The Death Eaters' trap

Harry, Ron and Hermione arrive in Hogsmeade only to immediately almost be discovered by Death Eaters

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

Harry’s feet touched road. He saw the achingly familiar Hogsmeade High Street: dark shop fronts, and the outline of black mountains beyond the village, and the curve in the road ahead that led off towards Hogwarts, and light spilling from the windows of the Three Broomsticks, and with a lurch of the heart, he remembered, with piercing accuracy, how he had landed here, nearly a year before, supporting a desperately weak Dumbledore; all this in a second, upon landing and then, even as he relaxed his grip upon Ron and Hermione’s arms, it happened.

The air was rent by a scream that sounded like Voldemort’s when he had realised the cup had been stolen, it tore at every nerve in Harry’s body, and he knew immediately that their appearance had caused it. Even as he looked at the other two beneath the Cloak, the door of the Three Broomsticks burst open and a dozen cloaked and hooded Death Eaters dashed into the street, their wands aloft.

Harry seized Ron’s wrist as he raised his wand. There were too many of them to Stun, even attempting it would give away their position. One of the Death Eaters waved his wand and the scream stopped, still echoing around the distant mountains.

‘Accio Cloak!’ roared one of the Death Eaters.

Harry seized its folds, but it made no attempt to escape, the Summoning Charm had not worked on it.

‘Not under your wrapper, then, Potter?’ yelled the Death Eater who had tried the charm, and then, to his fellows, ‘Spread out. He’s here.’

Six of the Death Eaters ran towards them, Harry, Ron and Hermione backed, as quickly as possible, down the nearest side street and the Death Eaters missed them by inches. They waited in the darkness, listening to the footsteps running up and down, beams of light flying along the street from the Death Eaters’ searching wands.

‘Let’s just leave!’ Hermione whispered. ‘Disapparate now!’

‘Great idea,’ said Ron, but before Harry could reply, a Death Eater shouted, ‘We know you’re here, Potter, and there’s no getting away! We’ll find you!’

‘They were ready for us,’ whispered Harry. ‘They set up that spell to tell them we’d come. I reckon they’ve done something to keep us here, trap us’

‘What about Dementors?’ called another Death Eater. ‘Let ’em have free rein, they’d find him quick enough!’

‘The Dark Lord wants Potter dead by no hand but his’

‘an’ Dementors won’t kill him! The Dark Lord wants Potter’s life, not his soul. He’ll be easier to kill if he’s been kissed first!’

There were noises of agreement. Dread filled Harry: to repel Dementors they would have to produce Patronuses, which would give them away immediately.

‘We’re going to have to try to Disapparate, Harry!’ Hermione whispered.

Even as she said it, he felt the unnatural cold begin to steal over the street. Light was sucked from the environment right up to the stars, which vanished. In the pitch blackness, he felt Hermione take hold of his arm and together, they turned on the spot.

The air through which they needed to move seemed to have become solid: they could not Disapparate; the Death Eaters had cast their charms well. The cold was biting deeper and deeper into Harry’s flesh. He, Ron and Hermione retreated down the side street, groping their way along the wall, trying not to make a sound. Then, round the corner, gliding noiselessly, came Dementors, ten or more of them, visible because they were of a denser darkness than their surroundings, with their black cloaks and their scabbed and rotting hands. Could they sense fear in the vicinity? Harry was sure of it: they seemed to be coming more quickly now, taking those dragging, rattling breaths he detested, tasting despair on the air, closing in.

He raised his wand, he could not, would not, suffer the Dementor’s kiss, whatever happened afterwards. It was of Ron and Hermione that he thought as he whispered, Expecto patronum!’

The silver stag burst from his wand and charged: the Dementors scattered and there was a triumphant yell from somewhere out of sight.

‘It’s him, down there, down there, I saw his Patronus, it was a stag!’

The Dementors had retreated, the stars were popping out again, and the footsteps of the Death Eaters were becoming louder but before Harry in his panic could decide what to do, there was a grinding of bolts nearby, a door opened on the left-hand side of the narrow street and a rough voice said, ‘Potter, in here, quick!’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling

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