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"Harry Potter, Dobby has come to rescue you."
Dobby's bravery and loyalty to Harry Potter[src]

This skirmish was a small but bloody event that took place at the height of the Second Wizarding War. It took place around Easter of 1998 in Malfoy Manor, located in Wiltshire, England.[2] This skirmish was also an important moment in the Second Wizarding War because of the repercussions that came later.

The skirmish resulted in several prisoners being freed from the dungeons of the Death Eaters' headquarters. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley also discovered the location of one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes. There were at least two casualties — Peter Pettigrew and Dobby the house-elf.[2]


Background information[]

"Come out of there with your hands up! We know you're in there! You've got half a dozen wands pointing at you and we don't care who we curse!"
— The trio was caught by Snatchers and Greyback[src]

By the spring of 1998, Voldemort was in control of the Ministry of Magic and had Snatchers prowling the country in search of Muggle-borns, blood traitors and Undesirable Number One, Harry Potter. Harry, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger were secretly hunting down Voldemort's Horcruxes in an effort to make him mortal and defeat him once and for all.

Harry accidentally triggered the Taboo on Voldemort's name, and he and his friends were immediately surrounded[3] by a gang of Snatchers led by Fenrir Greyback. Greyback and his gang had already captured Dean Thomas and goblin Griphook and killed Ted Tonks, Dirk Cresswell and Gornuk. Thinking fast, Hermione used a Stinging Hex on Harry's face in an attempt to disguise his identity.[2]


The trio captured by Snatchers after breaking the Taboo

The three were disarmed and questioned on their identities. Harry, thinking quickly, claimed that he was "Vernon Dudley", the son of a Ministry employee, and a Slytherin, a claim he was able to back up because he knew where the Slytherin common room was from having been there in his second year.

Ron said he was "Stan Shunpike", but the Snatchers knew he was lying and punched him in the face; Ron then claimed he was "Barny Weasley". Hermione told them she was "Penelope Clearwater" and a half-blood. They claimed that using the Dark Lord's name was an accident and that they did not know what the Order of the Phoenix was.[2]

Their story might have been believed, but Hermione's picture was in the Daily Prophet, which described her as "the Mudblood who is known to be travelling with Harry Potter". Greyback decided not to take them to the Ministry, thinking that they would "take the credit". As he desired the monetary reward and to bite Hermione, he decided to bring them to Malfoy Manor, where someone with the Dark Mark could call Voldemort directly.[2]

At the manor[]


Lucius Malfoy: "Well, Draco? Is it? Is it Harry Potter?"
Draco Malfoy: "I can't — I can't be sure."
— Lucius urging Draco to identify Harry Potter[src]

Bellatrix trying to get Draco to identify Harry

When the group arrived at Malfoy Manor, they were greeted by a disdainful Narcissa Malfoy, who let them in and called her son Draco, who was home from Hogwarts for the Easter holidays, to identify the prisoners. Lucius Malfoy was also there and was visibly excited at the prospect of being the one to hand Harry over to Voldemort, in the hope it would redeem him in the Dark Lord's eyes.[2]


Draco telling to occupants of Malfoy Manor that he did not recognise Harry

Draco was extremely reluctant to identify any of them, he told the other Death Eaters present that he could not be sure that it was Harry. He did this despite Ron and Hermione's identities, at least, being obvious. Bellatrix Lestrange came upon the scene at that moment and briefly argued with her brother-in-law Lucius over who would be the one to signal Voldemort, but stopped when she spotted Godric Gryffindor's Sword among the seized possessions of the prisoners.[2]


Bellatrix Lestrange: "Wait. All except... except for the Mudblood."
Ron Weasley: "No! You can have me, keep me!"
Bellatrix Lestrange: "If she dies under questioning, I'll take you next. Blood traitor is next to Mudblood in my book. Take them downstairs, Greyback, and make sure they are secure, but do nothing more to them — yet."
— Bellatrix isolating Hermione for interrogation[src]
Bellatrix duels Snatchers

Bellatrix seeing the Sword of Gryffindor and retaliating against the Snatchers who possessed it

Bellatrix screamed at Lucius not to touch his Dark Mark, saying that they would "all perish if the Dark Lord comes now". She demanded to know where the Snatchers got the Sword and then stunned four of them in rapid succession for their "lack of respect" towards her. She ordered her nephew to move the unconscious men to the courtyard and implied that she might kill them later. She then ordered Greyback to take all the prisoners down to the dungeons — except for Hermione.[2]

Hermione and Bellatrix

Bellatrix torturing Hermione for information

Harry, Ron, Dean and Griphook were shut into the dungeons in the cellar just as Bellatrix began to torture Hermione with repeated use of the Cruciatus Curse while questioning her about how she and her friends obtained Gryffindor's Sword, which Bellatrix had believed to be in her vault in Gringotts. Ron had the worst reaction to hearing Hermione's screams. He struggled against the ropes binding him, and screamed her name. When he was freed, Ron attempted to disapparate without a wand. He failed, and began to pound on the wall and sob.[2]

The skirmish[]

"Help us! We're in the cellar of Malfoy Manor, help us!"
— Harry screaming for help into his two-way mirror[src]
Two-way mirror chard

Harry asking for help using the shard of Sirius Black's broken mirror

Luna Lovegood and Garrick Ollivander were also in the cellar, having been imprisoned because of Xenophilius Lovegood's public support of Harry and for knowledge of wands, respectively. While Ron was continuously calling for Hermione, Harry was attempting to come up with a plan. Luna helped cut the new prisoners's bonds using a nail. Harry could hear Hermione's pain filled screams from above, and frantically searched the pouch around his neck for help. A piece of the mirror Sirius Black had given him fell to the floor, and Harry saw a blue eye — later identified as Aberforth Dumbledore's — and screamed for help.[2]

Dobby apparate

Dobby Apparating the prisoners out of the cellar

In the meantime, Hermione managed to lie under torture and claimed that the sword was a copy. To confirm this story, Bellatrix sent Draco to fetch Griphook, who would be able to tell if the sword was genuinely goblin-made. Harry begged Griphook to tell them it was a fake, and just after the goblin was taken upstairs by Draco, Dobby, the house-elf, appeared in the dungeon using house-elf Apparition. Harry ordered him to take Luna, Mr Ollivander and Dean to Shell Cottage, the home of newlyweds Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, Ron's brother and sister-in-law.[2]

While this was all happening, Harry saw a vision of Voldemort at Nurmengard, asking Gellert Grindelwald where the Elder Wand was. However, when Dobby returned to the cellar, the sound of his apparition was heard. Peter Pettigrew was sent to investigate the noise. When he arrived, Harry and Ron tackled him and Ron forcefully disarmed Pettigrew.

Silver Hand Betrayal

Pettigrew strangled by his own silver hand

Pettigrew started to strangle Harry, but Harry expressed disbelief that Pettigrew was going to kill. He then reminded Pettigrew that he owed him his life, as Harry once saved Pettigrew's life by preventing Sirius Black and Remus Lupin from killing him. This caused Pettigrew to slacken his grip, and his own silver hand promptly strangled him to death for his moment of pity. Harry and Ron's tried to prevent this by dragging his hand away from his neck.[2]

Just then, Griphook lied to Bellatrix, saying that the sword was a fake, and she pressed her Dark Mark. Voldemort murdered Grindelwald when Bellatrix summoned him, so he could travel to Malfoy Manor.[2]


"Hoisting the groaning goblin, who still clung to the sword, over one shoulder, Harry seized Dobby's hand and spun on the spot to Disapparate. As he turned into darkness he caught one last view of the drawing room... Bellatrix's knife flew across the room at the place where he was vanishing —"
— The trio escaping the manor before Voldemort arrived[src]
Bellatrix holding Hermione at knifepoint

Bellatrix holding Hermione at knifepoint

Just as Bellatrix was about to hand Hermione, who had been tortured into unconsciousness, over to Greyback, Harry and Ron burst in. Ron disarmed Bellatrix, using Pettigrew's wand. Harry stunned Lucius, who did not have a wand to repel the spell, and then rolled behind a sofa to avoid spells from Narcissa, Draco and Greyback. Bellatrix then held her short knife to Hermione's throat in threat, and Harry and Ron surrendered their wands to Draco.[2]


Dobby releasing the chandelier

However, Dobby returned and sent the crystal chandelier falling to the floor. Bellatrix released Hermione to jump out of the way and Draco's face was scratched by the flying debris. Ron rescued Hermione from the wreckage, and Harry disarmed Draco by wresting the three wands he was holding from him. Harry used all the wands together to stun Greyback. Dobby disarmed Narcissa before she could curse anyone.[2]

Bellatrix throwing a knife

Bellatrix throwing a dagger at the vanishing Harry

Harry threw Ron a wand and he Disapparated with Hermione to Shell Cottage. Harry then grabbed Dobby and Griphook (who was holding the Sword) and followed. As they were Disapparating, Bellatrix threw her knife at them as they vanished. It can be assumed the she did this in an attempt to kill or harm Harry. The instant before they vanished from the Manor the knife struck Dobby in the chest, and when they arrived at Shell Cottage the knife was already deeply imbedded in the elf.[2]


Dobby's death[]

"Harry, what the hell's going on? You turn up here with a dead house-elf and a half-conscious goblin, Hermione looks as though she's been tortured, and Ron's just refused to tell me anything —"
Bill Weasley questioning the trio's unusual arrival[src]
DH2 Harry Potter standing beside Dobby's grave near the Shell Cottage

Harry Potter standing at Dobby's Grave

Harry arrived at Shell Cottage to find, to his horror, that Dobby was dying. Dobby died in Harry's arms his last words being "Harry... Potter". He subsequently buried the elf in the garden by hand, with the epitaph Here Lies Dobby, a Free Elf. As he dug, he got glimpses of Voldemort furiously punishing Bellatrix and the Malfoys for their failure to capture him, but he did not care, as his grief for Dobby blocked out everything else. After Fleur assisted in healing Hermione and Griphook, they gathered around the grave to give their farewells and thanks to the house elf.[4]

Also, while the Trio lost their previous wands to Snatchers, they gained new ones such as; Draco's wand, Pettigrew's wand, and Bellatrix's wand, which they would use at least until the Battle of Hogwarts in 2 May 1998. Harry would use Draco's wand, Hermione would use Bellatrix's wand, and Ron would use Pettigrew's.[4]

Other consequences[]

Griphook: "As the Dark Lord becomes ever more powerful, your race is set still more firmly above mine! Gringotts falls under Wizarding rule, house-elves are slaughtered, and who amongst the wand-carriers protests?"
Hermione Granger: "We do! We protest!"
— Hermione trying to persuade Griphook to help them[src]

The Death Eaters' discovery that Ron Weasley was with Harry and Hermione — instead of sick with spattergroit at home, as had been previously claimed — made his family a target. The Weasleys fled the Burrow and were no longer able to go to work. Bill was the Secret-Keeper for Shell Cottage while Arthur acted as the Secret-Keeper for Muriel's home, where the other Weasleys stayed.[4][5]

Harry-potter7-shell cottage

Harry interrogating Griphook at Shell Cottage

Harry, Hermione, and Ron then spoke to Griphook, persuading him to help them break in to Gringotts and steal the Horcrux in Bellatrix Lestrange's vault by agreeing to give him Godric Gryffindor's Sword in exchange.[5] Griphook agreed to hear their request due to the kindness Harry displayed towards him and the house-elf. The goblin was not used to wizards treating magical creatures and other beings with the caring Harry had previously showed.

The trio watching Ollivander examining wand

Harry interrogates Ollivander for information on the Elder Wand

Afterward, the trio spoke to Garrick Ollivander, who told them about the Elder Wand. Harry realised that Voldemort had gone to Hogwarts to take the wand from Albus Dumbledore's tomb, but decided to focus on getting the Horcruxes, not the Deathly Hallows, per Dumbledore's instructions. He, Ron and Hermione spent the rest of their stay at Shell Cottage planning the break-in of Gringotts.[4] With Griphook's help, they would eventually obtain Helga Hufflepuff's Cup.[6]

Mastery of the Elder Wand[]

"So it all comes down to this, doesn't it? Does the wand in your hand know its last master was disarmed? Because if it does...I am the true master of the Elder Wand."
— Harry to Voldemort in the last moments of their final duel[src]

Harry Potter holding the Elder Wand after disarming Voldemort

This battle would also prove critical in Lord Voldemort's final defeat in another way — when Harry disarmed Draco Malfoy, he unknowingly obtained the loyalty of the Elder Wand, just as Draco had unknowingly become its master when he disarmed Albus Dumbledore a year earlier. Thus, when he faced off against Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts weeks later, the wand refused to harm its true master, and Voldemort was killed by his own rebounding Killing Curse.[7]


Behind the scenes[]

  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Bellatrix carves the word "Mudblood" into Hermione's arm with her knife during her interrogation due to Emma Watson and Helena Bonham Carter coming up with the idea on spare notice. Though it is hard to hear, Bellatrix can be heard using the Cruciatus curse whilst Ron & Harry are in the cellar, after Harry removes the mirror from his sock.
  • The "Mudblood" carving on Hermione's arm re-echoes the arm number tattoos on Jews in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. This is due to J.K. Rowling using Nazi Germany as an influence to the series.
  • In the novel, Peter Pettigrew was killed by his own silver hand for his moment's hesitation when attempting to strangle Harry Potter. He also was disarmed by Ron, who won the wand from him. However in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, he was stunned from behind by Dobby, who also took his wand and gave it to Ron. Seeing as how he didn't appear in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 fighting, it can be assumed that he was killed off-screen or that instead of being stunned by Dobby he was killed by him.
  • Also in the film, when Harry takes Malfoy's, Bellatrix's, and Wormtail's wands from Malfoy, he uses them to stun Lucius Malfoy instead of Fenrir Greyback, who along with Scabior has been sent away from the manor by Bellatrix. Thus, Lucius is stunned twice in the same scene.
  • In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Dean Thomas is notably absent. He was mentioned to be travelling with Griphook on radio, so it is presumed that he escaped the Snatchers, unlike Griphook.
  • In the film, Greyback gets defeated by surprise by Bellatrix instead of Greyback begging for mercy. He also only gets beat by Harry when he uses 3 wands casting Stupefy and took him down in the book but in the film it was Lucius Malfoy who got stunned.
  • The Nintendo DS version of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 video game starts with the skirmish at Malfoy Manor, rather than the planning for and execution of the break-in of Gringotts Wizarding Bank as in the film and other versions of the video game. This is in reference to the fact that the original script of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 began with this skirmish.


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Notes and references[]

  1. See here for discussions about the date on which this skirmish occurred.
  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 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 2.28 2.29 2.30 2.31 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 22 (The Deathly Hallows)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 24 (The Wandmaker)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 25 (Shell Cottage)
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 26 (Gringotts)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)