Katie and the necklace

Katie Bell is affected by a powerful curse from a mysterious necklace

Extract from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling

It was a little while before Harry became aware that the voices of Katie Bell and her friend, which were being carried back to him on the wind, had become shriller and louder. Harry squinted at their indistinct figures. The two girls were having an argument about something Katie was holding in her hand.

‘It’s nothing to do with you, Leanne!’ Harry heard Katie say.

They rounded a corner in the lane, sleet coming thick and fast, blurring Harry’s glasses. Just as he raised a gloved hand to wipe them, Leanne made to grab hold of the package Katie was holding; Katie tugged it back and the package fell to the ground.

At once, Katie rose into the air, not as Ron had done, suspended comically by the ankle, but gracefully, her arms outstretched, as though she were about to fly. Yet there was something wrong, something eerie … her hair was whipped around her by the fierce wind, but her eyes were closed and her face was quite empty of expression. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Leanne had all halted in their tracks, watching.

Then, six feet above the ground, Katie let out a terrible scream. Her eyes flew open but whatever she could see, or whatever she was feeling, was clearly causing her terrible anguish. She screamed and screamed; Leanne started to scream too, and seized Katie’s ankles, trying to tug her back to the ground. Harry, Ron and Hermione rushed forwards to help, but even as they grabbed Katie’s legs, she fell on top of them; Harry and Ron managed to catch her but she was writhing so much they could hardly hold her. Instead they lowered her to the ground where she thrashed and screamed, apparently unable to recognise any of them.

Harry looked around; the landscape seemed deserted.

‘Stay there!’ he shouted at the others over the howling wind. ‘I’m going for help!’

He began to sprint towards the school; he had never seen anyone behave as Katie had just done and could not think what had caused it; he hurtled round a bend in the lane and collided with what seemed to be an enormous bear on its hind legs.

‘Hagrid!’ he panted, disentangling himself from the hedgerow into which he had fallen.

‘Harry!’ said Hagrid, who had sleet trapped in his eyebrows and beard, and was wearing his great, shaggy beaverskin coat. ‘Jus' bin visitin’ Grawp, he’s comin’ on so well yeh wouldn’ –’

‘Hagrid, someone’s hurt back there, or cursed, or something –’

‘Wha’?’ said Hagrid, bending lower to hear what Harry was saying over the raging wind.

‘Someone’s been cursed!’ bellowed Harry.

‘Cursed? Who’s bin cursed – not Ron? Hermione?’

‘No, it’s not them, it’s Katie Bell – this way …’

Together they ran back along the lane. It took them no time to find the little group of people around Katie, who was still writhing and screaming on the ground; Ron, Hermione and Leanne were all trying to quieten her.

‘Get back!’ shouted Hagrid. ‘Lemme see her!’

‘Something’s happened to her!’ sobbed Leanne. ‘I don’t know what –’

Hagrid stared at Katie for a second, then, without a word, bent down, scooped her into his arms and ran off towards the castle with her. Within seconds, Katie’s piercing screams had died away and the only sound was the roar of the wind.

Hermione hurried over to Katie’s wailing friend and put an arm around her.

‘It’s Leanne, isn’t it?’

The girl nodded. ‘Did it just happen all of a sudden, or –?’

‘It was when that package tore,’ sobbed Leanne, pointing at the now sodden brown-paper package on the ground, which had split open to reveal a greenish glitter. Ron bent down, his hand outstretched, but Harry seized his arm and pulled him back.

‘Don’t touch it!’

He crouched down. An ornate opal necklace was visible, poking out of the paper.

‘I’ve seen that before,’ said Harry, staring at the thing. ‘It was on display in Borgin and Burkes ages ago. The label said it was cursed. Katie must have touched it.’ He looked up at Leanne, who had started to shake uncontrollably. ‘How did Katie get hold of this?'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By J.K. Rowling