Hermione points her wand at Harry’s face and causes it to swell so that he’s unrecognizable, just before the three friends are seized by a gang of Snatchers. Harry can’t see, but he recognizes one of the voices menacing Hermione as belonging to Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf. Questioned about their names, Harry claims to be Vernon Dudley, Ron to be Barny Weasley (after having been caught in the lie that he was Stan Shunpike), and Hermione to be Penelope Clearwater.
As the Snatchers go to check their names against lists of wanted persons, leaving the prisoners bound together, Harry and his friends discover that Dean Thomas, their fellow Gryffindor, is bound with them. Dean tells them that these Snatchers are merely looking for truant Hogwarts students to sell to the Ministry for gold.
The Snatchers return, not having found the names they gave on their lists. Harry is able to lie convincingly that he is a Slytherin and that his father works in the Ministry, but the Snatchers realize who they’ve actually caught when they match Hermione to a picture of her in the newspaper, which states that Hermione is known to be traveling with Harry Potter, then discover the Sword of Gryffindor and Harry’s glasses. Throughout this ordeal, Harry has trouble staying in the present moment, as he keeps having visions through Voldemort’s eyes of Voldemort flying to the top of a black fortress—Nurmengard. The Snatchers decide to take the prisoners to Malfoy Manor, Voldemort’s base of operations, and as they go there, Harry has visions of Voldemort interrogating Grindelwald in his cell at Nurmengard.
At the manor, Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy try to get Draco to positively identify Harry, whose face is still unrecognizably swollen, but Draco, fearful and reluctant, won’t commit. Narcissa and Lucius think it is Harry, because they can identify Hermione and Ron, but they don’t want to contact Voldemort without being sure. Bellatrix Lestrange enters the room, and though at first she seems ready to contact Voldemort herself and end the dispute, when she discovers the Sword of Gryffindor, which she had thought safe in her own vault at Gringotts, she tells Narcissa and Lucius that they are all in mortal danger, and she has Harry and Ron thrown into the dark basement so she can interrogate Hermione and plan her next move.
As Bellatrix tortures Hermione to learn where they got the sword, accusing her of breaking into Bellatrix’s Gringotts vault, Harry and Ron discover that the basement also holds Luna, Ollivander the wandmaker, Dean Thomas, and Griphook, a Gringotts goblin. Luna has a nail that she uses to untie them, and Ron uses his Deluminator to light the basement. As they hear Hermione screaming in pain, Harry desperately looks for a way to escape. Finding none, he empties his pouch, looking for something that might aid him, and he finds the shard of Sirius’s magic mirror. Dumbledore’s eye is looking out of it at Harry. Harry asks the eye for help, and it disappears.
The prisoners hear Hermione claiming that the sword is only a fake, and then Bellatrix stating her intention to question the Gringotts goblin. Harry asks Griphook to lie and say the sword they were carrying is a fake, then they turn out the lights, just as Malfoy comes down to bring Griphook to Bellatrix.