Battle in the bathroom

Harry hits Draco with the Sectumsempra curse, with horrific results

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling

Draco Malfoy was standing with his back to the door, his hands clutching either side of the sink, his white-blond head bowed.

‘Don’t,’ crooned Moaning Myrtle’s voice from one of the cubicles. ‘Don’t … tell me what’s wrong … I can help you …'

'No one can help me,’ said Malfoy. His whole body was shaking. ‘I can’t do it … I can’t … it won’t work … and unless I do it soon … he says he’ll kill me …’

And Harry realised, with a shock so huge it seemed to root him to the spot, that Malfoy was crying – actually crying – tears streaming down his pale face into the grimy basin. Malfoy gasped and gulped and then, with a great shudder, looked up into the cracked mirror and saw Harry staring at him over his shoulder.

Malfoy wheeled round, drawing his wand. Instinctively, Harry pulled out his own. Malfoy’s hex missed Harry by inches, shattering the lamp on the wall beside him; Harry threw himself sideways, thought Levicorpus! and flicked his wand, but Malfoy blocked the jinx and raised his wand for another –

‘No! No! Stop it!’ squealed Moaning Myrtle, her voice echoing loudly around the tiled room. ‘Stop! STOP!’

There was a loud bang and the bin behind Harry exploded; Harry attempted a Leg-Locker Curse that backfired off the wall behind Malfoy’s ear and smashed the cistern beneath Moaning Myrtle, who screamed loudly; water poured everywhere and Harry slipped over as Malfoy, his face contorted, cried, ‘Cruci—’

‘SECTUMSEMPRA!’ bellowed Harry from the floor, waving his wand wildly.

Blood spurted from Malfoy’s face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword. He staggered backwards and collapsed on to the waterlogged floor with a great splash, his wand falling from his limp right hand.

‘No –’ gasped Harry.

Slipping and staggering, Harry got to his feet and plunged towards Malfoy, whose face was now shining scarlet, his white hands scrabbling at his blood-soaked chest.

‘No – I didn’t –’

Harry did not know what he was saying; he fell to his knees beside Malfoy, who was shaking uncontrollably in a pool of his own blood. Moaning Myrtle let out a deafening scream.

‘MURDER! MURDER IN THE BATHROOM! MURDER!’

The door banged open behind Harry and he looked up, terrified: Snape had burst into the room, his face livid. Pushing Harry roughly aside, he knelt over Malfoy, drew his wand and traced it over the deep wounds Harry’s curse had made, muttering an incantation that sounded almost like song. The flow of blood seemed to ease; Snape wiped the residue from Malfoy’s face and repeated his spell. Now the wounds seemed to be knitting.

Harry was still watching, horrified by what he had done, barely aware that he too was soaked in blood and water. Moaning Myrtle was still sobbing and wailing overhead. When Snape had performed his counter-curse for the third time, he half lifted Malfoy into a standing position.

‘You need the hospital wing. There may be a certain amount of scarring, but if you take dittany immediately we might avoid even that … come …'

He supported Malfoy across the bathroom, turning at the door to say in a voice of cold fury, ‘And you, Potter … you wait here for me.’


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling