Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Chapter 26

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Chapter 26

The Cave

  • The Horcrux that Dumbledore has discovered lies in the very same cave where a young Tom Riddle terrorized two of his fellow orphans. Voldemort is sentimental like that.
  • Down a craggy cliff, amid crashing waves, Dumbledore and Harry enter the cave.
  • Dumbledore uses magic to help him find his way to the Horcrux.
  • They arrive at a little alcove in the cave, and Dumbledore identifies a doorway hidden in the cave's wall.
  • Dumbledore sacrifices some of his blood to the wall, and the door reveals itself and opens.
  • Once inside, Harry and Dumbledore find a massive, pitch-black lake. The only light comes from a little green glow that sits on an island in the middle of the lake. This, Dumbledore believes, is the Horcrux.
  • Dumbledore at first doesn't know how to get to the Horcrux, but he knows that there is something strange and dangerous about the water – they should avoid touching it.
  • Dumbledore identifies a secret boat hidden beneath the water. When he pulls the boat up, he urges Harry to do everything he can to not touch the water.
  • As they make their way across the lake, Harry realizes that the lake is full of dead bodies.
  • When they arrive on the tiny island, they find a stone basin filled with liquid.
  • Dumbledore realizes that he must drink the liquid in order to get to the Horcrux.
  • He makes Harry promise to force him to drink all of the liquid, no matter what. It is very important that all of the liquid be drunk.
  • As Dumbledore drinks the liquid he grows more and more sick and more and more weak. He writhes in pain, begs Harry not to make him drink anymore, but Harry, horrified, sticks to the promise he made.
  • Dumbledore cries for water, but the only water to be had is in the lake.
  • Harry takes the cup and dips it in the lake and gives it to Dumbledore.
  • The dead bodies (Inferi) do not like the fact that Harry has touched the water; they begin to climb onto the island and encroach murderously on Harry and Dumbledore.
  • With the basin empty, the greatly weakened Dumbledore grabs the locket that lies at the bottom.
  • Dumbledore can hardly hold himself up, and the dead bodies are getting closer and closer.
  • Dumbledore raises his wand and encircles himself and Harry in a ring of fire.
  • The dead bodies back away.
  • Dumbledore and Harry leave the cave the way they entered.
  • Dumbledore is so weak that Harry has to Apparate them both back to Hogsmeade.

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