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"... and that's Bode and Croaker ... they're Unspeakables.... From the Department of Mysteries, top secret, no idea what they get up to..."
Arthur Weasley regarding the secrecy of Unspeakables[src]
Dpt of Mysteries

The Department of Mysteries, where Unspeakables worked

An Unspeakable was a wizard or witch who worked in the Ministry of Magic's Department of Mysteries. Little is known about their workplace, and even less is known about their jobs.[1] Employees of the Department of Mysteries were forbidden from discussing their jobs or disclosing any information about their department, hence the name "Unspeakable".[2]

Jobs and responsibilities[]

"... Ron heard those two Unspeakables complaining about it."
Harry Potter about Unspeakables complaining about the Ministry preventing Apparition access in 1997[src]

Very little is known about what Unspeakables actually did, due to a high level of secrecy surrounding the Department of Mysteries.[1][2] Some studied love in the Love Room, which, according to Albus Dumbledore, was kept locked at all times,[3] or time in the Time Room, where the Ministry's stock of Time-Turners was stored prior to being destroyed during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries; others explored the nature of thought in the Thought Chamber,[4] or death in the Death Chamber, where Sirius Black was killed by his own cousin. There was a Veil in the Death Chamber that acted as a one-way doorway, separating the land of the living and the land of the dead. Any living being who went near it would hear voices of his/her dead loved ones. Any living being who tried to cross it would suffer instant death.[5]

The autonomous nature of the Department of Mysteries granted the Unspeakables a great deal of impunity, as they were the only division that did not need to answer to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. They were even known to ignore the Minister for Magic's interventions, as they did when Minister Radolphus Lestrange attempted to shut down the Department.[6]


As the title suggests, the key limitation of Unspeakables was that they were not permitted to talk about their work.[1][2] It is known that, due to the dangers of tampering with the laws of time, a series of strict laws and penalties were placed around those studying time-related magic. As such, it can be assumed that there likewise were laws and penalties in place for Unspeakables studying other areas in the Department.[7]

Unspeakables were also unable to remove prophecies from the Hall of Prophecy or even take them off their shelves, as prophecies could only be removed by those about whom they were made. Anyone else who attempted to do so would be struck by the defensive spells placed on the prophecies, resulting in significant mental harm.[3] The damage seemed reversible in time, judging by Broderick Bode, an Unspeakable who was Imperiused into attempting to retrieve the Prophecy regarding Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, in 1995. Lucius Malfoy noted that Bode showed unusual resistance to the Imperius curse, which Augustus Rookwood suggested may have been because the Unspeakable knew what would happen if he touched one of the Prophecies.[8]

Once an Unspeakable himself, Rookwood was convicted of passing secret information to Lord Voldemort and was thus condemned to Azkaban for life, where he was one of the top security prisoners.[9]

Despite the high degree of independence the Department of Mysteries received, when Voldemort conquered the entire Ministry, the Unspeakables came to produce falsified research results regarding how Muggle-borns were 'usurping' magic from 'real' wizards, being corrupted or threatened by the Death Eaters.[10]

Known Unspeakables[]


Notes and references[]

Department of Mysteries employees
Broderick Bode · Saul Croaker · Elton Elderberry · Grim Fawley · Dinah Hecat · Olivia Green · Gareth Greengrass · Eloise Mintumble · Levina Monkstanley · Augustus Rookwood · Regina Rowle · Albert Sallow
Other personnel
Keeper of the Hall of Prophecy · Unidentified intern