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Ron Weasley: "Just as a matter of interest, why Tottenham Court Road?"
Hermione Granger: "I've no idea, it just popped into my head, but I'm sure we're safer out in the Muggle world, it's not where they'll expect us to be."
Ron Weasley: "True… but don't you feel a bit — exposed?"
— The trio upon arriving on Tottenham Court Road[src]

The Luchino Caffe Duel[2] was a skirmish on Tottenham Court Road in a Muggle area of London, England when Death Eaters tracked Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley using the Taboo curse during the height of the Second Wizarding War. It was brief, with no deaths.[1]


Background information

"The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming."
Kingsley Shacklebolt's Patronus warning the guests at the Burrow[src]

On 1 August 1997, Lord Voldemort succeeded in taking over the Ministry of Magic.[3] The Death Eaters immediately placed the Taboo curse on Voldemort's name as a method of tracking their enemies, who were the only ones brave enough to use it.[4] They also moved to attack residences known to be associated with the Order of the Phoenix.[5]

Death Eaters storm the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour

Order member and Auror, Kingsley Shacklebolt, managed to send his Patronus in warning to the Burrow, where the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour was being held.[3] Guests started fleeing the reception as Death Eaters arrived. Hermione Granger, who had been apprehensive about something like this happening, quickly Apparated herself, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley away to Tottenham Court Road.[1] This marked the beginning of the trio's quest to locate and destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes.

The skirmish

Arrival at the caffe

Harry Potter: "When did you do all this?"
Hermione Granger: "I told you at the Burrow, I've had the essentials packed for days, you know, in case we needed to make a quick getaway. I packed your rucksack this morning, Harry, after you changed, and put it in here... I just had a feeling [...] "
— Hermione being prepared for the trio's mission[src]

The Trio walking along Tottenham Court Road

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione arrived on the Muggle street, Hermione directed them towards an alley, where she revealed that she had been planning ahead — her beaded bag had an Undetectable Extension Charm on it and, inside, she had packed clothes, camping supplies, books, medical supplies, and Harry's Invisibility cloak. Ron changed out of his dress robes while Harry put on the Invisibility Cloak.[1]

The trio then headed past some workmen who wolf-whistled at Hermione, and into Luchino Caffe, an all-night Italian café. There, they briefly discussed trying to find out what had happened at the Burrow, but ultimately decided that it was too risky, particularly since it was Harry that the Death Eaters were after. While conversing, Hermione said Voldemort's name,[1] unknowingly triggering the Taboo curse that the Death Eaters had placed upon it when they took over the Ministry.[4]

Tracking and attack

"We all know what's going on! Voldemort's taken over the Ministry."
— Hermione regarding the state of the wizarding world[src]

Rowle being stunned

Antonin Dolohov and Thorfinn Rowle, two Death Eaters disguised as workmen, soon entered the café, while the waitress brought Hermione and Ron cappuccinos. The trio planned to try to send a Patronus to get a message to the Order and then head for the countryside, but as Hermione moved to get Muggle money, Harry noticed that the 'workmen' were drawing wands and they seemed vaguely familiar.[1]

Harry drew his as well, and Ron lunged forward to push a slow reacting Hermione onto her bench just as the Death Eaters' spells shattered the wall right behind where Ron's head had been. Harry, still invisible, stunned an unsuspecting Rowle, while Dolohov bound Ron from head to foot with conjured ropes. Harry's second stunner missed, and struck the waitress while she was running away screaming.[1]

Hermione casting Petrificus Totalus on Antonin Dolohov

Dolohov cast Expulso in Harry's direction and it struck the table in front of him; the force of the explosion slammed Harry into a wall and made him lose his grip on his wand. The Invisibility Cloak began to slip off him and he was revealed to the two Death Eaters. Hermione then struck a distracted Dolohov, who was focused on Harry, with a Full Body-Bind Curse from under the collapsed bench where she was hidden from when Ron pushed her out of the line of fire at the beginning of the duel. Hermione cursing Dolohov finally ended the duel.[1]

Cover-up and escape

Ron Weasley: "What are we going to do with them? Kill them? They'd kill us. They had a good go just now."
Harry Potter: "We just need to wipe their memories. It's better like that, it'll throw them off the scent. If we kill them it'd be obvious we were here."
— Covering-up the caffe duel before escaping[src]

Hermione erasing Dolohov's memories with Obliviate

Hermione severed the ropes around Ron, and they identified the two Death Eaters. Harry had Ron use his Deluminator to shut out the lights and Hermione lock the door while they debated what to do with the incapacitated Death Eaters. Although Ron reluctantly suggested killing them, Harry argued that wiping their memories would more effectively "throw them off the scent". Hermione performed Memory Charms on Dolohov, Rowle, and the waitress while Harry and Ron cleaned up the café, so as to leave no trace of their presence there.[1]

The trio then Disapparated to 12 Grimmauld Place.[1]


The trio arrive at 12 Grimmauld Place

Harry, Ron, and Hermione stayed at 12 Grimmauld Place for a month afterwards. While there, Arthur Weasley's Patronus told them that the members of the Order of the Phoenix at the Burrow were safe and not to contact them, as they were being watched by Death Eaters.[1] Remus Lupin also came to tell them about the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and to offer to accompany them, though Harry angrily turned him down, insisting that he stay with his pregnant wife.[5]

The trio also learned the identity of the mysterious "R.A.B." from Kreacher and that the locket Horcrux was in the hands of Dolores Umbridge.[6] They then planned to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic to retrieve the locket, which they did on 2 September, 1997.[5]

For their failure to capture Harry, Rowle and Dolohov were subjected to the Cruciatus Curse by Draco Malfoy on Lord Voldemort's orders as punishment.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • In debating what to do with the Death Eaters, Hermione claims that she has never performed a Memory Charm before and only knows the theory behind the spell.[1] However, she previously altered the memories of her parents in order to keep them safe during the war. J. K. Rowling later explained in an interview that the two are different charms.[7]
  • In the film adaptation Harry is not hidden under his Invisibility Cloak, Dolohov does not bind Ron, and the trio fights back while taking cover behind the tables. Rowle is defeated right away by Harry and Dolohov hides behind the counter. During the battle, the waitress is in the back room listening to music through her headphones, making coffees and not knowing what is going on. Hermione casts the Full Body Bind curse on Dolohov right before the waitress comes out, looking shocked at the unconscious Death Eaters. Hermione orders the waitress to leave and she does, looking quite bewildered and frightened.
  • In the video game version, there are many more Death Eaters present during the skirmish, as Dolohov and Rowle summon them after being defeated.


Notes and references