Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 25
In the twenty-fifth chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the trio debate whether Dumbledore is actually dead. Meanwhile, Griphook agrees to help Harry break into Gringotts, but things might not be as easy as planned. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 25: SHELL COTTAGE
[Author’s Note: I made like 8 billion errors in this, so read my corrections at the end so y’all won’t hate me until the end of time. M.O.]
- The enormity of his decision not to race Voldemort to the wand still scared Harry. He could not remember, ever before, choosing /not/ to act. He was full of doubts, doubts that Ron could not help voicing whenever they were together.
Is this the first moment where Harry actually chooses not to do something? Could this be…a new Harry? Ok, probably not, but there’s something to be said for that sort of maturity and self-control. Though I suppose it could easily be written off as Harry realizing it’s pointless for him to really do anything right now either; I mean…is he going to fly off to Hogwarts to fight Harry when Voldemort has the Elder Wand?
Probably not. Ugh, this is so strange.
- “What if Dumbledore wanted us to work out the symbol in time to get the wand?” “What if working out what the symbol meant made you ‘worthy’ to get the Hallows?” “Harry, if that really is the Elder Wand, how the hell are we supposed to finish off You-Know- Who?”
Harry had no answers: There were moments when he wondered whether it had been outright madness not to try to prevent Voldemort breaking open the tomb. He could not even explain satisfactorily why he had decided against it: Every time he tried to reconstruct the internal arguments that had led to his decision, they sounded feebler to him.
Ok, I take that back. This seems like it might have less to do with some grand decision of Harry’s and more to do with the futility of the situation: Exactly how do you defeat Voldemort if he’s got a wand that can never fail? And is Harry actually making a wise and prudent choice and not just reacting to a fucked up situation?
Don’t tell me the answer.
- But the idea of Dumbledore’s corpse frightened Harry much less than the possibility that he might have misunderstood the living Dumbledore’s intentions. He felt that he was still groping in the dark; he had chosen his path but kept looking back, wondering whether he had misread the signs, whether he should not have taken the other way. From time to time, anger at Dumbledore crashed over him again, powerful as the waves slamming themselves against the cliff beneath the cottage, anger that Dumbledore had not explained before he died.
I think I’m pretty confident in asserting my own anger at this point: What on earth was Dumbledore thinking? I know that I don’t have all the pieces yet, but this is getting to be completely absurd. Why would Dumbledore leave Harry such a frustrating game? Doesn’t he realize how important it is for Harry to beat Voldemort?
- “But is he dead?” said Ron, three days after they had arrived at the cottage. Harry had been staring out over the wall that separated the cottage garden from the cliff when Ron and Hermione had found him; he wished they had not, having no wish to join in with their argument.
“Yes, he is. Ron, please don’t start that again!”
“Look at the facts, Hermione,” said Ron, speaking across Harry, who continued to gaze at the horizon. “The silver doe. The sword. The eye Harry saw in the mirror–“
“Harry admits he could have imagined the eye! Don’t you, Harry?” “I could have,” said Harry without looking at her. “But you don’t thing you did, do you?” asked Ron.
“No, I don’t,” said Harry.
“There you go!” said Ron quickly, before Hermione could carry on. “If it wasn’t Dumbledore, explain how Dobby knew we were in the cellar, Hermione?”
“I can’t — but can you explain how Dumbledore sent him to us if he’s lying in a tomb at Hogwarts?”
“I dunno, it could’ve been his ghost!”
“Dumbledore wouldn’t come back as a ghost,” said Harry. There was little about Dumbledore he was sure of now, but he knew that much. “He would have gone on.”
SO THEN WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? This book is two-thirds done at this point and I’m completely baffled as to how Rowling is going to manage to pull together not only this book’s set of mysteries, but the narrative as a whole. UGH SDKFL;JASLDKFJAS;LDFJKADFJS
- “I have reached my decision, Harry Potter,” said the goblin, who was sitting cross-legged in a low chair, drumming its arms with his spindly fingers. “Though the goblins of Gringotts will consider it base treachery, I have decided to help you –”
“That’s great!” said Harry, relief surging through him. “Griphook, thank you, we’re really –“
“– in return,” said the goblin firmly, “for payment.”
Slightly taken aback, Harry hesitated. “How much do you want? I’ve got gold.”
“Not gold,” said Griphook. “I have gold.” His black eyes glittered; there were no whites to his eyes.
“I want the sword. The sword of Godric Gryffindor.”
I WAS EXCITED AND THEN IT WAS RUINED. Great. How on earth can they give Griphook the sword and still destroy the Horcruxes? Their hands have been forced to pursue the Horcruxes, since Voldemort has the Elder Wand, so they’re kind of stucj.
- “The sword’s ours –”
“It is not,” said the goblin.
“We’re Gryffindors, and it was Godric Gryffindor’s –“
“And before it was Gryffindor’s, whose was it?” demanded the goblin, sitting up straight.
“No one’s,” said Ron. “It was made for him, wasn’t it?”
“No!” cried the goblin, bristling with anger as he pointed a long finger at Ron. “Wizarding arrogance again! That sword was Ragnuk the First’s, taken from him by Godric Gryffindor! It is a lost treasure, a masterpiece of goblinwork! It belongs with the goblins. The sword is the price of my hire, take it or leave it!”
Well, I can’t really argue with Griphook here. It is indeed a Goblin sword and the Goblins deserve it back.
- “It is true?” Harry asked Hermione. “Was the sword stolen by Gryffindor?”
“I don’t know,” she said hopelessly. “Wizarding history often skates over what the wizards have done to other magical races, but there’s no account that I know of that says Gryffindor stole the sword.”
“It’ll be one of those goblin stories,” said Ron, “about how the wizards are always trying to get one over on them. I suppose we should think ourselves lucky he hasn’t asked for one of our wands.”
“Goblins have got good reason to dislike wizards, Ron.” said Hermione. “They’ve been treated brutally in the past.”
“Goblins aren’t exactly fluffy little bunnies, though, are they?” said Ron. “They’ve killed plenty of us. They’ve fought dirty too.”
Oh, Ron. You can be so dense sometimes. That’s not how oppression works; any sort of violent tendencies or behavior like this can easily be attributed as a simple reaction to what wizarding communities did to Goblins. Soooooo…..no. Just no.
Harry does come up with an idea (that also ignores Ron’s suggestion to give Griphook a fake sword REALLY DUDE): he’ll promise Griphook the sword after he helps them into the vault, but won’t give the Goblin a specific time when that it is.
- “But that could be years!” said Hermione.
“I know that, but he needn’t. I won’t be lying… really.”
Harry met her eyes with a mixture of defiance and shame. He remembered the words that had been engraved over the gateway to Nurmengard: FOR THE GREATER GOOD. He pushed the idea away. What choice did they have?
DUN DUN DUN, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. No, seriously, THIS IS A REALLY, REALLY BAD IDEA, HARRY. It’s one of those moments that reeks of instant regret. Oh god, don’t do it, Harry.
Griphook buys it. Surprisingly. And then Rowling writes a montage scene. I’m serious. There aren’t that many in this series, but they happen once or twice a book, as a way for her to pass time. But for the next full page or so, it’s almost as if you can play caper music as the trio and Griphook plan their entrance into Gringotts. It’s pretty lazy writing, Rowling. THERE, I SAID SOMETHING NEGATIVE ABOUT ONE OF THESE BOOKS SO NOW I CAN GO BACK TO BEING EXCITED ABOUT EVERY WORD ON THESE PAGES.
How about we talk about some depressing shit?
- “… and if you ever come to our house I’ll be able to show you the horn, Daddy wrote to me about it but I haven’t seen it yet, because the Death Eaters took me from the Hogwarts Express and I never got home for Christmas,” Luna was saying, as she and Dean relit the fire.
“Luna, we told you,” Hermione called over to her. “That horn exploded. It came from an Erumpent, not a Crumple-Horned Snorkack –“
“No, it was definitely a Snorkack horn,” said Luna serenely, “Daddy told me. It will probably have re-formed by now, they mend themselves, you know.”
MOST DEPRESSING THING IN THE ENTIRE SET OF LANGUAGES THAT HAVE EVER EXISTED. That means Luna not only has no idea that her dad sold out Harry and his friends, but that he was also directly lying to her. And she also has no idea that he did.
- There was a bang on the front door. Everyone’s head turned toward it. Fleur came running out of the kitchen, looking frightened; Bill jumped to his feed, his wand pointingat the door; Harry, Ron, and Hermione did the same. Silently Griphook slipped beneath the table, out of sight.
OH MY GOD OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED my poor heart hurts
- “Who is it?” Bill called.
“It is I, Remus John Lupin!” called a voice over the howling wind. Harry experienced a thrill of fear; what had happened? “I am a werewolf, married to Nymphadora Tonks, and you, the Secret-Keeper of Shell Cottage, told me the address and bade me come in an emergency!”
“Lupin,” muttered Bill, and he ran to the door and wrenched it open.
Lupin fell over the threshold. He was white-faced, wrapped in a traveling cloak, his graying hair windswept. He straightened up, looked around the room, making sure of who was there, then cried aloud, “It’s a boy! We’ve named him Ted, after Dora’s father!”
Hermione shrieked. “Wha –? Tonks — Tonks has had the baby?”
“Yes, yes, she’s had the baby!” shouted Lupin. All around the table came cries of delight, sighs of relief: Hermione and Fleur both squealed, “Congratulations!” and Ron said, “Blimey, a baby!” as if he had never heard of such a thing before.
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!1 OH MY GOD IT IS GOOD NEWS. This is fantastic!!!!
- “Yes — yes — a boy,” said Lupin again, who seemed dazed by his own happiness. He strode around the table and hugged Harry; the scene in the basement of Grimmauld Place might never have happened.
“You’ll be godfather?” he said as he released Harry.
“M-me?” stammered Harry.
“You, yes, of course — Dora quite agrees, no one better –“
“I — yeah — blimey –“
Harry felt overwhelmed, astonished, delighted; now Bill was hurrying to fetch wine, and Fleur was persuading Lupin to join them for a drink.
This is amazing and I want to hug a bunch of puppies right now.
- “I wanted a private word, actually, Harry. It hasn’t been easy to get an opportunity with the cottage this full of people.”
Bill hesitated. “Harry, you’re planning something with Griphook.”
It was a statement, not a question, and Harry did not bother to deny it. He merely looked at Bill, waiting.
Someone take the invisible puppies away from me so I don’t squeeze them to death. Oh my god this is not going to be good.
- “Harry, what do you want from Griphook, and what have you promised him in return?”
“I can’t tell you that,” said Harry. “Sorry, Bill.”
HA. TAKE THAT. DUMBLEDORE DOESN’T LOVE YOU. Um…wait, ok I’ll be quiet.
- “Then I have to say this,” Bill went on. “If you have struck any kind of bargain with Griphook, and most particularly if that bargain involves treasure, you must be exceptionally careful. Goblin notions of ownership, payment, and repayment are not the same as human ones.”
Uh-oh. Oh no. A WRENCH IN THE PLAN??? (Did I really use that phrase? Take my laptop away from me.)
- “We are talking about a different breed of being,” said Bill. “Dealings between wizards and goblins have been fraught for centuries — but you’ll know all that from History of Magic. There has been fault on both sides, I would never claim that wizards have been innocent. However, there is a belief among some goblins, and those at Gringotts are perhaps most prone to it, that wizards cannot be trusted in matters of gold and treasure, that they have no respect for goblin ownership.”
Hahaha, Bill, you are so naïve. You are not talking to Harry, not Hermione. Harry’s never read History of Magic.
- “You don’t understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is the maker, not the purchaser. All goblin made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs.”
“But it was bought –“
“– then they would consider it rented by the one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. You saw Griphook’s face when the tiara passed under his eyes. He disapproves. I believe he thinks, as do the fiercest of his kind, that it ought to have been returned to the goblins once the original purchaser died. They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft.”
Is this kind of wanky? I understand the end result that Rowling wanted to get to: Goblins don’t trust humans. But did she have to have Bill MANSPLAIN Goblins? I mean…let’s just substitute another race or a gender identity or a sexuality for “Goblin” in what Bill said, and it seems really irritating.
EXAMPLE: “You don’t understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with Mexicans.” Or “homosexuals.” Or “trans women.” Or whatever combination of marginalized groups you can think of. Doesn’t that read weird? As if the privileged person is THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN EXPLAIN THIS?
I don’t think this has anything to do with Rowling as a person, for the record; I do not intend for this to be a criticism of her or her writing. This is a character turn for Bill because he’s obviously spent time with this entire group and he somehow thinks his opinion is more worthy than others. Is it realistic? Absolutely! Oh, othering, you are so fun oh wait no you’re not.
- As he followed Bill back to the others a wry thought came to him, born no doubt of the wine he had drunk. He seemed set on course to become just as reckless a godfather to Teddy Lupin as Sirius Black had been to him.
OH SHIT YEAH IT IS TIME FOR HARRY TO TURN INTO A BADASS AGAIN. OH FUCK YES. Party? PARTY.
[EDITS!!!! OK, first of all, I clearly mixed up History of Magic and Hogwarts: A History. I am an idiot and that’s my fault.
Secondly, it’s been pointed out that Xenophilius truly believed he had a Snorkack horn; when I had read chapter 20, I thought he was using the Erumpent horn to capture them and had lied, when in reality he had been tricked/lied to. SO XENOPHILIUS DID NOT LIE TO LUNA.
On to my complaint of Bill: I understand now that it’s more Bill explaining to Harry about the cultural differences between humans and a different species and isn’t outright comparable to MANSPLAINING or whatever it is I called it. So that argument kind of doesn’t work at all, but it IS a bit creepy in the sense that….
Well, think of it like this. It’s still a person explaining a culture who doesn’t belong to it and never thinking that the group ITSELF should be the ones explaining. So it’s definitely nowhere near as wanky as I thought it was, though, because obviously Bill couldn’t be like HEY GRIPHOOK, COME GIVE US A FULL EXPLANATION OF WHY YOU MIGHT TRY TO TAKE THE SWORD OF GRYFFINDOR SOON.]