Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 22
In the twenty-first chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry’s focus is renewed after their escape from the Lovegood household is impervious to Hermione’s disbelief and Ron’s doubt. And it might just lead to his downfall. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 22: THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
- “Cave Inimicum…Didn’t I say it was an Frumpent horn, didn’t I tell him? And now his house has been blown apart!”
“Serves him right,” said Ron, examining his torn jeans and the cuts to his legs, “What’d you reckon they’ll do to him?”
“Oh I hope they don’t kill him!” groaned Hermione, “That’s why I wanted the Death Eaters to get a glimpse of Harry before we left, so they knew Xenophilius hadn’t been lying!”
“Why hide me though?” asked Ron.
“You’re supposed to be in bed with spattergrolt, Ron! They’ve kidnapped Luna because her father supported Harry! What would happen to your family if they knew you’re with him?”
“But what about your mum and dad?”
“They’re in Australia,” said Hermione, “They should be all right. They don’t know anything.”
“You’re a genius,” Ron repeated, looking awed.
“Yeah, you are, Hermione,” agreed Harry fervently. “I don’t know what we’d do without you.”
She beamed, but became solemn at once.
FINALLY. What have I been saying for months? Hermione is the very best genius and the very best friend ever. I am so happy that Ron and Harry are complimenting her, directly and honestly. THIS IS A BIG MOMENT FOR ME. I MEAN HERMIONE.
Upon saying that, though…this is perhaps the one chapter in the series where I am in complete opposition to virtually everything Hermione says besides this. And it’s unfortunate because clearly I am her and it sort of makes me look at how I’ve reacted to things in the past.
Before I elaborate on how this relates to me, let’s talk about Hermione’s character herself. The obvious comparison that springs into my head is that she is the Dana Scully to Harry’s Fox Mulder. (My favorite show ever, The X-Files, colliding with Harry Potter? Clearly there is a loving god.) Harry is the steadfast believer, who can’t even conceive that people would think differently than him, while Hermione’s basis in books, facts, and established reality acts as a foil towards Harry’s enthusiasm and willingness to do really, really stupid things.
What’s interesting so far is that in nearly every case in the past, Hermione was actually right; it’s actually pretty rare for that trope in literature and film to ever side with the disbeliever. Maybe that’s a subconscious reason why I’m drawn towards Hermione so much; I guess I’d never actually realized this was happening until now.
But she has been wrong before and it’s important to point that out, especially to people like myself, who will fawn over every word of Hermione’s because I am not healthy or something. It’s important because this moment right here, in chapter 21, is so categorically Hermione and she is dead wrong.
I guess the only thing about their argument that strikes me as strange is what I brought up in my ALL CAPS barrage in the last review: you live in a world full of strange magic. How on earth is it inconceivable to you, Hermione, that the Deathly Hallows could be real? I suppose that Hermione’s dependence on recorded history is blinding her; as Xenophilius said to her, her vision on this is incredibly narrow. How many times has she discovered that history is constantly revised, edited, or erased, especially to benefit those who gain privilege from it? I don’t think this is necessarily a privilege issue here, but take Horcruxes, for example. Not a single book in Hogwarts had anything on them at all; in fact, she had to steal a book from Dumbledore’s office to even learn about the subject. And even then, it didn’t hold all the answers.
So why is it so hard for her to believe there are magical objects like the Hallows? There is a brief possibility in this chapter for why she would feel this way:
- He saw concern and something less easily definable in Hermione’s expression. Then, as she glanced at Ron, Harry realized that it was fear: He had scared her with his talk of living with dead people.
It’s a believable answer. What motivates most people to act so stubborn like this? Fear. (This makes the name “Xenophilius” so much more awesome than ever before.) And Hermione fears the idea that this power is real and that someone–even Harry–might be able to possess it.
- And then it came to Harry in one shining piece, the memory that had stirred at the sound of the name “Peverell”: a filthy old man brandishing an ugly ring in the face of a Ministry official, and he cried aloud, “Marvolo Gaunt!”
“Sorry said Ron and Hermione together.
“Marvolo Gaunt! You-Know-Who’s grandfather! In the Pensieve! With Dumbledore! Marvolo Gaunt said he was descended from the Peverells!”
Ron and Hermione looked bewildered.
“The ring, the ring that became the Horcrux, Marvolo Gaunt said it had the Peverell coat of arms on it! I saw him waving it in the bloke from the Ministry’s face, he nearly shoved it up his nose!”
JESUS. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of how Rowling is able to take the smallest detail and make it integral to the entire story.
- Something fell to the floor and rolled, glittering, under a chair: He had dislodged the Snitch when he pulled out the letter. He stooped to pick it up, and then the newly tapped spring of fabulous discoveries threw him another gift, and shock and wonder erupted inside him so that he shouted out.
“IT’S IN HERE! He left me the ring – it’s in the Snitch!”
“You — you reckon?” He could not understand why Ron looked taken aback. It was so obvious, so clear to Harry. Everything fit, everything…His Cloak was the third Hallow, and when he discovered how to open the Snitch he would have the second, and then all he needed to do was find the first Hallow, the Elder Wand, and then —
My poor brain will be rendered useless by the end of this novel. Holy shit HE HAS THE STONE.
But wait….what about the wand?
- But it was as though a curtain fell on a lit stage: All his excitement, all his hope and happiness were extinguished at a stroke, and he stood alone in the darkness, and the glorious spell was broken.
“That’s what he’s after.” The change in his voice made Ron and Hermione look even more scared. “You-Know-Who’s after the Elder Wand.” He turned his back on their strained, incredulous faces. He knew it was the truth.
It all made sense, Voldemort was not seeking a new wand; he was seeking an old wand, a very old wand indeed. Harry walked to the entrance of the tent, forgetting about Ron and Hermione as he looked out into the night, thinking.
Oh my god. Oh god, this is horrible. DO. NOT. WANT. It’s like the last light of hope inside me was just extinguished. Oh god, this is not good.
I mean…fuck, I can’t even begin to imagine the possibilities. What if Voldemort gets the Elder Wand? What if Harry gets it but does something stupid? There’s only one good thing that could be done, and a billion ways this can go wrong.
The dread I felt persisted for the next couple pages, as I read about the awkwardness and stress returning to the trio’s lives. Maybe the overload of chaos is affecting me too much, but I seriously just want them to GET ALONG FOR LIKE…FIVE MINUTES. THAT’S IT.
I get that moment in what will probably become one of my top scenes for the whole novel. Ron had been hinting at a radio show called Potterwatch that was being used as the only anti-Voldemort broadcast; the people running it move after each episode. I loved the parallel here to old radio stations during the World Wars, but I loved the constant surprises the most.
- “…apologize for our temporary absence from the airwaves, which was due to a number of house
calls in our area by those charming Death Eaters.” “But that’s Lee Jordan!” said Hermione.
“I know!” beamed Ron. “Cool, eh?”
OH MY GOD IT IS SO FITTING. Oh god, I thought we’d never hear from him again!!!!
- “But before we hear from Royal and Romulus,” Lee went on, “let’s take a moment to report those deaths that the Wizarding Wireless Network News and Daily Prophet don’t think important enough to mention. It is with great regret that we inform our listeners of the murders of Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell.”
Harry felt a sick, swooping in his belly. He, Ron, and Hermione gazed at one another in horror.
“A goblin by the name of Gornuk was also killed. It is believed that Muggle-born Dean Thomas and a second goblin, both believed to have been traveling with Tonks, Cresswell, and Gornuk, may have escaped. If Dean is listening, or if anyone has any knowledge of his whereabouts, his parents and sisters are desperate for news.
Oh, fuck everything. I’m at a loss for words. God, that is horrible. I don’t want to lose anyone else SADFACES UNTIL THE END OF TIME.
- “Thank you,” said Lee’s voice. “And now we can return to regular contributor Royal, for an update on how the new Wizarding order is affecting the Muggle world.”
“Thanks, River,” said an unmistakable voice, deep, measured, reassuring.
“Kingsley!” burst out Ron.
“We know!” said Hermione, hushing him.
OH MY GOD YES. THE CHIEF BADASS IS IN THE HOUSE.
- “And what would you say, Royal, to those listeners who reply that in these dangerous times, it should be ‘Wizards first’? asked Lee.
“I’d say that it’s one short step from ‘Wizards first’ to ‘Purebloods first,’ and then to ‘Death Eaters,’” replied Kingsley. “We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
Oh god, this is so endlessly beautiful. All bodies matter, magical or not. I LOVE YOU, J.K. ROWLING.
- “Excellently put, Royal, and you’ve got my vote for Minister of Magic if we ever get out of this mess,” said Lee. “And now, over to Romulus for our popular feature ‘Pals of Potter.’”
“Thanks, River,” said another very familiar voice. Ron started to speak, but Hermione forestalled him in a whisper.
“We know it’s Lupin!”
OH MY GOD IT IS LUPIN AND HE IS ALIVE oh my god my heart
- “Romulus, do you maintain, as you have every time you’ve appeared on our program, that Harry Potter is still alive?”
“I do,” said Lupin firmly. “There is no doubt at all in my mind that his death would be proclaimed as widely as possible by the Death Eaters if it had happened, because it would strike a deadly blow at the morale of those resisting the new regime. ‘The Boy Who Lived’ remains a symbol of everything for which we are fighting: the triumph of good, the power of innocence, the need to keep resisting.”
A mixture of gratitude and shame welled up in Harry. Had Lupin forgiven him, then, for the terrible things he had said when they had last met?
“And what would you say to Harry if you knew he was listening, Romulus?”
“I’d tell him we’re all with him in spirit,” said Lupin, then hesitated slightly, “And I’d tell him to follow his instincts, which are good and nearly always right.”
Literally one of the best things I’ve read in this whole book. Oh god, I just want to hug Lupin forever until the end of all time, but that is really creepy and weird.
- “We have also heard within the last few hours that Rubeus Hagrid” – all three of them gasped, and so nearly missed the rest of the sentence — “well-known gamekeeper at Hogwarts School, has narrowly escaped arrest within the grounds of Hogwarts, where he is rumored to have hosted a ‘Support Harry Potter’ party in his house. However, Hagrid was not taken into custody, and is, we believe, on the run.”
OH GOD, HAD I ACTUALLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT HAGRID??? Bless his half-giant heart, that Hagrid.
- “’Rodent’?” said yet another familiar voice, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione cried out together: “Fred!”
“No – is it George?”
“It’s Fred, I think,” said Ron, leaning in closer, as whichever twin it was said, “I’m not being ‘Rodent,’ no way, I told you I wanted to be ‘Rapier’!”
HFSADK;JASFDJKLADFSASFDKJJKLAS FRED!!!! Oh god, I have been reduced to childish exclamations now. I am supposed to be reviewing and being all intellectual and stuff. Oh well!
- “Agreed,” said Fred. “So, people, let’s try and calm down a bit. Things are bad enough without inventing stuff as well. For instance, this new idea that You-Know-Who can kill people with a single glance from his eyes. That’s a basilisk, listeners. One simple test: Check whether the thing that’s glaring at you has got legs. If it has, it’s safe to look into its eyes, although if it really is You-Know-Who, that’s still likely to be the last thing you ever do.”
For the first time in weeks and weeks, Harry was laughing: He could feel the weight of tension leaving him.
I think this book desperately needs more Fred and George; it is lacking a sense of humor. I mean…I get it. Everything is fucked up and shit is so real and there’s hardly room for it, but everything is so negative and awful that you forget that sometimes humor is the best answer for the terror and fear we experience.
- “Well, who wouldn’t want a nice little holiday after all the hard work he’s been putting in?” asked Fred. “Point is, people, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security, thinking he’s out of the country. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but the fact remains he can move faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo when he wants to, so don’t count on him being a long way away if you’re planning to take any risks. I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but safety first!”
I LOVE YOU UNTIL WE CEASE TO BE, FRED WEASLEY.
- “But did you hear what Fred said?” asked Harry excitedly; now the broadcast was over, his thoughts turned around toward his all consuming obsession. “He’s abroad! He’s still looking for the Wand, I knew it!”
“Come on, Hermione, why are you so determined not to admit it? Vol –“
“—demort’s after the Elder Wand!”
HARRY WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU GODDAMN MORON
- But Ron stopped talking, and Harry knew why. The Sneakoscope on the table had lit up and begun to spin; they could hear voices coming nearer and nearer: rough, excited voices. Ron pulled the Deluminator out of his pocket and clicked it: Their lamps went out.
“Come out of there with your hands up!” came a rasping voice through the darkness. “We know you’re in there! You’ve got half a dozen wands pointing at you and we don’t care who we curse!”
OH FUCKING HELL. REALLY? REALLY? I spent most of this review criticizing Hermione’s unwillingness to believe when I forgot to point out that HARRY SHOULD REALLY JUST THINK ABOUT THINGS BEFORE DOING THEM.
Oh god, they’ve been caught, haven’t they? For real this time, right? Oh, everything is back to being awful again, isn’t it? GODDAMN IT.