Return to Grimmauld Place

The trio return to Grimmauld Place, where some unpleasant surprises lie in wait

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling

Gingerly, Harry took another step forwards. Something shifted in the shadows at the end of the hall, and before any of them could say another word, a figure had risen up out of the carpet, tall, dust-coloured and terrible: Hermione screamed and so did Mrs Black, her curtains flying open; the grey figure was gliding towards them, faster and faster, its waist-length hair and beard streaming behind it, its face sunken, fleshless, with empty eye sockets: horribly familiar, dreadfully altered, it raised a wasted arm, pointing at Harry.

‘No!’ Harry shouted, and though he had raised his wand no spell occurred to him. ‘No! It wasn’t us! We didn’t kill you –’

On the word ‘kill’ the figure exploded in a great cloud of dust: coughing, his eyes watering, Harry looked round to see Hermione crouched “on the floor by the door with her arms over her head and Ron, who was shaking from head to foot, patting her clumsily on the shoulder and saying, ‘It’s all r – right … it’s g – gone …’

Dust swirled around Harry like mist, catching the blue gaslight, as Mrs Black continued to scream.

‘Mudbloods, filth, stains of dishonour, taint of shame on the house of my fathers –’

‘SHUT UP!’ Harry bellowed, directing his wand at her, “and with a bang and a burst of red sparks the curtains swung shut again, silencing her.

‘That … that was …’ Hermione whimpered, as Ron helped her to her feet.

‘Yeah,’ said Harry, ‘but it wasn’t really him, was it? Just something to scare Snape.’

Had it worked, Harry wondered, or had Snape already blasted the horror-figure aside as casually as he had killed the real Dumbledore? Nerves still tingling, he led the other two up the hall, half expecting some new terror to reveal itself, but nothing moved except for a mouse skittering along the skirting board.

‘Before we go any further, I think we’d better check,’ whispered Hermione, and she raised her wand and said, ‘Homenum revelio.’

Nothing happened.

‘Well, you’ve just had a big shock,’ said Ron kindly. ‘What was that supposed to do?’

‘It did what I meant it to do!’ said Hermione rather crossly. ‘That was a spell to reveal human presence, and there’s nobody here except us!’

‘And old Dusty,’ said Ron, glancing at the patch of carpet from which the corpse-figure had risen.

‘Let’s go up,’ said Hermione, with a frightened look at the same spot, and she led the way up the creaking stairs to the drawing room on the first floor.

Hermione waved her wand to ignite the old gas lamps, then, shivering slightly in the draughty room, she perched on the sofa, her arms wrapped tightly around her. Ron crossed to the window and moved the heavy velvet curtain aside an inch.

‘Can’t see anyone out there,’ he reported. ‘And you’d think, if Harry still had a Trace on him, they’d have followed us here.'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling