Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 2

By J.K. Rowling

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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.

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