The U-Bend #6: The Raid on Azkaban

by Andrew Lee and Robert Lanto

“They don’t need walls and water to keep the prisoners in, not when they’re trapped within their own heads, incapable of a single cheerful thought.”

-Remus Lupin (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

To:
Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
Minister of Magic’s Office

CC:
Auror Headquarters
Obliviator Headquarters
Order of the Phoenix

From:
Junior Ministerial Assistant, Law Enforcement Squad

RE: Loss of Azkaban Prison

I would like to call attention to the fact that the Ministry of Magic still hasn’t acted over the loss of Azkaban Prison. With the recent turmoil surrounding the Ministry, and after being transferred from the Department of Magical Control and Regulation for exposing a recent billywig scandal involving the best-known wizard in Britain [see The Dark Side of Billywigs], I am disappointed that the Ministry has not attempted to resume normal operations given the current situation.

The Prison of Azkaban is located within the North Sea and was generally considered secure, until the escape of Sirius Black some three years ago. The dementors of Azkaban have also turned against the ministry, leading to a situation of unimaginable danger. Firstly, it should be assumed that all the dementors have sided with You-Know-Who and have released all the prisoners within the island. It can be deduced that many will be grateful for their release and would join You-Know-Who’s ranks. Should You-Know-Who use Azkaban as a staging area against us, I fear that nothing can be done to stop him.

Discussions with Alastor Moody (who I should remind the Minister has captured several well known dark wizards during his time) have alarmed me to the fact that the dementors are also a huge threat to the Ministry. A single dementor is possibly more dangerous than all the prisoners within Azkaban. With their natural abilities, along with the dementor’s kiss, they could severely cripple an entire squad of Aurors. Dementors are not to be trifled with, and with the sheer number of them located at Azkaban, it is certain that they will not all remain there for long.

That is why I must press everyone to plan an attack against Azkaban Prison as soon as possible. We must not let the dementors, prisoners or You-Know-Who to regroup and launch attacks against us. Unfortunately, speaking with officials in the Department of Magical Transportation has revealed there are only two options open to us in an attack on Azkaban: an airborne assault or one by the sea. Apparation should not be an option. Any safeguards placed to prevent prisoners from aparating away will surely have been turned to be used against us. Portkeys and the Floo Network could also operate against us; any devices that an attacking party can use to break in, can be used by our enemies to escape. This leaves an airborne or a sea borne assault. An airborne assault, while dangerous, could result in us catching the enemy off guard. The use of high-quality, high-speed brooms would be key, or else a suitable replacement could be found. Dragons could be used, but in the (tamed) quantities needed to carry the number of Aurors to secure Azkaban would be impossible to secure. A sea borne assault would also be quite dangerous, as the cold weather could hamper efforts to cross the sea by boat. While the odds of being spotted may be lower, to evade any counterattacks launched during an approach would be highly ineffective.

The defensive capability of Azkaban is enormous. It was designed to prevent escape from within, which also makes it very difficult to attack from outside. With the dementors and possibly ‘escaped’ prisoners in control of the fortress, any assault would not be easy. Besides spells, charms and other magical defenses that could be used against any attack, it has been pointed out that Bludgers also make an effective defensive measure. Dementors could also cripple an attack force by draining consciousness from the attacking Aurors. While most Aurors may be somewhat immune to the effects of the dementor, a few more senior members (especially those from the first war against You-Know-Who) may have problems. Proper use of protective charms will be key.

Moody has also pointed out that any attack against Azkaban would be highly noticeable by muggles. Hence, we would need complete cooperation with the Obilivator unit to watch the entire area around Azkaban during any assault. Also, with the lack of suitable training for new Aurors (or any new Aurors within the past few years), I ask the Minister to place the appropriate owls so that reinforcements can be brought in from across Europe (and possibly America).

A successful attack on Azkaban will give the Ministry a major victory in the current conflict. Given the stream of bad news from the Daily Prophet, a successful attack will turn public opinion back in favor of the Ministry. Also, the recapture of several key prisoners should prove quite useful for information gathering purposes. Dispersing the dementors of Azkaban would severely weaken You-Know-Who’s offensive capabilities. It is possible (though not recommended) that when the facility is recaptured, the Ministry could move the high-profile prisoners captured during the recent attack on the Ministry. Given the current state of their incarceration, it is not advisable to keep them in their current location, but it is not wise to move them to Azkaban should You-Know-Who’s forces launch their own counter attack.

While it may seem impossible, it must be noted that there is no other option currently available to us. The Ministry must act immediately to retake Azkaban before the situation spirals out of control.

I humbly ask that immediate action be taken to get all parties involved,
Junior Ministerial Assistant, Law Enforcement Squad

Author’s Notes:
One of the more pressing issues left after the final chapter of Order of the Phoenix was the fate of Azkaban Prison. Now, surely the dementor guards are not working for the ministry anymore and as the former prison to many of wizarding’s vilest criminals, Azkaban is now a huge threat to the Ministry, the Order of the Pheonix and anyone generally not affiliated with Voldemort. Azkaban, as an island fortress, would be the perfect place for Voldemort (and his followers) to launch attacks against all of Britain (and possibly the rest of Europe). That being said, what should be the best course of action? Should the ministry launch an immediate attack on Azkaban to recapture any remaining prisoners and dementors? Don’t forget any hasty action could result in tremendous casualties for both sides, but if the Ministry fails to act quickly enough the fortress could become too heavily defended for any attack to succeed. We tried to cover all the ways that Azkaban could be attacked, and are pretty sure that all options are very dangerous.

Of course, one issue we covered briefly is where are Lucius Malfoy and the other Death Eater, who were captured, being held? Azkaban is no longer safe, and any location in Britain has its risks. Placing all involved in a single place is just as risky as breaking them up. Honestly, it would be best to ship all the Death Eaters away to another country until the situation with Voldemort changes, but it’s highly doubtful any other nation will take them.

Ultimately we’ll see how this situation resolves itself, but we feel pretty sure about one thing, it’s going to be pretty messy in the end.

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