Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Summary

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows plays thoughtfully upon the standard Harry Potter formula that we've all gotten used to over the course of the last six books – we begin with a menacing taste of what's to come (this time with a glimpse of what Voldemort and his Death Eaters are up to), find ourselves at Privet Drive at the end of the summer, and then make our way to Hogwarts. However, this version of the trajectory is thwarted at every point, as Rowling throws in curveball after curveball, shaking up all of our expectations.

The central struggle of this book is established right away: Voldemort is gathering his forces to eliminate Harry once and for all (yikes). The Death Eaters are in the midst of infiltrating the Ministry of Magic, and it seems like they'll succeed soon (yikes). Meanwhile, their enemies, the Order of the Phoenix, are making plans to move Harry from Privet Drive, which will cease to be a safe place for him as soon as he turns seventeen. Snape betrays the Order's plans to Voldemort (dangit). Harry himself is making plans for his mission to destroy Voldemort, left to him by Dumbledore; speaking of whom, the former Headmaster's reputation has fallen into question, due to a new exposé biography by notorious journalist Rita Skeeter. Yes, this is going to be a turbulent one.

The night of the big move, Death Eaters ambush the Order. So, right from the get-go, casualties include Harry's owl Hedwig and George Weasley (who's alive, but seriously injured). Worst of all, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody is killed. Harry is now seriously full of rage – he can't wait to get going on his quest for Voldemort's Horcruxes, but must hold off until his birthday, and then wait for Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding to take place.

On Harry's birthday, Harry, Ron, and Hermione find that they've been left certain mysterious objects in Dumbledore's will – Ron receives the Deluminator (which eliminates light – we're guessing it gets more interesting than this as the book progresses), Hermione a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Harry receives the first Golden Snitch he ever caught and the sword of Godric Gryffindor (which the Ministry refuses to surrender to him). Dumbledore's motives seem more mysterious than ever.

Bill and Fleur's wedding falls right on the heels of Harry's birthday and the event, a disguised Harry encounters two intriguing things: first, a strange symbol that Viktor Krum says is the symbol of the evil, Hitler-esque wizard Grindelwald (defeated many years ago by Dumbledore); and second, Elphias Doge, an old friend of Dumbledore's, whose defense of the dead man only eggs Harry on more to find out the truth about his old mentor.

The wedding gets derailed by the arrival of Death Eaters – the Ministry has officially fallen. Harry, Ron, and Hermione make a quick escape, but are immediately found by Death Eaters. They escape once more, and flee to the former Order of the Phoenix headquarters at Sirius's house, 12 Grimmauld Place. There, they discover the secret of who R.A.B. is (the mystery man who stole the locket Horcrux before Harry and Dumbledore in Book 6) – it was Sirius's brother Regulus Arcturus Black, who was a Death Eater, but turned against Voldemort. They learn all about Regulus from Kreacher, the Black family house-elf; Harry makes friends with Kreacher through this ordeal.

They discover that the real Horcrux locket is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge, now a high-up Ministry official – and to get it, they have to secretly infiltrate the Ministry. Things go fairly smoothly until they're discovered by a Death Eater called Yaxley, who manages to follow them to Grimmauld Place after they get the locket; their safe haven is no longer safe. After this point, our trio of heroes is on the run for real. They travel around, living in a tent and subsisting on horribly cooked, scavenged mushrooms, which doesn't do any favors for anyone's mood. Furthermore, since they don't have Gryffindor's sword, which is capable of destroying Horcruxes, they've got nothing to break the locket with – and it seems to spread Voldemort's pernicious influence to whoever's wearing it. (Not what they need right about now.)

The tensions rise so high that Ron storms off in a huff, leaving Harry and Hermione on their own. To make things even more depressing, it's Christmas; they're lonely, cold, and disgruntled. They decide to go to Godric's Hollow, which was the home of both the Potters and the Dumbledores, to see Bathilda Bagshot, an old friend of Dumbledore's. While there, they visit Harry's parents' grave, as well as the ruins of the Potters' old house – the house Lily and James died in.

Bathilda Bagshot seems to be a creepy old lady, but turns out to be a creepy giant snake – turns out that "she" was a trap crafted by Voldemort to lure Harry in. The poor woman died, and was used as a kind of human puppet for Nagini, Voldemort's terrible serpent. Harry and Hermione narrowly escape as Voldemort approaches, but Harry's beloved holly and phoenix feather wand is broken in their flight. Nothing can fix it, and he's in despair – what if he's not strong enough to face Voldemort without it? Furthermore, Harry and Hermione have been reading Skeeter's biography of Dumbledore, and have learned that he and the evil Grindelwald guy were friends in their youth – what does this say about their former idol?

Through mysterious means, Harry discovers the sword of Gryffindor waiting for him in an icy pond – but as he leaps in to fetch it, the Horcrux locket tries to strangle him. Luckily, Ron comes back just in time to save him, and they destroy the Horcrux with the sword. Now that the boys are reunited, the next thing to do is visit Luna Lovegood's father – it seems like an odd choice, but Hermione's noticed that the same weird symbol Mr. Lovegood was wearing at Bill and Fleur's wedding was written in a lot of Dumbledore's things. Turns out that the symbol, according to Mr. Lovegood, is the mark of the Deathly Hallows, a kind of wizarding Holy Grail. The Hallows are three objects – the Cloak of Invisibility, the Resurrection Stone (which brings the dead back), and the Elder Wand (a kind of all-powerful, undefeated wand). But Mr. Lovegood betrays them, and another very narrow escape follows.

Back at camp, Harry is all worked up – based on his glimpses into Voldemort's mind, he's sure that the Dark Lord is looking for the Elder Wand. In his excitement, he accidentally says Voldemort's name (there's been a taboo set on it by the Death Eaters, so anyone who says "Voldemort" can be tracked), and they're beset by captors. The Death Eaters take the trio to Malfoy Manor, where they're thrown in with a bunch of other captives – Luna, their old friend Dean Thomas, Mr. Ollivander the wandmaker, and a Gringotts goblin, Griphook. At the Manor, evil standby Bellatrix Lestrange is in charge – she's alarmed that they have Gryffindor's sword, which she thought was hidden in her Gringotts vault. However, Hermione and Griphook tell her it's a fake so, satisfied, she calls Voldemort. As he's on his way, though, Harry desperately calls for help through a shard of magic mirror, and lo and behold, Dobby the house-elf shows up. He helps them escape to Bill and Fleur's home, Shell Cottage, but gets killed in the process. Sigh.

Dobby's death reaffirms Harry's burning need to conquer Voldemort. He's sure that Bellatrix is hiding a Horcrux in her Gringotts vault, so he makes a deal with Griphook to get into the notoriously impenetrable bank – he'll give the goblin the (goblin-made) sword of Gryffindor if he helps them. The bank break is successful (if you count a narrow escape on dragonback successful), and they have another Horcrux, Hufflepuff's cup. However, Griphook made off with the sword right away, so there's nothing to destroy the Horcrux with. Meanwhile, Harry figures out that the last Horcrux they need to find (other than Nagini, Voldemort's constant companion) is hidden somewhere at Hogwarts. It's time to return to school.

They Apparate to Hogsmeade, and are saved from roving Death Eaters by Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus's brother – he's gruff and unwilling to admit that the Order has a chance this time around (he was an Order member last time), but he still helps them get into Hogwarts. There, they discover that Neville Longbottom has organized an army of rebels based on their old Defense group, and the squad is hiding out in the Room of Requirement, where the Death Eaters running Hogwarts, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, can't find them.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione initially won't let Neville's group help them, but they find that Dumbledore's Army is raring to go – they all assumed that when Harry showed up, they would stage a rebellion. Ron convinces Harry to let everyone help. More supporters show up; Neville's already spread the word that Harry's at Hogwarts, and old members of the DA, as well as members of the Order of the Phoenix, come to support him.

With the help of the Ravenclaw students, Harry figures out that the last Horcrux must be Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem – Luna, who's arrived with Dean from Shell Cottage, takes him to Ravenclaw Tower to get a look at the statue of the founder. While they're up there, they're discovered by evil Alecto Carrow; Luna stuns her, but it's too late, and her equally evil brother, Amycus, is already outside trying to get in. Professor McGonagall, irritated, lets him in to the tower, where Luna and Harry are hidden under the Cloak, and she and the conscious Carrow get into a fight. When Amycus spits on Professor McGonagall, Harry can't take it anymore; he throws off the Cloak and uses the Crucio Curse for the first time ever, rendering the Death Eater unconscious. Whoa, Harry!

Professor McGonagall is shocked by Harry's appearance, but quickly recovers her senses and agrees to rally the teachers of Hogwarts to buy Harry some time to find the Horcrux before Voldemort arrives. In the hallway, they run into Snape; he and McGonagall get into a showdown, but he's soon outnumbered when professors Flitwick, Sprout, and Slughorn show up in support. They immediately spring into action and start evacuating students and preparing the school for battle. The whole school gathers in the Great Hall, and younger students are evacuated through the passage into the Hog's Head, while students of age are allowed to stay and fight if they choose. Meanwhile, Voldemort announces that he's just there for Harry – he will only fight if they won't surrender him. Needless to say, they won't.

Harry dashes off to find the Horcrux, and runs into the missing Ron and Hermione, who have done something quite clever – using basilisk fangs from the Chamber of Secrets, they've destroyed Hufflepuff's cup. Nice! Next up is Ravenclaw's diadem, which, Harry remembers, he's seen before in the Room of Requirement, in one of its configurations where hidden things are stored. They make it in there, but as Harry's right about to get the diadem, Draco Malfoy and his two thugs, Crabbe and Goyle, ambush them – classic. Malfoy isn't exactly in charge of his gang anymore – Crabbe has gotten some ideas from their new Death Eater teachers, and he's eager to use them. He hurls curses everywhere, and unintentionally sets an unstoppable Fiendfyre (a kind of magical flame that destroys everything). He doesn't make it out of the room, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione manage to save Malfoy and Goyle and make it out alive. As one stroke of luck, the diadem is destroyed by the Fiendfyre – another Horcrux down!

The fight is really on at the castle now, and there are invaders trying to get in from all sides. Battles are being fought everywhere, and our first tragic casualty happens: Fred Weasley is killed instantly in an explosion. Before there's time to mourn, Harry figures out that Voldemort is in the Shrieking Shack, and he, Ron, and Hermione fight through the fray to get there.

In the Shrieking Shack, we indeed find Voldemort, who's awaiting Snape; he coldly informs Snape that he needs to do one thing to truly become master of the Elder Wand… kill its last master, who was not Dumbledore, according to him, but Snape himself. He mercilessly sets Nagini upon Snape, and leaves as the man lies dying. Harry goes over to the dying Snape, and Snape gives him a final gift – his memories. Harry's totally confused and dazed. Before he can process anything, though, Voldemort makes another magical loudspeaker announcement, saying that Harry has one hour to meet him in the Forbidden Forest, or everyone dies. No time for mourning, indeed.

Ron and Hermione don't want Harry to go, but he doesn't listen to them. He walks through the castle and sees terrible things on his way – Fred's body, next to those of Lupin and Tonks. He somehow nimbly makes his way up to Dumbledore's office and dumps Snape's memories in the Pensieve.

What he sees there is shocking. Snape, we learn, was close friends with Harry's mother, Lily, when they were kids, even though she was Muggle-born. He was in love with her from the moment he saw her, and even though their paths took them in opposite directions – him to Voldemort, her to the Order – he never stopped loving Lily. When he found out that Voldemort meant to kill her and her family because of Professor Trelawney's prophecy, Snape went to Dumbledore to beg him to save them, to no avail.

Since then, he's been working for Dumbledore all the way – Dumbledore is the one who engineered Snape's "betrayal" of the Order, and made sure that Snape would remain close to Voldemort all along, in order to save Harry for his destiny. The crafty Headmaster even planned his own so-called "murder" by Snape – it turns out that his injury from the ring Horcrux (the Resurrection Stone) was going to kill him eventually anyway. The last thing we learn is that Harry's ultimate destiny is to sacrifice himself in order to kill Voldemort, since a part of Voldemort lives on in him. Snape did all of what Dumbledore asked – all out of love for Lily.

Harry leaves Dumbledore's office, shell-shocked. So this is what he's been saved for all along? He knows that there's no choice – he must go. He heads slowly to the Forbidden Forest, clad in his Invisibility Cloak, observing his friends and loved ones on the way. Before he goes in, he stops and interrupts Neville to tell him that Voldemort's snake has to be killed, no matter what – just in case Ron and Hermione can't get to it themselves.

Walking to the Forest, Harry also figures out that it's time to open the Golden Snitch – this is the "close" Dumbledore wrote about. He holds it to his lips and, as he predicted, the Resurrection Stone falls out. He turns it, and the people he longs for the most are there beside him to go with him on this last walk – his mother, his father, Sirius, and Lupin. They give him love and support as he goes to his death. Deep in the Forest, Harry finds Voldemort and reveals himself – he doesn't even put up a struggle as Voldemort aims the Killing Curse at him.

(Click the infographic to download.)

However, this isn't the end (much to the betterment of our blood pressure): Harry awakens in a strange, bright place, accompanied by a strange, mewling, repellent infant, and none other than Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore explains gleefully to Harry that he hasn't actually died – rather, Voldemort has killed the small part of his own soul that lived on in Harry… that is, unwittingly Voldemort has undone his own Horcrux (which is what Harry was). (Man, that J.K. Rowling can sure write a story.)

(Click the infographic to download.)

Dumbledore also reveals more about himself and his quest for the Hallows; he admits that he was, in his time, too selfish and ambitious for his own good – or for anyone's good, maybe. Harry, however, has proven himself to be a worthy possessor of the Hallows. The time comes for Harry to go back, if he so desires – and, knowing that his job is unfinished, he does. Before he leaves, he asks Dumbledore if this is real, or just in his head… and Dumbledore, with characteristic playfulness, asks why it can't be both.

Harry finds himself facedown in the woods, surrounded by Death Eaters. Voldemort has also apparently passed out from whatever happened between them. Harry plays dead, but then Voldemort, conscious again, sends Narcissa Malfoy over to confirm his death. To our surprise (and wonder), she plays along because Harry oh-so-quietly tells her that Draco is still alive and in the castle.

Voldemort triumphantly parades Harry's body to the castle, where he shows it to all of his opponents, who are heartbroken. However, the Order and the students stand strong – and Neville stands up to Voldemort. Voldemort mockingly announces that there will no longer be Sorting at Hogwarts, and that all students from now on will be Slytherins. He jams the Sorting Hat on Neville's head and lights it ablaze. In this moment, though, chaos breaks out. Neville breaks free of the flaming hat, and draws an unexpected object from the hat: the sword of Gryffindor (dude, how'd that get there? These questions are not for us to ask). Neville does Harry proud and takes the sword to cut off the head of Nagini, the huge creepy snake Horcrux – snakerux? – and her head flies off dramatically. Assuming everyone's plenty distracted, Harry flings the Invisibility Cloak over himself and slinks off as a huge battle breaks out.

It seems like everyone's fighting everyone. All the good guys we know are engaged in dramatic duels with all of the bad guys. Well, all except for the Malfoy parents, who have given up on the whole good vs. evil thing, and are just looking out for family – they're searching frantically for Draco. All of our peeps keep putting down the bad guys and getting away with miraculous near-misses; when one of Bellatrix's curses narrowly misses Ginny, Molly Weasley rushes in with a mother's vengeance (here, we hear the first swear word in Harry Potter history – wow, Mrs. Weasley really means it!). Bellatrix and Molly duel viciously, and in the end, Bellatrix falls under one of Mrs. Weasley's curses. Voldemort, fighting next to Bellatrix, sees this and turns on Mrs. Weasley.

However, before the Dark Lord can do anything, Harry shoots a Shield Charm between them and reveals himself. It's down to him and Voldemort now, just as we always knew it would be. Harry tells Voldemort the truth about Snape and his love for Lily Evans; Voldemort is unfazed and doesn't care, as long as victory is still just a wandstroke away for him. However, there's one thing he wasn't counting on – the fact that Severus Snape wasn't actually the master of the Elder Wand, since he killed Dumbledore with the latter's consent, and therefore didn't defeat him in a duel. Huh. OK – so who is? Well, we have to go back to the events of Book 6, in which Draco Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore, but didn't kill him. Voldemort is still unfazed – he can take care of Draco later, no prob.

But Harry's not done yet. Draco wasn't the last master of the Elder Wand – because someone bested Draco and took his wand, which means that Voldemort better hope that the Elder Wand hasn't felt this change. The new master of the Elder Wand, and the possessor of the Deathly Hallows, and thus the Master of Death is… drumroll please… Harry Potter.

Voldemort and Harry both shoot spells at one another simultaneously, each sending their signature spell – Voldemort's Avada Kedavra and Harry's Expelliarmus (Disarming spell). The beams meet in the middle with golden flames, and the Elder Wand goes spinning through the air. Harry catches it as Voldemort flies back, hit by his own rebounding curse. Slam! He crumples to the ground, finally really absolutely 100% genuinely dead.

And the rest is history. Harry is cheered by everyone, and sneaks away with Ron and Hermione to calm down and talk things through (and maybe go find a therapist, while he's at it). They end up in Dumbledore's office, where the portraits of the Headmasters and Headmistresses applaud him, even pompous Phineas Nigellus. Dumbledore is proudest of all – Harry did just what he'd hoped he would. One last matter of business is the Hallows; Harry decides to let the Resurrection Stone stay where it fell, lost in the forest, and intends to put the Elder Wand back where it belongs, in Dumbledore's tomb. First, though, he uses it to repair his old holly and phoenix wand, which feels just about right when it's fixed. The Invisibility Cloak, he'll keep, since it's his birthright – at least, until he has a son to pass it on to.

Speaking of which, it's Harry's children that carry us into the brief epilogue, which closes this long book, this long saga, and this loooong summary: we find Harry and Ginny nineteen years later, married and sending two sons, James and Albus Severus, off to Hogwarts (their daughter, Lily, is too young to go just yet). It's Al's first year, and he's afraid he'll get Sorted into Slytherin, but Harry reassures him that one of the bravest men he ever knew – Snape – was a Slytherin, and no matter what house he's in, they'll be proud of him. All is well in the wizarding world.

  • Chapter 1

    The Dark Lord Ascending

    • We begin the novel at Malfoy Manor with Severus Snape and Yaxley, an apparently villainous colleague of his. They're late for a meeting with Lord Voldemort and his faithful Death Eaters – a creepy scene, complete with an unconscious torture victim. What a way to begin.
    • Acting on Snape's information, the group of evildoers discusses plans to attack the Order of the Phoenix as they attempt to move Harry Potter from one protected place to another. Snape insists that his information is correct, despite argument from others.
    • The Death Eaters are also engaged in an attempt to take over the Ministry of Magic through use of the Imperius Curse. They hope to succeed by the time the Order moves Harry.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • And, to top it all off, Lord Voldemort plans to kill Harry himself – to make sure nobody else screws it up. He admits that he's been careless in the past, but he now knows that he's the only one who can do the job.
    • The meeting is interrupted by the prisoner, who wakes and moans, then is silenced by the cringing Wormtail.
    • Voldemort also informs his followers that he'll need to borrow a wand to kill Harry – he takes Lucius Malfoy's, and makes it clear that the Malfoy family has fallen from grace. The Malfoys – Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco – don't seem very happy at all about their houseguests.
    • However, Bellatrix Lestrange (Draco's aunt) informs her beloved master that they're all pleased that he's there.
    • Voldemort coldly makes fun of the Malfoys by telling them about a wedding that has just taken place – of Tonks (their niece) to Remus Lupin. The other Death Eaters think this is super hilarious news.
    • Voldemort quiets the rowdy Death Eaters, reminding them that everyone has bad blood in their families, and that it's their job to cleanse the magic world. Speaking of which, he introduces everyone to their prisoner – it's Charity Burbage, the former teacher of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
    • Charity Burbage, conscious again, begs Snape (her former colleague) for mercy – Voldemort snaps back, saying that people of her mind hope to pollute the purity of wizarding blood by mingling with Muggles and other creatures, like werewolves (another jab at the Malfoys, on account of Lupin).
    • The chapter ends chillingly as Voldemort murders Burbage with the killing curse – Avada Kedavra.
  • Chapter 2

    In Memoriam

    • In a dramatic change of scene, we find ourselves with Harry Potter in familiar Number four, Privet Drive. Someone's left Harry a cup of tea outside his door (kindness? Or a practical joke?), and he treads on it as he goes to run his bleeding finger under cold water – he just cut it cleaning out his school trunk.
    • Clearing out some familiar bits of his past (a badge from the Triwizard Tournament, a Sneakoscope, the gold locket with a note from the mysterious "R.A.B."), he finds the thing he cut himself on – a shard of an enchanted mirror that Sirius gave him years ago.
    • Harry spends a while cleaning out the remainder of the trunk, deciding what he'll need in the future – his schoolbooks and supplies are all getting left behind, while other practical things, including the trusty old Marauder's Map and the gold locket, are going with him. The locket isn't exactly useful – but it reminds Harry of what he had to go through to get it.
    • All that's left is a tall stack of newspapers sitting next to Hedwig the owl's cage – they're all the copies of the Daily Prophet from his summer in Little Whinging. He digs around to look for a specific issue.
    • The article Harry's looking for turns out to be a fond memory of Albus Dumbledore, by someone called Elphias Doge, an old school friend of Dumbledore's.
    • We learn a lot about the mysterious Dumbledore from Doge's article – apparently, his father died in Azkaban for attacking some Muggles, a shame that marked the family from when Dumbledore was young. As we know, he went on to prove that he himself was a strong defender of Muggles. He also became a leader in the wizarding world.
    • Apparently, Dumbledore also had two siblings – a quirky brother, Aberforth, and an unwell younger sister, Ariana. When the siblings' mother died, Albus went home to take care of them upon graduating from Hogwarts. Ariana died soon after.
    • Doge concludes by briefly rehashing some highlights of Dumbledore's career, including his famous defeat of the evil Grindelwald in 1945 (the villain Grindelwald is clearly a reference to Adolf Hitler and World War II, which also ended in 1945).
    • Doge sentimentally reminds everyone of how kind and goodhearted Dumbledore was, and how that's even more important than any of his other accomplishments.
    • Harry keeps looking at the picture of Dumbledore sadly, wishing he'd known him better, or tried to really get to know him at all.
    • He then picks up today's issue of the Daily Prophet, which contains a story claiming to tell the "scandalous truth" about Dumbledore – according to Harry's old nemesis, the lying reporter Rita Skeeter, that is. Up to her old tricks, Skeeter's published a biography of Dumbledore that alludes to a dark side of the famous wizard.
    • Skeeter refuses to give up any juicy secrets in the preview for her book, but claims that Dumbledore had a lot of skeletons in his closet. She goes on to talk about Dumbledore's relationship with Harry himself, of course; she casts doubt upon both Dumbledore and Harry.
    • Enraged, Harry throws away the newspaper and picks up the shard of magic mirror, thinking of Dumbledore and the dastardly Rita Skeeter – and, for a split second, he sees a flash of a brilliant blue eye – he could have sworn it was the blue eye of Albus Dumbledore.
  • Chapter 3

    The Dursleys Departing

    • Harry's uncle, aunt, and cousin return home loudly – Uncle Vernon demands that Harry come down for a serious discussion.
    • Vernon announces that he's changed his mind – the Dursleys have been deciding whether or not to leave home. They've been warned by the Order of the Phoenix that it's not safe to stay there, but Uncle Vernon has decided that it's all a sinister wizarding plot to get a hold of their precious house.
    • Harry freaks out – he can't believe how pigheaded his uncle is being.
    • Kingsley Shacklebolt and Mr. Weasley have already explained the whole Voldemort situation to the Dursleys; apparently, once Harry turns seventeen (the age of adulthood in the wizarding world), the magic spell that kept him safe on Privet Drive will break, which means that the Dursleys will also be in danger.
    • Uncle Vernon, in a moment of hope, asks if the Ministry of Magic can keep them safe – fat chance! The Ministry has been infiltrated by the Death Eaters.
    • Uncle Vernon grudgingly agrees to accept the Order's offer of protection, but grumbles about not getting Kingsley as their bodyguard – turns out, he's busy taking care of the Prime Minister. Fine.
    • Harry freaks out again, telling the Dursleys that they've got to open their eyes; all of the bad things that have been happening in the world are being caused by Death Eaters. Finally, he tells them the dreadful truth: the Death Eaters will murder the Dursleys like Voldemort killed his parents if they don't get out.
    • Dudley is scared into submission, and that decides the whole thing. They're going.
    • Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones, the Order representatives sent to take care of the Dursleys, show up at the door. Harry is instructed to wait for Mad-Eye Moody, who will take care of his transport.
    • The Dursleys say their good-byes to Harry – Uncle Vernon is ready to leave without any sentimental farewell, but Dudley is confused about why Harry isn't coming.
    • As they prepare to leave, Dudley finally opens up a little (after all these years!) and thanks Harry for saving his life (see Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).
    • Everyone says good-bye to Harry – even Dudley shakes his hand, and the cousins share a moment that's almost affectionate.
    • Aunt Petunia is the last to leave. She looks at Harry like she wants to say something, then flees.
  • Chapter 4

    The Seven Potters

    • Harry makes his last preparations to leave the Dursleys' house forever. He stops to think about all he's been through over the past seventeen years there.
    • Harry's nostalgic reverie is interrupted by the appearance of a crowd of people – Hagrid on Sirius's old flying motorbike, and a bunch of people on broomsticks and black winged horses (thestrals).
    • The new arrivals are all familiar – they include Ron, Hermione, Mad-Eye Moody, Remus Lupin, Fleur Delacour, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and a gaggle of Weasleys – Mr. Weasley, Bill, Fred, and George.
    • Mad-Eye informs Harry of the new plan: in order to confuse the Death Eaters, they'll transform six of the new arrivals into Harry clones using Polyjuice Potion. All of the different Potters will disperse, and meet up at the Burrow, the Weasleys' house.
    • Harry's not down with this plan – he doesn't want to endanger the lives of his friends in that serious of a way. However, there's nothing else to be done, so they get started. Moments later, there are seven Harrys awaiting departure.
    • Each of the Harrys is paired with an Order of the Phoenix partner – the real Harry goes with Hagrid in the flying motorbike's sidecar. The party of Potters and non-Potters sets off into the night. As they depart, Mr. Weasley warns Hagrid that not all of the bike's special features that he's been working on are fully functional (gee, foreshadow much?).
    • As soon as they leave Privet Drive, they're attacked by Death Eaters on all sides. The first casualty is Hedwig, Harry's faithful snowy owl. Shoot.
    • Harry and Hagrid fight their way through the cloud of attackers, and Hagrid tries out the motorbike's new tricks (including a button that makes a brick wall appear behind them). A super-fast burst of acceleration makes the sidecar (where Harry's sitting) break off, and Hagrid's fix-it attempts just make it come off completely. Harry saves himself momentarily with a levitation spell, and Hagrid manages to pluck him from the falling sidecar.
    • Stan Shunpike (the dopey conductor of the Knight Bus from Book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban) turns out to be one of the Death Eaters – Harry catches sight of him as his hood falls off. Harry tries to Disarm him, and another Death Eater recognizes him as the real Potter.
    • Hagrid and Harry desperately speed up, headed for safety at Tonks's parents' house. Just before they get there, though, Voldemort himself appears in hot pursuit of them.
    • One of the Death Eaters is about to shoot the Killing Curse at Harry; Hagrid throws himself off the bike and attacks the mysterious enemy.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry is sure he's going to die (we're sure he's not – it's only Chapter 4, after all). Voldemort closes in, and he hears the beginning of the Killing Curse – "Avada" – but then, something mysterious happens. Harry's wand pulls his hand around, and shoots golden flames at Voldemort. Why? How? We don't know, and neither does Harry (but we aren't complaining). He takes a moment to use the dragon fire accelerator on the bike, and goes hurtling towards Hagrid, and the ground.
  • Chapter 5

    Fallen Warrior

    • After a crash landing in a pond, Harry crawls over to Hagrid – he doesn't look good. A man and woman call out to them, asking if he's Harry Potter, and he passes out before he can answer.
    • Harry regains consciousness in an unfamiliar house – he's tended to by Ted Tonks, Nymphadora Tonks's father. Hagrid is fine, and Mr. Tonks tells Harry to relax.
    • Harry relates the Death Eater attack, and Mr. Tonks is relieved that the protective charms on the house held out.
    • Hagrid appears, followed by Mrs. Tonks – who Harry mistakes for her evil sister, Bellatrix Lestrange. She's taken a little aback.
    • Mrs. Tonks asks what happened to their daughter; Harry and Hagrid don't know. The Tonks parents are worried, but stick to the plan – they send Harry and Hagrid to the Burrow via Portkey (in this case, a hairbrush).
    • Harry and Hagrid arrive at the Burrow, where Ginny and Mrs. Weasley greet them, panicked. Nobody else has returned yet. Two Portkeys have returned without their parties (Ron and Tonks, and Mr. Weasley and Fred).
    • Lupin and George arrive right on Harry and Hagrid's heels. George is bleeding profusely – one of his ears has been severed. In the flurry of activity, Lupin grabs Harry to make sure he's the real Harry by asking him an identity-verifying question about their past.
    • Harry is confused by how the Death Eaters knew about the plan – surely none of the Order of the Phoenix would betray them! He tells Lupin about his close call with Voldemort.
    • Harry explains that he had tried Expelliarmus – his trademark Disarming spell – on Stan, since Stan is clearly acting under the Imperius curse. Lupin figures out that this is how he revealed himself as the real Potter, since other (normal) people know that this is the time for more powerful, harmful curses in the heat of battle.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry retorts that Disarming worked on Voldemort before… but Lupin keeps trying to convince him that it's no longer the best move to make.
    • Their argument is broken up by the appearance of Hermione and Kingsley. Kingsley is furious about their apparent betrayal; nobody can figure out how the Death Eaters knew when they would be moving Harry.
    • Lupin tells them about Harry's run-in with Stan and Voldemort, and Kingsley explains that there was a mass break-out from Azkaban, in which Stan, among others, escaped – of course, it's been hushed up by the Ministry of Magic, which is now run by the Death Eaters.
    • Lupin explains that Severus Snape was responsible for cursing off George's ear. George's ear is permanently gone, but at least he's alive and otherwise all right.
    • Mr. Weasley and Fred are the next to return – at the appearance of his twin, George rouses himself enough to make a cheesy joke, which must mean he's OK.
    • Tonks and Ron appear next – they were detained for a while by Bellatrix (Tonks's aunt), who's apparently out to get Tonks. (We remember from The Half-Blood Prince that Bellatrix killed their cousin Sirius, and for that, Tonks is out to get her. Apparently, the feeling is mutual.)
    • Bill and Fleur finally return with terrible news – the legendary Mad-Eye Moody is dead.
    • Everyone raises a solemn toast to Mad-Eye.
    • Nobody can figure out how the Death Eaters knew about the Order's plan to move Harry that night. Harry firmly believes that nobody in the Order would sell him out.
    • Lupin obliquely reminds Harry that his father, James, had the same trusting attitude towards his own friends, which ended up leading to his demise (he was betrayed by Peter Pettigrew, one of his "best" friends).
    • Plans are made for recovering Mad-Eye's body. Harry also wants to go, but he's obviously not allowed.
    • Harry is full of rage and frustration. He tries to explain what happened when he "fought" Voldemort off – his wand acted by itself. But nobody believes him.
    • Harry's scar pains him (a sign that something's up with Voldemort, as we know from past books), and he goes outside to be alone. Suddenly, the pain is incredible – and he sees a vision of Voldemort torturing the old wandmaker, Mr. Ollivander. Voldemort is apparently also mystified by the incident with Harry's wand.
    • Ron and Hermione come out to find him, and Harry tells them about his most recent vision. Hermione is terrified; she reminds him that he's supposed to work on cutting off his psychic connection with Voldemort.
  • Chapter 6

    The Ghoul in Pajamas

    • The Burrow is a somber place in the aftermath of Mad-Eye's death. Harry's frustrated, and wants desperately to start hunting for Voldemort's hidden Horcruxes (the magical objects in which parts of his soul are lodged – see Book 6, Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince, for more details).
    • Ron tells Harry that he can't do anything about the Horcruxes until he turns seventeen, since the Ministry of Magic tracks magic that's used by children. Harry wants to leave on his quest as soon as his birthday comes in four days, but Ron reminds him that they have to stay one extra day for Bill and Fleur's wedding.
    • According to Ron, Mrs. Weasley is apparently trying to figure out what Harry, Ron, and Hermione are up to – she's firmly against them going off to do anything dangerous, and desperately wants to stop them.
    • Mrs. Weasley confronts Harry herself that day; he tells her that they're not going back to Hogwarts this year, and that Dumbledore left him with a mission that only he can accomplish.
    • Mrs. Weasley pretends like everything's fine, but successfully keeps Harry, Ron, and Hermione so busy with wedding preparations that they don't have any time to work on their plan of action together.
    • Harry lets slip to Ginny that they're plotting how to defeat Voldemort. He's uncomfortably aware of the fact that this is the first time they've been alone since their relationship ended last year. This awkward moment is interrupted by everyone else's arrival for dinner.
    • The Burrow has become the new Order of the Phoenix headquarters, so everyone's around a lot. Sirius's old house at Grimmauld Place, the old HQ, is no longer safe, even though various enchantments have been set up there to keep intruders out.
    • There's been no luck finding Mad-Eye's body, and nobody outside the Order even knows that the famous Auror is dead – the Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, isn't willing to admit how strong Voldemort and his followers have become, in an attempt to avoid escalating the fears of the public.
    • Fleur turns the conversation to a lighter topic – Harry's disguise for the wedding. Obviously he can't just show up as himself, just in case word gets out that he's at the Weasleys'.
    • As dinner ends, Mrs. Weasley sends Harry, Ron, and Hermione off to separate chores once again.
    • The three of them manage to sneak into Ron's room to discuss the situation. They're still horrified by Mad-Eye's death; Hermione breaks down crying. Ron dashes over to comfort her.
    • Moving on, Hermione starts getting ready for their forthcoming journey. She can't decide which books to bring and which to leave behind.
    • Harry wants to be absolutely sure that Ron and Hermione want to come with him – and of course they do. Hermione has already prepared by packing all of their necessities, including a supply of Polyjuice Potion. She's even gone so far as to alter her Muggle parents' memories to make them move to Australia, so they'll be well out of harm's way.
    • Ron has also made his own preparations, which entail enchanting the ghoul that lives in the Burrow attic to look like him. In case any Death Eaters come looking for him once they figure out that the three of them are missing from Hogwarts, it'll look like Ron is home in bed with spattergroit, some gross wizarding disease. This should protect the Weasley family from any harm. Mr. Weasley, Fred, and George are all in on the plan, though Mrs. Weasley still won't admit that they're leaving.
    • The plan is this: they'll start in Godric's Hollow, the tiny village where Harry was born (and where his parents died). Hermione's skeptical – she wants to go for the Horcruxes right away – but Harry has a feeling there are answers awaiting them there.
    • Discussion turns to the matter of destroying the Horcruxes. The mysterious "R.A.B." who stole the real Horcrux that Harry and Dumbledore were seeking in Book 6 claimed that he or she would destroy it – but how?
    • Hermione has pilfered some books on the Dark Arts from school, and from them has learned that a Horcrux has to be physically destroyed beyond any hope of magical repair, like when Harry stabbed Tom Riddle's diary with a basilisk fang (an incredibly poisonous thing) in Book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
    • The discussion is interrupted by Mrs. Weasley, who busts in and demands help sorting wedding presents.
    • Fleur's parents and little sister, Gabrielle (who we first met in Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), show up the next morning. Her mother and sister are as beautiful as she is, and her father, though a bit goofy looking, is jolly and excited about the wedding.
    • Mrs. Weasley continues to keep everyone busy. She also decides that Harry should have a coming-of-age birthday party – after all, he's turning seventeen, which is a big deal in the wizarding world. He'll finally be an adult, able to use magic outside of school (and presumably, to vote and all that good stuff).
  • Chapter 7

    The Will of Albus Dumbledore

    • Harry awakens from an odd dream with a sense of desperation – Ron wakes him up and tells him he was muttering the name "Gregorovitch," which means nothing to them (or to us)… yet. Harry thinks it's someone Voldemort's looking for.
    • Weird dreams aside, it's Harry's seventeenth birthday! He celebrates by using magic to summon his glasses from the bedside table, and promptly pokes himself in the eye. Well, at least he summoned them.
    • It's time for presents, starting with a book about charming girls (literally) from Ron, and a beautiful watch from Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, followed by a pile of other goodies from everyone else.
    • As Harry, Ron, and Hermione retreat upstairs after breakfast, Ginny pulls Harry into her room. Her birthday present is the most special of all – a smokin' hot kiss.
    • Unfortunately, Ron and Hermione walk in on them – awkwardness ensues all around.
    • Ron turns on Harry once they're out of Ginny's earshot, accusing him of unfairly getting her hopes up. Harry realizes that Ginny has a future of her own, while the only thing in his is Voldemort.
    • Harry's birthday dinner is a cozy affair, full of the Weasley family and Order of the Phoenix friends, including Lupin, Tonks, and Hagrid. Harry senses that something's up with Lupin and Tonks, but he's not sure what. Hagrid gives Harry a valuable gift – a moleskin pouch, which hides any object and only allows the owner to take it out.
    • Charlie Weasley is back in town for the wedding, and he and Hagrid chat about Norbert, Hagrid's former pet dragon – turns out "he" is actually Norberta. Whoops.
    • Mr. Weasley's Patronus, a silvery weasel, appears before he does, warning everyone that the Minister of Magic is on his way to the Burrow with him.
    • Tonks and Lupin beat a hasty retreat, telling Harry that they'll explain later.
    • Rufus Scrimgeour, the Minister, is quite an unwelcome guest. He wants a private word with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
    • It turns out that Dumbledore has left certain objects to the three of them in his will. Scrimgeour is suspicious of these gifts, of course, and grills the three on why Dumbledore might have left them.
    • Dumbledore has given Ron his Deluminator (a genuine Dumbledore invention), an odd device that's the opposite of a lighter – it sucks light from a place, then can send it right back.
    • To Hermione, Dumbledore's left a book, appropriately. It's The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a battered and ancient looking tome with runes written on the front.
    • Finally, Harry. Dumbledore has left him the oddest things of all – first, the Golden Snitch that Harry caught in his very first Quidditch game. Scrimgeour thinks he's got this one figured out. As Hermione comments, Snitches have "flesh memories," which enable them to "remember" the first person whose skin comes into contact with them. Scrimgeour thinks that Dumbledore enchanted the Snitch to contain a secret message that will be revealed when Harry touches it.
    • However, when he takes the Snitch, nothing happens.
    • Dumbledore has left Harry a second inheritance. It's something much more dramatic: the sword of Godric Gryffindor.
    • Scrimgeour demands to know if Dumbledore has charged Harry with defeating Voldemort (um, should he be surprised? Has he ever met Harry?). Harry responds in a smart-alecky fashion, provoking the Minister.
    • They have a showdown that comes dangerously close to violence, but fortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley show up before anyone can do anything rash.
    • The Minister departs hurriedly, and the Burrow settles down to celebrate Harry's birthday with dinner and cake. The party ends early, and everyone goes to bed to get rest before the wedding the next day.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione meet up secretly to examine their new possessions. They can't make sense of the Deluminator… surely it does more than just put out lights.
    • Harry, however, has an idea about the Snitch. He remembers that he didn't catch it in his hand, but accidentally caught it in his mouth. He touches it to his lips, and it reveals its secret – words appear in Dumbledore's writing, with the mysterious phrase, "I open at the close."
    • The matter of the sword is also a mystery. Why didn't Dumbledore just give it to Harry earlier?
    • Hermione's book of stories is also an odd bequest. Ron is the only one who recognizes it – apparently, it's a collection of fairy tales that all wizard children learn. That doesn't really explain why Dumbledore left it for Hermione, though.
    • Disgruntled, the three go to bed, hoping to get some rest before the sure-to-be-hectic wedding day.
  • Chapter 8

    The Wedding

    • The next afternoon, wedding madness descends upon the Burrow. Everyone and their mom is there – literally. The place is overrun with Weasley relatives. Harry is disguised as redheaded "Cousin Barney."
    • Fred and George run off to flirt with some of the pretty girls that have arrived (hopefully not more of their cousins). Clearly George isn't letting the unfortunate disappearance of his ear salt his game.
    • Lupin and Tonks are in on Harry's disguise, and they apologize for fleeing the night before; the Ministry of Magic isn't so hot on werewolves, so the couple thought it would be better for Harry if they weren't at his birthday bash.
    • Harry notices that Lupin's still looking glum for some reason.
    • Harry finds Ron with a man who's a bit crazy looking, even by wizarding standards. He's wearing an outfit composed solely of fashion mistakes, the most interesting of which is an amulet with a strange symbol on it.
    • Unsurprisingly, we find that this is the wacky Luna Lovegood's dad. Luna is also close behind – she shows up after she's had a chance to examine (and be bitten by) the Weasleys' many garden gnomes. Both Lovegoods are characteristically pleasant but barking mad.
    • Ron's unpleasant Auntie Muriel is the next person we meet. She's a real piece of work. Enough said.
    • Hermione breezes in, looking lovely. The gang jokes around until a surprising guest shows up – Viktor Krum.
    • Hermione is pleasantly, if awkwardly surprised. Ron, however, is unpleasantly (and awkwardly) surprised by the arrival of his rival.
    • Fortunately, it's time for the actual wedding ceremony. Fleur floats down the aisle, looking so beautiful that she even manages to make everyone else look better – she really outdid herself this time.
    • A few teary eyes and sentimental musings later, the ceremony's over, and the party begins.
    • Viktor Krum wants to know who Luna's father is – he seems upset by the older man for some reason. Ron answers, and then abruptly asks Hermione to dance.
    • Harry (or rather, "Barney") takes over the conversation with Viktor. He learns that Viktor is upset by the odd amulet that Xenophilius is wearing – it's apparently the symbol of Grindelwald, the Dark wizard that Dumbledore defeated in 1945. Again, this is a clear reference to Hitler and the symbol of the Third Reich, the swastika (which was originally an ancient symbol representing good luck).
    • Grindelwald, we learn, killed many people, including Viktor's grandfather. Viktor recognizes it from his school, Durmstrang, where Grindelwald carved it into the wall when he was a schoolboy.
    • Harry tries to explain how batty and prone to odd decisions the Lovegoods are; he's certain that Xenophilius means no harm. Viktor is unimpressed, however, and draws his wand menacingly.
    • This opens a door in Harry's brain – he knows who Gregorovitch is! The guy's a wandmaker… in fact, he made Viktor's wand, which is how Harry knows the name (he first heard it during the Triwizard Tournament in Book 4).
    • Harry's got his odd dream vision figured out. Clearly Voldemort is still looking for an explanation for why Harry's wand was able to defeat him, even though he wasn't using his own wand.
    • Viktor wanders off, and Harry runs into a figure we've heard of but never met, Elphias Doge (remember, he wrote Dumbledore's obituary in the Daily Prophet, and was his old friend).
    • Harry reveals his true identity to Doge. He asks about the infuriating interview Rita Skeeter gave to the Prophet about her new book on Dumbledore. Doge immediately dismisses everything Skeeter says.
    • The very mention of Rita Skeeter brings the dreaded Auntie Muriel over to join the conversation (she's a huge fan). Auntie Muriel believes all of the bad things Skeeter's said about Dumbledore, and picks a fight with Doge.
    • It seems as though Dumbledore did have a lot of skeletons in his family closet, including a Squib (non-magical) sister whose death he may or may not have contributed to… it's all very intriguing.
    • Harry doesn't know what to make of all this.
    • Harry does gain an important piece of information – Rita Skeeter's source was Bathilda Bagshot, an old family friend of the Dumbledores. He also learns that the Dumbledore family lived in Godric's Hollow, just like his own parents – and that Bathilda still lives there to this day. Any doubt that was there before is gone; Harry has to go to Godric's Hollow.
    • A Patronus in the shape of a lynx interrupts the wedding festivities. It's Kingsley Shacklebolt's, and it addresses the shocked crowd in his voice: the Ministry of Magic has been taken over by Death Eaters, and Scrimgeour has been killed. The Death Eaters are on their way.
  • Chapter 9

    A Place to Hide

    • Chaos breaks loose at the wedding. Somehow we knew this would happen.
    • Ron, Hermione, and Harry Apparate away – rather inexplicably, to Tottenham Court Road, a busy London street. Hermione, on top of things as always, has a change of clothes for Ron and Harry, who are still in their conspicuous wizard robes.
    • Hermione's also got a ton of other necessities magically crammed into a Mary Poppins-like handbag, including books and Harry's trusty Invisibility Cloak. What would we do without Hermione?
    • The trio heads into an all-night coffee shop to plan their next move. Hermione's convinced that they're safer in the Muggle world for the time being, where people won't recognize Harry and his famous scar.
    • Never mind – two burly workmen come into the café, and turn out not to be Muggles, but disguised Death Eaters. In a split second, curses are flying through the air. Harry, wearing the Invisibility Cloak, Stuns one of the Death Eaters; after an explosion and accidentally Stunning a waitress, Hermione paralyzes the other one.
    • Panicking, the trio locks the café and turns out the lights, hoping not to attract (any more) attention. They wipe everyone's memories (the two Death Eaters and the unfortunate waitress) and leave them there.
    • Harry decides that they should return to the old Order of the Phoenix headquarters as Sirius's house at Grimmauld Place, despite the danger.
    • They arrive at the house and encounter a series of jinxes designed to catch Severus Snape, the only member of the Order to have defected to the Death Eaters.
    • Harry feels a sharp pain in his scar – he can tell that Voldemort is angry somewhere. He thinks that the psychic connection between the two of them is still open when Voldemort loses control.
    • Ron's father sends his Patronus as a messenger to tell them that the Weasleys are fine, but that they shouldn't reply.
    • The pain in Harry's head is unbearable. He flees to the bathroom just in time for another vision – one of the Death Eaters that attacked them in the Tottenham Court Road is being punished for losing Harry. Voldemort is torturing him… or, rather, he's forcing Draco Malfoy to do the torturing. Harry can see the horror and fear in Draco's face.
  • Chapter 10

    Kreacher's Tale

    • The next morning, Harry wakes up before anyone else. He mulls over the mystery of Dumbledore – who was the man, really? What dark secrets was he hiding? What hadn't he told Harry?
    • Harry explores the rest of the house to take his mind off things, and ends up in Sirius's room, still full of his adolescent artifacts. Among them is a photograph of Sirius, Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, and James Potter.
    • He finds some papers scattered around. They include a letter to Sirius from Harry's mother, Lily, which relates the events of Harry's first birthday.
    • In her letter, Lily mentions Bathilda Bagshot (remember, we heard about her in the Rita Skeeter article – she apparently dished some dirt on Dumbledore).
    • Harry's overwhelmed by sentiment. He searches urgently for the rest of the letter, which was cut off, but can't find it. Instead, he finds a photograph of himself as a child, zooming around on a toy broomstick that was Sirius's birthday present to him.
    • Harry is interrupted by Ron and Hermione, who are in a panic because they woke up and couldn't find him. He shows them what he found.
    • Hermione notices that someone must have searched the room before they did. Harry thinks whoever it was must have been looking for the other half of the letter.
    • Since Bathilda Bagshot is still alive and living in Godric's Hollow, Harry wants to go there even more badly now. Hermione's reluctant, though – she's nervous because of how easily those Death Eaters found them yesterday.
    • They head back down to the kitchen, but on the way, Harry notices something – the other bedroom on the floor belonged to someone called Regulus Arcturus Black. Could this have been the R.A.B. who stole the locket Horcrux before Harry and Dumbledore got to it?
    • Regulus was apparently Sirius's Death Eater brother. The story suddenly falls into place – Regulus must have become disenchanted with Voldemort and turned against him.
    • They venture into the bedroom, which is decorated proudly in the Slytherin colors of green and silver. However, after searching the room, they can't find any trace of the real locket. Where on Earth is the Horcrux?
    • Hermione reminds them that it could be hidden anywhere in the house, remembering the various misadventures they had while trying to clean it out when it was still Order HQ.
    • Suddenly, she remembers – when they were cleaning two years ago, they did find a locket. They remember throwing it away, but Harry hopefully recalls that Kreacher, the Black family house-elf, stole tons of things from the rubbish pile.
    • The three of them run down to the kitchen to look through Kreacher's things. The locket is nowhere to be found.
    • Harry, who's officially the master of the house after Sirius left it to him in his will, calls for Kreacher, who's conveniently obliged to appear.
    • Turns out that Kreacher did indeed have the locket, but Mundungus Fletcher (a sneaky Order member) stole it.
    • Harry orders Kreacher to tell them everything he knows about the locket.
    • Kreacher's tale goes a little like this: once upon a time, Sirius's brother, Regulus, joined the Death Eaters. He told Kreacher that Voldemort needed a house-elf, and that he was volunteered for the task; he commanded Kreacher to do whatever Voldemort told him to, and then come home to Grimmauld Place.
    • Turns out Kreacher was sent to the same desolate island Harry and Dumbledore went in Book 6 to find the Horcrux. There, Voldemort forced Kreacher to drink all of the poisonous potion, then dropped the locket/Horcrux into the empty basin and refilled it with poison. Voldemort then heartlessly left Kreacher on the island.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • To add insult to injury, Kreacher was pulled into the water by the Inferi (undead creatures) that filled it. He managed to escape by Disapparating back home (though Apparition for humans is impossible in the cave, house-elf magic is different – since Kreacher was ordered to come back home, he could).
    • Kreacher told Regulus what happened, and Regulus was clearly disturbed.
    • A little later, Regulus comes back to talk to Kreacher again. He asks Kreacher to take him to the island in the cave where he proceeds to drink all the potion, and has Kreacher swap out the real Horcrux for the fake locket that Harry and Dumbledore found years later. Kreacher is supposed to take the real locket home and destroy it.
    • He watches as his master drinks the poison, and then is pulled underwater by the Inferi.
    • At home, Kreacher tried to destroy the locket, but he couldn't (as we know, Horcruxes are almost impossible to destroy, so it's no wonder). Sirius and Regulus's mother is distraught by the disappearance of her "good" son, but Kreacher can't tell her what happened, since Regulus ordered him not to tell anyone.
    • Kreacher breaks down in sobs, his story told.
    • Harry can't understand how Kreacher could betray Sirius to Voldemort, when it was Voldemort who caused his beloved Regulus's death.
    • Hermione explains that this is what humans get for treating house-elves like slaves for so long (one of her pet peeves since the beginning of the series, as you'll recall).
    • Harry (very politely) asks Kreacher to go and fetch Mundungus Fletcher for them, so they can ask him where the locket is. To encourage Kreacher, Harry gives him the fake Horcrux locket; Kreacher is completely overwhelmed by gratitude and emotion. He shows some respect to Harry, Ron, and even Hermione for the first time before Disapparating to find Mundungus.
  • Chapter 11

    The Bribe

    • Kreacher doesn't return for a couple of days. Instead, some mysterious cloaked men appear outside. They're Death Eaters, trying to scope out whether or not Harry's in there (however, only Snape is authorized to enter the house, since he used to be an Order member).
    • Everyone's tense – and the tension comes to a boiling point when they have an unexpected visitor. It turns out to be a friend, not a foe, however – it's Remus Lupin.
    • They tell Lupin about their encounter on Tottenham Court Road, and he's shocked; he can't figure out how they were found in that random location, and so quickly.
    • After the trio left the wedding, apparently Kingsley managed to help everyone escape.
    • The Death Eaters didn't seem to know where Harry was. They've gone to every Order-connected house in the country trying to find him. Though they've been liberal with their destruction and torture, apparently nobody has been killed… yet.
    • Lupin's brought more bad news – a new edition of the Daily Prophet claims that Harry is wanted on suspicion of Dumbledore's death. Apparently, the newspaper has been completely taken over by Death Eaters, and is hard at work keeping the public in the dark about what's really going on.
    • Voldemort seems to have everything under his control – the media, the government, and, in effect, the population.
    • The new Ministry has instated all kinds of new anti-Muggle measures. All Muggle-born wizards are required to register with the Ministry to be studied; the Ministry is putting out all kinds of anti-Muggle propaganda, saying that Muggle-born wizards must have stolen their powers.
    • They've also changed the Hogwarts rules, so that only pureblooded wizard kids can attend. Oh, and attendance is mandatory, so that Voldemort can keep an eye on them and make sure nobody's rebelling.
    • Talk turns to Harry. The Order knows that Dumbledore left him a mission – but Harry refuses to tell Lupin what it is.
    • Lupin offers to join them in their quest regardless. Hermione's upset by this; what will Lupin do about his new wife, Tonks?
    • Lupin finally admits that Tonks is pregnant. Hermione gets all excited, but the father-to-be doesn't exactly seem thrilled. He repeats his offer of help and protection.
    • Harry's torn – but he does what he thinks is right, and tells Lupin that he should stay with his own unborn child.
    • Lupin explains his troubles: he feels awful for burdening Tonks and their child-to-be with his werewolf nature, saying that in the world outside the Order, he's an outcast, and his family is too, because of him. He's terrified that the child will be a werewolf – or, if not, that his child will be ashamed of him.
    • Harry, being brutally honest and enraged, says that he's ashamed of Lupin for even thinking of abandoning his child to go on their quest – after all, his father, Lupin's best friend James, died trying to protect Harry and Lily.
    • Lupin and Harry get into a dramatic fight, and Harry says a lot of quite cruel things. Lupin storms out.
    • Hermione and Ron are horrified by the things Harry said, but Hermione understands that it's really his own loss of his parents that has made him so upset.
    • Harry, still caught up in the argument, leafs through the copy of the Daily Prophet. In it, there's another feature on the Dumbledore family by Rita Skeeter, including a family photo.
    • The story claims that Kendra, Dumbledore's mother, used the family's move to Godric's Hollow after her husband's arrest to cover up her Squib daughter, Ariana, once and for all. Again, Bathilda Bagshot comes up as the source for this information.
    • Harry's sure that they should go to Godric's Hollow, but before he can ask Ron and Hermione, Kreacher comes back, dragging Mundungus Fletcher with him.
    • After some persuading, Mundungus revealed that the locket was taken from him while he was illicitly selling the goods he stole from Sirius's house in Diagon Alley.
    • The culprit? A familiar former Hogwarts teacher from Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, whose punishment stays with Harry to this day, scarred into the back of his hand… Yep, nasty Dolores Umbridge.
  • Chapter 12

    Magic is Might

    • August passes, and the mysterious observers outside Grimmauld Place just keep on observing. When September arrives, there are more of them than ever.
    • Harry Apparates onto the front stoop of the house – and just barely manages to catch his balance before his Invisibility Cloak slips off.
    • Inside the house, a miraculous change has taken place; it's spick and span, and everything, including Kreacher, glows with health and cleanliness. The house-elf has apparently had a dramatic change of spirits since Harry gave him Regulus's locket.
    • According to the Daily Prophet that Harry brought back from the outside world, Severus Snape has been made headmaster of Hogwarts. To make matters worse, he's brought in two Death Eater siblings, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, to teach Muggle Studies and Defense Against the Dark Arts. (It's a wonder they're still teaching Muggle Studies, under the current Voldemort-led administration.)
    • As Ron and Harry concernedly discuss the changes at Hogwarts, Kreacher serves up delicious French onion soup; apparently Hermione was right about just treating house-elves more humanely all along.
    • Hermione, who dashed out a moment ago, returns, lugging with her a huge framed picture, which she proceeds to stuff into her Mary Poppins bag. It's the talking portrait of Phineas Nigellus, Sirius's ancestor and a former Hogwarts headmaster – she doesn't want him to betray them to Snape. Good thinking.
    • Apparently Harry was out watching the Ministry of Magic entrance all day, which they've been doing all summer, trying to figure out how to get in on the sly. Harry thinks tomorrow is the day to break into the Ministry and try and reclaim the Horcrux locket from Dolores Umbridge.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • As they discuss their plans, Harry has another Voldemort-connected scar-ache. He dashes off to the bathroom.
    • Another vision: Voldemort is in Germany, looking for Gregorovitch the wandmaker. When a woman living in Gregorovitch's old house can't tell him anything, he kills her, and possibly her young children.
    • Hermione and Ron find Harry and he tells them about the vision; Hermione freaks out again and tells him that he should be using Occlumency (magically shutting his mind). He admits that he intends to use the visions so he can know what Voldemort is up to.
    • Harry doesn't want to talk about it anymore, so they spend the rest of the evening planning their invasion of the Ministry.
    • The next morning, they position themselves outside the Ministry and waylay a witch and wizard who work there; Hermione uses Polyjuice Potion to become the witch, Mafalda Hopkirk, while Ron adopts the disguise of the wizard, Reg Cattermole.
    • Harry waits for them to go out and find him someone to become – when they do, he transforms into a tall, rather menacing guy. Perfect.
    • The three enter the Ministry through its rather unorthodox entrance (flushing themselves down some public toilets), and find themselves in a very different-looking place. The golden fountain representing harmony in the wizarding world is gone, and has been replaced by a horrible statue that depicts the superiority of wizards over everyone else. Engraved on it is the motto "Magic is Might."
    • Ron has a run-in with Yaxley, a Death Eater who's the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
    • Yaxley, thinking that Ron is actually Reg Cattermole, mocks him for having a Mudblood wife, who's apparently up for trial today. Yaxley wants Cattermole to clean up a small rainstorm in his office (a routine problem, apparently), and says that if he doesn't, his wife will be in even more trouble.
    • The trio splits up – Ron goes to sort out Yaxley's office, while Hermione and Harry continue on in the elevator. The elevator doors open at level one, and reveal the familiar, toadlike form of Dolores Umbridge.
  • Chapter 13

    The Muggle-Born Registration Commission

    • Umbridge immediately addresses Hermione/Mafalda and drags her along to the Muggle-born Registration hearing she's going to. Harry gets out of the elevator, still disguised as Runcorn, and has a chat with the new Minister of Magic (who's under Voldemort's control), the unfortunately-named Pius Thicknesse.
    • Harry and the Minister part ways, and he begins his search for Umbridge's office. He gets distracted by some anti-Muggle propaganda pamphlets, which claim that Mudbloods (Muggle-born wizards) do damage to wizarding society. Soon enough, though, he finds Umbridge's office; he's enraged to see that she's stuck Mad-Eye Moody's magical, all-seeing eye on her door. So that's why they couldn't find Moody's body.
    • Umbridge has gotten herself pretty high up in the Ministry – she's senior undersecretary to the Minister and also, unsurprisingly, head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. We can recall her anti-Muggle sentiment from Book 5, Order of the Phoenix.
    • Harry distracts the wizards and witches in the area, and sneaks into Umbridge's office, which looks just like her old office at Hogwarts – it's covered with doilies and ornamental plates with pictures of sickeningly cute, prancing kittens.
    • He can't find the locket anywhere, but he does find some items of interest – a file on Mr. Weasley, saying that he's a probable connection to "Undesirable No. 1" (Harry himself), and that he's being tracked by the Ministry.
    • Harry's about to leave, but gets distracted by a copy of Rita Skeeter's book, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore; inside, he sees a picture of a teenage Dumbledore and a wild-looking, unknown other boy, apparently a friend of his.
    • Before Harry can leave, Thicknesse shows up (Harry manages to hide himself beneath the Invisibility Cloak before the Minister notices him). Thicknesse writes a note to Umbridge, while Harry sneaks out.
    • In the elevator, Harry runs into disguised Ron. Before they can touch base, though, Mr. Weasley enters the elevator.
    • Mr. Weasley strikes up a conversation with Ron/Cattermole about Yaxley's raining office; Ron runs out at the next floor. He's replaced by another Weasley, the estranged Percy, who sees his father and immediately gets out at the next stop too.
    • Now it's just Harry/Runcorn and Mr. Weasley. Mr. Weasley coldly tells the man he thinks is Runcorn (who's apparently a really bad guy who has betrayed a wizard who tried to fake his family tree) that he'll have to face the consequences of his actions.
    • In turn, Harry tries to warn Mr. Weasley that he's being tracked, without dropping his cover. We're not sure if it works or not.
    • Harry heads down into the courtroom where the Muggle-born trials are being held. There are dementors everywhere, and Umbridge and a tribunal of other wizards are coldly sentencing people to imprisonment. The next prisoner is Mary Cattermole, the wife of Reg Cattermole, who Ron is impersonating. Hermione/Mafalda is also there, keeping records.
    • Harry, wearing the Invisibility Cloak, creeps up behind Hermione. They observe as Umbridge and Yaxley question poor Mrs. Cattermole.
    • Hermione notices Umbridge wearing the Horcrux locket – she asks about it, and the loathsome former professor claims that it's a family heirloom. Liar!

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry can't take it anymore. He Stuns Umbridge and Yaxley, and throws off the Cloak; he sends his Patronus to get rid of the dementors, and saves all of the Muggle-born prisoners. Ron stumbles down, and the three friends smuggle all of the prisoners out of the Ministry, telling them to go into hiding.
    • Yaxley awakes and figures out what's going on. Hermione, Harry, and Ron manage to Disapparate before they get caught.
  • Chapter 14

    The Thief

    • The trio find themselves in a forest somewhere. Ron is grievously hurt – he's been Splinched, a magical injury that happens when a wizard doesn't Apparate completely and leaves part of himself behind.
    • Hermione takes care of Ron's wounds and explains what happened. Yaxley grabbed her as they were Disapparating, and saw that they were headed to Grimmauld Place, so they can't go back there. Instead, she's taken them to the woods where the Quidditch World Cup took place (see Book 4, The Goblet of Fire).
    • Meanwhile, Harry reveals that he's taken Mad-Eye's, er, mad eye from Umbridge's office.
    • Hermione casts some spells of protection, and sets up a spacious magic tent.
    • They debrief what just went down at the Ministry. Ron is worried about the Cattermoles – we see Hermione's tenderness for him emerge.
    • Harry reminds them of the business at hand – the locket. They've found their first Horcrux, but what to do with it now?
    • They figure out that they need to open the locket to destroy it, but can't figure out how. Creepily, they can feel something mysterious pulsing inside it… something alive… a part of Voldemort.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione try to settle down for a while in their woodland hideout. Harry's plagued by confused thoughts – and then out of the blue, he has another Voldemort vision.
    • Voldemort has found Gregorovitch and is torturing the poor guy somewhere – Voldemort wants to know about some mysterious object that Gregorovitch was once in possession of, but the prisoner swears it was stolen years ago.
    • Flashback – we're in Gregorovitch's memory now. At his wand workshop, there's a young mischievous, golden-haired young man about to leap out the window – the blond guy Stuns Gregorovitch, which is the end of the memory.
    • Back to Voldemort's present – Gregorovitch pleads with him, but the Dark Lord kills him anyway.
    • Harry is jolted awake by Hermione, who can tell that he's having a vision. She gets all snippy with him, so he goes inside the tent to tell Ron.
    • What is Voldemort searching for? And who was the mocking, golden-haired thief?
  • Chapter 15

    The Goblin's Revenge

    • The next morning, Harry, alone, buries Mad-Eye's eye while Ron and Hermione keep sleeping. Then the three of them pack up and move on to another town, in an attempt to keep it on the downlow.
    • Harry goes out to try and find food in the neighboring village, but when he gets there, he feels the familiar menacing chill of dementors. He runs back to tell Hermione and Ron – for some reason, he couldn't use his Patronus to ward off the evil creatures.
    • Ron is in a right proper tizzy; he's uncharacteristically irritable this morning. Like the rest of them, he's starving.
    • Hermione realizes why Harry couldn't use the Expecto Patronum spell – he's still wearing the Horcrux, and it's oppressing him somehow.
    • They agree to take turns wearing the locket, to keep any one person from being overburdened by its psychic effects.
    • That night, they scavenge some bread and eggs from a nearby farm and rest easily, now that they're finally fed and are happier. Ron is a little happier, but still being difficult.
    • They talk through the plan over and over again, trying to figure out where to go to start their search for the other Horcruxes, since Dumbledore told them he thought Voldemort had hidden them in places that were significant to him. The three of them get in a fight – Ron is being less helpful than ever.
    • The three of them start in London, hoping to find something in the old orphanage where Voldemort grew up, but no luck – it's been demolished. He probably wasn't happy there, anyway.
    • Harry keeps having little glimpses of Voldemort vision, in which he only sees the face of the merry, mysterious thief from Gregorovitch's memory.
    • Harry's suspicious that Ron and Hermione are discontented with his leadership. Autumn arrives, and as the weeks wear on, their company gets more and more tense.
    • One night, camping in Wales and quibbling over the unappetizing dinner and Harry and Hermione have prepared (food is still a tough issue), Harry hushes the arguing Ron and Hermione. He's heard something outside…
    • Whoever's making sounds outside is clearly of wizarding origin. They summon some salmon from the river, and the delectable scent of baking fish drifts into the tent.
    • It turns out that their unsuspecting neighbors are familiar – it's Tonks's father, Ted, along with Dean Thomas, their friend and fellow Gryffindor. They're also with Dirk Cresswell, the former Ministry employee who was betrayed by Runcorn, plus a couple of goblins – they're all non-pureblood fugitives on the run from the Ministry and Dolores Umbridge's Muggle-Born Registry.
    • The unseen eavesdroppers overhear Griphook, one of the goblins, mention Gryffindor's sword and Severus Snape, and their ears perk up even more.
    • Apparently, some students at Hogwarts tried to steal Gryffindor's sword from the Headmaster's office, including Ginny. That's our girl!
    • Snape, alarmed, put the sword in a vault at the impenetrable Gringotts Bank, but while he was putting it away, Griphook realized that it's not actually the real sword – it's an immaculate copy. Seems like the real sword of Gryffindor is still out there… somewhere. The joke is on Snape, though, because Griphook didn't bother to tell the Ministry about the forgery.
    • Dean asks what happened to the kids who tried to steal the sword; they were punished, but are OK.
    • The talk turns to debate about Harry. The group is split on whether or not he's actually the "Chosen One" – Dean, his old friend, stands up for him, as does Ted Tonks.
    • Apparently the Daily Prophet has been spreading all kinds of lies about Harry, but Luna Lovegood's father's paper, The Quibbler, has finally stopped printing ridiculous nonsense, and is now printing matter-of-fact articles about all the things the Prophet is busy covering up.
    • The group finishes their dinner and goes out of earshot. Meanwhile, Hermione pulls out the portrait of Phineas Nigellus, and awakens the bad-tempered former headmaster. They question Phineas about what's been going on in Snape's office (the location of his other portrait – like the other Hogwarts portraits, he can move between his two frames).
    • Before he storms off in a huff, Phineas tells them that the last time the sword was removed from its case was when Dumbledore used it to break open a ring – Harry and Hermione know this must be Marvolo Gaunt's ring, Voldemort's first Horcrux (see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince).
    • Hermione discovers in one of her books that goblin-made swords, like Gryffindor's, absorb things that make them stronger – this one is full of basilisk venom (see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), one of the only things that can destroy a Horcrux.
    • This means that in order to destroy the Horcruxes they find, they need that sword – but where did Dumbledore hide it?
    • Ron, however, isn't impressed by this new information. He goes off on a rant about how Harry doesn't know anything about what he's doing, and the two of them get into a screaming match. It ends in Ron's abrupt departure – he leaves the Horcrux with them and Disapparates into the rainy night. Hermione and Harry are left alone.
  • Chapter 16

    Godric's Hollow

    • Harry and Hermione are devastated by Ron's angry departure. They wander around for the next few days, trying to figure out what to do next. They question Phineas Nigellus again, and gather that Ginny, Neville, and Luna, and perhaps others, are trying to resurrect Dumbledore's Army, their resistance group from Book 5.
    • One day near Christmas, Harry has something to tell Hermione – but she distracts him with something in Tales of Beedle the Bard, the book Dumbledore left her in his will. She's found a mysterious symbol written in the margin – a triangle that looks like an eye.
    • This is the same symbol they saw Xenophilius Lovegood wearing a the wedding – Grindelwald's mark. They don't know what to make of it. Clearly it's not Dark Magic, because Scrimgeour didn't notice it when he examined the book – so what is it?
    • Harry goes ahead and breaks his news to Hermione: he wants to go to Godric's Hollow. To his surprise, she readily agrees. According to A History of Magic, one of her perennial favorite books, Godric Gryffindor himself was born in that village too, so she thinks Dumbledore might have left the sword there.
    • The decision is made. After a week of preparations, the pair ventures to Harry's birthplace, in disguise.
    • The village is small and quaint, with twinkling Christmas lights, and all evidence of a small, lively community. It seems to be Christmas Eve – Harry and Hermione had completely lost track of the date.
    • Through the gently falling snow, they notice a memorial statue in the town square. It depicts a family – Harry's.
    • They venture to the graveyard, feeling very alone as they hear jolly Christmas carols coming from the village church.
    • The first significant graves they find belong to Kendra, Dumbledore's mother, and Ariana, his sister. It seems like there could be some truth to Rita Skeeter's tales, after all.
    • Another grave catches Hermione's eye – she thinks it says "Potter," but it turns out not to. However, it does have an item of interest; the mysterious symbol from Beedle the Bard is carved on it. The name on the graveyard looks like it says "Ignotus," which isn't familiar to either of them.
    • They keep moving around the graveyard, seeing some family names they recognize, until Hermione calls Harry over – she's found his parents.
    • The gravestone is white marble, like Dumbledore's, and is engraved with a mysterious motto: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
    • Harry's puzzled and a little angered by it at first, but then Hermione comments that it's about the idea that we can attain life beyond death.
    • Harry and Hermione stand before the grave, and Harry tries to keep control. Hermione conjures a wreath of roses, and Harry puts it on his parents' grave before the two of them leave the graveyard.
  • Chapter 17

    Bathilda's Secret

    • Walking out of the graveyard, Hermione notices someone watching them. They hurry away and look through the village, wondering how to find Bathilda.
    • On the way, they find the ruined remains of Harry's family's house; it's been left there as a monument to the Potters. On the plaque out front, many people have left encouraging messages to Harry himself.
    • An old woman appears, and despite the Invisibility Cloak, she can tell that Harry and Hermione are there. She beckons to them – Harry asks if she's Bathilda Bagshot, and she nods yes.
    • They follow the old lady into another cottage down the road; it smells horrible (or does she?), and she's incredibly old and decrepit.
    • Bathilda's house is filthy, dark, and smells oddly of something rotten. Harry finds a photograph of the merry-faced, blond thief from Gregorovitch's memory, and asks Bathilda who he is, but she won't answer. Harry surreptitiously takes the photo.
    • Bathilda indicates that Harry must come upstairs with her – she won't speak and explain why, though. Harry, thinking she might have the sword, follows right along.
    • Upstairs, the Horcrux goes crazy; it feels alive, and Harry feels a surge of elation that doesn't come from him. The next few minutes dissolve into chaos – the old woman's body collapses, and Voldemort's huge snake, Nagini, rises out of it, attacking Harry and pinning him to the ground. Harry tries to escape and Hermione comes to his rescue; he can feel that Voldemort is on his way.
    • Hermione and Harry Apparate away just in time, as Voldemort runs into the room. Harry is suddenly in Voldemort's mind again; the Dark Lord is remembering the night when he attacked the Potters' home – Harry sees his parents' deaths happen in Voldemort's mind's eye. Argh.
    • Back to the present, Voldemort is in Bathilda's house, frustrated and alone with his snake. But then he finds a photograph – it's the picture of the thief that Harry must have dropped in their flight.
    • OK, back to Harry and Hermione. Harry awakens and finds himself in their magic tent, in bed and sweating – Hermione tells him he's been very ill and restless all night.
    • When they escaped, the Horcrux was stuck somehow to Harry's chest, and Hermione had to magically cut it off. He also suffered a snake bite, but Hermione cleaned that up, too.
    • Harry explains what happened: Bathilda had been dead a long time (which explains the nasty smell), and Voldemort put the giant snake inside her. The snake only spoke Parseltongue (which Harry understands), which is why it didn't speak in front of Hermione. It then summoned Voldemort when it was alone with Harry.
    • There's more bad news. Hermione tearfully tells Harry that his wand is broken – it's almost broken in half. She tries to fix it for him, but it won't work. What will he do now?
  • Chapter 18

    The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore

    • It's the next morning, and Harry is full of a dull despair. The loss of his wand is his greatest injury yet; only he really knows just how special that holly and phoenix feather wand really is. He stows the pieces of the wand in the secret-hiding moleskin pouch Hagrid gave him.
    • As his hand brushes the Golden Snitch in the pouch, he feels a surge of rage at Dumbledore for not telling him everything – really, for not telling him anything.
    • Hermione brings him a cup of tea and some morning reading – Rita Skeeter's book, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, which she found in Bathilda's house, with a personal note from the author inside.
    • In the book, Harry finally discovers the identity of the handsome young thief, in the same picture he saw before of young Dumbledore with the mystery boy. To his shock, he finds that it's Gellert Grindelwald, the Dark wizard that Dumbledore would famously defeat many years later.
    • Harry and Hermione are intrigued and horrified.
    • Harry starts reading, and finds himself at a chapter called "The Greater Good." Skeeter's book details Dumbledore's life post-Hogwarts, when he had to cancel a trip traveling the world to come home and look after his younger brother and sister after their mother died.
    • Skeeter recounts what Dumbledore got up to that summer, according to testimony she cheated out of Bathilda Bagshot (who she magically forced to tell the truth, using Veritaserum). Dumbledore apparently fell into a close friendship with Grindelwald who, at the time, was a brilliant but troublesome young man who'd been expelled from the Durmstrang school of magic, and was visiting his aunt, Bathilda, in Godric's Hollow.
    • Dumbledore and Grindelwald became besties practically overnight, and spent their days in deep discussion. Shockingly, Skeeter reveals that a lot of this discussion was about how wizarding kind were superior to Muggles and should rule over them for the greater good. Wow – that doesn't sound like the Muggle-loving Dumbledore we thought we knew…
    • The honeymoon doesn't last, though, and Grindelwald flees their relationship and the country after Dumbledore's sister, Ariana, dies under mysterious circumstances. The cause of death is unknown, but Skeeter implies not-so-subtly that Dumbledore and Grindelwald were somehow to blame, citing a fight at Ariana's funeral between Dumbledore and his brother, Aberforth, in which the younger brother broke the older's nose.
    • Skeeter darkly hints that Grindelwald and Dumbledore might have been up to no good, and that poor Ariana was perhaps a victim of their attempt to change the world "for the greater good."
    • Harry and Hermione are taken aback by this – should they doubt everything they've ever thought about their beloved Dumbledore?
    • Hermione comments that "For the Greater Good" eventually became Grindelwald's motto, when he was attempting to take over the wizarding world.
    • Harry and Hermione get into a fight; Harry seems to have lost his faith in his former mentor, despite Hermione's belief that Dumbledore really did care for Harry.
  • Chapter 19

    The Silver Doe

    • That night, Harry has disjointed dreams; Nagini, Voldemort's huge snake, slithers through all of them. He thinks he hears someone outside the tent, and gets up to join Hermione, who's on watch.
    • The two of them agree to move somewhere else – Hermione also thinks she hears people moving around outside. They pack up and Disapparate to the Forest of Dean, a secluded place where Hermione went camping once with her family.
    • After an uneventful day, Harry takes the night watch. He feels strangely alert and oddly different. Suddenly, he sees a glowing silver light in the darkness – it's moving towards him. What is it?
    • The source of the light is a brilliant, beautiful silver doe. She and Harry regard each other intently, then she walks away slowly. Harry, certain that she means for him to do, follows.
    • Suddenly, the doe vanishes, leaving Harry in darkness. He lights up his wand, and finds himself in front of a frozen pool – and at the bottom pool, a familiar object: the ruby-hilted sword of Godric Gryffindor!
    • Harry tries to just summon the sword, but it won't come. He realizes that he has to prove his worth as a Gryffindor by diving into the frozen pond and pulling it out himself – eek!
    • Despite the biting cold, Harry strips down, then magically cracks the ice on the top of the pond. He jumps into the freezing cold water and successfully (though painfully) dives down and gets the sword.
    • As he's about to leap out of the frigid water, though, the Horcrux locket tightens its chain around his neck, trying to drown him. Harry's lost in a chaos of flailing limbs, desperately trying to get out – and then, out of nowhere, someone else pulls him out and safely delivers him to solid ground.
    • The Horcrux is removed, but Harry can't see who removed it for a moment. When he can, he's shocked – it's Ron!
    • Ron is horrified by Harry's utter stupidity in failing to remove the Horcrux before he dived… to be honest, we're a little surprised, too. Not exactly his finest moment. Moving on.
    • Harry gets dressed, still overwhelmed by shock. He thinks for a moment that Ron cast the silver doe Patronus, but he didn't… so who did?
    • Ron is back to stay, if Harry and Hermione still want him. Yay!
    • Harry and Ron can't figure out who cast the doe and put the sword in the pond, but they decide to figure out if it's the real sword of Gryffindor by seeing if it can destroy the Horcrux. Harry asks Ron to do the honors, since he's the one who ultimately pulled the sword out of the pool.
    • He has a gut feeling that Ron's meant to do it.
    • Ron doesn't want to, though, so Harry firmly tells him he has to. Harry opens the locket using Parseltongue, and Ron prepares to stab it.
    • The locket opens, revealing two dark, handsome eyes – the eyes of Tom Riddle. It starts to speak, not to both of them, but just to Ron. It knows all of his doubts and fears (that his family doesn't love him, that Hermione doesn't love him), and it exploits them; it even produces a horrifying image of Harry and Hermione taunting Ron, kissing.
    • Finally, Ron stabs the locket – it screams and shatters. The Horcrux is definitely done for.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Before they go back to the tent, Harry takes a minute to reassure Ron that there's never been anything between him and Hermione, and that they're like brother and sister – definitely no kissing. This seems to help.
    • Ron apologizes for leaving, and the two of them hug and make up.
    • Back at the tent, Hermione freaks out when she sees Ron. Ron optimistically raises his arms for a hug, but she attacks him with her fists instead. Harry quickly casts a shield spell to keep them apart.
    • Hermione has a spazz attack about Ron's disappearance and his cavalier reappearance. It's pretty obvious that she was extremely, extremely upset by his absence (which probably means that Ron's fears of being unloved are quite unnecessary).
    • Ron explains that he tried to come back right away, but was detained by a gang of Snatchers (some petty criminals who try to earn money by rounding up Muggle-borns and turning them in to the Ministry). Ron got away from them, and managed to steal one of their wands before he left.
    • However, when he Apparated back to the last campsite he'd left Harry and Hermione at, they were gone. He went home, and discovered that the Deluminator did more than just extinguish lights – it actually guided him to Harry and Hermione.
    • After a near-miss (the day that Harry and Hermione thought they heard someone outside the tent, they did), Ron arrived in the Forest of Dean and saw Harry pursuing the doe, so he followed.
    • Here Harry concludes the story, telling Hermione that Ron saved him and destroyed the Horcrux.
    • Ron gives the Snatcher's wand to Harry, and the three of them settle down for the evening, together again at last.
  • Chapter 20

    Xenophilius Lovegood

    • The next morning, Hermione is still angry with Ron; in her presence, he's full of remorse, but alone with Harry, he's unusually chipper. Ron's sure that someone else is helping them, and that they're on their way to success.
    • Harry tells Ron all about what he and Hermione have been up to.
    • Ron, in turn, has news for Harry – Voldemort has somehow jinxed his own name, so anyone who says "Voldemort" out loud can be traced, which is how they were discovered in Tottenham Court Road right after the wedding.
    • Apparently Kingsley Shacklebolt was found out that way too, narrowly escaped, and is now on the run.
    • The conversation turns to Dumbledore. Ron's heard all about what Rita Skeeter is saying; he excuses Dumbledore's friendship with Grindelwald, saying that he was really young. Harry reminds him pointedly that he was their age when it happened.
    • Harry tries out the Snatcher's wand, but it doesn't really work for him. Hermione tells him that it'll be fine if he's more confident, and though he doesn't believe her, he agrees, just to placate her.
    • That night, Ron pulls out a wireless radio and tries to find a specific show – it's a sort of pirate radio show that tells the truth about what's going on.
    • Hermione stops reading Skeeter's book and makes an odd announcement: she wants to go see Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna's batty father. She's found the same mysterious symbol that he was wearing crop up in Beedle the Bard, in Dumbledore's letter to Grindelwald, and on the mysterious headstone they found in Godric's Hollow.
    • Ron, trying to curry favor with Hermione, puts his vote in for seeing Xenophilius. Harry, out-voted anyway, gives in.
    • The Lovegoods are neighbors of the Weasleys, so they Disapparate to a location close to the Burrow. Ron feels weird about being so close to home but not visiting; he tells them that he was too ashamed to go home after walking out on Harry and Hermione, so he spent Christmas with Bill and Fleur at their new home, Shell Cottage.
    • Not too far away, they find a wacked-out cylindrical tower – it's so weird looking, it's got to be Luna's house. A sign advertising The Quibbler confirms this suspicion.
    • They knock on the door to find a disheveled Xenophilius Lovegood. He looks at them suspiciously, then realizes that Harry is, well, Harry. He waffles for a moment nervously, then lets them in.
    • The Lovegood home is just as crazy as the Lovegoods – we love it. It's full of weird models of strange creatures, as well as a huge, old-fashioned printing press, busy printing copies of The Quibbler.
    • Before they can get started asking questions, Hermione and Xenophilius get into a petty fight about a strange horn he has mounted on the wall; Xenophilius claims it's the horn of a mythical beast, the so-called Crumple-Horned Snorkack, but Hermione knows that it's actually the highly explosive horn of the Erumpent. Um, we'll keep our opinion out of this.
    • Down to business – Xenophilius is reluctant to help Harry, but Hermione challengingly asks what Luna would make of all of this. Xenophilius rushes off awkwardly to go and tell her that her friends are here (she's apparently fishing for something called "Freshwater plimpies" in the stream), and says he'll help them when he returns.
    • When Xenophilius finally returns and offers them some juice, he asks what they're there for. Harry asks about the symbol he was wearing at Bill and Fleur's wedding, and he tells them it's the sign of the Deathly Hallows.
  • Chapter 21

    The Tale of the Three Brothers

    • Title alert! "The Deathly Hallows," huh? Finally, we befuddled readers breathe a sigh of relief – we've been wondering about this mysterious phrase since we clapped eyes on the cover. (And for twenty whole chapters.) However, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are just as mystified as we are.
    • According to Xenophilius, very few wizards believe in the Hallows; there's nothing Dark about either the objects or the symbol that represents them, but it serves as a way to show your belief to fellow believers.
    • So what are the Deathly Hallows? The answer lies, apparently, in a story called "The Tale of the Three Brothers." And, oh yes, it can be found in the book that Dumbledore gave Hermione, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
    • Hermione pulls out her copy, and when asked, reads aloud.
    • The gist of the story is this: once upon a time, three brothers were traveling on a road, when they came to a dangerous creek. Because they're wizards, they're able to cross the water by magic. However, Death comes along and is totally miffed that they've thwarted him.
    • Death cunningly pretends to be pleased that the brothers escaped his trap, and offers them three gifts.
    • The oldest brother asks for the most powerful wand in existence, which will win any duel. Death goes over to a nearby elder tree and makes him one.
    • The second brother asks for the power to bring the dead back to life. Death picks up a stone and says that it will have that power.
    • Finally, the third brother, who's suspicious of this whole scenario, asks for something that will let him go on without being followed by Death, so Death gives the brother his very own Invisibility Cloak.
    • The brothers go their separate ways, each to his own fate.
    • The oldest brother, who received the Elder Wand, boasts unwisely about it and is killed by another wizard, who goes and steals the wand.
    • The middle brother uses the stone to bring the girl he once loved back to life – but she's still separated from real life, and is miserable. He kills himself to try and truly join her in death.
    • The youngest brother, however, evades Death for many years, until he passes the Cloak on to his son; when Death came to him, he went willingly.
    • The story comes to a close, and Xenophilius reiterates the Deathly Hallows – they're the three objects that Death gave to the brothers, the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility. The symbol Hermione's been puzzling over is a combination of these three things – a line for the wand, a circle for the stone, and a triangle for the cloak.
    • The name, Xenophilius explains, refers to the belief that the wizard who possesses all three objects will become the Master of Death.
    • Hermione, unsurprisingly, doesn't buy it. She raises the point that Invisibility Cloaks, for example, exist – but Xenophilius interrupts her, saying that most of them merely give the impression of invisibility. The Cloak, however, gives true invisibility, and he's certainly never seen one like it.
    • We have, though – on Harry.
    • Hermione casts doubt on the other two objects, but Xenophilius stops her at the Elder Wand, whose history is actually traceable. In order to master the Elder Wand, it has to be captured from the previous owner, which means that it's been the cause of a whole lot of wizarding murders.
    • Hermione has one more question – she wants to know about the Peverell family (Ignotus Peverell was the name on the gravestone in Godric's Hollow where she saw the symbol). Xenophilius tells her that they were the original three brothers of the story.
    • Xenophilius asks them to stay for dinner, and goes down to the kitchen.
    • Left alone, Harry, Ron, and Hermione debate the truthfulness of the story. Harry's the only one inclined to believe it. Ron, thinking of the cloak, starts to wonder if maybe he's right.
    • As they're debating, Harry is distracted by an image of his own face – he goes upstairs to Luna's room, which has a mural of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, and Neville, labeled "Friends." He's touched.
    • While he's up there, he notices that the room is covered in dust, like nobody's been there for some time.
    • Xenophilius comes back up, and Harry demands to know where Luna is – what's going on?
    • Hermione takes a look at The Quibbler editions being printed, and lo and behold, it's changed its angle – a huge picture of Harry and the words "Undesirable Number One" are on the cover.
    • Xenophilius admits that the Death Eaters took Luna as a punishment for what he'd been writing in The Quibbler (exposés on Voldemort's takeover), and that if he turned in Harry, he thought they might give her back…
    • As he speaks, figures on broomsticks soar outside. Xenophilius tries to Stun them, but Harry pushes Ron and Hermione out of the way, just as the errant Stunning spell blows up the (indeed-explosive) Erumpent horn.
    • Xenophilius is blown back downstairs by the explosion, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione are covered in rubble.
    • The Death Eaters who arrive, Selwyn and Travers, doubt that Harry's actually there. Hermione, Ron, and Harry quietly get out of the rubble as Xenophilius loudly tries to clear the stairs to show the Death Eaters his prisoners.
    • Hermione comes up with a plan – first making sure that Ron's wearing the Cloak, she blasts a hole in the floor. The three of them fall through to the kitchen, where the Death Eaters catch a glimpse of them, then Disapparate in midair.
  • Chapter 22

    The Deathly Hallows

    • The trio finds themselves in a field as the sun sets. Ron and Harry are amazed by Hermione's quick thinking – she intentionally revealed herself and Harry so that the Death Eaters would know that Xenophilius hadn't lied to them, so they won't hurt Luna.
    • Worried about reprisals on the Weasleys, she'd thought to hide Ron (who, as we remember, is supposedly quite sick with spattergroit).
    • Hermione's frustrated, despite her successful escape; she still doesn't believe a word about the Hallows.
    • Ron and Harry argue with Hermione about this. They both think the story might be true.
    • Further proof comes in the way of the Peverell family. Hermione's discovered that the name died out, but Harry remembers that he's heard it once before – Marvolo Gaunt, Voldemort's grandfather, said that he was descended from the Peverell family (Book 6, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince). The ring that eventually became one of Voldemort's Horcruxes supposedly had the Peverell coat of arms on it – the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. Could it be that the stone in the ring was the Resurrection Stone?
    • Suddenly everything is clear to Harry: his Cloak is the Cloak, and the ring does have the Stone in it.
    • He remembers that Dumbledore had borrowed James's Invisibility Cloak the day that his parents were killed – why would he need the cloak if not to see if it was one of the Hallows?
    • Harry is certain that he has the Cloak, and that Dumbledore left the ring for him in the closed Snitch. So where is the Elder Wand?
    • Finally, Harry figures out what Voldemort is looking for – the Elder Wand. It totally makes sense to Harry. Like him, Voldemort was raised by Muggles, without learning the fairy tales that all wizarding children learn.
    • However, he could have heard of the Elder Wand, whose history, as Xenophilius noted, is clearly recorded. It's terrifying to think of what the Dark Lord will do with an undefeatable wand, come to think of it.
    • Hermione still doesn't believe it. Ron's not sure. But Harry can't stop thinking about it – what if he found the Elder Wand first? What if he became the Master of Death? Everything pales in comparison to the mystery of the Deathly Hallows.
    • The only other thing Harry's thinking about is his scar, and his strange connection to Voldemort – it seems to have gotten weirdly blurry lately.
    • As Harry gets more distant, Ron steps up to take charge, leading the group to various different places. Wherever they go, though, there's no luck finding the Horcruxes.
    • Ron finally finds the radio program he was looking for – it's an underground, password-accessible secret show called Potterwatch, in which members of the Order of the Phoenix discuss developments in the fight against Voldemort (with code names for secrecy, of course).
    • Finally, he succeeds in tuning in. The host of Potterwatch is their old friend, Lee Jordan, and his guests include Lupin, Kingsley, and Fred (or is it George?).
    • Lee has some bad news – Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell have been captured and killed by the Death Eaters, and Dean Thomas is on the run, accompanied by one of the goblins they were traveling with.
    • Kingsley and Lupin discuss the latest political developments. Lupin has a brief message for Harry – he says that they're all with him in spirit, and that he should trust his instincts.
    • This second message seems directed at their fight the last time they met, when Harry told him to go home to Tonks and stay with her and their baby (according to Ron, that's exactly what Lupin did).
    • In other news, Xenophilius Lovegood has been imprisoned, but not killed; Hagrid was also arrested, but escaped with the help of his giant brother.
    • Finally, the last guest, Fred Weasley (code name: either "Rodent" or "Rapier") gives a hilarious little discussion of how to recognize Voldemort and where he might be. Rumor has it he's abroad somewhere.
    • Harry is all hot and bothered by Fred's suggestion that their enemy is abroad – he's sure that this means Voldemort's looking for the Elder Wand.
    • In his excitement, Harry forgets the Taboo on You-Know-Who's name and says it aloud – and with those three little syllables, they're discovered! Their tent is simultaneously surrounded by captors before they can escape. Jeez, Harry – he must not be named.
  • Chapter 23

    Malfoy Manor

    • Escape is impossible. The best Hermione can do is put a jinx on Harry to render him unrecognizable before the Snatchers come and pull them out.
    • Harry can barely see what's going on; he's lost his glasses in the scuffle. He recognizes one of their captors by his voice, though – Fenrir Greyback, an evil werewolf who's a kind of low-grade Death Eater.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione all lie about their names, and are bundled in with some other prisoners, who turn out to be Dean Thomas and Griphook the goblin.
    • Harry lies and says that he's a Slytherin and the son of a Ministry official – and for a hopeful moment, it seems like it might work.
    • However, when the bad guys are raiding the tent, the discover a few things – um, like Gryffindor's sword. And they realize from a picture in the Daily Prophet that Hermione isn't Penelope Clearwater, as she claimed to be, but is Hermione Granger, known to be Harry's companion. They then deduce that they've also caught Harry.
    • Greyback decides to take the captives to Malfoy Manor, which Voldemort is using as a base. Being a non-human, Greyback isn't given the privilege of the Dark Mark, the tattoo that acts as a kind of telepathic communication device that real Death Eaters are given.
    • Harry simultaneously succumbs to terrible pain in his scar; he sees a vision of a dark tower, and a sleeping, emaciated figure…
    • The captors and captives Disapparate, and find themselves at the gates of Malfoy Manor.
    • Harry's vision continues. The figure awakens, and mockingly smiles at Voldemort, claiming that this journey was pointless – he never had what Voldemort is looking for (the Elder Wand?).
    • Back at Malfoy Manor, Narcissa, Draco, and Lucius all examine Harry, trying to figure out if he's actually Harry Potter underneath his swollen, jinxed face.
    • Draco's parents are eager for him to confirm that the captives are Ron, Hermione, and Harry. Draco, however, won't commit to a firm answer. He's reluctant, and actually seems like he doesn't want to take part in all of this – can it be that part of him doesn't want to betray Harry and his friends? Is there actually a shred of decency in Draco Malfoy?
    • Bellatrix Lestrange, Narcissa's sister, bursts in, and is about to summon Voldemort. Lucius, who's trying to get back into Voldemort's good graces, challenges her for the right to summon their Lord.
    • However, when Lucius is about to call Voldemort, Bellatrix notices something very bad – she sees that they have Gryffindor's sword, which she was pretty darn sure was locked away in her Gringott's vault. She can't understand how they got it, and knows that if Voldemort finds it there, they'll all be in deep, deep trouble.
    • The prisoners are thrown into the cellar, except for Hermione, who Bellatrix keeps around for questioning.
    • Ron totally flips out, but Harry manages to keep his cool. In the cellar, they find some familiar faces – Luna and Mr. Ollivander. Ron releases some light from the Deluminator, and Luna unties all of the new arrivals.
    • From above, they can hear the terrible sounds of Bellatrix torturing Hermione, trying to get her to reveal how they got the sword. They even overhear her using the unspeakably horrible Cruciatus Curse.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry, desperate, feels around in Hagrid's moleskin pouch, looking for something to use – the shard of magic mirror he'd put in there back in the day falls out, and he catches a glimpse of a blue eye – Dumbledore's. Harry, frustrated, yells at the mirror, telling it their location and demanding help. The eye blinks and disappears. What the what?
    • Hermione tells Bellatrix that the sword is a copy; Lucius tells Draco to come down and get the goblin for confirmation (since the original sword is goblin-made, Griphook should be able to tell – as we know from his story earlier, he has already distinguished that the sword in Bellatrix's vault is the fake).
    • Harry hurriedly tells Griphook that he has to agree that it's a fake. Draco drags Griphook upstairs for questioning before he can respond.
    • As Draco leaves, Ron releases the light from the Deluminator again, revealing Dobby the house-elf, who's just Apparated into the cellar.
    • Harry doesn't waste any time being confused. He tells Dobby to take Dean, Luna, and the ailing Mr. Ollivander to Bill and Fleur's house, Shell Cottage, then come back.
    • Dean and Luna are reluctant to leave, but Harry forces them to, saying that they'll meet up at Bill and Fleur's.
    • The sound of Dobby Apparating reaches the Malfoys upstairs. They send Wormtail – the former Peter Pettigrew, James and Lily Potter's betrayer – down to check on the prisoners.
    • Ron and Harry make a quick plan to tackle Wormtail and take him down.
    • Wormtail opens the door and, as planned, Harry and Ron pin him. His magical silver hand (a gift from Voldemort in Book 4, Goblet of Fire) starts to strangle Harry.
    • As it squeezes, though, Harry reminds Wormtail that he once saved his life. Wormtail hesitates for a moment and Harry breaks away. Ron takes his wand, and the tables are turned.Before anything else can happen, though, Wormtail's silver hand moves of its own accord – apparently, any gift from Voldemort can't be trusted. Having betrayed Voldemort by letting Harry go, Wormtail's magical Voldy-hand turns upon its owner and strangles him before Ron and Harry's horrified eyes.
    • Harry and Ron creep upstairs, armed with Wormtail's wand. They spy Bellatrix, intently watching Griphook, who's examining the sword. He confirms Hermione's lie, telling them that it's a forgery.
    • Phew – everyone's relieved, from Bellatrix to the unseen Harry and Ron.
    • Bellatrix touches her finger to the Dark Mark on her forearm, summoning Voldemort. Right – nearly forgot about that.
    • Harry's scar sears with pain, and again he sees what Voldemort sees: the old man taunts him, saying that the wand will never be his, and Voldemort shoots a Killing Curse at him.
    • Bellatrix tells Greyback that he can have Hermione as a reward; this is too much for Ron, who bursts in the room and disarms Bellatrix. Harry catches her wand as it flies through the air, and manages to Stun Lucius.
    • However, Bellatrix makes a quick recovery and holds a knife to Hermione's throat, saying that she'll kill the girl if Harry and Ron don't put down their wands. They do.
    • Harry can feel Voldemort approaching. Time is short. Bellatrix sends Draco to pick up the dropped wands.
    • However, as all of this is about to happen, a creaking noise comes from above – the huge crystal chandelier that lights the room trembles and falls, unfortunately right on top of Hermione and Griphook, who's still clutching the important sword.
    • Ron pulls Hermione out, and Harry seizes the moment, picking up Draco's, Bellatrix's, and Wormtail's wands, and Stunning Greyback with all three.
    • Bellatrix and Narcissa are distracted by Dobby's appearance in the doorway. We remember that Dobby used to be the Malfoy family house-elf, before he was liberated by Harry in Book 2, Chamber of Secrets. Bellatrix and Narcissa berate Dobby, but he Disarms Narcissa, and stands up to his former mistresses.
    • Harry's almost overwhelmed by pain from his scar – Voldemort is almost there – but he manages to pull Griphook and the sword from the wreckage of the chandelier, grab Dobby's hand, and Disapparate. As they spin away, he sees a flash of silver as Bellatrix throws her knife…
    • They arrive at some place that Harry hopes is Bill and Fleur's cottage on the seaside. Harry lets go of Dobby and gently sets the injured Griphook down.
    • Harry has never been to Shell Cottage, and asks Dobby if they're at the right place. No response. Harry looks at his old friend, and sees that Bellatrix's knife found its mark – in Dobby's chest.
    • The little elf sways and falls into Harry's arms. He screams for help, regardless of who's there.
    • Dobby dies in Harry's arms. The brave elf's last words are his beloved hero's name: Harry Potter.
  • Chapter 24

    The Wandmaker

    • Harry's in shock; he feels like he's back at Hogwarts, kneeling beside Dumbledore's fallen body.
    • Bill, Fleur, Dean, and Luna come out to him. Everyone has arrived safely, including Ron and Hermione.
    • Harry wants to bury Dobby himself – properly, without magically digging the grave. As he digs, he feels finally feels like he's mastered the pain in his scar, and shut Voldemort out, just as Dumbledore always wanted him to. He goes over the events of the night in his mind as he digs – Voldemort's murder of Gregorovitch, Wormtail's terrible, unwilling suicide.
    • Ron and Dean come out and help Harry dig.
    • When the grave is dug, everyone comes out to say good-bye to Dobby. Luna, oddly enough, steps up to take care of things, addressing Dobby and thanking him for saving her.
    • Everyone offers Dobby their thanks. They bury the house-elf, and Harry lingers outside for a moment, and finds a smooth white stone to lay at the grave's head. On it he magically engraves "Here Lies Dobby, A Free Elf."
    • Everyone's inside talking through things. Bill brings them up to speed – the Death Eaters know that Ron is traveling with Harry, so all the Weasleys have become targets. Bill is moving to their Auntie Muriel's house, which is protected by the Fidelius Charm. Once Mr. Ollivander and Griphook recover from their injuries, they'll be moved there too.
    • Before that happens, though, Harry needs to talk to both of them.
    • Harry goes to wash his hands, mulling over the events of the last day. Whose blue eye had looked out of the mirror fragment – who had sent help? He thinks about Dumbledore, who seems to have known so much (he knew to give Ron the Deluminator, and he knew that Wormtail would help Harry someday)… what did he know about Harry?
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to talk to Griphook. Before they can get down to business, he muses about Harry's unusual qualities.
    • Harry has a shocking statement: he needs to break into the Lestranges' Gringotts vault, and he needs Griphook's help. He swears that it isn't for personal gain – and Griphook tentatively believes him.
    • Side note: Harry has proved that he protects even non-humans, or, as Griphook says, non-"wand-carriers." There's apparently a lot of rivalry between the goblins and humans, both of whom hide their magical secrets from each other.
    • Griphook doesn't give them an answer, and instead says he needs to sleep. Harry takes the sword of Gryffindor with him as he, Ron, and Hermione leave the goblin to rest.
    • Harry feels sure that there's a Horcrux hidden in the Gringotts vault; he thinks that Voldemort, an outsider, would want to keep his treasures there, in the heart of the wizarding world, and that he would trust the Lestranges more than anyone else.
    • Next, they go see Mr. Ollivander. The old wandmaker is a wreck – he was imprisoned and tortured at Malfoy Manor for more than a year.
    • First, Harry asks if his holly and phoenix feather wand can possibly be repaired. It can't.
    • Then, he asks Mr. Ollivander to identify the two wands they stole from Malfoy Manor – one is Bellatrix Lestrange's, and the other's is Draco's. More precisely, it was Draco's… but depending on how it was taken from him, it might have changed its allegiance.

    (Click the map infographic to download.)

    • Since Harry took the wand by force, it's now obedient to him. Same goes for Ron, who took Wormtail's wand.
    • Harry asks if all wands work the same way – for example, what about the legends of wands that, say, have passed from wizard to wizard by murder?...
    • Ollivander knows that Harry is on to him. He admits that he told Voldemort about the twin cores of their two original wands, but he simply doesn't understand why the holly and phoenix wand managed to snap Voldemort's borrowed wand.
    • Harry confronts Ollivander about the Elder Wand – he knows that Voldemort is after it, and wants to know what he knows.
    • Voldemort doesn't only want the Elder Wand to defeat Harry, according to Mr. Ollivander. He actually wants it to take over the world… muahahahaha!
    • Ollivander is certain that the Elder Wand (a.k.a. the Deathstick, a much more awesome name) really exists. He's the one who told Voldemort that Gregorovitch might have had it, under great duress – he was being tortured by the Cruciatus Curse and had to give in.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione thank Mr. Ollivander, and leave the old man to his conscience, then go to reevaluate.
    • So this is the deal – Gregorovitch had the Elder Wand a long time ago, but it was stolen, as we know, by the young, dashing Grindelwald. As Harry's talking through this, he can see Voldemort in his mind's eye at the gates of Hogwarts… (Shoot.)
    • Harry continues: Grindelwald used the Elder Wand to gain power, but Dumbledore conquered him and took the Elder Wand.
    • Harry struggles to stay with Ron and Hermione and not give in to his vision. He tells them that it's at Hogwarts, but it's too late to get it – Voldemort is there already.
    • Harry desperately tells Ron that Dumbledore didn't want him to have the Wand – he wanted Harry to find the Horcruxes instead. He succumbs to his vision.
    • We're seeing through Voldemort's eyes now. He's walking through the Hogwarts grounds with Snape, but then goes off by himself, magically hidden, to do something private.
    • Voldemort approaches the white, marble tomb of Albus Dumbledore: he opens the tomb, regards Dumbledore's corpse derisively for a moment, and takes the Elder Wand.
  • Chapter 25

    Shell Cottage

    • Ron is full of doubts over the next few days – he's sure they should have tried to beat Voldemort to the tomb to steal the Elder Wand first. Hermione, on the other hand, is glad they didn't go; she thinks the Wand is evil.
    • Harry's just worried that he misunderstood Dumbledore's wishes. What on Earth did the man want? Why couldn't he just come out and say it?
    • As they're arguing, Fleur calls Harry in – Griphook wants to speak with him in private.
    • Griphook has decided that he will help Harry get into the Lestranges' vault – for a price. All he wants is the sword of Godric Gryffindor. Griphook tells them that before it was Gryffindor's sword, it belonged to a famous goblin king, and was wrongfully taken by humans.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione leave the room to discuss – they decide that it's the only possible way. However, they first need the sword in order to destroy the Horcruxes. Harry decides that he'll agree, but sneakily not tell Griphook when they'll give him the sword. It's not exactly all on the up-and-up, but Harry puts his moral qualms out of his mind.
    • They return to Griphook, and shake hands on the deal. Over the next several days, they make plans to break into the bank; Griphook reveals himself to be a rather unsavory and bloodthirsty character.
    • Turns out he's not making himself popular with anyone – Fleur hates the goblin with a fiery passion. However, she and Bill are willing to do whatever they can to help Harry and keep him safe.
    • Mr. Ollivander is recovered and ready to leave; Bill takes him to Auntie Muriel's.
    • As everyone else settles down for dinner, and Bill returns, an unexpected guest shows up – Remus Lupin.
    • Lupin's there, insanely happy, to announce that his child has been born – a healthy baby boy named Ted, after Tonks's father.
    • Lupin squeezes Harry in a hug, and asks if he'll be the godfather – of course he agrees!
    • Then everyone raises a toast to the baby, Teddy Remus Lupin. Lupin stays a while, happier than they've ever seen him, then dashes off to get back home.
    • As the party breaks up, Bill pulls Harry aside. They both noticed Griphook slinking off by himself earlier. He wants to warn Harry that he should always be careful when making deals with goblins; they have different ideas of payment and fairness than humans.
    • Bill tells him that he should be especially careful about cheating on a deal he makes with the goblin – it could be the most dangerous thing at all.
    • Harry, perhaps made a little sentimental by the wine, reflects to himself that he's already as reckless a godfather to baby Teddy as Sirius was to him.
  • Chapter 26

    Gringotts

    • The night before the planned bank robbery, everything is ready, down to their disguises.
    • Hermione found a long, black hair – one of Bellatrix's – stuck on her sweater from Malfoy Manor, which will enable them to use Polyjuice Potion to imitate her. So Hermione will turn into Bellatrix, and will even have her wand to make the disguise more convincing.
    • But Hermione's miserable; she misses her own wand. Everyone's jealous of Luna, because her friend Mr. Ollivander sent her a new wand that morning.
    • Griphook comes in and Harry goes over the plan – they'll leave the next morning. They've already told Bill and Fleur that they're leaving (but not what they're going to do), and that they won't be back.
    • Griphook is clearly suspicious of his human co-conspirators, and won't ever leave the trio alone. Harry's not sure how they're going to get away with taking the sword with them.
    • The next morning at six, they're ready to go. Hermione's transformed into Bellatrix, and Ron is disguised as a completely invented character, with various physical changes that Hermione's crafted – bet she had fun with that. Harry and Griphook will hide under the Invisibility Cloak.
    • They Disapparate and arrive at the Leaky Cauldron, then proceed into Diagon Alley. It's deserted, and many of its previously busy shops are boarded up and abandoned. The whole street is plastered with "Undesirable Number One" posters with Harry's face.
    • There are a few destitute wizards roaming around, begging for money and mercy, but they slink away as Hermione/Bellatrix approaches. One of them confronts her, but Ron Stuns him.
    • Travers, a Death Eater, shows up and decides to accompany them to Gringotts.

    (Click the map infographic to download.)

    • At the entrance to the bank, they encounter the first security measure – some guards with Probity Probes, which detect lies. Harry, hidden under the cloak, Confounds the guards, and in their confused state, they let the whole bunch in.
    • Hermione tells one of the goblin bankers that she wants to get into her vault. However, the goblins already know that Bellatrix's wand has been stolen, and that they're imposters. Acting on Griphook's quick-witted guidance, Harry uses the forbidden Imperius Curse, first on the goblin, then on Travers.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • The goblin trots off obediently to get something called the Clankers, and Harry tries to reduce the amount of attention they're drawing to themselves, which is mighty tough. The goblins seem to be on to them.
    • They've made it into the inner sanctum of the bank, though, so they go on. Using Bogrod, the goblin Harry Imperiused, they ride through the bank's labyrinthine tunnels in a cart, going at breakneck speed until they hit a magical waterfall. It undoes Ron and Hermione's illusory disguises – Griphook says this means that the goblins have set off the defense mechanisms. Uh oh…
    • The last obstacle is a half-blind, terrifying-looking dragon. Griphook tells them to shake the Clankers; the dragon is afraid of the sound, and backs away.
    • Finally, after making Bogrod press his palm to the vault door (the only key to a Gringotts vault), they're successfully in the Lestranges' vault.
    • Harry's already described Helga Hufflepuff's cup, the remaining Horcrux he knows about, to Ron and Hermione, but if it's something else… well, they'll cross that bridge when they come to it.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Hermione grabs a jeweled goblet – and, horrifyingly, there's a cascade of a ton of identical goblets.
    • Griphook informs them that the treasures are protected by curses that both make the items multiply so that the originals are lost in a sea of replicas, and that make the metal burning hot to the touch.
    • Thankfully, Harry spots Hufflepuff's cup up on a high shelf. He tries to avoid touching anything by reaching for its handle with Gryffindor's sword – and in a hurry, because they can hear a number of goblins approaching outside.
    • Hermione hoists Harry up into the air magically, but he bumps into a suit of armor, sending a cascade of burning copies down onto Ron, Hermione, and the goblins. They bump into more things, and soon there's a sea of scalding hot treasures and replicas. A hot mess!
    • Harry pulls Griphook up, who's almost swallowed up by the explosion of objects, and Griphook grabs onto the sword – the cup flies through the air, and Harry catches it, holding it despite the blistering heat, as they flee the vault.
    • Griphook immediately abandons them, taking the sword with him. He turns against the trio, joining the horde of goblins.
    • Harry blasts the dragon free of its shackles, and he, Ron, and Hermione clamber atop the creature. The dragon, realizing it's finally free, makes a break for it, with his passengers still hanging on.
    • The three of them cling on for dear life, and blast obstacles out of their ride's way. Finally, they get out of Gringotts and into Diagon Alley, and from there, to the sky.
  • Chapter 27

    The Final Hiding Place

    • So, you may not know this, but flying on a dragon you can't steer is a kind of stressful experience. It's unclear where the dragon feels like going, and once it gets there, how our trio will manage to get off.
    • There are other worries, too – first off, how long will it take for Voldemort to figure out what's going on?
    • Finally, the dragon soars down to a landing, by a series of beautiful mountain lakes. Harry, Ron, and Hermione jump off into one of the lakes as the dragon glides lower, so it won't notice them (and then promptly eat them).
    • They drag themselves out of the lake and onto the shore, and before taking any rest, Harry sets up their protective spells.
    • Everyone's covered in bruises and burns from the Gringotts escapade. Hermione's brought some pumpkin juice and fresh robes, and they take a minute to clean up and have a drink before debriefing.
    • The good news is, they've got the cup Horcrux. The bad news is, they've got nothing to destroy it with, since Griphook took the darn sword.
    • As Hermione sadly muses about what might happen to the dragon, the three of them burst into hysterical laughter, wondering when anyone will notice that they've broken into Gringotts, which is clearly the primary concern.

    (Click the map infographic to download.)

    • Suddenly, Harry's head splits with pain; he's instantly in Voldy-space again. Voldemort is furiously questioning a Gringotts goblin, who admits that Harry, Ron, and Hermione managed to break in and steal the cup.
    • In his rage, Voldemort kills the goblin, and everyone else who happens to be in close range. Lucius and Bellatrix manage to duck out of the way.
    • Voldemort's mind is full of questions. How much did Harry know, and how did he know it? Voldemort is sure that he would have felt it if Harry had destroyed the Horcruxes – after all, they contain part of his soul. He tries to put doubt out of his mind – there's no way Harry could know about the others.
    • Voldemort mentally goes through all of his Horcrux hidey-holes – the Gaunts' shack, the cave with the lake of Inferi, Hogwarts… and Nagini the snake, another Horcrux, never leaves his side. Just to be sure, though, he decides to revisit the shack and the lake, and to warn Snape that Potter might be on his way to Hogwarts.
    • Frustratingly, Voldemort never reveals where in Hogwarts the last Horcrux is hidden – but at least we've found out that it's there!
    • Harry awakens from his trance, and instantly flies into action: he tells Ron and Hermione that the last Horcrux is at Hogwarts, and they've got to go there now, before Voldemort moves it. They scramble under the Invisibility Cloak and Apparate to Hogsmeade.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

  • Chapter 28

    The Missing Mirror

    • They land on Hogsmeade's High Street, and a screeching alarm immediately goes off. A gaggle of Death Eaters explodes out of the door of the Three Broomsticks pub, and the first tries to summon Harry's Invisibility Cloak. Amazingly, it doesn't respond to the spell. (That's right – Cloak with a capital "C.")
    • The Death Eaters are sure that the trio is there, though. They scatter rapidly, looking for Harry.
    • Meanwhile, the three of them try to Disapparate, but the Death Eaters have cast spells to keep them there – and furthermore, they've called in dementors. Harry, Ron, and Hermione can feel the characteristic cold settle over them.
    • In desperation, Harry releases his Patronus to get rid of the dementors. As he does, the Death Eaters see it and come after him, but before they get there, a door opens and someone urgently whispers for Harry to come in.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione find themselves in grimy old Hog's Head. They run upstairs, to an apartment with a painting of a spacey looking blond girl.
    • Downstairs, they can see a confrontation taking place between their savior, the barman of the Hog's Head, and the angry crowd of Death Eaters.
    • The barman lies to the Death Eaters convincingly, saying that he set off the charmed alarm by putting his cat out for the night, and that the Patronus they saw was his (a goat), not Harry's stag. Now that's a man who thinks on his feet.
    • The Death Eaters, disgruntled, depart.
    • Meanwhile, upstairs, Harry notices something odd – a small mirror propped up on the mantelpiece, below the portrait of the girl.
    • The barman comes back, and Harry immediately knows that it's this guy's brilliant blue eyes that he's been seeing in his side of the magic mirror.
    • He's the one who sent Dobby and is, of course, saddened by the news of Dobby's death.
    • But wait – more than that, he's Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus's famously odd younger brother.
    • Aberforth explains that he'd bought the other side of the mirror from Mundungus Fletcher, and Albus explained to him what it did. He's been keeping an eye on Harry ever since.
    • For a moment, Ron is elated – did Aberforth send the doe Patronus to them? Aberforth not-so-gently reminds him that they just saw his Patronus, a goat. That mystery remains mysterious for the time being.
    • Aberforth gives them some much-needed food, and encourages them to sneak out at daybreak when the curfew lifts – he wants them to go hide in the mountains where Hagrid is, to be safe.
    • Harry firmly refuses to escape. He tells Aberforth that Albus, his brother, left him a mission and he has to do it.
    • Aberforth bitterly tells Harry that he doesn't owe Albus anything, and that he should save himself before the elder Dumbledore's schemes get him killed.
    • Aberforth has lost hope – he used to be a member of the Order of the Phoenix, but he's given up now, and thinks the best anyone can do is stay alive.
    • Aberforth explains why he is so doubtful of his brother's plans, and finally we get the truth about Dumbledore. Aberforth has reason for worrying that everyone Albus ever cared about gets hurt, and thinking that Harry will be the same…
    • Aberforth's story is as follows:
    • When they were kids, Ariana (Albus and Aberforth's sister) was attacked by some Muggle boys while innocently experimenting with magic. She was permanently traumatized, and was driven mad by her own magical nature.
    • The Dumbledores' father went after the kids who attacked his daughter, and was locked up in Azkaban for it. He never told the Ministry why he did it, because he was afraid they would take Ariana away and lock her in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies.
    • Albus, Aberforth, and Kendra (their mother) had to be very secretive to keep anyone from finding out about Ariana, who might have been seen as a threat. They moved houses and tried to keep a low profile in Godric's Hollow.
    • Aberforth cared for his sister more than Albus, who was wrapped up in schoolwork.
    • When Ariana was fourteen, she accidentally killed her mother with an uncontrolled burst of her undisciplined magical power. This is why Albus canceled his round-the-world trip and came home – he wanted Aberforth to finish his education at Hogwarts, and someone had to care for Ariana.
    • Young Albus did well for a little while. That is, until he made a new friend, Gellert Grindelwald.
    • That summer, Aberforth watched as his brother grew closer and closer to his new buddy, and as they made plans to travel the world looking for the Hallows and changing the world.
    • Aberforth got into a showdown with Grindelwald – the latter used the Cruciatus Curse on him, and Albus tried to stop him. All three of them were dueling, throwing curses everywhere, and somehow Ariana was killed in the midst of all the chaos.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Grindelwald escaped and fled the country, and Aberforth and Albus were left with the fallout.
    • Aberforth thought that Albus saw himself as free from his family after that, but Harry knows otherwise – he interrupts the story and tells Aberforth that when Albus drank poison the night he died, he was tormented by some unseen memory; Harry's certain that it was of Grindelwald's torture of his family.
    • Aberforth's story concluded, he pauses to consider this.
    • He and Harry argue about the idea of the greater good – Harry claims that sometimes it is more important than individual lives. He's prepared to finish Dumbledore's plans and eliminate Voldemort, even if it means losing his own life.
    • Harry tells Aberforth that no matter what, he's got to get into Hogwarts.
    • Aberforth thinks this over, gazing at Harry with the blue eyes that are so like his brother's, and then turns to address the portrait of Ariana. He tells her to go – do what?
    • She retreats into the depths of the painting, where a long tunnel seems to open up. Whoa… everyone except Aberforth is confused by what's going on.
    • Aberforth explains that this is the only remaining way to get into Hogwarts; the other secret passages have been guarded.
    • As he speaks, there's a light at the end of the painted tunnel. Ariana reappears, growing larger and larger as she walks towards them – and someone's with her.
    • And it's a familiar, much welcomed someone: their old friend, Neville Longbottom, looking battered and down on his luck. But he's definitely ecstatic that Harry has finally come.
  • Chapter 29

    The Lost Diadem

    • Neville's looking worse than they've ever seen him, covered in bruises and cuts – he says that Seamus is even worse – but he's delighted to see them. He warns Aberforth that a few more people will be arriving; he's let some other people know that Harry's there.
    • Harry thanks Aberforth for saving their lives twice, and clambers into the painted tunnel with Neville, Ron, and Hermione. It's an entrance so secret that even the Marauder's Map didn't know about it.
    • Neville fills them in on the goings-on at Hogwarts as they walk – the Carrow siblings, the two Death Eaters who teach there, have been dominating and punishing students all year long. They've been teaching students things like how to use the unforgivable Cruciatus Curse.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Neville has apparently become quite the rebel, and his cuts and bruises are for talking back to the Carrows.
    • However, the Death Eaters don't want to spill too much pure Wizard blood, so they haven't been killing students – just torturing them.
    • The resistance has been communicating via the enchanted fake Galleons that Hermione gave them back in the day, when they were practicing defense spells as Dumbledore's Army (Book 5, Order of the Phoenix).
    • For a while, Ginny, Luna, and Neville were the leaders of the rehabilitated Dumbledore's Army, but since Luna was taken away at Christmas and Ginny didn't come back to school after Easter, it's just Neville in charge now.
    • Trying to get Neville to stop his rebellion, the Death Eaters went after his only family, his feisty old grandmother. However, she fought back like a champ and put the Death Eater who came to capture her, Dawlish, in the hospital. She's on the run, but mighty proud of Neville.
    • Neville figured out that his time at Hogwarts was up – it was time to disappear. But to where?
    • The answer comes immediately. Ron, Hermione, and Harry emerge from the tunnel with Neville, into a strange and unrecognizable room – it's full of hammocks, bookcases, and tapestries with Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff emblems (notably, not the Slytherin serpent).
    • Though they don't recognize it, it's the Room of Requirement. Neville was being chased by the Carrows, and escaped in to the room – and it knew that he needed a hideout. As other students came seeking escape, the room changed and grew to accommodate them.
    • Seamus Finnigan, another old friend, excitedly tells them that Neville's got the room completely figured out, and that he knows how to ask it for the right things. The Carrows can't find them there – they don't even know the room exists.
    • The new arrivals take in their surroundings – there are tons of people there, including their old DA pals Lavender Brown, Padma and Parvati Patil, Terry Boot, Ernie Macmillan, Anthony Goldstein, and Michael Corner.
    • There's much rejoicing for a moment when Neville tells his army that all the stories about Harry, Ron, and Hermione are true – they did actually break into Hogwarts and got out of Gringotts via dragon.
    • Before anything else can happen, though, Harry is overwhelmed by pain in his scar – Voldemort is at the Gaunt family shack, and knows that the ring Horcrux is gone. Time is short, and they need to get going to find the Horcrux that's at Hogwarts.
    • Harry tells Dumbledore's Army that he, Ron, and Hermione have to do something – Dumbledore left them a task, but nobody else can help.
    • This doesn't go over so well.
    • Everyone assumed that since Harry has returned, they'll revolt en masse and take over Hogwarts. Luna and Dean arrive (they're the "couple of people" Neville told to come to the Hog's Head), and agree – Dumbledore's Army is Harry's army now, and they're ready to fight for him.
    • More arrivals show up – Fred, George, and Ginny Weasley, Lee Jordan, and Cho Chang. Everyone wants to fight.
    • Harry, Ron, and Hermione pause to discuss for a moment; Ron thinks they should accept the help being offered. Harry remembers what Aberforth bitterly said about Albus's secrecy, and decides that he has to open up.
    • Harry tells everyone that they're seeking something to destroy Voldemort, and that it has to do with Rowena Ravenclaw (all they know about the last unknown Horcrux is that it's something of Ravenclaw's). Luna pipes up and says it might be Ravenclaw's lost diadem. However, the point is, um, that it's lost.
    • Cho suggests that Harry go up to the Ravenclaw tower to look at the statue of Ravenclaw herself, which depicts the diadem. Luna take him up there, covered in the Invisibility Cloak.
    • Luna lets the two of them into the Ravenclaw common room (the entrance is not just a password, but a riddle – Ravenclaw really is serious about valuing cleverness!).
    • The diadem depicted in the statue is a delicate tiara, engraved with Ravenclaw's motto, "Wit Beyond Measure is Man's Greatest Treasure."
    • A cackling voice behind them jokes that Harry, then, must be broke – it's Alecto Carrow, one of Hogwarts's new professors. She presses her Dark Mark to summon Voldemort.
  • Chapter 30

    The Sacking of Severus Snape

    • As soon as Alecto touches her Dark Mark, Harry can feel Voldemort approaching. Luna thinks fast and Stuns the Death Eater.
    • Harry and Luna hide under the cloak as puzzled Ravenclaws emerge from their rooms, confused by the spectacle before them.
    • Outside the common room, Harry can hear Amycus Carrow, Alecto's equally evil brother, demanding entrance. He's quarreling with Professor McGonagall, who calmly opens the door after giving him a hard time.
    • Amycus doesn't know what to do – Voldemort is coming, but there's no sign of Harry. He and his sister are going to be in deep trouble.
    • He decides to pass off the blame to the students, and say that they forced Alecto to summon Voldemort, then Stunned her.
    • Professor McGonagall won't stand for this. She and Amycus face off, and he spits at her. (Third grade much?)
    • This is too much for Harry, who rips off the Invisibility Cloak and inflicts the Cruciatus Curse upon Amycus – it's the first time he's successfully used it (or probably even thought to).

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Professor McGonagall is shocked by the appearance of both Harry and Luna, and tells them to flee – Harry, however, wants only to know about the diadem. He knows it's too late to try and escape Voldemort, or to avoid him.
    • Professor McGonagall neatly ties up the Carrows, and confronts Harry about his plan. He tells her that he's acting on Dumbledore's orders, and she immediately springs into action; the Hogwarts teachers will join forces to defend the castle and put up protective spells, and hold Voldemort off as Harry searches for the diadem. The only problem is Snape…
    • As the three of them go off to discuss plans with the other Heads of House, Snape himself appears in the hallway. And he's ready for a fight.
    • Snape and McGonagall have a brief, cold confrontation, before breaking into duel mode; McGonagall is soon joined by her backup – Professors Flitwick, Sprout, and Slughorn. Overwhelmed by this onslaught, Snape leaps out the window and magically flies away.
    • Harry can see Voldemort at the Inferi-guarded island – in a moment he'll know that the locket Horcrux is gone, too. We can just see him puffing up now…
    • Professor McGonagall fills her colleagues in on the situation, and they make plans to evacuate their students and defend the castle.
    • As everyone hurries away to organize, Harry asks Professor Flitwick about the diadem, but he has no idea.
    • Professors McGonagall and Slughorn have a brief but significant confrontation, in which McGonagall coldly tells her uncertain colleague that Slytherin has to choose its loyalty – to Hogwarts, or to Voldemort.
    • The whole school is active as students move to the Great Hall, and Professor McGonagall rouses all of the castle's defenses, including some pretty awesome moving suits of armor.
    • Back in the Room of Requirement, all of Dumbledore's Army is mobilized – with some extra members, including Harry's old Quidditch team, and the Order of the Phoenix.
    • Harry tells them that the fight (or, should we say, Fight?) is on. There's a rush to get up to the Great Hall, where everyone is mobilizing. Only the Weasleys remain with Lupin in the Room of Requirement; Ginny wants to fight (and George and Fred are on her side), but everyone else thinks she's too young, including Harry. She resentfully agrees to stay.
    • The argument is interrupted by a late arrival: Percy Weasley. He and his estranged family face each other awkwardly (Fleur and Lupin attempt desperately to break the ice by talking about Lupin and Tonks's baby – always a good topic). Percy apologizes profusely for being pigheaded and stubborn; he's come to realize what was going on in the Ministry, but didn't know how to get out without being imprisoned. The Weasleys are all reunited.
    • Lupin suggests that Ginny should stay in the Room of Requirement so she can know what's going on, but not be endangered. Her parents agree to this plan.
    • Harry asks where Ron and Hermione are, but nobody knows for sure. Ginny says they mentioned something about a bathroom. Huh.
    • Harry's interrupted by a flash of pain from his scar – Voldemort is outside the castle, and he's ready to kill.
  • Chapter 31

    The Battle of Hogwarts

    • Professor McGonagall addresses the students who are gathered in the Great Hall, instructing them on how to evacuate. Students who are of age (seventeen) and want to fight are allowed to stay.
    • Her announcement is interrupted by an announcement of a different kind – Lord Voldemort's voice is amplified and rings throughout the castle.
    • He says that he doesn't want to fight them and lose valuable Wizarding blood. He'll leave them all unharmed if they turn over Harry.
    • Pansy Parkinson, an unsavory Slytherin in Harry's year, points out that the boy in question is right there – according to her, they should give him to Voldemort.
    • Professor McGonagall calmly and coldly tells Pansy to leave with the evacuating students. There's no way Harry's going to be handed over to Voldemort.
    • A bunch of older Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students remain seated as the Hall is evacuated, as well as half of Gryffindor. Professor McGonagall shuffles the younger students out.
    • Kingsley Shacklebolt steps up to address everyone with the battle plan that the faculty and the Order have come up with.
    • Meanwhile, Professor McGonagall reminds Harry that he's there to look for something (he'd almost forgotten in the excitement) and he dashes off.
    • He can't figure out what to do for a moment – how could Voldemort have found the diadem? Professor Flitwick told him that it hadn't even been seen in living memory…
    • That phrase turns on a light bulb in Harry's mind, and he dashes off to find Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor Tower ghost. Nick points him in the direction of the Grey Lady, the Ravenclaw Tower ghost. She sees Harry looking at her, and drifts away – way to be a pain, Grey Lady. Harry follows desperately.
    • Harry confronts the Lady, and asks her about the diadem. She says that she can't help him, but then agrees to tell him what she knows, in the spirit of defeating Voldemort.
    • The Grey Lady was apparently Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter, Helena; long, long ago, she stole her mother's famous wisdom-giving diadem in an attempt to become more clever than her famous mom. She then fled.
    • However, her mother became ill and longed to see her daughter one last time, so she sent a man who loved Helena to find her and bring her back to Hogwarts.
    • The man turned out to be another familiar ghost, the Bloody Baron. He found Helena, and when she refused to return, he killed her (what? We never do that to our crushes), then killed himself, full of remorse.
    • The diadem stayed where she'd hidden it, in a forest in Albania, for many centuries.
    • Harry isn't the only student she's told this story to – she also told it to young Tom Riddle, never guessing that he was so evil.
    • Harry quickly puts the pieces together. Voldemort got the story out of the Grey Lady, went to Albania, got the diadem, and then hid it somewhere in Hogwarts the night many years ago when he came back to ask Albus Dumbledore for a job.
    • As Harry runs off, wondering where the hiding place is, Hagrid comes flying through the window with his dog, Fang.
    • He'd been hiding in the hills, but heard Voldemort's announcement and returned to fight.
    • Harry and Hagrid both wonder where Ron and Hermione are, and rush off to figure it out.
    • They run past some shattered gargoyles, one of which mutters snidely at them.
    • Its ugly stone face reminds Harry of the bust of Ravenclaw he saw at Xenophilius Lovegood's house, then of the statue in the Ravenclaw common room – and then, of another statue from another time, a bust of an ugly old man, upon which Harry himself threw a wig and a tiara back in Book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in the Room of Hidden Things (the alter-ego of the Room of Requirement).
    • Wait a second! The tiara is Ravenclaw's diadem – and Harry runs off to find it.
    • Harry sprints by a group of students standing guard at a secret entrance, including Fred and Lee Jordan, then runs into Aberforth, who suggests that they should have kept some of the Slytherin students hostage – Harry tells him that Albus never would have done it.
    • They run off in opposite directions.
    • Finally, as Harry hurtles around a corner, he finds Ron and Hermione, who are laden down with basilisk fangs – they've been in the Chamber of Secrets all along, taking the fangs from the dead basilisk's skeleton to destroy the Horcruxes with.
    • It was Ron's idea; he even managed to speak enough Parseltongue to open the Chamber. Ron becomes more impressive by the minute.
    • Hermione destroyed Hufflepuff's cup with one of the fangs – one more Horcrux down.
    • Harry congratulates them, and tells them that he knows where to find the diadem too.
    • The three of them rush to the Room of Requirement, where they find Tonks, Ginny, and Neville's fierce grandmother.
    • They send all three of the women out (with strict instructions to Ginny to stay right outside and not join the fight).
    • Ron also has a last-minute revelation – they should warn the Hogwarts house-elves, so they don't all get slaughtered in the coming battle. This is too much for Hermione; overcome by emotion, she grabs Ron and kisses him (gosh, finally).
    • Harry awkwardly breaks up the emotional scene and reminds them that there's, um, still a Horcrux to find.
    • They step outside the Room to allow it to reform as the Room of Hidden Things. Out in the hallway, chaos has broken loose; Ginny and Tonks are shooting jinxes into the crowd, as Aberforth sprints by, leading a crowd of students into the fight. Tonks dashes off to find Lupin, who's dueling Dolohov, a dangerous Death Eater.
    • Harry thinks hard about the room he's looking for, and a door materializes in the hallway – they go in, and find themselves in the room of lost stuff. The three split up, looking for the bust of the old man with the wig and tiara.
    • The search is interrupted by some unwelcome guests just as Harry is reaching for the diadem – Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle. The terrible trio was waiting outside the Room of Requirement, and followed them inside.
    • Crabbe and Goyle, dumber than ever, oafishly taunt Harry.
    • Crabbe, finally ready for his spotlight, even turns against Malfoy, his old leader. Crabbe goes curse-happy, throwing jinxes everywhere, and tries to kill Hermione with the Killing Curse. Malfoy yells at Crabbe and Goyle not to – yeah, you heard right, he said not to – kill Harry, and Harry uses this distraction to Disarm Goyle.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Crabbe releases some kind of magical fire, which starts gobbling up the objects in the room.
    • It's clearly beyond Crabbe's control. The flames seem alive, and take on various monstrous shapes as they chase Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who all sprint for the door.
    • Harry grabs a pair of broomsticks from a pile of junk and throws one to Ron; he swoops around, looking for Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle – he can't imagine dying in the fiery inferno.
    • He picks up Malfoy, and Ron and Hermione manage to rescue Goyle.
    • As they fly out, the fire tosses a few last charred objects into the air – including the diadem. Harry dives and catches it, then flies out the door.
    • In the hallway, the door to the Room disappears. The five of them sit on the floor recovering.
    • Crabbe perished inside the room, devoured by his own cursed flames.
    • Ginny, who was supposedly waiting outside, is nowhere to be seen.
    • Before they go looking for her, they peer at the diadem – it's bleeding a kind of tar, and suddenly, as Harry holds it, it screams and breaks apart.
    • According to Hermione, Crabbe's fire must have been Fiendfyre, a kind of cursed fire that's incredibly dangerous.
    • Hermione reminds them that now they just have to get Nagini the snake.
    • But she's interrupted by violent yells from the hallway. Death Eaters have gotten in, and are dueling with the castle defenders.
    • Fred and Percy are there, both dueling with masked, hooded Death Eaters.
    • Percy's opponent is revealed to be Pius Thicknesse, the Minister of Magic; Percy jokes that he's tendering his resignation. Fred's delighted that Percy's finally cracked a joke.
    • Fred is interrupted by a huge explosion – Harry flies through the air, and all is chaos.
    • When everything settles, Harry finds himself buried in wreckage, bleeding. Someone's blown a hole in the castle.
    • Harry hears a cry of utter agony, and it tears at his heart. He and Hermione pull themselves from the wreckage and see the three Weasleys on the ground. Percy and Ron are desperately clutching Fred's still body.
  • Chapter 32

    The Elder Wand

    • Harry can't believe Fred is really dead. Everyone's in a state of shock, but Harry sees that they have to get away from the giant hole in the wall; there's a huge spider trying to get in and wreak havoc. Harry and Ron blast it away.
    • Percy, mad with grief, won't let go of Fred's body, which he's trying to shield from harm.
    • Harry reaches down to grab Fred and move him to safety, and Percy helps. They hide his body where it'll be safe, and run into the thick of the battle.
    • Ron is incoherent in his grief; all he wants to do is get out there and kill Death Eaters.
    • Hermione reminds him that their bigger goal is more important – they have to find the snake and destroy it, so Voldemort can be destroyed. She urges Harry to use his connection to Voldemort and see where he is.
    • Harry easily accesses Voldemort's thoughts. The Dark Lord is in a quiet, familiar room, with Lucius Malfoy, who wants to know what happened to Draco. Voldemort tells him that he doesn't know – Draco didn't emerge from the castle with the other Slytherins.
    • Lucius desperately asks if Voldemort should stop the battle, since Harry might be accidentally killed by someone else – but Voldemort knows that Harry will come to him before the fight is over.
    • Voldemort sends Lucius to find Snape – he needs him for something.
    • Left alone, Voldemort murmurs, "It is the only way, Nagini," addressing his Horcrux snake, who's suspended in the air, in a protective, enchanted sphere.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • Harry pulls his thoughts back and returns to himself. He tells Ron and Hermione what he saw – Voldemort's in the Shrieking Shack.
    • The three of them quarrel about who will go get the snake, but are interrupted by the entrance of two Death Eaters. Hermione orchestrates a quick escape for them.
    • Hidden under the Invisibility Cloak, they rush through a corridor filled with duelers.
    • They see Dean and Parvati up against Dolohov and Travers, as Peeves the poltergeist flies around, dropping things on Death Eaters.
    • They also pass Malfoy pleading for his life with a masked Death Eater; Harry Stuns the Death Eater, and Ron punches Malfoy as they run by. You know, for good measure.
    • Hermione stops Fenrir Greyback from attacking an injured Lavender Brown, and Professor Trelawney finishes him off by dropping a crystal ball on his head.
    • The doors to the castle break open, and a swarm of the monster spiders rushes in. Hagrid runs down, yelling at the fighters not to hurt the spiders.
    • Oblivious to his defense of them, the spiders swarm him instead, and carry him out as they retreat out the doors.
    • A truly enormous giant appears, and Hagrid's giant half-brother Grawp – who else has a brother that big? – emerges to fight the full-grown foe.
    • Next, a legion of dementors approaches, and Ron, Hermione, and Harry try to set their Patronuses on them.
    • However, the dementors are too close and too powerful – until the trio gets backup from Luna, Ernie Macmillan, and Seamus, who send their Patronuses out to get rid of the dementors. Harry finally casts his stag Patronus successfully, and the dementors retreat.
    • Another giant appears, waving a huge club, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione run towards the Whomping Willow, to find Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack.
    • The three of them crawl down into the Shrieking Shack and hide under the Cloak.
    • Harry, peering through into the Shack, sees Snape and Voldemort. Voldemort tells Snape that there's something wrong – the Elder Wand doesn't feel any more powerful to him than his old yew and phoenix wand.
    • Snape tries to return to the battle, but Voldemort has other plans. He thinks he's figured out the mystery of the Elder Wand – it doesn't work properly because he's not its true master… Snape, who killed Dumbledore, is.
    • Voldemort orders Nagini to kill Snape, and the nasty snake moves in for the kill.
    • Voldemort looks on remorselessly, then leaves with Nagini.
    • Once Voldemort leaves, Harry approaches the dying Snape. He takes off the Cloak and looks down at his former professor.
    • A silvery substance – memories – is pouring from Snape's mouth, ears, and eyes. He whispers, "Take it," and Hermione hands Harry a flask; he pours the silver stuff into the flask with his wand.
    • Snape, holding on to Harry, implores the boy to look at him, but their eyes only meet for a moment – he dies gazing up at Harry.
  • Chapter 33

    The Prince's Tale

    • Harry remains kneeling by Snape's body, when Voldemort's cold, projected voice informs them that if they continue to resist, everyone will die. If Harry doesn't come out to meet Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest within the hour,Voldemort will come and find him, then kill everyone else.
    • Ron and Hermione don't want Harry to go, and they hurry him back to the castle.
    • Harry's still in shock following Snape's death.
    • The castle is silent; everyone is in the Great Hall, where the injured and the dead are being tended to. The Weasleys are huddled around Fred's body.
    • Next to him are the corpses of Lupin and Tonks.
    • Oh, man.
    • Harry is overcome. He can't believe all these people died for him.
    • He runs up the stairs to the headmaster's office, and pours Snape's memories into Dumbledore's Pensieve. Harry allows himself to slip into the pool of memory.
    • …And suddenly we're in a playground, on a sunny day. We're inside Snape's memories – who knows what we'll find out here?
    • We get a glimpse of a young, scrawny, neglected-looking boy – nine-year-old Snape – watching two other kids play on a swing set. It's Lily Evans and her sister, Petunia (yes, Aunt Petunia, of Privet Drive fame). Lily is magical, but Petunia – you guessed it – is not.
    • Snape emerges from his hiding place and tells Lily the truth – she's a witch, and he's a wizard.
    • Snape and Lily become friends, as he explains Hogwarts to her. He's clearly infatuated, and tells her that it doesn't matter at all that she comes from a Muggle family.
    • We witness some tense scenes; Petunia resents Lily for being gifted, and her reaction is to call her sister a freak.
    • On the train to Hogwarts, we see some other youthful, familiar faces – James Potter and Sirius Black.
    • Snape tells Lily that he hopes she'll be in Slytherin, and James and Sirius deride him. At Sorting, Lily is Sorted into Gryffindor immediately, and Snape to Slytherin.
    • A few years later, Lily and Snape seem to be arguing; they're still best friends, but she can't understand his choice of other friends – they seem to be the young Death Eaters club of the time.
    • He turns on some of the members of her House – James, Sirius, and Lupin. He's already figured out that Lupin's a werewolf, and he's suspicious of all of the boys.
    • He's mostly concerned about the fact that James likes Lily, but she reassures him that she thinks he's an arrogant jerk. Snape calms down, and the fight is over.
    • Next, we witness a scene we've seen before, in Snape's memory in Book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. James torments Snape, and Lily steps in to defend him – but Severus, totally humiliated, calls her a Mudblood, an unforgivable insult.
    • Later, Snape tries to apologize, but Lily won't hear it. She's done with him, and with his Death Eater friends. Their paths have diverged, and there's no going back.
    • The next memory takes place years later; adult Snape is on a desolate hilltop, talking to Dumbledore. Snape tells Dumbledore that he told Voldemort about Professor Trelawney's prophecy; Voldemort then decided that it meant Lily Evans (now Potter) and her child – Harry.
    • Snape is desperate to prevent the death of the woman he (still) loves.
    • Dumbledore is disgusted by him for telling Voldemort in the first place, but agrees to keep the Potters safe. Snape agrees to do anything in exchange for this service.
    • Later, Snape and Dumbledore are in Dumbledore's office. Snape is distraught by Lily's death, and Dumbledore tells him that her son survived – and that his eyes are just like hers.
    • Snape agrees to help Dumbledore protect Harry, even though he's James Potter's son too, on the condition that nobody ever find out.
    • Later, in Harry's first year, Snape complains about Harry's arrogance – he thinks the boy is just like his detested father.
    • At the Yule Ball during Harry's fourth year, Snape informs Dumbledore about the gathering of the Death Eaters. Dumbledore praises Snape's courage… maybe he shouldn't have been a Slytherin after all.
    • Next, we see Snape tending to Dumbledore, who's tormented by his blackened, destroyed hand. Snape gives him a reviving potion, and Dumbledore regains consciousness. Snape does his best, but the most he can do is gain Dumbledore another year – the curse of the Horcrux ring (which inflicted this injury on Dumbledore) is too strong for a full-on cure.
    • Dumbledore makes a plan for Snape. Voldemort has decided that Draco Malfoy will kill Dumbledore, but more likely, will die trying.
    • Dumbledore asks Snape to step up and take Draco's place, to save the boy from Voldemort's wrath – Dumbledore wants Snape to kill him himself. Unwillingly, Snape agrees.
    • Finally, near the end, Dumbledore explains what will happen to Snape: when a time comes when Voldemort won't let his snake, Nagini, out of his sight, then Snape can tell Harry the truth.
    • The truth? Uh oh.
    • The truth: on the night that Lily died for Harry, a part of Voldemort's own soul was severed when his Killing Curse rebounded on him. That fragment of Voldemort's soul lives in Harry, which is why the boy has his strange connection with the Dark Lord.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • In short, while that part of his soul lives on in Harry, Voldemort cannot die.
    • The ultimate point, then, is that Harry must die at Voldemort's hand.
    • Snape feels betrayed – he thought all that they were doing this whole time was to save Harry, and now Dumbledore's telling him that it was only so that Harry would die at the right moment.
    • Dumbledore asks if Snape is angry because he cares for Harry. Nope, it's because he still loves Lily with all his heart.
    • To prove it, he shows Dumbledore his Patronus… a silver doe (ah, that's another mystery solved).
    • Later, we see Snape talking to the portrait of the deceased Dumbledore in the Headmaster's office. He tells Snape to tell the Death Eaters the plan to move Harry, back in the beginning of the book.
    • During that attack, Snape sees a Death Eater try to kill Lupin. But as he attempts to cut off the Death Eater's hand, he accidentally severs George Weasley's ear.
    • In Sirius's bedroom at the Black house, Snape takes the things that Harry couldn't find – the second page of Lily's letter to Sirius, and the half of the picture with her in it, laughing.
    • Finally, Dumbledore's portrait sends Snape to take Gryffindor's sword to Harry, though he won't explain why Harry needs it.
    • Snape doesn't need guidance here… he has a plan to anonymously get the sword to Harry, with the help of his silver doe (and the rest is history).
    • Here the memories stop abruptly. Harry finds himself alone in the Headmaster's office, with only his thoughts.
  • Chapter 34

    The Forest Again

    • Finally, Harry knows the truth. He has no choice – he must die. His only job now is to offer himself to Voldemort, and in so doing, kill Voldemort.
    • Lying on the floor of Dumbledore's office, he feels panicked and terrified. What will death be like?
    • He thinks of the other ways in which he might have died before now – suddenly, like his owl, Hedwig, in the attack on Privet Drive. Or nobly, like his parents, saving someone he loved. Instead, he has to walk, knowingly and willingly, into a certain doom.
    • Dumbledore's betrayal almost seems unsurprising – again, it's for the greater good. There was always a bigger plan at work, and he just hadn't realized it before.
    • However, Harry has failed at one thing; he still hasn't killed Nagini, the last Horcrux. This, he figures, is why Dumbledore wanted him to tell Hermione and Ron about the plan, so they could finish it after Harry's death, if need be.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • The allotted hour is almost up. Harry puts on the Invisibility Cloak and walks through the Great Hall, observing his mourning friends around him. Neville and Oliver Wood carry the small body of Colin Creevey, looking even tinier in death than he did in life.
    • Wood continues, and Neville turns around to help recover more bodies.
    • Harry doesn't see the Weasleys, Hermione, or Luna anywhere – he longs to see them one last time, but knows that if he did, he might not be able to pull himself away.
    • He leaves the Hall and descends to the dark castle grounds.
    • Outside, Harry stops Neville and reveals himself – just to make sure that Voldemort is defeated, he tells Neville that Nagini is crucial. The snake must be killed.
    • Harry puts his Cloak back on and continues.
    • He pauses when he sees Ginny comforting a young girl; it's almost too much for him, and he longs to let her know that he's there. But he can't – he's home at Hogwarts, finally fulfilling his destiny.
    • Harry walks past Hagrid's hut, full of memories of better times.
    • As he enters the Forbidden Forest, Harry feels the chill of dementors. He's not strong enough for a Patronus, and doesn't know if he can keep going.
    • Suddenly, he remembers the Snitch that Dumbledore willed to him – he pulls it out of the moleskin bag and reads its motto, I open at the close. It all makes sense now; he presses it to his lips and it breaks open. In his hand is the broken ring Horcrux, with the Resurrection Stone set in it.
    • And he knows what it's there for – he turns it three times in his hand, and is greeted by the phantoms of those who love him but who he has lost.
    • Smiling lovingly at him, he sees James, Lily, Sirius, and Lupin, looking young and happy. For the first time, Harry is reunited with the parents who died to protect him – their love is written all over their faces.
    • Harry asks only one question – does it hurt? Sirius and Lupin comfort him, saying that it'll be quick and easy.
    • Harry, overcome, tells them that he didn't want any of them to die – not for him. Lupin reassures him, and says that he hopes Teddy, his now-orphaned son, will know that his parents died to make a better world.
    • Harry knows that they won't tell him to go – he has to decide to do that himself.
    • He asks if they'll stay with him, and they assure him that they will. They're invisible to anyone else, and stay close to Harry, giving him comfort as he walks past the dementors, into the depths of the forest.
    • Harry encounters Yaxley and Dolohov, two Death Eaters, trolling the forest. They comment that the hour's almost up, and Harry hasn't showed –Voldemort will not be pleased.
    • In the middle of a clearing, Harry finds what he's been looking for: Voldemort, surrounded by his silent followers.
    • Voldemort speaks. He's surprised that Harry didn't show up – but then Harry reveals himself, emerging from under the Cloak.
    • He drops the Resurrection Stone, and his protectors vanish.
    • Harry and Voldemort finally face off; it feels like they're alone there.
    • Harry's distracted momentarily by Hagrid, who's bound up to a tree nearby and is yelling at Harry not to surrender himself. A Death Eater silences Hagrid.
    • Bellatrix looks on, clearly full of bloodlust.
    • Harry doesn't even try to draw his wand, knowing that it would be futile to try and kill Nagini right now. Voldemort contemptuously addresses Harry, and their eyes meet. Voldemort points his wand at Harry, and with a flash of green light – nothingness.
    • Brain Snack! (And a great moment to start breathing again.)
    • Rowling said that her favorite passage of this book is the part when Harry heads off into the forest. In Rowling's own words: "it's the part that when I finished writing, I didn't cry as I was writing, but when I finished writing, I had enormous explosion of emotion and I cried and cried and cried" (source).
  • Chapter 35

    King's Cross

    • Harry awakens alone and naked, in a strange, misty place. He hears something small struggling nearby, and is ashamed of his nudity. He's not even wearing his glasses.
    • As soon as he wishes for clothes, some appear. He puts them on, and looks around him, to see a high, glass roof, and a huge, bright, clean hall.
    • He also spies the creature that's making the noise – it's a tiny, naked child, wounded and fragile and strangely repellent.
    • He wants to comfort it, but he can't – he doesn't actually want to go near it.
    • A familiar voice tells him he can't help. He turns to see Albus Dumbledore, restored to health.
    • Dumbledore leads Harry away from the child, and to a pair of seats. They sit down to talk, and Dumbledore grins widely at Harry.
    • Harry confirms that Dumbledore is dead (he is), and that he himself is too (he's not).
    • Um… what?
    • Dumbledore tells Harry that it was his willing sacrifice that made all the difference here.
    • He lets Harry work it out the rest of it for himself:
    • What Voldemort killed was not the real Harry, but rather, that part of his own soul that resided in Harry. For the first time since he was a baby, Harry's soul is wholly his own.
    • So why didn't Harry actually die from the Killing Curse?

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • It turns out that when Voldemort rebuilt his body in Book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he used some of Harry's blood, which means that the tables have turned – Harry's alive because Voldemort unintentionally tied him to life with that move.
    • Harry, Dumbledore explains, is the seventh Horcrux (an unintentional one), and Voldemort never even knew it. It's just one of many things he never understood – like love.

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • In taking Harry's blood, Voldemort also kept alive part of Lily's protection, and thus keeps Harry alive now.
    • Finally, Harry wants to know about his wand: why was it able to break Lucius Malfoy's wand when Voldemort used it against him?
    • Dumbledore's not absolutely sure, but his guess is something along these lines: when Harry faced off against Voldemort the first time, and their wands recognized each other as having the same core, Harry's wand (the winning one) took in some of Voldemort somehow.
    • When it recognized its enemy later, it was able to spit back some of Voldemort's own magic at him, which overpowered Lucius's ordinary wand.
    • Harry asks where they are, and Dumbledore, in turn, asks Harry where he thinks they are. He looks around and thinks it resembles an empty, cleaner King's Cross Station. Dumbledore bursts into laughter, and Harry is annoyed.
    • To shut him up, Harry finally asks about the Deathly Hallows.
    • It works. Dumbledore is deadly serious. Dumbledore apologizes for never telling Harry about his secret quest – it was a selfish one, and a foolish one.
    • He admits that, in his own way, he was doing what Voldemort was – seeking to avoid death. Only with Hallows, not Horcruxes.
    • Dumbledore tells Harry that the whole story of the three brothers is true – and that Harry is the descendant of the third Peverell brother, Ignotus, whose Invisibility Cloak has been passed down through many generations until it came to Harry.
    • Dumbledore admits his own selfishness in craving the Hallows – and in his treatment of his family, and his relationship with Grindelwald long before.
    • Finally, everything is out in the open between Dumbledore and Harry. Dumbledore tells Harry about Ariana's death and its aftermath, and his subsequent break from Grindelwald. He's ashamed, deeply ashamed.
    • Harry, trying to make him feel better, tells Dumbledore what he saw in Voldemort's vision – Grindelwald's final resistance to the Dark Lord.
    • Dumbledore explains the moment when he finally possessed all the Hallows. He realizes that he wasn't fit to be the Master of Death – he could only master the Elder Wand, but not the other two Hallows.
    • Only Harry is the true master of all three Hallows, because the real master of Death doesn't run away from it.
    • The only part of Dumbledore's plan that didn't work out was the Elder Wand. He'd wanted Snape to end up with it, not Voldemort.
    • Finally, Dumbledore tells Harry that he has a choice – he can either go back or stay.
    • Harry knows he must go back; Voldemort has the Elder Wand, and everything possible must be done to defeat him.
    • Right before he leaves, he ask Dumbledore if this is real or just in his head – the old Headmaster answers mischievously that it is both.
  • Chapter 36

    The Flaw in the Plan

    • Harry awakens to find himself facedown on the forest floor. He plays dead, and listens closely to everything around him.
    • Voldemort, who apparently had also passed out or something, asks his followers to confirm Harry's death.
    • Narcissa Malfoy rushes to Harry's side and desperately asks in a super quiet whisper if Draco is alive and inside Hogwarts. Harry, almost silently, says yes.
    • Narcissa, desperate to just stop the fighting and save her son, announces that Harry is dead.
    • The Death Eaters erupt into cheers, and Voldemort tauntingly casts the Cruciatus Curse on what he thinks is Harry's corpse. Harry braces himself for pain, and stays limp as his body is tossed around by Voldemort's spell – but, strangely, no pain comes.
    • Voldemort orders his followers to come with him to the castle. He commands Hagrid to pick up Harry and carry his body along as proof.
    • With Hagrid at the front, the train of Death Eaters walks through the forest. Hagrid angrily yells at the centaurs, who watch in silence, for not participating in the fight.
    • Voldemort, his voice amplified again, announces that Harry is dead, and that he was killed trying to escape the battle.
    • As the Death Eaters reach the castle with Harry's "dead" body, he hears the anguished screams of those he loves – Professor McGonagall, Ron, Hermione, Ginny.
    • At Voldemort's command, Hagrid lays Harry down in the grass at Voldemort's feet. Voldemort addresses the crowd, saying that Harry was a coward who tried to flee and turn away from his friends.
    • This is too much for Neville, who runs out of the crowd and attacks Voldemort.
    • Voldemort turns his attention to Neville, saying that a pureblood that brave will make a good Death Eater. Neville rejects this offer soundly, and Voldemort decides to kill him – but make an example of him first.
    • Voldemort Summons the Sorting Hat from the castle, and announces that, from this day forward, there won't be any Sorting. All Hogwarts students will be Slytherins from now on.
    • He jams the hat onto Neville's head, then sets it on fire.
    • The next moment, a billion things happen at once:
    • A wave of fighters emerges from the walls around the castle, streaming up to the crowd of Death Eaters.
    • Grawp, Hagrid's giant brother, emerges, attacking.
    • The centaurs of the forest, roused by Hagrid's cry, shoot arrows at the Death Eaters.
    • Harry pulls the Invisibility Cloak over him and leaps up.
    • Trusty Neville breaks free of Voldemort's curse, and pulls Gryffindor's sword out from the Sorting Hat.
    • Neville wields the sword powerfully, and cuts off Nagini the snake's head – the head goes flying, and Voldemort screams in fury.
    • Harry protects Neville with a Shield Charm before Voldemort can attack him, then runs into the castle, pursuing Voldemort.
    • The Great Hall is full of dueling combatants. It looks like basically all the families and friends of Hogwarts have come back to defend their school, and the freedom of the wizarding world.
    • The house-elves, led by Kreacher, have also joined the fight, hacking away at the Death Eaters' calves and shins with kitchen knives.
    • Voldemort is right at the middle of the fray, and Harry heads toward him. All around, his friends are engaged in intense battles for their lives.
    • Voldemort is dueling McGonagall, Horace Slughorn, and Kingsley Shacklebolt all at once, but they can't finish him off.
    • Not far away, Bellatrix is fighting off Hermione, Luna, and Ginny. Her Killing Curse narrowly misses Ginny. Harry springs to her defense, but Mrs. Weasley beats him there, uttering what is possibly our favorite line of the whole series: "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!"

    (Click the infographic to download.)

    • She takes on Bellatrix and duels ferociously. Bellatrix taunts her, but is stopped mid-laugh; Mrs. Weasley's curse hits her square in the heart, and Bellatrix falls back, dead.
    • Voldemort, seeing his favorite follower killed, turns on Mrs. Weasley, but before he can strike, Harry casts a Shield Charm between them, saving Molly.
    • He pulls off the Invisibility Cloak and reveals himself at last.
    • Finally, it's down to Harry and Voldemort. Harry tells everyone not to help – this is something that only he can do.
    • Voldemort taunts Harry, saying that he's only alive because a series of better men and women got him there by sacrificing themselves.
    • Harry responds with equal venom, saying that his willing sacrifice in the Forbidden Forest is what's protecting his friends and loved ones now – like his mother before him, his decision to surrender himself for them protects all of them. He tells Voldemort that there's a lot to be understood…
    • Voldemort, contemptuous, asks if it's Dumbledore's constant refrain, love, that will save the day, or if Harry thinks he knows more magic or has a more powerful secret weapon than Voldemort himself.
    • Harry answers boldly that he has both. Voldemort cackles wildly, disbelieving.
    • Harry explains the truth about Snape's allegiance to Dumbledore, and the truth about Dumbledore's death. Since Dumbledore willingly submitted to death at Snape's hand, Snape wasn't actually the last master of the Elder Wand – Draco Malfoy, who Disarmed Dumbledore atop the Astronomy Tower that fatal night, was.
    • Harry's not done yet. He gets to the real punchline – he defeated Draco at Malfoy Manor and took his wand.
    • By rights, then, since he Disarmed its last master, the Elder Wand is his – and he's counting on the fact that it knows that.
    • Bam.
    • Voldemort and Harry face off one last time, and shoot their trademark spells at one another – Voldemort screams Avada Kedavra, while Harry yells out Expelliarmus.
    • The two spells meet between the opponents with a blast of golden fire. The Elder Wand goes flying through the air, and Harry, Seeker that he is, catches it as it falls towards him. Voldemort's Killing Curse bounces back at him, and he falls to the ground, dead.
    • Like, really, finally, totally dead.
    • Really.
    • After a moment of shocked silence, there's much rejoicing! Everyone congratulates Harry, and there's a frenzy of celebration.
    • Harry, recognizing his role as hero and leader, walks through the crowd, comforting people, hearing the news – Kingsley has been appointed Minister of Magic for the time being (and, we hope, for good!).
    • Voldemort's body is moved and kept separate from the corpses of those who died in battle. Harry, overwhelmed, sits down next to Luna. She sees that he needs some alone time, and distracts the crowd; Harry puts on his Cloak and slinks away.
    • Harry passes Ginny and Mrs. Weasley, as well as the three Malfoys, huddled together – there are reunited families everywhere.
    • He finds Ron and Hermione, and the three of them leave the Great Hall. He tells his two faithful companions everything that he went through as they walk. They end up at the doorway to the Headmaster's office.
    • The three of them go in, and Harry is greeted with thunderous applause from all of the portraits of the past Headmasters and Headmistresses of Hogwarts.
    • But Harry only has eyes for Dumbledore's portrait. The painted figure is full of joy and gratitude, and is crying tears of happiness.
    • Harry has one last question for his mentor: what should he do with the Hallows?
    • He tells Dumbledore that he left the Resurrection Stone in some unknown place in the Forest, wherever it was dropped, and that nobody else knows about it. He's going to keep the Cloak, which is his birthright.
    • As for the Elder Wand, though, Harry wants nothing to do with it. Ron and Hermione regard it with awe, and this makes Harry nervous.
    • He only wants to do one thing with it – he repairs his old holly and phoenix wand, which is as good as new, and feels just right to Harry.
    • He tells Dumbledore that he'll return the Elder Wand to Dumbledore's grave, and never use it, thus breaking its power. If Harry himself is never defeated (crossing our fingers), and dies a natural death, the Wand will never get a new master.
    • Ron is a little sad to see it go – he's always longed for the powerful object. But Hermione agrees that it has no place with them.
    • Harry knows that it's more trouble than it's worth, and after a lifetime of it, he's through with trouble.
  • Epilogue

    Nineteen Years Later

    • It's autumn, and the first day of September means the Hogwarts Express.
    • We find Harry, Ginny, and their children, Lily, James, and Albus, at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, getting reading to head off to school. Lily is too young to go, but James is already in school, and Albus is about to head off for his first year.
    • James taunts him about being in Slytherin, and the younger boy gets all riled up. He's also very nervous.
    • By the last carriage, the family finds who they're looking for – Ron, Hermione, and their kids, Hugo and Rose. Rose is also about to embark on her first trip to Hogwarts.
    • Ron jokingly tells Rose and Albus that they'll be disinherited if they don't end up in Gryffindor.
    • Everyone's distracted for a moment by Draco Malfoy, who's seeing his son, Scorpius, off to school too.
    • Ron makes a snide comment to Rose about not getting too close to little Scorpius – he doesn't want a pureblood in the family. He's joking… kind of.
    • James reappears from the train with big news – Teddy Lupin, Remus and Tonks's son, has been spotted making out with Victoire, one of Bill and Fleur's daughters.
    • James is all in a tizzy.
    • It's time to go; the school-age kids are all bundled on the train, and Ginny reminds James to give their love to Neville, who's the professor of Herbology now.
    • Harry has one last word with little Albus, telling him that it doesn't matter which house he's Sorted into.
    • He reminds Albus Severus that he's named after two great Headmasters of Hogwarts, one of whom was a Slytherin – and one of the bravest men Harry ever knew.
    • Harry tells Albus again that they don't care which house he's in, but if he cares so much, he can tell the Sorting Hat, and it will listen to him – as it did for Harry, all those years ago.
    • The train pulls away, and Harry feels a little bittersweet tug at his heartstrings. Ginny reassures him that Albus will be all right.
    • Harry, touching his scar, knows that he will be. The scar hasn't hurt since the battle of Hogwarts, and all is well in the wizarding world.