Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 20
In the twentieth chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the destruction of the locket Horcrux lifts the spirits of Ron and Harry, though Hermione is still angered by Ron’s return. Hermione, however, convinces them to visit Xenophilius Lovegood. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 20: XENOPHILIUS LOVEGOOD
The title of this chapter alone made my stomach whirl with anticipation. FINALLY. We are FINALLY going to deal with Luna’s father…right? RIGHT?
- Harry had not expected Hermione’s anger to abate over night and was therefore unsurprised that she communicated mainly by dirty looks and pointed silences the next morning. Ron responded by maintaining an unnaturally somber demeanor in her presence as an outward sign of continuing remorse. In fact, when all three of them were together Harry felt like the only non-mourner at a poorly attended funeral. During those few moments he spent alone with Harry, however (collecting water and searching the undergrowth for mushrooms). Ron became shamelessly cheery.
I’m actually glad that Harry didn’t expect Hermione to be immediately cheery after what they’d gone through. But, as hard as it is for me to admit it, Hermione is kind of being…slightly irritating. Again, ONLY SLIGHTLY. I largely get why she is angry and why she’s acting the way she is. I guess I just wish…that she would stop? Is it so bad that I just want them all to have hug parties and unicorn cupcakes?
Look, I am an adult, you stop judging me.
- Bolstered by the destruction of the locket they set to debating the possible locations of the other Horcruxes and even though they had discussed the matter so often before. Harry felt optimistic, certain that more breakthroughs would succeed the first. Hermione’s sulkiness could not mar his buoyant spirits; The sudden upswing in their fortunes, the appearance of the mysterious due, the recovery of Gryffindor’s sword, and above all, Ron’s return made Harry so happy that it was quite difficult to maintain a straight face.
I’m not going to pretend this doesn’t make me smile, even though my literary counterpart is MAXIMUM SAD right now. In a novel as harrowing and dark as this has been, I’m going to take these moments of happiness when they come. And without complaining.
- “… and how did you find out about the Taboo?” he asked Harry after explaining the many desperate attempts of Muggle-borns to evade the Ministry.”
“The what?” “You and Hermione have stopped saying You-Know-Who’s name!”
“Oh, yeah, Well, it’s just a bad habit we’ve slipped into,” said Harry. “But I haven’t got a problem calling him V —“
“NO!” roared Ron, causing Harry to jump into the hedge and Hermione (nose buried in a book at the tent entrance) to scowl over at them. “Sorry,” said Ron, wrenching Harry back out of the brambles, “but the name’s been jinxed, Harry, that’s how they track people! Using his name breaks protective enchantments, it causes some kind of magical disturbance — it’s how they found us in Tottenham Court Road!”
“Because we used his name?”
“Exactly! You’ve got to give them credit, it makes sense. It was only people who were serious about standing up to him, like Dumbledore, who even dared use it. Now they’ve put a Taboo on it, anyone who says it is trackable — quick-and-easy way to find Order members!
WHAT. Oh man, again, such a simple explanation that I never even remotely considered. Actually, I had completely forgotten about them being attacked off of Tottenham Court Road. I read back in chapter nine and there, on page 164, it sat:
- “We know what’s going on! Voldemort’s taken over the Ministry, what else do we need to know?”
Oh, Rowling, you are a mad genius.
- “You don’t reckon Kingsley could have sent that doe?”
“His Patronus is a lynx, we saw it at the wedding, remember?” “Oh yeah…” They moved farther along the hedge, away from the tent and Hermione. “Harry… you don’t reckon it could’ve been Dumbledore?” “Dumbledore what?”
Ron looked a little embarrassed, but said in a low voice, “Dumbledore … the doe? I mean,” Ron was watching Harry out of the corners of his eyes, “he had the real sword last, didn’t he? Harry did not laugh at Ron, because he understood too well the longing behind the question. The idea that Dumbledore had managed to come back to them, that he was watching over them, would have inexpressibly comforting. He shook his head.
“Dumbledore’s dead,” he said. “I saw it happen, I saw the body. He’s definitely gone. Anyway his Patronus was a phoenix, not a doe”
And I’ll additionally admit that this small passage put the possibility that Dumbledore was alive into my head. I quickly discounted the notion, though, because it’s absurd. I think, without some grand plan to completely absolve the pain everyone has gone through, I would be pretty mad at Rowling if she brought Dumbledore back. That’s what makes this series so unique to me: the risk is real, not imagined or just threatened, and Dumbledore represents the consequences of fighting oppression firsthand.
If he did do that at all, I suppose. Oh, damn it.
- “I dunno,” said Ron. “Sometimes I’ve thought, when I’ve been a bit hacked off, he was having a laugh or — or he just wanted to make it more difficult, But I don’t think so, not anymore. He knew what he was doing when he gave me the Deluminator, didn’t he? He — well,” Ron’s ears turned bright red and he became engrossed in a tuft of grass at his feet, which he prodded with his toe, “he must’ve known I’d run out on you.”
“No,” Harry corrected him. “He must’ve known you’d always want to come back.”
Jesus. There go my heartstrings again.
I will say that, for the time being, I’m worried about Harry being so glad that Ron is back that the two of them will start making Hermione feel like Ron did before he left. And, because I feel like I need to preface these kind of statements everything, Hermione’s tantrum might THAT IS TOTALLY JUSTIFIED seems to be set up to be a possible foil for our two male characters in the future.
SO FAR. I will probably be wrong, but I just wanted to vomit a thought or two down before I forgot it.
MOVING RIGHT ALONG.
- Harry looked down at the blackthorn wand. Every minor spell he had cast with it so far that day had seemed less powerful than those he had produced with his phoenix wand. The new one felt intrusively unfamiliar, like having somebody else’s hand sewn to the end of his arm.
“You just need to practice,” said Hermione, who had approached them noiselessly from behind and had stood watching anxiously as Harry tried to enlarge and reduce the spider. “It’s all a matter of confidence Harry.”
He knew why she wanted it to be all right; She still felt guilty about breaking his wand. He bit back the retort that sprung to his lips, that she could take the blackthorn wand if she thought it made no difference, and he would have hers instead. Keen for them all to be friends again, however, he agreed; but when Ron gave Hermione a tentative smile, she stalked off and vanished behind her book once more.
Well, I guess I get to eat my words immediately upon committing them to the digital world. Harry, thank you for being the bigger person here amidst all the chaos and stress, not only because it’s a mature thing to do, but because I cannot handle any more tomfoolery from this book.
- “We need to talk,” she said.
He looked at the book still clutched in her hand. It was The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore.
“What?” he said apprehensively. It flew through his mind that there was a chapter on him in there; he was not sure he felt up to hearing Rita’s version of his relationship with Dumbledore. Hermione’s answer however, was completely unexpected.
“I want to go and see Xenophilius Lovegood.”
Oh shit, guys. Are we going to go to the Lovegood household??? IS THIS ONE OF THE BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE? Only time will tell.
- She took a deep breath, as though bracing herself, and said, “It’s that mark, the mark in Beedle the Bard. Look at this!” She thrust The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore under Harry’s unwilling eyes and saw a photograph of the original letter that Dumbledore had written Grindelwald, with Dumbledore’s familiar thin, slanting handwriting. He hated seeing absolute proof that Dumbledore really had written those words, that they had not been Rita’s invention.
“The signature,” said Hermione. “Look at the signature, Harry!”
He obeyed. For a moment he had no idea what she was talking about, but, looking more closely with the aid of his lit wand, he saw that Dumbledore had replaced the A of Albus with a tiny version of the same triangular mark inscribed upon The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
“Er – what are you — ?” said Ron tentatively, but Hermione quelled him with a look and turned back to Harry.
“It keeps cropping up, doesn’t it?” she said. “I know Viktor said it was Grindelwald’s mark, but it was definitely on that old grave in Godric’s Hollow, and the dates on the headstone were long before Grindelwald came along! And now this! Well, we can’t ask Dumbledore or Grindelwald what it means – I don’t even know whether Grindelwald’s still alive – but we can ask Mr. Lovegood. He was wearing the symbol at the wedding. I’m sure this is important, Harry!”
It’s finally starting to come together. So much has happened since the wedding that I’d also forgotten about Xenophilius wearing the mark of Grindelwald. But…why? Why was he wearing it and why is it in Tales of Beetle The Bard and why is it also in the letter Dumbledore wrote Grindelwald and why was it ALSO on a grave in Godric’s Hollow?
I’m glad Hermione brought this up and, despite how it appears to Harry, glad that Ron agrees with her that they need to go see Xenophilius Lovegood. Harry is probably partially right that Ron is doing it as a way to placate Hermione, but her idea isn’t bad at all. They’re at another dead end and Ron’s gift from Dumbledore proved worthy, so why wouldn’t Hermione’s? Obviously, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I suppose the entire thing is an absurd stretch once you start thinking about it.
I was kind of sad that when they traveled to find the Lovegood house, they came so close to the Burrow, but the atmosphere of terror that has become their daily lives prevented them from even visiting. It makes me wonder if Ginny and Mrs. Weasley are ok, and if the twins’ shop is still doing well.
- “Aha!” shouted Ron, as the wind whipped their hair and clothes. Ron was pointing upward, toward the top of the hill on which they had appeared, where a most strange-looking house rose vertically against the sky, a great black cylinder with a ghostly moon hanging behind it in the afternoon sky. “That’s got to be Luna’s house, who else would live in a place like that? It looks like a giant rook!”
I’m not surprised that the Lovegood house is so odd. I’m glad we get the chance to let Rowling do her best (detailed description of micro environments) with the Lovegood house, both inside and out.
- The gate creaked as they opened it. The zigzagging path leading to the front door was overgrown with a variety of odd plants, including a bush covered in orange radishlike fruit Luna sometimes wore as earrings. Harry thought he recognized a Snargaluff and gave the wizened stump a wide berth. Two aged crab apple trees, bent with the wind, stripped of leaves but still heavy with berry-sized red fruits and bushy crowns of white beaded mistletoe, stood sentinel on either side of the front door. A little owl with a slightly flattened hawklike head peered down at them from one of the branches.
No, seriously, can I live here all the time.
- They were barely over the threshold when Xenophilius slammed the door shut behind them, They were standing in the most peculiar kitchen Harry had ever seen. The room was perfectly circular, so that he felt like being inside a giant pepper pot. Everything was curved to fit the walls – the stove, the sink, and the cupboards – and all of it had been painted with flowers, insects, and birds in bright primary colors. Harry thought he recognized Luna’s styles. The effect in such and enclosed space, was slightly overwhelming.
In the middle of the floor, a wrought-iron spiral staircase ld to the upper levels. There was a great deal of clattering and banging coming from overhead: Harry wondered what Luna could be doing.
The Deathly Hallows movie is in two parts and I’m going to be massively upset if the inside of the Lovegood house doesn’t make it. I NEED TO SEE THIS ON FILM. This description actually makes the house seem rather practical. Well, not the paint job, but the way everything is shaped.
As they make their way upstairs to Xenophilius’s workshop, there’s a really strange moment with a…well, a horn on the wall.
- “Mr. Lovegood – what’s that?”
See was pointing at an enormous, gray spiral horn, not unlike that of a unicorn, which had been mounted on the wall, protruding several feet into the room.
“It is the horn of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack,” said Xenophilius.
“No it isn’t!” said Hermione.
“Hermione,” muttered Harry, embarrassed, “now’s not the moment -“
“But Harry, it’s an Erumpent horn! It’s a Class B Tradeable Material and it’s an extraordinary dangerous thing to have in a house!”
“How’d you know it’s an Erumpent horn?” asked Ron, edging away from the horn as fast as he could, given the extreme clutter of the room.
“There’s a description in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! Mr. Lovegood, you need to get rid of it straightaway, don’t you know it can explode at the slightest touch?”
Wait, why does he have this SITTING ON HIS WALL?
- “The Crumple Horned Snorkack” said Xenophilius very clearly, a mulish look upon his face, “is a shy and highly magical creature, and it’s horn -”
“Mr. Lovegood. I recognize the grooved markings around the base, that’s an Erumpent horn and it’s incredibly dangerous – I don’t know where you got it-“
“I bought it,” said Xenophilius dogmatically. “Two weeks ago, from a delightful young wizard who knew my interest in the exquisite Snorkack. A Christmas surprise for my Luna.”
Is this going to be one of those minor details that becomes important later on? I think so. Unfortunately, we don’t get any more elaboration on this horn because Harry asks Xenophilius for help.
- “Ah,” said Xenophilius, “Help, Hmm.”
His good eye moved again to Harry’s scar. He seemed simultaneously terrified and mesmerized.
“Yes. The thing is … helping Harry Potter … rather dangerous…” “Aren’t you the one who keeps telling everyone it’s their first duty to help Harry?” said Ron. “In that magazine of yours?”
Touche, Ron. What gives, Mr. Lovegood?
- Xenophilius glanced behind him at the concealed printing press, still banging and clattering beneath the tablecloth.
“Er – yes, I have expressed that view. however -” “That’s for everyone else to do, not you personally?” said Ron. Xenophilius did not answer. He kept swallowing, his eyes darting between the three of them. Harry had the impression that he was undergoing some painful internal struggle.
“Where’s Luna?” asked Hermione. “Let’s see what she thinks.”
Xenophilius gulped. He seemed to be steeling himself. Finally he said in a shaky voice difficult to hear over the noise of the printing press, “Luna is down at the stream, fishing for Freshwater Plimpies. She…she will like to see you. I’ll go and call her and then – yes, very well. I shall try to help you.”
He disappeared down the spiral staircase and they heard the front open and close. They looked at each other.
Oh, I don’t like this. I don’t like this at all. I’m glad Luna is going to show up (and hopefully in this chapter), but in the meantime, let’s appreciate a rather touching scene with Harry.
- Harry crossed to the window on the far side of the room. He could see a stream, a thin, glittering ribbon lying far below them at the base of the hill. They were very high up; a bird fluttered past the window as he stared in the direction of the Burrow, now invisible beyond another line of hills. Ginny was over there somewhere. They were closer to each other today than they had been since Bill and Fleur’s wedding, but she could have no idea he was gazing toward her now, thinking of her. He suppose he ought to be glad of it; anyone he came into contact with was in danger, Xenophilius’s attitude proved that.
You know, I bet while Ron was gone, the Harry/Hermione shippers were having a field day with that part of the story, but I still think Ginny is best for Harry. And I kind of miss her feisty attitude around these parts. :/
Xenophilius returns, without Luna, though she is on her way back. (YAY I LOVE LUNDA FOREVER.) And they finally get down to business.
- “Now,” he remove a tottering pile of papers from an armchair and sat down, his Wellingtoned legs crossed, “how may I help you, Mr. Potter?”
“Well,” said Harry, glancing at Hermione, who nodded encouragingly, “it’s about that symbol you were wearing around your neck at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, Mr. Lovegood. We wondered what it meant.”
Xenophilius raised his eyebrows. “Are you referring to the sign of the Deathly Hallows?”
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. No way. NO WAY!!!!!
Please please please please let the next chapter be about the Deathly Hallows PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.