About Harry Potter

I. Introduction

Harry Potter is the name of a series of fantasy and wizardry novels by J. K. Rowling and the movies based on them. The main character is a fictional young wizard, Harry Potter. The Harry Potter books have attained a profile unparalleled by any other series of children's books. They have been praised for encouraging children to read, while also drawing criticism from some quarters. A series of films based on the books is under production.

Despite J K Rowling's assertions that she did not have any particular age group in mind when she began to write the Harry Potter books, her publishers initially targeted them at young readers, aged around 9 to 15. However they have acquired fans of all ages, and the books have more recently been released in two editions, one with the original 'children's' cover artwork and one with artwork more consciously aimed at adult readers. Additionally, as the series has developed, Rowling's writing style has become more sophisticated, and the content of the books has matured as the lead character, Harry Potter, has grown older. For instance, relationships are discussed as an issue for the teenage characters in later books. Accordingly the reading age for the books, both in terms of content and style, is rising as the series goes on.

The wizarding world is the setting of the wildly-popular, fictional Harry Potter series. Though the plot is nominally set in Great Britain in the 1990s, there is at least one crucial difference: magic is real, and those who can use it live in generally voluntary, but Ministry of Magic-enforced, seclusion, hiding their talents from the non-magic world. The term is used to refer to the society where wizards and witches live, and by extension all magical things, in sharp contrast to the society and the things of the non-magical, Muggle, people.

The terms wizard and witch are used in magical society more or less the same way the terms man and woman are used in the Muggle world. Mage and similar words are rare and usually only seen in titles or such. Since a person's most important capability – magical aptitude – does not depend on sex, gender equality is advanced and apparently never became much of an issue.

II. The Story Begins


Harry Potter, born on July 31, 1980, was orphaned on October 31, 1981, when the evil wizard Lord Voldemort murdered his parents, Lily and James Potter, a witch and wizard, respectively. Harry's mother's sacrificial attempt to save Harry causes the killing spell (Avada Kedavra) cast upon Harry by Voldemort to backfire, forming a fated connection between the two during which parts of Voldemort's power was transferred to the infant. From the spell backfire, Harry is given a lightning-bolt shaped scar on his forehead and Voldemort seemingly dies. Harry's mother's love and Voldemort's powers give Harry a lingering magical protection against further attacks by Voldemort.

Harry is retrieved by Hagrid under the orders of Albus Dumbledore and put in the reluctant care of his Muggle (non-magical) relatives, his mother's sister Petunia Dursley and her husband Vernon. They live in Little Whinging, a suburb of London, along with their spoiled son Dudley (born June 22, 1980). The Dursleys, who intensely dislike magic, conceal from Harry any knowledge of his magical abilities and tell him that his parents were killed in a car crash. The Dursleys mistreat Harry, whose bedroom is a cupboard under the stairs, filled with spiders.

A week before his eleventh birthday, Harry begins receiving letters informing him of his acceptance at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Despite the Dursleys' attempts to stop the letters, Hagrid eventually tracks them down and briefly rescues Harry from his relatives' grasp so that Harry can purchase his school supplies, only to return him to the Dursleys with a train ticket to Hogwarts leaving from Platform 9¾ at King's Cross station, London.

There are four houses in Hogwarts, each with very specific characteristics. Slytherin is filled entirely with ambitious, cunning witches and wizards. Ravenclaw is home to the most intelligent witches and wizards. Gryffindor houses only the brave, and Hufflepuff is where the most fair and honest go. Each student upon arriving at Hogwarts must go through the Sorting Ceremony by trying on an ancient hat. Though the hat considers placing him in Slytherin, Harry is sorted into Gryffindor house. His closest friends at Hogwarts become Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and his biggest rival is Draco Malfoy, who belongs to the rival Slytherin house.

In the course of the year, Harry, Ron, and Hermione discover that a 3-headed dog, christened Fluffy by Hagrid, guards a trapdoor in a forbidden corridor of Hogwarts. They speculate as to what it guards and eventually they figure out that Fluffy guards the legendary Philosopher's Stone. The three friends come to believe Severus Snape, the sinister-looking Potions Professor, is trying to steal it in order to restore Lord Voldemort to power.

When they feel they have no choice, Harry, Ron, and Hermione go through the trapdoor to get to the Stone first. They negotiate the security system set up by the school's staff and find that Professor Quirrell, not Snape, is trying to steal the Stone. Snape was, in fact, actually grudgingly trying to protect Harry from harm all along. Harry confronts Quirrell and survives a second encounter with Lord Voldemort, who has been living inside Quirrell on the back of his head. Quirrell is killed in the process and Voldemort is driven away as a ghostlike form. Dumbledore agrees with Nicholas Flamel, the manufacturer of the Stone, to destroy it.


The story continues with Harry's second year at Hogwarts. Harry is warned by Dobby, a house elf belonging to Lucius Malfoy, that he will be in mortal danger if he returns to Hogwarts for his second year. Harry is still determined to return despite Dobby's advice, pleas, and attempts to stop him using magic. The Dursleys have locked away his books and wand, so Harry is a prisoner, but the Weasleys come to the rescue in their dad's flying car. After spending a pleasant summer with his best friend Ron, the whole family go off to platform 9¾ for the school train, but Harry and Ron are unable to enter the platform. In desperation, Harry and Ron take the car and fly to Hogwarts where they crash land, breaking Ron's wand.

Harry finds himself at the center of attention of three people: the vain new Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Gilderoy Lockhart, admirer Colin Creevy who loves taking photos, and Ron's sister Ginny Weasley who has a crush on Harry. Events take a really bad turn when the Chamber of Secrets is opened and something goes on a rampage, turning students into statues. According to legend, the Chamber was built by Salazar Slytherin and can be opened only by his true heir to purge Hogwarts of students who are not pure-blood wizards. Many suspect Harry of being the Heir, especially after he inadvertently speaks Parseltongue (the language of snakes), a distinctive ability of Dark wizards which Harry gained when Voldemort tried to kill him as a baby. Harry, Ron, and Hermione spend the majority of the novel trying to discover the true identity of the Heir of Slytherin.

The attacks increase in frequency, leaving more pertified characters in the hospital wing, including Hermione. To top it all, a message is written on a wall declaring that a student - Ginny Weasley - has been taken into the Chamber, where "her bones will lie forever."

With Ron's help, Harry discovers the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, where he discovers that it was Ginny who opened the Chamber, but that she wasn't acting of her own free will - she was possessed by Lord Voldemort, whose name at school was Tom Riddle. Riddle had imprinted a memory of himself in an enchanted diary, hoping to one day continue the work he had begun when he first opened the Chamber fifty years ago. That time, Hagrid had been blamed for what happened and had been expelled from the school.

The memory of Tom Riddle becomes steadily more alive as it steals the life from Ginny. It tries to kill Harry by setting loose the basilisk (the monster responsible for petrifying the students) but Dumbledore sends Fawkes, his phoenix, to give Harry the sword of Godric Gryffindor. Fawkes blinds the basilisk so that it cannot use its fatal gaze, and Harry slays it with the sword. Riddle is vanquished and Ginny restored to life when the diary is destroyed. The petrified students are restored to normal. Lucius Malfoy had owned the diary and must have given it to Ginny, but there is no evidence to prove what he did. The remains of the diary are returned to Lucius but Harry places a sock inside it. Lucius hands the book to his house elf Dobby, unwittingly giving him a gift of clothing, which is the traditional way a master frees a house-elf. Dobby is free and becomes forever grateful to Harry.

Meanwhile, Gilderoy Lockhart has been exposed by Harry and Ron as a fraud who wipes the memories of others and claims their achievements. When Lockhart tries to wipe their memories using Ron's malfunctioning wand, the spell backfires and wipes his memory instead, leaving him permanently confused and confined to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies.


Harry's life at the Dursleys takes a horrible turn when his Aunt Marge comes to stay. Harry is well aware of the Hogwarts prohibition on students doing magic outside of school, but her cruel insults toward his parents so enrage him that he unintentionally and unconsciously "blows her up" (makes her expand in size) and she floats away on her own hot air.

Harry runs away from the Dursleys and is picked up by the Knight Bus; en route to London he learns that a criminal named Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban. Harry is found but-to his bewilderment-not punished by the Ministry of Magic for blowing up his aunt.

Harry soon learns why: Sirius Black is believed to be after him, and the Ministry of Magic seems more concerned about his safety. The school is now protected by the Dementors of Azkaban to prevent Black from getting onto the grounds. The mystery deepens as Harry discovers that Black has mysterious ties with his own parents and their death at the hands of Lord Voldemort.

The story takes an unexpected turn when Harry finds that Sirius Black was innocent and wrongly sent to Azkaban. The real criminal is Peter Pettigrew, who is believed dead at the hands of Sirius Black. It was Pettigrew who betrayed Harry's parents to Lord Voldemort, and later killed a number of Muggles in an incident for which he framed Sirius Black and faked his own death. Pettigrew turned out to be an animagus, a wizard who can take the form of a particular animal at will, and had really spent the last twelve years disguised as Ron's rat, Scabbers.

Pettigrew gets away and the Ministry refuses to believe Harry, Ron and Hermione's tale. Dumbledore does believe the story however, and they sneak Sirius to freedom on the back of a hippogriff.


In this book, Harry Potter spends the end of his summer with the Weasleys in anticipation of the Quidditch World Cup. During the World Cup, a group of Death Eaters attack a number of Muggle bystanders, but flee when the Dark Mark - Voldemort's sign - mysteriously appears above them. The sign is found to have been made by a wand found with Winky, the House-Elf of Barty Crouch, a respected official at the Ministry of Magic. Winky is fired by her master at once. Crouch's treatment of Winky prompts Hermione to start campaigning for elves' rights.

When Harry arrives at Hogwarts, he finds that the Triwizard Tournament - which had been banned since many participants died during it - was to be restarted, and to be held at Hogwarts. The names of all intending participants would be put into a goblet - known as the Goblet of Fire - which would shoot out one name from each of the three competing wizarding schools (Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang). After choosing Viktor Krum from Durmstrang, Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons, and Cedric Diggory from Hogwarts, the Goblet spits out Harry's name - although he was too young to have added his name to the Goblet. Harry is forced to participate, to the outrage of many.

With help from his friends and teachers, Harry manages to make it through the first two parts of the Triwizard Tournament. During this time, his relationship with his best friend, Ron Weasley, is temporarily strained by Harry's sudden explosion of fame. This fame soon backfires, as Daily Prophet reporter Rita Skeeter begins to dig deep to find anything which will tarnish Harry's reputation. Harry's friendship with Ron is saved once Ron realises just how perilous the Tournament will be for Harry.

In the last part of the Tournament - in which the four competitors have to run through a maze populated by many dangerous creatures - Harry and Cedric arrive at the trophy (placed in the centre of the maze) first and decide, because of the help they provided to each other, to grab the trophy at the same time, since it will be a Hogwarts victory anyway.

The trophy turns out to be a Portkey, a magical object which transports them to a graveyard - where they find Peter Pettigrew (also known as Wormtail) and Lord Voldemort. Peter kills Cedric using the unstoppable Avada Kedavra curse, then uses Harry's blood as part of a macabre ritual which results in Voldemort being reborn, more powerful than before, and immune to the charm which had prevented him from harming Harry twice before. Voldemort then summons the Death Eaters and attempts to kill Harry, to prove that "the boy who lived" will not be his undoing again. However, because Harry's and Voldemort's wands are formed from the same core - a feather from Dumbledore's pet phoenix Fawkes - a freak phenomenon known as Priori Incantatem occurs, in which Voldemort's wand begins to produce ghostly echoes of its past victims - including Harry's parents. The echoes hold off Voldemort while Harry manages to escape to the trophy which transports him and Cedric's body back to Hogwarts.

On reaching Hogwarts again, Harry lands in the centre of the confusion caused by his disappearance. He is led up to the castle by his Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and Auror (Dark-wizard-catcher), Professor Moody. Moody reveals himself as a Death Eater, saying that it was he who put Harry's name into the Goblet, and who ensured that Harry made it through the three rounds of the tournament so that he would be delivered to Voldemort. As Moody is about to attack Harry, Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall barge into the room, and stop Moody. After Dumbledore's interrogation of "Prof. Moody", it is revealed that "Moody" was Barty Crouch's son in disguise. The real Professor Moody had been kept imprisoned in a magical trunk for the entire year.

Having learned that Voldemort had risen again, Dumbledore began proceedings to restart the Order of the Phoenix. Snape and the Durmstrang Headmaster are revealed as ex-Death Eaters. Barty Crouch Jr. has his soul sucked out by a Dementor before he can repeat his story to The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge. The Minister refuses to believe that Voldemort has risen again on the word of Dumbledore and Harry, which results in Dumbledore being removed from several important posts within the wizard community, and the reputation of Harry Potter being trampled judiciously in the next book.


The story begins with Harry at the Dursleys' home experiencing some teenage angst. Harry is frustrated because he doesn't know what the newly reborn Lord Voldemort is planning and his friends won't share any information through correspondence. After a fight with his aunt and uncle, Harry wanders around Little Whinging and meets his obnoxious cousin, Dudley. As the two boys are heading home, Dementors appear and attack them, but Harry successfully drives them off with the Patronus Charm. This saves Dudley from having his soul sucked, but still leaves him chilled and almost unconscious. Fortunately their neighbour Mrs. Figg arrives to help. She later reveals that she is a Squib and that she has been watching over Harry on Professor Dumbledore's behalf.

Once the boys arrive home, Vernon and Petunia turn on their nephew, blaming him for Dudley's illness. Vernon demands that Harry leave, even though Harry explains that Voldemort is after him. As this is going on, Harry receives a letter stating that he has been expelled from Hogwarts -- students are forbidden to do any magic outside of school -- but then several other letters arrive in quick succession. Letters from Arthur Weasley and Sirius Black warn Harry not to leave the house, while another overturns his expulsion and orders him to appear at a hearing at the Ministry of Magic. The last letter is a Howler which screams "Remember my last, Petunia". Upon hearing this, Petunia insists that Harry will have to stay.

After being locked in his room for several days, a large menagerie of wizards and witches come to rescue Harry, Professor Remus Lupin and Mad-Eye Moody among them.. They take him to the home of the Black Family, who used various techniques to hide the building, making it ideal for the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix of which the title speaks. The Weasleys, Hermione, and Sirius are all staying there. Sirius has been ordered not to leave the house because of the Ministry's continued search for him (see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for details). Harry finds himself capable of anger and hostility over the fact that people he trusts have not been honest with him, and by the fact that Ron and Hermione were made Prefects while he was not. Everyone explains that the secrecy was under Dumbledore's orders. Harry manages to learn quite a bit about what has transpired since the summer began.

Although both Harry and Dumbledore have told the world that Lord Voldemort is back, no one believes them. Indeed, the Ministry of Magic has made it their job to discredit them both, using the wizarding newspaper The Daily Prophet to slander the duo, making them both sound as if they are "off their rockers." Those in the know, however, have resurrected the Order of the Phoenix, which existed the last time that Lord Voldemort threatened the world. A number of new members are in the Order as well, and it is dedicated to saving everyone from the resurgence of Death Eaters and Voldemort.

Harry's hearing for his possible expulsion from Hogwarts and loss of his wizarding status finally arrives. It fills much of the household with trepidation, but they are fairly confident that he will come out okay -- he used the magic strictly in self-defence, which is an allowed exception to the rules. However, upon arrival at the Ministry of Magic, Harry and Mr. Weasley find out that the time of the hearing has been changed to take place earlier, and its location moved to deep down in the basement, near the Department of Mysteries -- when Harry arrives, he realises that a full trial has been called, with the entire Wizengamot assembled.

Although this appears to be an attempt to both intimidate Harry and keep Dumbledore from showing up as Harry's defence, the ancient wizard and headmaster of Hogwarts appears nonetheless; with Mrs. Figg as a witness, testifying that the Dementors were real, not mere figments of Harry's imagination or lies, Harry manages to be exonerated. However, something seems strange - Dumbledore scarcely pays any attention to Harry, and as the young boy leaves, he sees Lucius Malfoy conferring with Cornelius Fudge. This shocks Harry, as Malfoy is a known Death Eater, though Mr. Weasley alludes to bribery.

Eventually, Harry and his companions return to school. On the Hogwarts Express they meet a girl named Luna Lovegood, who takes on a prominent role later in the book. At Hogwarts they discover two shocking bits of news: Hagrid has still not returned from whatever task Dumbledore sent him on at the end of last term, and their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Umbridge, not only does not want them to use actual spells, but in fact works for the Ministry of Magic and seems to be pushing its agenda on the school.

Once school starts, things happen at a rapid pace. The fifth year is when the O.W.L.s are taken, and the teachers push hard for the students to do well on them. Professor Umbridge gains more and more influence on the school, through a succession of new laws passed by the Ministry of Magic, until she actually becomes the Hogwarts High Inquisitor, and begins to poll both students and teachers about their abilities. Ron is made the new keeper for the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

The new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher turns out to be a very unlikeable character. When Dolores Umbridge refuses to teach anything useful in her Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, Hermione convinces Harry to give secret lessons to a number of students who want to learn how Defence Against the Dark Arts really works; reluctantly, he agrees, and they all sign a paper stating their intent to never reveal the group to Umbridge.

Hagrid later returns, looking much the worse for wear. Although he eventually divulges his mission to recruit the giants on the Order's side, he is much more reluctant to come clean about the cause of his injuries. Both he and Professor Sibyll Trelawney are under heavy observation by Umbridge, as she seems to suspect both of being incompetent; Umbridge also dislikes "half-breeds," and Hagrid is half-human, half-giant.

As Umbridge convinces Fudge to pass more and more edicts, activities in the school become more intensely curtailed. All student groups are banned; the Slytherin Quidditch team is almost immediately reactivated--to no one's great surprise--but the Gryffindor team is held up until Minerva McGonagall goes over Umbridge's head and has Dumbledore reinstate it. The Slytherins compose a taunting ditty entitled "Weasley is Our King" in an attempt to intimidate Ron into playing poorly. It succeeds, but Harry captures the Golden Snitch in the first game to clinch victory. However, a fight afterwards provoked by Draco Malfoy results in Harry and the Weasley twins, Fred and George, being permanently banned from playing the game by Umbridge.

Secretly, however, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classes led by Harry go on. They now call themselves the "D.A.", initially for Defence Association but settling on Dumbledore's Army, since many believe Fudge's recent actions against Hogwarts are to keep Dumbledore from creating an army of his own to use against the Ministry of Magic.

All along, Harry has had a number of strange dreams, mostly about running down a hallway and attempting to open a door in the Department of Mysteries. One of these strange dreams put him on the point of view of a snake, where he attacks Ron's father, Arthur Weasley. Waking up, he immediately tells everyone, and Arthur is indeed discovered with poisonous snake bites and hospitalised, eventually escaping danger. Harry begins to wonder if he is being possessed and transported by Voldemort to do his bidding; others reassure him that this is not so. Soon, however, Dumbledore orders Harry to be placed under Severus Snape's tutelage in the art of Occlumency, the ability to block one's mind from being manipulated.

Hermione arranges for Harry to be interviewed by Rita Skeeter concerning the truth about Voldemort (Rita only agrees lest Hermione reveal to the authorities that Rita is an unregistered animagus). Luna Lovegood's father happens to be the editor of The Quibbler, and her father agrees to take Rita's article. When the article appears, Umbridge is furious: she forbids Harry from Hogsmeade weekends and bans students from having copies of The Quibbler. Fortunately for Harry, this gives the magazine the lure of the forbidden and soon the publication spread like wildfire throughout the school despite Umbridge's frantic efforts to stop it.

Umbridge attempts to fire and throw Trelawney out, but Dumbledore allows her to stay at the castle, saying he found a replacement that prefers to sleep on the ground; in her place, a centaur named Firenze, whom Harry met in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, becomes the new teacher. This irritates Umbridge greatly; Dumbledore did not consult her, and she dislikes "half-breeds" like centaurs and Hagrid.

Harry's attraction to the Ravenclaw Quidditch player Cho Chang further complicates the situation; he is awkward and confused in close situations with her. A particularly painful experience in the wizarding town of Hogsmeade appears to destroy what little foundation the two had built for their relationship; Harry's continuing close friendship with Hermione and Cho's sorrow over the death of her ex-boyfriend, Cedric Diggory, appear to be the key issues. Also, Harry has trouble understanding or communicating with her.

Things begin to come to a head when in the middle of a DA meeting, the members are informed that they have been turned in and Umbridge is punishing them. Harry is the only one caught and taken to Dumbledore's office. Dumbledore, in order to protect the students from taking the blame, has convinced Fudge that it was his idea to form DA to depose Fudge as the Minister of Magic. Fudge has always considered Dumbledore to be a threat to his profession. Dumbledore escapes, and Umbridge installs herself as the new Headmistress and begins the Inquisitorial Squad. The Weasley twins use their talents in pranks to give her so much trouble while all of the teachers, who dislike Umbridge intensely, rebel by doing nothing to help her cope.

The Weasley twins set off one last conflagration so that Harry can talk to Sirius via the fireplace in Umbridge's office - the rest are under watch after Sirius used them once too many times to talk to Harry - and are caught; they decide to leave school in a spectacularly memorable manner, leaving a magical swamp inside the school, and to use the winnings from the Triwizard Tournament that Harry had given them to finally start their Joke Shop.

During the OWLs, Harry and others witness a group of people attempting to capture Hagrid to expel him. Professor McGonagall tries to stop them, and is hit with a large number of Stun Charms, which have her hospitalised. Soon after, Harry has a dream which seems to complete the journey down the hallway: as Voldemort, he has Sirius captured in the Department of Mysteries, and is torturing him slowly.

Harry and his crew make a desperate attempt to contact Sirius via the fireplace in Umbridge's office, but the Black family's house-elf, Kreacher, tells Harry that Voldemort has indeed taken his godfather. Umbridge and her minions--Slytherin students--capture Harry's gang. Thinking fast, Hermione makes up a story about who they were trying to contact, and says that they were protecting a weapon, and that she and Harry would take her to the weapon. Umbridge asks Snape to give her some Veritaserum, but he says he has none left; she was not aware that he is also a member of the Order of the Phoenix. Umbridge tells Harry that it was she who ordered the Dementors on him during the summer.

They entice Umbridge into the woods, knowing that the centaurs, very angry that one of their brethren now works for humans, are disposed to hate adult wizards. The centaurs take Umbridge away, and are about to do the same to Harry and Hermione, when Hagrid's half-brother--a "small" giant named Grawp, whom Hagrid had brought back with him from his quest over the summer--appears and distracts the centaurs. Ron, Ginny, Luna and Neville appear, and they all decide to go to the Ministry of Magic to rescue Sirius, riding on thestrals, horse-like creatures which only people who have seen death can see.

Upon arriving at the Department of Mysteries, and after a number of false turns, they arrive at the location in Harry's dream, to find not Voldemort and Sirius but a bunch of Death Eaters. The Death Eaters include, among others: Draco's father Lucius Malfoy, MacNair the executioner in the employ of the Ministry, Azkaban escapee and former Department of Mysteries employee Rookwood and Azkaban escapee couple the Lestranges (including Bellatrix Lestrange -- cousin of Sirius Black and torturer of the Longbottoms). The vision of Sirius's torture at the Department of Mysteries was a trap. When Voldemort realised that Harry could see his actions, he planted fake ones in his mind. The Death Eaters are there to force Harry to retrieve a glass sphere; the record of a prophecy. Only the people the prophecy is about are able to retrieve it. As Voldemort does not want to risk being found out, he lures Harry into retrieving it for him. The prophecy, made before Harry's birth, is apparently about Voldemort and Harry Potter. As an initial partial understanding of that prophecy was directly linked to Voldemort's initial downfall (when he tried to kill Harry as a baby), Voldemort is determined to hear the full prophecy.

A great skirmish begins, with the students versus the Death Eaters. Most of the students are injured, and, as they near defeat, many of the adult wizards from the Order of the Phoenix appear to help them including Sirius. During the ensuing battle, the glass sphere which holds the prophecy is shattered. A ghostly image pronounces the prophecy but no one can hear it. Also, tragically, Sirius is struck by a curse from the wand of his cousin and Death Eater, Bellatrix Lestrange. He falls through a veil held inside an arch in the Death Chamber of the Department of Mysteries, which literally and figuratively marks his end. Dumbledore shows up and ropes off most of the Death Eaters, but Bellatrix escapes.

Harry blindly chases after Bellatrix, intent to avenge Sirius' death, and as he is catching up with her in the main atrium of the Ministry of Magic, they have a small battle. Then Lord Voldemort himself appears inside the atrium. He and Dumbledore duel, and after a dramatic fight and a brief episode where Voldemort actually manages to possess Harry, tempting Dumbledore to kill him in the body of Harry, Voldemort eventually retreats via disapparating and takes Bellatrix with him. Alerted Ministry of Magic employees arrive in time to see "He Who Must Not Be Named" for themselves. Among them is Cornelius Fudge, who finally accepts Voldemort's return and believes what Dumbledore and Harry have been saying. In turn, the Daily Prophet reverses its hostile stand on the pair, restoring and gilding their reputations with the additional accolade as the forewarners of Voldemort's return in the face of all odds and opposition.

As the story draws to a close, Dumbledore explains much to Harry. He did not wish to be close to him during the year, as he could sense Voldemort's growing power over the boy--indeed, on more than one occasion, Harry was filled with a desire to strike down Dumbledore. He regretted not helping Harry with learning Occlumency, and also tells him the prophecy: the copy in the Department of Mysteries was just that, a copy. It turns out that at her initial Hogwarts interview sixteen years ago (held in a room at the Hog's Head Inn in Hogsmeade) Trelawney predicted that:

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...the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...

This was interpreted to mean that Voldemort would kill either Harry or Neville Longbottom, or vice-versa. After Voldemort, hearing of the prophecy, attacked Harry as a child, the latter part of the prophecy was realised; Harry would be his foe and kill or be killed by him, not Neville.

The existence of this prophecy brings clarity to Dumbledore remarking that Trelawney's prediction in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has been her second real one. The first prediction was the Harry/Voldemort prophecy.

Dumbledore also elaborates on the reason why Harry has to stay at the Dursleys' each summer: as Harry's mother died for him, imparting him with magical protection through her sacrifice, he is safe in the Dursleys' home because Aunt Petunia shares Lily Potter's blood, therefore the protection extends to the Dursley home and Voldemort cannot hurt him there, provided he returns once per year. Dumbledore was the one who sent Petunia the Howler, reminding her of her agreement to take Harry in.

In the end, Harry goes back to the Dursleys', but not without Vernon and Petunia getting a stern talking-to by a number of wizards in the Order (including a menacing Mad-Eye). Changes are brewing in the wizarding world.


Voldemort and his allies begin to act openly, causing widespread chaos and paranoia in Britain. Rufus Scrimgeour replaces Cornelius Fudge as Minister of Magic, due to Fudge's previous inaction against Lord Voldemort[HP5]. Severus Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow to Draco Malfoy's mother Narcissa that he will protect Draco and aid him in his first mission as a Death Eater.

Security measures have been increased at Hogwarts. Snape is given his coveted Defence Against the Dark Arts post while Horace Slughorn is persuaded by Dumbledore and Harry Potter to return from retirement to replace Snape as Potions teacher. Slughorn lends the unprepared Harry an old textbook marked as the Half-Blood Prince's. Its handwritten notes help Harry to outdo even Hermione in Potions.

With Slughorn's reluctant help, Albus Dumbledore shows Harry details of Voldemort's past. They discover that Voldemort created six Horcruxes and divided his soul into seven pieces to become immortal as long as they exist. While two of Voldemort's Horcruxes have already been destroyed (Tom Riddle's diary by Harry[HP2] and Marvolo Gaunt's ring by Dumbledore), Dumbledore believes that there are four more that must be destroyed. Dumbledore and Harry set off to retrieve one (Salazar Slytherin's locket), but Dumbledore is heavily weakened by drinking the potion guarding it.

The two return to find the Dark Mark over Hogwarts and Death Eaters attacking students and teachers. As they investigate, they are surprised by Draco. Dumbledore paralyses Harry, who is invisibly cloaked. Draco reveals that he let the Death Eaters into Hogwarts via a magical cabinet. Other Death Eaters soon arrive and urge Draco to fulfill his mission, but Draco hesitates. Snape then arrives and kills Dumbledore with the Avada Kedavra curse, fulfilling his vow. Harry pursues Snape, who identifies himself as the Half-Blood Prince before fleeing from Hogwarts.

Minerva McGonagall becomes the interim headmistress of Hogwarts, but she and the other teachers fear that the school may have to be closed down. Harry discovers that the locket he and Dumbledore recovered is a fake. The actual locket was taken by the mysterious R.A.B.. After Dumbledore's funeral, Harry decides not to return to school so that he can devote his time to destroying the remaining Horcruxes and defeating Voldemort.


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