Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 6
In the sixth chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry learns how much Ron and Hermione have sacrificed so they can accompany him on his search for Voldemort’s Horcruxes. In the process. Hermione gives us a lesson in exactly how one destroys a Horcrux. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 6: THE GHOUL IN PAJAMAS
- The shock of losing Mad-Eye hung over the house in the days that followed; Harry kept expecting to see him stumping in through the back door like the other Order members, who passed in and out to relay news. Harry felt that nothing but action would assuage his feelings of guilt and grief and that he ought to set out on his mission to find and destroy the Horcruxes as soon as possible.
Holy shit, guys. Mad-Eye Moody is fucking dead. What the fuck is all this.
Hermione, not surprisingly, has done her research on the subject. But there’s a slight catch in the plan: Mrs. Weasley. In her constant attempt to be the best mother of all mothers who have ever mothered, Mrs. Weasley has only sort of figured out that something is going on. She knows that the three of them do not plan to return to Hogwarts and she knows they’re on a mission for Dumbledore.
- ”Well, frankly, I think Arthur and I have a right to know, and I’m sure Mr. and Mrs. Granger would agree!” said Mrs. Weasley. Harry had been afraid of the “concerned parent” attack. He forced himself to look directly into her eyes, noticing as he did so that they were precisely the same shade of brown as Ginny’s. This did not help.
“Dumbledore didn’t want anyone else to know, Mrs. Weasley. I’m sorry. Ron and Hermione don’t have to come, it’s their choice—“
I don’t doubt Mrs. Weasley’s sincerity at all. She cares. She cares possibly more than anyone else in this series about our favorite trio and I know she really wants them to be safe. We know this because of her encounter with the BOGGART in Order of the Phoenix. (Did I really say “dementor” instead? What the fuck is wrong with me?)
There is a problem, though, because I don’t think she’ll ultimately go against the word of Dumbledore. And if Dumbledore wants Harry to go, she’ll let Harry go.
Harry, however, is faced with a conflict beyond the obvious. Hermione and Ron are still determined to come along with him. I suppose that, at base, I understand why he wouldn’t want them to come along. He has now experienced the brutality with which Voldemort disposes of his enemies and those close to them. And he cannot bear to lose his best friends.
But, at the same time, Ron and Hermione possess skills and powers that Harry lacks. The recent battle with Voldemort proves that Ron is becoming a great physical asset, while Hermione obviously has ALL THE SMARTS. Maybe this is a subtle bit of foreshadowing, but I have a feeling both Ron and Hermione will contribute to locating a couple Horcruxes, helping make Harry’s quest much more efficient.
Harry doesn’t know this, though, and neither do I, obviously. The three of them get a moment to finally speak openly; Mrs. Weasley had been trying to keep them as busy as possible precisely so this moment couldn’t ever happen.
- ”Listen,” said Harry.
He had sat up straight. Ron and Hermione looked at him with similar mixtures of resignation and defiance.
“I know you said after Dumbledore’s funeral that you wanted to come with me,” Harry began.
“He here goes,” Ron said to Hermione, rolling his eyes.
Oh boy, Harry. Can I tell you that you’re not prepared? I mean…you’re not prepared dude.
“Shut up,” Ron advised him.
“—are you sure you’ve thought this through?” Harry persisted.
“Let’s see,” said Hermione, slamming with Travels With Trolls onto the discarded pile with a rather fierce look. “I’ve been packing for days, so we’re ready to leave at a moment’s notice, which for your information has included some pretty difficult magic, not to mention smuggling Mad-Eye’s whole stock of Polyjuice Potion right under Ron’s mum’s nose.
“I’ve also modified my parents’ memories so that they’re convinced they’re really called Wendell and Monica Wilkins, and that their life’s ambition is to move to Australia, which they have now done. That’s to make it more difficult for Voldemort to track them down and interrogate them about me—or you, because unfortunately, I’ve told them quite a bit about you.
“Assuming I survive our hunt for the Horcruxes, I’ll find Mum and Dad and lift the enchantment. If I don’t—well, I think I’ve cast a good enough charm to keep them safe and happy. Wendell and Monica Wilkins don’t know that they’ve got a daughter, you see.”
JESUS. FUCKING. CHRIST.
This might actually be a billion times more devastating to me than any death in the series. Hermione gave up her own fucking parentsto help Harry. This is such a courageous and selfless thing to do. I have said quite a few times that Hermione seems to get the short end of the stick in this friendship; she constantly demonstrates that she is the very best friend a person could ever have.
Jesus, this is so heartbreaking. Hermione, I will love you until the end of time.
- ”I—Hermione, I’m sorry—I didn’t—“
“Didn’t realize that Ron and I know perfectly well what might happen if we come with you? Well, we do. Ron, show Harry what you’ve done.”
Wait. WHAT???? Ron’s in on this too?
- ”But it…it looks…do ghouls normally wear pajamas?”
“No,” said Ron. “Nor have they usually got red hair or that number of pustules.”
Harry contemplated the thing, slightly revolted. It was human in shape and size, and was wearing what, now that Harry’s eyes became used to the darkness, was clearly an old pair of Ron’s pajamas. He was also sure that ghouls were generally rather slimy and bald, rather than distinctly hairy and covered in angry purple blisters.
YEAH, I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT ANY OF THIS MEANS.
- “Once we’ve left, the ghoul’s going to come and live down here in my room,” said Ron. “I think he’s really looking forward to it—well, it’s hard to tell, because all he can do is moan and drool—but he nods a lot when you mention it. Anyway, he’s going to be me with spattergroit. Good, eh?”
Harry merely looked his confusion.
“It is!” said Ron, clearly frustrated that Harry had not grasped the brilliance of the plan. “Look, when we three don’t turn up at Hogwarts again, everyone’s going to think Hermione and I must be with you, right? Which means the Death Eaters will go straight for our families to see if they’ve got information on where you are.”
Oh my god, this is brilliant.
- ”We can’t hide my whole family, it’ll look too fishy and they can’t all leave their jobs,” said Ron. “So we’re going to put out the story that I’m seriously ill with spattergroit, which is why I can’t go back to school. If anyone comes calling to investigate, Mum or Dad can show them the ghoul in my bed, covered in pustules. Spattergroit’s really contagious, so they’re not going to want to go near him. It won’t matter that he can’t say anything, either, because apparently you can’t once the fungus has spread to your uvula.”
“And your mum and dad are in on this plan?” asked Harry.
“Dad is. He helped Fred and George transform the ghoul. Mum…well, you’ve seen what she’s like. She won’t accept we’re going till we’ve gone.”
And perhaps I’ve been pretty hard on Ron the past month or so, but this is a serious sacrifice on his part. It’s a sign of how much both Ron and Hermione really trust and appreciate Harry. We can’t forget that they also lost Dumbledore, Moody, and Sirius.
The conversation turns to the other necessary conversation that needs to happen: logistics. Where do they go first? How do they know if they’ve found a Horcrux? And how do you know what to do once you’ve found one?
Harry seems pretty set on visiting Godric’s Hollow at some point, the place where his parents were murdered. Hermione makes a good point; wouldn’t Voldemort think that an obvious place for Harry to show up?
- Perhaps it was simply because it was there that he had survived Voldemort’s Killing Curse; now that he was facing the challenge of repeating the feat, Harry was drawn to the place where it had happened, wanting to understand.
Also, I WOULD LIKE TO UNDERSTAND so PLEASE LET THERE BE A CHAPTER OR TWO ON GODRIC’S HOLLOW.
But let’s say they find a Horcrux there. (For the record, no one’s really said how you identify a Horcrux, have they? Dumbledore just knew there was one in that cave, but how do you know that item is actually it?)
Hermione (bless her soul) does provide a whole lot of answers to us because she totally stole Dumbledore’s books RIGHT AFTER HIS FUNERAL. OH GOD I LOVE HER SO MUCH. Finally, she’s breaking the rules and expanding her bookish horizons. (Look, I love her dearly, but she’s kind of in her own world sometimes.)
Is it list time? I HAVEN’T MADE A LIST YET FOR THIS BOOK. How about a list of new things we learn about Horcruxes?
1) You can undo the effects of a Horcrux and repair your own soul by experiencing pure remorse.
2) Oh, by the way, the pain of feeling genuine remorse is so excruciating that you might actually die. Good luck getting Voldemort to do that, guys.
3) Harry’s method of destroying that first Horcrux, Tom Riddle’s diary, is one of the most effective: use something that is so destructive that the Horcrux can’t repair itself. It has to be destroyed beyond magical repair.
4) A Horcrux is the opposite of a human being; a human soul cannot be destroyed if its physical being is, whereas a Horcrux is entirely dependent on its physical container.
5) Emotional attachments to Horcruxes can allow temporary possession. THAT IS FUCKED UP, GUYS. Oh god, Ginny. 🙁
I’m not gonna lie, folks. I am pretty damned excited for the adventures to start. I think Harry will go to Godric’s Hollow and find a Horcrux there. IT SEEMS LOGICAL.
Oh god, this book. EXCITE!