Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/Malfoy Manor
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place|
|Permanent Residents||Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy, Draco Malfoy|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows|
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Though barely mentioned in earlier books, Malfoy Manor achieves a significant role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when it is used as headquarters by Voldemort. Previously, Arthur Weasley and other members of the Ministry of Magic had searched the Manor for Dark magic objects, with limited success.
The first time we see Malfoy Manor is at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We learn that the Malfoys kept albino peacocks when one of them startles arriving Death Eaters. We find then that Voldemort is meeting there with his Death Eaters, including Severus Snape. We learn that the Malfoy family has fallen into disgrace within Voldemort's organization; Snape is invited to sit next to Voldemort himself, but when we see the Malfoys they are at the far end of the table. Voldemort, deciding he needs a wand other than his own to defeat Harry Potter, tells Lucius Malfoy to hand over his wand, as he will not be needing it; the inference is that Malfoy is essentially a prisoner in his own house.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are captured by Snatchers when Harry accidentally speaks Voldemort's name. One of the Snatchers is Fenrir Greyback who, suspecting Harry's identity, has his five prisoners, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dean Thomas, and Griphook taken to Malfoy Manor. There, Lucius, Draco, and Narcissa are unable to positively identify Harry, whose face had been jinxed by Hermione right before their capture, though they do identify Hermione and Ron. Arriving on the scene, Bellatrix Lestrange spies the Sword of Godric Gryffindor, and immediately thinks that it has been extracted from her Gringotts vault. Knowing that something else Voldemort values dearly is in that vault, Bellatrix prevents Lucius from summoning Voldemort, and tortures Hermione to force her to reveal where the Sword came from.
Meanwhile, Dean, Harry, Ron, and Griphook had been taken to a basement room where Luna Lovegood and Mr. Ollivander are locked up. Luna helps free them from their bonds. Harry, looking at the mirror shard he had gotten from Sirius, sees a sky-blue eye in it, and pleads for help. The eye vanishes.
Hermione has, through her pain, told Bellatrix that the Sword is fake; Bellatrix sends Draco to fetch Griphook to verify this. Harry tells Griphook to corroborate Hermione's claim; then Draco arrives and hauls Griphook away. Dobby appears in the basement just as Draco leaves. Dobby, though fearful at being back in his old home, says he has been sent to rescue Harry Potter. Harry confirms that Dobby can Apparate out of the basement with others, and tells Dobby to take Luna, Dean, and Mr. Ollivander to Shell Cottage. Bellatrix, hearing Dobby Disapparating, sends Wormtail to investigate. Harry and Ron attack Wormtail, and Wormtail, after a moment's amazement, defends himself. Harry, being choked by Wormtail's silver hand, reminds Wormtail that he owes Harry a life debt, causing Wormtail to momentarily hesitate; sensing this, the silver hand attacks Wormtail, choking him to death.
With Wormtail's wand, Harry and Ron make their way upstairs and overhear Griphook confirming that the Sword is a fake, whereupon Bellatrix summons Voldemort and gives Hermione to Fenrir as a reward. Ron Disarms Bellatrix, and Harry catches her wand. Harry Stuns Lucius Malfoy but has to duck behind the couch as Draco, Narcissa, and Fenrir all aim Stun spells at him. Bellatrix threatens Hermione with her knife, forcing Ron and Harry to drop their wands, which Draco collects. The chandelier falls on Bellatrix; Dobby has re-appeared, and warns Bellatrix to not harm Harry Potter or his friends. Narcissa takes aim at him, but her wand goes flying as Dobby charms it away. Harry takes all three wands that Draco was holding and Stuns Fenrir with them; now, holding Griphook and seeing that Ron has a wand, and Hermione, Harry Disapparates, headed for Shell Cottage. Voldemort. on learning of these events, apparently confines Bellatrix also to Malfoy Manor, as we hear from another Death Eater, Travers, later.
Harry, some time later, perceives Voldemort's rage at being told Bellatrix' Gringotts vault has been broken into, and a cup stolen. While we are not told where this is happening, Lucius Malfoy's and Bellatrix' presence at that time indicate that it is within Malfoy Manor.
Throughout the series, the Malfoy family is presented as being rich, and buying influence through carefully placed (and presumably invisibly entailed) donations to worthy causes. Given this characteristic, one can expect that the Malfoy residence would be opulent, possibly even ostentatious. When we eventually see Malfoy Manor, then, we are unsurprised by the size and grandeur, or even by the albino peacocks, though twice Death Eaters are startled by them. One suspects, even, that the albino peacocks were placed on the grounds by the author specifically to indicate the ostentation of the Malfoy family. It seems that having peacocks on the estate is a hallmark of the old, established noble English family. Albino peacocks, being much rarer and more expensive, thus must be even better.
When we see Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is mentioned that he seems a prisoner in his own house. We are aware that he had been captured in the Ministry with a number of other Death Eaters at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and had been sentenced to Azkaban. Events lead us to believe that he was part of an unpublicized mass breakout from Azkaban, and so presumably must remain hidden in fear of re-arrest. One wonders why he alone among those who have escaped from Azkaban seems to be restricted in his travels; speculation on that topic will be found in the character write-up for Lucius Malfoy. However, it is worth noting that even a house as grand as Malfoy Manor appears to be, can be quite confining when one is not allowed to leave it.
It is mentioned that Malfoy Manor is in Wiltshire, in the south of England. It is perhaps intentional that this is the same area of England, roughly, as the Salisbury Plains and Stonehenge. There is a Muggle belief that there is something magical about this area. It is possible that the Malfoy family is playing on this belief, or is the source of it, being magical themselves. Alternately, the land may in fact be magical, and the Malfoys placed their home here to make use of the magic ambiance.
It is noted elsewhere that Voldemort had found his own ancestral home, Riddle Manor, possibly too far from the center of the Wizarding world to be of much use as a base of operations. One gets the feeling that Malfoy Manor is equally remote from London, though apparently people do commute to London from Swindon, which is within Wiltshire. Given this, why would Voldemort select Malfoy Manor as his headquarters? It is safe to assume that Voldemort likes his creature comforts as much as anyone, and therefore is likely to select a residence that is already equipped with all necessary conveniences. Add to this the fact that Riddle Manor is unprotected from passing strangers, and Malfoy Manor already has high walls and gates, and probably a reputation as not being a good place for Muggles to observe too closely, and we can see that taking over the Malfoy residence is much more appealing.