Crabbe’s rampage

Vincent Crabbe tries to kill Harry, Hermione and Ron in the Room of Requirement

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

‘So how come you three aren’t with Voldemort?’ asked Harry.

‘We’re gonna be rewarded,’ said Crabbe: his voice was surprisingly soft for such an enormous person; Harry had hardly ever heard him speak before. Crabbe was smiling like a small child promised a large bag of sweets. ‘We ’ung back, Potter. We decided not to go. Decided to bring you to ’im.’

‘Good plan,’ said Harry in mock admiration. He could not believe that he was this close, and was going to be thwarted by Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle. He began edging slowly backwards towards the place where the Horcrux sat lopsided upon the bust. If he could just get his hands on it before the fight broke out …

‘So how did you get in here?’ he asked, trying to distract them.

‘I virtually lived in the Room of Hidden Things all last year,’ said Malfoy, his voice brittle. ‘I know how to get in.’

‘We was hiding in the corridor outside,’ grunted Goyle. ‘We can do Diss-lusion Charms now! And then,’ his face split into a gormless grin, ‘you turned up right in front of us and said you was looking for a die-dum! What’s a die-dum?’

‘Harry?’ Ron’s voice echoed suddenly from the other side of the wall to Harry’s right. ‘Are you talking to someone?’

With a whip-like movement, Crabbe pointed his wand at the fifty-foot mountain of old furniture, of broken trunks, of old books and robes and unidentifiable junk and shouted, ‘Descendo!’

The wall began to totter, then crumbled into the aisle next door where Ron stood.

‘Ron!’ Harry bellowed, as somewhere out of sight Hermione screamed, and Harry heard innumerable objects crashing to the floor on the other side of the destabilised wall: he pointed his wand at the rampart, cried, ‘Finite!’ and it steadied.

‘No!’ shouted Malfoy, staying Crabbe’s arm as the latter made to repeat his spell. ‘If you wreck the room, you might bury this diadem thing!’

‘What’s that matter?’ said Crabbe, tugging himself free. ‘It’s Potter the Dark Lord wants, who cares about a die-dum?’

‘Potter came in here to get it,’ said Malfoy with ill-disguised impatience at the slow-wittedness of his colleagues, ‘so that must mean –’

‘“Must mean”?’ Crabbe turned on Malfoy with undisguised ferocity. ‘Who cares what you think? I don’t take your orders no more, Draco. You an’ your dad are finished.’

‘Harry?’ shouted Ron again, from the other side of the junk wall. ‘What’s going on?’

‘Harry?’ mimicked Crabbe. ‘What’s going – no, Potter! Crucio!’

Harry had lunged for the tiara; Crabbe’s curse missed him but hit the stone bust, which flew into the air; the diadem soared upwards and then dropped out of sight in the mass of objects on which the bust had rested.

‘STOP!’ Malfoy shouted at Crabbe, his voice echoing through the enormous room. ‘The Dark Lord wants him alive –’

‘So? I’m not killing him, am I?’ yelled Crabbe, throwing off Malfoy’s restraining arm, ‘but if I can, I will, the Dark Lord wants him dead anyway, what’s the diff—?’

A jet of scarlet light shot past Harry by inches: Hermione had run round the corner behind him and sent a Stunning Spell straight at Crabbe’s head. It only missed because Malfoy pulled him out of the way.

‘It’s that Mudblood! Avada Kedavra!’

Harry saw Hermione dive aside and his fury that Crabbe had aimed to kill wiped all else from his mind. He shot a Stunning Spell at Crabbe, who lurched out of the way, knocking Malfoy’s wand out of his hand; it rolled out of sight beneath a mountain of broken furniture and boxes.

‘Don’t kill him! DON’T KILL HIM!’ Malfoy yelled at Crabbe and Goyle, who were both aiming at Harry: their split second’s hesitation was all Harry needed.

‘Expelliarmus!’

Goyle’s wand flew out of his hand and disappeared into the bulwark of objects beside him; Goyle leapt foolishly on the spot, trying to retrieve it; Malfoy jumped out of range of Hermione’s second Stunning Spell and Ron, appearing suddenly at the end of the aisle, shot a full Body-Bind Curse at Crabbe, which narrowly missed.

Crabbe wheeled round and screamed, ‘Avada Kedavra!’ again. Ron leapt out of sight to avoid the jet of green light. The wandless Malfoy cowered behind a three-legged wardrobe as Hermione charged towards them, hitting Goyle with a Stunning Spell as she came.

‘It’s somewhere here!’ Harry yelled at her, pointing at the pile of junk into which the old tiara had fallen. ‘Look for it while I go and help R—’

‘HARRY!’ she screamed.

A roaring, billowing noise behind him gave him a moment’s warning. He turned and saw both Ron and Crabbe running as hard as they could up the aisle towards them.

‘Like it hot, scum?’ roared Crabbe as he ran.

But he seemed to have no control over what he had done. Flames of abnormal size were pursuing them, licking up the sides of the junk bulwarks, which were crumbling to soot at their touch.

‘Aguamenti!’ Harry bawled, but the jet of water that soared from the tip of his wand evaporated in the air.

‘RUN!’

Malfoy grabbed the Stunned Goyle and dragged him along: Crabbe outstripped all of them, now looking terrified; Harry, Ron and Hermione pelted along in his wake, and the fire pursued them. It was not normal fire; Crabbe had used a curse of which Harry had no knowledge: as they turned a corner the flames chased them as though they were alive, sentient, intent upon killing them. Now the fire was mutating, forming a gigantic pack of fiery beasts: flaming serpents, Chimaeras and dragons rose and fell and rose again, and the detritus of centuries on which they were feeding was thrown up in the air into their fanged mouths, tossed high on clawed feet, before being consumed by the inferno.

Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle had vanished from view: Harry, Ron and Hermione stopped dead; the fiery monsters were circling them, drawing closer and closer, claws and horns and tails lashed, and the heat was solid as a wall around them.

‘What can we do?’ Hermione screamed over the deafening roars of the fire. ‘What can we do?’

‘Here!’

Harry seized a pair of heavy-looking broomsticks from the nearest pile of junk and threw one to Ron, who pulled Hermione on to it behind him. Harry swung his leg over the second broom and, with hard kicks to the ground, they soared up into the air, missing by feet the horned beak of a flaming raptor that snapped its jaws at them. The smoke and heat were becoming overwhelming: below them the cursed fire was consuming the contraband of generations of hunted students, the guilty outcomes of a thousand banned experiments, the secrets of the countless souls who had sought refuge in the room. Harry could not see a trace of Malfoy, Crabbe or Goyle anywhere: he swooped as low as he dared over the marauding monsters of flame to try to find them, but there was nothing but fire: what a terrible way to die … he had never wanted this …


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling