Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 32
In the thirty-second chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the battle of Hogwarts continues, as death, tragedy, and terror all lead to one of the most shocking cliffhangers in the entire series. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 32: THE ELDER WAND
This is horrible. This is so horrible. I don’t think I’ll ever get over the death of Fred. What the fuck.
- The world had ended, so why had the battle not ceased, the castle fallen silent in horror, and every combatant laid down their arms? Harry’s mind was in free fall, spinning out of control, unable to grasp the impossibility, because Fred Weasley could not be dead, the evidence of all his senses must be lying–
Fuck this. FUCK THIS. J.K. Rowling, I might never forgive you for this. Jesus, this is fucking horrible.
- “Percy!” Harry saw tear tracks streaking the grime coating ron’s face as he sezied his elder brother’s shoulders and pulled, but Percy would not budge. “Percy, you can’t do anything for him! We’re going to–”
Hermione screamed, and Harry, turning, did not need to ask why. A monstrous spider the size of a small car was trying to climb through the huge hole in the wall. one of Aragog’s descendants had joined the fight.
Ron and Harry shouted together; their spells collided and the monster was blown backward, its legs jerking horribly, and vanished into the darkness. “It brought friends!” Harry called to the others, glancing over the edge of the castle through the hole in the wall the curses had blasted. More giant spiders were climbing the side of the building, liberated from the Forbidden Forest, into which the Death Eaters must have penetrated. Harry fired Stunning Spells down upon them, knocking the lead monster into its fellows, so that they rolled back down the building and out of sight. Then more curses came soaring over Harry’s head, so close he felt the force of them blow his hair.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! whhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy i cannot take this anymore make it stop.
(Note: Has Ron (sort of) faced his fear of spiders? Why isn’t he freaking out more?”)
- “Here,” said Harry, and they placed him in a niche where a suit of armor had stood earlier. He could not bear to look at Fred a second longer than he had to, and after making sure that the body was well- hidden, he took off after Ron and Hermione. Malfoy and Goyle had vanished but at the end of the corridor, which was now full of dust and falling masonry, glass long gone from windows, he saw many people running backward and forward, whether friends or foes he could not tell. Rounding the corner, Percy let out a bull-like roar: “ROOKWOOD!” and sprinted off in the direction of a tall man, who was pursuing a couple of students.
If Fred can die…nothing is safe right now. Nothing at all. Is Percy going to die? Another Weasley? Another member of Dumbledore’s Army or the Order of the Phoenix? Jesus, guys…no one is safe.
- She had pulled Ron behind a tapestry. They seemed to be wrestling together, and for one mad second Harry thought that they were embracing again; then he saw that Hermione was trying to restrain Ron, to stop him running after Percy. “Listen to me–LISTEN RON!”
“I wanna help–I wanna kill Death Eaters–“
His face was contorted, smeared with dust and smoke, and he was shaking with rage and grief. “Ron, we’re the only ones who can end it! Please–Ron–we need the snake, we’ve got to kill the snake!” said Hermione.
But Harry knew how Ron felt: Pursuing another Horcrux could not bring the satisfaction of revenge; he too wanted to fight, to punish them, the people who had killed Fred, and he wanted to find the other Weasleys, and above all make sure, make quite sure, that Ginny was not–but he could not permit that idea to form in his mind–
The unfortunate reality is that I’m now worried either Harry or Ron will do something to act out this sense of revenge they need to satisfy and it’ll ruin everything else. I’m worried more about Ron at this point; he just lost his older brother and the rage has to be flowing through him.
- Why was it so easy? Because his scar had been burning for hours, yearning to show him Voldemort’s thoughts? He closed his eyes on her command, and at once, the screams and bangs and all the discordant sounds of the battle were drowned until they became distant, as though he stood far, far away from them…
He was standing in the middle of a desolate but strangely familiar room, with peeling paper on the walls and all the windows boarded up except for one. The sounds of the assault on the castle were muffled and distant. The single unblocked window revealed distant bursts of light where the castle stood, but inside the room was dark except for a solitary oil lamp. He was rolling his wand between his figners, watching it, his thoughts on the room in the castle, the secret room only he had ever found, the room, like the chamber, that you had to be clever and cunning and inquisitive to discover…He was confident that the boy would not find the diadem…although Dumbledore’s puppet had come much farther than he ever expected…too far…
So Harry’s at a point where he can willingly enter Voldemort’s mind. Voldemort is unaware that Harry’s doing it, and I’m beginning to understand how this is a weapon for Harry, though, inversely, I’m unsure what that is going mean when the final battle happens, nor do I understand why this seems to be happening in only one direction.
Anyway, I’m glad that there’s no pomp to reading Voldemort’s mind; Harry can just do it. He sees Voldemort away from the castle; where he is, I don’t know, and what he’s doing, I don’t know that either. But the moment where Harry and him face off is rapidly approaching. And the name of this chapter doesn’t help at all: will Harry face off against the Dark Lord who has the Elder Wand?
- “My Lord,” said a voice, desperate and cracked. He turned: there was Lucius Malfoy sitting in the darkest corner, ragged and still bearing the marks of the punishment he had received after the boy’s last escape. One of his eyes remained closed and puffy. “My Lord…please…my son…”
“If your son is dead, Lucius, it is not my fault. He did not come and join me, like the rest of the Slytherins. Perhaps he hasdecided to befriend Harry Potter?”
“No–never,” whispered Malfoy.
“You must hope not.” “Aren’t–aren’t you afraid, my Lord that Potter might die at another hand but yours?” asked Malfoy, his voice shaking. “Wouldn’t it be…forgive me…more prudent to call off this battle, enter the castle, and seek him y-yourself?”
“Do not pretend Lucius. You wish the battle to cease so that you can discover what has happened to your son. And I do not need to seek Potter. Before the night is out, Potter will have come to find me.”
CALLING IT: Lucius Malfoy is going to die. If not in this chapter, very, very soon. But I think that we’ll also see some sort of redemption on Draco’s part, since Harry did save his life. Maybe Draco will sacrifice himself to fight against Voldemort?
- “Go and fetch Snape.”
“Snape, m-my Lord?”
“Snape. Now. I need him. There is a –service–I require from him. Go.”
Frightened, stumbling a little through the gloom, Lucius left the room. Vodlemort continued to stand there, twirling the wand between his fingers, staring at it. “It is the only way, Nagini,” he whispered, and he looked around, and there was the great thick snake, now suspended in midair, twisting gracefully within the enchanted, protected space he had made for her, a starry, transparent sphere somewhere between a glittering cage and a tank.
Oh shit. What is Snape going to do for him??? ohhhhhh goooooooodddddddddd please go away forever Snape.
- “He’s in the Shrieking Shack. The snake’s with him, it’s got some sort of magical protection around it. He’s just sent Lucius Malfoy to find Snape.”
Goddamn it. How do they get to the Shrieking Shack now????
I did enjoy the ensuing argument between the trio about who should go and who should say. I think it’s a great way for Rowling to show off each of the characters’ strengths while simultaneously proving that they sort of work best as a team.
And that’s precisely what they do, but not after witnessing possibly the best part of the entire battle:
- “Get back!” shouted Ron, and he, Harry, and Hermione hurled themselves against a door as a herd of galloping desks thundered past, shepherded by a sprinting Professor McGonagall. She appeared not to notice them. Her hair had come down and there was a gash on her cheek. As she turned the corner, they heard her scream, “CHARGE!”
YES. YES. YES. YES. This had better be in the movie. IT BETTER BE.
- But he threw it over all three of them; large though they were he doubted anyone would see their disembodied feet through the dust that clogged the air, the falling stone, the shimmer of spells. they ran down the next staircase and found themselves in a corridor full of duelers. The portraits on either side of the fighters were crammed with figures screaming advice and encouragement, while Death Eaters, both masked and unmasked, dueled students and teachers. Dean had won himself a wand, for he was face-to-face with Dolohov, Parvati with Travers. Harry, Ron and Hermione raised their wands at once, ready to strike, but the duelers were weaving and darting so much that there was a strong likelihood of hurting on of their own side if they cast curses. Even as they stood braced, looking for the opportunity to act, there came a great “Wheeeeee!” and looking up, Harry saw Peeves zooming over them, dropping Snargaluff pods down onto the Death Eaters, whose heads were suddenly engulfed in wriggling green tubers like fat worms.
Even in the midst of chaos taking over Hogwarts, Rowling takes the time to at least put a smile on our faces. I appreciate it, at the very least because there’s virtually funny about this situation at all. Are the trio going to face off against Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack?
- “I’m Draco Malfoy, I’m Draco, I’m on your side!”
Draco was on the upper landing, pleading with another masked Death Eater. Harry Stunned the Death Eater as they passed. Malfoy looked around, beaming, for his savior, and Ron punched him from under the Cloak. Malfoy fell backward on top of the Death Eater, his mouth bleeding, utterly bemused. “And that’s the second time we’ve saved your life tonight, you two- faced bastard!” Ron yelled.
OH MY GOD THIS IS EVEN BETTER THAN PEEVES FIGHTING DEATH EATERS. Seriously, Draco, please redeem yourself ASAP, because you’ve been saved twice by your enemies now. And look, I’m not a violent person at all. The closest I have ever come to being in a fight ended up with me lecturing the other person. Literally, complete pacifist geek here. Yet I couldn’t help but cheer at Ron punching Malfoy. I am secretly evil or something whatever.
Actually, though, I think my joy comes from a different place. I still don’t like Draco. I feel sorry for him, he’s no longer a one-dimensional person, and he is obviously not a Death Eater as much as an opportunist. But I feel that Draco isn’t redeemed at all; if anything, it feels like he’s nothing more than a coward when it comes down to it. What exactly has he done to vindicate his actions? Hesitation during Malfoy Manor? Not getting Harry murdered, but ultimately contributing to his death? I mean…I just don’t get it. UNLESS THERE IS SOMETHING MORE.
- Harry, Ron, and Hermione sped won the marble staircase: glass shattered on the left, and the Slytherin hourglass that had recorded House points spilled its emeralds everywhere, so that people slipped and staggered as they ran. Two bodies fell from the balcony overhead as they reached the ground a gray blur that Harry took for an animal sped four-legged across the hall to sink its teeth into one of the fallen.
“NO!” shrieked Hermione, and with a deafening blast from her wand, Fenrir Greyback was thrown backward from the feebly struggling body of Lavender Brown. He hit the marble banisters and struggled to return to his feet. Then, with a bright white flash and a crack, a crystal ball fell on top of his head, and he crumpled to the ground and did not move.
“I have more!” shrieked Professor Trelawney from over the banisters. “More for any who want them! Here–“
And with a move like a tennis serve, she heaved another enormous crystal sphere from her bag, waved her wand through the air, and caused the ball to speed across the hall and smash through a window. At the same moment, the heavy wooden front doors burst open, and more of the gigantic spiders forced their way into the front hall.
WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK. Oh my god, was Lavender Brown bitten??? Oh my god, nevermind, everything is back to be shitty and terrifying and oh my god, is she ok???
And spiders. GIGANTIC SPIDERS. Jesus christ this is all happening at the same fucking time. Oh god. I CAN’T HANDLE THIS ANYMORE.
- “How do we get out?” yelled Ron over all the screaming, but before either Harry or Hermione could answer they were bowled aside; Hagrid had come thundering down the stairs, brandishing his flowery pink umbrella.
“Don’t hurt ‘em, don’t hurt ‘em!” he yelled.
Harry forgot everything else: he sprinted out from under the cloak, running bent double to avoid the curses illuminating the whole hall.
“HAGRID, COME BACK!”
But he was not even halfway to Hagrid when he saw it happen: Hagrid vanished amongst the spiders, and with a great scurrying, a foul swarming movement, they retreated under the onslaught of spells, Hagrid buried in their midst.
Harry heard someone calling his own name, whether friend or foe he did not care: He was springing down the front steps into the dark grounds, and the spiders were swarming away with their prey, and he could see nothing of Hagrid at all.
NO. NO. FUCK YOU, ROWLING. YOU CANNOT TAKE FRED FROM ME AND THEN TAKE HAGRID TOO. Oh god, what is wrong with me? YELLING AT THIS BOOK ISN’T GOING TO DO ANY GOOD.
But seriously, I don’t think I could handle Hagrid dying at all. Or Lupin. I think it would be hard for me to deal with anyone else dying from here on out, but those two are on the top of my DO NOT WANT list in terms of death.
I mean…Hagrid can’t be dead, right? Right????
- Grawp came lurching around the corner of the castle; only now did Harry realize that Grawp was, indeed, an undersized giant. The gargantuan monster trying to crush people on the upper floors turned around and let out a roar. The stone steps trembled as he stomped toward his smaller kin, and Grawp’s lopsided mouth fell open, showing yellow, half brick-sized teeth; and then they launched themselves at each other with the savagery of lions.
“RUN!” Harry roared; the night was full of hideous yells and blows as the giants wrestled, and he seized Hermione’s hand and tore down the steps into the grounds, Ron bringing up the rear. Harry had not lost hope of finding and saving Hagrid; he ran so fast that they were halfway toward the forest before they were brought up short again.
But wait…what about Hagrid??? You’ve already moved on to giants and now something else is going to happen??? Oh, Christ, you guys were right. I’m unprepared at all times for this book.
- The air around them had frozen: Harry’s breath caught and solidified in his chest. Shapes moved out in the darkness, swirling figures of concentrated blackness, moving in a great wave towards the castles, their faces hooded and their breath rattling…
Ron and Hermione closed in beside him as the sounds of fighting behind them grew suddenly muted, deadened, because a silence only dementors could bring was falling thickly through the night, and Fred was gone, and Hagrid was surely dying or already dead…
“Come on, Harry!” said Hermione’s voice from a very long way away. “Patronuses, Harry, come on!”
He raised his wand, but a dull hopelessness was spreading throughout him: How many more lay dead that he did not yet know about? He felt as though his soul had already half left his body….
NO. HARRY. NO. STOP IT. Oh god, this is getting to a fever pitch of awful now. It’s as if every bad thing ever introduced in this series is coming back to haunt Harry and Hogwarts. MAKE IT STOP.
- He saw Ron’s silver terrier burst into the air, flicker feebly, and expire; he saw Hermione’s otter twist in midair and fade, and his own wand trembled in his hand, and he almost welcomed the oncoming oblivion, the promise of nothing, of no feeling…
And then a silver hare, a boar, and fox soared past Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s heads: the dementors fell back before the creatures’ approach. Three more people had arrived out of the darkness to stand beside them, their wands outstretched, continuing to cast Patronuses: Luna, Ernie, and Seamus.
FUCK YES. Oh shit, this is so goddamn spectacular. I love that they’re able to repay Harry for all the help he’s given them, considering his work teaching Dumbledore’s Army.
- “That’s right,” said Luna encouragingly, as if they were back in the Room of Requirement and this was simply spell practice for the D.A., “That’s right, Harry…come on think of something happy…”
“Something happy?” he said, his voice cracked.
“We’re all still here,” she whispered, “we’re still fighting. Come on, now….”
There was a silver spark, then a wavering light, and then, with the greatest effort it had ever cost him the stag burst from the end of Harry’s wand. It cantered forward, and now the dementors scattered in earnest, and immediately the night was mild again, but the sounds of the surrounding battle were loud in his ears.
“Can’t thank you enough,” said Ron shakily, turning to Luna, Ernie, and Seamus, “you just saved–“
LUNA LOVEGOOD: Saving your life and being a badass since 1995.
- Somehow he walled it all up in his mind, crammed it into a small space into which he could not look now: thoughts of Fred and Hagrid, and his terror for all the people he loved, scattered in and outside the castle, must all wait, because they had to run, had to reach the snake and Voldemort, because that was, as Hermione said, the only way to end it–
He sprinted, half-believing he could outdistance death itself, ignoring the jets of light flying in the darkness all around him, and the sound of the lake crashing like the sea, and the creaking of the Forbidden Forest though the night was windless; through grounds that seemed themselves to have risen in rebellion, he ran faster than he had ever moved in his life, and it was he who saw the great tree first, the Willow that protected the secret at its roots with whiplike, slashing branches.
I haven’t commented much on Rowling’s actual writing in a while, mostly because I’ve been so caught up in the action, but I really adore these two paragraphs. I think I simply didn’t consider the din the battle would have made, so I appreciate the detail she goes into about how much noise is surrounding them.
- For one teetering second, while the crashes and booms of the battle filled the air, Harry hesitated. Voldemort wanted him to do this, wanted him to come…Was he leading Ron and Hermione into a trap?
But the reality seemed to close upon him, cruel and plain: the only way forward was to kill the snake, and the snake was where Voldemort was, and voldemort was at the end of this tunnel…
The fatalism of this is terrifying to me. Is Harry about to face his death? Is it going to happen in private? Oh god, could we not have another KILL THE SPARE moment with Ron or Hermione? Honestly, I feel terrible about them heading to the Shrieking Shack. It feels wrong. I DON’T LIKE THIS, GUYS.
- The room beyond was dimly lit, but he could see Nagini, swirling and coiling like a serpent underwater, safe in her enchanted, starry sphere, which floated unsupported in midair. He could see the edge of a table, and a long-fingered white hand toying with a wand.
Then Snape spoke, and Harry’s heart lurched: Snape was inches away from where he crouched, hidden.
HEART GOING TO EXPLODE SOON.
- Voldemort stood up. Harry could see him now, see the red eyes, the flattened, serpentine face, the pallor of him gleaming slightly in the semidarkness.
“I have a problem, Severus,” said Voldemort softly.
“My Lord?” said Snape.
Voldemort raised the Elder Wand, holding it as delicately and precisely as a conductor’s baton.
“Why doesn’t it work for me, Severus?”
Wait. WHAT. WHAT? Why doesn’t the Elder Wand work???? Oh my god, Mark, think. But didn’t Voldemort take it from Dumbledore? Isn’t it his now?
- “My–my lord?” said Snape blankly. “I do not understand. You–you have performed extraordinary magic with that wand.”
“No,” said Voldemort. “I have performed my usual magic. I am extraordinary, but this wand…no. It has not revealed the wonders it has promised. I feel no difference between this wand and the one I procured from Ollivander all those years ago.”
Oh fuck, oh shit. Does that mean Harry has a chance against him?
- “I have thought long and hard, Severus…do you know why I have called you back from battle?”
And for a moment Harry saw Snape’s profile. His eyes were fixed upon the coiling snake in its enchanted cage.
“No, my Lord, but I beg you will let me return. Let me find Potter.”
“You sound like Lucius. Neither of you understands Potter as I do. He does not need finding. Potter will come to me. I knew his weakness you see, his one great flaw. He will hate watching the others struck down around him, knwoing that it is for him that it happens. He will want to stop it at any cost. He will come.”
Well….he is sort of right about this. But what can Snape do away from battle? I STILL DON’T GET IT.
- “But it is of you that I wished to speak, Severus, not Harry Potter. You have been very valuable to me. Very valuable.”
“My Lord knows I seek only to serve him. But–let me go and find the boy, my Lord. Let me bring him to you. I know I can–“
“I have told you, no!” said Voldemort, and Harry caught the glint of red in his eyes as he turned again, and the swishing of his cloak was like the slithering of a snake, and he felt Voldemort’s impatience in his burning scar. “My concern at the moment, Severus, is what will happen when I finally meet the boy!”
JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. I AM SO LOST.
- “My wand of yew did everything of which I asked it, Severus, except to kill Harry Potter. Twice it failed. Ollivander told me under torture of the twin cores, told me to take another’s wand. I did so, but Lucius’s wand shattered upon meeting Potter’s.”
“I–I have no explanation, my Lord.” Snape was not looking at Voldemort now. His dark eyes were still fixed upon the coiling serpent in its protective sphere.
“I sought a third wand, Severus. the Elder Wand, the Wand of Destiny, the Deathstick. I took it from its previous master. I took it from the grave of Albus Dumbledore.”
WAIT. HE TOOK IT. He took the wand!!! He didn’t DEFEAT the owner! That’s why it didn’t work!
- “The Elder Wand cannot serve me properly, Severus, because I am not its true master. The Elder Wand belongs to the wizard who killed its last owner. You killed Albus Dumbledore. While you live, Severus, the Elder Wand cannot truly be mine.”
OH. OH MY FUCKING GOD. HE HAS TO DEFEAT SNAPE. oh my god, Snape, I cannot feel sorry for you because after all you’ve done to torture Harry and his friends and contribute (possibly) to the death of Sirius and Cedric, and murder Dumbledore yourself, it’s your fault this is happening. This is the path you chose when you chose to serve the Dark Lord.
- And Voldemort swiped the air with the Elder Wand. It did nothing to Snape, who for a split second seemed to think he had been reprieved: but then Voldemort’s intention became clear. The snake’s cage was rolling through the air, and before Snape could do anything more than yell, it had encased him, head and shoulders, and Voldemort spoke in Parseltongue.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT. I can’t believe this is happening.
- There was a terrible scream. Harry saw Snape’s face losing the little color it had left; it whitened as his black eyes widened, as the snake’s fangs pierced his neck, as he failed to push the enchanted cage off himself, as his knees gave way and he fell to the floor.
“I regret it,” said Voldemort coldly.
He turned away; there was no sadness in him, no remorse. It was time to leave this shack and take charge, with a wand that would now do his full bidding. He pointed it at the starry cage holding the snake, which drifted upward, off snape, who fell sideways onto the floor, blood gushing from the wounds in his neck. Voldemort swept from the room without a backward glance, and the great serpent floated after him in its huge protective sphere.
Ok, I’ll take it back. That is fucking cruel. I don’t know if anyone deserves that sort of treatment. Voldemort is seriously goddamn evil. He just murdered his most loyal follower to get what he wanted. CHRIST.
- He did not know why he was doing it, why he was approaching the dying man: he did not know what he felt as he saw Snape’s white face, and the fingers trying to staunch the bloody wound at his neck. Harry took off the invisibility cloak and looked down upon the man he hated, whose widening black eyes found Harry as he cried to speak. Harry bent over him, and Snape seized the front of his robes and pulled him close.
A terrible rasping, gurgling noise issued from Snape’s throat.
Something more than blood was leaking from Snape. Silvery blue, neither gas nor liquid, it gushed form his mouth and his ears and his eyes, and Harry knew what it was, but did not know what to do–
A flask, conjured from thin air, was thrust into his shaking hand by Hermione. Harry lfited the silvery substance into it with his wand. When the falsk was full to the brim, and Snape looked as though there was no blood left in him, his grip on Harry’s robes slackened.
“Look…at….me…” he whispered.
The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something inthe depths of the dark pari seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.
NO. WHAT. WHAT. YOU CAN’T END THE CHAPTER THERE! Did Snape just give Harry a memory? Wait, what the fuck. WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this…but is there now a chance that Snape is actually…good?
My head is seriously mush at this point. Snape is dead. SNAPE IS DEAD. And I don’t feel victorious about it. I feel fucking awful.
WHAT IS GOING ON????? Oh god, WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED.