"The lightning-struck tower. Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time."
—Prediction of the battle[src]

The Battle of the Astronomy Tower,[2] also known as the Battle of the Lightning-Struck Tower, was the third battle of the Second Wizarding War that took place in the topmost part of the Astronomy Tower, a few corridors of the 7th Floor, the marble staircase, the Entrance Hall, and the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the evening of 30 June, 1997.[1]

Lord Voldemort 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 that 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, Gryffindor students and Order of the Phoenix members, who had been standing guard at school at the request of Dumbledore and Harry Potter. As the Order and the Death Eaters battled, Severus Snape killed Dumbledore, an act that was later discovered to have been planned between Dumbledore and Snape, as Dumbledore would soon afterwards have died after putting on Marvolo Gaunt's cursed ring which was a Horcrux.


Background information

Spinner's End

As a result of Lucius Malfoy's failure to obtain the prophecy during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in June of 1996, Lord Voldemort, angered 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 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.[3]

Unbreakable vow

Snape and Narcissa make the Unbreakable Vow

Narcissa Malfoy, however, strongly suspected that Voldemort had given Draco this task as a form of revenge against Lucius, believing that Dumbledore would kill Draco when he discovered the assassination on his life, as not even Voldemort had been capable of killing Dumbledore, Narcissa assumed that Voldemort intended for Draco to die in the performance of his duties. Determined to save her son at any cost, Narcissa ventured to Severus Snape's house at Spinner's End to ask him to help Draco and to complete the mission if the boy was unable to do so. Snape asked 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 death if broken. This also eased Bellatrix's suspicions over Snape.[4]

Plot to assassinate Albus Dumbledore

Draco Malfoy standing in front of the broken Vanishing Cabinet

Draco spent most of his sixth year at Hogwarts repairing a Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement in order to connect it with the one in Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley, so that Death Eaters could secretly enter Hogwarts Castle, despite the increased magical protection surrounding the school. During periods of 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 give a cursed necklace to Dumbledore; however, Katie accidentally touched the necklace and suffered from the curse instead, until she was saved by Rubeus Hagrid. Draco also made Rosmerta sell Horace Slughorn a poisoned bottle of mead, anticipating he would give it to Dumbledore as a Christmas present, but Ron Weasley was accidentally poisoned instead, though Harry Potter was able to save him with a bezoar. Harry had also grown highly suspicious about Draco, though Snape and Minerva McGonagall did not believe him, due to lack of evidence.

Horcrux cave

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 been having private lessons with Dumbledore 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 make his soul into seven parts. Through Voldemort and Dumbledore's memories of Voldemort's childhood orphanage, Dumbledore determined that one of Voldemort's horcruxes was placed in a cave where the orphanage had taken the children for a daytime outing.

Skirmish at cave

Harry and Dumbledore arrive at the cave on 30 June, 1997

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 set out to find and perhaps destroy the horcrux. Once at the cave, Dumbledore had to drink the Potion of Despair, 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 finding out that it was fake and someone else had taken the real one. Back at Hogwarts, while the majority of the staff and students were asleep during the late night hour, the Order kept watch on the castle and the grounds as Draco Malfoy woke up and secretly went to the Room of Requirement to let Death Eaters into the school.

The battle

Death Eaters enter Hogwarts

"There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building... wherever they had murdered [...] "
Harry Potter seeing the Dark Mark above Hogwarts[src]
Death Eaters enter Hogwarts Castle

Numerous Death Eaters penetrate Hogwarts' defences

Harry warned Ron and Hermione after he met with Dumbledore that, during his and Dumbledore's absence, Death Eaters might penetrate Hogwarts. Hence, he gave them Felix Felicis and ordered them to rouse Dumbledore's Army members to help the Order patrol the corridor of the Room of Requirement, as well as Snape's office. Only Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood (and possibly Ernie MacMillan later on) 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 corridors and the grounds.

Dark Mark on top of Hogwarts Castle

The Dark Mark over Hogwarts' Astronomy tower symbolising the invasion

Inside the Room of Requirement, Draco watched as Death Eaters Corban Yaxley, Amycus Carrow, Alecto Carrow, Thorfinn Rowle, and Gibbon, emerged from the Vanishing Cabinet; to his incredible horror, the Death Eater ally and savage werewolf Fenrir Greyback was part of the platoon, uninvited, due to his insatiable hunger for violence. When Draco saw that there were people watching the 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 quietly left the Room, while ensuring his own visibility with the Hand of Glory as he led the Death Eaters from the room. The students immediately alerted the Order, however, and the battle began in the corridors of the 7th Floor. In order to catch Dumbledore's attention, Death Eater Gibbon placed the Dark Mark above the castle, but after he returned to the battle, he was accidentally killed by fellow Death Eater Thorfinn Rowle, who was indiscriminately sending Killing Curses and all manner of unidentifiable spells flying all over the place. Filius Flitwick was sent to ask Snape to join the battle. However, the Charms professor was stunned by Snape, who then told Hermione and Luna that Flitwick passed out and asked them to look after him.

Dumbledore's death

"Severus... please..."
—Dumbledore pleading for Snape to end his life[src]
Draco disarms dumbledore

Draco disarms a weakened Dumbledore on top of the Astronomy Tower

When Dumbledore and Harry returned to Hogsmeade village, they were immediately apprised by the Imperiused Madam Rosmerta to the appearance of the Dark Mark above the Astronomy Tower. They flew to the Astronomy Tower on Madam Rosmerta's brooms. When they reached the tower they were confronted atop the Astronomy Tower by Draco Malfoy, and before Harry could reveal himself, Dumbledore immobilised Harry with a nonverbal Full Body-Bind Curse. Simultaneously, Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore, unknowingly gaining mastery of the powerful Elder Wand in the process, and admitted that he, Draco, was behind a series of attacks on Hogwarts students, and that Voldemort had ordered him to kill Dumbledore or Voldemort would murder him and his family.

Dumbledore dies

Snape cursing Dumbledore with the Killing Curse

Dumbledore revealed that he knew all along of Draco's mission, along with the failed attempts on his life, and that he allowed Draco to remain at school to protect him from Voldemort, then proceeded to offer Draco the chance to change sides, and promised to hide Draco and his mother where Voldemort would never find them. Draco could not bring himself to kill the headmaster, even after the arrival and encouragement of the Death Eaters, who were smuggled into the castle by Draco, and had blocked the stairway behind them with a barrier. When he proved unable, Fenrir Greyback wanted to kill Dumbledore in his own way, but was blasted aside by Yaxley. Draco was not able to complete his task, and Snape — who had been awoken by Professor Flitwick to assist the Order — arrived through the barrier. After Dumbledore had pleaded with him in a way that did not reveal Snape's real allegiance, Snape then cast Avada Kedavra which struck Dumbledore in the chest, instantly ending the life of one of the greatest wizards of all time.

After Dumbledore's corpse plummeted down the tower under the light of the Dark Mark, Snape dragged Draco by the collar, ordered the rest of the Death Eaters to immediately flee the school, and led the way downstairs. Harry, who was forced to 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 the Full Body-Bind Curse 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]
00Snape fleeing

Death Eaters fleeing Hogwarts after achieving their mission

After cursing Yaxley, who was the last remaining Death Eater in the tower, Harry tore after Snape. Just as he descended the marble staircase from the 7th Floor, Harry found himself in the midst of a full-scale battle, as Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army members had discovered the fleeing Death Eaters and engaged them full scale. Harry saw the dead body of Gibbon, who had been accidentally killed by Thorfinn Rowle as he was sending Killing Curses in every direction possible, as well as a wounded Bill Weasley, who had been brutally attacked by Greyback, on the floor. As Harry rid himself of Greyback by using a Blasting Curse to throw the werewolf aside, he saw Ginny duelling Amycus Carrow, and Nymphadora Tonks trying to contain Rowle, who was still causing great damage. Harry then easily dispatched Amycus with an Impediment Jinx while Minerva McGonagall dealt similarly with his sister, Alecto, scaring her away with a Stunning Spell. All of the Death Eaters, however, began to retreat on Snape's orders before the Ministry arrived to reinforce Hogwarts. Knowing that Snape had escaped the fighting unscathed, Harry cut through the castle's secret passages to catch up.

Before leaving the castle, Bellatrix walked over the Gryffindor table at the Great Hall, destroying much of the tableware, before casting a spell that shattered every window in the Hall and extinguished the candles. Meanwhile, Snape blew an auror away from the Entrance Hall and also blasted open the oak front doors. Harry reached the Entrance Hall just in time to behold the destruction of the Gryffindor house point hourglass by Bellatrix and to be accosted by Ernie Macmillan and a number of other Hufflepuffs, two of whom were knocked aside as Harry charged on after Snape.


Harry and Snape duel

Once outisde on the grounds, Rubeus Hagrid and his pet dog Fang tried to stop the fleeing Death Eaters, but his hut was set afire by Thorfinn Rowle. As Harry stormed across the grounds, he was cursed from behind as he was trying to attack Snape by Amycus Carrow. Rolling over, Harry cast an Impediment Jinx behind him and knocked over both Carrows. Once Draco and the other Death Eaters had reached the school gates and Disapparated, Harry confronted Snape. Infuriated and saddened by what Snape had done, Harry then tried to use an arsenal of powerful spells and Dark Magic against him: including Stupefy, Expelliarmus, Incarcerous, Impedimentia, Crucio, Avada Kedavra, Sectumsempra and Levicorpus, but Snape easily repelled them all using Legillemency. After revealing that he was the Half-Blood Prince — the owner of the Potions textbook Harry had been using all year — and reminding Harry to close his mind, master his magical abilities, and to return to the castle to check on his friends and allies; Snape cast an unknown spell on Harry which hit him like a whip to the face knocking him to the ground, but the boy was aided by Buckbeak, who attacked and chased Snape until he Disapparated at the school gates.


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]
Harry and Dumbledore

Harry kneeling next to the body of the recently deceased Albus Dumbledore

Because of their use of Felix Felicis, the members of Dumbledore's Army who fought in the battle were unharmed. Bill Weasley, however, was left horribly scarred by Fenrir Greyback's attack. Because the werewolf was not 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 desire to marry him, earning the respect of her future in-laws and prompting Nymphadora Tonks to declare her love for Remus Lupin. Due to the sudden tragedy, all lessons were suspended, and exams were postponed.

B6C30M1 funeral of Albus Dumbledore

The funeral of Albus Dumbledore

The battle and Albus Dumbledore's death had a great impact on the wizarding world. The only wizard Voldemort had ever feared and who had power to match him was now gone. Furthermore the battle showed that there was now no safe place from the Death Eaters, as they had entered the castle, much less 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. Some parents, such as Zacharias Smith's father, and the parents of Parvati and Padma Patil, arrived to get their children out of the castle. Others, such as Seamus Finnigan's mother, stayed in Hogsmeade and waited until after Dumbledore's funeral to collect their children.

Harry, 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.

Harry would later discover that Dumbledore's death had been according to his own plan, as devised between him and Snape, who was loyal to the Order of the Phoenix out of lifelong love for Lily Evans, Harry's own mother. Dumbledore was already dying, and wanted Snape to give him a more merciful end than he would receive at the hands of Death Eaters and 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, Snape was covertly assisting Harry, and thus contributing to the defeat of Lord Voldemort.


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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 movies, his role in the battle is handed over to Bellatrix. 
  • Ernie Macmillan might have participated, since in the book he talked with Harry.


HP6 Severus Snape

Severus at the Astronomy Tower

Notes and references

  1. 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.
  2. Pottermore insider
  3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner's End)