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Battle of the Department of Mysteries
Part of The Second Wizarding War
Part of The Second Wizarding War

18 June, 1996


18 June, 1996


Ministry of Magic Headquarters in London, England


Ministry of Magic Headquarters in London, England


Open war is declared on the wizarding community.


Open war is declared on the wizarding community.


None, although all combatants save Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix were captured.

None, although all combatants save Lord Voldemort and Bellatrix were captured.

"Did you actually believe, or are you truly naive enough to think, that children stood a chance against us? I'll make this simple for you, Potter. Give me the prophecy now... or watch your friends die."
Lucius Malfoy to Harry Potter in the Hall of Prophecy[src]

The battle of the Department of Mysteries was the first major conflict of the Second Wizarding War. It took place on 18 June, 1996, after Lord Voldemort lured Harry Potter and five of his fellow Dumbledore's Army members to the Department of Mysteries in an effort to obtain the prophecy concerning his possible defeat. Once there, the six D.A. members were cornered by twelve Death Eaters, whom they managed to fend off until the Order of the Phoenix came to their rescue. In the skirmish, the prophecy was destroyed, Voldemort was seen by the Minister for Magic himself, eleven of the Death Eaters were captured, and Sirius Black was killed by his cousin. The battle resulted in Voldemort's return being made public and the Ministry of Magic finally taking action against his rising power.



"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...."
Prophecy concerning Voldemort and Harry Potter[src]

At the height of the First Wizarding War, Sybill Trelawney made a prophecy predicting the coming of the only person who could defeat Lord Voldemort. This prophecy was heard in its entirety by Albus Dumbledore and in part by Severus Snape, a Death Eater who reported what he heard to Voldemort. The Dark Lord came to believe that the prophecy referred to Harry Potter and began seeking out James and Lily Potter's location. They had gone into hiding when Snape, who had been in love with Lily Evans, warned Dumbledore of the approaching danger. On Halloween of 1981, their location was revealed to the Dark Lord, and after killing Harry's parents, he attempted to kill the infant, but the Killing Curse rebounded and his power was broken.

When Voldemort returned in 1995 and failed to kill Harry for the second time, because of Priori Incantatem on this occasion, he became determined to hear the full prophecy, believing it to contain the secret of destroying Harry Potter, a record of which was kept in the Department of Mysteries.[1]

Attempts at theftEdit

File:Daily Prophet Azkaban Breakout.jpg
"We have confirmed that ten-high security prisoners in the early hours of yesterday evening had escaped. And of course the Muggle Prime Minister has been alerted to the danger. There is convincing evidence that the escape was engineered by a man who has experienced to escape from Azkaban, notorious mass murderer Sirius Black, cousin of the escapee, Bellatrix Lestrange."
Cornelius Fudge announces the 1996 Azkaban breakout[src]

In January of 1996, there was a mass breakout of Death Eaters from Azkaban after the Dementors defected to Voldemort. Ten long-imprisoned Death Eaters – including Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood, Travers, and Mulciber – were free to join their master again. The Ministry of Magic, however, refused to admit that Voldemort had returned and blamed the breakout on Sirius Black.

Because the Ministry did not believe that Voldemort had returned and because he now had many servants to do his bidding, Voldemort did not attempt to retrieve the prophecy he sought himself. The Death Eaters made a few attempts at stealing the prophecy in question.

Lucius Malfoy placed Broderick Bode, an Unspeakable, under the Imperius Curse to force him to steal the prophecy. However, the protection charm placed on items in the Hall of Prophecies only allows those who are mentioned in the prophecy to access them; Voldemort punished Avery Jr. for assuring the Dark Lord that the plan would have worked. Bode was afflicted with a mind-confusing curse and admitted to St. Mungo's. When word of Bode's improvement reached the Death Eaters, they sent a potted cutting of Devil's Snare to Bode, to prevent the plot from being revealed, and it strangled him in his hospital bed. Earlier, Sturgis Podmore had also been placed under the Imperius Curse to attempt the same, but was arrested trying to break into the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort also sent his Magical familiar, Nagini, to scout Order of the Phoenix defences of the prophecy. This resulted in the injury of Arthur Weasley who was guarding the prophecy.

Lord Voldemort: "I need that prophecy."
Sirius Black: "You'll have to kill me."
Lord Voldemort: "Oh, I will, but first you will have to fetch it for me. Crucio!"
Harry Potter's vision of Sirius Black being tortured in the Hall of Prophecies[src]

Thus, Voldemort tried a different tactic. Utilising his connection to Harry Potter, who had failed in his Occlumency lessons, Voldemort planted a false vision in Harry's head that suggested his godfather was being tortured by Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries. Voldemort predicted that Harry would race to the Ministry to save him.[2]

Dumbledore’s ArmyEdit

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 has a dream of Sirius being tortured[src]

Harry told his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger of his dream, intending to immediately leave Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to save Sirius. Hermione, suspecting foul play, managed to talk him into first trying to see if Sirius was at 12 Grimmauld Place. With the help of Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood, they sneaked into Dolores Umbridge's office so that Harry could contact Sirius by Floo Powder. Just after Kreacher informed Harry that Sirius was not there—having been prompted to mislead Harry by Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy, who were both Blacks by birth and treated the attention-starved house-elf much more kindly than Sirius did—Umbridge arrived with the Inquisitorial Squad.

Umbridge attempted to interrogate Harry, demanding that Professor Snape provide her with Veritaserum. 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," he went to check that Sirius was still at Order headquarters. 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 weapon to use against the Ministry and tricking Umbridge into going into the Forbidden Forest with her and Harry.[3] Umbridge summarily offended the Centaurs who confronted them, and with some assistance from Grawp, Harry and Hermione escaped back to the castle. In the meantime, Ron, Ginny, Luna, and Neville Longbottom had escaped the Inquisitorial Squad.[4]

Hermione and Harry were covered in blood after the fracas in the Forbidden Forest, which lured Thestrals. The six DA members rode them to the Ministry of Magic to try to rescue Sirius Black.[5]


The Hall of PropheciesEdit

File:Department of Mysteries.jpg
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."
Death Eaters confront the D.A. members[src]

Once in the Department of Mysteries, the group made their way to the Hall of Prophecy, which Harry had seen in his dreams. There, he spotted an orb with his and the Dark Lord’s names and picked it up. This prompted twelve Death Eaters – Rodolphus Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Avery, Walden Macnair, Crabbe, Nott, Augustus Rookwood, Jugson, Mulciber, second-in-command Bellatrix Lestrange, and leader Lucius Malfoy – to emerge from the shadows and demand that Harry give them the prophecy.[5]

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 stunned by Hermione and subsequently injured by the collapsing shelves. Harry, Hermione, and Neville were then separated from the other three.[6]


"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 to his fellow Death Eaters[src]
File:Fighting Death Eaters.jpg

Harry, Hermione and Neville were pursued into the Time Chamber by two Death Eaters. Harry stunned one and tackled the other when he attempted to use the Killing Curse on Hermione. Neville accidentally disarmed both the Death Eater and Harry, but before the Death Eater could retrieve his wand, Hermione stunned him. 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.

The three then ran into the next room, where they were struck with Impediment Jinxes by Death Eaters eventually identified as Antonin Dolohov and Jugson. Hermione silenced Dolohov to prevent him from alerting the other Death Eaters as to their location, and Harry placed Jugson in a Full Body-Bind Curse. Dolohov then struck Hermione with an unnamed curse that incapacitated her for the rest of the battle. He broke Neville’s wand and nose and wordlessly threatened Harry, but was distracted by the Death Eater with the baby head, giving Harry the chance to Body-Bind him.

Neville took Hermione’s wand and carried her as he and Harry met up with Ron, Ginny, and Luna in the Thought Chamber. Ron had been hit by a curse that made him highly confused – possibly the Confundus Charm – and Ginny’s ankle was broken, 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 the model of the planet Pluto in the Space Chamber to injure their pursuers. While the students regrouped, the Death Eaters did as well, bringing many of their number out of incapacitating curses.

"Let’s see how long Longbottom lasts before he cracks like his parents…unless Potter wants to give us the prophecy."
Bellatrix Lestrange gleefully threatens Neville with the Cruciatus Curse[src]
File:Battle of the Department of Mysteries 1.jpg
The group was then discovered by several Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange, in the front room with the many doors. They burst into the Thought Chamber. Harry, Neville and Luna attempted to seal the doors but Death Eaters still managed to get in. Luna was blasted with Stunning Spells. Ron, in his confusion, summoned a brain and was injured by it. Then Ginny was Stunned. In a desperate attempt to draw the Death Eaters away from his injured friends, Harry sprinted deep into the Death Chamber, where he was cornered by ten Death Eaters. When Neville arrived to help, Bellatrix briefly used the Cruciatus Curse on him in an attempt to coerce Harry into handing over the prophecy.[6]

Arrival of the Order of the PhoenixEdit

"Get away from my godson."
Sirius Black to Lucius Malfoy[src]

Just as Harry was about to hand the prophecy to Lucius Malfoy, Sirius Black, Nymphadora Tonks, Remus Lupin, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Alastor Moody of the Order of the Phoenix arrived, and the battle resumed.

Tonks fired a Stunning Spell at Lucius Malfoy giving Harry and Neville enough time to escape from Lucius, but Harry was then grabbed from behind by Walden Macnair. Neville jabbed Hermione's wand hard into the eyehole of the Death Eater's mask, making him release Harry with a "howl of pain". Harry stunned him, only to be cornered by Dolohov, who had defeated and injured Moody. Dolohov hit Neville with a Tarantallegra and used the same curse he previously used on Hermione on Harry, though most of the harm was blocked by Harry’s Shield Charm. Before he could attack again, Sirius slammed into him and the two began to duel. Harry hit Dolohov with a Full Body-Bind Curse and Sirius ran off to duel Bellatrix, who had just defeated Tonks. In the meantime, Kingsley was duelling Rookwood.

Once again, Harry and Neville tried to escape, but were stopped by Malfoy. Harry passed Neville the prophecy and then used an Impediment Jinx to knock Malfoy back. Before he could attack again, Remus 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 broke.

File:Photo 49.jpg

At this moment, Albus Dumbledore arrived and most of the fighting stopped when the Death Eaters that saw him arrive attempted to flee in fear of duelling him. Dumbledore quickly rounded up numerous Death Eaters, but Bellatrix and Sirius were still duelling. Bellatrix knocked her cousin into the Veil that separates the world of living from that of the dead with a curse, killing him. Remus prevented Harry from jumping after Sirius, telling him that his godfather was dead.[6]

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?"
— Bellatrix taunts Harry about her murder of Sirius[src]

Harry pursued Bellatrix and attempted to use the Cruciatus Curse on her in retaliation for her murder of Sirius. 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 attempted to curse Harry, but they were interrupted by the arrival of Lord Voldemort.[7]


Duel in the Ministry AtriumEdit

Main article: Duel in the Ministry Atrium
Dumbledore: "It was foolish to come here tonight, Tom. The Aurors are on their way-"
Voldemort: "By which time I shall be gone, and you...shall be dead!"
— Dumbledore and Voldemort face off[src]

Voldemort attempted to hit Harry with the Killing Curse, but the blow was prevented; Dumbledore arrived and animated a golden statue to cover Harry and shield him from the curse. He animated the other statues from the Fountain of Magical Brethren to immobilise Bellatrix and warn Ministry officials. Voldemort and Dumbledore duelled, Fawkes taking a Killing Curse for Dumbledore at one point; as a phoenix, the curse caused him to burst into flames and instantly be reborn.

Voldemort briefly possessed Harry, hoping that Dumbledore would sacrifice the teenager in an attempt to kill him. However, as Harry dwelt on his grief for his late godfather, the power of his love forced Voldemort to release him. Voldemort took Bellatrix with him as he fled, but not before he was seen by Ministry officials, including Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge.[7]


"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]

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[1].

The Order of the Phoenix suffered the loss of Sirius Black as well as several injuries. Mad-Eye Moody, Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt were all injured, but recovered. Ginny Weasley’s broken ankle and Neville Longbottom’s broken nose were quickly repaired by Hogwarts nurse Poppy Pomfrey, and Neville eventually got a new wand. Ron Weasley had welts for some time from the brains that grabbed him, but they faded with time and treatment. Hermione Granger had to take ten potions a day to treat the curse she was struck with, which might have been fatal had Antonin Dolohov been able to speak it aloud, but made a full recovery.

File:Daily Prophet Voldemort Returns.JPG

Harry felt great grief and guilt over the death of his godfather, blaming himself. 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.

After the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the Ministry of Magic was forced to admit to the public that Dumbledore and Harry had been right all along, and that Voldemort had returned. Dolores Umbridge was removed from Hogwarts and Dumbledore was reinstated as Headmaster, as well as in all his other positions. The ineffectual Cornelius Fudge was soon replaced by the more proactive Rufus Scrimgeour as Minister for Magic.

This battle marked the beginning of open war in the wizarding world.[8]

Behind the scenesEdit

The film version of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries differs significantly from the novel. Namely:

File:Lucius Smashed Prophecy.jpg


File:Half-Blood Prince opening.gif

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 37
  2. Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 31
  3. Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 32
  4. Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 33
  5. 5.0 5.1 Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 34
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 35
  7. 7.0 7.1 Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 36
  8. Order of the Phoenix, Ch. 38

fr:Bataille du Département des Mystères ru:Сражение в Министерстве магии