There’s no doubt that the defining moment of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries was the tragic death of Sirius. But so much more happened on that painful night. On the anniversary of the battle, we reflect on those moments…

When we realised Sirius didn’t need saving…

Harry had, as Hermione described, a ‘saving-people thing’. If he believed someone was in danger, then he would do whatever it took to save them – with little regard for his own safety. However, his need to protect people meant that he was very reluctant to ask for help or put others in risky situations. So, when he raced to save Sirius without thinking and discovered it was all a ploy, we knew that it would devastate him. Not only had he been tricked, but he had led his friends straight into a trap…

‘Harry?’ said Hermione again.

‘What?’ he snarled.

‘I ... I don’t think Sirius is here.’

Nobody spoke. Harry did not want to look at any of them. He felt sick. He did not understand why Sirius was not here. He had to be here. This was where he, Harry, had seen him ...

He ran up the space at the end of the rows, staring down them. Empty aisle after empty aisle flickered past. He ran the other way, back past his staring companions. There was no sign of Sirius anywhere, nor any hint of a struggle.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When we heard there was a prophecy…

We’ve known from the very beginning that Harry’s parents were killed by Voldemort. However, it wasn’t until this moment that we thought to ask why they had been targeted and hunted down. The small glass orb he held in his hand could have been both the answer to his questions and the reason his life turned out the way it did – and the power of that cannot be underestimated.

‘And why did he want to steal a prophecy about me?’

‘About both of you, Potter, about both of you ... haven’t you ever wondered why the Dark Lord tried to kill you as a baby?’

Harry stared into the slitted eye-holes through which Malfoy’s grey eyes were gleaming. Was this prophecy the reason Harry’s parents had died, the reason he carried his lightning-bolt scar? Was the answer to all of this clutched in his hand?
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When a Death Eater had an unfortunate run in with Time…

The Department of Mysteries held so many, well… mysteries. The magic that was found there was unlike any we had come across before. One particularly disturbing, yet fascinating, piece that we came across was when a Death Eater fell into the bell jar and Harry, Neville and Hermione watched in horror as a grotesque transformation took place. Of course, Hermione was the first to realise what it actually was...

‘Look out!’ said Neville, horrified. He was staring at the Death Eater’s head in the bell jar. All three of them raised their wands again, but none of them struck: they were all gazing, open-mouthed, appalled, at what was happening to the man’s head.

It was shrinking very fast, growing balder and balder, the black hair and stubble retracting into his skull; his cheeks becoming smooth, his skull round and covered with a peachlike fuzz…

A baby’s head now sat grotesquely on top of the thick, muscled neck of the Death Eater as he struggled to get up again; but even as they watched, their mouths open, the head began to swell to its previous proportions again; thick black hair was sprouting from the pate and chin…

‘It’s Time,’ said Hermione in an awestruck voice. ‘Time ...’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When we didn’t know if Hermione was alive…

One of the scariest moments in the Department of Mysteries was when we didn’t know the fate of Hermione. Having been by Harry’s side since the very beginning, the thought of losing such a brilliant character (at the hands of an unimportant Death Eater) was too horrible to contemplate. While we now know that she thankfully survived, we couldn’t help but feel as terrified and worried as Harry did as he watched her be struck down.

‘Well done, Ha––’

But the Death Eater Hermione had just struck dumb made a sudden slashing movement with his wand; a streak of what looked like purple flame passed right across Hermione’s chest. She gave a tiny ‘Oh!’ as though of surprise and crumpled on to the floor, where she lay motionless.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When Ron was attacked by a brain…

This was another stomach churning and gross moment. Having been hit by a spell that had made him giddy and not in his right mind, Ron decided to use a Summoning Charm in the room full of brains to take a closer look at one of them. What happened next was something straight out of a horror movie and another example of why that particular Ministry department should be considered highly dangerous.

‘Ha ha ha, Harry, look at it –’ said Ron, watching it disgorge its gaudy innards, ‘Harry, come and touch it; bet it’s weird –’

‘RON, NO!’

Harry did not know what would happen if Ron touched the tentacles of thought now flying behind the brain, but he was sure it would not be anything good. He darted forwards but Ron had already caught the brain in his outstretched hands.

The moment they made contact with his skin, the tentacles began wrapping themselves around Ron’s arms like ropes.

‘Harry, look what’s happen– No – no – I don’t like it – no, stop – stop –’

But the thin ribbons were spinning around Ron’s chest now; he tugged and tore at them as the brain was pulled tight against him like an octopus’s body.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When Neville and Bellatrix came face to face…

Neville Longbottom’s backstory is incredibly tragic. To know that your mum and dad were tortured into insanity must be difficult to live with. We can’t imagine how painful it would be to have parents that are still physically alive but who have no sense of who they or you are. Then to come face to face with the person responsible for that, is just horrendous. Yet, Neville faced Bellatrix and didn’t break – even when she used the same curse on him that had destroyed his family. That moment was a true testament to Neville’s bravery.

‘Longbottom?’ repeated Bellatrix, and a truly evil smile lit her gaunt face. ‘Why, I have had the pleasure of meeting your parents, boy.’

‘I DOE YOU HAB!’ roared Neville, and he fought so hard against his captor’s encircling grip that the Death Eater shouted, ‘Someone Stun him!’

‘No, no, no,’ said Bellatrix. She looked transported, alive with excitement as she glanced at Harry, then back at Neville. ‘No, let’s see how long Longbottom lasts before he cracks like his parents ... unless Potter wants to give us the prophecy.’

‘DON’D GIB ID DO DEM!’ roared Neville, who seemed beside himself, kicking and writhing as Bellatrix drew nearer to him and his captor, her wand raised. ‘DON’D GIB ID DO DEM, HARRY!’

Bellatrix raised her wand. ‘Crucio!’

Neville screamed, his legs drawn up to his chest so that the Death Eater holding him was momentarily holding him off the ground. The Death Eater dropped him and he fell to the floor, twitching and screaming in agony.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When the Order of the Phoenix appeared…

As the handful of Dumbledore’s Army members who had accompanied Harry were struck down one by one, the situation seemed dire. It looked as though the Death Eaters were going to walk away with what they wanted… and we doubt they would have left survivors. So, when the Order of the Phoenix burst through into the room with the archway, our hearts lifted. Finally, there was a glimmer of hope…

Then, high above them, two more doors burst open and five more people sprinted into the room: Sirius, Lupin, Moody, Tonks and Kingsley.

Malfoy turned, and raised his wand, but Tonks had already sent a Stunning Spell right at him. Harry did not wait to see whether it had made contact, but dived off the dais out of the way. The Death Eaters were completely distracted by the appearance of the members of the Order, who were now raining spells down upon them as they jumped from step to step towards the sunken floor.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When Sirius fell through the veil…

The hope that was inspired by the arrival of the Order soon gave way to total devastation when Sirius Black was killed. The moment he fell through the veil was unbearably awful and we couldn’t believe that Harry has lost yet another parental figure. The fact that he had rushed to Harry’s aid in the same way Harry had tried to go to his just added yet another layer of tragedy to this situation – especially as this horrible night could have been avoided…

Only one pair was still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw Sirius duck Bellatrix’s jet of red light: he was laughing at her.

‘Come on, you can do better than that!’ he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room.

The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.

The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock.

Harry released Neville, though he was unaware of doing so. He was jumping down the steps again, pulling out his wand, as Dumbledore, too, turned towards the dais.

It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall: his body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backwards through the ragged veil hanging from the arch.

Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather’s wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind, then fell back into place.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When Dumbledore and Voldemort duelled…

To have two of the most powerful wizards in wizarding history battle each other in the Ministry of Magic was both terrible and awesome. We had never seen Voldemort and Dumbledore come face to face in such a way and the resulting skirmish could only be described as epic…

There was a burst of flame in midair above Dumbledore just as Voldemort reappeared, standing on the plinth in the middle of the pool where so recently the five statues had stood.

‘Look out!’ Harry yelled.

But even as he shouted, another jet of green light flew at Dumbledore from Voldemort’s wand and the snake struck –

Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore, opened his beak wide and swallowed the jet of green light whole: he burst into flame and fell to the floor, small, wrinkled and flightless. At the same moment, Dumbledore brandished his wand in one long, fluid movement – the snake, which had been an instant from sinking its fangs into him, flew high into the air and vanished in a wisp of dark smoke; and the water in the pool rose up and covered Voldemort like a cocoon of molten glass.

For a few seconds Voldemort was visible only as a dark, rippling, faceless figure, shimmering and indistinct upon the plinth, clearly struggling to throw off the suffocating mass –

Then he was gone and the water fell with a crash back into its pool, slopping wildly over the sides, drenching the polished floor.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

When Cornelius Fudge could no longer deny the return of Voldemort…

The moment that the obstinate and weak Minister for Magic finally acknowledged the return of Voldemort, we breathed a sigh of relief. Harry and Dumbledore had been vilified for an entire year because this fool had refused to believe them and poisoned many others against them. So, to see Fudge finally have to face the truth was very cathartic.

‘He was there!’ shouted a scarlet-robed man with a ponytail, who was pointing at a pile of golden rubble on the other side of the hall, where Bellatrix had lain trapped only moments before. ‘I saw him, Mr Fudge, I swear it was You-Know-Who, he grabbed a woman and Disapparated!’

‘I know, Williamson, I know, I saw him too!’ gibbered Fudge, who was wearing pyjamas under his pinstriped cloak and was gasping as though he had just run miles. ‘Merlin’s beard – here – here! – in the Ministry of Magic! – great heavens above – it doesn’t seem possible – my word – how can this be –?’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix