Victory against the Basilisk

Harry defeats the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, with the aid of Fawkes the phoenix

Extract from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling

‘Now, Harry, I’m going to teach you a little lesson. Let’s match the powers of Lord Voldemort, heir of Salazar Slytherin, against famous Harry Potter, and the best weapons Dumbledore can give him.’

He cast an amused eye over Fawkes and the Sorting Hat, then walked away. Harry, fear spreading up his numb legs, watched Riddle stop between the high pillars and look up into the stone face of Slytherin, high above him in the half-darkness. Riddle opened his mouth wide and hissed – but Harry understood what he was saying.

‘Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four.’

Harry wheeled around to look up at the statue, Fawkes swaying on his shoulder.

Slytherin’s gigantic stone face was moving. Horror-struck, Harry saw his mouth opening, wider and wider, to make a huge black hole.

And something was stirring inside the statue’s mouth. Something was slithering up from its depths.

Harry backed away until he hit the dark Chamber wall, and as he shut his eyes tight he felt Fawkes’s wing sweep his cheek as he took flight. Harry wanted to shout, ‘Don’t leave me!’ but what chance did a phoenix have against the king of serpents?

Something huge hit the stone floor of the chamber, Harry felt it shudder. He knew what was happening, he could sense it, could almost see the giant serpent uncoiling itself from Slytherin’s mouth. Then he heard Riddle’s hissing voice: ‘Kill him.’

The Basilisk was moving towards Harry, he could hear its heavy body slithering ponderously across the dusty floor. Eyes still tightly shut, Harry began to run blindly sideways, his hands outstretched, feeling his way. Riddle was laughing ...

Harry tripped. He fell hard onto the stone and tasted blood. The serpent was barely feet from him, he could hear it coming.

There was a loud, explosive spitting sound right above him and then something heavy hit Harry so hard that he was smashed against the wall. Waiting for fangs to sink through his body he heard more mad hissing, something thrashing wildly off the pillars.

He couldn’t help it. He opened his eyes wide enough to squint at what was going on.

The enormous serpent, bright, poisonous green, thick as an oak trunk, had raised itself high in the air and its great blunt head was weaving drunkenly between the pillars. As Harry trembled, ready to close his eyes if it turned, he saw what had distracted the snake.

Fawkes was soaring around its head, and the Basilisk was snapping furiously at him with fangs long and thin as sabres.

Fawkes dived. His long golden beak sank out of sight and a sudden shower of dark blood spattered the floor. The snake’s tail thrashed, narrowly missing Harry, and before Harry could shut his eyes, it turned. Harry looked straight into its face, and saw that its eyes, both its great bulbous yellow eyes, had been punctured by the phoenix; blood was streaming to the floor and the snake was spitting in agony.

‘No!’ Harry heard Riddle screaming. ‘Leave the bird! Leave the bird! The boy is behind you! You can still smell him! Kill him!’

The blinded serpent swayed, confused, still deadly. Fawkes was circling its head, piping his eerie song, jabbing here and there at the Basilisk’s scaly nose as the blood poured from its ruined eyes.

‘Help me, help me,’ Harry muttered wildly, ‘someone, anyone!’

The snake’s tail whipped across the floor again. Harry ducked. Something soft hit his face.

The Basilisk had swept the Sorting Hat into Harry’s arms. Harry seized it. It was all he had left, his only chance. He rammed it onto his head and threw himself flat onto the floor as the Basilisk’s tail swung over him again.

‘Help me ... help me ...’ Harry thought, his eyes screwed tight under the Hat. ‘Please help me!’

There was no answering voice. Instead, the Hat contracted, as though an invisible hand was squeezing it very tightly.

Something very hard and heavy thudded onto the top of Harry’s head, almost knocking him out. Stars winking in front of his eyes, he grabbed the top of the Hat to pull it off and felt something long and hard beneath it.

A gleaming silver sword had appeared inside the Hat, its handle glittering with rubies the size of eggs.

‘Kill the boy! Leave the bird! The boy is behind you! Sniff – smell him!’

Harry was on his feet, ready. The Basilisk’s head was falling, its body coiling around, hitting pillars as it twisted to face him. He could see the vast, bloody eye sockets, see the mouth stretching wide, wide enough to swallow him whole, lined with fangs long as his sword, thin, glittering, venomous ...

It lunged blindly. Harry dodged and it hit the Chamber wall. It lunged again, and its forked tongue lashed Harry’s side. He raised the sword in both his hands.

The Basilisk lunged again, and this time its aim was true. Harry threw his whole weight behind the sword and drove it to the hilt into the roof of the serpent’s mouth.

But as warm blood drenched Harry’s arms, he felt a searing pain just above his elbow. One long, poisonous fang was sinking deeper and deeper into his arm and it splintered as the Basilisk keeled over sideways and fell, twitching, to the floor.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J.K. Rowling