Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 24
In the twenty-fourth chapter of Harry Potter and the Deatlly Hallows, the death of Dobby spurs Harry into action and he becomes the very best bad ass of all time. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 24: THE WANDMAKER
- It was like sinking into an old nightmare; for an instant Harry knelt again beside Dumbledore’s body at the foot of the tallest tower at Hogwarts, but in reality he was staring at a tiny body curled upon the grass, pierced by Bellatrix’s silver knife. Harry’s voice was still saying, “Dobby…Dobby…” even though he knew that the elf had gone where he could not call him back.
I think that, for me, this is somehow worse than Dumbledore dying. There was almost a grand sense of poetry to how Dumbledore died, but everything about Dobby’s death is just senseless and cruel. It’s a direct byproduct of war and it’s ugly and depressing and…great. I’m going to start crying again.
- “I want to do it properly,” were the first words of which Harry was fully conscious of speaking. “Not by magic. Have you got a spade?” And shortly afterward he had set to work, alone, digging the grave in the place that Bill had shown him at the end of the garden, between bushes. He dug with a kind of fury, relishing the manual work, glorying in the non-magic of it, for every drop of his sweat and every blister felt like a gift to the elf who had saved their lives.
Are you crying yet? I felt so terrible reading this part. I agree with Harry’s feelings on this: It feels like more of an honor for Harry to do this without using magic. It’s also a billion times more depressing.
- He had learned control at last, learned to shut his mind to Voldemort, the very thing Dumbledore had wanted him to learn from Snape. Just as Voldemort had not been able to possess Harry while Harry was consumed with grief for Sirius, so his thoughts could not penetrate Harry now while he mourned Dobby. Grief, it seemed, drove Voldemort out…though Dumbledore, of course, would have said that it was love.
So that’s what it took for Occlumency to work. I’m hoping that it’s explored more in the future, but it’s rather heartbreaking to know that it’s only been in times of extreme grief that Harry could control his mind. Jesus, this is so hard to read.
- On Harry dug, deeper and deeper into the hard, cold earth, subsuming his grief in sweat, denying the pain in his scar. In the darkness, with nothing but the sound of his own breath and the rushing sea to keep him company, the things that had happened at the Malfoys’ returned to him, the things he had heard came back to him, and understanding blossomed in the darkness…
The steady rhythm of his arms beat time with his thoughts. Hallows…Horcruxes…Hallows…Horcruxes…yet no longer burned with that weird, obsessive longing. Loss and fear had snuffed it out. He felt as though he had been slapped awake again. Deeper and deeper Harry sank into the grave, and he knew where Voldemort had been tonight, and whom he had killed in the topmost cell of Nurmengard, and why…
And he thought of Wormtail, dead because of one small unconscious impulse of mercy…Dumbledore had foreseen that…How much more had he known?
It’s right at this moment that Harry makes a marked change in the way he conducts himself and the way he considers Dumbeldore’s mission to him. Harry’s transformation to a determined badass is shocking because it’s so unlike what we’ve seen before. Harry generally has two reactions to things: fear and uncertainty OR completely misguided certainty. He either freezes up because of shock or he goes into overdrive and does something unbelievably stupid.
What happens here is one of those moments in a movie where you want to stand up and start cheering, because the main character has shed their fears and is ready to KICK ASS and TAKE NAMES and then I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY DO WITH THOSE NAMES but THEY HAVE THEM, OK?
- Harry placed the elf into the grave, arranged his tiny limbs so that he might have been resting, then climbed out and gazed for the last time upon the little body. He forced himself not to break down as he remembered Dumbledore’s funeral, and the rows and rows of golden chairs, and the Minister of Magic in the front row, the recitation of Dumbledore’s achievements, the stateliness of the white marble tomb. He felt that Dobby deserved just as grand a funeral, and yet here the elf lay between bushes in a roughly dug hole.
Well, before he’s a badass, we have to allow Harry to experience maybe the saddest thing ever. Dobby deserves just as grand funeral as Dumbledore and he doesn’t get one. That doesn’t mean his last moments in Deathly Hallows aren’t just as beautiful as Dumbledore’s last moments in Half-Blood Prince.
- “I think we ought to say something,” piped up Luna.
“I’ll go first, shall I?”
And as everybody looked at her, she addressed the dead elf at the bottom of the grave. “Thank you so much Dobby for rescuing me from that cellar. It’s so unfair that you had to die when you were so good and brave. I’ll always remember what you did for us. I hope you’re happy now.” She turned and looked expectingly at Ron, who cleared his throat and said in a thick voice, “yeah…thanks Dobby.” “Thanks,” muttered Dean. Harry swallowed. “Good bye Dobby,” he said It was all he could manage, but Luna had said it all for him. Bill raised his wand, and the pile of earth beside the grave rose up into the air and fell neatly upon it, a small, reddish mound. “D’ya mind if I stay here a moment?” He asked the others.
They murmured words he did not catch; he felt gentle pats upon his back, and then they all traipsed back toward the cottage, leaving Harry alone beside the elf.
I know Dumbledore’s funeral involved a lot more procession and pomp, but there’s something touching about how simple this is. Also, god fucking bless Luna. She is so amazing.
- Slowly, under his murmured instruction, deep cuts appeared upon the rock’s surface. He knew that Hermione could have done it more neatly, and probably more quickly, but he wanted to mark the spot as he had wanted to dig the grave. When Harry stood up again, the stone read: HERE LIES DOBBY, A FREE ELF.
He looked at his handiwork for a few more seconds, then walked away, his scar still prickling a little, and his mind full of those things that had come to him in the grave, ideas that had taken shape in the darkness, ideas both fascinating and terrible.
Rest in peace, Dobby. Fuck, I miss you already.
- “No,” Harry said and Bill looked startled. “I need both of them here. I need to talk to them. It’s important.” He heard the authority of his own voice, the conviction, the voice of purpose that had come to him as he dug Dobby’s grave. All of their faces were turned toward him looking puzzled.
“I’m going to wash,” Harry told Bill looking down at his hands still covered with mud and Dobby’s blood. “Then I’ll need to see them, straight away.” He walked into the little kitchen, to the basin beneath a window overlooking the sea. Dawn was breaking over the horizon, shell pink and faintly gold, as he washed, again following the train of thought that had come to him in the dark garden.
Whoa, whoa, Harry. Hold your horses! (Do wizards ride horses?) When did you become Bossy McOrderPants?
- And still his scar prickled, and he knew that Voldemort was getting there too. Harry understood and yet did not understand. His instinct was telling him one thing, his brain quite another. The Dumbledore in Harry’s head smiled, surveying Harry over the tips of his fingers, pressed together as if in prayer.
You gave Ron the Deluminator…You understood him…You gave him a way back…
And you understood Wormtail too…You knew there was a bit of regret there, somewhere…
And if you knew them…What did you know about me, Dumbledore?
Am I meant to know but not to seek? Did you know how hard I’d feel that? Is that why you made it this difficult? So I’d have time to work that out?
Whoa, what the shit? What is happening? What did Harry just realize? IF YOU DON’T SHARE THIS BY THE END OF THE CHAPTER, MY BRAIN WILL LIQUEFY. But this makes me think…what on earth did Dumbledore plan for all this?
- “I need to speak to Griphook and Ollivander,” Harry said.
“No,” said Fleur. “You will ‘ave to wait, ‘Arry. Zey are both too tired –”
“I’m sorry,” he said without heat, “but it can’t wait. I need to talk to them now. Privately – and separately. It’s urgent.”
“Harry, what the hell’s going on?” asked Bill. “You turn up here with a dead house-elf and a half-conscious goblin, Hermione looks as though she’s been tortured, and Ron’s just refused to tell me anything –”
“We can’t tell you what we’re doing,” said Harry flatly. “You’re in the Order, Bill, you know Dumbledore left us a mission. We’re not supposed to talk about it to anyone else.”
Holy shit, guys. HARRY IS IN CHARGE. He is RULING EVERYTHING. But…why?
- Harry hesitated. He knew what hung on his decision. There was hardly any time left; now was the moment to decide: Horcruxes or Hallows?
“Griphook,” Harry said. “I’ll speak to Griphook first.”
Ok, I’m regressing back to that confusion I felt during chapter 17. Why does he have to decide? Why can’t he just….WHAT. Yeah, I don’t understand this at all.
He takes Hermione and Ron with him to speak to Griphook and OH BOY, their conversation is wild.
- “You probably don’t remember –” Harry began.
“—that I was the goblin who showed you to your vault, the first time you ever visited Gringotts?” said Griphook. “I remember, Harry Potter. Even amongst goblins, you are very famous.”
WAIT, REALLY??? IS IT REALLY HIM?
- While he tried to decide on the best way to approach his request, the goblin broke the silence.
“You buried the elf,” he said, sounding unexpectedly rancorous. “I watched you from the window of the bedroom next door.”
“Yes,” said Harry. Griphook looked at him out of the corners of his slanting black eyes. “You are an unusual wizard, Harry Potter.”
“In what way?” asked Harry, rubbing his scar absently.
“You dug the grave.” “So?” Griphook did not answer. Harry rather thought he was being sneered at for acting like a Muggle, but it did not matter to him whether Griphook approved of Dobby’s grave or not. He gathered himself for the attack.
“Griphook, I need to ask –”
“You also rescued a goblin.”
“You brought me here. Saved me.”
“Well, I take it you’re not sorry?” said Harry a little impatiently.
“No, Harry Potter,” said Griphook, and with one finger he twisted the thin black beard upon his chin, “but you are a very odd wizard.”
Well, I’ll agree with Griphook. Harry is an odd wizard, but that’s a compliment. I sort of feel this is a good start to their conversation and I’m hoping it works in Harry’s favor for…well, whatever he’s asking Griphook for.
- ”I need to break into a Gringotts vault.”
- “Break into a Gringotts vault?” repeated the goblin, wincing a little as he shifted his position upon the bed. “It is impossible.”
“No, it isn’t,” Ron contradicted him. “It’s been done.”
“Yeah,” said Harry. “The same day I first met you, Griphook. My birthday, seven years ago.”
“The vault in question was empty at the time,” snapped the goblin, and Harry understood that even though Griphook had let Gringotts, he was offended at the idea of its defenses being breached. “Its protection was minimal.
OH SHIT SHIT IS GETTING REAL
- “Well, the vault we need to get into isn’t empty, and I’m guessing its protection will be pretty powerful,” said Harry. “It belongs to the Lestranges.”
are you serious OH MY GOD. Why the Lestranges’ vault???
- “But I’m not trying to get myself any treasure, I’m not trying to take anything for personal gain. Can you believe that?”
The goblin looked slantwise at Harry, and the lightning scar on Harry’s forehead prickled, but he ignored it, refusing to acknowledge its pain or its invitation.
“If there was a wizard of whom I would believe that they did not seek personal gain,” said Griphook finally, “it would be you, Harry Potter. Goblins and elves are not used to the protection or the respect that you have shown this night. Not from wand- carriers.”
Is it ok if we credit mostly Hermione with this? I don’t think any of them would have treated house-elves and goblins with this kind of respect if it wasn’t for her. SO THERE.
- “But it is, it is precisely that! As the Dark Lord becomes ever more powerful, your race is set still more firmly above mine! Gringotts falls under Wizarding rule, house-elves are slaughtered, and who amongst the wand-carriers protests?”
“We do!” said Hermione. She had sat up straight, her eyes bright. “We protest! And I’m hunted quite as much as any goblin or elf, Griphook! I’m a Mudblood!”
“Don’t call yourself –” Ron muttered.
“Why shouldn’t I?” said Hermione. “Mudblood, and proud of it! I’ve got no higher position under this new order than you have, Griphook! It was me they chose to torture, back at the Malfoys!”
As she spoke, she pulled aside the neck of the dressing gown to reveal the thin cut Bellatrix had made, scarlet against her throat.
I love the parallel here to marginalized groups reclaiming the slurs that have been historically used to damage them. Bless you, Hermione.
- “What do you seek within the Lestranges’ vault?” he asked abruptly. “The sword that lies inside it is a fake. This is the real one.” He looked from one to the other of them. “I think that you already know this. You asked me to lie for you back there.”
“But the fake sword isn’t the only thing in that vault, is it?” asked Harry. “Perhaps you’ve seen other things in there?”
His heart was pounding harder than ever. He redoubled his efforts to ignore the pulsing of his scar.
OH GOD WHAT IS IT WHAT IS GOING ON
But Harry doesn’t outright get the answer from Griphook; he just gets him to agree to think about helping Harry. It isn’t until they go downstairs that Hermione realizes what just happened and vocalizes it so that I understand:
- “Harry,” whispered Hermione, pulling them both away from the door, into the middle of the still-dark landing, “are you saying what I think you’re saying? Are you saying there’s a Horcrux in the Lestranges vault?”
ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh my god. Oh my god the horcruxes IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE.
- “Yes,” said Harry. “Bellatrix was terrified when she thought we’d been in there, she was beside herself. Why? What did she think we’d seen, what else did she think we might have taken? Something she was petrified You-Know-Who would find out about.”
“But I thought we were looking for places You-Know-Who’s been, places he’s done something important?” said Ron, looking baffled. “Was he ever inside the Lestranges’ vault?”
“I don’t know whether he was ever inside Gringotts,” said Harry. “He never had gold there when he was younger, because nobody left him anything. He would have seen the bank from the outside, though, the first time he ever went to Diagon Alley.”
Jesus, are all of them there? Holy crap, guys THIS MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN THE EXCITEMENT IS TOO MUCH.
- “I think he would have envied anyone who had a key to a Gringotts vault. I think he’d have seen it as a real symbol of belonging to the Wizarding world. And don’t forget, he trusted Bellatrix and her husband. They were his most devoted servants before he fell, and they went looking for him after he vanished. He said it night he came back, I heard him.” Harry rubbed his scar.
“I don’t think he’d have told Bellatrix it was a Horcrux, though. He never told Lucius Malfoy the truth about the diary. He probably told her it was a treasured possession and asked her to place it in her vault. The safest place in the world for anything you want to hide, Hagrid told me. . . except for Hogwarts.”
It’s admirable that Rowling includes this bit about how class relates to social status. I don’t think it would take much for me to explain this, as I’m sure most of you understand this, but money changes how other people view one another. And, despite that Voldemort came from abject poverty, he and his followers are vehemently classist. Hiding a Horcrux in Gringotts? It totally makes sense.
But what has happened so far is nothing compared to the conversation with Ollivander. I wasn’t surprised that the famed wandmaker couldn’t fix Harry’s wand; in fact, I probably would have been disappointed if it ended up being that simple. Harry expected the same thing, but not for the same reason as myself. Here’s where see that “new” Harry I spoke of in action. He quizzes Ollivander about the wands he stole from the Malfoy residence, as well as whether he can use them or not. It’s a long bit that elaborates on something that I didn’t know much about: wandlore.
- “You ask deep questions, Mr. Potter. Wandlore is a complex and mysterious branch of magic.”
“So, it isn’t necessary to kill the previous owner to take the possession of a wand?” asked Harry.
Ollivander swallowed. “Necessary? No, I should not say that it is necessary to kill.”
Oh my god. OH MY GOD.
- “There are legends, though,” said Harry, and as his heart rate quickened, the pain in his scar became more intense; he was sure that Voldemort has decided to put his idea into action. “Legends about a wand – or wands – that have been passed from hand to hand by murder.” Ollivander turned pale. Against the snowy pillow he was light gray, and his eyes were enormous, bloodshot, and bulging with what looked like fear.
“Only one wand, I think,” he whispered.
“And You-Know-Who is interested in it, isn’t he?” asked Harry.
“I – how?” croaked Ollivander, and he looked appealingly at Ron and Hermione for help. “How do you know this?”
“He wanted you to tell him how to overcome the connection between our wands,” said Harry.
Ollivander looked terrified.
HOLY SHIT. Voldemort isn’t trying to get a wand just to defeat Harry. HE IS TRYING TO GET THE ELDER WAND. This is so terrible. THIS IS WORSE THAN I EXPECTED.
- “The Dark Lord no longer seeks the Elder Wand only for your destruction, Mr. Potter. He is determined to possess it because he believes it will make him truly invulnerable.”
“And will it?”
“The owner of the Elder Wand must always fear attack,” said Ollivander, “but the
So does he also know about the Deathly Hallows? Oh god, he’s going to get the wand, isn’t he?
- “Yes, I can see that,” said Harry. He stood up. “Mr. Ollivander, one last thing, and then we’ll let you get some rest. What do you know about the Deathly Hallows?”
“The – the what?” asked the wandmaker, looking utterly bewildered.
“The Deathly Hallows.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about. Is this still something to do with wands?” Harry looked into the sunken face and believed that Ollivander was not acting. He did not know about the Hallows.
If Ollivander doesn’t know…how can Voldemort? This is so confusing and alarming.
But everything becomes more convoluted as Rowling starts doing this strange thing, where she constantly interrupts Harry’s dialogue with Ron and Hermione with glimpses of Voldemort.
- Voldemort was at the gates of Hogwarts; Harry could see him standing there, and see too the lamp bobbing in the pre-dawn, coming closer and closer.
WHY IS VOLDY AT HOGWARTS??? And Dumbledore had the wand??? WHAT THE SHIT IS HAPPENING
- “Harry!” Ron said furiously. “How long have you known this – why have we been wasting time? Why did you talk to Griphook first? We could have gone – we could still go –”
WELL, I’M SORRY, BUT NEITHER OF YOU BELIEVED HIM BEFORE.
- And now everything was cool and dark: The sun was barely visible over the horizon as he glided alongside Snape, up through the grounds toward the lake. “I shall join you in the castle shortly,” he said in his high, cold voice. “Leave me now.”
Snape bowed and set off back up the path, his black cloak billowing behind him. Harry walked slowly, waiting for Snape’s figure to disappear. It would not do for Snape, or indeed anyone else, to see where he was going. But there were no lights in the castle windows, and he could conceal himself . . . and in a second he had cast upon himself a Disillusionment Charm that hid him even from his own eyes.
Before I freak out, WHAT HAS SNAPE BEEN DOING THIS WHOLE BOOK. I kind of don’t want to demand more Snape because the last time I did, someone died.
But what is happening? What is Snape helping Voldemort with at Hogwarts?
- And here it was, beside the lake, reflected in the dark waters. The white marble tomb, an unnecessary blot on the familiar landscape. He felt again that rush of controlled euphoria, that heady sense of purpose in destruction. He raised the old yew wand: How fitting that this would be its last great act.
The tomb split open from head to foot. The shrouded figure was as long as thin as it had been in life. He raised the wand again.
WAIT. WAIT. WHAT THE FUCK. IS THAT DUMBLEDORE’S TOMB.
- The wrappings fell open. The face was translucent, pale, sunken, yet almost perfectly preserved. They had left his spectacles on the crooked nose: He felt amused derision. Dumbledore’s hands were folded upon his chest, and there it lay, clutched beneath them, buried with him.
Had the old fool imagined that marble or death would protect the wand? Had he thought that the Dark Lord would be scared to violate his tomb? The spiderlike hand swooped and pulled the wand from Dumbledore’s grasp, and as he took it, a shower of sparks flew from its tip, sparkling over the corpse of its last owner, ready to serve a new master at last.
Oh no. Oh god. HOW THE FUCK DID DUMBLEDORE GET THE ELDER WAND? Has he had it the whole time???? Oh my god what the fuck. Dumbledore had the wand and Voldemort stole it from him. Harry was too late…but did he choose to not pursue the wand on purpose??? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON
Thanks for the reminder that Dumbledore is dead, by the way. Thanks for making everything awful.