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An Unspeakable is a wizard or witch who works in the Ministry of Magic's Department of Mysteries. Little is known about their workplace, and even less is known about their jobs. Employees of the Department of Mysteries are forbidden from discussing their jobs or disclosing any information about their department, hence the name "Unspeakable."
Jobs and Responsibilities
Very little is known about what an Unspeakable actually does, due to a high level of secrecy surrounding the Department of Mysteries. Some may study love in the Love Chamber, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, is kept locked at all times, or time in the Time Chamber, where the Ministry's stock of Time-Turners was stored prior to being destroyed during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries; others may explore the nature of thought in the Thought Chamber, or death in the Death Chamber, where Sirius Black was killed by his own cousin. There is a veil in the Death Chamber that acts as a one-way doorway, separating the land of the living and the land of the dead. Any living being who goes near it will hear voices of his/her dead loved ones. Any living being who tries to cross it will suffer instant death.
The autonomous nature of the Department of Mysteries granted the Unspeakables a great deal of impunity, as they are the only division that does not need to answer to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. They can even ignore the Minister for Magic's interventions, as they did when Minister Radolphus Lestrange attempted to shut down the Department.
As their titles suggest, the key limitation of Unspeakables is that they are not permitted to talk about their work. It is known that, due to the dangers of tampering with the laws of time, a series of strict laws and penalties have been placed around those studying time-related magic. As such, it can be assumed that there likewise are laws and penalties are in place for Unspeakables studying other areas in the Department.
Unspeakables are also unable to remove prophecies from the Hall of Prophecy or even take them off their shelves, as prophecies can only be removed by those about whom they are made. Anyone else who attempts to do so will be struck by the defensive spells placed on the prophecies, resulting in significant mental harm. The damage seems reversible in time, judging by Broderick Bode, an Unspeakable who was Imperiused into attempting to retrieve the Prophecy regarding Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, in 1995. Lucius Malfoy noted that Bode showed unusual resistance to the Imperius curse, which Augustus Rookwood suggested may have been because the Unspeakable knew what would happen if he touched one of the Prophecies.
Despite the high degree of independence the Department of Mysteries receives, when Voldemort conquered the entire Ministry, the Unspeakables came to produce falsified research results regarding how Muggle-borns are usurping magic from real wizards, being corrupted or threatened by the Death Eaters.
- 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
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows