Beyond the Veil

chapter thirty-five of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry and his friends are confronted by Death Eaters over the prophecy, and manage to escape and run though the Department of Mysteries but are soon caught. The Order of the Phoenix arrives, soon followed by Dumbledore, and the kids are saved – but Sirius is knocked through the mysterious veil and killed.

Death Eaters, by prettyannamoon

Black shapes were emerging out of thin air all around them.


Hex, by prettyannamoon

Harry felt the others close in around Ginny. He stepped sideways so that he was right in front of her, the prophecy held up to his chest. “You’ll have to smash this if you want to attack any of us,” he told Bellatrix. “I don’t think your boss will be too pleased if you come back without it, will he?”


DE Lucius, by Heather Campbell

Harry stared into the slitted eyeholes through which Malfoy’s gray eyes were gleaming. Was this prophecy the reason Harry’s parents had died, the reason he carried his lightning-bolt scar? Was the answer to all of this clutched in his hand?


At the Department of Mysteries, by Marta T

A baby’s head now sat grotesquely on top of the thick, muscled neck of the Death Eater as he struggled…. “It’s time,” said Hermione in an awestruck voice. “Time….”

(by Marta T)


Dolohov is a Jerk, by VikingCarrot

But the Death Eater… made a sudden slashing movement with his wand from which flew a streak of what looked like purple flame. It passed right across Hermione’s chest; she gave a tiny “oh!” as though of surprise and then crumpled onto the floor.


Department of Mysteries, by Victor Cagno aka: Muddgutts

Harry seized his chance: “PETRIFICUS TOTALUS!” The spell hit Dolohov before he could block it.


Luna, by MartinTenbones

Luna… alone seemed to be unhurt. “Four of them chased us into a dark room full of planets, it was a very odd place, some of the time we were just floating in the dark -“


The Lestranges at the Department of Mysteries, by Heather Campbell

They were all over the threshold just in time to slam the door against Bellatrix. “Colloportus!” shouted Harry, and he heard three bodies slam into the door on the other side.


Ron, by MartinTenbones

Ron… caught the brain in his outstretched hands. The moment they made contact with his skin, the tentacles began wrapping themselves around Ron’s arms like ropes. “Harry, look what’s happen – no – no, I don’t like it – no, stop – stop -“


The Super Squad Comes to the Rescue, by Drew Graham

Then, high above them, two more doors burst open and five more people sprinted into the room: Sirius, Lupin, Moody, Tonks, and Kingsley.


Lucius vs Lupin, by Caladan

Malfoy aimed his wand at Harry and Neville again, but before he could draw breath to strike, Lupin had jumped between them.

(by Caladan)


Grab the Others and Go! by Caladan

“Harry, round up the others and GO!”

(by Caladan)


The Prophecy, by prettyannamoon

As both of them stared at the place where it had broken, appalled at what had happened, a pearly-white figure with hugely magnified eyes rose into the air, unnoticed by any but them. Harry could see its mouth moving, but in all the crashes and screams and yells surrounding them, not one word of the prophecy could he hear.


Sirius Falling, by FrizzyHermione

It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall. His body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backward through the ragged veil hanging from the arch….


Sirius - - - by Jenny Dolfen

But as he reached the ground and sprinted toward the dais, Lupin grabbed Harry around the chest, holding him back…. “There’s nothing you can do, Harry… nothing…. He’s gone.”


about the chapter


Prior to the release of Order of the Phoenix, it was widely known that some main character was going to die at some point in the book. Rumors spread that Ron, or Hagrid, or Dumbledore, or any number of other people – like Cho Chang, whose odds skyrocketed on an internet betting site – wouldn’t make it through. And though there was some subtle foreshadowing earlier in the book (for instance, the first time Harry walked into Grimmauld Place he felt “as though they had just entered the house of a dying person”), this death still took many people by surprise, and generated as much dismay as almost any event in the series. Sirius, after all, was the only character to have a large fan site devoted exclusively to him, as Rowling had recently discovered:

“I love [], which I discovered towards the end of writing Order of the Phoenix, and which made me feel exceptionally guilty, as you can imagine. I am so proud of the fact that a character, whom I always liked very much, though he never appeared as much more than a brooding presence in the books, has gained a passionate fan-club.


There is certainly a contingent of fans that has missed Sirius quite as much as Harry has, ever since.

The Wizarding World

The places we see in the Department of Mysteries give fascinating insight into the types of research being done by wizards. Rooms devoted to Time, Death, the human mind, the universe, the future, and so forth are incredibly intriguing to look at. And the fact that the circular room has twelve doors leading off of it (none of which seem to lead to the Hall of Prophecy) makes it all the more interesting – what’s in the other rooms? I think what I’d be even more interested to see is what the Unspeakables who work in the Department of Mysteries do all day. They seem to have offices, and desks; what do they work on? Who determines what that will be? Who oversees them? Fascinating stuff.

The Power of Magic

The spells used in this fight have always bothered me. After all, we’ve been hearing for years about how evil and cruel and ruthless the Death Eaters are, how they kill just for fun, and what powerful wizards the leaders are. And of course they wouldn’t want to risk hurting the prophecy while Harry’s got it, so they would hesitate somewhat on that account, and when the kids smash the shelves they would be momentarily taken by surprise. But then look at what happens after that: They shoot Stunning Spells at the kids; they are unable to get through a door that Hermione has already proven can be opened with Alohomora; they can’t manage to cast a simple Shield Charm when the kids shoot spells at them (unlike Harry, who manages just fine); and Tarantallegra? Seriously, the best the feared Antonin Dolohov has got is make you do a goofy dance? I don’t think Rowling intended for this battle to come across the way it did, but it took quite a while after this for me to rebuild any respect for the Death Eaters’ powers.

The Boy Who Lived

It’s so frustrating to watch Harry as I read through this chapter and think of all the things he could have done – for instance, let his friends escape while he had the prophecy (and therefore power over the Death Eaters), or simply yell for the circular room to let them all out when the six kids reassembled there. But of course, he’s under considerable stress, and the fact that he doesn’t think of options like these is much more realistic. (Not to mention the fact that they’re only occurring to me after several reads through the chapter, if not dozens). So I have to begrudgingly admit that, given his circumstances, he actually does pretty darn well.

Something to Remember

Here’s a question Harry (understandably) doesn’t have time to ponder: How did the Order of the Phoenix know to come to the Department of Mysteries? There aren’t too many ways they could have found out he was there….

The Final Word

“What I was trying to do with [Sirius’s death] was that I wanted to show how very arbitrary and sudden death is. This is a death with no big deathbed scene – it happens almost accidentally. It’s one of the cruel things about death and we’re now in a war situation where that does happen. That’s how it happens – one minute you are talking to your friend and the next minute he is gone, so shocking and inexplicable – one minute they are there but now where did they go? I found it upsetting to write because I knew what it would mean to Harry.”–J.K. Rowling, June 2003

63 Responses to “Beyond the Veil”

  1. I don’t have a very high opinion of the skills of most of the Death Eaters, particularly because of this chapter. Most of them aren’t portrayed as being especially intelligent, or even marginally intelligent in some cases. There are certainly some, like Bellatrix, who are completely ruthless and very skilled in Dark Arts (I don’t understand why the locked doors flustered *her*), but on the whole I see them as largely unremarkable, largely expendable pawns.
    Another thing is that George tells Harry that a surprising number of Ministry workers can’t produce “a decent shield charm.” That’s when I really started to wonder if Harry (and the rest of the D.A.) were particularly advanced in Defense. A shield charm? Really? Granted, the Ministry might not have high standards for some of their employees, depending on position, but if they’re buying large lots of Fred and George’s shield hats, perhaps following Harry -who is particularly skilled in Defense- for five books has given us an unrealistic view of the general wizarding population’s abilities.
    My thoughts are that the stunning spells and the other unimpressive curses and jinxes thrown at the kids may be par for most of the Death Eaters present. As Bellatrix implies, casting unforgivable curses takes not only skill, but intention and effort as well.

    Great chapter and artwork selection, by the way. :)

  2. Yeah, that whole scene with the Death Eaters not using Alohomora bugged me too! My (kind of feeble) explanation is when they shout “It doesn’t matter! There are other ways in – WE’VE GOT THEM, THEY’RE HERE!” Sounds like they didn’t want to continue the chase, but surround Harry and the others so they couldn’t keep running off.

    R. I. P. Sirius. :-(

  3. A very serious chapter to be sure (um…pun not intended at all) but I just have to mention that one of my absolute favorite parts in the whole series occurs in these pages: poor Ron, all addled from goodness knows what spell, screaming out, “Accio brains!” and getting all tangled up in the memories. I don’t know why, but the image of that (and the build-up to it, where he says something like, “Look, brains! Isn’t that weird?”) just cracks me up every single time.

    As to the relative ineptitude of the Death Eaters, I think to some extent they serve the purpose that Inky Squirrel mentions: “expendable pawns.” Much like the Stormtroopers in Star Wars (who couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat) they are the muscle; the brawn of the operation, not the brains. With the exception of Lucius and Bellatrix, of course (though some of Bella’s outbursts and actions later in the series demonstrate a marked lack of forethought and perhaps her increasing desperation and madness). Also, let’s not forget that many of these Death Eaters are only recently back on the prowl after an extended sentence in Azkaban amongst the Dementors. Perhaps this had some affect on their spellcasting abilities?

    As to whether or not JK Rowling held back here, there is an argument to be made that yes, she could have intentionally toned down some of the violence in this book. Not enough to deaden the impact of the confrontation and Sirius’s death, but enough so that when we do get to the big battles that are coming (at Hogwarts at the end of the next two books) the violence and visceral impact of her writing there has that much more of an effect on the reader. Also I always thought of this as more of a confusing, bare-knuckle brawl type fight. Deadly force not necessarily inherent. Just a couple of thoughts.

  4. I loved this battle because it was so human. Dolohov kicking Neville in the face, Sirius ramming Dolohov with his shoulder, Luna getting knocked out by a door, Ginny’s ankle breaking when a Death Eater grabbed it, everyone running for their lives, Harry, Hermione and Neville hiding under desks. It was a battle between two desperate groups of people. The fact that they could use magic wasn’t important.

    Of course the movie missed that.

  5. To be fair, the movie had some of type of stuff (Luna being slapped, Sirius punching Malfoy – totally ridiculous that one). But, for me, the battle lost that gritty feeling because of all the special effects. Death Eaters floating down the aisles like smoke, and everyone turning into streaks of light flying around the veil.

  6. It’s funny you guys say that, this scene in the movie was one of my favorite moments of all six films to date. The kids take the Death Eaters by surprise and get away for a moment, but then are quickly overwhelmed by a force they simply can’t compete against. In my mind, it’s much more realistic than the written version. Even if the Death Eaters are dumb stooges, the first curses that spring into the minds of wizards who have been practicing Dark Magic for decades shouldn’t be Stunners, or Tarantallegra. It’s absurd.

    I totally agree that I have the ‘Storm Trooper’ image in my head of the Death Eaters. I think the reason it frustrates me is that the entire rest of the series tells us over and over again that they’re so much more than that. It just doesn’t match. Would people really be all that scared of them? Smoke and mirrors only get you so far, you know?

  7. Great comments for this chapter! Something occured to me as I read The Power of Magic: I agree that the DEs are not the smartest of magic people, and I also agree that those who just broke out of Azkaban may be a little less powerful than before. I have two theories about the types of spells they chose to cast: one, perhaps the wands they were using were not “broken in” yet-I am assuming that they had to either have new wands made by Ollivander in the secret room at the Malfoys’ or had to borrow wands. We see later ***SPOILER**** that this does make a difference in spell casting. Two, some of these Death Eaters have had children in the intervening years and perhaps are subconciously casting spells that would stop the kids, but not kill them. I know my second theory is a little soft hearted, but it jsut occured to me as I read about the battle.

    When I reread that scene, it is amazing at how the kids are able to survive against all the DEs when they’re jsut kids. Remember, too, that these are children’s/young adult books, so JKR can’t get too carried away and start introducing so much new magic that kids can’t follow along.

    I love this site for this exact reason; we can all ponder the magic of HP and share our thoughts! Great job, Josie!

  8. I just have to say that the artwork in this chapter moved me to tears, which since I read the chapter for the first time, has not happened (and not even in the movie, god bless Gary Oldman). I have a love/hate reaction to Lupin holding Harry back. I know that part of Lupin wanted to sprint for the dais and veil himself, but he kept his grief in check to protect Harry.

    I agree that the Death Eaters’ spells were not impressive, save for the purple curse that got Hermione. The other injuries (Neville’s nose, Ginny’s ankle, etc.) seem to me to be very realistic. Maybe the Death Eaters were told not to kill Harry or anyone that came with him. I don’t know. I just think that, at that age, I would probably not fare as well as Dumbledore’s Army. So, that is very impressive for me.

  9. Hermione nearly killed. Ron messed up by some spell and then taken over by a brain. Ginny’s ankle broken and then Stunned. Luna knocked out. Neville rendered useless. Harry ready to hand over the prophecy until the Order arrives. The kids were defeated in the book too. But neither that or the Death Eaters overwhelming the kids in the movie is the issue for me (although I agree that the spells used by the Death Eaters don’t make a ton of sense based on what we know).

    The people turning into streaks of light or smoke creatures takes away any human element there is. One of the reasons I love the books is because although there is plenty of magic, I always feel that I’m reading about real people. You lose that when the moviemakers try to jam in as many flashy special effects as possible.

  10. “Sirius, after all, was the only character to have a large fan site devoted exclusively to him” — Really? Not that I’d necessarily expect a major Severus fansite to have already existed before 2003 (although it may have), but nothing even for Harry, say, or Draco?

  11. Jennifer C.: at this point of the story Ollivander was still working in Diagon Alley.
    Jimma: I think that the Death Eaters were not expecting to find so many kids. As for their instructions Malfoy said to “be gentle with Potter” and “kill the others if necessary”.

  12. Wow, great discussion. I have to admit, I was always confused by the Death Eaters using spells like Tarantallegra and I love the theories brought up here.

    I think my favorite piece on this chapter is the prettyannamoon prophecy piece. It’s quite powerful in its simplicity. Thanks for introducing me to new artists. :)

  13. I’m just here to agree with everyone who’s theorizing that those death eaters fresh out of Azkaban are weakened. It’s stated in PoA, when people are marveling over Sirius’ escape that prolonged time spent around dementors is supposed to drain a wizard of his powers. That’s what made Sirius’ escape that much scarier–twelve years with Dementors and he was STILL strong enough to break free, even after the draining effect of the high-security cell. Of course, no one knew that Sirius could find relief in his animagus form. These Death Eaters weren’t so lucky.

  14. I agree with eveyrone else that many of the DEs were weakened by Azkaban – Bellatrix, Rudolphus, Rabastan, Dolohov, Mulciber, and Rookwood. So half the DEs are still pretty weak. Nott is taken out of commission right away by falling shelves. Do we really expect any stellar magic from Crabbe Sr and Goyle Sr? Or for that matter from Macnair, who needs to use an ax to execute creatures? That leaves us with the only capable DE being Malfoy, and maybe Jugson (we know nothing about him). So it’s really not that shocking that Harry and co. held their own for a while. And the DEs did use some impressive magic – whatever addled Ron’s brains, and Antonin’s purple curse. Give the DEs some credit.

    As to the Ministry, they are incompetent, but we all kenw that.

  15. Hm, I see what you’re saying about how the Death Eaters’ reputations don’t match up to their capabilities, Josie. I’m theorizing as I go at this point (I never thought that much about the competence of the Death Eaters – that’s why I love this site!), but the opinions of the Wizarding world seem easily swayed – just like our own Muggle world.
    For instance, Sirius had no kind of reputation as a Dark Wizard prior to his arrest. Not even in hindsight does anyone -except Snape- say, “Oh yeah, I always knew he’d turn out to be bad,” or, “even as a kid, he was one scary guy.” Instead, McGonagall is still surprised 12 years later that Sirius would betray his best friend, and the group at the Three Broomsticks recalls, almost fondly, how entertaining he was. And yet, though he has no record or suspicion up to that point, the moment he’s accused of killing 13 people, suddenly he was a well-known supporter of Voldemort, possibly even his right-hand man. And nearly everyone believes it, including loyal Hagrid and even Lupin.
    Politically speaking, it would be in the Ministry’s best interest to make the imprisoned Death Eaters seem as terrifying as possible (Daily Prophet, anyone?).

  16. Everytime I read about Harry yelling “Now” and the kids smashing the prophecies, I feel a lump in my throat.

    Up until now we’ve thought it was Harry’s parents Voldemort was originally after, didn’t we?

    How does one view a prophecy without smashing the glass sphere? Can it be viewed? Is it viewed in a pensieve? If so, how do you get it out?

    What I found so shocking about Sirius’ death is, for one, that Jo made us, like Harry, feel they were saved when Dumbledore showed up. And then it just happened so abruptly, like Jo stated herself in that quote.

    By the way: Note how Sirius dies with his laughter still on his face. She will use this image again for another beloved character.

  17. Kim, the Unspeakables must have a way of viewing prophecies without smashing them, because Dumbledore says they relabeled Harry’s after he vanquished Voldemort as a baby. Prior to that, they hadn’t known who the boy was that it referred to, but they put Harry’s name on it as a result of that. Of course, you’d think Rookwood would have known that and found another way to hear it, other than going to all the trouble of luring Harry to the Ministry and then either (a) letting him scamper home or (b) having Voldemort try to kill him again before he hears the prophecy. Perhaps Voldemort intended to hold Harry while he listened to the prophecy, and then kill him.

    hpboy13, you do make a good point about Crabbe, Goyle, etc. We’ve never been led to believe that the non-Bellatrix Lestranges are all that great, either. The Death Eaters do seem to need to move in groups, and it took four of them to go after the Longbottoms, even though we know two (Bellatrix and Crouch Jr) are pretty good. I’m not confident that I’d put Lucius in the ‘competent’ group, either, at least in terms of magical power. His talents lie much more in the world of politics and coercion. He’s certainly no Bellatrix.

    I’d also say that perhaps their biggest flaw is a lack of leadership. I was thinking, “why would Voldemort put Lucius in charge of this?” And then I realized, “Who else has he got?” Bellatrix is ridiculous, but I wouldn’t put her in charge of anything.

    It’s also true that Dolohov’s spell on Hermione is pretty crazy. He probably couldn’t kill her without speaking the incantation, and since he’d been Silencio’d, he gets full credit. I guess what gets me most is the amount of time the kids manage to hold them off without anybody getting killed. You’d think there would be Avada Kedavras flying all over that place. Like whoever hit Ron, or the Tarantallegra – why weren’t those more harmful spells?

  18. I have always wondered what happened to Jugson. Did he get sent to Azkaban with the rest of them when the Ministry showed up, and then just never get out? Did Voldemort forget about him? Or did J.K.R.? Oh, Jugson…

    Also, with regard to foreshadowing Sirius’s death: many of you have probably seen this before, but for those who haven’t… earlier in the book when they are all having dinner at Grimauld Place, there are (count ’em) 13 people dining together. And who gets to his feet first? Sirius of course. And as we know from PoA, “When 13 dine together, the first to rise is the first to die.”

  19. I’m with Josie about the movie version of the battle being more realistic than the book. I think that has a lot to with the brevity of the fight in the movie: explosions and running and spellcasting happening within only a few minutes. And its pretty clear in the movie that the kids are hugely outclassed by the adults.

    The battle in the book was always a bit odd to me. It seemed overly long, fairly confusing, and oddly specific about who was doing what and where. It took me a while to realize this, but I began to think that Jo was writing stage directions(or at least thinking about how they could be visualized). This is the first book that she wrote after the movies began to be released and it appears that the movies had some influence on how she wrote(its only natural).

    On another note, don’t the DEs hold their own fairly well against the Order, at least (spoiler?)until Dumbledore arrives. So unless the Order members are equally unfit, that would suggest that the DEs are meant to be a threat.

  20. Well, as I have said before, Sirius’ is one of my favourites characters, and we didn’t get to know him thoroughly, neither did Harry. Every time I get to this chapter I cry, really, I can’t get over it. I understand JKR and I know his death was “necessary”, but it was just cruel.
    The thing I love most about this chapter is the Order, I mean, they get to the room and we think that everything is ok.
    About the Death Eaters. I also thought they the spells they cast were incredible (because they were simple) but I think they didn’t think they would find such battle with a group of kids, I think, that being the type of people they are they underestimated the kids.

  21. Actually, MartinTenbones, the DEs didn’t hold their own against the Order at all. Bellatrix does. There are eight DEs there besides Bella against 5 Order members and Neville and Harry. Yet the only 3 people taken out – Tonks, Moody, and Sirius – are all taken out by Bella. Let’s not give the DEs mroe credit than they’re due.

  22. Ben, there’s another scene that foreshadows Sirius’ death. It’s the way Harry feels when he leaves for Hogwarts after Christmas. He “had an unpleasant constricted sensation in his chest; he did not want to say goodbye to Sirius. He had a bad feeling about this parting.”

  23. Dolohov defeated Moody. Bellatrix did defeat Kingsley though, after he stepped in to take the place of Sirius.

  24. I know the point has already been brought up, but we’ve probably been given an higher expectation of wizards from following Harry, not to mention Hermione. But I think Voldemort would recruit ruthless, yet stupid and inept Death Eaters. He wouldn’t want people who could either a)figure out his plots incase they were caught b)so they couldn’t challenge him and c)so they wouldn’t figure out about the horcuxes. I guess he didn’t give Regulus Black enough credit. Also by recruiting stupid followers, Voldemort can manipulate them and convince them to follow his agenda, excpet of course for his higher ups (like Lucius and Bellatrix) who already believe in his cause. I agree with Inky Squirell that The Ministry of Magic, and also the Daily Prophet, would exaggerate the prowess of Death Eaters. They’ve been know to do it before.

  25. Nell, I like your idea, but I suspect the stupidity of the Death Eaters has less to do with the type of person Voldemort is trying to recruit – after all, he has gone for Snape, and Crouch Jr (who had 12 O.W.L.s), and Regulus, and we know he tried to recruit Slughorn – and more to do with the type of wizard who is willing to follow him. The smarter a wizard is, the less likely he would be to follow someone who is obviously power-hungry for entirely selfish reasons, no?

    (Maybe that’s why he only has one female Death Eater, too. ;) Joking!)

  26. They know to go to the department of mysteries because harry told snape. he said, …holding padfoot at the PLACE WHERE IT’S HIDDEN. they know he means the hall of the prophecies.

  27. Yes, you’re right, Birchgirl. Dumbledore told Harry in their talk afterwards that Snape had contacted Sirius at Grimmauld Place to see if he was there. He then watched the kids go into the Forest and when they did not come out he had recontacted the Order and let them know his suspicions about where they had gone.

  28. Birchgirl, Electa, sorry if I was confusing – I didn’t mention the specifics of what had happened because I don’t post spoilers on the page. But I listed it there because I thought it something worth thinking about for a first-time reader (or reconsidering, from Harry’s perspective, for the rest of us). :)

  29. I was just thinking that maybe the Death Eaters are just average. After all, Harry doesn’t seem to have learned all that much in school (except for what he learned for the labyrinth, but that still doesn’t seem that much to me), yet he’s almost of age and will only go to school for another year (sure, he could have gone back for a seventh year, but apparently didn’t have to). So why should the average grown wizard be much better than Harry and his friends?

  30. I agree with you Josie, but I think Snape, Regulus, and Crouch Jr. all have their own reasons to join up with Voldemort. Snape wants to get back at James, Sirius, and Lupin and he knows they’ll fight with Dumbledore so he sides with Voldemort. He also is probably looking for some sort of acceptance. Regulus Black joins Voldemort out of pressure from his family, but obviously isn’t too keen on the idea. Barty Crouch Jr. hates his father and most likely joins Voldemort to get revenge, not to mention he seems slightly unhinged (but that could have to do with his stint in Azkaban and being under the Imperious curse for such a long time). And Slughorn was a teacher when Voldemort first came to power, so Voldemort probably only tried to recruit him after he came back. But Slughorn is bit of a coward so he stays on the run.

  31. I know the spells the DEs cast are rather feeble, but I also think the kids are a bit naive since they use spells that wear off, like stunning. Wouldn’t you think you’d stun first, then do something like McGonagall does in DH when she hangs Amicus in a net afterwards to make sure he stays put?

  32. I love Jenny Dolfen’s picture of Lupin and Harry. Lupin here looks like the tragic, sensitive figure that Tonks fell in love with.

  33. Anna, I thought exactly the same! Well, actually… I wondered why they didn’t take, or even snap, the wizards’ wands after stunning or petrifying them. If they don’t have wands, there’s not much they can do, right? Of course, it might not have been that easy to figure out in the middle of the battle… As Josie says, we think about this after a few reads.

    Speaking of wands, did anyone notice how Neville “kicked aside” the pieces of his father’s old broken wand? I know it’s useless now, but I’d want to keep it, wouldn’t you?

  34. What strikes me most about the level of magic used by the bad guys here is that it illustrates their arrogance. They’re not going to waste good magic on a bunch of kids who, logically, can’t win anyway. And this also rather foreshadows Bellatrix’s fatal inattention in her own last duel, when she underestimates Molly.

  35. I haven’t seen the film version, but I do agree with MartinTenbones’ comment that it felt like JK was writing “stage directions”, and when I read this chapter for the first time I had the thought, “gee, this would be much more entertaining on screen.” It was the first and only time I had this thought in the entire series, but it’s not a good one to have when you’re reading a book.

    On a side note, I just can’t help but compare the climax of this book to the climax of Goblet of Fire. There, we have one or two spells between Harry and You-Know-Who, then the Priori Incantatem, then that’s it. But in this book, there’s a dozen people running around in a bunch of different rooms, all casting spells. Yet ironically, the simpler ending was much more exciting (in my opinion, at least – GoF is my favourite book…)

  36. Considering the Death Eaters’ ineptness, perhaps Voldemort intended for it. He wouldn’t trust any of his followers to have any considerable power, or they might try to overthrow him. I could certainly see Lucius, for example, look for a way to overthrow Voldemort if he had the opportunity.

    Also, most of the reputations of the Death Eaters seem to be based on fear, an emotion Voldemort never tires to exploit. It seems most of the wizard killings happen when the wizards don’t expect it, i.e., in their houses at night. Perhaps the Death Eaters aren’t powerful enough to kill a wizard in a head-on duel.

    So maybe it makes sense that a few well-trained teenagers can hold their own, at least with the prophecy keeping them at bay.

  37. About the Death Eaters: I think that they made a pretty good stand. They most likely didn’t expect that these teenagers would put up such a fight. And just like their master, they have egos too big for their own good.
    The fight was really chaotic and the risk of hitting the wrong person made it hard even to use the Stunning spell. If they hit Harry while he had the prophecy it might crack, and if they started shooting AK’s it might hit him, killing him, which Voldy wouldn’t be happy about. Also, if they killed Harry’s comrades, they wouldn’t be able to use them as hostage to talk Harry into hand over the prophecy.

    Bella, who is more of a torturer than a killer, found it funny to use the Cruciatus Curse, which she did. We barely know anything of the ability of her husband and brother-in-law, but given the little information we have on them they don’t seem that bright, and probably won’t do a thing unless someone gives them orders to. The same with Rowle; he might be a capable wizard but he doesn’t seem to have very much brains. And Nott was out of the game when he got hit by the falling orbs.

    The rest of them: Macnair, Rookwood, Dolohov and some unkown guy, most likely Crabbe or Goyle, did, well, their best of the situation.
    Dolohov is Silencio’d in the beginning, and yet he manages to fire the spell that almost kills Hermione. Let alone the fact that he was clever enough to use physical violence by kicking Neville in the face when he can’t use magic. And when he shot “Tarantallegra” at Neville, I’m just guessing he was busy keeping an eye on Harry and the prophecy, thus just firing the first thing that comes into mind. Obviously he’s gonna do worse once he’s gotten the prophecy, but right now he just needs Neville out of the picture. Plus, he’s clearly a sadistic ass, maybe he just enjoyed seeing the helplessness of the kid with heaving legs.

    Maybe Voldemort would have won something out of sending some of the more powerful and capable Death Eaters, like Yaxley or Greyback, for example, who would put up a very good fight, just using raw violence, instead of idiots like Crabbe/Goyle (who knows the differnce anyway), the Lestrange brothers, or Rowle, or uncontrollable maniacs like Bellatrix. But he didn’t, and that’s his mistakes. That’s what you get for surrounding yourself with fools.

    Having said that, if the fight had been going on longer than that, without interference of the Order, I hardly think the kids would have won. The Death Eaters did spot up in the end.

  38. Josie, regarding your post of Jan. 23 above, the label was on the shelf, not the orb.

  39. Josie, again – Oops; after reading SYMNHN on OP37, I see your point. There must have been a way to hear a prophecy without smashing it. Apparently those mentioned in the prophecy can hear it somehow, as well as move it, but someone in the Department must also be authorized to hear it, perhaps without touching it. Maybe Voldy couldn’t get to that person, or maybe in his arrogance he just wanted to have it and hear it himself. (Could he have made it a horcrux??)

  40. I am really glad that I am not the only one who thought the DEs’ spell casting in this chapter left more than a little to be desired. The tarantallegra spell gets on my nerves every time. I expected unforgivable curses to be flying everywhere.

    Despite the smoke and mirrors version of the fight depicted in the movie, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of giddiness when I see the Order arrive. HEE HEE

    Sirius’s death was so sudden in the book that if you read too fast, you would’ve missed it. I had to go back a few lines before I realized what happened.


  41. I cried so much when Sirius died! Sobbed my heart out for hours and then felt sad for a couple of days. He was my second favourite character at the time, at least partly thanks to fanfiction. Could have been worse though. Could have been Ron. *shudders* All through this chapter though, every time a character got into the fray I thought, “Gasp! Is it going to be them?” I thought it might be Hermione when she got knocked out.

    I never noticed the Death Eaters’ poor fighting abilities. Perhaps they were thrown, first by the fact that the kids were fighting back at all, and then by how well they were fighting back. Although I like the theory that they’re mostly muscle rather than brains. Voldemort wouldn’t really want to surround himself with too many people who were too clever or intelligent would he? Intelligent people are dangerous to him, they can think for themselves, question, rebel, try to lead or possibly even stab him in the back.

    I really liked Stephan Fry’s reading of Ron’s lines when he was addled by that spell. Rather than merrily inebriated, which is how I always imagined it, he sounded more kind of stoned, a bit out of it.

    I don’t like the DEs and Order flying around in the movies. Wizards aren’t supposed to be able to fly unaided. Picky perhaps, but still.

  42. The quote:

    >>But the Death Eater… made a sudden slashing movement with his wand from which flew a streak of what looked like purple flame. It passed right across Hermione’s chest; she gave a tiny “oh!” as though of surprise and then crumpled onto the floor. <<

    Was the Death Eater using Sectumsempra?

  43. Jonathan, I have to say no. From what I remember about Sectumsempra, a streak of purple flame never appeared when it was cast. And since it can be used as a non-verbal spell, it wouldn’t matter that the Death Eater was mute, either. Also consider the amount of potions needed to heal Hermione in the Hospital Wing. Why bother with all that when Snape was able to cure Malfoy with just an incantation?

  44. And plus Sectumsempra causes major bleeding, which that spell didn’t.

  45. Oh My God! I LOVED that pic of Lupin and Harry <3

  46. I’d agree with Ida, adding that perhaps Voldemort should have stuck with a strategy of sending skilled, intelligent followers to do important missions like, say, retrieving the prophecy, and send the somewhat more bumbling, rash sycophants to do more simple jobs, like random killings and kidnappings intended to create panic and fear.

  47. Maybe the reason Death Eaters like Dolohov didn’t use the unforgivables was because they were in the Ministry, and maybe during times when Voldemort wasn’t in power (or believed to be gone by a delusional Minister) they had a system in place similar to what happens with underage magic — some kind of message appears from the Ministry to wherever the offender was — and so they could be discovered easily if they were in the Ministry. Death Eaters like Bellatrix, as we’ve already learned, are ruthless and wouldn’t care, having been the only Death Eater to plea guilty.

  48. I always assumed that the death eaters simply underestimated the DA’s skills. They seem to assume that Harry will hand over the prophecy without much of a fight (otherwise, would they not have at least stunned or killed his friends before asking for it?). Lucius instructs them to kill ‘if necessary’. I feel as though a large pack of fairly evil adults would not see the children as a threat enough to deem killing them a ‘necessary’ act. It seems that the come to the conclusion that it might be as their spells get more intensive, namely when Dolohov curses Hermione.
    I also agree that a good deal of them must have had their magic reduced by their years in Azkaban. This might speak to why the aren’t using Unforgivable curses. Those require effort and intent, they may not be magically able to muster the effort and it makes little sense for these DE’s to have that much intent (save in the case of Harry, but he is reserved for their ‘Dark Lord’ and is holding something breakable and important). The main point of this endeavour is to obtain the prophecy, the resulting fight with the DA is in reaction to the fact that they have something the DEs need, it’s not about the DA and thus I can see it being difficult to find the intent…

  49. What I’ve noticed about Death Eaters, is that the more highly skilled they are at dueling and the Dark Arts, the more he seems to favor them on his roster. He trusts Bellatrix in DH with something very important, and trusts Lucius with this mission (though it goes awry and ticks Voldemort off). Snape is also an incredible duelist, as we know, and Crouch, Jr. was able to impersonate Moody (in front of Dumbledore for Christ’s sake!), who is a highly decorated ex-Auror. I know a lot more comes into play, like their ability to follow him without question and all that, but I feel like the better they are at magic seems to rise them in the ranks a bit. Those that aren’t so good (Crabbe/Goyle and the like) are merely the “Storm Trooper muscle” that’s been talked about. So he has a mix, really, in my opinion, which all combat forces have.

    Stupefy could just be easier to get off in the fray, as it’s said that Unforgiveables take a LOT of intent and effort in their casting. Stupefy is easier. And then add in everything else, like them wanting to be careful, underestimating them, yadda yadda, you get their poor performance in the battle with the kids. Let’s not forget that they started using the higher up spells against the Order. There were many flashes of green light in the Death Room towards the end of the chapter, so they aren’t incapable, just knocked off balance in the beginning.

    Even though this battle seems to be quite tame, the movie makes it even more so. Most is cut out; they don’t show Neville getting tortured, or Ron getting wrapped in memories, or Hermione almost dying. Compared to the movie, this is quite extreme violence, in my opinion. I can see the filmmakers yelling, “we can’t have people getting tortured, this is for kids, too!” The flying and such was terrible, too, as we know only Voldemort can fly, and he doesn’t even do that till DH. Ridiculous. I did miss the “get away from my godson!” POW! though. I always get a little excited at that part when I watch the movie. xP It redeemed Sirius a little bit in my eyes, to tell you the truth. I feel like he didn’t get enough development. I didn’t feel particularly sad when he died, and I think that’s why. It didn’t tug at my heartstrings. Then again, I think the only death that does that for me is the very first one in DH.

    In regards to this being a bare-knuckled fight, with kicking and shoving and all that, I think when we first thought of duels in PS, we thought of these fancy little wizard duels that are all clean and what-not, which isn’t helped at all by the supposed “rules” that are shown to us in CoS, when really the duels are more about dodging spells and firing your own, and sometimes incorporating what McGonagall called earlier in this book “muggle dueling”. Although I did like what it looked like when Harry and Sirius are dueling Lucius and (I think?) an unknown Death Eater in front of the Veil in the movie. It looked more like a “duel” than just firing spells at one another and dodging them. So I guess I like both ideas, minus the bowing =P

  50. Casey, in terms of Voldemort’s valuing his Death Eaters – I think it’s oversimplistic to say that he bases his assessments of Death Eaters only on their dueling skill. Not to say that he doesn’t value it – he clearly does, and most of the reason he underestimates Harry is precisely because Harry is lacking in this area. (He also underestimates Dumbledore because he judges him based *purely* on his dueling skill, when he in fact has far more power than that).

    However, Voldemort also understands that Death Eaters are valuable for other reasons, too. I never got the impression that Lucius was a particularly skilled wizard, but his network and political influence would be extremely valuable. Likewise, Snape’s dueling skill I suspect is largely secondary to his value as a spy, which is far more critical (in fact, every time Voldemort needs good duelers, Snape is explicitly ordered to stay away from the fight). The Carrows would be another example – I can’t imagine they’d hold up well dueling somebody with half a brain, much less someone with a whole brain like McGonagall. But their ruthlessness and lack of compassion are exactly what is needed to keep Hogwarts in line. Voldemort knows how to manage an army in a complex war.

    In terms of the battle, I would understand your assessment of using Stunners if it only lasted for a minute or two. But they’re running around casting obnoxious spells for an incredibly long time before the Order shows up. The element of surprise is long gone by then. Whatever you think of the flying or what have you in the movie, what I liked about it was that the kids only held off the Death Eaters for an incredibly brief time before being overwhelmed, which is by far a more realistic assessment. I mean, in book seven Bellatrix easily handles three of the girls at once, and this when they’re far more skilled; does Rowling mean to tell me the other nine Death Eaters couldn’t manage Harry, a brain-addled Ron, and a wandless Neville? Please. That’s what frustrates me about it.

  51. Josie, if you read my comment closely, you’ll see that I did say that there were other factors involved. I was merely commenting on the fact that dueling skill seems to be an admirable trait. And I don’t think he tells Snape to stay out of the fight because he’s a poor duelist, I think he tells him that because he needs Snape and couldn’t risk losing him in case they ends up losing a duel. I think it’s clear after HBP that Snape is an exceptional duelist, and that trait would probably only be second to his usefulness as a spy, especially considering his Occlumency skills.

    And honestly, I think the chapter reads slow enough that we believe a long period of time has passed. In fact, I feel like that between running from the Hall of Prophecy and Harry being cornered in the Death Chamber, only about 20 – 30 minutes has passed. Remember that one of the Death Eaters (I forget who) aims an Avada Kedavra as his first spell, but is then neatly interrupted mid incantation. The complexity of the intent of the spell and the length of the spell make it far from usable in such a situation as they were in, which I think is why Jo showed that happening, to prove that it wasn’t practical at the time. Dolohov’s purple flame curse is also clearly very dark, and note that the spell passes through the victim, and it was specifically aimed at Hermione, because she could die and it wouldn’t matter, whereas if it had been used on Harry, he could have dropped the prophecy. Most of the times we see simpler spells like Impedimenta is when Harry is involved and in the way. Tarantallegra, as someone said above, could easily have been the first thing to come to mind to get Neville out of the way. The only thing that really bothered me was them not using Alohomora on the locked doors, but they believed it would have been faster to go to the other doors. And they were at those doors in seconds, and gave them the possibility to surround the kids (though it was unsuccessful). What bothers me about the flying is that it is not possible. At all. Unless you’re Voldemort. In DH the rest have to use brooms. It’s silly, even if it shows a particular display of power. It’s a particular display of power that they DO NOT HAVE. And that bothers me. Also keep in mind that they are in cramped areas and split up to find them all. It isn’t like they’re all in one room grouped together like in the movie, where it would be simpler to take care of them. The areas they’re in gives the kids an even footing with the Death Eaters, more than anything else. There’s lots of ways to hide and dodge and use the environment to your advantage, and admittedly, the Death Eaters are too stupid to do that. The only one I see doing that is Bella in the next chapter with the tank she topples over. For the most part they’re trying to find the kids more than anything else. I just think there’s a lot of factors you’re not taking into account with your assessment of this battle, that’s all.

  52. he ends up losing a duel* my bad. Typing fast.

  53. One thing nobody has yet mentioned is how did the DE’s find the doors leading the the two rooms next to the brain room? When Harry or whoever shut the door, the doors should have spun and they wouldn’t have known which door was the brain door. Harry, Neville and Luna should have had time to lock all the doors and strategize and whatnot.

  54. Ari, I think what those doors are supposed to be are doors from one room to another, not into the circular chamber – for instance, Harry later runs directly from the brain room to the veil room (I think that was it, don’t have my book with me). So the Death Eaters are in, another room, and trying to access this one directly from it. Thus there’s no spinning.

  55. the hall of prophecy seams to have only one door. atleast one door ir known to harry&co. so a couple of DE’s could’ve hid and secure thhe doors. it wont be as easy to ecape

  56. i think the death eaters were simply playing with the kids, they new they could defeat them, but wanted to have a little fun.

    Maybe one of the purposes of the deparment of mysteries is to discover the origin of magic? if I was a wizard i would definetly want to know how an where humans first started learning the magical arts, thats my theory at least

  57. Could you draw hermione actually getting hit by the spell, their is not one single picture of it anywhere….x

  58. Chloe, I’m not sure if you understood that this site is a compilation of all the fan art I’ve ever found – there are over 100 artists represented here, and nobody behind the scenes drawing anything. So I don’t have the ability to take requests.

    I’ve never seen a drawing of Hermione getting hit by the spell, though if anybody knows of one and can point me to it I’d be happy to consider it. To be honest, the fact that we have a drawing of Dolohov casting the spell and another one of Harry retaliating moments later is much more than we have for most minor moments in the books like this one. :)

  59. If I were Harry, I’d be pretty glad that I didn’t take only Ron & Hermione with me – they were the first to be put out of action, whereas at least Luna, Ginny, & Neville retain their mental abilities and are able to help somewhat (well, until Luna is stunned later).

    How do wordless spells fit in here? The next year, all the kids are *expected* to perform only wordless spells at the beginning of the year, and these Death Eaters only do 1 spell (the one that almost kills Hermione) without speaking. Maybe JKR didn’t want to introduce something else at the end of the book, like the Thestrals at the end of GoF?

  60. Did anyone else notice that the brain is the second thing to strangle Ron this year after the bath robe at Grummauld Place? Poor Ron. I wonder if this was coincidence or intended by Rowling.

  61. One thing I thought of re: incompetent death eaters is that they have to have been taught by incompetent teachers. DADA professors are the ones we see talking about jinxes and curses (usually about stopping them, but still) and since there’s a new teacher for that course every year, DADA education must have been terrible and disjointed. In these 7 books alone, we only see 1 professor who can actually teach anything, and even then he mostly works on dangerous creatures.

    Someone made this point earlier, but Harry is so advanced due to what he’s learned outside the classroom. Would he be so great at DADA if he didn’t HAVE to be? Really, almost everything he does is what he’s learned in the Triwizard Tournament, from dement or lessons with Lupin or in DA. I think Harry (and Hermione and to a lesser extent the others) only seem so advanced because they’ve intentionally studied it outside the classroom. Something I don’t really see the Death Eaters doing much.

  62. Hi, Josie – I just tried to follow your reference to, and found that it’s actually

  63. About the death eaters’ so called incompetency, I have a theory that Voldemort instructed his Death Eaters to avoid killing anyone, to allow them to continue their activities under the radar. After all the ministry is so conveniently ignoring that they are back in power.

    What I mean is say if they killed them and managed to obtain the prophecy and leave undetected; what would they do to their bodies, which I’ve mentioned on another page would be be pretty obvious that they were killed by Avada Kedavra. would the ministry still believe that voldemort is not back with such an incident? After all how many people use Avada Kedavra, apart from Death Eaters?

    I guess they could take their bodies with them, and dump them somewhere, but if I remember correctly disappearances were also common during the first war.

    on a side note I always wondered why Voldemort couldn’t just apparate and grab the prophecy himself undetected; after all at this particular hour there seems to be nobody at the ministry…why is that btw?

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