Dobby to the rescue

Dobby saves the day when it looks as though all hope is lost in the cellar of Malfoy Manor

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

Ron clicked the Deluminator. Three balls of light flew back into the air from his pocket, revealing Dobby the house-elf, who had just Apparated into their midst.

‘DOB—!’

Harry hit Ron on the arm to stop him shouting, and Ron looked terrified at his mistake. Footsteps crossed the ceiling overhead: Draco marching Griphook to Bellatrix.

Dobby’s enormous, tennis-ball-shaped eyes were wide; he was trembling from his feet to the tips of his ears. He was back in the home of his old masters, and it was clear that he was petrified.

‘Harry Potter,’ he squeaked, in the tiniest quiver of a voice, ‘Dobby has come to rescue you.’

‘But how did you –?’

An awful scream drowned Harry’s words: Hermione was being tortured again. He cut to the essentials.

‘You can Disapparate out of this cellar?’ he asked Dobby, who nodded, his ears flapping. ‘And you can take humans with you?’

Dobby nodded again.

‘Right. Dobby, I want you to grab Luna, Dean and Mr Ollivander, and take them – take them to –'

‘Bill and Fleur’s,’ said Ron. ‘Shell Cottage on the outskirts of Tinworth!’

The elf nodded for a third time.

‘And then come back,’ said Harry. ‘Can you do that, Dobby?’ ‘Of course, Harry Potter,’ whispered the little elf. He hurried over to Mr Ollivander, who appeared to be barely conscious. He took one of the wandmaker’s hands in his own, then held out the other to Luna and Dean, neither of whom moved.

‘Harry, we want to help you!’ Luna whispered.

‘We can’t leave you here,’ said Dean.

‘Go, both of you! We’ll see you at Bill and Fleur’s.’

As Harry spoke, his scar burned worse than ever, and for a few seconds he looked down, not upon the wandmaker, but on another man who was just as old, just as thin, but laughing scornfully.

‘Kill me, then, Voldemort, I welcome death! But my death will not bring you what you seek ... there is so much you do not understand ...’

He felt Voldemort’s fury, but as Hermione screamed again he shut it out, returning to the cellar and the horror of his own present.

‘Go!’ Harry beseeched Luna and Dean. ‘Go! We’ll follow, just go!’

They caught hold of the elf’s outstretched fingers. There was another loud crack, and Dobby, Luna, Dean and Ollivander vanished.

‘What was that?’ shouted Lucius Malfoy from over their heads. ‘Did you hear that? What was that noise in the cellar?’

Harry and Ron stared at each other.

‘Draco – no, call Wormtail! Make him go and check!’ Footsteps crossed the room overhead, then there was silence.

Harry knew that the people in the drawing room were listening for more noises from the cellar.

‘We’re going to have to try and tackle him,’ he whispered to Ron. They had no choice: the moment anyone entered the room and saw the absence of three prisoners, they were lost. ‘Leave the lights on,’ Harry added, and as they heard someone descending the steps outside the door, they backed against the wall on either side of it.

‘Stand back,’ came Wormtail’s voice. ‘Stand away from the door. I am coming in.’

The door flew open. For a split second Wormtail gazed into the apparently empty cellar, ablaze with light from the three miniature suns floating in mid-air. Then Harry and Ron launched themselves upon him. Ron seized Wormtail’s wand arm and forced it upwards; Harry slapped a hand to his mouth, muffling his voice. Silently they struggled: Wormtail’s wand emitted sparks; his silver hand closed around Harry’s throat.

‘What is it, Wormtail?’ called Lucius Malfoy from above.

‘Nothing!’ Ron called back, in a passable imitation of Wormtail’s wheezy voice. ‘All fine!’

Harry could barely breathe.

‘You’re going to kill me?’ Harry choked, attempting to prise off the metal fingers. ‘After I saved your life? You owe me, Wormtail!’ The silver fingers slackened. Harry had not expected it: he wrenched himself free, astonished, keeping his hand over Wormtail’s mouth. He saw the rat-like man’s small, watery eyes widen with fear and surprise: he seemed just as shocked as Harry at what his hand had done, at the tiny, merciful impulse it had betrayed, and he continued to struggle more powerfully, as though to undo that moment of weakness.

‘And we’ll have that,’ whispered Ron, tugging Wormtail’s wand from his other hand. Wandless, helpless, Pettigrew’s pupils dilated in terror. His eyes had slid from Harry’s face to something else. His own silver fingers were moving inexorably towards his own throat.

‘No –’

Without pausing to think, Harry tried to drag back the hand, but there was no stopping it. The silver tool that Voldemort had given his most cowardly servant had turned upon its Disarmed and useless owner; Pettigrew was reaping his reward for his hesitation, his moment of pity; he was being strangled before their eyes.

‘No!’

Ron had released Wormtail too, and together he and Harry tried to pull the crushing metal fingers from around Wormtail’s throat, but it was no use. Pettigrew was turning blue.

‘Relashio!’ said Ron, pointing the wand at the silver hand, but nothing happened; Pettigrew dropped to his knees, and at the same moment, Hermione gave a dreadful scream from overhead. Wormtail’s eyes rolled upwards in his purple face, he gave a last twitch and was still.

Harry and Ron looked at each other, then, leaving Wormtail’s body on the floor behind them, ran up the stairs and back into the shadowy passageway leading to the drawing room. Cautiously they crept along it, until they reached the drawing-room door, which was ajar. Now they had a clear view of Bellatrix looking down at Griphook, who was holding Gryffindor’s sword in his long-fingered hands. Hermione was lying at Bellatrix’s feet. She was barely stirring.

‘Well?’ Bellatrix said to Griphook. ‘Is it the true sword?’

Harry waited, holding his breath, fighting against the prickling of his scar.

‘No,’ said Griphook. ‘It is a fake.’

‘Are you sure?’ panted Bellatrix. ‘Quite sure?’

‘Yes,’ said the goblin.

Relief broke across her face, all tension drained from it. ‘Good,’ she said, and with a casual flick of her wand she slashed another deep cut into the goblin’s face, and he dropped with a yell at her feet. She kicked him aside. ‘And now,’ she said, in a voice that burst with triumph, ‘we call the Dark Lord!’

And she pushed back her sleeve and touched her forefinger to the Dark Mark.

At once, Harry’s scar felt as though it had split open again. His true surroundings vanished: he was Voldemort, and the skeletal wizard before him was laughing toothlessly at him; he was enraged at the summons he felt – he had warned them, he had told them to summon him for nothing less than Potter. If they were mistaken ...

‘Kill me, then!’ demanded the old man. ‘You will not win, you cannot win! That wand will never, ever be yours –’

And Voldemort’s fury broke: a burst of green light filled the prison room and the frail old body was lifted from its hard bed and then fell back, lifeless, and Voldemort returned to the window, his wrath barely controllable ... they would suffer his retribution if they had no good reason for calling him back ...

‘And I think,’ said Bellatrix’s voice, ‘we can dispose of the Mudblood. Greyback, take her if you want her.’

‘NOOOOOOOOOOOO!’

Ron had burst into the drawing room; Bellatrix looked round, shocked; she turned her wand to face Ron instead –

‘Expelliarmus!’ he roared, pointing Wormtail’s wand at Bellatrix, and hers flew into the air and was caught by Harry, who had sprinted after Ron. Lucius, Narcissa, Draco and Greyback wheeled about; Harry yelled, ‘Stupefy!’ and Lucius Malfoy collapsed on to the hearth. Jets of light flew from Draco’s, Narcissa’s and Greyback’s wands; Harry threw himself to the floor, rolling behind a sofa to avoid them.

‘STOP OR SHE DIES!’

Panting, Harry peered round the edge of the sofa. Bellatrix was supporting Hermione, who seemed to be unconscious, and was holding her short silver knife to Hermione’s throat.

‘Drop your wands,’ she whispered. ‘Drop them, or we’ll see exactly how filthy her blood is!’ Ron stood rigid, clutching Wormtail’s wand. Harry straightened up, still holding Bellatrix’s. ‘I said, drop them!’ she screeched, pressing the blade into Hermione’s throat: Harry saw beads of blood appear there.

‘All right!’ he shouted, and he dropped Bellatrix’s wand on to the floor at his feet. Ron did the same with Wormtail’s. Both raised their hands to shoulder height.

‘Good!’ she leered. ‘Draco, pick them up! The Dark Lord is coming, Harry Potter! Your death approaches!’

Harry knew it; his scar was bursting with the pain of it, and he could feel Voldemort flying through the sky from far away, over a dark and stormy sea, and soon he would be close enough to Apparate to them, and Harry could see no way out.

‘Now,’ said Bellatrix softly, as Draco hurried back with the wands, ‘Cissy, I think we ought to tie these little heroes up again, while Greyback takes care of Miss Mudblood. I am sure the Dark Lord will not begrudge you the girl, Greyback, after what you have done tonight.’

At the last word there was a peculiar grinding noise from above. All of them looked upwards in time to see the crystal chandelier tremble; then, with a creak and an ominous jingling, it began to fall. Bellatrix was directly beneath it; dropping Hermione, she threw herself aside with a scream. The chandelier crashed to the floor in an explosion of crystal and chains, falling on top of Hermione and the goblin, who still clutched the sword of Gryffindor. Glittering shards of crystal flew in all directions: Draco doubled over, his hands covering his bloody face.

As Ron ran to pull Hermione out of the wreckage, Harry took his chance; he leapt over an armchair and wrested the three wands from Draco’s grip, pointed all of them at Greyback and yelled: ‘Stupefy!’ The werewolf was lifted off his feet by the triple spell, flew up to the ceiling and then smashed to the ground.

As Narcissa dragged Draco out of the way of further harm, Bellatrix sprang to her feet, her hair flying as she brandished the silver knife; but Narcissa had directed her wand at the doorway.

‘Dobby!’ she screamed, and even Bellatrix froze. ‘You! You dropped the chandelier –?’

The tiny elf trotted into the room, his shaking finger pointing at his old mistress.

‘You must not hurt Harry Potter,’ he squeaked.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling