Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK OH MY GOD WHYYYYYYYYY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.



I wanted more Lupin and I got it…in pretty much the exact opposite way that I intended.

It’s no secret that my favorite character in the entire series is Remus Lupin. I love his somber, reasoned attitude, the way he never seems to move to any sort of extreme on either end of the spectrum, and his capacity for passion. I’ve also felt that he represented something more than just this, but until this chapter, I’d been reluctant to commit to it. Until now.

Lupin arrives at Grimmauld Place to provide information to our trio, who’ve been left in the dark into the goings-on of the world outside. Thankfully, no one else was killed during the past few days, though many people were seriously injured. And this:

  • ”There were about a dozen of them, but they didn’t know you were there, Harry. Arthur heard a rumor that they tried to torture your whereabouts out of Scrimgeour before they killed him: if it’s true, he didn’t give you away.”

Well, that’s unexpected. Christ.

We learn more about Kingsley’s message at the end of the wedding. Voldemort did not just topple the Ministry of Magic; he staged a coup and took it over, attempting to mask the fact that he was now in charge. Scrimgeour was not murdered, he resigned. And The Daily Prophet is working to his end, as the main story that day is the news that Harry Potter is wanted for questioning regarding the death of Albus Dumbledore.

  • ”And this dramatic change in Ministry policy,” said Harry, “involves warning the Wizarding world against me instead of Voldemort?”

    “That’s certainly part of it,” said Lupin, “and it is a masterstoke. Now that Dumbledore is dead, you—the Boy Who Lived—were sure to be the symbol and rallying point for any resistance to Voldemort. But by suggesting that you had a hand in the old hero’s death, Voldemort has not only set a price upon your head, but sown doubt and fear amongst many who would have defended you.”

Wow. Well…at least Voldemort is thorough? I mean….I gotta hand it to him. That’s pretty smart, despite that it creates a pretty difficult situation for Harry. On top of this, however, is the news that the new Ministry is going after Muggle-born wizards. It’s akin to mandating institutionalized racism; the new Ministry policy outright states that unless anyone can prove otherwise, only Wizard-born are known to possess magic, so therefore all Muggle-born and half-blood people must certainly have stolen their magic.

It’s an absurd premise, yes. We all know that people like Hermione never stole their magical abilities. (And in the case of Hermione specifically, here’s someone who has never worked harder at her abilities.) Voldemort isn’t hoping that people will think of it in these terms, though; he’s instead playing on the bigotry and oppression that’s part of the cultural landscape of the Wizarding world, most especially the kind that is casual and unconscious.

If I may, it reminds me of the current attempts in the United States by certain public figures to act on the unconscious racism towards those with brown skin to ignite the immigration debate. And whatever your thoughts are on immigration in the United States, there are plenty of arguments being presented to us that rely on such subtle techniques, to prey on people who believe, way in the back of their minds (or sometimes in the front of them), that those with a darker skin color than their own are impure and dangerous, that they are thieving the livelihood from “true” Americans. So governmental regulation of these people simply makes sense.

It’s a scary thought.

Anyway, what happens next is another moment that’s unexpected, surprising, and revelatory for one of our characters. After Lupin is denied the knowledge of Dumbledore’s mission by Harry, he asks Harry if he can come along on their mission. For the record, this is what my face did, essentially:


  • Hermione, however, looked puzzled.

    “But what about Tonks?” she asked.

    “What about her?” said Lupin.

    “Well,” said Hermione, frowning, “you’re married! How does she feel about you going away with us?”

    “Tonks will be perfectly safe,” said Lupin. “She’ll be at her parents’ house.”

    There was something strange in Lupin’s tone; it was almost cold. There was also something odd in the idea of Tonks remaining hidden at her parents’ house; she was, after all, a member of the Order and, as far as Harry knew, was likely to want to be in the thick of the action.

Oh boy, are we finally going to address why Lupin has been so sullen lately?

  • Hermione turned pink. There was another pause, an awkward and embarrassed one, and then Lupin said, with an air of forcing himself to admit something unpleasant, “Tonks is going to have a baby.”


  • ”She’ll be perfectly safe there, they’ll look after her,” said Lupin. He spoke with a finality bordering on indifference. “Harry, I’m sure James would have wanted me to stick with you.”

Wait. But…you just said your wife is having a child? Why are you so insistent to go, Lupin?

  • ”Well,” said Harry slowly, “I’m not. I’m pretty sure my father would have wanted to know why you aren’t sticking with your own kid, actually.”

Oh. Shit. This is not an easy thing to say, and I imagine it’s even harder to say to someone like Lupin. Oh god OH GOD WHAT IS HAPPENING.

  • ”You don’t understand,” said Lupin.

    “Explain, then,” said Harry.

    Lupin swallowed. “I—I made a grave mistake in marrying Tonks. I did it against my better judgment and I have regretted it very much ever since.”

WHAT. What???? Why would you say that??

  • ”You have only ever seen me amongst the Order, or under Dumbledore’s protection at Hogwarts! You don’t know how most of the Wizarding world sees creatures like me! When they know of my affliction, they can barely talk to me! Don’t you see what I’ve done? Even her own family is digusted by our marriage, what parents want their only daughter to marry a werewolf? And the child—the child—“

    Lupin actually seized handfuls of his own hair; he looked quite deranged.

    “My kind don’t usually breed! It will be like me, I am convinced of it—how can I forgive myself, when I knowingly risked passing on my own condition to an innocent child? And if, by some miracle, it is not like me, then it will be better off, a hundred times so, without a father of whom it must always be ashamed!”

So I’ll say it outright: Lupin represents those infected by HIV.

I’ve lost two friends to AIDS and know countless others living with the disease. And though I am not HIV positive myself, I have seen the shame and the rejection that comes when a person learns they are infected. In fact, Rowling’s characterization of Lupin matches so perfectly with those living with the disease that I’d be surprised if this wasn’t her intentions.

Since 2008, I’ve participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle charity ride out here in California precisely because I’ve seen what this disease does to people and how our society and our government essentially leaves these people to die most of the time, assigning them blame, demonizing them, and stating that they deserve the death they’ll get. In fact, the governor here in California, that circus clown of a politician, actually cut all state funding for HIV/AIDS services, making the ALC ride I do even more important than ever. (Shameless promotion: I’m doing it again in 2011 and trying to raise $10,000 this year! //

Lupin is not as privileged as anyone in our real world, because he’s left in a system without any support for his condition. So it sadly makes sense to him that he’d want to abandon his family in the hopes of keeping them safe.

The conflict here, though, is not that Harry doesn’t understand Lupin; it’s the fact that Lupin tells someone whose father died trying to save him and protect him that he’s not going to stick around to do the same for his kid.

Harry’s response to Lupin is an overreaction and I’m glad that he later recognizes it as such:

  • ”I’d have never believed this,” Harry said. “The man who taught me to fight dementors—a coward.”

Ouch, Harry. Way below the belt and super fucked up, but it causes Lupin to abandon his desire to go with the trio.

  • ”But if it makes him go back to Tonks, it’ll be worth it, won’t it?”

I can only hope so. It scares me to think what Lupin might do and how this will affect Tonks. I really thought it would be fantastic to have him along on the journey to find the Horcruxes, but there are more important things for him to deal with now. I just hope he’s ok. :/


Can we just skip to after Kreacher arrives with Mundungus? Look, we have to. Kreacher returns with Mundungus, who admits that he no longer has the locket they are looking for. When Ron suggests that Mundungus is concerned that he should have asked for more money when selling it, Mundungus corrects him.

  • ”More?” said Mundungus. “That wouldn’t have been effing difficult…bleedin’ gave it away, di’n’ I? No choice.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I was selling in Diagon Alley and she come up to me and asks if I’ve got a license for trading in magical artifacts. Bleedin’ snoop. She was gonna fine me, but she took a fancy to the locket an’ told me she’d take it and let me off that time, and to fink meself lucky.”

OH GREAT!!! Goddamn it, someone else has it now? Seriously? This is like a comedy of errors. Is anyone ever going to find it? Is it just going to pass from person to person? So who is this woman who has it?

  • ”Little woman. Bow on top of ‘er head.”

    “He frowned and then added, “Looked like a toad.”


  • Harry looked up and saw his own shock reflected in Ron’s and Hermione’s faces. The scars on the back of his right hand seemed to be tingling again.

You simply cannot be serious. DOLORES UMBRIDGE HAS THE HORCRUX? Oh my god, I am going to become catatonic. I don’t think I could understand one sentence devoted to Dolores Umbridge.

Oh god, everything is fucked.