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Nowhere Is Safe
The trio Apparates to Shaftsbury Avenue in the heart of London's bustling Piccadilly Circus and the West End theatre district. The scene was shot on the actual site, which Watson says was "surreal. It was incredible to see traffic at a standstill on one of the busiest streets in one of the biggest cities in the world.”

Although the filming was done in the pre-dawn hours, hundreds of fans turned out to catch a glimpse of the cast. "The fans were terrific,” Heyman states. "They didn't intrude and really got into the spirit of it. Shooting in such a busy location was not without its challenges, but we also had a great time.”

Yates agrees. "It was actually very touching that there were so many people standing out there for so long at that hour of the night. It was a wonderful thing.”

In a nod to Radcliffe's recent stage work, astute moviegoers might notice an "Equus” poster on the wall of the café where the three briefly stop to regroup. But their respite is short-lived, as they are nearly ambushed. Hunted in both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds, they go to the only haven Harry can think of: Number 12 Grimmauld Place, the ancestral home of the Black family, as well as the former headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.

The Grimmauld Place set that had been constructed for the fifth film had long since been torn down, so it had to be recreated, but this time made to feel even older and mustier, and abandoned. Set decorator Stephenie McMillan says, "We wanted to maintain the impression that it's a very tall, thin house, but we also added space to it, like the drawing room. All the rooms have been ransacked and everything is covered in dust because the home doesn't have Mrs. Weasley there to keep it clean.”

Under the cobwebs and dust remain memories of friends and family, including Harry's godfather, Sirius Black, as well as Sirius's brother, Regulus Acturus Black. R. A. B.

The three no sooner make that critical connection when they discover they are not alone. Spying from the shadows is the house elf Kreacher, who is forced to divulge vital information about the location of the genuine Horcrux locket. Kreacher also brings about a reunion with an old friend: Dobby, the elf who owes his freedom to Harry Potter.

Bringing the elves to life involved a combination of visual effects and the human performances of Toby Jones, as Dobby, and Simon McBurney, as Kreacher. Visual effects supervisor Tim Burke explains, "Dobby and Kreacher have to be distinct characters, and shooting real actors helped us achieve that. We filmed Toby and Simon acting out their roles and then used their facial performances as a reference to relay all of the emotion and personality they delivered back to the little CG characters.”

"David (Yates) and Tim are great collaborators and went above and beyond to help me enrich the character beyond just the lines,” Jones says. "Dobby has always had a vulnerability and humility, and I think that has endeared him to audiences. It also fits within the hierarchy established in J.K. Rowling's books. Dobby, in terms of his size and authority, is very low on that hierarchical scale, but that isn't related to the level of his bravery and loyalty and his capacity for good.” Thanks to Dobby and Kreacher, Harry, Hermione and Ron learn that the real locket is in the possession of one Dolores Umbridge, who is now the head of the Ministry's Muggle-Born Registration Committee.

Imelda Staunton says she was thrilled to be back in the pink for the part she calls "delicious,” adding, "Dolores loves to make the most of what little power she thinks she has, which means clearing out those people who are not true wizards and witches because the world will be a better place without them. She considers herself to be pure and right and proper and has no tolerance for anything less. Her mind is completely closed; there's no empathy, no soul, no heart.”

Dolores Umbridge has only one color scheme in life, so costume designer Jany Temime dressed Staunton, from head to toe, in pink outfits. Similarly, Stuart Craig refers to her office as "another essay in pink.”

The rest of the Ministry maintains the polished, black-tiled corridors that Craig had originally based on an old London Tube station. The most significant change is to the massive atrium, where the centerpiece is a towering sculpture, depicting the supremacy of wizards over the cowering Muggles they are crushing beneath them, and engraved with the words "Magic is Might.”

But there is a more insidious change to the Ministry. An atmosphere of oppression hangs over everything, as good wizards do their best to avoid being noticed. Uniformed guards and mercenaries, known as Snatchers, are constantly on the lookout for those deemed "Undesirable.”

Nevertheless, in order to retrieve the Horcrux, Harry, together with Ron and Hermione, will have to risk going into the Ministry, although it will be especially difficult for Harry, whose face is on Wanted posters, naming him "Undesirable #1.” With the help of some Polyjuice potion, the trio take on the more innocuous identities of wizards Albert Runcorn, Reg Cattermole and Malfalda Hopkirk and head into enemy territory.

By the time they find the locket—hanging around Dolores Umbridge's neck—their disguises are starting to melt away. With no time to spare, the three go on the offensive, snatch the Horcrux, and flee.

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