Chapter 1 Summary

The Dark Lord Ascending

Severus Snape and Yaxley, both Death Eaters, meet in an alley. The two men are anxious because they are late to meet the Dark Lord—Lord Voldemort—as well as the other Death Eaters. They enter an eerie manor that belongs to the Malfoy family and almost immediately encounter Voldemort himself, who requests some important information.

Severus Snape offers the information that Lord Voldemort has been waiting for: “The Order of the Phoenix intends to move Harry Potter from his current place of safety on Saturday next, at nightfall.” Some of the other Death Eaters argue with Severus Snape about the validity of this information, but Snape insists that the information is correct. 

Lord Voldemort and his followers are sitting around a large table where a woman is suspended above them. At first, the woman (bound by some kind of dark magic) seems unconscious, but then she awakens and begins bellowing. It is Wormtail, one of the Death Eaters, who silences the woman.

As the woman remains suspended, the group discusses two important plots. First, they discuss how to continually attack the members of the Order of the Phoenix as they move Harry Potter from one protected place to another. Second, they discuss how they can continue to control the Ministry of Magic through the use of an illegal spell: the Imperious Curse.

Voldemort suddenly informs them that he plans to kill Harry Potter himself. To do so, he will need a proper wand. He must borrow one, however, and the Malfoys begrudgingly volunteer.  The Malfoys look less than pleased that Voldemort is their houseguest. Bellatrix Lestrange, however, is thrilled.

Next, Lord Voldemort tells his followers about a wedding that has just taken place in the wizarding world. Professor Remus Lupin (a werewolf) has just married Tonks (the niece of the Malfoy family). Everyone but the Malfoys finds this extremely funny.

After reminding everyone that bad blood still inhabits the wizarding world, Lord Voldemort focuses his followers’ attention on the prisoner suspended above the table. Her name is Charity Burbage, and she used to be professor of “Muggle Studies” at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Charity Burbage begins to beg Severus Snape for mercy, but she is quickly silenced by Lord Voldemort who, with a simple flick of his wand, murders her with the most severe of illegal spells: “Avada Kedavra.” Lord Voldemort then offers the victim as dinner to his snake, Nagini.