Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 34

By J.K. Rowling

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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.

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  • 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).

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