The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.

The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock. Harry released Neville, though he was unaware of doing so. He was jumping down the steps again, pulling out his wand, as Dumbledore, too, turned towards the dais.
It seemed to take Sirius an age to fall: his body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backwards through the ragged veil hanging from the arch.
Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfather’s wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind, then fell back into place.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling, chapter 35 "Beyond the Veil"

Sirius had a look of "fear and surprise" as he fell through the veil. Did he know what the Veil was and what it did? Or did the fear come from being hit at all?

Inspired by Is the Ministry of Magic responsible for this character's death? .

  • 3
    Lupin and Dumbledore both seem to know.
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 10:59
  • 1
    There is no evidence in the book if Sirius knew what the veil was, as Harry learns about its function only in the aftermath.
    – TimSparrow
    Apr 28, 2017 at 11:25
  • @ibid Can you provide a reference?
    – TylerH
    Apr 28, 2017 at 15:57
  • 1
    @TylerH - That's just the impression I got from their reaction to it. Lupin is very quick to assume the Sirius is dead, and Dumbledore appears to very knowledgeable about the DoM.
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


It is interesting question. And I would say he knew about veil of death, for the following reasons:

"It's been there as long as the Ministry itself."

This is what J. K. Rowling says about the veil, so it seems that it is not something that could be covered up if it was there for that long .

Secound reason is bit more far fetched. On the veil's wiki page it is said that veil has had a few appearances in Wizarding folklore, including the Tales of Beedle the Bard (The Tale of the Three Brothers). Now, looking at my copy of book, the only veil I saw mentioned was:

Meanwhile, the second brother journeyed to his own home, where he lived alone. Here he took out the stone that had the power to recall the dead, and turned it thrice in his hand. To his amazement and his delight, the figure of the girl he had once hoped to marry before her untimely death appeared at once before him. Yet she was silent and cold, separated from him as though by a veil. Though she had returned to the mortal world, she did not truly belong there and suffered.

It is not mentioned by full name, but, as it was is well known enough to be included in a children's book, (and it was put as reference and appearance) I would say everyone knew about it; or at least everyone who grew up in the wizarding world and hearing these stories.

As it was mentioned in ibid's comment above, "Lupin and Dumbledore both seem to know" and that kinda proves my theory.

  • Ron didn't know.
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 12:36
  • How do you know? I just read that part of book, it never says that he doesn't know what it is , just that Ron appeared behind it and that stared in it like an idiot. Which is not surprise seeing that he almost killed himself when Vela started dancing in GoF. Also even if he said that he doesn't know what it is, doesn't mean that he never heard of it just that he doesn't know what it is right then. Its not like he is the sharpest tool in the shed. Apr 28, 2017 at 12:47
  • 1
    Rowling described each of the characters reaction to the veil. Ron's just scared, as I think Ron would be - he just knows this is something he doesn't want to dabble with. I guess it could be interpreted in different ways, but I thought it meant that he didn't actually know what it was. (And if any of them did, you'd think they'd have mentioned it.)
    – ibid
    Apr 28, 2017 at 12:53
  • IDK, maybe his fear of something he doesn't want to dabble with overpowered his rational seances and he totally forgot what it might be. I mean they are just kids. You could be right of course, answer was my take on the question. And it is mostly guess work, like most things that are not described in books directly. Apr 28, 2017 at 12:58


In JK Rowling's original notes for Book Five, Sirius was described as "choosing death" when he went to the veil. This would seem to imply that he knew it would kill him.

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[Chapter 34] Harry runs for it with prophecy but Sirius is in trouble - goes back - chucks away the prophecy but Sirius chooses death rather than the Dementor - snake there - Voldemort comes

[Chapter 35] Hermione and Ron pull Harry back from death ...

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