The Only One He Ever Feared

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

Sirius is dead, and seeking revenge, Harry chases Bellatrix into the Atrium. There Voldemort and Dumbledore arrive and duel, with Voldemort at one point possessing Harry. When Harry awakens, though, Fudge has arrived and Dumbledore forces him to admit Voldemort’s return and restore Hogwarts to his leadership.

Battle at the Ministry, by Sullen-Skrewt

Mad-Eye Moody had crawled across the room to where Tonks lay and was attempting to revive her.


Come Out, Come Out Little Harry, by FrizzyHermione

“Come out, come out, little Harry!” she called in her mock-baby voice, which echoed off the polished wooden floors. “What did you come after me for, then? I thought you were here to avenge my dear cousin!”


Duelling Dumbledore, by FrizzyHermione

Harry looked behind him, his heart pounding. Dumbledore was standing in front of the golden gates.


by Caladan

Dumbledore flicked his own wand: the force of the spell that emanated from it was such that Harry, though shielded by his golden guard, felt his hair stand on end as it passed and this time Voldemort was forced to conjure a shining silver shield out of thin air to deflect it….
“You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?” called Voldemort, his scarlet eyes narrowed over the top of the shield. “Above such brutality, are you?”
“We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom,’ Dumbledore said calmly, continuing to walk towards Voldemort as though he had not a fear in the world….

(by Caladan)


The Only One He Ever Feared, by Beeeb

Another jet of green light flew from behind the silver shield. This time it was the one-armed centaur, galloping in front of Dumbledore, that took the blast and shattered into a hundred pieces…

(by Beeeb)


Battle in the Ministry, by Beeeb

…but before the fragments had even hit the floor, Dumbledore had drawn back his wand and waved it as though brandishing a whip.

(by Beeeb)


Fawkes and Dumbledore, by MartinTenbones

Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore, opened his beak wide, and swallowed the jet of green light whole.


Fawkes, by MartinTenbones

He burst into flame and fell to the floor, small, wrinkled, and flightless.


Dumbledore Sounded Scared for the First Time, by Heather Campbell

Sure it was over, sure Voldemort had decided to flee, Harry made to run out from behind his statue guard, but Dumbledore bellowed, “Stay where you are, Harry!” For the first time, Dumbledore sounded frightened.


Harry Possessed by Voldemort, by Heather Campbell

And when the creature spoke, it used Harry’s mouth, so that in his agony he felt his jaw move….
“Kill me now, Dumbledore….”


Possession, by Sullen-Skrewt

Blinded and dying, every part of him screaming for release, Harry felt the creature use him again….
“If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy….”


about the chapter


The chapter preceding this one may frustrate me for the Death Eaters’ seeming incompetence, but my frustration always vanishes when I reach the duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort. We’ve heard that Dumbledore’s duel with a previous Dark wizard, Grindelwald, was legendary for its spectacle, but it’s hard to imagine it could have topped this battle in that regard. And Harry and Bellatrix are the only two in the world to have seen it. All I can say is, Wow.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

Amidst all the chaos of Dumbledore’s arrival, Sirius’s death, the ensuing duel, and the Minister of Magic’s arrival, one character’s private battle is lost. It befits him, as this is more or less the story of his life, but my heart aches for him whenever I read this passage:

“Here,” said Lupin quietly, and pointing his wand at Neville’s legs he said, “Finite.” The spell was lifted. Neville’s legs fell back onto the floor and remained still. Lupin’s face was pale. “Let’s – let’s find the others. Where are they all, Neville?”
Lupin turned away from the archway as he spoke. It sounded as though every word was causing him pain.

Lupin has been a werewolf for as long as he could remember. He only ever had three real friends, but just a couple of years after they all left Hogwarts, two of his friends were killed by the third, who was sent to Azkaban for the crime. Then, after thirteen years believing this, Lupin was reunited with Sirius and learned his friend was innocent; but two short years later, he stood helplessly and watched as Sirius was killed too. It’s not hard to understand why Lupin is so protective of Harry, the only remnant left of the only true friendships he ever had, and simultaneously his greatest hope for a better world. Can you imagine how he must have felt when he slackened his grip enough to let Harry run off and duel Bellatrix Lestrange and then Voldemort?

Something Else You May Not Have Noticed

I wish I could take credit for this note, but instead I have a reader (Ozzie) to thank for posting it in the comments below:

Dumbledore is such a legend! At the beginning of the battle with Voldy he animates the statues and sends the house elf and goblin to fetch Fudge. I love how, when the statues bring Fudge back, they give Dumbledore a round of applause! Dumbledore’s cheekiness knows no bounds!

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I LOVE Dumbledore.

The Power of Magic

Dumbledore and Voldemort are obviously both incredibly powerful, but the reasons Dumbledore emerges from this duel (relatively) victorious have less to do with his power, and more to do with something else. Voldemort’s most loyal follower, Bellatrix, is present, but does not get involved in the duel – after all, Voldemort just told her he would “deal with her” in a minute, and it’s clear she’s soon to be brutally punished for failing to retrieve the prophecy. On the other hand, Dumbledore’s most loyal servant arrives in the middle of the battle, presumably uncalled, and Fawkes quickly swallows a Killing Curse to spare his master’s life. On the one hand, it’s easy to say that Voldemort was the more powerful wizard; after all, if not for Fawkes, he probably would have killed Dumbledore. But on the other, Rowling is showing us that there’s more to magic than spells and fancy wandwork. Just as Harry needs his friends, Dumbledore is showing us that loyalty and kindness matter, too, and can be quite as powerful as – if not more powerful than – any form of magic there is.

Life at the Ministry of Magic

Can you imagine what the Ministry of Magic will be like the morning after this battle? The Atrium is smashed up, the Fountain of Magical Brethren destroyed, items (like the guard’s desk) beyond repair, the Hall of Prophecy a disaster, all the Time Turners gone, the tank of brains toppled, and various other parts of the Department of Mysteries in disarray – and, oh yes, Voldemort’s back, and dozens of people who weren’t supposed to have access have now seen the secrets of the Department of Mysteries. I imagine there were quite a few people putting in considerable overtime for a while after this one.

Something to Remember

We’ve seen Fawkes move quickly before, essentially Apparating across Britain in his magical phoenix way. But it’s interesting that, as with Harry in the Chamber of Secrets, he seems to have been able to sense when Dumbledore was in trouble and arrive at just the right moment to prevent his harm. That’s a loyal bird, and it must be nice to know that he’s always around to swoop in and save the day. I wonder if we’ll see another time that Dumbledore could use his help?

29 Responses to “The Only One He Ever Feared”

  1. I love this chapter, I love it because we get to see Dumbledore like never before, it’s like when we see Yoda fight and we learn why he was a jedi master, the jedi master. Well, with Dumbledore it’s the same… and having him call Voldemort Tom it’s just great, very “Dumbledorish”

  2. The battle is more impressive in the book, the movie failed to recreate the scene with the detail given by JKR. In the movie Voldemort is stronger than Dumbledore, the only moment that he is in trouble is when it gets cocooned by the water, and Harry provides the diversion for him to escape that situation. In the book Dumbledore is always in control, I believe that he would have deflected the death course if Fawkes did’nt stood in between.
    By the way, can you imagine what would be Fudge’s reaction if he had arrived just a little later? He saw Voldemort and even after that he was on the verge to keep denying his return…

  3. Jose Lopes, I totally agree about the movies. But this is a great chapter, I love Dumbledore and Voldemort’s interaction and the very human emotions and reactions that Harry has. Order of the Phoenix maybe nearing 1000 pages, but I still don’t know what piece of it I would trim out, and I do not envy the job of the editors who had to look at the manuscript before it was published.

    (Edited for content by moderator)

  4. I love Sullen-Skrewt’s painting of Moody tending to Tonks.
    Though I’m not Dumbledore’s biggest fan throughout the series, *this* is one of the great moments where I have to side with Phineas Nigellus – “… you cannot deny he’s got style…”
    More than style, of course. His incredible skill is awe-inspiring in this chapter.

  5. The duel between Dumbledore and Voldy always gives me chills, this is just so totally epic! Even the title is awesome! And Josie, you bring up a good point about the state of the Ministry afterwards! LOL, and I thought the aftermath of the Quidditch Cup was bad!

  6. It’s so true–I never thought about the poor wizards that would show up the next morning to such a mess. I kind of wonder if anyone at Hogwarts or elsewhere had a Time Turner or two (to take extra O.W.L.s, lol) and what the demand on those would be. Also, now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder if it’s a piece of magic that the Ministry workers know how to replicate or if they’re items that have been passed down for so long that, when the room was destroyed, the last of those objects disappeared. Hmm.

    And on the subject of the films, I did like the fact that they had Harry’s feelings for his friends be the reason Voldemort couldn’t stay in Harry’s body. I enjoyed those few seconds when Harry could suddenly see Hermione and Ron come ’round the corner and he remembered happy and special moments with them and his psuedo-family. Just like a boggart, he was able to dissipate the evil. And, although slightly different from the book, I liked it.

  7. Love Martin Tenbones pictures of Fawkes – “Before” and “After” saving Dumbledore – love that bird!

  8. Natalia – the time-turners were all destroyed, and apparently unable to be replicated, according to Rowling:

    “The time-turner was a very difficult invention for me, because it created as many problems as it solved. And anyone who’s read Order of the Phoenix may have noticed that during the climactic scene in which they chase through the Ministry of Magic, they shatter all the time-turners, thereby preventing them using those in the future.” (July 2007)

    Electa – I love those drawings too, and they’re actually two enlarged pieces of a much larger sequence that I didn’t use only because with the constraints on my page width, you would barely be able to see what’s going on in it. But you can see the full drawing on MartinTenbones’s website (click on the image for a full view).

  9. Thanks, Josie, I hadn’t read that interview. :)

  10. Your comments about Lupin are very similar to the comment I was going to post on Lupin’s words at the very end of the last chapter. I personally think his statement, “There’s nothing you can do, Harry … He’s gone, ” is one of the bravest things he’s ever done. Lupin is also grieving for Sirius, and surely would love to say with Harry “He isn’t gone!” But he is strong enough to accept Sirius’s death to protect Harry.

  11. There goes the theories that teachers at Hogwarts used time-turners to get to all the classes and do all the correcting. Perhaps they just used “magic” to do the correcting. When I think of all the hours I’ve spent correcting things, I could have used some of that magic. This brings up another question, if teachers did have magic to correct, how come it takes so long for Harry and company to get O.W.L. results?

  12. It probably takes so long for OWL results because they check and double-check them. And remember, most of it is either written or something practical – can’t you just see a bunch of examiners looking at a bad potion and desperately triyng to figure out what went wrong?

  13. Thanks Josie, went to MartinTenbones website and loved the Fawkes sequence even more.

  14. I really did like the battle in the movie, I love the way JKR writes but we have to understand that it just wont translate well on the big screen. I think they really did a good job of showing this magnificent battle and Harry realizing that love makes him different from Voldy.

    I also like the part in Something to Remember I never though about that in connection to HBP but it makes sense. The clues were all there. This is why I love JKR and Harry Potter.

  15. I adore Lupin, that poor, tragic man. I’m glad he managed to get a little joy in his life in DH.

  16. I am intrigued by Voldemort’s stupidity. After spending a year in hiding since his rebirth, he decides to walk into the Ministry just to retrieve the prophecy which one of his Death Eaters could have brought to him if Neville hadn’t dropped it. Maybe Voldemort knew that Dumbledore would show up eventually and wanted to kill the elderly wizard in person(an assassination plan given to and introduced to us by Draco Malfoy in Ch 27 of HBP)

  17. Dumbledore is such a legend! At the beginning of the battle with Voldy he animates the statues and sends the house elf and goblin to fetch Fudge. I love how, when the statues bring Fudge back, they give Dumbledore a round of applause! Dumbledore’s cheekiness knows no bounds!

  18. Ozzie, that’s a great catch, and something that I wish I’d pulled out myself now that I’ve read your comment. I may go add it to the page now….

  19. The comments about Lupin are the exact same thing I was thinking. Lupin has only had 3 true friends in his whole life. Since he left Hogwarts he has almost always had 2 friends dead and one a betrayer. And right after he gets Sirius back, he dies. Such a tragic over looked character. That is why Lupin will always be my favorite character.

    I love the power Dumbldore has. He knocks Bellatrix (who has already defeated Sirius, Moody and Shacklbolt) in half a second and dodges Voldermort’s attacks with ease. I do believe that he would have evaded the killing curse at the finally moment.

    Btw Fawkes rocks!! I want a him! Lol

  20. I love Fawkes! I want a phoenix like him, haha. Can you imagine how devastated he must’ve been when Dumbledore died?

    Great drawing of Harry being possessed by Voldemort! It’s so creepy!

  21. I have to disagree with you, Josie, that Voldemort was the more powerful of the two of them. He might have won if Fawkes hadn’t swallowed the killing curse, but not because he was more powerful – but rather because Voldemort is willing to use unblockable Dark spells that Dumbledore isn’t. It’s like he and McGonagall said in the first chapter of PS: “Voldemort had powers I will never have.” “Only because you’re too, well, noble to use them.”

    @JoseLopes, I don’t think Voldemort was more powerful in the movie. It might have seemed that way a bit because Voldemort was mostly attacking and Dumbledore mostly defending. But Dumbledore quite easily staved off all of Voldemort’s spells. I think that scene captured their power very well. And I love Dumbledore’s just casually knocking Harry back again without even looking over his shoulder.

    Natalia, I agree, that scene was one of my favourites of the series. It perfectly conveys Jo’s themes of love and friendship, and why Harry is the stronger of the two. A while ago Jo was given some kind of special award which was presented to her by Richard Attenborough. He gave a really nice speech and then they showed that scene from the movie. I thought it was the perfect scene to show because it really shows what her books are about.

  22. In the previous chapter, the fight with the death eaters and the kids etc. and the comment about the wizarding world being badly trained it occurred to me, reputedly Voldemort cursed the DADA position when he was 18 that a good 30 to 40 years ago, meaning that DADA lessons which would ahve covered all of those spells has been a bit wishy washy since then, i think its understandable that most of the wizarding world has difficulty with these branches of spells. Secondly, Voldemort taught his first group of deatheaters more advanced spells etc but this would have been this lots parents/grandparents, when he finally rises he doesn’t really care about his followers, they’re expendable, why would he bother to show them any better spells so they’d of suffered the crappy teachings too, except perhaps his favourite, Bellatrix and Snape whose interest IS DADA and therefore he studied it, like Harry and his DA, on his own?

  23. On the subject of the timeturners destruction, I think it could be argued that Rowling’s line on their destruction doesn’t necessarily mean they can never be remade, they just aren’t in the two subsequent years. My thoughts are along the lines that harder potions take more time to make and have more precise regulations in the making, the polyjuice potion, and felix felicis being the two examples that come to mind. And if you consider they are creating a device to control time it would make sense that a timeturners creation would be extremely difficult and thus take more time. Of course my analogy comparing time turners to potions could be off, but I can’t help but feel that any high level magical piece would take time to create just as potions do.

  24. I don’t think this version of the battle or the movie’s version are better. This one has its merits because of all the quick apparating, the flame whip, Fawkes, the Fountain of Magical Brethren, Voldemort’s shield, and just the fact that they can hold each other off it’s just a standstill stalemate. On the other hand, in the movie it’s a bit bigger (the shattered glass in 3D was awe-inspiring), and they’re still locked in stalemate. I agree with elizabethauthor that even though Dumbledore was more defensive, they were both locked in a battle that could have gone on for ages, I think. Voldemort was hoping Dumbledore would choose to kill Harry “for the greater good” which knowing post-DH Dumbledore, is it really that far-fetched to think about? But Dumbledore knew the whole prophecy and knew it wasn’t meant to be, I think. Anyway, the movie also has Harry seeing his friends and telling Voldemort he feels sorry for him because he’ll never know love or friendship. The face on Voldemort’s face when he tells him this is priceless! I do, however, hate it when Harry interrupts Dumbledore and causes the sphere of water to fall apart. I cringe every time.

  25. I have a doubt in this chapter. Once Voldemort cursed Avada Kedavra to Dumbledore but the curse missed and hit a table. So that table caught fire. That means avada kedavra did the same effect as Incendio. Then some spells can do the same effects as other spells? If I want to burn something, I can cast avada kedavra on it and it burns?? Sry for my bad english

  26. miossid: Maybe, because fire kills wood, avada kedavra *did* work properly?

  27. While I very much prefer the battle in the book’s, I believe the end of the fight with the possession of Harry is one of those very rare moments where the movie is better than the book. I just love the conclusion Harry draws between himself and Voldemort in the movie (which the books really try to focus on in HBP) and it defines this moment better. I also feel it explains better why Voldemort was still standing there when the MoM staff all start turning up. In the books, from a outsider’s view, it is just Dumbledore talking to Harry, but it is enough evidence to prove Dumbledore has been telling the truth? Whereas in the film the MoM all start appearing as Voldemort rematerialises and has to say that one last comment to attempt to demoralise Harry and prove to the world he is stronger than Harry, despite the fact he is running away:

    “You’re a fool Harry Potter; and you will lose everything!”

    Words of a desperate, yet still arrogant man

  28. I love how voldemort seems to be forced to unpossess harry when harry is thinking of seeing Sirius again! “Power the Dark Lord knows not” :)

  29. Lovely comments.
    Thanks for mentioning Remus, Josie…
    Especially after the massive monologue I gave the Marauders a few chapters ago.
    You know, I can just imagine Fawkes being cross with Dumbledore about putting himself into yet another situation where Killing Curses are being thrown at him. I can see him sitting on his perch somewhere watching… “Nice shot Albus – ooh, watch it! Ah, good, right back at him – oh [insert bird swearword] not *again*.”
    And later… “Really, Albus, what were you thinking, leaving yourself open like that. It’s lucky I was old enough to flame to you. You know how I hate it when you force me to reset my burning cycle. Silly man.” Then, of course, he’d chirp on about the successes/ failures of that battle and such: “Don’t be too hard on yourself, you can’t calculate every plan.”

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