at Malfoy Manor she already was born or that Bellatrix was in early stages of pregnancy.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)