"There have been too many mistakes where Harry Potter is concerned. Some of them have been my own. That Potter lives is due more to my errors than to his triumphs." (1.32)
Voldemort here is certain that everything that happens is up to him – and nobody else. The only choices that matter in his mind are his own, a belief that really betrays his arrogance.
"Has anyone ever tried sticking a sword in Voldemort? Maybe the Ministry should put some people on to that, instead of wasting their time stripping down Deluminators or covering up breakouts from Azkaban. So this is what you've been doing, Minister, shut up in your office, trying to break open a Snitch? People are dying – I was nearly one of them – Voldemort chased me across three counties, he killed Mad-Eye Moody, but there's been no word about any of that from the ministry, has there? And you still expect us to cooperate with you!" (7.115)
Here, Harry really seizes the opportunity to lambast the Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, for not taking action – it's clear that Harry's decision to act on his own is far removed from the official stance of the Ministry.
"I – I made a grave mistake in marrying Tonks. I did it against my better judgment and I have regretted it very much ever since… Don't you understand what I've done to my wife and my unborn child? I should never have married her, I've made her an outcast!" (11.64-66)
Lupin is tortured by the idea that he might have already ruined his unborn child's life, simply through his werewolf nature. However, Harry reminds him that a choice that's been made cannot then be unmade – after all, Lupin married Tonks because he loves her, and there's nothing he can do to get rid of that bond.
"I hate it, I hate the fact that [Voldemort] can get inside me, that I have to watch him when he's most dangerous. But I'm going to use it."
"Forget Dumbledore. This is my choice, nobody else's." (12.58)
Harry's finally started to act totally based on his own judgment – he realizes that nobody else's decisions or instincts are any more correct than his own, and he's wholly responsible for how he handles his connection to Voldemort, which is, after all, just between the two of them.
"… Of course, the manner of taking matters. Much depends on the wand itself. In general, however, where a wand has been won, its allegiance will change."
There was silence in the room, except for the distant rushing of the sea.
"You talk about wands like they've got feelings," said Harry, "like they can think for themselves."
"The wand chooses the wizard," said Ollivander. (24.115-117)
Interesting… so, not only humans make choices here, but so do their wands. This is a fascinating twist on this theme that will prove to be fundamental to the plot's resolution. It's another way in which Harry's approach to magic differs from Voldemort's; while the latter thinks that he can force anything he wants to happen, Harry realizes that some things (like the Elder Wand choosing him) happen out of their own free will.
As he followed Bill back to the others a wry thought came to him, born no doubt of the wine he had drunk. He seemed set on course to become just as reckless a godfather to Teddy Lupin as Sirius Black had been to him. (25.56)
Harry recognizes that his choices have been reckless and dangerous – and that he's following a pattern he's been taught by Sirius. However, we know that Harry's a very different man from his godfather… and, as much as we love Sirius, a wiser one overall.
And Dumbledore had known that Harry would not duck out, that he would keep going to the end, even though it was his end, because he had taken trouble to get to know him, hadn't he? Dumbledore knew, as Voldemort knew, that Harry would not let anyone else die for him now that he had discovered it was in his power to stop it. (34.7)
Dumbledore knew Harry's character, and thus knew what choice the young man would have to make. He used this knowledge of Harry to ensure that his plans would fall into place, making it difficult to figure out if this is predetermined by Dumbledore, or a choice freely made by Harry, or both.
"I am sorry too," said Lupin. "Sorry I will never know him – but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life." (34.57)
Lupin, here speaking of his son Teddy, is sure about his choice to fight, even though it means that he'll never get to know his only child. He speaks with conviction, knowing that he did all he could to help build a future.
"But…" Harry raised his hand instinctively toward the lightning scar. It did not seem to be there. "But I should have died – I didn't defend myself! I meant to let him kill me!"
"And that," said Dumbledore, "will, I think, have made all the difference." (35)
Ah… so, we see, it's not Harry's actual demise, but his decision to die that counts. This choice, made of his own free will, and for the sake of others, is what saves him in the end.
"One of us?" jeered Voldemort, and his whole body was taut and his red eyes stared, a snake that was about to strike. You think it will be you, do you, the boy who has survived by accident, and because Dumbledore was pulling the strings?"
"Accident, was it, when my mother died to save me?" asked Harry. […] "Accident, when I decided to fight in that graveyard? Accident, that I didn't defend myself tonight, and still survived, and returned to fight again?"
"Accidents!" screamed Voldemort, but still he did not strike. […] "Accident and chance and the fact that you crouched and sniveled behind the skirts of greater men and women, and permitted me to kill them for you!" (36.95-97)
Yet again, Voldemort makes the fatal error of underestimating the choices and deliberate actions of others, assuming that only his choices matter.
"Albus Severus," Harry said quietly… "you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew."
"But just say –."
"– then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won't it? It doesn't matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you'll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account."
"It did for me," said Harry. (Epilogue.38)
Harry assures young Albus that his choice does matter – and that he can make his own fate, a lesson that we should all take away from Harry's story!
It felt most strange to stand here in the silence and know that he was about to leave the house for the last time. Long ago, when he had been left alone while the Dursleys went out to enjoy themselves, the hours of solitude had been a rare treat: Pausing only to sneak something tasty from the fridge, he had rushed upstairs to play on Dudley's computer, or put on the television and flicked through the channels to his heart's content. It gave him an odd, empty feeling to remember those times; it was like remembering a younger brother whom he had lost. (4.2)
Harry's thoughts on leaving Number four, Privet Drive, his longtime home-that's-not-a-home, are bittersweet; clearly, with this departure, an epoch of his life is over, and can never be reclaimed.
He had a strong, though inexplicable, feeling that [Godric's Hollow] held answers for him. Perhaps it was simply because it was there that he had survived Voldemort's Killing Curse; now that he was facing the challenge of repeating the feat, Harry was drawn to the place where it had happened, wanting to understand. (6.60)
Godric's Hollow is an intriguing idea to Harry – it's both a symbol of home and of danger, and Harry's not sure what he'll find there.
Harry's extremities seemed to have gone numb. He stood quite still, holding the miraculous paper in his nerveless fingers while inside him a kind of quiet eruption sent joy and grief thundering in equal measure through his veins. Lurching to the bed, he sat down.
He read the letter again, but could not take in any more meaning than he had done the first time, and was reduced to staring at the handwriting itself. She had made her "g's" the same way he did: he searched the letter for every one of them, and each felt like a friendly little wave glimpsed from behind a veil. The letter was an incredible treasure, proof that Lily Potter had lived, really lived, that her warm hand had once moved across this parchment, tracing into these letters, words about him, Harry, her son. (10.16)
Finding this letter from Lily is like discovering traces of a home Harry's never had – this is a tangible piece of evidence, like an extension of his mother herself.
The orphanage had been the place Voldemort had been determined to escape; he would never have hidden a part of his soul there. Dumbledore had shown Harry that Voldemort sought grandeur or mystique in his hiding places; this dismal gray corner of London was as far removed as you could imagine from Hogwarts or the Ministry or a building like Gringotts, the Wizarding bank, with its golden doors and marble floors. (15.25)
The "homes" Voldemort chooses for his Horcruxes are incredibly significant – in a way, they fit with the old saying, "home is where the heart is." Apparently, for Voldemort, the ideal home is where the Horcrux is… in places of great wizarding significance that represent the power of the magical world. I guess we never expected the guy to be truly sentimental anyway.
He was about to go home, about to return to the place where he had had a family. It was in Godric's Hollow that, but for Voldemort, he would have grown up and spent every school holiday. He could have invited friends to his house… He might even have had brothers and sisters… It would have been his mother who had made his seventeenth birthday cake. The life he had lost had hardly ever seemed so real to him as at this moment, when he knew he was about to see the place where it had been taken from him. (16.42)
The loss of Harry's real home feels even worse than ever when he's faced with the prospect of finally going to Godric's Hollow. We see here the loneliness of an orphaned boy, who's always just wanted nothing but the family he lost so long ago.
[Voldemort] walked on, around the edge of the lake, taking in the outlines of the beloved castle, his first kingdom, his birthright… (24.150)
Voldemort's insistence that Hogwarts is his "first kingdom, his birthright" demonstrates his warped attitude towards home; for him, it's a place that only he can truly inhabit.
Tom Riddle, who confided in no one and operated alone, might have been arrogant enough to assume that he, and only he, had penetrated the deepest mysteries of Hogwarts Castle. Of course, Dumbledore and Flitwick, those model pupils, had never set foot in that particular place, but he, Harry, had strayed off the beaten track in his time at school – here at last was a secret he and Voldemort knew, that Dumbledore had never discovered –. (31.87)
Again, Harry proves his odd kinship with Voldemort – both of them know the Castle's secrets better, perhaps, than anyone else, since it's home to the two of them. It's taken all of Harry's transgressions as well as his good deeds to get this close to Voldemort, and to figure out the Dark Lord's secrets.
He wanted to be stopped, to be dragged back, to be sent home…
But he was home. He and Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here. (34.31-32)
Hogwarts is home to Harry, and there's no other place for him to go. Abandoned and orphaned once, he has come back to the only place he truly knows. And, poetically, he returns to face another orphan whose only real home was this school.
"Expelliarmus is a useful spell, Harry, but the Death Eaters seem to think it is your signature move, and I urge you not to let it become so!"
Lupin was making Harry feel idiotic, and yet there was still a grain of defiance inside him.
"I won't blast people out of my way just because they're there," said Harry. "That's Voldemort's job." (5.55)
Expelliarmus (the Disarming Spell) is Harry's signature move – and for a reason. As he comments, he's not willing to use violence against people who don't merit it, which displays the strength of character and sense of morality that Harry's developed over the past few years.
"Where no proven Wizarding ancestry exists, therefore, the so-called Muggle-born is likely to have obtained magical power by theft or force.
"The Ministry is determined to root out such usurpers of magical power…" (11.38)
Voldemort's desire to get rid of all non-pureblood Wizards is really a problem of identity – he's taken it upon himself to decide who is really a wizard and who isn't. However, there's the problem of personal identity – Muggle-born wizards really are just as magical as purebloods, and Voldemort's new restrictions are simply lies.
Harry drew closer, gazing up into his parents' faces. He had never imagined that there would be a statue. […] How strange it was to see himself represented in stone, a happy baby without a scar on his forehead… (16.57)
The sense of what might have been weighs heavily upon Harry in Godric's Hollow; he can't help but wonder what life would have been like if he wasn't the Chosen One. The image of himself as an infant seems particularly confusing – after all, what would Harry be like without his scar, without his mission?
He had spilled his own blood more times than he could count; he had lost all the bones in his right arm once; this journey had already given him scars to his chest and forearm to join those on his hand and forehead, but never, until this moment, had he felt himself to be fatally weakened, vulnerable, and naked, as though the best part of his magical power had been torn from him. (18.2)
Harry's wand is Harry, in his mind – and without it, he feels at a loss. This demonstrates how closely a wizard's wand is tied to his own personality; without the special wand that's seen him through encounters with Voldemort, he feels like he's not fully himself.
"…I'm as hunted quite as much as any goblin or elf, Griphook! I'm a Mudblood!"
"Don't call yourself –." Ron muttered.
"Why shouldn't I?" said Hermione. "Mudblood, and proud of it!" (24.87)
Hermione shows her strength and her confidence in her own identity here – she's not ashamed of her Muggle background, and she knows that it makes no difference to her Wizarding abilities.
"…Goblin notions of ownership, payment, and repayment are not the same as human ones. […] We are talking about a different kind of being," said Bill. "Dealings between wizards and goblins have been fraught for centuries. […] To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is the maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs." (25.93)
Bill reminds Harry that not everyone can be held to the same human standards – goblins have their own identity as a species, and thus live by their own rules.
"Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns."
"Does he?" said Dumbledore softly… "And are you tempted to join him?"
"No," said Snape. […] "I am not such a coward."
"No," agreed Dumbledore. "You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon…" (33.144)
Dumbledore's comment that Hogwarts Sorts its students too soon implies that Snape's bravery should perhaps have placed him in Gryffindor – his true identity, which nobody else knows about, shows him to be as courageous and loyal as any true Gryffindor.
"Tell me one last thing," said Harry. "Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" (35.96-98)
This is such a classic Dumbledore thing to say. It's a little trippy, a little goofy, and a little (OK, incredibly) deep and profound. Basically, he's telling Harry to trust what goes on inside his head – just because it's happening in there, doesn't mean it's imaginary or silly.
"So it all comes down to this, doesn't it?" whispered Harry. "Does the wand in your hand know its last master was Disarmed? Because if it does… I am the true master of the Elder Wand."
A red-gold glow burst suddenly across the enchanted sky above them as an edge of dazzling sun appeared over the sill of the nearest window. The light hit both of their faces at the same time, so that Voldemort's was suddenly a flaming blur. Harry heard the high voice shriek as he too yelled his best hope to the heavens, pointing Draco's wand:
"Avada Kedavra!" "Expelliarmus!" (36.118-121)
Harry stays true to himself all the way to the end – he recognizes his own identity as the master of the Hallows, and pulls out his signature spell to prove it. Voldemort's own actions are classic Voldy; he thinks he can just blast Harry away and solve all his problems, but this single-minded attitude fails him here. (Hasn't he yet learned he can't use that spell on Harry, by the way? Sheesh.)
"If there was one place that was really important to You-Know-Who, it was Hogwarts!"
"Oh, come on," scoffed Ron. "His school?"
"Yeah, his school! It was his first real home, the place that meant he was special; it meant everything to him, and even after he left –."
"This is You-Know-Who we're talking about, right? Not you?" inquired Ron. (15.23)
The similarities between Harry and Voldemort seem to be too much at times – they make Harry capable of understanding the evil wizard better than anyone else can, but they also make for an uncanny crossover between the two.
Lupin was wearing an odd expression as he looked at Harry. It was close to pitying.
"You think I'm a fool?" demanded Harry.
"No, I think you're like James," said Lupin, "who would have regarded it as the height of dishonor to mistrust his friends." (5)
This comment has a sting – after all, James and Lily were betrayed by their trusted friend, Peter Pettigrew. However, Harry holds firm, and continues to keep his faith in his friends and loved ones.
"No," Harry said aloud, and they all looked at him, surprised. The firewhiskey seemed to have amplified his voice. "I mean… if somebody made a mistake," Harry went on, "and let something slip, I know they didn't mean to do it. It's not their fault," he repeated, again a little louder than he would usually have spoken. "We've got to trust each other. I trust all of you, I don't think anyone in this room would ever sell me to Voldemort." (5.119)
Harry's unwilling to entertain the idea that anyone in the Order would betray him. And he's right – in a struggle like this, trust, faith, and loyalty are all they have.
You gave Ron the Deluminator. You understood him… You gave him a way back…
And you understood Wormtail, too… You knew there was a bit of regret there, somewhere…
And if you knew them… What did you know about me, Dumbledore?
Am I meant to know, but not to seek? Did you know how hard I'd find that? Is that why you made it this difficult? So I'd have time to work that out? (24.44-47)
Harry's grief and frustration over Dobby's death erupts in this stream of mental questions, directed at Dumbledore. Why, he wonders, couldn't his old mentor simply have revealed more? Why has Harry been so left in the dark about his own destiny?
Harry thought fast, his scar still prickling, his head threatening to split again. Dumbledore had warned him against telling anyone but Ron and Hermione about the Horcruxes. Secrets and lies, that's how we grew up, and Albus… he was a natural… Was he turning into Dumbledore, keeping his secrets clutched to his chest, afraid to trust? But Dumbledore had trusted Snape, and where had that led? To murder at the top of the highest tower… (29.44)
Harry's torn between his natural impulse to trust his friends in the DA, who have proven themselves worthy of his belief, and his fear of betrayal. However, thinking through Dumbledore's error of too much secrecy, he goes with his instincts and trusts his friends, just as he did in the beginning of the book.
"So the boy… the boy must die?" asked Snape quite calmly.
"And Voldemort himself must do it, Severus. That is essential."
Another long silence. Then Snape said, "I thought… all these years… that we were protecting him for her. For Lily."
"We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try his strength," said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut. "Meanwhile, the connection between them grows ever stronger, a parasitic growth: Sometimes I have thought he suspects it himself. If I know him, he will have arranged matters so that when he sets out to meet his death, it will truly mean the end of Voldemort."
Dumbledore opened his eyes. Snape looked horrified.
"You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?... You have used me… I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to keep Lily Potter's son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter…" (33.182-185)
This is a kind of double betrayal on Dumbledore's part – of Snape, and of Harry himself. We feel cheated, just as Snape does – how could Dumbledore manipulate them (and us) like that?
Dumbledore's betrayal was almost nothing. Of course there had been a bigger plan; Harry had simply been too foolish to see it, he realized that now. He had never questioned his own assumption that Dumbledore wanted him alive. Now he saw that his life span had always been determined by how long it took to eliminate all the Horcruxes. (34.6)
The betrayal here stems again from the idea of "For the Greater Good" – Dumbledore seems to have chosen Harry to die, since he had already been chosen to die once, in order to save the rest of the world… he just never informed Harry of this decision. Whoops.
"Can you forgive me?" he said. "Can you forgive me for not trusting you? For not telling you? Harry, I only feared that you would fail as I had failed. I only dreaded that you would make my mistakes. I crave your pardon, Harry. I have known, for some time now, that you are the better man." (35.45)
Dumbledore feels terrible for not telling Harry about the Hallows and for not being honest with him – and perhaps it was egotistical of him to assume that Harry would make all the same mistakes he did. However, now that Dumbledore has realized that he was wrong, he's learned from his mistake.
Hands, softer than he had been expecting, touched Harry's face, pulled back an eyelid, crept beneath his shirt, down to his chest, and felt his heart. He could feel the woman's fast breathing, her long hair tickled his face. He knew that she could feel the steady pounding of life against his ribs.
"Is Draco alive? Is he in the castle?"
The whisper was barely audible; her lips were an inch from his ear, her head bent so low that her long hair shielded his face from the onlookers.
"Yes," he breathed back.
He felt the hand on his chest contract; her nails pierced him. Then it was withdrawn. She had sat up.
"He is dead!" Narcissa Malfoy called to the watchers. (36.13-17)
This final betrayal of Voldemort is what undoes everything – Narcissa Malfoy chooses her love for her son over her loyalty to her former Lord. It's an echo of Snape's betrayal of Voldemort, and Regulus Black's. Where the Dark Lord goes wrong every time is in failing to recognize the real importance of love.
He felt beleaguered and blackmailed: Did they think he did not know what they had done for him, didn't they understand that it was for precisely that reason that he wanted to go now, before they had to suffer any more on his behalf? (5.134)
Following the ambushed effort to move Harry from Privet Drive to the Burrow, during which Mad-Eye died and George lost an ear, Harry feels frustrated about the idea that other people must make sacrifices for him, and isn't sure how to deal with it. After all, he's just one person, so why should all these other people risk their lives just for him?
"She's not an idiot, she knows it can't happen, she's not expecting us to – to end up married, or –."
As he said it, a vivid picture formed in Harry's mind of Ginny in a white dress, marrying a tall, faceless, and unpleasant stranger. In one spiraling moment it seemed to hit him: her future was free and unencumbered, whereas his… he could see nothing but Voldemort ahead. (7.52-53)
Here, Harry starts to realize what his decision to pursue Voldemort really means; it could be the end of everything he's ever hoped for or dreamt about.
And tears came before he could stop them, boiling hot then instantly freezing on his face, and what was the point in wiping them off or pretending? He let them fall, his lips pressed hard together, looking down at the thick snow hiding from his eyes the place where the last of Lily and James lay, bones now surely, or dust, not knowing or caring that their living son stood so near, his heart still beating, alive because of their sacrifice and close to wishing, at this moment, that he was sleeping under the snow with them. (16.92)
Harry's reaction at his parents' gravesite is to reflect upon their sacrifice – what was the point, when it just left him alone anyway? Again, we're asked to consider the cruelty of sacrifice; somebody's always hurt, even if they're the one being saved.
…shortly afterward he had set to work, alone, digging the grave in the place that Bill had shown him at the end of the garden, between bushes. He dug with a kind of fury, relishing the manual work, glorying in the non-magic of it, for every drop of his sweat and every blister felt like a gift to the elf who had saved their lives. (24.7)
Harry's grief at Dobby's death reflects his guilt and pain at the idea that others make willing sacrifices for him. It hurts more than anything else to think about the fact that those he loves, like Mad-Eye and Dobby, are ready to give up their lives for him.
"My brother Albus wanted a lot of things," said Aberforth, "and people had a habit of getting hurt while he was carrying out his grand plans. You get away from this school, Potter, and out of the country if you can. Forget my brother and his clever schemes. He's gone where none of this can hurt him, and you don't owe him anything." (28.43)
Aberforth bitterly notes the tendency for people to get hurt by Albus's schemes, even if they're for the greater good, and doesn't want Harry to willingly give himself up just to finish the path that good ol' Albus started him on.
"[Albus] told me I had to finish my education and he'd take over from my mother. Bit of a comedown for Mr. Brilliant, there's no prizes for looking after your half-mad sister, stopping her blowing up the house every other day. But he was all right for a few weeks… till [Grindelwald] came." (28.69)
We finally learn what happened to the Dumbledore family – it seems that young Albus was ready to sacrifice his early career to take care of Ariana. But his was not entirely a willing sacrifice, as demonstrated by his easy distraction by Grindelwald's charms.
He could not bear to look at any of the other bodies, to see who else had died for him. He could not bear to join the Weasleys, could not look into their eyes, when if he had given himself up in the first place, Fred might never have died… (33.13)
It's come down to the moment of truth – Harry is faced with the necessity of his own sacrifice. Again he wonders how he could have let all of these people he loved die for him – and there's no answer to that question.
The Snitch. His nerveless fingers fumbled for a moment with the pouch at his neck and he pulled it out.
I open at the close.
Breathing fast and hard, he stared down at it. Now that he wanted time to move as slowly as possible, it seemed to have sped up, and understanding was coming so fast it seemed to have bypassed thought. This was the close. This was the moment.
He pressed the golden metal to his lips and whispered, "I am about to die."
The metal shell broke open. He lowered his shaking hand, raised Draco's wand beneath the Cloak, and murmured, "Lumos."
The black stone with its jagged crack running down the center sat in the two halves of the Snitch. The Resurrection Stone had cracked down the vertical line representing the Elder Wand. The triangle and circle representing the Cloak and the stone were still discernable.
And again Harry understood without having to think. It did not matter about bringing them back, for he was about to join them. He was not really fetching them: they were fetching him. (34.37-43)
There's only one comfort in this sacrifice – the Resurrection Stone. Harry uses it to call back his departed loved ones to help him through this terrible moment… it's the least Dumbledore could do to ease this decision.
If only he had died like Hedwig, so quickly he would not have known it happened. Or if he could have launched himself in front of a wand to save someone he loved… He envied even his parents' deaths now. This cold-blooded walk to his own destruction would require a different kind of bravery. (34.4)
The sacrifice demanded of Harry is indeed a horrifically challenging one – he alone knows what he must do, and it's up to him to resolve to do it. It's not an act of passion, but one of calculated, "cold-blooded," and controlled will.
Finally, the truth. Lying with his face pressed into the dusty carpet of the office, Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death's welcoming arms. Along the way, he was to dispose of Voldemort's remaining links to life, so that when at last he flung himself across Voldemort's path, and did not raise a wand to defend himself, the end would be clean, and the job that ought to have been done in Godric's Hollow would be finished: Neither would live, neither would survive. (34.1)
After witnessing Snape's tragic story, the truth becomes clear to Harry: he has no choice but sacrifice himself, something that Dumbledore ensured. The only option to save the rest of the world is to give himself up.
"I resented it, Harry."
Dumbledore stated it baldly, coldly. He was now looking over the top of Harry's head, into the distance.
"I was gifted, I was brilliant. I wanted escape. I wanted to shine. I wanted glory.
"Do not misunderstand me," he said, and pain crossed the face so that he looked ancient again. "I loved them. I loved my parents, I loved my brother and my sister, but I was selfish, Harry, more selfish than you, who are a remarkably selfless person, could possibly imagine." (35.57-60)
Dumbledore, it seems, wasn't quite strong enough to sacrifice his future for his family, as he was asked to do – one of the reasons why he recognizes Harry as a better man. Harry's selflessness is remarkable; his choice to sacrifice himself is something that most of us wouldn't have been able to do!
"…It warns in this book how unstable you make the rest of your soul by ripping it, and that's just by making one Horcrux!"
Harry remembered what Dumbledore had said about Voldemort moving beyond "usual evil."
"Isn't there any way of putting yourself back together?" Ron asked.
"Yes," said Hermione with a hollow smile, "but it would be excruciatingly painful."
"Why? How do you do it?" asked Harry.
"Remorse," said Hermione. "You've got to really feel what you've done. There's a footnote. Apparently the pain of it can destroy you. I can't see Voldemort attempting it somehow, can you?" (6.71-73)
The matter of exactly how evil Voldemort is – more evil than anyone else has ever been, apparently – is one of the most frightening things about him. As Hermione notes, it's unlikely that he'll ever feel any remorse for any of the terrible things he's done.
"Your point about Wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES' OWN GOOD – this, I think is the crucial point… We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD." (18.34)
Whoa, there – this quote from a teenage Dumbledore to teenage Grindelwald is shocking. However, it raises an intriguing question – what is "the greater good"? How, for that matter, do we determine what is good or evil? Why should the two former friends have split, but continued, each in his own way, to hold to similar ideals, but on different sides?
Three objects, or Hallows, which, if united, will make the possessor master of Death… Master… Conqueror… Vanquisher… the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death…
And he saw himself, possessor of the Hallows, facing Voldemort, whose Horcruxes were no match… Neither can live while the other survives… Was this the answer? Hallows versus Horcruxes? Was there a way, after all, to ensure that he was the one who triumphed? If he were the master of the Deathly Hallows, would he be safe? (22.19-21)
Here, Harry first figures out the real conflict here – Hallows vs. Horcruxes, one vision of mastering Death against the other. And, really, it's a matter of good vs. evil – the Hallows, as we learn later, require a true understanding of Death, while Horcruxes seek to artificially and unnaturally avoid it.
"I'd say that it's one short step from 'Wizards first' to 'Purebloods first,' then to 'Death Eaters,'" replied Kingsley. "We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving." (22.78)
Well said, Kingsley. He touches upon the essential difference between good and evil, or between Order of the Phoenix and Death Eater here – the Order stands for equality, while the Death Eaters represent prejudice and an inhuman and unjust elitism.
"Master of death, Harry, Master of Death! Was I better, ultimately, than Voldemort?"
"Of course you were," said Harry. "Of course – how can you ask that? You never killed if you could avoid it!"
"True, true," said Dumbledore, and he was like a child seeking reassurance. "Yet I to sought a way to conquer death, Harry."
"Not the way he did," said Harry. […] "Hallows, not Horcruxes." (29)
Again, the question of ends vs. means arises – if Dumbledore and Voldemort had the same goal in mind, does it even matter that they worked towards it in different ways? Harry reassures Dumbledore that it does… what do you think?
"I shall expect you and the Slytherins in the Great Hall in twenty minutes, also," said Professor McGonagall. "If you wish to leave with your students, we shall not stop you. But if any of you attempt to sabotage our resistance or take up arms against us within the castle, then, Horace, we duel to kill."
"Minerva!" he said, aghast.
"The time has come for Slytherin House to decide upon its loyalties," interrupted Professor McGonagall. (30.63)
Slytherin House, led by Professor Slughorn, is forced to decide whose side it's on – the school's, or its most famous alumnus's. Professor McGonagall's ultimatum makes it pretty clear that the time for moral ambiguity is past.
"I regret it," said Voldemort coldly.
He turned away; there was no sadness in him, no remorse. It was time to leave this shack and take charge, with a wand that would now do his full bidding… Voldemort swept from the room without a backward glance… (32.121)
Voldemort's true depths of evil are really revealed by his callous murder of Snape, who he thought was his faithful servant all these years. He truly has progressed beyond "the usual evil" – he's past all human feeling.
"Hide them all, then," he croaked. "Keep her – them – safe. Please."
"And what will you give me in return, Severus?"
"In – in return?" Snape gaped at Dumbledore, and Harry expected him to protest, but after a long moment he said, "Anything." (33.129-130)
Here, we see the moment of Snape's shift from evil to good – his betrayal of Lord Voldemort because of Lily's endangerment demonstrates the power of his love over his desire to serve the Dark Lord.
"And his knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing." (35.26)
Again, the difference between Harry's understanding of the world and Voldemort's is made clear – Voldemort is completely consumed by his lust for power, and his ignorance of the things that actually make life good and worthwhile are what really demonstrate his true evil.
"You show spirit and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom."
"I'll join you when hell freezes over," said Neville. "Dumbledore's Army!" he shouted, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd… (36.54)
Neville's good-evil compass never wavers, even when Voldemort tries to tempt him over to the dark side. It would never work – he's a true Gryffindor through and through, and is loyal and courageous to the bone. He's certainly not the second coming of Peter Pettigrew, as we once feared.
"He'll be all right," murmured Ginny.
As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absentmindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.
"I know he will."
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well. (Epilogue.43-46)
Good triumphs in the end, and there's no sign of a threat to this happy ending – let's hope it stays that way!
"Yes, Voldemort is playing a very clever game. Declaring himself might have provoked open rebellion: remaining masked has created confusion, uncertainty, and fear." (11.35)
Lupin notes that Voldemort really knows how best to use his power – the most alarming thing is that he keeps things mysterious, so that nobody knows exactly how strong he is or what he's capable of.
The Patronus, he was sure, was Umbridge's and it glowed brightly because she was so happy here, in her element, upholding the twisted laws she had helped to write. (13.70)
Power warps people – and Dolores Umbridge is a prime case study for this phenomenon. Her love for power is unnatural, and it's rendered her an unnatural character; she delights in exhibitions of her strength, and prefers them to be at the expense of others.
"Yes, we have been given power and yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build… where we meet resistance, we must use only the force that is necessary and no more." (18.34)
This quote, from a letter that young Dumbledore wrote to Grindelwald, demonstrates the dangers of having too much power – the idea that the added strength of magic makes wizards fit to rule (albeit "responsibly") over Muggles is the overly enthusiastic and dangerously idealistic claim of an immature, young wizard.
"… the wand would be bound to attract trouble –."
"Only if you shouted about it," argued Ron. "Only if you were prat enough to go dancing around, waving it over your head, and singing, 'I've got an unbeatable wand, come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.' As long as you could keep your trap shut –."
"Yes, but could you keep your trap shut?" said Hermione, looking skeptical. (21.57)
Hermione brings up a good point here – one of the greatest dangers of having a ton of power is the temptation to brag about it and thus get yourself in more trouble than said power is worth.
If only there was a way of getting a better wand…
And desire for the Elder Wand, the Deathstick, unbeatable, invincible, swallowed him once more… (22.55-56)
Even Harry wonders for a moment if more power might be the answer – the temptation of the Elder Wand is a danger to any wizard in a fix, even our hero.
"The Dark Lord no longer seeks the Elder Wand only for your destruction, Mr. Potter. He is determined to possess it because he believes it will make him truly invulnerable."
"And will it?"
"The owner of the Elder Wand must always fear attack," said Ollivander, "but the idea of the Dark Lord in possession of the Deathstick is, I must admit… formidable."
Harry was suddenly reminded of how he had been unsure, when they first met, of how much he liked Ollivander. Even now, having been tortured and imprisoned by Voldemort, the idea of the Dark wizard in possession of this wand seemed to enthrall as much as it repulsed him. (24. 156-157)
Mr. Ollivander's moral ambiguity is caused by his fascination with the idea of so much power existing in one place. On a certain level, he's more interested in the concept of the most powerful living wizard possessing the most powerful wand, even if it's used for evil, in a kind of scientific way.
"That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic is a truth he has never grasped." (35.28)
Ah… so, real power, it seems, springs from love, something Dumbledore has said all along, but that Voldemort has never listened to. And this is why Harry triumphs over the Dark Lord in the end; he recognizes, unlike his foe, that he isn't alone in the world and wouldn't want to be, and that it's love that makes the world go 'round.
"Maybe a man in a million could unite the Hallows, Harry. I was fit only to possess the meanest of them, the least extraordinary. I was fit to own the Elder Wand, and not to boast of it, and not to kill with it. I was permitted to tame and to use it, because I took it, not for gain, but to save others from it.
"But the Cloak, I took out of vain curiosity, and so it could never have worked for me as it works for you, its true owner. The stone I would have used in an attempt to drag back those who are at peace, rather than to enable my self-sacrifice, as you did. You are the worthy possessor of the Hallows." (35.84-85)
Dumbledore recognizes wisely that power works best for those who deserve it – he could never have controlled all three Hallows because he never merited them. This is something that Voldemort, who thinks he can seize whatever power he wants, will never understand.
"I'm putting the Elder Wand," he told Dumbledore, who was watching him with enormous affection and admiration, "back where it came from. It can stay there. If I die a natural death like Ignotus, its power will be broken, won't it? The previous master will never have to be defeated. That'll be the end of it.
Dumbledore nodded. They smiled at each other.
"Are you sure?" said Ron. There was the faintest trace of longing in his voice as he looked at the Elder Wand.
"I think Harry's right," said Hermione quietly.
"That wand's more trouble than it's worth," said Harry. "And quite honestly… I've had enough trouble for a lifetime." (36.147-150)
Harry shows true power of a sort here – the ability to say "no" to having too much power, if that makes sense. His decision to break the pattern of the Elder Wand and to lay it to rest again in Dumbledore's tomb proves his worthiness in ever possessing the Hallows; he knew when to use them, and when to stop.
Nameless forebodings crept upon him as he sat there in the dark: He tried to resist them, push them away, yet they came at him relentlessly. Neither can live while the other survives. (14.55)
From the beginning of the quest, Harry knows that his own death is a possibility – but now it seems almost like a likelihood. Here, we see his first thoughts on his fear of death and the unknown.
"'The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death'…" A horrible thought came to him, and with it a kind of panic. "Isn't that a Death Eater idea? Why is that there?"
"It doesn't mean defeating death in the way the Death Eaters mean it, Harry," said Hermione, her voice gentle. "It means… you know… living beyond death. Living after death."
But they were not living, thought Harry: they were gone. The empty words could not disguise the fact that his parents' moldering remains lay beneath snow and stone, indifferent, unknowing. (16.92)
Harry's fear of death is apparent here – it's the great unknown, after all, and there's no evidence given that there is life after death. To him, his parents' grave just bespeaks the silence, loneliness, and indifference of the great divide.
"When you say 'master of Death' –," said Ron.
"Master," said Xenophilius, waving an airy hand. "Conqueror. Vanquisher. Whatever term you prefer." (21.37)
This idea of the "master of Death" follows upon the notion we saw alluded to on Lily and James's gravestone – the idea that one might somehow trump Death or have supremacy over it. And it's fitting that Harry, the heir of the Peverell brothers, should assume that rightful title in the end.
"'The Tale of the Three Brothers' is a story," said Hermione firmly. "A story about how humans are frightened of death. If surviving was as simple as hiding under the Invisibility Cloak, we'd have everything we need already!" (22.6)
Hermione's kind of right – and mostly wrong, given the events of the rest of the book. Her point about humans' fear of death is right on, though; we'll do anything to talk around, above, and through death and the threat of it.
"No – no – no!" someone was shouting. "No! Fred! No!"
And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred's eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face. (31.187-188)
This is the worst death we've seen yet – Dobby was one thing, but Fred Weasley is another. For the first time since Sirius's death in Book 5, we witness the direct, immediate impact of death on those left behind.
Slowly, very slowly, he sat up and as he did so he felt more alive and more aware of his own living body than ever before. Why had he never appreciated what a miracle he was, brain and nerve and bounding heart? It would all be gone… or at least, he would be gone from it. (34.5)
The awareness of mortality makes Harry all the more aware of his own life – for, after all, he's taken it for granted until now, when it's all going to be taken away.
Terror washed over him as he lay on the floor, with that funeral drum pounding inside him. Would it hurt to die? All those times he had thought that it was about to happen and escaped, he had never really thought of the thing itself: His will to live had always been so much stronger than his fear of death. Yet it did not occur to him now to try and escape, to outrun Voldemort. It was over, he knew it, and all that was left was the thing itself: dying. (34.3)
Faced with inevitable death, Harry has to think about the experience of it for the first time – and it's scary. Even in his most dangerous moments, death has never seemed so real as now, when it's the only possible choice.
Finally, the truth. Lying with his face pressed into the dusty carpet of the office, Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death's welcoming arms. Along the way, he was to dispose of Voldemort's remaining links to life, so that when at last he flung himself across Voldemort's path, and did not raise a wand to defend himself, the end would be clean, and the job that ought to have been done in Godric's Hollow would be finished: Neither would live, neither would survive. (34.1)
The truth about the Harry-Voldemort prophecy emerges – it's all been about death all along. While Harry had interpreted it as meaning only one of them would survive, it turns out that there's nothing at the end of this path but his own demise.
He had no strength left for a Patronus. He could no longer control his own trembling. It was not, after all, so easy to die. Every second he breathed, the smell of the grass, the cool air on his face, was so precious: To think that people had years and years, time to waste, so much time it dragged, and he was clinging to each second. At the same time he thought he would not be able to go on, and knew that he must. (34.36)
As he's about to go to his death, Harry longs only to live – and who wouldn't? Even though he's doing the right thing for the world, imagine being in his situation. When it comes down to your own life, even the best reasons couldn't possibly seem good enough to end it.
"You are the true master of death, because the true master does not seek to run away from Death. He accepts that he must die, and understands that there are far, far worse things in the living world than dying." (35.88)
Dumbledore explains the real meaning of "master of death" here – it doesn't mean that Harry commands Death, but rather that he's kind of on equal terms with it. Like the third brother in the story (his ancestor), he's willing to approach Death face-to-face when the time is right, and thus has a greater understanding of it… or, rather, has come to an understanding with it.
Harry could not help wondering whether [Ron and Hermione] had only agreed to come on what now felt like a pointless and rambling journey because they thought he had some secret plan that they would learn in due course. Ron was making no effort tot hide his bad mood, and Harry was starting to fear that Hermione too was disappointed by his poor leadership. (15.31)
The pressure's on for Harry and, like anyone else, it makes it harder for him to make decisions. But how can he possibly direct this journey when he doesn't even know what he's supposed to be doing? Choices are hard to make when there are zero viable options. Who knew? But this is the first real test for the group's perseverance and determination, and they all suffer from the lack of direction.
The rain was pounding the tent, tears were pouring down Hermione's face, and the excitement of a few minutes before had vanished as if it had never been, a short-lived firework that had flared and died, leaving everything dark, wet, and cold. The sword of Gryffindor was hidden they knew not where, and they were three teenagers in a tent whose only achievement was not, yet, to be dead. (15.106)
This moment, right before Ron's angry departure, is the lowest point in the journey; nobody knows where they're going or how they're going to get there, and it seems like no possible resolution is in sight.
"[Dumbledore] knew what he was doing when he gave me the Deluminator, didn't he? He – well," Ron's ears turned bright red and he became engrossed in a tuft of grass at his feet, which he prodded with his toe, "he must've known I'd run out on you."
"No," Harry corrected him. "He must've always known you'd always want to come back." (20.9)
Harry gently turns around the shame that Ron feels about leaving– as Dumbledore knew, Ron's loyalty is undying, and even though he seemed to give up, he'll always want to come back to his friends.
Harry met her eyes with a mixture of defiance and shame. He remembered the words that had been engraved over the gateway to Nurmengard: FOR THE GREATER GOOD. He pushed the idea away. What choice did they have? (25.38)
Perseverance isn't always a good thing. Here, Harry struggles with his conscience, and with Hermione, over how to sneakily slip out of his agreement to give Griphook the sword of Gryffindor. He forces himself to believe it's the only option, against his gut feeling.
What if, what if, the boy knew about the others? Could he know, had he already acted, had he traced more of them? Was Dumbledore at the root of this? Dumbledore, who had always suspected him, Dumbledore, dead on his orders; Dumbledore, whose wand was his now, yet who reached out from the ignominy of death through the boy, the boy –. (27.30)
Voldemort is frustrated and confused by one of Dumbledore's most amazing qualities – his seeming determination, even from beyond the grave. The idea that his old enemy could somehow have planted the seeds of some plan in Harry frightens and angers the Dark Lord.
"We're his army," said Neville. "Dumbledore's Army. We were all in it together, we've been keeping it going while you three have been off on your own –."
"It hasn't exactly been a picnic, mate," said Ron.
"I never said it had, but I don't see why you don't trust us. Everyone in this room's been fighting and they've been driven in here because the Carrows were hunting them down. Everyone in here's proven they're loyal to Dumbledore – loyal to you." (29.34)
Faithful Neville stands up to Harry a bit here, reminding him that he's not alone – everyone in the DA has proven their mettle, and they've just been holding down the fort until Harry returned.
"Ron, we're the only ones who can end it! Please – Ron – we need the snake, we've got to kill the snake!" said Hermione.
But Harry knew how Ron felt: Pursuing another Horcrux could not bring the satisfaction of revenge; he too wanted to fight, to punish them, the people who had killed Fred, and he wanted find the other Weasleys, and above all make sure, make quite sure that Ginny was not – but he could not permit that idea to form in his mind – .
"We will fight!" Hermione said. "We'll have to, to reach the snake! But let's not lose sight now of what we're supposed to be d-doing! We're the only ones who can end it!" (32.14-16)
Again, in a time of desperation, Hermione's the only one who keeps the group on track – despite all of their grief over Fred, she reminds her friends that they must keep going, and that the end is finally in sight – if they can only get there!
Voldemort had raised his wand. His head was still tilted to one side, like a curious child, wondering what would happen if he proceeded. Harry looked back into the red eyes, and wanted it to happen now, quickly, while he could still stand, before he lost control, before he betrayed fear –.
He saw the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone. (34.90-91)
Harry's perseverance is tested here for a moment as he awaits death – it's all he can do to maintain his dignity and hold his ground. However, as we know he will, Harry manages to stay calm in the face of his impending death.
"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love. By returning, you may ensure that fewer souls are maimed, fewer families are torn apart. If that seems to you a worthy goal, then we say good-bye for the present."
Harry nodded and sighed. Leaving this place would not be nearly as hard as walking into the forest had been, but it was warm and light and peaceful here, and he knew that he was heading back to pain and fear of more loss. (35.94-95)
Yet again, Harry chooses to plow ahead and do the right thing – but it's hard. He's been walking down a long, dark road in this novel, and when he thought he got to the end of it, it still wasn't actually the end… but he'll keep walking, anyway.
"After you left," he said in a low voice, grateful for the fact that Ron's face was hidden, "she cried for a week. Probably longer, only she didn't want me to see. There were loads of nights when we never even spoke to each other. With you gone…"
He could not finish; it was only now that Ron was here again that Harry fully realized how much his absence had cost them.
"She's like my sister," he went on. "I love her like a sister and I reckon she feels the same way about me. It's always been like that. I thought you knew." (19.90-92)
Here, we see three kinds of love emerge out of our trio of friends – the bromance between Ron and Harry, the sibling-like love between Harry and Hermione, and, finally, the romantic love between Ron and Hermione. Ooh la la. (About time.)
Xenophilius looked ghastly, a century old, his lips drawn back into a dreadful leer.
"They will be here any moment. I must save Luna. I cannot lose Luna. You must not leave." (21.85)
Xenophilius Lovegood here demonstrates the desperation of a distraught parent – he loves his daughter more than anything else, and is willing to turn Harry over (despite the fact that until now he's fully been on Harry's side) in order to ensure Luna's safe return.
The elf's eyes found him, and his lips trembled with the effort to form words.
And then with a little shudder the elf became quite still, and his eyes were nothing more than great glassy orbs, sprinkled with light from the stars they could not see. (23.131-133)
Dobby's love for Harry is the stuff of legend – the brave little elf is willing to die for his hero, and it's heartbreaking to see his loyalty, right up to the end.
His scar burned, but he was master of the pain; he felt it, yet was apart from it. He had learned control at last, learned to shut his mind to Voldemort, the very thing Dumbledore had wanted him to learn from Snape. Just as Voldemort had not been able to possess Harry while Harry was consumed with grief for Sirius, so his thoughts could not penetrate Harry now, while he mourned Dobby. Grief, it seemed, drove Voldemort out… though Dumbledore, of course, would have said that it was love… (24.8)
Is love really so different from grief, though? Harry's sorrow for the loss of those who have given themselves up for his sake is made a thousand times more bitter because of his love for them. Perhaps both of these things are what keep Harry closed off from Voldemort's mind.
"Funny thing, how many of the people my brother cared about very much ended up in a worse state than if he'd left 'em well alone." (28.55)
Aberforth observes a curious phenomenon about his brother's love – it often ended up hurting people, the very same ones he professed to love. Well, love does hurt, after all.
There was a clatter as the basilisk fans cascaded out of Hermione's arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.
"Is this the moment?" Harry asked weakly, and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. "OI! There's a war going on here!"
Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other.
"I know, mate," said Ron… "so it's now or never, isn't it?" (31.120-123)
In times of desperation, it seems that the things that have been hidden beneath the surface all come out – such as Ron and Hermione's love for each other. No surprise here – we all totally saw that one coming.
"But this is touching, Severus," said Dumbledore seriously. "Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?"
"For him?" shouted Snape. "Expecto Patronum!"
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
"After all this time?"
"Always," said Snape. (33)
Snape's finest quality – his loyal love for Lily – informs the most intimate part of himself, his Patronus.
"NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" (36.78)
Language alert! We've see Mrs. Weasley upset before, but never really enraged – yet, here, after Bellatrix Lestrange threatened Ginny's life, this angry mama bear rushes out to savagely defend her cub. Her maternal love is the fuel to her fire, and she will do anything to save her family – like another mother we've just seen, Narcissa Malfoy.
"Is it love again?" said Voldemort, his snake's face jeering. "Dumbledore's favorite solution, love, which he claimed conquered death, though love did not stop him falling from the tower and breaking like an old waxwork? Love, which did not prevent me from stamping out your Mudblood mother like a cockroach, Potter – and nobody seems to love you enough to run forward this time and take my curse. So what will stop you from dying now when I strike?" (36.102)
After all these years, Voldemort still hasn't learned his lesson – love does matter, and it is a kind of power he'll never be able to master. Love as a motivation is what has undone him; we've seen it in everyone who's betrayed the Dark Lord, like Snape and Narcissa; people can't help but love, and it's the most powerful force in the world.
…and then [Ginny] was kissing him as she had never kissed him before, and Harry was kissing her back, and it was blissful oblivion, better than firewhiskey; she was the only real thing in the world. (7.42)
Ah, l'amour, l'amour. This is the one real moment of undiluted romance we get in the book, and it's so sweet – but, unfortunately for the two lovebirds, very brief. Here, Harry feels for the first time the utter consumption of real love.