Escape from Privet Drive

The Order of the Phoenix rescues Harry from the Dursleys and takes him to Grimmauld Place

Extract from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J.K. Rowling

Mad-Eye Moody, who had long grizzled grey hair and a large chunk missing from his nose, was squinting suspiciously at Harry through his mismatched eyes. One eye was small, dark and beady, the other large, round and electric blue – the magical eye that could see through walls, doors and the back of Moody’s own head.

‘Are you quite sure it’s him, Lupin?’ he growled. ‘It’d be a nice lookout if we bring back some Death Eater impersonating him. We ought to ask him something only the real Potter would know. Unless anyone brought any Veritaserum?’

‘Harry, what form does your Patronus take?’ Lupin asked.

‘A stag,’ said Harry nervously.

‘That’s him, Mad-Eye,’ said Lupin.

Very conscious of everybody still staring at him, Harry descended the stairs, stowing his wand in the back pocket of his jeans as he came.

‘Don’t put your wand there, boy!’ roared Moody. ‘What if it ignited? Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!’

‘Who d’you know who’s lost a buttock?’ the violet-haired woman asked Mad-Eye interestedly.

‘Never you mind, you just keep your wand out of your back pocket!’ growled Mad-Eye. ‘Elementary wand-safety, nobody bothers about it any more.’ He stumped off towards the kitchen. ‘And I saw that,’ he added irritably, as the woman rolled her eyes towards the ceiling.

Lupin held out his hand and shook Harry’s.

‘How are you?’ he asked, looking closely at Harry.

‘F-fine ...’

Harry could hardly believe this was real. Four weeks with nothing, not the tiniest hint of a plan to remove him from Privet Drive, and suddenly a whole bunch of wizards was standing matter-of-factly in the house as though this was a long-standing arrangement. He glanced at the people surrounding Lupin; they were still gazing avidly at him. He felt very conscious of the fact that he had not combed his hair for four days.

‘I’m – you’re really lucky the Dursleys are out ...’ he mumbled.

‘Lucky, ha!’ said the violet-haired woman. ‘It was me who lured them out of the way. Sent a letter by Muggle post telling them they’d been short-listed for the All-England Best Kept Suburban Lawn Competition. They’re heading off to the prize-giving right now ... or they think they are.’

Harry had a fleeting vision of Uncle Vernon’s face when he realised there was no All-England Best Kept Suburban Lawn Competition.

‘We are leaving, aren’t we?’ he asked. ‘Soon?’

‘Almost at once,’ said Lupin, ‘we’re just waiting for the all-clear.’

'Where are we going? The Burrow?’ Harry asked hopefully.

‘Not The Burrow, no,’ said Lupin, motioning Harry towards the kitchen; the little knot of wizards followed, all still eyeing Harry curiously. ‘Too risky. We’ve set up Headquarters somewhere undetectable. It’s taken a while ...’

Mad-Eye Moody was now sitting at the kitchen table swigging from a hip flask, his magical eye spinning in all directions, taking in the Dursleys’ many labour-saving appliances.

‘This is Alastor Moody, Harry,’ Lupin continued, pointing towards Moody.

‘Yeah, I know,’ said Harry uncomfortably. It felt odd to be introduced to somebody he’d thought he’d known for a year.

‘And this is Nymphadora –’

'Don’t call me Nymphadora, Remus,’ said the young witch with a shudder, ‘it’s Tonks.’

‘Nymphadora Tonks, who prefers to be known by her surname only,’ finished Lupin.

‘So would you if your fool of a mother had called you Nymphadora,’ muttered Tonks.

‘And this is Kingsley Shacklebolt.’ He indicated the tall black wizard, who bowed. ‘Elphias Doge.’ The wheezy-voiced wizard nodded. ‘Dedalus Diggle –’

‘We’ve met before,’ squeaked the excitable Diggle, dropping his violet-coloured top hat.

‘Emmeline Vance.’ A stately-looking witch in an emerald green shawl inclined her head. ‘Sturgis Podmore.’ A square-jawed wizard with thick straw-coloured hair winked. ‘And Hestia Jones.’ A pink-cheeked, black-haired witch waved from next to the toaster.

Harry inclined his head awkwardly at each of them as they were introduced. He wished they would look at something other than him; it was as though he had suddenly been ushered on-stage. He also wondered why so many of them were there.

‘A surprising number of people volunteered to come and get you,’ said Lupin, as though he had read Harry’s mind; the corners of his mouth twitched slightly.

‘Yeah, well, the more the better,’ said Moody darkly. ‘We’re your guard, Potter.’

‘We’re just waiting for the signal to tell us it’s safe to set off,’ said Lupin, glancing out of the kitchen window. ‘We’ve got about fifteen minutes.’

‘Very clean, aren’t they, these Muggles?’ said the witch called Tonks, who was looking around the kitchen with great interest. ‘My dad’s Muggle-born and he’s a right old slob. I suppose it varies, just as it does with wizards?’

‘Er – yeah,’ said Harry. ‘Look –’ he turned back to Lupin, ‘what’s going on, I haven’t heard anything from anyone, what’s Vol—?’

Several of the witches and wizards made odd hissing noises; Dedalus Diggle dropped his hat again and Moody growled, 'Shut up!'

‘What?’ said Harry.

‘We’re not discussing anything here, it’s too risky,’ said Moody, turning his normal eye on Harry. His magical eye remained focused on the ceiling. ‘Damn it,’ he added angrily, putting a hand up to the magical eye, ‘it keeps getting stuck – ever since that scum wore it.’

And with a nasty squelching sound much like a plunger being pulled from a sink, he popped out his eye.

‘Mad-Eye, you do know that’s disgusting, don’t you?’ said Tonks conversationally.

‘Get me a glass of water, would you, Harry,’ requested Moody.

Harry crossed to the dishwasher, took out a clean glass and filled it with water at the sink, still watched eagerly by the band of wizards. Their relentless staring was starting to annoy him.

‘Cheers,’ said Moody, when Harry handed him the glass. He dropped the magical eyeball into the water and prodded it up and down; the eye whizzed around, staring at them all in turn. ‘I want three hundred and sixty degrees visibility on the return journey.’


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By J.K. Rowling