Beyond the Veil
Chapter 35 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Beyond the Veil
Lucius Malfoy and eleven other Death Eaters, including the powerful, sadistic and dangerous Bellatrix Lestrange, emerge from the shadows. Harry refuses to give Malfoy the orb, threatening to smash it, and demands to know where Sirius is. It is becoming apparent, however, that Harry's visions were false. Bellatrix reviles Harry for being half-blood, but Harry reminds her that Voldemort's father was a Muggle, riling Bellatrix. Malfoy intervenes and explains that the sphere contains a prophecy about the Dark Lord and Harry. They needed Harry to retrieve it because only those whom a prophecy concerns can safely pick up the orb, any others go insane. And Voldemort could not risk being seen at the Ministry, so lured Harry there to retrieve it for him.
On Harry's signal, the D.A. members blast the shelves and orbs with their wands. Harry, along with the others, runs from the Chamber clutching the prophecy, chased by the Death Eaters. Harry, Hermione, and Neville enter the bell jar room, though Ron, Ginny, and Luna have gotten separated from them. Malfoy organizes his fellow Death Eaters into pairs, instructing them to search the department for the six teens. Two Death Eaters enter the bell jar room and Hermione Stuns one, while Neville disarms the other.
As they head for the circular room, two more Death Eaters appear; Harry, Hermione and Neville veer into a side office, followed by Death Eaters. Hermione silences one Death Eater who is calling his accomplices, and Harry Petrifies another. The silenced Death Eater kicks Neville, breaking his wand and his nose. Harry, Hermione, and Neville make their way to the circular room, where they find Luna, Ginny, and Ron. As they search for an exit, several Death Eaters enter, including Bellatrix, and start attacking. Harry, Neville, and Luna quickly exit into the Brain Room, and through it into a library of sorts; they try sealing the doors, but five Death Eaters burst in. After Hermione, Luna, Ron, Ginny, and Neville have been incapacitated, Harry runs for a door, tumbling down stone steps, landing near the Veiled Arch.
Surrounded by Death Eaters, Harry backs onto the dais with the veiled archway. Neville bursts in but is quickly immobilized, and is then tortured by Bellatrix to force Harry to surrender the prophecy. Harry is about to relinquish it when Sirius, Tonks, Shacklebolt, Lupin, and Moody arrive. Macnair grabs Harry around the neck and demands the prophecy. Neville stabs McNair's eye with Hermione's wand, and he releases Harry who Stuns him. Knowing he needs his hands free for spellcasting, Harry gives the orb to Neville who puts it in a pocket of his robe. Neville is then hit by a perpetual dancing jinx. As Harry grabs Neville's robe to pull him up the steps, Neville's pocket rips, and the orb falls out and is smashed, its wispy vapors vanishing. Dumbledore enters, and quickly apprehends the combatants while Sirius duels Bellatrix. As Sirius taunts her, Bellatrix blasts a spell squarely at his chest. His rigid body falls through the veiled arch. Harry rushes after him, but Lupin restrains him before he reaches the portal, saying it is too late. Sirius is gone.
This chapter is largely action, preparing for and then executing the battle. A number of things are learned here as Harry stalls the Death Eaters, but this chapter is mostly immediate; this is the book's climax, the battle we have been building up to throughout this book.
Only the persons connected to a prophecy can safely pick it up. (Presumably the people listed on the label: in this case Harry, Voldemort, Dumbledore, and Trelawney.) This explains Bode's illness. We heard earlier that Malfoy put Bode under the Imperius curse, but he had resisted having to retrieve something; it is now clear (through Harry's comments and Malfoy's confirmation) that he was ordered to fetch this Prophecy, knowing it would drive him insane. As he was recovering his sanity, the Death Eaters moved to murder him in the hospital.
Although Harry and the others were outnumbered and outmatched by Voldemort's Death Eaters, all fought ably, mostly thanks to Harry's superb defensive training. Had a few more D.A. members been present, the Death Eaters conceivably could have been defeated without the Order of the Phoenix. Even though Harry considers them among the weakest D.A. members, Neville, Ginny, and Luna perform admirably while under attack. And though they may not be the most technically proficient members, they are arguably the bravest, willingly risking their own lives to aid Harry, and fight Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Ginny and Neville prove they are true Gryffindors, while Luna could easily have fit into that House, despite being Sorted into Ravenclaw. We can guess that Harry will never forget what they have done for him.
When Harry contacted Grimmauld Place, Kreacher told Harry that Sirius "would never return" from the Ministry of Magic. Clearly this was a lie, though as is usual with House-Elves, it is a clumsy rewording of the truth: Sirius would not return from the Department of Mysteries because he had not gone to the Ministry. It is unknown what is impelling Kreacher to lie, but we do know that he has been unhappy with having Sirius as his master. His hatred for "mudbloods" may be behind his misleading Harry.
As he assigns them tasks, Malfoy names the twelve Death Eaters involved in this battle shortly after Harry, Hermione, and Neville re-enter the bell jar room. They are: Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, Nott, Rodolphus, Crabbe, Rabastan, Jugson, Dolohov, Macnair, Avery, Rookwood, and Mulciber. Of the two that initially attack Harry, Hermione, and Neville, one is Stunned, and the other falls into the bell jar then stumbles through the rest of the battle with a baby's head. The second pair that attack Harry are Dolohov and Jugson, who both get Petrified. Nott is injured by falling shelves and may be out of the battle. Lucius counts ten Death Eaters standing against Harry in the amphitheatre, so the Stunned and Petrified Death Eaters may have been resuscitated, but the baby-headed Death Eater and possibly Nott may be too incapacitated to fight.
- Who can safely pick up a Prophecy Orb? What happens to those who are unable to?
- How was Bellatrix able to kill Sirius?
- Why does Lupin restrain Harry from going after Sirius?
- Which D.A. members were left standing at the end of the battle?
- Who alerted the Order of the Phoenix that the students were in trouble?
- What is the veiled archway? Why can only Harry and Luna hear the voices behind the veil?
- Based on what is learned in this chapter, what might have happened if Harry had gone through the veiled archway? Could he have returned?
We mentioned Kreacher's lying to Harry in the Analysis section above, and speculated briefly on what would impel him to that course of action. We will learn shortly that Kreacher had interpreted an order of Sirius' as authorization to leave Grimmauld Place. He had used that as an excuse to visit Narcissa Malfoy, the only Black family member available who he still respected. It is at Voldemort's bidding, conveyed through Narcissa, that Kreacher is sending Harry to the Ministry.
We will discover that Order of the Phoenix reinforcements arrived at the Ministry of Magic because Snape alerted them, when Harry and the other students did not return from the Forbidden Forest. However, Harry later accuses Snape of deliberately waiting too long to sound the alarm, resulting in Sirius' death. Dumbledore will tell Harry shortly that following Harry's warning in Umbridge's office, Snape had contacted Sirius and found him at Headquarters and in no danger. Snape's defence, if he ever made one, for this delay would likely be that he knew Sirius was in no danger when contacted, and the first he knew Harry was in danger was when he failed to return from the Forest.
It is uncertain exactly why, or whether, Harry considers Ginny to be a "relatively weak" member of Dumbledore's Army. We find out through later books that she is, in fact, quite a capable witch, and we have to assume that Harry will have seen this in the DA classes. His reluctance to take her into battle might stem from her being Ron's younger sister, and worries about what Ron, his best friend, would think if Harry was responsible for her injury or death. It also might be the result of nascent romantic feelings, which will become apparent in the next book. Neville, Luna, and Ginny will again show their bravery in the next book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, being the only members of Dumbledore's Army to answer Harry's distress call before the battle inside Hogwarts.
Harry later bemoans the Prophecy having been destroyed, but Dumbledore informs him that the prophecy itself was not lost, only a memory of it, and that the prophecy remains in the memory of the person who was present when it was made. Dumbledore then reveals the prophecy by extracting it from his own mind and showing it in his Pensieve.
We note that in the room of Time, one of Neville's curses misses its target and destroys a glass-fronted cabinet full of things that looked like hourglasses. We will later learn that among these are the world's entire existing stock of Time-turners. This destruction of the Time Turners will prove to be a minor, but in some ways essential, plot point. Time-Turners are an almost insanely useful device to have in a wizard duel, as a wizard could, if he chose, go back an hour multiple times using a Time Turner to multiply himself. Harry would stand precious little chance facing five Voldemorts. While there are laws preventing their use in such manner, we see that Voldemort pays little attention to laws, and if he were able to retain a Time Turner, things would go badly for the Order of the Phoenix. The only mention of this destruction, however, is in the opening chapters of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where Hagrid rationalizes the Trio's decision to not take his Care of Magical Creatures course as being due to lack of time, which could not be remedied without the destroyed Time-Turners.
- Many of the jinxes cast in the battles in this chapter are used elsewhere in the books, most of them frequently enough to not make them worth singling out. However, this is only the second time we have seen the Tarantallegra jinx, the first being the Dueling Club in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Then, the jinx was cast by a second-year student, whose target was afterwards able to control himself well enough to jinx his attacker. Here, cast by a fully educated adult wizard, it seems to completely incapacitate Neville.
- The orb, broken in this chapter, is a recording of the prophecy which drives much of the series. Dumbledore alluded to its existence in the first book, and will actually reveal it later in this book. This is the first of the two real prophecies that Professor Trelawney has made, according to Dumbledore two years earlier. We will revisit this prophecy and the events surrounding its revelation in the next book.
- We first heard about time turners two years earlier, when it was revealed that Hermione was using one to get to all her classes. They will be mentioned again at the beginning of the next school year, where we will learn that they had all been destroyed. While the devices that Neville here destroys accidentally are never explicitly named, they are in the Hall of Time, and so we conclude that the wall of things Neville accidentally destroyed must have included the entire existing stock of time turners.