Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 29
In the twenty-ninth chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the trio return to Hogwarts. Intrigued? Then its time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 29: THE LOST DIADEM
NEVILLE NEVILLE NEVILLE NEVILLE NEVILLE NEVILLE FUCK YES.
- But Neville had spotted Ron and Hermione, and with yells of delight was hugging them too. The longer Harry looked at Neville, the worse he appeared: One of his eyes was swollen yellow and purple, there were gouge marks on his face, and his general air of unkemptness suggested that he had been living enough. Nevertheless, his battered visage shone with happiness as he let go of Hermione and said again, “I knew you’d come! Kept telling Seamus it was a matter of time!”
“Neville, what’s happened to you?”
“What? This?” Neville dismissed his injuries with a shake of the head. “This is nothing, Seamus is worse. You’ll see. Shall we get going then? Oh,” he turned to Aberforth, “Ab, there might be a couple more people no the way.”
JESUS. FUCKING. CHRIST. I mean, I wanted to know what had been going on at Hogwarts since Snape took over the Headmaster position, but MAYBE I DON’T WANT TO KNOW ANYMORE. Why is he like that? JESUS WHAT.
- “You’re right,” said Harry, “but tell us about Hogwarts, Neville, we haven’t heard anything.” “It’s been …. Well, it’s not really like Hogwarts anymore,” said Neville, the smile fading from his face as he spoke. “Do you know about the Carrows?”
“Those two Death Eaters who teach here?”
“They do more than teach,” said Neville. “They’re in charge of all discipline. They like punishment, the Carrows.”
“Nah, they make her look tame. The other teachers are all supposed to refer us to the Carrows if we do anything wrong. They don’t, though, if they can avoid it. You can tell they all hate them as much as we do.”
I’m not surprised, but it doesn’t make it any less horrifying. I can’t even conceive of someone being any worse than Dolores Umbridge.
- “Amycus, the bloke, he teaches what used to be Defense Against the Dark Arts, except now it’s just the Dark Arts. We’re supposed to practice the Cruciatus Curse on people who’ve earned detentions – “
Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s united voices echoed up and down the passage.
“Yeah,” said Neville. “That’s how I got this one,” he pointed at a particularly deep gash in his cheek, “I refused to do it. Some people are into it, though; Crabbe and Goyle love it. First time they’ve ever been top in anything, I expect.”
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON. Oh my god, it is literally worse than I imagined.
- “Alecto, Amycus’s sister, teaches Muggle Studies, which is compulsory for everyone. We’ve all got to listen to her explain how Muggles are like animals, stupid and dirty, and how they drive wizards into hiding by being vicious toward them, and how the natural order is being reestablished. I got this one,” he indicated another slash to his face, “for asking her how much Muggle blood she and her brother have got.”
They’re making prejudice and bigotry systematic, starting early to make people biased against those that disgust them. This is fucking awful. (PS: Give me another word to use besides “awful” or “deplorable.” I’m fresh out at this point.)
- “Blimey, Neville,” said Ron, “there’s a time and a place for getting a smart mouth.”
“You didn’t see her,” said Neville. “You wouldn’t have stood it either. The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope. I used to notice that when you did it, Harry.”
Ok, there are like 40 million hugs due to both Harry and Neville at this point. Holy god, that is just goddamn adorable.
- “The only people in real danger are the ones whose friends and relatives on the outside are giving trouble. They get taken hostage. Old Xeno Lovegood was getting a bit too outspoken in The Quibbler, so they dragged Luna off the train on the way back for Christmas.”
“Neville, she’s all right, we’ve seen her –“
“Yeah, I know, she managed to get a message to me.”
From his pocket he pulled a golden coin, and Harry recognized it as one of the fake Galleons that Dumbledore’s Army had used to send one another messages.
“These have been great,” said Neville, beaming at Hermione. “The Carrows never rumbled how we were communicating, it drove them mad. We used to sneak out at night and put graffiti on the walls: Dumbledore’s Army, Still Recruiting, stuff like that. Snape hated it.”
“You used to?” said Harry, who had noticed the past tense.
“Well, it got more difficult as time went one,” said Neville. “We lost Luna at Christmas, and Ginny never came back after Easter, and the three of us were sort of the leaders. The Carrows seemed to know I was behind a lot of it, so they started coming down on me hard, and then Michael Corner went and got caught releasing a first-year they’d chained up, and they tortured him pretty badly. That scared people off.”
I suppose it’s only been in the back of my mind, but I think I’m enjoying the way in which Rowling is revealing the events of the seventh year at Hogwarts to us. The trio have faced horrors we can barely comprehend and it’s a way for her to remind us that those they’ve left behind are also suffering just as badly as they are, even though the focus has been on Harry and his friends. I’m also dearly in love with Neville’s transformation from being shy and uncertain to the veritable badass he’s become. RITE RITE?
- “Yeah, well, I couldn’t ask people to go through what Michael did, so we dropped those kinds of stunts. But we were still fighting, doing underground stuff, right up until a couple of weeks ago. That’s when they decided there was only one way to stop me, I suppose, and they went for Gran.”
“They what?” said Harry, Ron, and Hermione together.
“Yeah,” said Neville, panting a little now, because the passage was climbing so steeply, “well, you can see their thinking. It had worked really well, kidnapping kids to force their relatives to behave. I s’pose it was only a matter of time before they did it the other way around. Thing was,” he faced them, and Harry was astonished to see that he was grinning, “they bit off a bit more than they could chew with Gran. Little old witch living alone, they probably thought hey didn’t need to send anyone particularly powerful. Anyway,” Neville laughed, “Dawlish is still in St. Mungo’s and Gran’s on the run. She sent me a letter,” he clapped a hand to the breast pocket of his robes, “telling me she was proud of me, that I’m my parent’s son, and to keep it up.”
Oh, fucking hell. I have such a bad feeling about all this. I hope I don’t have to read about Neville’s grandmother dying, but she is pretty tough. Isn’t this all so stressful? I am so frightened by what’s about to happen because we know that all bets are off.
- “Look who it is! Didn’t I tell you?”
As Harry emerged into the room behind the passage, there were several screams and yells: “HARRY!” “It’s Potter, it’s POTTER!” “Ron!” “Hermione!”
He had a confused impression of colored hangings, of lamps and many faces. The next moment, he, Ron, and Hermione were engulfed, hugged, pounded on the back, their hair ruffled, their hands shaken, by what seemed to be more than twenty people. They might have just won a Quidditch final.
“Okay, okay, calm down!” Neville called, and as the crowd backed away, Harry was able to take in their surroundings.
He did not recognize the dorm at all. It was enormous, and looked rather like the interior of a particularly sumptuous tree house, or perhaps a gigantic ship’s cabin. Multicolored hammocks were strung from the ceiling and from the balcony that ran around the dark wood-paneled and windowless walls, which were covered in bright tapestry hangings. Harry saw the gold Gryffindor lion, emblazoned on scarlet; the black badger of Hufflepuff, set against yellow; and the bronze eagle of Ravenclaw, on blue. The silver and green of Slytherin alone were absent. There were bulging bookcases, a few broomsticks propped against the walls, and in the corner, a large wood-cased wireless.
Wow. WOW. This is such an awesome scene because I’ve actually missed Hogwarts and the scenes in the common room. I love that the remaining anti-Voldemort houses have gathered together to support each other during a time of war, and I’d imagine this is what’s left to give them hope. THIS RULES, GUYS.
- “Where are we?”
“Room of Requirement, of course!” said Neville. “Surpassed itself, hasn’t it? The Carrows were chasing me, and I knew I had just one chance for a hideout: I managed to get through the door and this is what I found! Well, it wasn’t exactly like this when I arrived, it was a load smaller, there was only one hammock and just Gryffindor hangings. But it’s expanded as more and more of the D.A. have arrived.”
“And the Carrows can’t get in?” asked Harry, looking around for the door.
“No,” said Seamus Finnigan, whom Harry had not recognized until he spoke: Seamus’s face was bruised and puffy. “It’s a proper hideout, as long as one of us stays in here, they can’t get at us, the door won’t open. It’s all down to Neville. He really gets this room. You’ve got to ask for exactly what you need – like, “I don’t want any Carrow supporters to be able to get in’ – and it’ll do it for you! You’ve just got to make sure you close the loopholes. Neville’s the man!”
Literally, Neville is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters in the series. He’s found what he’s good at, even though it may have been unpopular, and he’s used it to become confident in himself. I can certainly relate to this, as my self-esteem was pretty much vacant throughout high school, a constant victim of bullying and othering, until I found out I could string words together and other people liked reading them. It was something that made me feel whole, that gave me a purpose, and I can’t describe how much it helped to repair my self-worth.
- “What were you after?” asked Seamus eagerly.
Before any of them could parry the question with one of their own, Harry felt a terrible, scorching pain in the lightning scar. As he turned his back hastily on the curious and delighted faces, the Room of Requirement vanished, and he was standing inside a ruined stone shack, and the rotting floorboards were ripped apart at his feet, a disinterred golden box lay open and empty beside the hole, and Voldemort’s scream of fury vibrated inside his head.
With an enormous effort he pulled out of Voldemort’s mind again, back to where he stood, swaying, in the Room of Requirement, sweat pouring from his face and Ron holding him up.
Oh no. OH NO. HE KNOWS. He knows the ring is gone. Oh my god. This is horrible. Also, THANKS FOR RUINING THIS AWESOME SCENE IN THE ROOM OF REQUIREMENT, VOLDEMORT. God, he is such an asshole.
- “We need to get going,” he said, and their expressions told him that they understood.
“What are we going to do, then, Harry?” asked Seamus. “What’s the plan?”
“Plan?” repeated Harry. He was exercising all his willpower to prevent himself succumbing again to Voldemort’s rage: His scar was still burning. “Well, there’s something we – Ron, Hermione, and I – need to do, and then we’ll get out of here.”
Nobody was laughing or whooping anymore. Neville looked confused. “What d’you mean, ‘get out of here’?”
“We haven’t come back to stay,” said Harry, rubbing his scar, trying to soothe the pain. “There’s something important we need to do – “
“What is it?”
“I – I can’t tell you.”
There was a ripple of muttering at this: Neville’s brows contracted.
“Why can’t you tell us? It’s something to do with fighting You-Know-Who, right?”
“Well, yeah – “
“Then we’ll help you.”
The other members of Dumbledore’s Army were nodding, some enthusiastically, others solemnly. A couple of them rose from their chairs to demonstrate their willingness for immediate action.
I have to admit that I never even considered this possibility. Everyone left at Hogwarts has only heard of the things Harry, Hermione, and Ron have been doing while they’ve been at school, so it’s natural that their return to Hogwarts would be a sign that they’re joining up with them to help them out. I don’t fault a single one of these people for desiring to do something instead of hiding out in the Room of Requirement; I think it’s a great sign of their honor and loyalty to Harry, towards doing the right thing.
So what on earth is Harry going to do? He can’t tell them about the Horcruxes.
- “You don’t understand,” Harry seemed to have said that a lot in the last few hours. “We – we can’t tell you. We’ve got to do it – alone.”
“Why?” asked Neville.
“Because … “ In his desperation to start looking for the missing Horcrux, or at least have a private discussion with Ron and Hermione about where they might commence their search. Harry found it difficult to gather his thoughts. His scar was still searing. “Dumbledore left the three of us a job,” he said carefully, “and we weren’t supposed to tell – I mean, he wanted us to do it, just the three of us.”
“We’re his army,” said Neville. “Dumbledore’s Army. We were all in it together, we’ve been keeping it going while you three have been off on your own –“
“It hasn’t exactly been a picnic, mate,” said Ron.
“I never said it had, but I don’t see why you can’t trust us. Everyone in this room’s been fighting and they’ve been driven in here because the Carrows were hunting them down. Everyone in here’s proven they’re loyal to Dumbledore – loyal to you.”
Ok, well, that didn’t work. And now I’m actually thinking…why can’t Harry have them help? I mean, Voldemort is going to figure out the locket is gone soon and then it’s chaos. And I don’t think Harry keeping his mission a secret at that point will do anyone any good.
- “Listen,” said Harry with a rising sense of panic, “I’m sorry, but that’s not what we came back for. There’s something we’ve got to do, and then –“
“You’re going to leave us in this mess?” demanded Michael Cornet.
“No!” said Ron. “What we’re doing will benefit everyone in the end, it’s all about trying to get rid of You-Know-Who – “
“Then let us help!” said Neville angrily. “We want to be a part of it!”
HARRY. JUST FUCKING TELL THEM. RIGHT NOW. This is absurd! Or at least distract them by giving them something to do that will make them think they are helping you.
- Ron turned suddenly to Harry. “Why can’t they help?”
“They can help.” He dropped his voice and said, so that none of them could hear but Hermione, who stood between them, “We don’t know where it is. We’ve got to find it fast. We don’t have to tell them it’s a Horcrux.”
Harry looked from Ron to Hermione, who murmured, “I think Ron’s right. We don’t even know what we’re looking for, we need them.” And when Harry looked unconvinced, “You don’t have to do everything alone, Harry.”
Thank you Ron. Ron, you are the best, I am sorry I have doubted you in the past, you are goddamn FANTASTIC.
- Harry thought fast, his scar still prickling, his head threatening to split again. Dumbledore had warned him against telling anyone but Ron and Hermione about the Horcruxes. Secrets and lies, that’s how we grew up, and Albus … he was a natural … Was he turning into Dumbledore, keeping his secrets clutched to his chest, afraid to trust? But Dumbledore had trusted Snape, and where had that led? To murder at the top of the highest tower …
“All right,” he said quietly to the other two. “Okay,” he called to the room at large, and all noise ceased: Fred and George, who had been cracking jokes for the benefit of those nearest, fell silent, and all of the looked alert, excited.
“There’s something we need to find,” Harry said. “Something – something that’ll help us overthrow You-Know-Who. It’s here at Hogwarts, but we don’t know where. It might have belonged to Ravenclaw. Has anyone heard of an object like that? Has anyone come across something with her eagle on it, for instance?”
WOW. And just like that, Harry makes a conscious decision not to perpetuate the lying he’d been treated to from Dumbledore. THIS IS A HUGE MOMENT GUYS.
- He looked hopefully toward the little group of Ravenclaws, to Padma, Michael, Terry, and Cho, but it was Luna who answered, perched on the arm of Ginny’s chair.
“Well, there’s her lost diadem. I told you about it, remember, Harry? The lost diadem of Ravenclaw? Daddy’s trying to duplicate it.”
- “When was it lost?” asked Harry. “Centuries ago, they say,” said Cho, and Harry’s heart sank.
“Professor Flitwick says the diadem vanished with Ravenclaw herself. People have looked, but,” she appealed to her fellow Ravenclaws. “Nobody’s ever found a trace of it, have they?”
Oh. Great. My hopes are dashed. Where the fuck do they think they will hope to find a small tiara IN A GIANT CASTLE WITH AN ENDLESS NUMBER OF HIDING PLACES?
- Harry’s scar scorched again: For a moment the Room of Requirement swam before him, and he saw instead the dark earth soaring beneath him and felt the great snake wrapped around his shoulders. Voldemort was flying again, whether to the underground lake or here, to the castle, he did not know: Either way, there was hardly any time left.
“He’s on the move,” he said quietly to Ron and Hermione. He glanced at Cho and then back at them. “Listen, I know it’s not much of a lead, but I’m going to go look at this statue, at least find out what the diadem looks like. Wait for me here and keep, you know – the other one – safe.”
JESUS MY HEART IS GOING TO BURST FROM STRESS.
- Cho had got to her feet, but Ginny said rather fiercely, “No, Luna will take Harry, won’t you, Luna?”
“Oooh, yes, I’d like to,” said Luna happily, as Cho sat down again, looking disappointed.
HAHAHAHAHA Ginny is totally preventing Cho from making out with Harry or something. Oh Ginny, never lose your fierceness.
- Harry had prowled the castle at night many times before, but never had his heart hammered that fast, never had so much depended on his safe passage through the place. Through squares of moonlight upon the floor, past suits of armor whose helmets creaked at the sound of their soft footsteps, around corners beyond which who knew what lurked. Harry and Luna walked, checking the Marauder’s Map whenever light permitted, twice pausing to allow a ghost to pass without drawing attention to themselves. He expected to encounter an obstacle at any moment; his worst fear was Peeves, and he strained his ears with every step to hear the first, telltale signs of the poltergeist’s approach.
This is too intense for me to handle anymore. I’m filled with dread, excitement, apprehension, terror, and suspense all at the same time. Have the Harry Potter books ever given anyone an aneurysm? I might be the first.
- Luna reached out a pale hand, which looked eerie floating in midair, unconnected to arm or body. She knocked once, and in the silence it sounded to Harry like a cannon blast. At once the beak of the eagle opened, but instead of a bird’s called, a soft, musical voice said, “Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”
“Hmm … What do you think, Harry?” said Luna, looking thoughtful.
“What? Isn’t there a password?”
“Oh no, you’ve got to answer a question,” said Luna.
“What if you get it wrong?”
“Well, you have to wait for somebody who gets it right,” said Luna. “That way you learn, you see?”
“Yeah … Trouble is, we can’t really afford to wait for anyone else, Luna.”
“No, I see what you mean,” said Luna seriously. “Well then, I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning.”
“Well reasoned,” said the voice, and the door swung open.
Oh my god, THE RAVENCLAW ROOM IS THE BEST ROOM EVER. I love that it’s not a password, I love that Luna so perfectly fits in this house, and I think it’s pretty awesome that we’re finally getting a peak inside after all these years.
- The deserted Ravenclaw common room was a wide, circular room, airier than any Harry had ever seen at Hogwarts. Graceful arched windows punctuated the walls, which were hung with blue-and-bronze silks. By day, the Ravenclaws would have a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains. The ceiling was domed and painted with stars, which were echoed in the midnight-blue carpet. There were tables, chairs, and bookcases, and in a niche opposite the door stood a tall statue of white marble.
I am so happy to be in Ravenclaw right now. This is awesome!!!!
- Harry recognized Rowena Ravenclaw from the bust he had seen at Luna’s house. The statue stood beside a door that led, he guessed, to dormitories above. He strode right up to the marble woman, and she seemed to look back at him with a quizzical half smile on her face, beautiful yet slightly intimidating. A delicate-looking circlet had been reproduced in marble on top of her head. It was not unlike the tiara Fleur had worn at her wedding. There were tiny words etched into it. Harry stepped out from under the Cloak and climbed up onto Ravenclaw’s plinth to read them.
“’Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.’”
Ok, so that’s what the diadem looks like…but where is it?
- “Which makes you pretty skint, witless,” said a cackling voice.
Harry whirled around, slipped off the plinth, and landed on the floor. The sloping- shouldered figure of Alecto Carrow was standing before him, and even as Harry raised his wand, she pressed a stubby forefinger to the skull and snake branded on her forearm.
WHAT THE HOLY FUCK UP IN HEAVEN OH MY GOD OH FUCK WHAT THE FUCK NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO
Oh god, it’s starting, isn’t it????? OH MY FUCKING GOD, GUYS.