Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 5
In the fifth chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Order of the Phoenix waits to see who survived Voldemort’s attack. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 5: FALLEN WARRIOR
- Harry struggled to raise himself out of the debris of metal and leather that surrounded him; his hands sank into inches of muddy water as he tried to stand. He could not understand where Voldemort had gone and expected him to swoop out of the darkness at any moment. Something hot and wet was trickling down his chin and from his forehead. He crawled out of the pond and stumbled toward the great dark mass on the ground that was Hagrid.
“Hagrid? Hagrid, talk to me—“
But the dark mass did not stir.
Look. I have already lost Hedwig, which is so unbearably fucked up that I simply cannot stand it, but if you kill off Hagrid, J.K. Rowling, I will….not do much of anything. I will probably just blog angrily. And you don’t want that, do you???
I cannot get over the fact that this is the beginning of this book. This kind of shit-gets-real-ness is usually saved for the final section of her novels, but we’ve now seen Hedwig get killed, possibly Hagrid, and we have no idea who else we will no longer see anymore.
WHAT THE FUCK, GUYS. Ugh. This is horrible.
Harry wakes up after passing out; he finds out that the Tonks’s have taken him in, Hagrid is not dead, and that, at least for Harry and Hagrid, things appear to be going to plan. Except that this is the problem: the Tonks’s seem to think that Hagrid and Harry just happened to crash outside their house.
- ”Easy, now,” said Ten Tonks, placing a hand on Harry’s shoulder and pushing him back against the cushions. “That was a nasty crash you just had. What happened, anyway? Something go wrong with the bike? Arthur Weasley overstretch himself again, him and his Muggle contraptions?”
“No,” said Harry, as his scar pulsed like an open wound. “Death Eaters, loads of them—we were chased—“
“Death Eaters?” said Ted sharply. “What d’you mean, Death Eaters? I thought they didn’t know you were moved tonight, I thought—“
“They knew,” said Harry.
Ted Tonks looked up at the ceiling as though he could see through it to the sky above.
And in this one movement, Rowling’s able to convey the terrible severity of the situation. For me, it’s the first moment where I had to set the book down from my frantic reading, bouncing from line to line as fast as I could. I don’t know the Tonks family at all and we don’t get much time with them beyond the next couple pages, but the shock here is brief and palpable. No one expected this, myself included, and there’s no time to dwell on it. Harry realizes that it was the magic from the Tonks’s house that stopped Voldemort just as Hagrid stumbles through the door. But there’s not much time for them to catch up, beyond hugs and statements of relief, because the Portkey to the Burrow is about to leave.
- ”Wait a moment,” said Hagrid, looking around. “Harry, where’s Hedwig?”
“She…she got hit,” said Harry.
The realization crashed over him: He felt ashamed of himself as the tears stung his eyes.. The owl had been his companion, his one great link with the magical world whenever he had been forced to return to the Dursleys.
I want to blame this on Rowling, BUT I AM NOT FIVE YEARS OLD, OK. The truth is that this sort of cruelty is necessary to make this war real and belongs squarely on Voldemort and his asshole followers. Also: WHY HEDWIG OH GOD
When they arrive at the Burrow, Rowling sets up a painfully suspenseful scene as we learn that only Harry and Ron have returned. Yeah. NO ONE ELSE. Ginny provides this information:
- ”Ron and Tonks should have been back first, but they missed their Portkey, it came back without them,” she said, pointing at a rusty oil can lying on the ground nearby. “And that one,” she pointed at an ancient sneaker, “should have been Dad and Fred’s they were supposed to be second. You and Hagrid were third and,” she checked her watch,” if they made it, George and Lupin ought to be back in a minute.”
This now leaves the possibility that anyone else could also be dead. Fuck.
- A blue light had appeared in the darkness: It grew larger and brighter, and Lupin and George appeared, spinning and then falling. Harry knew immediately that there was something wrong: Lupin was supporting George, who was unconscious and whose face was covered in blood.
WHAT THE FUCK. Oh god, not George. OH MY GOD.
- No sooner had Mrs. Weasley bent over her son that Lupin grabbed Harry by the upper arm and dragged him, none too gently, back into the kitchen, where Hagrid was still attempting to ease his bulk through the back door.
“Oi!” said Hagrid indignantly. “Le’ go of him! Le’ go of Harry!”
Lupin ignored him.
“What creature sat in the corner the first time that Harry Potter visited my office at Hogwarts?” he said, giving Harry a small shake. “Answer me!”
“A—a grindylow in a tank, wasn’t it?”
Lupin released Harry and fell back against a kitchen cupboard.
“Wha’ was that’ about?” roared Hagrid.
“I’m sorry, Harry, but I had to check,” said Lupin tersely. “We’ve been betrayed. Voldemort knew that you were being moved tonight and the only people how could have told him were directly involved in the plan. You might have been an impostor.”
And if there was just a smidgeon of hope you had that this might have turned out ok, here’s your absolute proof that it will not. Lupin’s attitude is indicative of the terror and the panic. Throughout this series, Lupin has remained calm and reasoned, the voice of rationality. And in this moment, despite still being quite logical, he displays a paranoid horror we’ve never seen before. And it scares me. (It’s also a neat moment because, despite that it serves a specific purpose, it puts the mental image in your head of the first time Harry met Lupin.)
This becomes worse when Harry and Lupin get into an argument about Harry’s attempt to Disarm Stan Shunpike.
- ”Harry, the time for disarming is past! These people are trying to capture and kill you! At least Stun if you aren’t prepared to kill!”
I’m hoping this point returns again, and not just when Harry faces Voldemort; I think Harry will have to deal with the idea that he is going to have to seriously harm someone and possibly even kill them.
- Two figures had appeared in the yard, and as Harry ran toward them he realized they were Hermione, now returning to her normal appearance, and Kingsley, both clutching a bent coat hanger. Hermione flung herself into Harry’s arms, but Kingsley showed no pleasure at the sight of any of them. Over Hermione’s shoulder Harry saw him raise his wand and point it at Lupin’s chest.
“The last words Albus Dumbledore spoke to the pair of us?”
“’Harry is the best hope we have. Trust him,’” said Lupin calmly.
Oh god, so Hermione and Kingsley are alive. And Dumbledore….oh god. It still makes me sad.
We learn more about George from Lupin as well.:
- “He lost an ear,” said Lupin.
“Lost an–?” repeated Hermione in a high voice.
“Snape’s work,” said Lupin.
“Snape?” shouted Harry. “You didn’t say—“
“He lost his hood during the chase. Sectumsempra was always a specialty of Snape’s. I wish I could say I’d paid him back in kind, but it was all I could do to keep George on the broom after he was injured, he was losing so much blood.”
I don’t think I need much more information. Snape is goddamn evil. I can’t fathom how there could possibly be a way that he’d be doing good by CURSING GEORGE’S EAR OFF.
- ”Thank goodness,” Ginny whispered. They looked at each other; Harry wanted to hug her, hold on to her; he did not even care much that Mrs. Weasley was there, but before he could ask on impulse there was a great crash from the kitchen.
“I’ll prove who I am, Kingsley, after I’ve seen my son, now back off if you know what’s good for you!”
Harry had never heard Mr. Weasley shout like that before. He burst into the living room, his bald patch gleaming with sweat, his spectacles askew, Fred right behind him, both pale but uninjured.
Oh god, it’s not Mr. Weasley or Fred. But…it can’t be Ron, I imagine. So…Tonks? Moody? Bill? Fleur? Mundungus? OH GOD THE TENSION IS TOO MUCH. Also, COULD HARRY JUST GET BACK TOGETHER WITH GINNY jesus dude. I’M CALLING IT NOW: Ginny is going to go with Ron and Hermione.
- For the first time since Harry had known him, Fred seemed to be lost for words. He gaped over the back of the sofa at his twin’s wound as if he could not believe what he was seeing.
Good lord, this is awful.
- ”What’s wrong with him?” croaked Fred, looking terrified. “Is his mind affected?”
“Saintlike,” repeated George, opening his eyes and looking up at his brother. “You see…I’m holy. Holey, Fred, geddit?”
Mrs. Wealsey sobbed harder than ever. Color flooded Fred’s pale face.
“Pathetic,” he told George. “Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humor before you, you go for holey?”
“Ah well,” said George, grinning at his tear-soaked mother. “You’ll be able to tell us apart now, anyway, Mum.”
WEASLEY TWINS FOR PRESIDENT.
- Harry said nothing. He had been trying to keep fear at bay ever since reaching the Burrow, but now it enveloped him, seeming to crawl over his skin, throbbing in his chest, clogging his throat. As they walked down the back steps into the dark yard, Ginny took his hand.
At this point, the fear is palpable, and not just for Harry. Someone’s going to be dead. It just seems inevitable. I don’t want to keep reading. I don’t want to know who it is.
- And then a broom materialized directly above them and streaked toward the ground—
“It’s them!” screamed Hermione.
Tonks landed in a long skid that sent earth and pebbles everywhere.
“Remus!” Tonks cried as she staggered off the broom into Lupin’s arms. His face was set and white: He seemed unable to speak. Ron tripped dazedly toward Harry and Hermione.
Oh fuck, it’s not Tonks or Ron. Maybe this isn’t so bad?
- ”Ron was great,” said Tonks warmly, relinquishing her hold on Lupin. “Wonderful. Stunned one of the Death Eeaters, straight to the head, and when you’re aiming at a moving target from a flying broom—“
“You did?” said Hermione, gazing up at Ron with her arms still around his neck.
“Always the tone of surprise,” he said a little grumpily, breaking free.
Oh man. Is this the transformation of Ron into a veritable BADASS? I would say that I deeply approve of this development.
But this isn’t getting any better, though. The Weasley twins’s jokes and Ron’s new badassery are great, but we’re still missing three people. As they recount their separate events to each other, the wait for someone to return becomes unbearable. Kingsley Disapparates back to London and the awkward waiting continues until—
- But the end of Mrs. Weasley’s sentence was drowned in a general outcry: A thestral had just soared into sight and landed a few feet from them. Bill and Fleur slid from its back, windswept but unhurt.
“Bill! Thank God, thank God—“
Mrs. Weasley ran forward, but the hug Bill bestowed upon her was perfunctory. Looking directly at his father, he said, “Mad-Eye’s dead.”
Oh fuck. Fuck. Oh fuck no. No. It can’t be. Mad-Eye????? The wizarding world’s greatest Auror? Oh god. Oh my god, no.
- ”We saw it,” said Bill; Fleur nodded, tear tracks glittering on her cheeks in the light from the kitchen window “It happened just after we broke out of the circle: Mad-Eye and Dung were close by us, they were heading north too. Voldemort—he cany fly—went straight for them. Dung panicked. I heard him cry out, Mad-Eye tried to stop him, but he Disapparated. Voldemort’s curse hit Mad-Eye full in the face, he fell backward off his broom and—there was nothing we could do, nothing, we had half a dozen of them on our own tail—“
Awful. I know I’ve now used this word a billion times in the past two weeks, but it fits. This is awful. If Mad-Eye isn’t safe, no one is.
I can’t believe this.
- ”What’s wrong?” said Fred, scanning their faces as they entered. “What happened? Who’s–?”
“Mad-Eye,” said Mr. Weasley. “Dead.”
The twins’ grins turned to grimaces of shock. Nobody seemed to know what to do. Tonks was crying silently into a handkerchief: She had been close to Mad-Eye, Harry knew, his favorite and his protégé at the Ministry of Magic. Hagrid, who had sat down on the floor in the corner where he had most space, was dabbing at his eyes with his tablecloth-sized handkerchief.
Rowling has a penchant for making tragic characters even more tragic than they already were. Think about Moody’s past, being held captive in a trunk while an Impostor tried to kill Harry. Think about all the physical and emotional trauma he’s experienced over the years and he gets killed because Dung brain panicked.
The conversation turns to the inevitable: someone sold them out. Someone in that group was responsible for everything. They first suspect Mundungus, but Bill points out that no one seemed to inform the Death Eaters that there would be seven Harry’s, which was Mundungus’s idea. Harry, however, makes a good point, though it’s one made under the influence of firewhisky, the devil’s booze.
- ”I mean, if somebody made a mistake,” Harry went on, “and let something slip, I know they didn’t mean to do it. It’s not their fault,” he repeated, again a little louder than he would usually have spoken. “We’ve got to trust each other. I trust all of you, I don’t think anyone in this room would ever sell me to Voldemort.”
And it’s something Voldemort would do: attempt to break up the group through fear and mistrust. Do anything he could to separate them, to dissolve their powers.
Yet here they are. Someone sold Harry out. And I have no idea who it might be.
They briefly discuss the bizarre moment where Harry’s wand seemed to act of its own accord and cast a spell without thought, but there’s no clue here that I can find that would clue me in to what this might mean. The more important thing at the end of this chapter is the moment when Harry has another mental link to Voldemort.
I don’t understand the scene between Voldemort and Ollivander, the man from the wand shop in Diagon Alley. Apparently, Harry cannot be destroyed by any other wand that does not belong to Voldemort? Why wouldn’t Voldemort use his own wand? I R WAY CONFUSED.
It’s a disturbing scene because it’s confusing and because I wasn’t aware there was still a mental connection between the two of them. So leave it to Hermione to point out exactly how fucked up this is:
- ”Harry, he’s taking over the Ministry and the newspapers and half the Wizarding world! Don’t let him inside your head too!”
I don’t know if there are Mad-Eye Moody GIFs, but if there are, let’s post them as a tribute to the greatest Auror there ever was.