Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’: Chapter 8
In the eighth chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the wedding of Bill and Fleur is celebrated. It’s then distracted by two humongous events that are game-changers for the series. And I will never use the term “game-changer” again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.
CHAPTER 8: THE WEDDING
I was excited for the wedding because I believed it was a time when Rowling would be able to use her talent for submersing us into these environments, bringing out small details that make us believe we’re really there. It still is, but…well, we’ll get to that in a bit.
- Harry had taken a large dose of Polyjuice Potion and was now the double of a redheaded Muggle boy from the local village, Ottery St. Catchpole, from whom Fred had stolen hairs using a Summoning Charm. The plan was to introduce Harry as “Cousin Barny” and trust to the great number of Weasley relatives to camouflage him.
I know I’m supposed to think of Harry as a small Weasley relative, but the entire time, I just kept thinking he looked like Ron’s doppleganger throughout this chapter. Yeah, I can’t explain that at all. why is my brain
- ”Wotcher,” said a familiar voice as he came out of the marquee again and found Tonks and Lupin at the front of the queue. She had turned blonde for the occasion. “Arthur told us you were the one with the curly. Sorry about last night,” she added in a whisper as Harry led them up the aisle. “The Ministry’s being very anti-werewolf at the moment and we thought our presence might not do you any favors.”
“It’s fine, I understand,” said Harry, speaking more to Lupin than Tonks. Lupin gave him a swift smile, but as they turned away, Harry saw Lupin’s face fall again into lines of misery.
OHHHHHHHH. I never even thought about this. With Fenrir ruining everything right now, I suppose this makes sense. I mean…it’s not fair. I don’t mean that the Ministry’s behavior is ok, because it’s clearly not. And that’s unfortunate for Lupin because life is already hard enough for him as it is.
Why is he so unhappy? I don’t like an unhappy Lupin at all. WHY IS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER SAD.
Right after this, though, we do meet a character I have been aching to be introduced to:
- Slightly cross-eyed, with shoulder-length white hair the texture of candyfloss, he wore a cap whose tassel dangled in front of his nose and robes of an eye-watering shade of egg-yolk yellow. An odd symbol, rather like a triangular eye, glistened from a golden chain around his neck.
“Xenophilius Lovegood,” he said, extending a hand to Harry, “my daughter and I live just over the hill, so kind of the good Weasleys to invite us. But I think you know my Luna?” he added to Ron.
OH MAN, FUCK YES!!!! I have wanted to meet Mr. Luna for so long and I am hoping he is just as strange as his daughter.
- ”She lingered in that charming little garden to say hello to the gnomes, such a glorious infestation! How few wizards realize just how much we can learn from the wise little gnomes—or, to give them their correct name, the Gernumbli gardensi.”
Oh, the Lovegood family is simply the best. Also, Rowling even came up with scientific name for the gnomes. This will never not be fantastic to me.
Luna shows up and immediately makes me fall in love with her again.
- ”Hello, Harry!” she said.
“Er—my name’s Barny,” said Harry, flummoxed.
“Oh, have you changed that too?” she asked brightly.
“How did you know–?”
“Oh, just your expression.”
It’s like Luna is the female version of Dumbledore; she just knows. And I deeply love her for that. But the Lovegood family represents something I also adore: people who straight don’t give a fuck. They’re so carefree and open and I can’t imagine them ever being worried about fitting in or not seeming strange or weird. It’s so refreshing because even in the wizarding world, there’s still a desire to fit in. The Lovegoods have no desire to do such a thing and they are obviously very happy with it.
This is immediately contrasted with the appearance of Aunt Muriel for the first time, who is ridiculously judgmental, brash, loud, and kind of irritating. She’s got the fierce thing going for her, I’ll give her that, but I already don’t like her.
- ”I’ve just been instructing the bride on how best to wear my tiara,” she shouted at Harry. “Goblin-made, you know, and been in my family for centuries. She’s a good-looking girl, but still—French. Well, well, find me a good seat, Ronald, I am a hundred and seven and I ought not to be on my feet too long.”
Well, hello there, casual xenophobia. How long until someone excuses her because she’s old?
- They were all laughing so much that none of them noticed the latecomer, a dark-haired young man with a large, curved nose and thick black eyebrows, until he held out his invitation to Ron and said, with his eyes on Hermione, “You look vunderful.”
“Viktor!” she shrieked, and dropped her small beaded bag, which made a loud thump quite disproportionate to its size. As she scrambled, blushing, to pick it up, she said, “I didn’t know you were—goodness—it’s lovely to see—how are you?”
HAHAHA OH SHIT. Viktor Krum???
- Ron’s ears had turned bright red again. After glancing at Krum’s invitation as if he did not believe a word of it, he said, much too loudly, “How come you’re here?”
“Fleur invited me,” said Krum, eyebrows raised.
AWWWWW, IS OUR LITTLE RON JEALOUS? I actually feel kind of bad for Ron, but I have faith that he has matured since Goblet of Fire and that Hermione will handle this potentially awkward situation with class.
But OMG THE WEDDING IS STARTING!!!
- A great collective sigh issued from the assembled witches and wizards as Monsieur Delacour and Fleur came walking up the aisle, Fleur gliding, Monsieur Delacour bouncing and beaming. Fleur was wearing a very simple white dress and seemed to be emitting a strong, silvery glow. While her radiance usually dimmed everyone else by comparison, today it beautified everybody it fell upon. Ginny and Gabrielle, both wearing golden dresses, looked even prettier than usual, and once Fleur had reached him, Bill did not look as though he had ever met Fenrir Greyback.
COULD THERE BE A MORE BEAUTIFUL MOMENT IN THIS SERIES. Wait, don’t answer that. But it is something completely unexpected; did Fleur did this on purpose?
- ”Yes, my tiara sets off the whole thing nicely,” said Auntie Muriel in a rather carrying whisper. “But I must say, Ginerva’s dress is far too low cut.”
Hey Auntie Minerva, please stop talking for a long time. (NOTE: Minerva???? Seriously? WHY AM I MAKING SO MANY BASIC ERRORS THESE DAYS?)
But it’s ok because she can’t ruin the moment when Bill and Fleur are married. It’s pretty fantastic, and I say that as someone who has just about 0% interest in marriage at all. Oh god am I a marriage bigot?
Ok, that is not the point, Mark stop making this all about you. Harry wanders around the ceremony; there’s a LOT of people present, so they steal away to hang with Luna for a short time. She ditches them, though, to go dance by herself because why not? At that moment, Viktor Krum shows up and Ron makes everything better.
- But the smile vanished from his face at once: Viktor Krum had dropped into Luna’s vacant seat. Hermione looked pleasurably flustered, but this time Krum had not come to compliment her. With a scowl on his face he said, “Who is that man in the yellow?”
“That’s Xenophilius Lovegood, he’s the father of a friend of ours,” said Ron. His pugnacious tone indicated that they were not abo
ut to laugh at Xenophilius, despite the clear provocation. “Come and dance,” he added abruptly to Hermione.
She looked taken aback, but pleased too, and got up. They vanished together into the growing throng on the dance floor.
I seem to recall Hermione giving an ultimatum a few books back about Ron being first to ask Hermione, and here he makes sure to satisfy that request.
- ”Because,” said Krum, “if he vos not a guest of Fleur’s I vould duel him, here and now, for wearing that filthy sign upon his chest.”
“Sign?” said Harry, looking over at Xenophilius too. The strange triangular eye was gleaming on his chest. “Why? What’s wrong with it?”
“Grindelvald. That is Grindelvald’s sign.”
“Grindelvald…the Dark wizard Dumbledore defeated?”
WHAT THE FUCK?????? Why is he wearing that?
- Krum’s jaw muscles worked as if he were chewing, then he said, “Grindelvald killed many people, my grandfather, for instance. Of course, he vos never powerful in this country, they said he feared Dumbledore—and rightly, seeing how he vos finished. But this”—he pointed a finger at Xenophilius—“this is his symbol, I recognized it at vunce: Grindelvald cared it into a vall at Durmstrang ven he vos a pupil there. Some idiots copied it onto their books and clothes, thinking to shock, make themselves impressive—until those of us who had lost family members of Grindelvald taught them better.”
The parallel to the Nazi swastika here is uncanny, especially the idea of people using the symbol to shock and be edgy. What on earth is Mr. Lovegood doing?
- ”Well, there’s a chance,” said Harry, “that Xenophilius doesn’t actually know what the symbol means. The Lovegoods are quite…unusual. He could have easily picked it up somewhere and think it’s a cross section of the head of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack or something.”
I think that’s a plausible idea, but there’s still a problem here: intent does not erase effect. You can’t just say or do what you want and attempt to erase it all by saying, “WELL I DIDN’T INTEND FOR IT TO ANGER YOU, SO YOU CAN’T BE MAD.” For people like Krum, that image will always hurt him, joke or not.
Seriously, what the fuck, Lovegood?
- Krum did not seem to know whether or not Harry was making fun of him. He drew his wand from inside his robes and tapped it menacingly on his thigh; sparks flew out of the end.
“Gregorovitch!” said Harry loudly, and Krim started, but Harry was too excited to care; the memory had come back to him at the sight of Krum’s wand: Ollivander taking it and examining it carefully before the Triwizard Tournament.
“Vot about him?” asked Krum suspiciously.
“He’s a wandmaker!”
ROWLING, WHY ARE YOU DROPPING SO MANY BOMBS DURING THIS WEDDING. I thought this chapter was supposed to be nothing but ETERNAL LOVE and BUMBLEBEES.
So Voldemort went to Gregorovitch to see if he could another wand made. SHIT. THAT IS WHAT IS GETTING REAL. Oh fuck, guys.
Krum understandably isn’t too happy right now, but he does say something pretty irritating himself before leaving Harry. He asks Harry if someone is seeing Ginny:
- ”Yeah,” said Harry, suddenly irritated, “and she’s seeing someone. Jealous type. Big bloke. You wouldn’t want to cross him.”
“Vot,” he said, draining his goblet and getting to his feet again, “is the point of being an international Quidditch player if all the good-looking girls are taken?”
Oh, you entitled git. You’re gross. Go fall into a pit of gnomes.
Here’s the thing. At this point, Rowling has brought us through a wedding, introduced us to Aunt Muriel AND Xenophilius Lovegood, explained why Lupin and Tonks had to leave the previous chapter, and managed to do all of this in fourteen pages.
So you can imagine my utter surprise when, on top of all of this, we meet Elphias Doge and learn some unbelievable information about Dumbledore. The thing is, Doge doesn’t give up this information on his own, and even when Harry presses him on Dumbledore’s possible study of the Dark Arts, he is reluctant to share anything negative about his dear friend. I get that, I do, especially given the context of the time they’re in.
Aunt Muriel, however, completely loses me. And I don’t necessarily think it’s healthy for me (or anyone) to discount what she says here just because she’s abrasive. I do understand wanting to because I certainly do. I found myself screaming at the book (in my head DUH). STOP DESECRATING DUMBLEDORE, YOU DUMBLEDORE BIGOT.
I jest, I jest. Point being: I don’t know if what Aunt Muriel reveals here is true at all, but I also don’t know if it’s just shitty gossip.
To avoid stretching out this review to be nothing more than me copying pages 151 through 159 verbatim (I WOULD SERIOUSLY DO THAT, FYI), I want to write down exactly what’s revealed here so I can come back later and definitively figure out what’s truth and what’s gossip. FUN TIMES, I ASSURE YOU.
1) Dumbledore’s sister, Ariana, was a Squib. WHAT.
2) Ariana wasn’t allowed out of her house because her mother KEPT HER LOCKED IN THE CELLAR. What.
3) Kendra Dumbledore, a Muggle-born, was ashamed by her heritage and pretended she was pureblood. (A possible explanation for Dumbledore’s dedication to being so accepting of Muggles?)
4) Ariana killed her mother in a desperate attempt to escape her imprisonment. What is all this.
5) Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, punched Dumbly in the nose during the funeral service for Ariana, blaming him for their sister’s death. Dumbledore did not defend himself.
6) Bathilda Bagshot, who wrote A History of Magic, was Dumbledore’s neighbor after their father was sent to Azkaban.
7) Oh, by the way, THE DUMBLEDORES LIVED IN GODRIC’S HOLLOW.
WHY????? WHY ON EARTH DID DUMBLEDORE NOT CONFIDE THIS IN HARRY? Isn’t this a huge thing to keep to yourself?
Jesus Christ, guys, those last two are not bits of gossip and they are MONUMENTAL to this story. I’m kind of…shocked and hurt that this news is just coming out now. Why would Dumbledore keep this in confidence? Fuck, there HAS to be a chapter on Godric’s Hollow now.
Hermione to the rescue!
- ”I simply can’t dance anymore,” she panted, slipping off one of her shoes and rubbing the sole of her foot. “Ron’s gone looking to find more butterbeers. It’s a bit odd, I’ve just seen Viktor storming away from Luna’s father, it looked like they’d been arguing—“ She dropped her voice, staring at him. “Harry, are you okay?”
I need to know what Lovegood said about that sign on his clothing. Also, HERMIONE YOU ARE THE VERY BEST FRIEND EVER.
- Harry did not know where to begin, but it did not matter. At that moment, something large and silver came falling through the canopy over the dance floor. Graceful and gleaming, the lynx landed lightly in the middle of the astonished dancers. Heads turned, as those nearest it froze absurdly in mid-dance. Then the Patronus’s mouth opened wide and it spoke in the loud, deep, slow voice of Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.”
WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK
Oh my god, THIS IS THE MOST CHILLING LINE IN THE ENTIRE SERIES. I have goosebumps right now, reading it again. The amount of information and terror that this conveys is astounding. If the Ministry has fallen, that means the Death Eaters now control absolutely everything. Nothing is safe. Nothing is fucking safe.
Oh my god, they are heading to the Burrow. Oh my god, and they can’t use floo powder or Portkeys or JESUS FUCKING CHRIST I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING.
Oh my god my heart oh my god.