A visit to St Mungo’s

Harry pays a visit to Arthur Weasley in St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

‘Right,’ said Tonks, beckoning them towards a window displaying nothing but a particularly ugly female dummy. Its false eyelashes were hanging off and it was modelling a green nylon pinafore dress. ‘Everybody ready?’

They nodded, clustering around her. Moody gave Harry another shove between the shoulder blades to urge him forward and Tonks leaned close to the glass, looking up at the very ugly dummy, her breath steaming up the glass. ‘Wotcher,’ she said, ‘we’re here to see Arthur Weasley.’

Harry thought how absurd it was for Tonks to expect the dummy to hear her talking so quietly through a sheet of glass, with buses rumbling along behind her and all the racket of a street full of shoppers. Then he reminded himself that dummies couldn’t hear anyway. Next second, his mouth opened in shock as the dummy gave a tiny nod and beckoned with its jointed finger, and Tonks had seized Ginny and Mrs Weasley by the elbows, stepped right through the glass and vanished.

Fred, George and Ron stepped after them. Harry glanced around at the jostling crowd; not one of them seemed to have a glance to spare for window displays as ugly as those of Purge & Dowse Ltd; nor did any of them seem to have noticed that six people had just melted into thin air in front of them.

‘C’mon,’ growled Moody, giving Harry yet another poke in the back, and together they stepped forward through what felt like a sheet of cool water, emerging quite warm and dry on the other side.

There was no sign of the ugly dummy or the space where she had stood. They were in what seemed to be a crowded reception area where rows of witches and wizards sat upon rickety wooden chairs, some looking perfectly normal and perusing out-of-date copies of Witch Weekly, others sporting gruesome disfigurements such as elephant trunks or extra hands sticking out of their chests. The room was scarcely less quiet than the street outside, for many of the patients were making very peculiar noises: a sweaty-faced witch in the centre of the front row, who was fanning herself vigorously with a copy of the Daily Prophet, kept letting off a high-pitched whistle as steam came pouring out of her mouth; a grubby-looking warlock in the corner clanged like a bell every time he moved and, with each clang, his head vibrated horribly so that he had to seize himself by the ears to hold it steady. Witches and wizards in lime-green robes were walking up and down the rows, asking questions and making notes on clipboards like Umbridge’s. Harry noticed the emblem embroidered on their chests: a wand and bone, crossed.

‘Are they doctors?’ he asked Ron quietly.

‘Doctors?’ said Ron, looking startled. ‘Those Muggle nutters that cut people up? Nah, they’re Healers.’

‘Over here!’ called Mrs Weasley, above the renewed clanging of the warlock in the corner, and they followed her to the queue in front of a plump blonde witch seated at a desk marked Enquiries. The wall behind her was covered in notices and posters saying things like: A CLEAN CAULDRON KEEPS POTIONS FROM BECOMING POISONS and ANTIDOTES ARE ANTI-DON’TS UNLESS APPROVED BY A QUALIFIED HEALER. There was also a large portrait of a witch with long silver ringlets which was labelled: Dilys Derwent, St Mungo’s Healer 1722–1741, Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry 1741–1768

Dilys was eyeing the Weasley party as though counting them; when Harry caught her eye she gave a tiny wink, walked sideways out of her portrait and vanished.

Meanwhile, at the front of the queue, a young wizard was performing an odd on-the-spot jig and trying, in between yelps of pain, to explain his predicament to the witch behind the desk. ‘It’s these – ouch – shoes my brother gave me – ow – they’re eating my – OUCH – feet – look at them, there must be some kind of – AARGH – jinx on them and I can’t – AAAAARGH – get them off.’ He hopped from one foot to the other as though dancing on hot coals.

‘The shoes don’t prevent you reading, do they?’ said the blonde witch, irritably pointing at a large sign to the left of her desk. ‘You want Spell Damage, fourth floor. Just like it says on the floor guide. Next!’

As the wizard hobbled and pranced sideways out of the way, the Weasley party moved forward a few steps and Harry read the floor guide:

ARTEFACT ACCIDENTS ..............................

Cauldron explosion, wand backfiring, broom crashes, etc.

CREATURE-INDUCED INJURIES .................

Bites, stings, burns, embedded spines, etc.

MAGICAL BUGS ..........................................

Contagious maladies, e.g. dragon pox, vanishing sickness, scrofungulus, etc.

POTION AND PLANT POISONING ............

Rashes, regurgitation, uncontrollable giggling, etc.

SPELL DAMAGE ..........................................

Unliftable jinxes, hexes, incorrectly applied charms, etc.

VISITORS’ TEAROOM / HOSPITAL SHOP .....

Ground floor

First floor

Second floor

Third floor

Fourth floor

Fifth floor

IF YOU ARE UNSURE WHERE TO GO, INCAPABLE OF NORMAL SPEECH OR UNABLE TO REMEMBER WHY YOU ARE HERE, OUR WELCOMEWITCH WILL BE PLEASED TO HELP.

A very old, stooped wizard with a hearing trumpet had shuffled to the front of the queue now. ‘I’m here to see Broderick Bode!’ he wheezed.

‘Ward forty-nine, but I’m afraid you’re wasting your time,’ said the witch dismissively. ‘He’s completely addled, you know – still thinks he’s a teapot. Next!’

A harassed-looking wizard was holding his small daughter tightly by the ankle while she flapped around his head using the immensely large, feathery wings that had sprouted right out through the back of her romper suit.

‘Fourth floor,’ said the witch, in a bored voice, without asking, and the man disappeared through the double doors beside the desk, holding his daughter like an oddly shaped balloon. ‘Next!’

Mrs Weasley moved forward to the desk.

‘Hello,’ she said, ‘my husband, Arthur Weasley, was supposed to be moved to a different ward this morning, could you tell us –?’

‘Arthur Weasley?’ said the witch, running her finger down a long list in front of her. ‘Yes, first floor, second door on the right, Dai Llewellyn Ward.’

‘Thank you,’ said Mrs Weasley. ‘Come on, you lot.’

They followed her through the double doors and along the narrow corridor beyond, which was lined with more portraits of famous Healers and lit by crystal bubbles full of candles that floated up on the ceiling, looking like giant soapsuds. More witches and wizards in lime-green robes walked in and out of the doors they passed; a foul-smelling yellow gas wafted into the passageway as they passed one door, and every now and then they heard distant wailing. They climbed a flight of stairs and entered the Creature-Induced Injuries corridor, where the second door on the right bore the words: ‘Dangerous’ Dai Llewellyn Ward: Serious Bites. Underneath this was a card in a brass holder on which had been handwritten: Healer-in- Charge: Hippocrates Smethwyck. Trainee Healer: Augustus Pye.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J.K. Rowling

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