Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

They Disapparated, pulling the prisoners with them. Harry struggled, trying to throw off Greyback’s hand, but it was hopeless: Ron and Hermione were squeezed tightly against him on either side, he could not separate from the group, and as the breath was squeezed out of him his scar seared more painfully still –

... as he forced himself through the slit of a window like a snake and landed, lightly as vapour, inside the cell-like room

The prisoners lurched into one another as they landed in a country lane. Harry’s eyes, still puffy, took a moment to acclimatise, then he saw a pair of wrought-iron gates at the foot of what looked like a long drive. He experienced the tiniest trickle of relief. The worst had not happened yet: Voldemort was not here. He was, Harry knew, for he was fighting to resist the vision, in some strange, fortress-like place, at the top of a tower. How long it would take Voldemort to get to this place, once he knew that Harry was here, was another matter ...

One of the Snatchers strode to the gates and shook them.

‘How do we get in? They’re locked, Greyback, I can’t – blimey!’

He whipped his hands away in fright. The iron was contorting, twisting itself out of the abstract furls and coils into a frightening face, which spoke in a clanging, echoing voice: ‘State your purpose!’

‘We’ve got Potter!’ Greyback roared triumphantly. ‘We’ve captured Harry Potter!’

The gates swung open.

‘Come on!’ said Greyback to his men, and the prisoners were shunted through the gates and up the drive, between high hedges that muffled their footsteps. Harry saw a ghostly white shape above him, and realised it was an albino peacock. He stumbled and was dragged on to his feet by Greyback; now he was staggering along sideways, tied back-to-back to the four other prisoners. Closing his puffy eyes he allowed the pain in his scar to overcome him for a moment, wanting to know what Voldemort was doing, whether he knew yet that Harry was caught –

... the emaciated figure stirred beneath its thin blanket and rolled over towards him, eyes opening in a skull of a face ... the frail man sat up, great sunken eyes fixed upon him, upon Voldemort, and then he smiled. Most of his teeth were gone ...

‘So, you have come. I thought you would ... one day. But your journey was pointless. I never had it.’

‘You lie!’

As Voldemort’s anger throbbed inside him, Harry’s scar threatened to burst with pain, and he wrenched his mind back to his own body, fighting to remain present as the prisoners were pushed over gravel.

Light spilled out over all of them.

‘What is this?’ said a woman’s cold voice.

‘We’re here to see He Who Must Not Be Named!’ rasped Greyback.

‘Who are you?’

‘You know me!’ There was resentment in the werewolf’s voice, ‘Fenrir Greyback! We’ve caught Harry Potter!’

Greyback seized Harry and dragged him round to face the light, forcing the other prisoners to shuffle round too.

‘I know ’e’s swollen, ma’am, but it’s ’im!’ piped up Scabior. ‘If you look a bit closer, you’ll see ’is scar. And this ’ere, see the girl? The Mudblood who’s been travelling around with ’im, ma’am. There’s no doubt it’s ’im, and we’ve got ’is wand as well! ’Ere, ma’am –’

Harry saw Narcissa Malfoy scrutinising his swollen face. Scabior thrust the blackthorn wand at her. She raised her eyebrows.

‘Bring them in,’ she said.

Harry and the others were shoved and kicked up broad stone steps, into a hallway lined with portraits.

‘Follow me,’ said Narcissa, leading the way across the hall. ‘My son, Draco, is home for his Easter holidays. If that is Harry Potter, he will know.’

The drawing room dazzled after the darkness outside; even with his eyes almost closed Harry could make out the wide proportions of the room. A crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, more portraits against the dark purple walls. Two figures rose from chairs in front of an ornate marble fireplace as the prisoners were forced into the room by the Snatchers.

‘What is this?’

The dreadfully familiar, drawling voice of Lucius Malfoy fell on Harry’s ears. He was panicking now: he could see no way out, and it was easier, as his fear mounted, to block out Voldemort’s thoughts, though his scar was still burning.

‘They say they’ve got Potter,’ said Narcissa’s cold voice. ‘Draco, come here.’

Harry did not dare look directly at Draco, but saw him obliquely: a figure slightly taller than he was, rising from an armchair, his face a pale and pointed blur beneath white-blond hair.

Greyback forced the prisoners to turn again so as to place Harry directly beneath the chandelier.

‘Well, boy?’ rasped the werewolf.

Harry was facing a mirror over the fireplace, a great gilded thing with an intricately scrolled frame. Through the slits of his eyes, he saw his own reflection for the first time since leaving Grimmauld Place.

His face was huge, shiny and pink, every feature distorted by Hermione’s jinx. His black hair reached his shoulders and there was a dark shadow around his jaw. Had he not known that it was he who stood there, he would have wondered who was wearing his glasses. He resolved not to speak, for his voice was sure to give him away; yet he still avoided eye contact with Draco as the latter approached.

‘Well, Draco?’ said Lucius Malfoy. He sounded avid. ‘Is it? Is it Harry Potter?’

‘I can’t – I can’t be sure,’ said Draco. He was keeping his distance from Greyback, and seemed as scared of looking at Harry as Harry was of looking at him.

‘But look at him carefully, look! Come closer!’

Harry had never heard Lucius Malfoy so excited.

‘Draco, if we are the ones who hand Potter over to the Dark Lord, everything will be forgiv—’

‘Now, we won’t be forgetting who actually caught him, I hope, Mr Malfoy?’ said Greyback menacingly.

‘Of course not, of course not!’ said Lucius impatiently. He approached Harry himself, came so close that Harry could see the usually languid, pale face in sharp detail even through his swollen eyes. With his face a puffy mask, Harry felt as though he was peering out from between the bars of a cage.

‘What did you do to him?’ Lucius asked Greyback. ‘How did he get into this state?’

‘That wasn’t us.’

‘Looks more like a Stinging Jinx to me,’ said Lucius. His grey eyes raked Harry’s forehead.

‘There’s something there,’ he whispered, ‘it could be the scar, stretched tight ... Draco, come here, look properly! What do you think?’

Harry saw Draco’s face up close, now, right beside his father’s. They were extraordinarily alike, except that while his father looked beside himself with excitement, Draco’s expression was full of reluctance, even fear.

‘I don’t know,’ he said, and he walked away towards the fireplace where his mother stood watching.

‘We had better be certain, Lucius,’ Narcissa called to her husband in her cold, clear voice. ‘Completely sure that it is Potter, before we summon the Dark Lord ... They say this is his,’ she was looking closely at the blackthorn wand, ‘but it does not resemble Ollivander’s description ... If we are mistaken, if we call the Dark Lord here for nothing ... remember what he did to Rowle and Dolohov?’

‘What about the Mudblood, then?’ growled Greyback. Harry was nearly thrown off his feet as the Snatchers forced the prisoners to swivel around again, so that the light fell on Hermione instead.

‘Wait,’ said Narcissa sharply. ‘Yes – yes, she was in Madam Malkin’s with Potter! I saw her picture in the Prophet! Look, Draco, isn’t it the Granger girl?’

‘I ... maybe ... yeah.’

‘But then, that’s the Weasley boy!’ shouted Lucius, striding round the bound prisoners to face Ron. ‘It’s them, Potter’s friends – Draco look at him, isn’t it Arthur Weasley’s son, what’s his name –?’

‘Yeah,’ said Draco again, his back to the prisoners. ‘It could be.’

The drawing-room door opened behind Harry. A woman spoke, and the sound of the voice wound Harry’s fear to an even higher pitch.

‘What is this? What’s happened, Cissy?’

Bellatrix Lestrange walked slowly around the prisoners, and stopped on Harry’s right, staring at Hermione through her heavily lidded eyes.

‘But surely,’ she said quietly, ‘this is the Mudblood girl? This is Granger?’

‘Yes, yes, it’s Granger!’ cried Lucius. ‘And beside her, we think, Potter! Potter and his friends, caught at last!’

‘Potter?’ shrieked Bellatrix, and she backed away, the better to take in Harry. ‘Are you sure? Well, then, the Dark Lord must be informed at once!’

She dragged back her left sleeve: Harry saw the Dark Mark burned into the flesh of her arm, and knew that she was about to touch it, to summon her beloved master –

‘I was about to call him!’ said Lucius, and his hand actually closed upon Bellatrix’s wrist, preventing her from touching the Mark. ‘I shall summon him, Bella, Potter has been brought to my house, and it is therefore upon my authority –’

‘Your authority!’ she sneered, attempting to wrench her hand from his grasp. ‘You lost your authority when you lost your wand, Lucius! How dare you! Take your hands off me!’

‘This is nothing to do with you, you did not capture the boy –’

‘Begging your pardon, Mr Malfoy,’ interjected Greyback, ‘but it’s us that caught Potter, and it’s us that’ll be claiming the gold –’

‘Gold!’ laughed Bellatrix, still attempting to throw off her brother-in-law, her free hand groping in her pocket for her wand. ‘Take your gold, filthy scavenger, what do I want with gold? I seek only the honour of his – of –’

She stopped struggling, her dark eyes fixed upon something Harry could not see. Jubilant at her capitulation, Lucius threw her hand from him and ripped up his own sleeve –

‘STOP!’ shrieked Bellatrix. ‘Do not touch it, we shall all perish if the Dark Lord comes now!’

Lucius froze, his index finger hovering over his own Mark. Bellatrix strode out of Harry’s limited line of vision.

‘What is that?’ he heard her say.

‘Sword,’ grunted an out-of-sight Snatcher.

‘Give it to me.’

‘It’s not yorn, Missus, it’s mine, I reckon I found it.’

There was a bang and a flash of red light: Harry knew that the Snatcher had been Stunned. There was a roar of anger from his fellows: Scabior drew his wand.

‘What d’you think you’re playing at, woman?’

‘Stupefy,’ she screamed, ‘stupefy!’

They were no match for her, even though there were four of them against one of her: she was a witch, as Harry knew, with prodigious skill and no conscience. They fell where they stood, all except Greyback, who had been forced into a kneeling position, his arms outstretched. Out of the corners of his eyes, Harry saw Bellatrix bearing down upon the werewolf, the sword of Gryffindor gripped tightly in her hand, her face waxen.

‘Where did you get this sword?’ she whispered to Greyback as she pulled his wand out of his unresisting grip.

‘How dare you?’ he snarled, his mouth the only thing that could move as he was forced to gaze up at her. He bared his pointed teeth. ‘Release me, woman!’

‘Where did you find this sword?’ she repeated, brandishing it in his face. ‘Snape sent it to my vault in Gringotts!’

‘It was in their tent,’ rasped Greyback. ‘Release me, I say!’

She waved her wand and the werewolf sprang to his feet, but appeared too wary to approach her. He prowled behind an armchair, his filthy, curved nails clutching its back.

‘Draco, move this scum outside,’ said Bellatrix, indicating the unconscious men. ‘If you haven’t got the guts to finish them, then leave them in the courtyard for me.’

‘Don’t you dare speak to Draco like–’ said Narcissa furiously, but Bellatrix screamed, ‘Be quiet! The situation is graver than you can possibly imagine, Cissy! We have a very serious problem!’

She stood, panting slightly, looking down at the sword, examining its hilt. Then she turned to look at the silent prisoners. ‘If it is indeed Potter, he must not be harmed,’ she muttered, more to herself than to the others. ‘The Dark Lord wishes to dispose of Potter himself ... but if he finds out ... I must ... I must know ...’

She turned back to her sister again.

‘The prisoners must be placed in the cellar, while I think what to do!’

‘This is my house, Bella, you don’t give orders in my –’

‘Do it! You have no idea of the danger we are in!’ shrieked Bellatrix: she looked frightening, mad; a thin stream of fire issued from her wand and burned a hole in the carpet.

Narcissa hesitated for a moment, then addressed the werewolf. ‘Take these prisoners down to the cellar, Greyback.’

‘Wait,’ said Bellatrix sharply. ‘All except ... except for the Mudblood.’

Greyback gave a grunt of pleasure.

‘No!’ shouted Ron. ‘You can have me, keep me!’

Bellatrix hit him across the face; the blow echoed around the room.

‘If she dies under questioning, I’ll take you next,’ she said.

‘Blood traitor is next to Mudblood in my book. Take them downstairs, Greyback, and make sure they are secure, but do nothing more to them – yet.’

She threw Greyback’s wand back to him, then took a short silver knife from under her robes. She cut Hermione free from the other prisoners, then dragged her by the hair into the middle of the room while Greyback forced the rest of them to shuffle across to another door, into a dark passageway, his wand held out in front of him, projecting an invisible and irresistible force.

‘Reckon she’ll let me have a bit of the girl when she’s finished with her?’ Greyback crooned, as he forced them along the corridor. ‘I’d say I’ll get a bite or two, wouldn’t you, Ginger?’

Harry could feel Ron shaking. They were forced down a steep flight of stairs, still tied back-to-back and in danger of slipping and breaking their necks at any moment. At the bottom was a heavy door. Greyback unlocked it with a tap of his wand, then forced them into a dank and musty room and left them in total darkness. The echoing bang of the slammed cellar door had not died away before there was a terrible, drawn-out scream from directly above them.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

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