The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black
chapter six of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
As his trial moves closer, Harry helps Sirius and the Weasleys clean up number twelve, Grimmauld Place, despite many protests from Kreacher. In doing so, he learns more about Sirius’s family, pure-blood wizards, and the wizarding world.
Mrs. Black’s screeches echoed up through the house once more: “Stains of dishonor, filthy half-breeds, blood traitors, children of filth….”
(by Leela Starsky)
“Joke shop still on, then?” Harry muttered, pretending to be adjusting the nozzle on his spray…. “All thanks to you, mate,” said George.
“This is Harry, Kreacher,” said Hermione tentatively. “Harry Potter.”
(by Heather Campbell)
Kreacher’s pale eyes widened and he muttered faster and more furiously than ever. “The Mudblood is talking to Kreacher as though she is my friend, if Kreacher’s Mistress saw him in such company, oh what she would say -”
“I used to be there,” said Sirius, pointing at a small, round, charred hole in the tapestry, rather like a cigarette burn. “My sweet old mother blasted me off after I ran away from home.”
(by Leela Starsky)
about the chapter
The Wizarding World
The (many) magical creatures living in Grimmauld Place have obviously had years to move in, and it seems likely most of them wouldn’t have been there back when the house was inhabited. But a lot of the objects that Harry, Sirius, and the Weasleys find while they’re cleaning would have been there before – so I can’t help wondering what the Blacks were doing with it. After all, in addition to the mementos they find in the glass-fronted cabinets, they also find Wartcap powder; a silver, spidery, skin-puncturing instrument; and an enchanted (seemingly Dark) music box. What the heck is all this stuff?
The Power of Magic
Fred and George mention (after Apparating onto Ron’s knees by mistake) that Apparition is “harder in the dark” – but why the heck would that be? What is it that wizards need to be able to see? We’ve heard something like this once before, when Harry took Floo Powder for the first time and Mrs. Weasley told him to be sure to “get out at the right grate,” and “wait until you see Fred and George.” But in both cases, it seems to me that wizards would be moving too fast to make decisions based on visuals. I wonder what these experiences are really like, and what it is they’re watching for while traveling.
Life at Grimmauld Place
Another interesting aspect of the objects in Grimmauld Place is that some of them – like the clock that shoots bolts, or the robes that strangle Ron – actually seem to have been programmed to attack. Given Sirius’s dad’s obsession with security, it’s possible these objects were simply enchanted to go after intruders; of course it’s also possible that whatever magic was in them has strengthened over time (or been altered by Kreacher, using house-elf magic). But given the nature of the objects’ behavior it almost seems to me like Sirius’s parents might have just gone a little crazy in their old age. It’s not hard to envision that part of the insanity that is this house (not to mention Kreacher) is the result of a paranoid old wizard or two enchanting things at random over the years.