A taste of her own medicine

Harry resorts to desperate measures in his battle with Bellatrix

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

Hatred rose in Harry such as he had never known before; he flung himself out from behind the fountain and bellowed, 'Crucio!'

Bellatrix screamed: the spell had knocked her off her feet, but she did not writhe and shriek with pain as Neville had – she was already back on her feet, breathless, no longer laughing. Harry dodged behind the golden fountain again. Her counter-spell hit the head of the handsome wizard, which was blown off and landed twenty feet away, gouging long scratches into the wooden floor.

‘Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?’ she yelled. She had abandoned her baby voice now. ‘You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain – to enjoy it - righteous anger won’t hurt me for long – I’ll show you how it is done, shall I? I’ll give you a lesson –’

Harry was edging around the fountain on the other side when she screamed, ‘Crucio!’ and he was forced to duck down again as the centaur’s arm, holding its bow, spun off and landed with a crash on the floor a short distance from the golden wizard’s head.

‘Potter, you cannot win against me!’ she cried.

He could hear her moving to the right, trying to get a clear shot of him. He backed around the statue away from her, crouching behind the centaur’s legs, his head level with the house-elf’s.

‘I was and am the Dark Lord’s most loyal servant. I learned the Dark Arts from him, and I know spells of such power that you, pathetic little boy, can never hope to compete –’

‘Stupefy!’ yelled Harry. He had edged right around to where the goblin stood beaming up at the now headless wizard and taken aim at her back as she peered around the fountain. She reacted so fast he barely had time to duck.


The jet of red light, his own Stunning Spell, bounced back at him. Harry scrambled back behind the fountain and one of the goblin’s ears went flying across the room.

‘Potter, I’m going to give you one chance!’ shouted Bellatrix.

‘Give me the prophecy – roll it out towards me now – and I may spare your life!’

‘Well, you’re going to have to kill me, because it’s gone!’ Harry roared and, as he shouted it, pain seared across his forehead; his scar was on fire again, and he felt a surge of fury that was quite unconnected with his own rage.

‘And he knows!’ said Harry, with a mad laugh to match Bellatrix’s own. ‘Your dear old mate Voldemort knows it’s gone! He’s not going to be happy with you, is he?’

‘What? What do you mean?’ she cried, and for the first time there was fear in her voice.

‘The prophecy smashed when I was trying to get Neville up the steps! What do you think Voldemort’ll say about that, then?’

His scar seared and burned … the pain of it was making his eyes stream …

‘LIAR!’ she shrieked, but he could hear the terror behind the anger now. ‘YOU’VE GOT IT, POTTER, AND YOU WILL GIVE IT TO ME! Accio prophecy! ACCIO PROPHECY!’

Harry laughed again because he knew it would incense her, the pain building in his head so badly he thought his skull might burst. He waved his empty hand from behind the one-eared goblin and withdrew it quickly as she sent another jet of green light flying at him.

‘Nothing there!’ he shouted. ‘Nothing to summon! It smashed and nobody heard what it said, tell your boss that!’

‘No!’ she screamed. ‘It isn’t true, you’re lying! MASTER, I TRIED, I TRIED – DO NOT PUNISH ME –’

‘Don’t waste your breath!’ yelled Harry, his eyes screwed up against the pain in his scar, now more terrible than ever. ‘He can’t hear you from here!’

‘Can’t I, Potter?’ said a high, cold voice.

Harry opened his eyes.

Tall, thin and black-hooded, his terrible snakelike face white and gaunt, his scarlet, slit-pupilled eyes staring … Lord Voldemort had appeared in the middle of the hall, his wand pointing at Harry who stood frozen, quite unable to move.

‘So, you smashed my prophecy?’ said Voldemort softly, staring at Harry with those pitiless red eyes. ‘No, Bella, he is not lying … I see the truth looking at me from within his worthless mind … months of preparation, months of effort … and my Death Eaters have let Harry Potter thwart me again …’

‘Master, I am sorry, I knew not, I was fighting the Animagus Black!’ sobbed Bellatrix, flinging herself down at Voldemort’s feet as he paced slowly nearer. ‘Master, you should know –’

‘Be quiet, Bella,’ said Voldemort dangerously. ‘I shall deal with you in a moment. Do you think I have entered the Ministry of Magic to hear your snivelling apologies?’

‘But Master – he is here – he is below –’

Voldemort paid no attention.

‘I have nothing more to say to you, Potter,’ he said quietly. ‘You have irked me too often, for too long. AVADA KEDAVRA!’

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J.K. Rowling