Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 36

By J.K. Rowling

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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!"

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  • 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.

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