- "The lightning-struck tower. Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time."
- —Prediction of the battle[src]
The Battle of the Astronomy Tower, also known as the Battle of the Lightning-Struck Tower, was the second major conflict of the Second Wizarding War. It took place in the topmost part of the Astronomy Tower, a few corridors of the 7th Floor, the Marble Staircase, the Great Hall, the Entrance Hall, and the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in the mountainous region of Scotland, Great Britain on the evening of 30 June, 1997.
Lord Voldemort secretly organised the attack by ordering sixteen-year-old Death Eater and Hogwarts student Draco Malfoy to assassinate Albus Dumbledore, the only wizard in the world who Voldemort feared. Although his previous attempts at assassination had failed, Draco managed to sneak a number of Death Eaters into Hogwarts via a pair of Vanishing Cabinets in the Room of Requirement, and they encountered a number of Hogwarts teachers, students, Dumbledore's Army members, and Order of the Phoenix members, who had been standing guard at the school at the request of both Dumbledore and Harry Potter. As the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters battled, Severus Snape killed Dumbledore, an act that was later discovered to have been secretly planned between Dumbledore and Snape, as Dumbledore would soon afterwards still have died after putting on Marvolo Gaunt's cursed ring, which was a Horcrux, and was afflicted with a deadly curse that would have eventually killed him anyway.
As a result of Lucius Malfoy's failure to obtain the prophecy during The Battle of The Ministry of Magic in June of 1996, Lord Voldemort, furious at Lucius's failure and the fact that some of his top Death Eaters had been re-entombed in Azkaban, decided that Lucius's son, Draco Malfoy, should become a Death Eater, and that he should carry out the mission of killing Dumbledore, rather than Voldemort himself; due to Dumbledore having easily rivalled and surpassed the Dark Lord in power during their duel at the Ministry Of Magic the year prior.
Narcissa Malfoy, however, strongly suspected that Voldemort had given Draco this task as a form of secret revenge against Lucius, as The Dark Lord foolishly believed that Dumbledore would kill Draco if he discovered any assassination attempts on his life. Voldemort also made it perfectly clear that if Draco failed in his mission, he and his entire family would face serious consequences. Narcissa then assumed that Voldemort literally intended for Draco to die in the performance of his duties, either by Dumbledore's hands or by Voldemort's hands. Determined to save her son at any cost, Narcissa ventured to the house of Severus Snape in Spinner's End, England; to ask him to help Draco and to complete the mission if the boy could not. Snape then ordered Bellatrix Lestrange, who had reluctantly accompanied her sister and did not fully trust Snape to be an ally of Voldemort, to bind him and Narcissa with an Unbreakable Vow, a magical promise resulting in instant death if broken. This also eased Bellatrix's suspicions over Snape.
Plot to assassinate Albus Dumbledore
Draco then spent most of his sixth year at Hogwarts repairing a Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement in order to secretly connect it with the one in Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley, so that Death Eaters could secretly enter Hogwarts, despite the increased magical protection surrounding the school. During periods of extreme desperation, Draco invented more conventional ways to kill Dumbledore. He placed the Imperius Curse upon Madam Rosmerta, who in turn placed the Imperius Curse on Katie Bell, forcing her to deliver a cursed necklace to Dumbledore; however, Katie accidentally touched the necklace and suffered from the unknown dangerous curse instead, until she was saved by Rubeus Hagrid. Draco also made Rosmerta sell Horace Slughorn a poisoned bottle of mead, anticipating that Professor Slughorn would give it to Dumbledore as a Christmas present, but Ron Weasley was accidentally poisoned instead, though Harry Potter saved him with a bezoar. Harry had also grown highly suspicious about Draco, though Professor Snape and Minerva McGonagall did not believe him, due to lack of evidence (or in Snape's case, to serve as his double agent role).
- Albus Dumbledore: "If I tell you to leave me and save yourself, you will do as I tell you?"
- Harry Potter: "I —"
- Albus Dumbledore: "Harry?"
- Harry Potter: "Yes, Sir."
- — Albus makes a request of Harry[src]
Throughout the year, Harry had also been having private lessons with Dumbledore in the Headmaster's Office, regarding Lord Voldemort's past and his quest for immortality. They found out what a Horcrux was, and that Voldemort had made at least six, wanting to split his soul into seven parts. Through Dumbledore's memories of Voldemort's childhood and early years of education at Hogwarts, Dumbledore determined that one of Voldemort's Horcruxes was placed in a cave near the Atlantic Ocean; where the Muggle orphanage that The Dark Lord had grown up in as a child had once taken the children for a daytime outing.
Before leaving the castle with Dumbledore, Harry met Sybill Trelawney, who told him that she had been unable to enter the Room of Requirement, and had heard someone expressing triumph inside it. Although thinking it strange, Harry said nothing about it to Dumbledore. He and Harry then set out to find and perhaps destroy the Horcrux. Once at the cave, Dumbledore had to drink the Emerald Potion, which greatly weakened him and caused him to experience terrible hallucinations about his family and Gellert Grindelwald, and he and Harry had to fight an army of Inferi.They obtained the Horcrux; Harry later found that it was actually a fake and someone else had taken the real Horcrux years before. Back at Hogwarts, while the majority of the staff and students were asleep during the late night hour, the Order of the Phoenix kept stern watch on the castle and the grounds as Draco Malfoy woke in his bed in the Slytherin Common Room, and then secretly went up to the seventh Floor, to the Room of Requirement to let the Death Eaters into the school.
Death Eaters enter Hogwarts
Harry, however, had forewarned Ron and Hermione after he met with Dumbledore earlier; that during his and Dumbledore's absence, Death Eaters might try to penetrate and enter Hogwarts. Hence, he gave them what remained of the his bottle of Felix Felicis and instructed them to share it with Ginny, to boost their luck and protect them from harm. He also ordered them to rouse up any members of Dumbledore's Army to help the Order to patrol the corridor of the Room of Requirement, as well as Snape's office, as Harry suspected Snape of secretly aiding Malfoy in whatever task he was carrying out. Only Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood answered the call. While Ron, Ginny, and Neville kept guard outside the Room, Hermione and Luna were stationed outside Snape's office. Dumbledore had also deployed members of The Order Of The Phoenix to patrol the school corridors and the grounds.
Inside the Room of Requirement, Draco watched as an army of Death Eaters: Corban Yaxley, Fenrir Greyback, Amycus Carrow, Alecto Carrow, Thorfinn Rowle and Gibbon; all suddenly emerged from the Vanishing Cabinet. When Draco saw that there were people watching the outside corridor, he used Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder to prevent Ron, Ginny, and Neville from seeing the Death Eaters, who refrained from harming the young heroes' and quickly and quietly left the Room, while Malfoy ensured his own visibility with the Hand of Glory which his mother Narcissa had given to him as a birthday present earlier that year; as he quickly led the Death Eaters from the Room and up the entrance to the top of the Astronomy Tower. A Death Eater also placed a Cursed barrier at the Tower's only entrance/exit, in order to prevent anyone except a Death Eater from passing through. At the same moment, Snape felt the Dark Mark tattoo on his arm ignite, signalling that the Death Eaters had successfully entered the school; and he then quickly left his office, told Hermione and Luna to go alert any Order members they encountered that something was wrong on the 7th Floor, before leaving for that floor himself. Meanwhile, Ron, Neville, and Ginny had all seen the Darkness Powder suddenly emanating from inside the Room Of Requirement; but were completely unable to see anyone exit. Gibbon then fired the Dark Mark out of an open window, and placed it directly above the Astronomy Tower. However, mere moments afterwards, Dumbledore and Harry arrived in Hogsmeade, having returned from their mission. The Death Eaters then began ascending the stairway of the empty Tower.
- "Severus... please..."
- —Dumbledore pleading for Snape to end his life[src]
When Dumbledore and Harry returned to Hogsmeade, they were immediately apprised by Madam Rosmerta to the sudden appearance of the Dark Mark above Hogwarts. Rosmerta allowed Dumbledore and Harry to borrow two broomsticks, which they used to fly to the top of the Astronomy Tower. When they reached the tower, the two heard heavy footsteps rising the stairway quickly; but Dumbledore then suddenly immobilised Harry with a nonverbal Full Body-Bind Curse, and then hid Harry under his Invisibility Cloak in a dark bunker underneath the platform. Simultaneously, Malfoy appeared and instantly disarmed Dumbledore ; unknowingly gaining mastery of the legendary-powerful Elder Wand in the process, and admitted that he, Draco, was behind the cursing of Katie Bell, and that Voldemort had ordered him to kill Dumbledore or else Voldemort would murder him and his entire family as punishment.
Dumbledore then revealed that he secretly knew all along of Draco's mission, along with the failed attempts on his life, having been constantly updated all year in secret by Professor Snape; although Draco claimed that Snape was a double agent and that he was one of Voldemort's highest-ranking servants. Dumbledore merely told Draco that it was natural that Snape would tell him that; and claimed that he still allowed Draco to remain at Hogwarts to protect him from Voldemort, then proceeded to offer Draco the chance to change sides, and promised to hide Draco and his family where Voldemort would never find them. Draco, full of great visible remorse, shame, and anger; could ultimately not bring himself to kill the headmaster, even after the immediate arrival and encouragement of all the other Death Eaters, who were smuggled into the castle by Draco, and had blocked the stairway behind them with a barrier. Fenrir, Alecto, and Amycus all taunted Dumbledore's weakened state, however Dumbledore calmly and coldly dismissed them all. However, Malfoy could simply not do it; and when Fenrir Greyback attempted to kill Dumbledore in his own way, he was slammed aside by a jinx from Corban Yaxley. Snape suddenly arrived on the scene, having been allowed through the barrier as a Death Eater. Dumbledore then suddenly pleaded with Snape in a way that did not reveal Snape's real allegiance. Snape then moved Draco out of the way and demanded that none of the Death Eaters interfere in what happened next. Snape and Dumbledore then locked eyes with each other for a silent moment; and Snape then cast the Killing Curse, which struck Dumbledore in the chest, instantly ending the life of one of the greatest and most powerful wizards of all time. The impact and force of the Killing Curse also caused Dumbledore's body to be blasted into the air, where his corpse then fell down from the Tower to the school courtyard below under the light of the Dark Mark.
Snape then grabbed Draco by the scruff of his shirt collar and dragged him towards the exit while ordered the rest of the Death Eaters to immediately flee the school; taking the lead as he quickly began descending the Tower stairway. Harry, who was forced to silently watch the entire spectacle from the Full Body-Bind Curse, was set free upon Dumbledore's death, and in an unspeakable enraged desire for revenge, he immediately set off to pursue Snape, hitting Yaxley with a Full Body-Bind Curse of his own in order to get a clear way down the stairs.
- Harry Potter: "Kill me then. Kill me like you killed him, you coward —"
- Severus Snape: "DON'T — CALL ME COWARD!"
- — Harry fighting Snape when the Death Eaters escape Hogwarts[src]
Harry then ran down the staircase and into the corridors, with terror in his heart, as he knew he had to catch Snape and the Death Eaters escaped before he escaped. When he ran into the dimly lit corridor, it was full of dust and debris, as half the ceiling had fallen in, as the battle was violently raging, with several Hogwarts residents and the Order duelling the Death Eaters. Draco and Snape however, had passed through the violence somehow unscathed, due to the Order unaware of Snape's recent actions, instead believing that he and Draco were being pursued by the hostile Death Eaters; Snape ordered the remaining Death Eaters to escape. Harry chased after them, but was then suddenly attacked by the savage Werewolf Fenrir Greyback, although Harry quickly paralysed him with the Full Body-Bind Curse, which allowed him to push him off. He ducked and ran from a firing Killing Curse, stepping in a pool of blood on the floor, next to two lying bodies. He then found Ginny duelling Amycus Carrow with difficulty, although her excellent agility allowed her to dodge his attempts with the Cruciatus Curse. Harry quickly slammed him against the wall with the Impediment Jinx, falling behind Minerva McGonagall, Remus Lupin and Ron all fighting different Death Eaters, with Nymphadora Tonks specifically duelling Thorfinn Rowle, the latter of whom was recklessly firing destructive curses everywhere. McGonagall then proceeded to fire various powerful blasts at the Carrow siblings, causing them both to flee. Harry then ran after them, catching his leg on an injured Neville Longbottom, before hexing Rowle, which also sent him fleeing. Harry then pursued through the commotion, hiding behind a Suit of armour to avoid a curse which thus exploded it, and cast various jinxes towards the Carrows, which missed and hit several portraits instead. Pursuing further through the castle, he encountered several confused Hufflepuffs, such as Ernest Macmillan, but he simply sprinted past them. Harry sprinted down the Marble Staircase towards the main entrance, with blood smears on the flagstones and several terrified students huddled towards the wall, and the Gryffindor hourglass which had been shattered with a curse, with its rubies falling all over the floor like blood.
Once Harry had entered the Hogwarts grounds, he continued to pursue the escaping Death Eaters. Harry witnessed Rubeus Hagrid had awoken from his hut and was trying himself to stop the Death Eaters from escaping. Harry was knocked over from behind with a spell and realised the Carrows were behind them, so he fired the Impediment Jinx at them, which successfully knocked them both over, allowing him to sprint after Snape. Rowle attempted to curse Hagrid several times, but Hagrid's Half-giant physiology allowed him to resist his curses. Finally being in good distance of Snape and Malfoy, he fired the Stunning Spell at Snape's back which he missed.
Snape told Draco to run away, and he and Harry engaged in a vicious duel, although Snape managed to parry or block Harry's offensive spells using his superior prowess and Legilimency. Rowle subsequently ignited Hagrid's hut with the Fire-Making Spell, in an explosive fiery bang. Harry continued to try and assault Snape with various spells, but Snape effortlessly repelled all of them, with Harry even attacked from behind. However Snape, ordered all the Death Eaters to flee before the Ministry of Magic arrived and to leave him untouched. Snape then revealed to Harry, that he himself was the "Half-Blood Prince" when Harry tried to cast his own spells against him. Harry insulted Snape as a coward, much to his intense fury, and Snape was then suddenly attacked by an enraged Buckbeak, in order to protect Harry. Snape and the other Death Eaters managed to get past the gates and disapparate away from Hogwarts.
Harry and Hagrid then managed to extinguish his burning hut successfully with the Water-Making Spell together, and Harry informed Hagrid of Dumbledore's death, much to his disbelief. However, his death was confirmed Hagrid carried Harry back to the castle, where they both, along with many students and teachers, came across Dumbledore's dead body lying on the ground. Harry picked up Slytherin's Locket which had fallen from Dumbledore's pocket, which he examined to find it was fake and that the real locket belonged to an individual called R.A.B. on a piece of paper inside. Harry's eye burned with tears as Fang howled, regarding the utter tragedy that had just befallen.
- See also: Funeral of Albus Dumbledore
- Professor McGonagall: "I — I know that it was Dumbledore's wish to be laid to rest here, at Hogwarts-"
- Harry Potter: "Then that's what'll happen, isn't it?"
- — Hogwarts professors discussing the fate of Hogwarts and Dumbledore's funeral[src]
Because of their use of the Felix Felicis, the members of Dumbledore's Army who fought in the battle were unharmed. Bill Weasley, however, was left mildly scarred by Fenrir Greyback's attack. Because the werewolf was not fully transformed when he brutalised Bill, his victim only retained mild-lycanthropic symptoms, such as a taste for very rare steaks. His fiancée Fleur Delacour reaffirmed her great love and desire to marry him nonetheless, earning the respect of her future in-laws and prompting Nymphadora Tonks to declare her own secret great love for Remus Lupin. Dumbledore's loyal pet Phoenix Fawkes then sung his lament to the assembled mourners on the grounds, which touched all with its beauty. Due to the sudden tragedy, all lessons and classes were suspended, and exams were postponed.
The battle and Albus Dumbledore's death had a great impact on the entire Wizarding World. The only wizard Voldemort had ever feared and who was powerful and skilled enough to surpass him, besides Harry Potter, was now gone. Furthermore the battle proved that there was now no safe place from the Death Eaters, as they had successfully and easily breached and entered the historic school, much less that they were allowed entrance by a student, and that a staff member allegedly betrayed their trust. Hogwarts staff members were not even sure whether the school would remain open from that point on, and the decision was quickly made to lay Albus Dumbledore to rest on the grounds of Hogwarts; an honour no other headmaster or headmistress of the school ever had. Some parents, such as the father of Zacharias Smith, and the parents of the Patil Twins [Padma and Parvati] arrived to get their children out of the castle almost instantly. Others, such as Seamus Finnigan's mother, stayed in Hogsmeade and waited until after Dumbledore's funeral to collect their children.
Harry, who was beyond devastated by his mentor's death, decided to forgo his last year at Hogwarts in order to search for Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes, per Dumbledore's instructions. Ron and Hermione committed themselves to helping him. He also broke up with Ginny Weasley, despite being with her was one of the happiest things to ever happen to him.
Draco, who was responsible for bringing in Death Eaters to the school, was forced to flee. Harry felt some pity for him, knowing that Voldemort was threatening his family. His sudden departure also led Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle looking oddly lonely despite the two being hulking boys. Regardless of his failure to actually kill the headmaster, Draco could not remain at the school as his actions were considered to be criminal, and this made him realise that he went deeper than he desired towards the Dark Arts, forever changing his personality and values.
Harry would later discover however, that Dumbledore's death had been according to his own plan, as secretly devised between him and Severus Snape, who truly was loyal to the Order of the Phoenix out of lifelong love for Lily Potter, Harry's own mother. Dumbledore was already dying, long before Voldemort conspired to try to have him killed; and simply wanted Snape to give him a more merciful end than he would have received at the hands of Death Eaters, as well as to avoid making Draco Malfoy into a murderer and damaging his soul. Snape fulfilled his wish, and although the Order thought him to be a traitor and a coward, Snape was covertly and secretly assisting Harry and his friends and allies; eventually becoming the new Headmaster of Hogwarts, after Voldemort seized control of the Ministry Of Magic the following year to come; and thus Snape worked fully undercover to secretly protect the students of Hogwarts, as well as deeply contributing to the defeat of Lord Voldemort.
Behind the scenes
- According to David Heyman, the Battle of the Lightning-Struck Tower was left out of the sixth film because, due to there being another battle at Hogwarts (the actual Battle of Hogwarts) in the eighth film, they were trying to avoid repetition.
- Chapter 27 of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which most of the battle occurs, is titled "The Lightning-Struck Tower". Earlier in the novel, Professor Trelawney mentions having drawn the tarot card The Tower in a reading and how Headmaster Dumbledore was ignoring her warnings that this foreshadowed "calamity...coming near all the time". In Divination, this tarot card is usually taken to mean catastrophe and chaos, much like the Battle of the Astronomy Tower. However, it can also mean epiphany and the letting go of pretences (illusions or self-delusions) one has clung to, which Harry was forced to do following Dumbledore's death. The tarot card is usually depicted as a tower being struck by lightning and two figures falling from the tower—ironic as there are two casualties in the Battle: Albus Dumbledore and the Death Eater Gibbon.
- When Harry Potter is running after Severus Snape he notices the Gryffindor Hourglass is broken and its rubies are being spilled across the floor. This could be a symbolisation of Gryffindor losing its greatest member, where as in the Battle of Hogwarts the Slytherin hourglass is struck and emeralds are on the floor foreshadowing Lord Voldemort's death as Slytherin house's greatest member (or perhaps Severus Snape's death).
- In the film and video game adaptations of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry does not cover himself with the Invisibility Cloak, but instead Dumbledore tells him to hide by the stairs. Also in the film, as Snape enters the Astronomy Tower he tells Harry to be quiet.
- The identity of the two Death Eaters who duelled Ron Weasley and Remus Lupin is not known, though one of them is most likely Travers as he was known to have escaped Azkaban shortly after despite having already escaped the previous year.
- In the novel a lot of people are duelling, while in the film only Harry duels and he only duels Snape on the grounds. Also in the video game only Harry duels, in this adaption he, however, duels the Carrows in the Astronomy reading room and the Fifth Floor hospital tower corridor, Greyback in the Clock Tower Courtyard and Bellatrix on the grounds.
- In the novel, as Harry and Snape are duelling, Snape is shouting at Harry. It is difficult to tell if this is taunting, instruction, or some combination of the two as he says things such as, "Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!"
- Bellatrix Lestrange only appears in the film version of the battle and is not mentioned in the book. In the film, she praises Draco on successfully cornering Dumbledore but later shouts at him to kill Dumbledore. In the film Fenrir Greyback then says out loud that Draco hasn't got the stomach just like his father (which doesn't happen in the book) and he is prevented from attacking the Headmaster himself by Bellatrix in the film instead Yaxley as it is done by in the book. Bellatrix then casts the Dark Mark after Dumbledore's death instead of Gibbon doing so beforehand. Also in the film Bellatrix is in the great hall on one of the house tables (most likely Gryffindor's) kicking plates and cups. breaking them. She then casts her wand at the stained-glass window releasing a tremendous spell that shatters part of it and puts out the floating candles while a frightened Draco observes. She later burns Hagrid's hut and briefly tortures Harry instead of Thorfinn Rowle.
- Although Thorfinn Rowle is present in the film, his role in the battle is handed over to Bellatrix.
- Ernie Macmillan might have participated, since in the book he talked with Harry during the battle, but this is unconfirmed.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 According to Rufus Scrimgeour (and Hermione Granger) in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,, the Ministry has the right to maintain possession of Dumbledore's bequests for thirty-one days only, in accordance with the Decree for Justifiable Confiscation. Dumbledore's bequests were delivered to Ron, Hermione and Harry on 31 July, 1997: Harry Potter's seventeenth birthday. As it is referred in that chapter that the "thirty-one days are up", Dumbledore died exactly thirty-one days earlier, in the evening of 30 June.
- ↑ Pottermore insider
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner's End)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 12 (Silver and Opals)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 26 (The Cave)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 25 (The Seer Overheard)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)