Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Epilogue
In the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the narrative shifts far into the future as we learn what happened (somewhat) after the Battle of Hogwarts. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Harry Potter. (I can’t believe I just typed that.)
EPILOGUE: NINETEEN YEARS LATER
[Scene opens on the KING’S CROSS station; the grime coating the streets juxtaposes against the sparkling of the exhaust fumes and the hurried breaths of the London commuters. We focus on a single family of five, hustling towards the station, the red hair of the mother and the daughter gleaming in the rising sun. It is the POTTER family, and LILY POTTER is first to speak up.]
LILY: I wish I could go to Hogwarts this year!
HARRY POTTER: Don’t worry; you’ve only got two years to go.
ALBUS SEVERUS: Stop complaining, Lily. At least you have a normal name.
[HARRY and GINNY POTTER look at each other and shrug.]
GINNY: Don’t look at me, Albus. I didn’t choose it.
JAMES SIRIUS: Yeah, dad, didn’t you once say that Snape was really mean to you at Hogwarts?
[HARRY blushes and turns away from his sons.] Well, maybe he did, but he was a good person in the end. [He turns to GINNY.] Wasn’t he?
GINNY: Don’t look at me, Harry. I’m not having this conversation again.
HARRY: Heh. Heh. Well….so, are you excited for school? James? Albus?
ALBUS: I’m going to end up in smelly Slytherin, aren’t I? That’s what James told me. That I’ll end up in Slytherin and everyone will hate me and then I’ll die a virgin.
GINNY: That’s Hufflepuff, my dear.
GINNY: I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I don’t really know anything about that house, to be honest. Who else was in Hufflepuff besides Tonks and Cedric?
HARRY: I…I don’t actually know. Professor Sprout was head of house and then….um….
GINNY: I’ve actually never even been in their common room.
HARRY: Now that you mention it…neither have I. Do they even have one?
[HARRY and GINNY stare at each other, bewildered, until they realize their own children are gaping at them in confusion.]
HARRY: Oops, sorry about that. Just reliving the past. [HARRY kneels down to eye level with James.] Don’t worry about the Sorting Hat. I’m sure you’ll do fine and you’ll end up in the House you want.
[JAMES smiles at his father]: Thanks, Dad.
[The family scrambles inside King’s Cross and passes through the magical barrier at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Once on the other side, HARRY begins looking for familiar faces. A smile lights up his face when he spots RON and HERMIONE with their children, ROSIE and HUGO. The trio walk up to each other, goofy grins plastered on their faces; they don’t say anything for a few seconds as they see how they’ve aged over the years. Ron looks towards Harry’s and his sister’s children and speaks as JAMES runs off into the crowd.]
RON: Blimey, Harry, how many have you got?
[HERMIONE punches him in the arm.]
RON: Jeez, Hermione, I’m just saying. It’s like he turned my sister into a baby machine!
HERMIONE: RON WEASLEY!
GINNY: Jealous much???
RON: Kidding, kidding, all right? [He turns back to Harry.] Seriously, though, how many kids you’ve got now? Two?
HARRY: Three, actually. Lily Luna, James Sirius, and Albus Severus.
[RON and HERMIONE awkwardly stare at each other.]
RON: Those…those are their names?
HERMIONE: I swear, Ron, you’ve got to start keeping things to yourself.
RON: Don’t pretend like you weren’t thinking it yourself, Hermione.
HERMIONE: Well…maybe I was! And maybe I wasn’t. And maybe I also didn’t decide to vocalize my thoughts to Harry’s face.
HARRY: It’s been nineteen years. Are you guys still bickering?
HERMIONE: Shush, Harry. Besides, Ron does have a point. Severus? Really?
HARRY: He was the bravest Slytherin I ever met!
RON: Yeah, maybe in hindsight, you git. Did you also forget everything he did to you?
HERMIONE: Or me? Or Ron? Or, more importantly, poor Neville?
HARRY: But he saved my life?
RON: Is that a question?
HARRY: I don’t know?
RON: I’m just saying, mate, it seems odd to name your child after him. Even if he was protecting you, he was a total douchebag to you the entire time. I’m not saying he wasn’t a good person, but…well, he wasn’t a good person all of the time.
HERMIONE: At least I named one of my children after an esteemed Muggle author.
[RON and HARRY both give each other looks of slight disgust.]
ALBUS: Hey guys, I’M STILL HERE.
[RON, HARRY, and HERMIONE, at the same time]: Sorry!
ALBUS: Does it matter if Snape was ultimately good or evil? Haven’t we learned throughout these seven books that nearly everything exists in some sort of gray area? That splitting the world into “good vs evil,” or “pureblood vs Muggle-born,” or “Death Eater vs Order of the Phoenix” doesn’t really work? Can’t my father have forgiven Snape for what he did?
RON: Haven’t you existed for like…two pages?
ALBUS: Dad…the mean man is bullying me!
[HARRY gives RON a stern look.]
RON: All right, all right. Just sayin’. [RON shoves his hands into his pockets in defiance, but then his attention is directed elsewhere.] Oh, great, look who’s here.
[They all turn to see DRACO MALFOY, his wife, and son SCORPIUS, which might be ALMOST AS BAD AS RENESMEE, but NOT QUITE AS BAD.]
RON: Hey, Rosie, see that kid? Make sure you beat him in everything ever until the end of time, or else I’ll disown you!
[ROSIE giggles wildly.]
[HERMIONE and HARRY]: RON!!!
RON: Oh, so now Draco’s good too? What is wrong with everyone?
HERMIONE: It’s not that simple, Ron, you know that…
RON: Ok, Hermione, please, tell me what Draco did that totally validates us not hating him forever.
HARRY: Come on, Ron, we don’t need to do this now, do we?
RON: You bet we do! This is it! There are like…four pages left before we’re gone forever!
[A grim sentiment falls over the four adults, as they begin to realize that the end is coming, but Ron quietly continues.]
RON: I’m just saying. I think it’s shit what he did to us, what he did to YOU, Harry, and all he did in the end was make a last-minute switch of allegiance. He spent seven years terrorizing Hogwarts and because he didn’t do anything evil at the end, I’m supposed to respect him?
HARRY: No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that we shouldn’t fill our children’s heads with that sort of nonsense and make things worse for them when they go to school. OK? It’s hard enough to go to Hogwarts as it is; I’m sure you remember, Ron.
HERMIONE: He’s got a point, Ron.
[JAMES returns to the two families, excitement brimming on his face.] GUYS, GUYS, GUYS, GUESS WHAT I JUST SAW?
HARRY: A dementor???
RON: A giant spider???
HERMIONE: A bad grade on a report card?
GINNY: A possessed Horcrux diary?
JAMES [bewildered]: What? No. I saw Teddy making out with Uncle Bill and Aunt Fleur’s daughter, Victoire!
RON: How do you pronounce that?
HERMIONE: Honestly, Ron, you can be so dense sometimes.
RON: What??? Have YOU ever seen that name before?
HARRY: He’s got a point, Hermione.
GINNY: Do any of you find it a bit strange that we’re all essentially marrying into a family?
RON: What do you mean?
GINNY: Well, think about it. Now Harry and Hermione are part of our family, Ron, and it’s possible that Lupin and Tonks’s son might also be a Weasley soon.
RON: Well…I mean, our family has always been gigantic, hasn’t it?
HERMIONE: And it’s not like we don’t fit together as couples, right?
GINNY [squeezing HARRY’S hand and smiling at him]: Sure, of course. That’s not what I meant. It’s just that…
[She pauses for just a moment, deep in thought]
What’s the point of all this?
GINNY: This…this thing. This thing we’re in. This postscript, this epilogue, this final piece of the puzzle. Why are we here?
HERMIONE: Well…it’s just showing that we’re happy. That we went on to live full lives. That the world is okay without Voldemort in it.
GINNY: But didn’t we live pretty full lives already by the time the Second Wizarding War was over?
RON: She’s got a point.
GINNY: I don’t know. This is our last moment together. We disappear forever after this. I just wanted a bit more, I guess.
[HARRY, embracing GINNY]: Everyone always wants more. We always want to spend forever in these moments, but it has to end somewhere.
RON: You named your kid Albus Severus, mate.
[GINNY, HERMIONE, and HARRY]: Shut up, Ron!
[RON giggles and grabs HERMIONE’S hand] I’m just glad we’re all here for this, you know? I feel pretty satisfied after all this. I guess a little extraneous epilogue really isn’t that bad, is it?
HERMIONE: Well, I’m enjoying this. I think it’s a great chance for–
[HERMIONE stops speaking when she sees HARRY staring over her shoulder, his face pale.]
HERMIONE: Harry…what’s wrong? What is it?
[RON and HERMIONE both turn around and gasp in shock. The figure of CEDRIC DIGGORY approaches them, dressed in fancy Muggle clothing.]
RON: Blimey, is that CEDRIC???
HARRY: Cedric, is that really you?
[CEDRIC now joins the group, a hesitant smile on his face]
CEDRIC: Hello, friends. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?
HERMIONE: Cedric?!?!? But–how–
CEDRIC: I suppose I’ll have to correct you on that one. My name’s no longer Cedric.
CEDRIC: It’s…well, my name is now Edward.
HARRY: But…Cedric, what are you talking about?
CEDRIC: Edward, Harry. I came to ask you a favor.
HARRY [Flabbergasted]: Well, sure, anything, but how are you still ali–
CEDRIC: I want to come over to your story.
HERMIONE, RON, HARRY: What????
CEDRIC: I can’t stand it in my world anymore. I want what you folks have.
RON: Excuse me for being rude, but aren’t you dead, mate? And what do we have that you want? If you’re some sort of ghost or something, you can pretty much do what you want.
CEDRIC: I don’t have your freedom.
HERMIONE: Ok, now you’ve even lost me. What?
CEDRIC: Do you know where I got sent after Voldemort murdered me? Do you know what I gave up after that?
HARRY: Cedric, I’m sorry you had to die, but we have no idea where–
CEDRIC: I’ve spent the last five years trapped inside a book that glorifies abuse, shame, and mediocrity. You guys have experienced loss and death, grown as people, learned lessons, and changed. Oh god, you’ve changed. Do you know how dearly I desire that? I just want to change. I want that freedom and I want to feel like I have a choice and that my life is my own.
RON: Mate, I don’t know what you’re going on about, but you’re welcome to come along if you’d like. We were just talking about Hufflepuffs earlier, actually!
CEDRIC [Beaming]: Thank you, Ron Weasley. I’ve got a couple more people to talk to, but I’ll be back.
[CEDRIC leaves the two families behind. The Hogwarts Express gives a warning toot and they begin to hustle their children on board the train.]
GINNY: Don’t forgive to give Neville our love, James!
JAMES: Jeez, mom, don’t embarrass me in front of my cool friends!
JAMES: I’m kidding. Neville is the best! Er…I mean, Professor Longbottom. Sir.
[RON and HERMIONE bid goodbye to ROSE and HUGO, who board the train with ALBUS and JAMES. LILY stays behind with them and they wave as the train doors start to shut.]
GINNY: So…I guess this is it, isn’t it?
RON: Yeah…I guess so.
HERMIONE: It’s been a really strange trip.
RON [squeezing HERMIONE’S hand again]: But it’s been a lot of fun, hasn’t it?
GINNY: And we’re all better people because of it, aren’t we?
HARRY: I think so. I think we deserve some peace and quiet after all that, don’t you think?
GINNY [looking into HARRY’S eyes and smiling]: I think out of all of us, you deserve it the most.
[GINNY grabs LILY’S hand and turns away, her other arm on HARRY’S back, as RON and HERMIONE follow behind them. They reach the end of the platform, unaware of the procession following behind them: the ghosts of Hogwarts past. SNAPE is smiling for the first time, his face younger, gaunt, his black hair flowing over his forehead. Next to him are LILY and JAMES POTTER, smiling as well, and LILY turns to SNAPE and her eyes are filled with nothing but affection. Behind them, the heroes lost all drift silently towards our disappearing friends: SIRIUS and LUPIN have arms around each other’s shoulders, while LUPIN and TONKS hold hands with a fierce conviction. They turn to the now departing Hogwarts Express and stare as they watch their son, TEDDY, his head stuck out of the train window, his hair whipping back and forth behind his head, and TONKS holds LUPIN a bit closer. COLIN CREEVEY, FRED WEASLEY, and MAD-EYE MOODY also stare at the train with longing, until HEDWIG swoops down to land on FRED WEASLEY’S shoulder, pecking at him affectionately, and DOBBY bounds along the platform, his face alight with joy.
There are many more ghosts behind this group, victims of the First and Second Wizarding War, and they begin to gather on the platform. SNAPE, LILY, and JAMES stop following Harry and his friends and simply turn to watch an oncoming train, pale and translucent, a remnant of their lives past. The train stops and the figures begin to board the train, one by one, until all of them are inside; the horn blows loudly, proudly, but the doors do not close, as we see one lone figure running down the platform. His beard flowing and his blue eyes twinkling, DUMBLEDORE arrives, and before he boards, he turns to the audience to speak.]
DUMBLEDORE: It’s time for us to go, we who are unafraid of death. We won’t be truly gone, though, because we’ll always live inside you.
[DUMBLEDORE hops inside the car and stands in the doorway as the train’s engine begins to pump faster. As the Hogwarts Express lurches and begins to roll away, DUMBLEDORE speaks one last time.]
DUMBLEDORE: Thank you.
[The train pulls away from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters and disappears in the distance.]
I suppose this is the only thing I have left to say.
I’m going to miss you, Harry Potter.