Family heirlooms

Marvolo shows off Gaunt family heirlooms to the Head of Magical Law Enforcement Squad

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling

'I was under the impression that I was speaking to Mr Gaunt,’ said Ogden, looking wary, but standing his ground.

‘That’s right!’ roared Gaunt. For a moment, Harry thought Gaunt was making an obscene hand gesture, but then realised that he was showing Ogden the ugly, black-stoned ring he was wearing on his middle finger, waving it before Ogden’s eyes. ‘See this? See this? Know what it is? Know where it came from? Centuries it’s been in our family, that’s how far back we go, and pure-blood all the way! Know how much I’ve been offered for this, with the Peverell coat of arms engraved on the stone?’

‘I’ve really no idea,’ said Ogden, blinking as the ring sailed within an inch of his nose, ‘and it’s quite beside the point, Mr Gaunt. Your son has committed –’

With a howl of rage, Gaunt ran towards his daughter. For a split second, Harry thought he was going to throttle her as his hand flew to her throat; next moment, he was dragging her towards Ogden by a gold chain around her neck.

‘See this?’ he bellowed at Ogden, shaking a heavy gold locket at him, while Merope spluttered and gasped for breath.

‘I see it, I see it!’ said Ogden hastily.

‘Slytherin’s!’ yelled Gaunt. ‘Salazar Slytherin’s! We’re his last living descendants, what do you say to that, eh?’

‘Mr Gaunt, your daughter!’ said Ogden in alarm, but Gaunt had already released Merope; she staggered away from him, back to her corner, massaging her neck and gulping for air.

‘So!’ said Gaunt triumphantly, as though he had just proved a complicated point beyond all possible dispute. ‘Don’t you go talking to us as if we’re dirt on your shoes! Generations of pure-bloods, wizards all – more than you can say, I don’t doubt!’

And he spat on the floor at Ogden’s feet. Morfin cackled again. Merope, huddled beside the window, her head bowed and her face hidden by her lank hair, said nothing.

‘Mr Gaunt,’ said Ogden doggedly, ‘I am afraid that neither your ancestors nor mine have anything to do with the matter in hand. I am here because of Morfin, Morfin and the Muggle he accosted late last night. Our information,’ he glanced down at his scroll of parchment, ‘is that Morfin performed a jinx or hex on the said Muggle, causing him to erupt in “highly painful hives.’

Morfin giggled.

‘Be quiet, boy,’ snarled Gaunt in Parseltongue, and Morfin fell silent again.

‘And so what if he did, then?’ Gaunt said defiantly to Ogden. ‘I expect you’ve wiped the Muggle’s filthy face clean for him, and his memory to boot –’

‘That’s hardly the point, is it, Mr Gaunt?’ said Ogden. ‘This was an unprovoked attack on a defenceless –’

‘Ar, I had you marked out as a Muggle-lover the moment I saw you,’ sneered Gaunt and he spat on the floor again.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling