The Lightning-Struck Tower (HBP)

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The Lightning-Struck Tower is the twenty-seventh chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Rosmerta

Harry heaves Dumbledore on the nearest boulder and helps him to stand up. Shivering, he focuses on his destination—Hogsmeade—with all his might, and Disapparates. They arrive in the High Street of the dark village. Albus is pale, and still very weak; he staggers and falls.

Harry suggests that they go to Hogwarts to see Madam Pomfrey, and the Headmaster replies that he needs Snape. Harry tries to convince Dumbledore to stay in one of the surrounding houses while he fetches Pomfrey or Snape. Before Albus could reply, however, Madam Rosmerta runs towards them on high-heeled, fluffy slippers and a dressing gown embroidered with dragons.

"I saw you Apparate as I was pulling my bedroom curtains! Thank goodness, thank goodness, I couldn't think what to — but what's wrong with Albus?" she says, visibly shocked.

Harry asks her to allow Dumbledore to stay at the Three Broomsticks while he finds help. She interrupts him to say that Harry cannot go to the castle alone; she asks if he hasn't seen what's going on, but Harry disregards her question. Dumbledore reacts, and inquires as to what's wrong. Rosmerta points out the Dark Mark floating over Hogwarts.

The headmaster struggles to stand up. She adds that it probably appeared only minutes ago, and he decides to return to the castle. She says she has brooms behind the bar, and Harry Summons them. Two brooms shoot out of the pub at once.

Albus orders Rosmerta to send a message to the Ministry, and Harry to put on his Invisibility Cloak. The two wizards climb on the broomsticks and fly to Hogwarts; Dumbledore seems invigorated now, and determined. Harry feels an oppressive fear swell inside him as he wonders who has been murdered.

Dumbledore starts speaking in a strange language once more—this time, to undo the protective spells he had cast on the castle, allowing the pair to fly in at top speed—and Harry's broom shudders as they fly over the boundaries of the Hogwarts grounds. He sees that the Dark Mark is directly above the Astronomy Tower.

Hogwarts

They land at the top of the Tower; it is deserted. Clutching his chest, Dumbledore commands Harry to wake Severus—do nothing else, speak to no one else, and remain invisible at all times—and return to the Tower.

Harry is about to leave when he hears footsteps coming up. Someone shouts a Disarming Charm, and Harry's body becomes rigid. He is confused for a moment—Expelliarmus is not a Freezing Charm—, and then sees that Dumbledore had immobilised him non-verbally in the split second Dumbledre could have used to defend himself.

Albus' wand has fallen off the tower, but he does not seem distressed. He looks at the newcomer and says, "Good evening, Draco."

Draco

Draco notices that there are two brooms, and asks who else is present. Dumbledore diverts his attention by inquiring as to who else is working with Malfoy. The boy explains that there are Death Eaters at Hogwarts. The headmaster seems somewhat impressed. "Ingenious," he says. "Yet ... forgive me ... where are they now? You seem unsupported."

"They met some of your guard. They're having a fight down below. They won't be long ... I came on ahead. I — I've got a job to do (HBP2)."

"Well, then, you must get on and do it, my dear boy," Dumbledore replies. Malfoy does nothing, and Albus smiles. "Draco, Draco, you are not a killer."

Draco aggressively points out that Dumbledore doesn't know what he's capable of doing. The headmaster replies that Malfoy has attempted to murder him during the entire year, with increasing desperation, and almost killed Ron (HBP18) and Katie Bell (HBP12) in the meantime. "But they have been feeble attempts ... so feeble, to be honest, that I wonder whether your heart has really been in it..."

Draco replies that it has. Downstairs, a muffled yell echoes, and he seems tense. Dumbledore mentions that somene is putting up a good fight, and that there are members of the Order of the Phoenix in the castle. He then asks how Malfoy managed to bring Death Eaters to Hogwarts—something which the headmaster thought impossible. When Draco fails to reply, Albus suggests that he get the job done, for Dumbledore is alone and defenceless; but perhaps the boy is afraid to do anything until there are others present.

"It's you who should be scared!" Draco replies forcibly.

"But why? I don't htink you will kill me, Draco. Killing is not nearly as easy as the innocent believe ... so tell me, while we wait for yur friends ... how did you smuggle them in here? It seems to have taken you a long time to work out how to do it."

Revelations

Draco explains that he repaired the Vanishing Cabinet in which Montague had gotten lost the previous year (OP28). There are two Cabinets; the other is in Borgin and Burkes.

Montague told Draco that while stuck between the two Cabinets, he could sometimes hear what was going on in the shop and sometimes at Hogwarts; in the end, he managed to Apparate, even though he hadn't passed the test yet. No one but Malfoy, not even Mr. Borgin, realised what the story meant.

"But there were times, weren't there, when you were not sure you would succeed in mending the Cabinet? And you resorted to crude and badly judged measures such as sending me a cursed necklace that was bound to reach the wrong hands ... poisoning mead there was only the slightest chance I might drink ..."

Malfoy sneers that, even so, Dumbledore never realised who was behind the attacks. Albus replies that he knew it was Draco, and had ordered Snape to watch over the boy.

"He hasn't been doing your others, he promised my mother (HBP2)—"

"Of course that is what he would tell you, Draco, but —"

"He's a double-agent, you stupid old man, he isn't working for you, you just think he is!"

"We must agree to differ on that, Draco. It so happens that I trust Professor Snape —"

"Well, you're losing your grip, then! He's been offering me plenty of help — wanting all the glory for himself — wanting a bit of the action — 'What are you doing? Did you do the necklace, that was stupid, it could have blown everything —' But I haven't told him what I've been doing in the Room of Requirement, he's going to wake up tomorrow and it'll all be over and he won't be the Dark Lord's favourite anymore, he'll be nothing compared to me, nothing!"

Dumbledore guesses that Draco has enlisted the help of Rosmerta, putting her under the Imperius Curse: "So poor Rosmerta was forced to lurk in her own bathroom and pass that necklace to any Hogwarts student who entered the rooom unaccmpanied? And the poisoned mead ... well, naturally, Rosmerta was able to poison it fr yu before she sent the bottle to Slughorn, believing that it was to be my Christmas present ... yes, very neat ... very neat ... poor Mr. Filch would not, of course, think to check a bottle of Rosmerta's ... tell me, how have you been communicating with Rosmerta? I thought we had all methods of cmmunication in and out of the school monitored."

Draco explains that he used enchanted coins to send her messages, an idea he stole from the D.A. (OP18). The poisoned mead idea was also inspired by the "Mudblood Granger", who had mentioned in the library the fact that Filch did not check potions (HBP14).

Dumbledore reprimands him for the use of the word, and Draco voices his disbelief, "You care about me saying 'Mudblood' when I'm about to kill you?"

This chapter summary is not done yet. Please be patient.


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