St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

chapter twenty-two of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

McGonagall takes Harry to Dumbledore, who instantly believes him and sends Harry and the Weasley children back to Grimmauld Place. After an anxious night, they learn Mr. Weasley is okay and visit him in St. Mungo’s – where they also overhear Moody suggesting that Harry is being possessed by Voldemort.

In Essence Divided, by TomScribble

Harry wondered whether the instrument was confirming his story… but Dumbledore did not look up. “Naturally, naturally,” murmured Dumbledore apparently to himself, still observing the stream of smoke without the slightest sign of surprise. “But in essence divided?”


Brain Damage, by MartinTenbones

It happened in a fraction of a second: In the infinitesimal pause before Dumbledore said “three…” Harry’s scar burned white-hot, as though the old wound had burst open again – and unbidden, unwanted, but terrifyingly strong, there rose within Harry a hatred so powerful he felt, for that instant, that he would like nothing better than to strike – to bite – to sink his fangs into the man before him –


Waiting for News of Arthur, by Marta T

If Harry had ever sat through a longer night than this one he could not remember it.

(by Marta T)


At St. Mungo's Hospital, by NicoPony

Tonks leaned close to the glass, looking up at the very ugly dummy and said, her breath steaming up the glass, “Wotcher… We’re here to see Arthur Weasley.”


After Arthur is Bitten - in St. Mungo's, by Heather Campbell

“How are you, Arthur?” asked Mrs. Weasley, bending down to kiss his cheek and looking anxiously into his face. “You’re still looking a bit peaky….”
“I feel absolutely fine,” said Mr. Weasley brightly….


The Weasleys Suddenly Turn to Harry in Fear as They Listen with Extendable Ears, by Drew Graham

Harry pulled the Extendable Ear out of his own, his heart hammering very fast and heat rushing up his face. He looked around at the others. They were all staring at him, the strings still trailing from their ears, looking suddenly fearful.


about the chapter


Rowling’s books always place us squarely in Harry’s shoes, which is a great perspective given that most of the story’s action usually happens to him. This year is unique, though, in that most of the true action is taking place with Dumbledore, Voldemort, and the Order. It’s completely off Harry’s radar, and he isn’t even being told what’s going on – aside from occasional glimpses of Order meetings or Dumbledore asking cryptic questions of his instruments. It’s frustrating as a reader to be shunted to the sidelines like this, but this is ultimately Harry’s story, and by withholding that information from us Rowling is helping to show the effect that all of this is having on Harry. It’s a brilliant piece of writing, though an awfully aggravating one at the same time.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

Mr. Weasley’s ward at St. Mungo’s is the ‘serious bites’ ward, named for Dangerous Dai Llewellyn. Harry probably doesn’t know who this is, and we hear nothing else about him at the hospital – but he’s mentioned in Quidditch Through the Ages, one of the companion books Rowling released prior to Order of the Phoenix:

The Welsh Catapults, formed in 1402, wear vertically striped robes of light green and scarlet. Their distinguished club history includes eighteen League wins and a famous triumph in the European Cup final of 1956, when they defeated the Norwegian Karasjok Kites. The tragic demise of their most famous player, ‘Dangerous” Dai Llewellyn, who was eaten by a Chimaera while on holiday in Mykonos, Greece, resulted in a day of national mourning for all Welsh witches and wizards. The Dangerous Dai Commemorative Medal is now awarded at the end of each season to the League player who has taken the most exciting and foolhardy risks during a game.

So the ward is, in fact, named for a celebrity who sustained one of the most famous bites of all time.
By the way, a Chimaera is a creature that’s part lion, part goat, and part dragon – and one of the most dangerous magical creatures in existence. We last heard it mentioned just one chapter ago, when Hagrid was bemoaning his inability to get one for his classes. Yikes.

The Boy Who Lived

When Harry walks into St. Mungo’s, he spots a portrait of Dilys Derwent on the wall – the same Dilys Derwent who hangs in Dumbledore’s study, and who Dumbledore sent to watch as Arthur was carried into the hospital. And while Harry doesn’t think much of the fact that Dilys gives him a quick wink and then slides out of the frame, she’s probably sliding back to Dumbledore’s office – and my guess is she’s promptly reporting that Harry and company have arrived safely at the hospital. In other words, under the radar, Dumbledore has got Harry covered this year. I hope for Harry’s sake that he didn’t do anything too embarrassing while under the watch of all of these paintings, ghosts, and wizards….

Something to Remember

If there is any one moment in the entire Harry Potter series that every attentive reader knew they needed to remember the moment they first read it, it was Dumbledore’s “in essence divided” comment that he makes while observing his spindly instrument. There were all sorts of rumors and speculation going around for years after Phoenix was published, and the answer is one of the keys to the underlying mystery of the series.

The Final Word

“Mr. Weasley… was slated to die in the very, very original draft of the story.”
“I think [if he had, the books] would have been very different and it’s part of the reason why I changed my mind. By turning Ron into half of Harry, in other words by turning Ron into someone who had suffered the loss of a parent, I was going to remove the Weasleys as a refuge for Harry and I was going to necessarily remove a lot of Ron’s humor. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t kill Arthur. I wanted to keep Ron intact.”
–J.K. Rowling, July & October 2007

13 Responses to “St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries”

  1. What a great quote from JKR about Ron. The humor and warmth that the Weasleys bring to Harry’s life are so important to him, and I can only imagine how Arthur’s death might have changed that (Arthur’s even funny in these chapters while he’s in his sick bed!). I love the Weasleys as individual characters and as a family unit.

  2. Harry is also covered by Umbridge: did you noticed that almost as they left the Common Room they passed Mrs. Norris? We can assume that Mrs. Norris alerted Filch and he reported the situation to Umbridge.

  3. This chapter is one of the reasons why this book is more fun to re-read than to read. The tone of the book overall is so dark and angry that it’s hard to appreciate all the funny details about St. Mungo’s and the Ministry of Magic the first time we read about them.

    By the way, I think MartinTenbones’s picture is the only one I’ve ever seen that shows Ron being taller than the twins. JKR mentions in one of the books that the twins are shorter and stockier than Ron, but by the time we read that we all had the images of the actors in the films burned into our brains.

  4. I really like Heather Campbell’s drawings of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

    Hm, considering what you state at the very top of your comments, Josie, the title of the book might be more fitting than we had discussed earlier.

    A tiny detail (I don’t know if it had been mentioned before, but now is the first time I noticed it): There’s a griffin knocker at the door to Dumbledore’s office. So was Griffindor (griffin-door, chuckle) the first headmaster? Or is that a little something added by Dumbledore? Or are there similar pointers to the other founders in the office?

    About the occupant of a portrait moving out of one and into another portrait of the same person: Where is the second figure? Unless one of the portraits was hung up empty. But would it still be a portrait then?

    Here’s another thing I just noticed for the first time: Where did Sirius get a wand? I’m sure his was taken away and destroyed when he went to Azkaban. And he can’t purchase a new one as he’s in hiding. Maybe it’s someone’s spare one.

  5. Kim, if we’re talking about wands, why do all the DEs who escape from Azkaban in a few chapters have wands? I think if anything Dumbledore could have gotten Sirius a new wand, he seems pretty close with Ollivander.

    I love the drawing of Harry possessed, it just looks so damn creepy!

  6. I still don’t understand the “but in essence divided” thing
    What does Heather Campbell’s picture say?

    In St. Mungo’s, when they are going to visit Mr. Weasley- ‘They climbed a flight of stairs and entered the “Creature-Induced Injuries” corridor, where the second door on the right bore the words ‘DANGEROUS’ DAI LLEWELLYN WARD: SERIOUS BITES.’ If you put these words on a sign, they would read:

    Creature-Induced Injuries
    Dai Llewellyn Ward
    Serious Bites

    Take the first word of each of these and what do you get get? Creature Dangerous Dai Serious? No – Kreacher dangerous, Die Sirius…
    I copied that from Mugglenet, but I first read in fanmade Harry Potter book. Can that really just be coincidence?

    And the wand thing makes no sense to me…

  7. Sirius is resourceful, after all in PoA he managed to acquire a Firebolt when he was running away from Dementors.

  8. Mickey, Voldemort divided his essence by creating Horcruxes. That’s my theory anyway.

  9. Here’s J.K. Rowling’s explanation of “in essence divided:”

    Rosi: What does in essence divided mean?

    J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore suspected that the snake’s essence was divided — that it contained part of Voldemort’s soul, and that was why it was so very adept at doing his bidding. This also explained why Harry, the last and unintended Horcrux, could see so clearly through the snake’s eyes, just as he regularly sees through Voldemort’s. Dumbledore is thinking aloud here, edging towards the truth with the help of the Pensieve.

  10. Martin Tenbones’ picture is wonderful! I had never thought about the red eyes, but surely that is what happened…how horrible for Dumbledore!

  11. One thing that struck me when reading the St Mungo’s Hospital-chapter again was how very weird it is for the entrance to be so crowded by muggles, when many of the people who go there stick out so much. I mean, the man clanging like a bell, or the witch breathing smoke, the man with his daughter flying… wouldn’t these attract WAY too much attention if they were to enter through that window? Or maye that’s just the entrance for people who are visiting patients..?

    (Moderator moved this from another chapter – sorry I’d accidentally closed the comments on this one!)

  12. Mickey- Heather’s picture of Arthur says: “The forces of evil are going to have to do a little better than a bi- little snake to take out Arthur Weasley!” :3 so cuute.

  13. Oh Merlin. Mickey, that’s amazing! Yikes.
    I’m glad Ron got to keep his humour. But did Jo really have to decide to kill another off, in DH, because she let Arthur live?
    Thanks for the clarification on the “essence divided” thing. MartinTenbones, that drawing is so good it gives me the creeps!

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