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Harry Potter Wiki

Harry Potter: "Don't do anything. Not yet —"
Bellatrix Lestrange: "You hear him? You hear him? Giving instructions to the other children as though he thinks of fighting us!"
Lucius Malfoy: "Oh, you don’t know Potter as I do, Bellatrix. He has a great weakness for heroics; the Dark Lord understands this about him. Now give me the prophecy, Potter."
— The beginning of the battle[src]

The Battle of the Department of Mysteries, also known as the Battle of the Ministry of Magic, was the very first major conflict of the Second Wizarding War. It took place on 18 June 1996, after the powerful Dark wizard Lord Voldemort secretly lured his archenemy Harry Potter to the Department of Mysteries inside the British Ministry of Magic in London in an effort to obtain the prophecy concerning his future defeat at Potter's hands, as the young wizard was the one prophesied to end Voldemort and his dark reign for good.

Once at the Ministry, Harry was cornered by at least a dozen Death Eaters, but the young hero was aided by five of his fellow members of Dumbledore's Army: Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood; all of whom managed to successfully hold their ground and fend off the Death Eaters until the Order of the Phoenix came to their rescue.

In the resulting skirmish, the prophecy was accidentally destroyed,[2] Voldemort was personally seen by Minister Cornelius Fudge himself, all but one of the Death Eaters were captured by Albus Dumbledore,[4] and Sirius Black was killed by his deranged and sadistic cousin Bellatrix Lestrange.[2] In the immediate future the Ministry of Magic went to take proper action against Voldemort's newfound rising power, thus the start of open warfare.



The prophecy[]

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...."
Sybill Trelawney's prophecy (1980)[src]
Trelawney first prophecy

Trelawney first prophecy

In 1980, at the height of the First Wizarding War, which lasted for eleven years (from 1970 to 1981), Sybill Trelawney, the great-great granddaughter of the famous seer and magical hypnotist Cassandra Trelawney, was being interviewed by Albus Dumbledore at the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade for the position of Divination teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. During the interview, Trelwaney suddenly entered into a heavy trance and predicted the future coming of the only person who could truly defeat and destroy Lord Voldemort, due to this particular wizard having strength, power, will, and most of all: a capability for love, that would not only equal and surpass those of the Dark Lord, but those of Albus Dumbledore himself. As a result, Dumbledore hired Trelawney in order to protect her from the Death Eaters.[5]

This prophecy was in turn heard in its entirety by Dumbledore, but also overheard in part by Severus Snape, at the time a loyal high-ranking Death Eater, who immediately reported what he heard to Voldemort. The Dark Lord then became so fearful that he immediately began researching the location of his future archenemy, hoping to be able to eliminate him before he could become a true threat. After some searching, Voldemort came to heavily suspect that the prophecy referred to the offspring of someone within the Order of the Phoenix, the resistance movement founded and led by Albus Dumbledore against Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

After researching the members of the Order, Voldemort concluded that there were only two possible candidates: Harry Potter; the only son of James Potter and Lily Potter, and Neville Longbottom, the only son of Frank Longbottom and Alice Longbottom. Both boys were born at the end of July 1980, the referenced birth timeline in the prophecy. Voldemort deduced that the prophecy referred to Harry Potter, because he was a half-blood just like Voldemort himself whereas Neville Longbottom was a pure-blood. Voldemort then focused on finding the location of the Potter family.[5]

Baby harry

James Potter and infant Harry Potter in hiding at Godric's Hollow

The Potters had indeed gone into hiding at the urgent request of Professor Dumbledore due to the severity of the events of the war, when Snape, who had been secretly in love with Lily Potter since childhood, desperately warned Dumbledore of the approaching utter danger, begging the legendary wizard to hide and protect the Potters at all costs. Dumbledore agreed, and requested Snape's loyalty and services in return. Snape instantly agreed, and he became Dumbledore's top spy/double agent within the Death Eaters, whilst also secretly defecting from the Death Eaters to the Order of the Phoenix.

Dumbledore also hired Snape as the new Potions Master at Hogwarts, and was informed regularly about Voldemort's movements, whilst ordering Snape to feed Voldemort valuable information about the Order, so as to keep Snape's true allegiance a total secret. Dumbledore then placed the Potters under the Fidelius Charm, making it impossible for even Voldemort to find them alone. However, on Hallowe'en, 31 October 1981, their location in Godric's Hollow, England, was secretly revealed to the Dark Lord by the family's Secret-Keeper and fellow Order member Peter Pettigrew, who betrayed them and joined the Death Eaters.

Potter family murder

Potters' cottage in Godric's Hollow under attack; Lily was murdered by Lord Voldemort

Thus, the Fidelius Charm was instantly broken and Voldemort was easily able to enter into the Potters' house. After killing James Potter, who did not have his wand and tried to hold off Voldemort defenceless, Voldemort entered Harry's room and ordered Lily Potter to step aside, offering her the chance to save herself if she willingly let him kill the infant Harry. Voldemort also wished to grant the request of Severus Snape, who had begged him to spare Lily out of his lifelong love for her. Being his top Death Eater who Voldemort allowed to operate freely, Voldemort wished to honour Snape, but, since Lily disobeyed Voldemort's order to abandon her son a second time, Voldemort murdered her as well. He then turned his wand on Harry, but the Killing Curse instantly rebounded on himself, resulting in Voldemort's body being destroyed and all but two of his magical abilities being broken and zapped from him.[5]

When Voldemort returned to power years later in 1995 and failed to kill Harry for the second time during the incident in Little Hangleton at the conclusion of the Triwizard Tournament, because of Priori Incantatem on this particular occasion, he became determined to hear the full prophecy, believing it to contain the secret for destroying Harry Potter, and was informed by Death Eater Lucius Malfoy that a record of it was kept in the Hall of Prophecies, located inside the Department of Mysteries at the British Ministry Of Magic. Also, with the majority of the wizarding world refusing to believe that he had returned to power, Voldemort was able to operate freely behind the scenes and began quickly formulating a plan to steal the prophecy from the Ministry.

Attempts at theft[]

"We find ourselves, most unfortunately, in the same position we were two and a half years ago when the murderer Sirius Black escaped. Nor do we think the two breakouts are unrelated. An escape of this magnitude suggests outside help, and we must remember that Black, as the first person ever to break out of Azkaban, would be ideally placed to help others follow in his footsteps. We think it likely that these individuals, who include Black’s cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange, have rallied around Black as their leader. We are, however, doing all we can to round up the criminals and beg the magical community to remain alert and cautious. On no account should any of these individuals be approached."
Cornelius Fudge announcing the 1996 Azkaban breakout[src]
Daily prophet bellatrix

The Daily Prophet announcing the Azkaban breakout

As part of his plan, in January 1996, Voldemort secretly ordered a mass breakout of several top-security Death Eaters from the Azkaban prison after the Dementors (the entities who serve as the prison's guards) secretly defected to Voldemort's side. As a result, several Death Eaters (including Bellatrix Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, Travers, Antonin Dolohov, Selwyn, Jugson, Mulciber, and Augustus Rookwood) were free to join their master again. These were considered to be some of the most dangerous and highly-guarded convicts, due to the near-legendary repute of their past crimes. Voldemort had very little trouble arranging this, as the Dementors were more than happy to oblige to his dark whims and had grown tired of the laws put in place by the wizarding world, particularly the Ministry Of Magic.[6]

The Ministry, however, openly refused to believe that Voldemort had returned out of paranoia and fear of causing public hysteria, and instead blamed the breakout on Order member Sirius Black, who had been wrongly accused and convicted of the deaths of James and Lily Potter for thirteen years.[6] Because the Ministry did not believe that Voldemort had returned and because he now had many of his greatest servants ready to do his bidding, Voldemort did not even attempt to retrieve the prophecy he sought himself, as he considered such a thing to be beneath him and being seen by the wizarding community would likely ruin his plans and was not an option. The Death Eaters then made a few secret attempts at stealing the prophecy in question, but all the attempts ended in utter failure.[7]

Nagini attacks Arthur Weasley

Order member Arthur Weasley being attacked while guarding the prophecy

While donating money to a charity fund at the Ministry, Lucius Malfoy was able to place the Imperius Curse on Broderick Bode; an Unspeakable who worked in the Department of Mysteries, in order to force him to steal the prophecy for Voldemort. However, the protection charm placed on the items in the Hall of Prophecies only allows those who are mentioned in each prophecy to truly access them. Bode then suffered mental confusion and admitted to St Mungo's Hospital. Voldemort then punished Death Eater Avery with the Cruciatus Curse for assuring the Dark Lord that the plan would have worked.[7]

When word of Bode's improvement somehow reached the Death Eaters, to prevent the plot from being revealed they sent Bode an anonymous potted cutting of Devil's Snare disguised as a 'get-well gift', which strangled him to death in his hospital bed.[8][6] At the same time, Sturgis Podmore, a high-ranking Ministry official, had also been placed under the Imperius Curse by Death Eater Corban Yaxley to attempt the same, but was caught and arrested trying to break into the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort also sent his pet snake, Nagini, into the Department of Mysteries, after working hours, in order to scout any difficult magical defences possibly surrounding the prophecy. This resulted in the snake attacking and wounding Order member Arthur Weasley, who was secretly guarding the prophecy that night on the orders of Albus Dumbledore.[9]

False vision - Voldemort tortures Sirius Black

Harry's false vision of Sirius being tortured

Thus, Voldemort tried a different tactic: to utilise his mental connection to Harry Potter, the only person other than Voldemort himself who could access the prophecy. Harry had failed to learn Occlumency from Professor Snape in their private lessons at Hogwarts due to both his inability to master his feelings and Snape's personal animosity towards him. While Harry was taking his O.W.L. exams at school, Voldemort planted a false vision on Harry's mind in which his godfather (Sirius Black) was being personally tortured by Voldemort in the Hall of Prophecies at the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort predicted that Harry would immediately race to the Ministry to save him, as he knew that Harry would be compelled by nature to help the people closest to him, particularly if said person was the only family left to him.[10]

Dumbledore's Army[]

Hermione Granger: "Voldemort knows you, Harry! He took Ginny down into the Chamber of Secrets to lure you there, it's the kind of thing he does, he knows you're the — the sort of person who'd go to Sirius's aid! What if he's just trying to get you into the Department of Myst —?"
Harry Potter: "Hermione, it doesn't matter if he's done it to get me there or not — they've taken McGonagall to St Mungo's, there isn't anyone from the Order left at Hogwarts who we can tell, and if we don't go, Sirius is dead!"
— After Harry had a vision of Sirius being tortured[src]

Harry then told his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger of his vision, intending to indeed immediately leave Hogwarts to save Sirius. Hermione, suspecting foul play from Voldemort, managed to convince him into first trying to see if Sirius was at 12 Grimmauld Place in London, which was Sirius's home and the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. With the help of Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, they sneaked into the office of Headmistress Dolores Umbridge so that Harry could contact Sirius by Floo Powder. Just after Kreacher, the family's house-elf, informed Harry that Sirius was not there — having been prompted to secretly mislead Harry by Narcissa, who was a Black family relative by birth and treated the attention-starved house elf much more kindly than Sirius ever did Professor Umbridge arrived with her Inquisitorial Squad.[11]


A centaur bound by the ropes Umbridge conjured

Umbridge, believing Harry to have been communicating with Albus Dumbledore, attempted to forcibly interrogate Harry, demanding that Professor Snape provide her with samples of the Veritaserum Potion. However, he told her he had none left, and although he pretended not to have any idea what Harry was talking about when he shouted that the 'enemy' had 'Padfoot', Snape secretly went to check that Sirius was still at the Order Headquarters. When Snape saw that Sirius was in fact there, he had Sirius immediately alert members of the Order to the situation. Once Snape was gone, Umbridge threatened to use the Cruciatus Curse on Harry to force him to talk. This prompted Hermione to lie, making up a story about Dumbledore creating a secret weapon to use against the Ministry and successfully tricking Umbridge into going alone into the Forbidden Forest with her and Harry.[12] They were then confronted by a horde of centaurs, and Umbridge insulted and attacked them using Incarcerous.[11]


The D.A. members that accompanied Harry to the Ministry

With some assistance from Grawp, Umbridge was captured by the Centaurs, and Harry and Hermione escaped the forest and headed back to the castle. In the meantime, Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Neville Longbottom had escaped and incapacitated the Inquisitorial Squad.[11] They had used a combination of Stunning Spells, Disarming Charms, and a Bat-Bogey Hex, courtesy of Ginny. Hermione and Harry were also covered in blood after the fracas in the Forbidden Forest, which lured Thestrals to the group. Luna then suggested that the six members of Dumbledore's Army ride them to the Ministry of Magic, which was secretly located underneath London, to try to rescue Sirius Black.[13]

The battle[]

The Department of Mysteries[]

Lucius Malfoy: "Oh, you don't know Potter as I do, Bellatrix. He has a great weakness for heroics; the Dark Lord understands this about him. Now give me the prophecy, Potter."
Harry Potter: "I know Sirius is here. I know you've got him!"
Lucius Malfoy: "It's time you learned the difference between life and dreams, Potter. Now give me the prophecy, or we start using wands."
Harry Potter: "Go on, then."
Lucius Malfoy: "Hand over the prophecy and no one need get hurt."
Harry Potter: "Yeah, right! I give you this — prophecy, is it? And you'll just let us skip off home, will you?"
Death Eaters confronting the six D.A. members[src]
Thestral on air

The six D.A. members flying on Thestrals to the Ministry of Magic

The group then flew to the Ministry, where they then descended to Level 9 and down the corridor to the Department of Mysteries, also finding the entire Ministry empty, as it is well after working hours. They next found themselves in the Entrance Room, with twelve identical black, handle-less doors. When each door behind them closed, the walls spun, and the doors returned to different places.[13]

The 6 D.A. members went through one, which turned out to be the Brain Room and went back to the Entrance Room to try another, which turned out to be the Death Chamber. The next door they tried did not open by any means of enchantment, but the next room, the Time Chamber, contained the glittering lights from some of Harry's dreams. Once in this room, they took another door to the Hall of Prophecies, took a left turn, and went to the far side of the Hall. Upon reaching the empty and quiet-dark back wall, Sirius was nowhere to be found.[13]

Order-of-the-phoenix-harry prophecy

Harry holding the prophecy about himself

In the corner where Sirius and Voldemort were supposed to be, Harry spotted an orb with his and the Dark Lord's names inscribed on it. Against Hermione's advice not to touch it, he picked it up,[13] and this immediately prompted twelve Death Eaters — Rodolphus Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, Bellatrix Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Avery, Walden Macnair, Crabbe Snr, Nott, Augustus Rookwood, Jugson, Mulciber, and group leader Lucius Malfoy — to reveal themselves from the shadows where Lucius then demanded that Harry give him the prophecy.[2]

In the Hall of Prophecy[]

"Did you know he's a half-blood too?... Voldemort? Yeah, his mother was a witch but his dad was a muggle — or has he been telling you lot he's pureblood?"
Harry Potter mocking Voldemort in front of his Death Eaters[src]

Harry then attempted to buy time by fully mocking Voldemort in front of his Death Eaters, which infuriated Bellatrix to the point where she fired a Stunning Spell at Harry, which Lucius deflected into a nearby shelf, shattering two prophecies, which turned into wraiths and recited the prophecies which forever remain unheard. Harry still refused to hand over the prophecy, so Lucius then began to tease him that the prophecy held the answer to his scar, why Voldemort wishes to kill him, and the cause of the Second Wizarding War.[2]

Battle department of mysteries

D.A. members battling Death Eaters for possession of the prophecy

Just then, on Harry's signal, the six D.A. members all used the Reductor Curse to smash the shelves of prophecies, distracting the Death Eaters so that they could flee. As they ran, Nott grabbed Harry's arm, but was hit by a Stunning Spell from Hermione and subsequently injured by the collapsing shelves. The six members were then separated. Harry, Hermione, and Neville fled into the Time Chamber pursued by Crabbe Snr and Rabastan and locked the door behind them, but then realised they have been separated from the other three. Ron, Ginny, and Luna had taken another path and Harry, Hermione, and Neville did not know where they were.[2]

Pursuit in the Time, Brain, and Space Chambers[]

"We'll split into pairs and search, and don't forget, be gentle with Potter until we've got the prophecy, you can kill the others if necessary..."
Lucius Malfoy giving orders to his fellow Death Eaters[src]

In the Time Chamber, Harry, Neville, and Hermione hid just as two Death Eaters forced their way in. As they started to search for the three, Harry hit one in the head with a Stunning spell and rendered him unconscious. Harry then tackled the other one when he attempted to use the Killing Curse on Hermione. Neville accidentally disarmed both Harry and the Death Eater, but before the Death Eater could retrieve his wand, Hermione hit him with Stupefy. He was knocked into a bell jar that made his head turn into that of a baby, and then back into an adult, continuously ageing and de-ageing.[2]

The three then ran into an office on the right side of the Time Chamber, where they were instantly struck with Impediment Jinxes by Antonin Dolohov and Jugson, separating the trio. Hermione then instantly used a Silencing Charm on Dolohov to prevent him from alerting the other Death Eaters to their location, and Harry placed Jugson in a Full Body-Bind Curse. Dolohov, however, then flicked his wand, which created a purple flame-like whip that instantly struck Hermione across the chest, incapacitating her. He also broke Neville's wand, kicked him in the nose, and wordlessly threatened Harry, but was distracted by the baby-headed Death Eater, giving Harry the chance to use Petrificus Totalus on him too.[2]

Tank of Brains-foundable

The tank in the Brain Room

Neville then took Hermione's wand and carried her as he and Harry met up with Ron, Ginny, and Luna in the Brain Room. Ron had been hit by a curse that made him highly inebriated and Ginny's ankle was sprained, leaving her pale and in shock. They had managed to get away from the Death Eaters chasing them because Luna used the Reductor Curse on a model of the Planet Pluto in the Space Chamber to separate their pursuers. While the students regrouped, the Death Eaters did as well, bringing many of their number out of incapacitating spells.[2]

The group was then discovered by some of the Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange, in the circular Entrance Room with the many doors. They burst back into the Brain Room and Harry, Neville, and Luna attempted to seal the doors, but the Death Eaters still managed to get in when Bellatrix hit one of the doors with a Blasting Curse. Luna was then hit by an Impediment Jinx from one of the Death Eaters, sending her into the air before hitting a desk and falling to the floor, out for the count. Ron, in his confused state, summoned a brain from the tank and was injured by it as it attempted to strangle him with tentacles. Harry then used a Severing Charm to try and free Ron from the attacking brain, and at the same moment Ginny took a Stunning Spell to the face from another Death Eater, and was knocked unconscious.

Order-of-the-phoenix neville bellatrix

Bellatrix Lestrange threatening Neville with the Cruciatus Curse

In a desperate attempt to draw the Death Eaters away from his injured friends, Harry sprinted deep into the Death Chamber, where he descended down to the centre of the chamber, next to its magical archway, where he was ultimately cornered by the rest of the Death Eaters. When Neville arrived to help, Bellatrix briefly and easily used the Cruciatus Curse on him in an attempt to coerce Harry into handing over the prophecy, warning Potter that Longbottom would slowly be tortured to death if he refused them any longer. Harry, who did not think he had any other choice, decided to give in to their demands.[2]

The Death Chamber standoff[]

"Then, high above them, two more doors burst open and five more people sprinted into the room: Sirius, Lupin, Moody, Tonks, and Kingsley. Malfoy turned and raised his wand, but Tonks had already sent a Stunning Spell right at him."
— The Order arriving to fight the Death Eaters[src]
Tonks and Moody helping Luna escape GIF

The Order of the Phoenix arriving and saving D.A. members

Just as Harry was about to hand the prophecy over to Lucius, a door opposite to the Death Eaters suddenly flew open. Order of the Phoenix members Sirius Black, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Alastor Moody arrived and a huge fight instantly ensued.[2]

OOTP Death Chamber Moody vs Death Eater

Moody duelling a Death Eater before being rendered unconscious

Tonks fired a formidable Stunning Spell at Malfoy, giving Harry and Neville enough time to escape unseen, but Harry was then grabbed from behind by Walden Macnair and nearly choked. Neville then jabbed Hermione's wand hard into the eyehole of the Death Eater's mask, making him release Harry with a 'howl of pain'. Harry then angrily hit Macnair with the Stunning Spell. He saw Sirius fighting a Death Eater, Kingsley fighting two and Tonks fighting Bellatrix. Harry was then cornered by Dolohov, who had managed to hit Moody with an Impediment Jinx to the head, rendering him temporarily unconscious.

Battle in the Death Chamber GIF

Members of the Order and Death Eaters duelling in the Death Chamber

Dolohov then hit Neville with the Dancing Feet Spell and attempted to use the same dangerous unnamed curse on Harry that he previously used on Hermione, though the curses's lethal effects were prevented by Harry’s Shield Charm. Before Dolohov could attack again, Sirius slammed into him and the two began to duel. Harry then hit Dolohov from behind with another Full Body-Bind Curse and Sirius ran off to duel Bellatrix, who had just easily blasted Tonks unconscious, sending her tumbling down the chamber's steps. In the meantime, Kingsley was duelling Rookwood.[2]

Once again, Harry and Neville tried to escape, but were stopped by Malfoy. Harry then passed Neville the prophecy and then used a powerful Impediment Jinx to blast Malfoy aside. Before Lucius could attack again, Lupin jumped between them and told Harry and Neville to get the other D.A. members and leave. As they tried to do this, the prophecy fell through Neville's pocket and shattered.[2]

Sirius Veil

Sirius Black falling through the Veil and therefore to his death

At that same exact moment, Albus Dumbledore arrived through the same door the Order members had come through, his wand aloft and utter fury in every line of his face. Speeding past Harry and Neville, Dumbledore instead charged right into the middle of the fray, as the first Death Eaters suddenly realised he was there. There was a roar of shock, and the Death Eaters instantly attempted to flee out of utter fear of duelling him. One Death Eater fled up the side of the chamber in such terror, but Dumbledore quickly intercepted him with a simple blocking Spell.[2]

Only Sirius and Bellatrix were totally oblivious to Dumbledore's arrival, as both were still heavily duelling below next to the chamber archway, with Sirius easily ducking and blocking her spells, all the while taunting her failure to hit him with them. At that precise moment, Bellatrix fired another spell at Sirius, hitting him directly in the chest and causing his body to fall into the archway's Veil that separates the world of the living from that of the dead. Lupin then prevented Harry from jumping into the Veil after Sirius by grabbing him in a tight hug, telling him that his godfather was dead and that nothing could be done.[2]

Bellatrix Lestrange: "Come out, come out, little Harry! What did you come after me for, then? I thought you were here to avenge my dear cousin!"
Harry Potter: "I am!"
Bellatrix Lestrange: "Aaaaaah... did you love him, little baby Potter?"
Harry Potter: "Crucio!"
— Bellatrix taunting Harry about her murder of Sirius[src]

Bellatrix's satisfied expression after murdering Sirius

Bellatrix, yelling triumphantly, then began running up the chamber steps to escape and Dumbledore immediately turned around and fired a spell at her, but she blocked it. Harry, maddened with grief and anger at his godfather's death, heavily pursued Bellatrix out of the Department of Mysteries and up to the Ministry's Main Atrium, intending to kill her to avenge Sirius. She then turned to face him, forcing him to take cover behind the Fountain of Magical Brethren.


Harry using the Cruciatus Curse against Bellatrix

Filled with hatred at her baby-like taunting, Harry surprisingly hit her with the Cruciatus Curse. Though the curse knocked her off balance, he only caused her a brief moment of pain, however, as he was unable to summon enough malice to make the Unforgivable Curse successful. Bellatrix, surprisingly impressed and no longer taunting him, then confirmed that to rightly perform the Unforgivable Curses, one needs to mean them: to really want to cause pain and suffering, not act only on "righteous anger". She then claimed she would teach him 'how it's done', attempting to use the same curse on him which blew the head off the statue of the wizard as Harry ducked the curse.[4]

The two then traded Stunning Spells, causing further damage to the fountain before Bellatrix ordered Harry to surrender the prophecy, telling him that he could not win against her, as she claimed to be Voldemort's most powerful and loyal servant, revealing that she had personally learned the Dark Arts from him. However, Harry laughingly taunted her with the knowledge that the prophecy was destroyed even as his scar suddenly exploded with pain, indicating that Voldemort was in a secret rage. Bellatrix, in fearful hysteria, accused him of lying but upon realising that it was true began begging her master not to punish her. Still laughing, Harry told her not to waste her breath because Voldemort could not hear her, only for a cold sinister voice to claim otherwise. Hooded and snake-faced, Lord Voldemort himself had Apparated within the Ministry to end Harry's life himself.[4]

Duel in the Ministry Atrium[]

Albus Dumbledore: "It was foolish to come here tonight, Tom. The Aurors are on their way."
Lord Voldemort: "By which time I shall be gone, and you will be dead!"
— Dumbledore and Voldemort facing off[src]

Furious at the destruction of the prophecy, Voldemort ignored Bellatrix's pleas for forgiveness, even as she desperately tried to warn him that Dumbledore was inside the Ministry too, and then attempted to murder Harry with the Killing Curse. Harry did not even try to defend himself, but, before the curse could hit him, the headless statue of the wizard from the Fountain of Magical Brethren leapt from its plinth and deflected the curse off its chest. Dumbledore had secretly arrived on the scene and had bewitched the statue to protect Harry.

Dumbledore vs Voldemort

Voldemort and Dumbledore duelling in the Atrium

Voldemort, shocked and fearful at his old teacher, then shot a Killing Curse at Dumbledore, who instantly Disapparated and re-appeared behind Voldemort; proceeding to direct his wand at the fountain's other statues, which leapt to do the legendary wizard's bidding as well. The witch statue then immobilised Bellatrix by pinning her underneath it whilst the goblin and house-elf statues departed to warn Ministry officials via the nearby Floo Network channel. The centaur statue went for Voldemort, who Disapparated away and reappeared next to the pool. Addressing Voldemort by his birth name "Tom", he admonished his old student for foolishly arriving in the ministry when Aurors would arrive soon. Though the Dark lord insisted that he would soon be gone, just as his old teacher would soon be dead.[4]

Dumbledore using water based spell

Dumbledore dominating in the duel between himself and Voldemort

Throughout the battle, it became quickly obvious that Dumbledore was the more powerful and skilled out of them. Dumbledore heavily dominating the fight, (despite outlining his peaceful intentions and not even fighting to kill) while Voldemort (in a heated rage) was completely unable to penetrate Dumbledore's defences. Voldemort was forced to immediately go all-out to simply defend from Albus's own stream of attacks. After a brief exchange of unpleasantries, Voldemort fired another Killing Curse at Dumbledore, which hit the security desk next to the fountain, causing it to 'burst into flames'. Dumbledore retaliated with an unknown spell of such power and force that Voldemort was forced to conjure a shining silver magical shield out of thin air to deflect it. Whatever the spell was, it caused a gong-like denture in the shield, but was otherwise not intended to be lethal, something which Voldemort called Dumbledore out on before resuming the duel with yet another Killing Curse.

This was taken by the centaur statue, shattering it into a hundred pieces, while Dumbledore conjured a rope of fire that bound the Dark Lord 'shield and all', forcing him to transfigure it into a serpent which released him and turned on Dumbledore while he tried to take Dumbledore from behind with yet another Killing Curse. However, Fawkes, Dumbledore's phoenix, appeared out of nowhere and swallowed Voldemort's curse, which had no actual permanent effect on Fawkes since phoenixes can be reborn every time they die. Dumbledore then swiftly vanished the snake, turning it into mere black smoke with a casual flick of his wand, and then manipulated the water in the fountain to encase Voldemort, from which Voldemort could not break himself out from and was forced to Disapparate again, finally realising he was fighting a losing battle from the beginning.[4]

Voldemort possessing Harry's mind

Voldemort possessing Harry

In a last-ditch effort to have Harry killed, Voldemort then briefly turned himself invisible and secretly possessed Harry, hoping that Dumbledore would actually sacrifice the teenager in an attempt to kill the Dark Lord. However, Dumbledore did not take the bait at all and as Harry dwelt on his grief for his late godfather, the power of his love for not only Sirius, but for Dumbledore and his friends, caused Voldemort serious pain, forcing him to release Harry instantly. As Dumbledore tended to Harry, Voldemort, knowing fully well he was greatly outmatched at long last, grabbed Bellatrix and escaped along with her by Disapparating away but only after he was visibly seen by a horde of Ministry officials that had just arrived, including Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge.[4]


"Merlin's beard — here — here! — in the Ministry of Magic! — great heavens above — it doesn't seem possible — my word — how can this be —?"
Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge's reaction to seeing Voldemort[src]
He who must be not be named returns

The Daily Prophet confirming Voldemort's return

Of the twelve Death Eaters who broke into the Department of Mysteries, all of them but Bellatrix Lestrange were captured and sent to Azkaban. They failed in their aim to seize the prophecy made about Harry Potter and Voldemort, but Dumbledore would subsequently tell Harry of its content and importance shortly after the battle, during which Dumbledore also made sure that Harry and his friends all safely returned to Hogwarts via a Ministry portkey.[5]

The Order of the Phoenix also suffered the loss of Sirius Black as well as several injuries. Alastor Moody, Nymphadora Tonks, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, and Ginny Weasley were all injured, but were quickly nursed back to full health by Hogwarts nurse Poppy Pomfrey.[14] Neville got a new wand, courtesy of his grandmother Augusta Longbottom.[15] Ron Weasley had welts for some time from the brain that grabbed him, but they faded with time and treatment. Hermione Granger had to take ten potions a day to treat the effects of the evil curse she was struck with, which might have been fatal had Antonin Dolohov been able to actually speak it aloud, but made a full recovery nonetheless.[14]

Harry felt great grief and guilt over the death of his godfather, blaming himself, but Ron and Hermione were there when he needed them to help him come to terms with Sirius's death. It was mentioned that Ron was there to comfort him in his period of mourning more than anyone else.[14] He was also angry at Severus Snape for what he perceived as only belatedly assisting Harry and the Order, and at Dumbledore for not telling him about the prophecy ahead of time. He was also upset to learn that he must be the one to kill Voldemort.[5]

After the battle, the Ministry of Magic was forced to admit to the public that Dumbledore and Harry had been right all along, and that Voldemort had indeed returned. Dolores Umbridge was removed from Hogwarts and Dumbledore was reinstated as Headmaster, as well as in all his other previous positions.[4][14] The ineffectual Cornelius Fudge was soon sacked as Minister of Magic and quickly replaced by the more proactive Rufus Scrimgeour, previously Head of the Auror Office at the Ministry.[16]

This battle also marked the beginning of open warfare in the wizarding world.[14]

Voldemort was enraged by the loss of the prophecy, and focused much of his wrath on Lucius Malfoy and his entire family. Now forced to admit he could not defeat his former teacher in a head on duel, and as punishment, Voldemort selected Lucius's son Draco Malfoy as his newest Death Eater and secretly tasked him with assassinating Dumbledore during his sixth year at Hogwarts.[17] Draco's mother Narcissa Malfoy was despondent, knowing full well that Voldemort expected Draco to fail, and be killed in punishment for his failure.[18]

Lucius Malfoy was held personally responsible by Voldemort for the destruction of the prophecy, as he was the leader of the Death Eaters during the mission.[18] He was given a trial and sent to Azkaban. Although Lucius was later broken out of Azkaban, he became a prisoner in his own home, which Voldemort took for use as his Headquarters, and further humiliated Lucius by 'borrowing' his wand,[19] which was later destroyed in another failed attempt to kill Harry, and never replaced.[20]

Behind the scenes[]

Lucius Smashed Prophecy

Lucius accidentally smashing the prophecy in the film adaptation

  • Although not specifically identified, it is likely that the two Death Eaters that chased Harry, Hermione and Neville in the Time Chamber were Crabbe and Rabastan Lestrange. This assumption is made through process of elimination. It seems safe to assume they aren't any other pair we know for a fact the D.A encountered later in the Chase. That rules out Bellatrix & Rodolphus and Jugson & Dolohov. The only other clue is the fact that Harry never recognises them, not even when one of them takes off his mask. That definitely rules out Mulciber & Malfoy, and probably Macnair & Avery. Harry's never met Mulciber, but he knows Malfoy all too well. Indeed, he had no trouble recognising Malfoy in the Hall of Prophecy even though Malfoy was masked the entire time. It is hard to believe Rowling would intend Malfoy to be among this pair without ever identifying him. Harry also knows Macnair & Avery - not as well as he knows Malfoy, but he does know them, Macnair in particular, whom he's seen and overheard in conversation (Harry probably knows Macnair better than Macnair knows Harry). Although this is less certain, it is hard to believe Rowling would intend Macnair to be among this pair and not identify him.
  • The film version of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries differs significantly from the novel. Namely: The D.A. members are pursued mostly within the Hall of Prophecies, do not split up, and use mostly different spells — for example, Luna Lovegood uses a verbally-incanted version of Levicorpus against a Death Eater.
    • Ginny Weasley's ankle is not broken.
    • Neville Longbottom's nose and wand are not broken.
    • Ron Weasley is not bewitched or injured by brains.
    • Luna Lovegood is not stunned.
    • Hermione Granger is not critically injured by Antonin Dolohov's curse.
    • In the Death Chamber, all the D.A. members but Harry Potter are captured and held at wand-point by Death Eaters.
    • Death Eater Travers is added to the battle holding Ginny Weasley hostage.
    • Although all credited only as a Death Eater, Richard Trinder played Augustus Rookwood, while actors for Rabastan Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, Avery, and Nott are unidentified.
    • Bellatrix Lestrange does not use the Cruciatus Curse on Neville.
    • When the Order of the Phoenix arrives, Sirius Black punches Lucius Malfoy in the face.
    • Lucius, rather than Neville, accidentally smashes the prophecy orb.
    • Bellatrix knows the prophecy is smashed rather than not knowing when she plays with Harry in the Atrium saying he has it before Voldemort tells her the truth after appearing.
    • Harry duels alongside Sirius against Lucius Malfoy and Antonin Dolohov non-verbally, but he is not taught to do non-verbal incantations before sixth year.
    • Tonks and Kingsley's duel partners in the battle are switched in the movie. Tonks is seen duelling two Death Eaters at once and Kingsley is the one trailing Bellatrix in the air.
    • Sirius calls Harry 'James', a slip of the tongue, referring to his friendship with Harry's father.
    • Bellatrix abruptly kills Sirius with the Killing Curse, which then pushes him into the Veil, rather than with an unknown curse during a duel.
    • Albus Dumbledore appears in the Ministry Atrium after Sirius's death rather than in the Death Chamber before Sirius dies.
    • Bellatrix escapes by using the Floo Network as soon as Dumbledore arrives, instead of Disapparating with Voldemort after his duel with Dumbledore.
    • It is Harry's love for his friends and godfather, rather than his grief over the latter's death, that frees him from Voldemort's possession.
    • Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and Luna are in the Atrium when Voldemort flees the Ministry.
  • While filming this scene, Helena Bonham Carter accidentally ruptured Matthew Lewis's eardrum by sticking her wand in his ear.


The Harry Potter Wiki has 65 images related to Battle of the Department of Mysteries.

Notes and references[]

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries) - The battle happens on the day of Sirius Black's death which, according to Pottermore, was 18 June 1996.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  3. Travers was at least a participant in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; he was not specified to be present in the novel. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Kingsley Shacklebolt said Travers should be in Azkaban, and Travers escaped in the mass break-out in 1996 so it's possible he fought in this battle.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 25 (The Beetle at Bay)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23 (Christmas on the Closed Ward)
  9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 21 (The Eye of the Snake)
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 33 (Fight and Flight)
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 34 (The Department of Mysteries)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
  15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
  16. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
  17. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 2 (Spinner's End)
  19. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 (The Seven Potters)