Guest at the Death Eaters' table

Lord Voldermort introduces his prisoner, Muggle Studies Professor Charity Burbage

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling

‘Do you recognise our guest, Severus?’ asked Voldemort.

Snape raised his eyes to the upside-down face. All of the Death Eaters were looking up at the captive now, as though they had been given permission to show curiosity. As she revolved to face the firelight, the woman said, in a cracked and terrified voice, ‘Severus! Help me!’

‘Ah, yes,’ said Snape, as the prisoner turned slowly away again.

‘And you, Draco?’ asked Voldemort, stroking the snake’s snout with his wand-free hand. Draco shook his head jerkily. Now that the woman had woken, he seemed unable to look at her any more.

‘But you would not have taken her classes,’ said Voldemort. ‘For those of you who do not know, we are joined here tonight by Charity Burbage who, until recently, taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.’

There were small noises of comprehension around the table. A broad, hunched woman with pointed teeth cackled.

‘Yes ... Professor Burbage taught the children of witches and wizards all about Muggles ... how they are not so different from us ...’

One of the Death Eaters spat on the floor. Charity Burbage revolved to face Snape again.

‘Severus ... please ... please ...’

‘Silence,’ said Voldemort, with another twitch of Malfoy’s wand, and Charity fell silent as if gagged. ‘Not content with corrupting and polluting the minds of wizarding children, last week Professor Burbage wrote an impassioned defence of Mudbloods in the Daily Prophet. Wizards, she says, must accept these thieves of their knowledge and magic. The dwindling of the pure-bloods is, says Professor Burbage, a most desirable circumstance ... she would have us all mate with Muggles ... or, no doubt, werewolves ...’

Nobody laughed this time: there was no mistaking the anger and contempt in Voldemort’s voice. For the third time, Charity Burbage revolved to face Snape. Tears were pouring from her eyes into her hair. Snape looked back at her, quite impassive, as she turned slowly away from him again.

‘Avada Kedavra.’

The flash of green light illuminated every corner of the room. Charity fell, with a resounding crash, on to the table below, which trembled and creaked. Several of the Death Eaters leapt back in their chairs. Draco fell out of his on to the floor.

‘Dinner, Nagini,’ said Voldemort softly, and the great snake swayed and slithered from his shoulders on to the polished wood.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling