Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 17

By J.K. Rowling

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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?

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