Chapter 1: The Dark Lord Ascending
As our story opens Severus Snape and fellow Death Eater Yaxley are on their way to a meeting at Lucuis Malfoy’s palatial mansion. When they get there they are seated at a long table with their fellow Death Eaters. Voldemort sits at the head, and anxiously awaits Snape’s report on when Harry Potter is to be moved from his safehouse. He is planning to attack Harry on his way to a secret location, where he will be constantly guarded by members of the Order of the
There is a woman dangling upside down over the table, but no one pays any attention to her. She is a professor of Muggle Studies at Hogwarts and is doomed to die by Voldemort’s hand. Draco Malfoy, however, can’t bring himself to look at her. When Voldemort finally does kill the poor woman, Draco falls out of his chair. It’s obvious that he, as well as his father, Lucius, and his mother, Narcissa, are not happy that Voldemort is back in power and staying at their home.
As Harry cleans out his school trunk completely for the first time since he started at Hogwarts, the process is like going back in time. He comes across items left abandoned in there from each year, and going through them all is like taking a walk down memory lane. He’s sorting items by the things he’ll need on his journey. Everything else, he’s sure, the Dursleys will burn in the middle of the night after he’s gone.
As he’s sorting through the newspapers, he comes across a memorial article for Albus Dumbledore that was published just recently. The story goes into great detail about Dumbledore’s life, and Harry is very surprised to realize he knew almost nothing about his past. The man was a mystery, and Harry wishes strongly he’d taken more time to get to know who he truly was.
Harry also comes across another article written by Rita Skeeter, who will soon be publishing a scandalous new book about Dumbledore’s life. It addresses questions like why Dumbledore’s sister died so young, and what really happened to his brother Aberforth. To Harry, the book seems filled with nothing but nasty rumors, but it does get him wondering again about Dumbledore’s life and what really happened while he was alive.
For the past few weeks, the Dursleys have been preparing to go into hiding. His uncle has been changing his mind every day, alternating between going and refusing to go. Now, he has convinced himself that Harry is just after the house, and will do some 'hocus-pocus' to get the deeds in his name the moment they leave. Harry manages to convince him of the danger that they're in, and that Voldemort's supporters will torture them for information on Harry if they're caught.
When two members of the Order arrive to take the Dursleys into hiding, their goodbye is an awkward one. Harry is surprised when
Dudley expresses concern that they are leaving Harry behind. He is further shocked when Dudley thanks him for saving his life the summer before last. It appears that the Dementor attack brought on a change in Dudley, and Harry realises the cup of tea was probably supposed to be a present. Dudley shakes Harry's hand, something that Uncle Vernon could not face, and follows his father outside. Aunt Petunia appears to momentarily stop before she leaves, as if to say something, but instead follows her husband and son.
As Harry is left alone in the Dursleys' house he’s filled with something almost like sadness. He knows he will probably never set foot in here again, and as he waits for his guard he remembers all the times growing up in this house. He revisits his cupboard under the stairs and remembers what it was like waking up there every morning.
Suddenly, figures begin appearing in the Dursleys' yard, and Harry wrenches open the door to greet them. Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, Mad Eye Moody, Lupin, Bill, Mr. Weasley, Tonks, Fred, George, and a few others have all come to escort Harry to his safehouse.
Harry is surprised to learn that their original plan for getting him out had to be abandoned, and they’ve got a new one. There will be seven Harry Potters as decoys for the Death Eaters. Harry is absolutely opposed to his friends putting their lives on the line for him, but they all insist that they want to do this for him. It is the only way to get Harry out safely.
Once the decoys have all turned into Harry, the real Harry goes on the flying moterbike with Hagrid. They are up in the air scant minutes before they are attacked by Death Eaters. Harry and Hagrid barely miss being killed, but Hedwig doesn’t make it.
Suddenly, Voldemort is there in the sky with them and is trying to kill Harry. Harry barely has time to think the spells are coming so fast, and just as Voldemort shouts Avada Kedavra at Harry, Harry’s wand acts on its own accord and shoots a spell at Voldemort.
Harry can’t think straight. All he knows is that Hagrid is lying on the ground and won’t get up, and he has no idea where they are. He finds out he is at Tonks’s parents' house, and a few minutes later he finds out that Hagrid is all right. Harry tells Ted Tonks that somehow the Death Eaters knew he was being moved tonight, because they were waiting for all of them. Ted tells Harry that their house is completely protected, so at least the Death Eaters will not be able to attack them there. Harry is terrified for the rest of his friends and hopes that they made it through the attack.
They take a Portkey to the Burrow where they are met by Mrs. Weasley, who is anxiously awaiting their return. Harry is horrified to learn that he’s the first one back; no one else has managed to catch their Portkey yet.
Lupin and George make it back next. George has been injured and is rushed into the house. Hermione and Kingsley make it back next, and they all start wondering who in the Order could have betrayed them because that is the only way the Death Eaters would have known about the plan. Mr. Weasley and Fred are the next ones back, and then Ron and Tonks make it back. They all have horrifying tales of how they almost died in the attempt. Bill and Fleur finally make it back, but they bring with them the news that Mad-Eye Moody died.
Harry feels terrible. The guilt weighs on him like an anchor, and he’s terrified that he has now put all the Weasleys in danger by staying there as well. The house is completely protected, but he still worries that he shouldn’t be there.
As Harry, Ron, and Hermione start planning for their journey to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes, they have to be very tight-lipped about what they are doing. Mrs. Weasley knows they are planning something, and she does her best to keep them separated so they have no time to discuss what they are about to do. The entire household is planning for Bill and Fleur’s upcoming wedding, so they are kept really busy cleaning and decluttering the Burrow.
Finally they get an afternoon to talk together and Harry tries to talk the two of them out of coming with him. He is shocked, however, when they explain to him how far they have already gone preparing for their journey with Harry. Hermione has modified her parents' memory so they don’t even think they have a daughter (she doesn’t want them caught and tortured by Death Eaters) and she’s sent them to live in
. Ron has turned the family ghoul into himself, only it looks like a Ron who is extremely sick with spattergroit. That way Voldemort and the Death Eaters would not know if Ron was going with Harry since they would think Ron is sick. Australia
On Harry’s seventeenth birthday he’s touched and amused to be given a book from Ron, of all people, on how to charm witches, and a watch by Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.
After breakfast, Ginny pulls him into her room and gives him her present, which is the longest, most passionate kiss Harry has ever had. They are interrupted much too soon by Ron and Hermione, and Ron is mad because Harry was supposed to have stopped seeing Ginny at the end of the school year, for her protection.
During his birthday dinner Harry is shocked when Rufus Scrimgeour shows up and wants to talk with him, Ron, and Hermione. When he talks with them privately he tells them that Dumbledore left them some things in his will and he is here to deliver them.
Dumbledore leaves Harry Godric Gryffindor's legendary sword, which Scrimegour has left back in Hogwarts insisting that it wasn't Dumbledore's to give away in the first place. He also left Harry a Golden Snitch, which, when touched to his lips, reveals the line "I open at the close", of which Harry can’t make heads or tails of. Ron is left a Deluminator (which was shown in the beginning of the first HP movie), which steals light from any nearby source. Lastly, he leaves Hermione a book of children’s stories entitled "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." None of them can figure out why Dumbledore would have left them these things, but they certainly don’t tell the Minister that. Scrimgeour is already highly suspicious of the three of them and is convinced they are up to something.
Bill and Fleur’s wedding turns out to be a glorious affair. Harry, disguised as a Weasley cousin named Barny, gets to meet all of Ron’s family and he gets to see many people he hasn’t seen in a while.
During the wedding Harry is talking to Krum, who is very angry at Luna Lovegood’s father, Xenophilius Lovegood, because he’s supposedly wearing a very Dark symbol on his dress robes. Krum tells Harry that the sign is that of Grindelwald, a Dark wizard that Dumbledore dueled with and defeated many years ago.
Later, Harry gets the chance to talk with the man who wrote Dumbledore’s obituary in the Daily Prophet. The man, Elphias Doge, was good friends with Dumbledore and Harry is excited to talk with him. Ron’s Auntie Muriel, however, is sitting with them and continues to spread the same rumors that Rita Skeeter is spreading, that Dumbledore was very cruel to his Squib sister and kept her locked in the house all the time. Harry is also shocked to find out that Dumbledore grew up in Godric’s Hollow, the same village as Harry’s parents. He is amazed that Dumbledore never thought to tell him this.
Before he can really register this fact, Kingsley Shacklebolt’s Patronus, a lynx, arrives at the wedding bearing a horrifying message "The Ministry has fallen. Scrimegour is dead. They are coming."
Pandemonium breaks loose. Harry and Hermione sprint through the crowd, looking frantically for Ron. Masked figures are starting to appear out of nowhere, and then suddenly they find Ron. Without a word, Hermione grabs them and Apparates them both out of there.
Hermione has Apparated them into an area of
called Tottenham Court Road. Harry and Ron are shocked to learn that she is completely prepared for their escape. She’s magically packed every thing they would need in her bag. She used an Undetectable Extension Charm on her bag so everything can fit. They are both amazed at her ingenuity. London
They dart into a cafe to figure out what they are going to do. They are not in there long before two workmen show up, and somehow Harry just knows they are Death Eaters. He doesn’t know how they found him, but they barely make it out of the diner after their minor duel. They decide to go to
Grimmauld Place to hide until they can figure out what to do.
When they get to
Grimmauld Place they are accosted by a few spells Mad-Eye Moody set up in case Snape came back. A few minutes later they receive a Patronus from Ron’s father, telling them "Family safe, do not reply, we are being watched". They are all ecstatic that no one is hurt. Harry can only feel happy for a moment, however, as the pain in his scar shoots into his head. Harry rushes to the bathroom and succumbs to the pain from the scar. He catches (the first of many)glimpses from Voldemort's point of view, of Voldemort torturing the Death Eater Rowle, of whom Harry, Ron and Hermione had just stunned in the cafe.
Hermione has fortunately packed them sleeping bags and when Harry wakes up the next morning he sees that Ron and Hermione fell asleep holding hands. The sight of them makes him feel a little bit lonely.
While they’re still sleeping, Harry creeps upstairs to Sirius’s room and goes inside. He’s amazed to find a letter to Sirius from his mother, Lily. It describes the baby Harry and his love for the broomstick Sirius gave him for his first birthday, also how Dumbledore still has James' Cloak, but part of the letter is missing and the text ends just as Lily's going to write something shocking about Dumbledore, and so Harry searches frantically around the room for the rest of the letter, but he couldn't find it anywhere.
On the way back downstairs Harry finds a sign on another door from Sirius’s brother, Regulus Black. His initials are R.A.B, the same ones that were on the fake locket Horcrux that Harry and Dumbledore retrieved last year. The three search the room for over an hour looking for the real locket but don’t find it. Hermione, however, remembers they threw away a locket last summer when they were cleaning out the house. Harry is horrified, because he now realizes that the locket is Voldemort’s true Horcrux.
Harry summons Kreacher to ask him if he stole the locket back and the elf tells him that he did. He tells Harry that Mundungus Fletcher stole it from him, and now Kreacher doesn’t know where it is.
Kreacher then tells Harry an amazing story of how he came to know where the original locket was, and how Regulus gave his own life to try and destroy the Horcrux with Kreacher’s help. Harry then asks Kreacher very nicely if he would go find Mundungus so they could continue Regulus’s work and ensure he didn’t die in vain.
While they wait for Kreacher’s return, Death Eaters have started taking up watch outside
Grimmauld Place. Lupin shows up to give them news of what happened after the wedding, and they’re all really glad to see someone from the Order. Lupin doesn’t bring much good news, however. The Death Eaters now have the full might of the Ministry behind them now that the Minister is dead, and rumors are being spread that Harry is wanted for questioning in Dumbledore’s death.
He also tells them that the Ministry, which is now really headed by Voldemort, is rounding up Muggle-borns and making them register. If they can’t prove they have at least one close wizard relative, they’re being punished for “stealing” magic.
Lupin also asks them if he can go with them on their mission. Harry wants to know why he’d volunteer to go away when he and Tonks just got married, and Lupin tells them that she’s also expecting a baby. When Harry finds this out, he’s outraged that Lupin would ditch his wife and kid to go off with them. They get into a huge argument about it, and Lupin tells them that he regrets marrying Tonks and regrets having a kid because now they’re all going to be outcasts because he’s a werewolf.
Lupin leaves suddenly when Harry calls him a coward, and then Harry feels really guilty for laying into him like that. Still, he reasons, if it makes Lupin go back to Tonks, it will be worth it.
As if the night couldn’t get any more exciting, Kreacher returns with Mundungus. Harry is amused to find that now Kreacher is entirely on their side, and wastes no time trying to beat up Mundungus. Harry finds out from Mundungus that he sold the locket to none other than Dolores Umbridge.
As August passes slowly on, more and more Death Eaters are hanging out in the square outside
Grimmauld Place. The change in Kreacher is nothing short of amazing. He now cooks every meal, Grimmauld Place is shining clean, and he treats Harry, Ron, and Hermione with utmost respect. Grimmauld Place has become like a cozy home to the three of them.
They have spent all their time trying to figure out how they are going to get the locket back from Umbridge. They have been staking out the Ministry under Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, and they finally have a plan for getting inside. They find out from one of their scouting missions that Snape has been promoted to Headmaster at Hogwarts.
That evening Harry has another vision from Voldemort, who is looking for a man named Gregorovitch, but he doesn’t know why. All he knows is that Voldemort wants him, and badly.
The day they break into the Ministry is a hectic one. They take Polyjuice Potion and disguise themselves as Ministry workers to get in. Their plan goes to pot, however, when they are forced to split up. Ron is asked by a Death Eater(since the Death Eaters already control the Ministry) to clean up an office since it is flooding in there. After that, Hermione and Harry enter the elevator to go to the next floors. In one floor, they see, to their shock, Dolores Umbridge.
They have a much harder time than they thought they would posing as Ministry workers. They’re asked questions they don’t know the answers to, asked to do things they don’t know how to do, and now that they’ve been forced to split up, have no idea how the others are doing in their quest to find Umbridge’s office.
Finally, Harry finds her office but is dismayed to find that the locket is not there. He manages to find Ron and they both head down to the dungeons, where they know Hermione was forced to go with Umbridge.
Harry is shocked to see that Umbridge is actually wearing the locket as she’s trying poor Muggle-borns in court. Finally, Harry can’t listen to her abuse any longer and he Stupefies Umbridge and her team. He rescues the poor Muggle-borns that almost surely would have been sent to Azkaban or even worse, gets the locket, and helps them all escape.
When Harry comes to he’s surprised to find them in a forest, and Ron is soaked with blood; he's been splinched so a big chunk of his shoulder was missing, and Hermione healed the wound with some dittany. Hermione explains that one of the Death Eaters, Yaxley, grabbed hold of her just as she was Apparating them back to
Grimmauld Place. He was taken along and she unwittingly let him into Grimmauld Place, which means they couldn’t go there. In a split second she Apparated them out of the house and into the place where they had camped during the Quidditch World Cup(Harry's fourth year in Hogwarts).
They have to stay in the forest now, since they can’t ever go back to
Grimmauld Place, so Harry gets out their tent while Hermione casts protective spells around where they are.
While they’re in the tent they get out the locket and examine it. It feels immensely strange to them to be holding a piece of Voldemort’s soul, and the locket pulses slightly, as if it contains his heartbeat as well. Harry puts the Horcrux around his own neck to keep it safe and Harry can feel the metal heart pulsing on his chest, and irregular beat with his own heart.
That night, Harry is starving and dispirited. He’s not as elated as he thought he’d be after stealing the Horcrux. He has no idea how to destroy this one, or where the other Horcruxes might be. Suddenly, his scar sears with pain and he gets another vision from Voldemort. Voldemort has found the foreign wand-maker, Gregorovitch, and is torturing him for information about a thief that stole something from Gregorovitch many years ago. Harry is very surprised to see this, because he was sure that Voldemort had gone to Ollivander to find out why using a different wand (to avoid the pretection of Harry with the twin cores) didn't work because Lucius' wand was obliterated by Harry's, when Harry's acted of it's own accord. And so Harry thought Voldemort wanted to go to Gregorovitch for advice because maybe he was the better wandmaker, however Voldemort hadn't mentioned anything about the wands to Gregorovitch, and so Harry was puzzled.
Tempers are flaring high the next day, and Harry can’t manage to produce a Patronus, which has him highly unnerved until Hermione figures out what’s wrong. The locket, which they’ve started taking in turns wearing to keep safe, is making them all feel horrible. When Hermione makes Harry take off the Horcrux he feels so elated, like he can produce a thousand Patronuses, unlike when he was wearing it.
As time passes they get no closer to figuring out the Horcrux riddle. Food is often scarce, and Ron especially does not hold up well from being hungry all the time. He’s often argumentative with Harry and often presents problem after problem without even trying to think of a solution.
They search many of Voldemort’s old haunts looking for more Horcruxes, but they never find any clues. One night, in the middle of a fierce argument stemming from the lack of food between Ron and Hermione, Harry hears a disturbance outside the tent. They go out to investigate and discover some goblins, Ted Tonks, and Dean Thomas, their fellow Gryffindor. All, it seems, are on the run. They hear a good bit of news about what’s going on at Hogwarts and they find out from one of the goblins that the sword of Gryffindor that’s hanging in the Headmaster’s office is a fake, and because it was almost stolen, it's now hidden in the Lestrange's vault at Gringotts. Where the real one is, no one knows, and also the goblin says that the real sword is goblin-made. That night they pull out of the handbag, the portrait of Phineas Nigellus taken from Harry's room in
Grimmauld Place. He tells him that goblin-made products absorb only what strengthens them, and also the last time the sword was removed from it's case was when Dumbledore had used it to smash a ring. So the sword absorbed the Basilisk venom and Dumbledore knew that so he used the sword to destroy the Horcrux. The Gryffindor sword is what they need to destroy the Horcruxes.
Later, however, Harry and Ron get into another huge row, because Ron thought that they were getting no-where and he thought that Harry actually knew what he was doing, and so Ron leaves the quest to go back home.
The next morning Harry can’t believe that Ron has really left them for good. Hermione is devastated and she cried for weeks after begging Ron not to leave, and so Harry and Hermione pack up and leave their campsite with heavy hearts. Ron does not show up.
As the days pass, Harry becomes hopeless as the weight of what he still has left to do engulfs him. They still don’t know where the sword is, or where the other Horcruxes are. Harry and Hermione make no mention of Ron, and their nights are silent and grim.
One night, weeks later, as Christmas is approaching, they decide to check out Godric’s Hollow and see if they can find any information and clues there. Harry is anxious to visit his home and his parents' graves, and he’s hoping they’ll get to talk with Bathilda Bagshot, the magical historian who was a great friend of Dumbledore’s. Harry and Hermione talked themselves into beleiving Dumbledore wanted them to go to Godric's Hollow, so they went.
When they get to Godric’s Hollow a few days later, they discover it’s Christmas Eve. On his parents' graves are the words: the last enemy to be destroyed is death, and Hermione explains to Harry, means living after death. But realization hits Harry, that his parents weren't living, they're gone, they left Harry, and so he can’t hold back his tears, and Hermione holds his hand and magics some Christmas roses to put on their graves.
When Harry finds his old home, which is still standing, he’s surprised that the ruins are even still there. There is a plaque on the site telling about the death of Lily and James, and how he, Harry, survived the Killing Curse of Lord Voldemort.
They also are found by Bathilda Bagshot and they follow her into her home, which is very dirty and smelly. She is very old, and they figure there is no one to take care of her so that’s why she never cleans.
Bathilda takes Harry upstairs alone. He’s convinced that she has the sword to give him, but before he knows what’s happening Bathilda has turned into Voldemort’s snake, Nagini! The snake coils itself around Harry, to keep him there for Voldemort. Hermione comes just in time to save Harry. Harry knows Voldemort is coming and that the snake was in Bathilda the whole time, waiting for Harry to come, as Voldemort had known he would, to kill him. He narrowly escapes the snake, grabs Hermione, and they Apparate moments before Voldemort gets to them. Harry's scar explodes with pain over Voldemort’s rage, and Harry doesn’t know what’s happening, or where he is, but somehow he’s reliving the night of his parents' murders. He’s seeing that night as Voldemort saw it, through his eyes.
When he comes to, Hermione tells him the worst news of all. His wand got destroyed back at Godric’s Hollow.
Harry is devastated by the loss of his wand, and has no idea how he’s supposed to defeat Voldemort now that his special wand is destroyed.
He finds out from Hermione, however, that the thief that Voldemort keeps seeing, the man who stole something from him so many years ago, is none other than a very young Gellert Grindelwald. He also finds out that Dumbledore was very good friends with the wizard, Grindewald. Grindewald, Harry knows, was the most famous Dark Wizard of all time until Voldemort emerged on the scene. Grindewald was all in favor of wizards dominating over Muggles, and Harry is shocked to find out that, at least when he was younger, Dumbledore agreed with him; Dumbledore had said everything they were doing was "for the greater good", and that later became Grindelwald's slogan. They did duel famously later in life, but Harry can’t stop thinking about how little he truly knew Albus Dumbledore. This new information leaves him feeling hollow and spent, and he wonders if Dumbledore ever truly cared about him at all.
They’re in the thick of winter, and snow is falling hard and fast in the forests where Harry and Hermione are hiding. As Harry is on watch one night outside the tent, he sees a silver light in the forest. He looks closer and sees a silver white doe. It is beautiful, and strangely familiar to Harry although he can’t say why. The Patronus begins to pick her way back into the forest, and Harry starts to follow her. She leads him to a small frozen pond and disappears. When Harry looks into the pond, he sees Gryffindor’s sword deep in the water.
The only way to get it, Harry knows, is to go in physically and pull it out, after all, only a true Gryffindor could obtain and use the sword. The water is ice cold, and snow is falling. As his hands close around the hilt, the Horcrux tightens itself on Harry's neck, trying to choke him. Harry is sure he is going to drown, and is saved by Ron of all people. Ron has come back to the quest and he’s the one, Harry knows, who is to take possession of the sword and break open the locket. The locket puts up a fight, however, and when Harry opens it a voice begins speaking to Ron’s deepest fears.
Instead of stabbing it straight away, Ron listens, horrified, to his worst fears, that Hermione really loves Harry and not him, that Ron will always be overshadowed by everyone he knows, that his mother doesn’t really love him. Everything he always secretly thought is voiced aloud through the locket. Finally, Ron stabs the locket, in fury, with the real sword and it’s destroyed.
Hermione is alternately overjoyed and furious to see Ron again. She rages at Ron for abandoning them, and Ron finally tells the story of how he managed to find them again using Dumbledore’s Deluminator.
Hermione does not forgive Ron overnight for leaving them, but Harry is thrilled to have him back. He’s also excited that they managed to destroy another Horcrux, and he’s feeling much better about their progress.
Ron also fills him in that there’s been a Taboo placed on Voldemort’s name. Whoever says his name instantly gets marked by Death Eaters, which is why they’ve been able to find Harry so easily in the past.
One night Hermione announces that she wants to go see Xeno Lovegood, Luna’s father and editor of The Quibbler. He was wearing Grindewald’s sign at Bill and Fleur’s wedding, and Hermione is becoming convinced that the symbol is important somehow. She wants to ask him about it.
When they get to the Lovegoods' house, they talk Mr. Lovegood into helping them out. He leaves for a moment to go fetch Luna, and comes back, offering them a drink. He tells them that the symbol he wore to the wedding is really the sign of the Deathly Hallows.
The Deathly Hallows is a children’s tale, but Harry has never heard it. Hermione takes out the book that Dumbledore left her in his will and reads the entire tale to them. The story is about three brothers who meet Death on their road late one night. They are each awarded a prize from Death since they escaped him earlier by not drowning in a dangerous river. The first brother asks for a wand that will always win duels and allow the owner to escape death. Without question, Death gives it to him. The second brother asks for something that will be able to recall others from death. Death picks up a stone and tells the second brother that it now has the power to bring back the dead. The third brother asks for something that will enable him to hide from death. Death gives the third brother his Invisibility Cloak.
Xeno tells the three of them that the three objects, the wand, the stone, and the cloak, make up the Deathly Hallows. Whomever possesses all three will be a master of death. Xeno also tells them that the Invisibility Cloak is not a common one, but one that will hide the wearer eternally and not fade with time like most other cloaks. The wand, called the Elder Wand, is also very special but no one knows where it could possibly be.
The three wander upstairs when Xeno leaves the room and they manage to find Luna’s room. Something is wrong, however. The room hasn’t been touched in months, and it doesn’t look like Luna is home at all. When they confront Xeno about it, he tells them that the Ministry has taken Luna and Xeno has already sent an owl to warn the Ministry that Harry is at his house. All he wants, he says, is to have his daughter back.
They barely escape the Death Eaters that show up, and Hermione saves them again by Apparating them out of there.
They’re extremely worried that Luna has been taken by the Ministry, but don’t know what they can do to help her. Hermione insists that their visit to the Lovegoods' was a waste of time. She doesn’t believe the story of the three brothers at all, but Harry is drawn to the fairy tale. The idea that he could conquer death and not be killed by Voldemort pulls on his imagination and gives him hope. He also figures out, however, that this is what Voldemort is searching for. Voldemort wants the Elder Wand to fight Harry with.
The next week Harry becomes obsessed with the Deathly Hallows. He’s sure that the stone is somehow hidden in the Snitch that Dumbledore left him, but he still can’t figure out how to open it, and he still doesn’t know what the message “I open at the close” that’s written on it means. Ron and Hermione both feel that Harry needs to be concentrating on the Horcruxes and to forget about the Deathly Hallows.
One night Ron manages to tune their radio onto “Potterwatch”, a radio show operated by Fred and George and Lee and a few others about the anti-Voldemort movement. They’re thrilled to hear their voices again, and catch up on the news of what’s happening.
After the show, Harry makes the mistake of using Voldemort’s name, and suddenly they’re surrounded by a bunch of wizards.
Hermione quickly does a spell on Harry to make his face swell up so it looks like he’s been stung by bees. The Snatchers don’t recognize him at first, but they quickly realize that he is Harry Potter. They decide to take him to Voldemort personally, and they bring them all to
. Malfoy Mansion
Once inside, Narcissa Malfoy makes Draco look closely at Harry to verify that it’s really him. Draco doesn’t want to look at Harry, and mumbles that it could be him, but he’s not sure.
Bellatrix Lestrange sends them all downstairs to the cellar prison while she keeps Hermione up with her. After the rest of them are locked up, they can hear Hermione being tortured for information. It is gut wrenching to hear her screams, and they can’t figure out a way to help her. They discover that they are in the dungeon with Luna and Ollivander, the wand-maker, as well as Dean Thomas and a goblin named Griphook.
In desperation Harry grabs his pouch and out falls a tiny shard of mirror, from which he thinks he can see Dumbledore’s eye looking at him. He screams for help and suddenly the eye is gone. Suddenly, Dobby is in the dungeon with them and Harry can’t believe it. Dobby takes all the prisoners to Bill and Fleur’s seaside cottage, and while he’s gone, Harry and Ron are left in the dungeon alone. Suddenly, Wormtail opens the door and they manage to escape. Wormtail is strangled to death by his own silver hand when he fails to kill Harry. They rescue Hermione and Dobby shows up just in time to take them to Bill and Fleur’s cottage.
When they get there they are all heartbroken to see that Dobby was stabbed by Bellatrix's knife just as he was helping them Apparate out. He dies in Harry’s arms.
Harry is devastated by Dobby’s death, and when he buries him he does so by hand, without using magic. When they all come out to lay Dobby to rest, they thank him for saving their lives.
After the funeral, Harry questions Griphook the goblin about the sword, which he managed to escape with. Harry needs Griphook to help him break into Gringotts bank, because he now thinks that another Horcrux is hidden in Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault. Griphook tells them he’ll think about helping them and let them know when he decides.
Harry also questions the wandmaker, Ollivander, asking him if it’s possible to fix his broken wand. Ollivander cannot fix it. Ollivander does tell him, however, that Voldemort really is seeking the Elder Wand so he can evade death.
Soon after questioning Ollivander, Harry begins to truly understand what he’s meant to do. He’s supposed to destroy the Horcruxes and not go after the Elder Wand. He then has a vision of what Voldemort’s doing. Voldemort is at Hogwarts and has figured out that Dumbledore was the possessor of the Elder Wand. He breaks open Dumbledore’s tomb and takes the wand for himself.
Griphook has finally agreed to help them break into Gringotts. The only hitch is that he wants Gryffindor’s sword in return. Harry agrees, but inwardly squirms at the thought of his white lie. He will give the sword to Griphook, but he doesn’t tell him when.
One night Lupin shows up suddenly and announces that he and Tonks have had a boy. They’ve named him Ted, and the group gets to celebrate for one night. Lupin asks Harry if he’ll be a godfather to the baby, and Harry agrees.
Their plan is simple: Go with Griphook with Hermione disguised as Bellatrix Lestrange and get into her vault that way. They’ve got her wand (Harry stole it during the tussle at
) and even got some of her hair for the Polyjuice Potion. Malfoy Mansion
When they Apparate into the Leaky Cauldron they’re surprised to see how bad Diagon Alley looks. There are many more shops dealing in the Dark Arts, and most of the nice ones have closed down. Altogether, it’s not a friendly place to be anymore.
Their plan goes reasonably well; Hermione makes a very convincing Bellatrix and with only a few snags, Griphook manages to get them down to her vault. It’s guarded by a half-blind dragon, but they get past that obstacle fairly easily thanks to Griphook.
Suddenly things start to fall apart. They’re discovered to be imposters and the treasure in the vault starts multiplying every time it’s touched. Harry manages to spot what they came for -- Hufflepuff’s cup, which he is sure is a Horcrux, and he just manages to get it before they’re all crushed to death. Griphook escapes with the sword, and Harry, Hermione, and Ron manage to get back out of the bank on the back of the half-blind dragon.
When the dragon finally gets them down low enough they jump into a lake, somewhere far, far away from
. Once they’ve treated their many injuries they discuss the fact that they lost the sword they so desperately needed to destroy the Horcrux. London
Suddenly Harry has a vision of Voldemort, who just found out that they took the golden cup from the vault. His rage is apoplectic. He kills just about everyone around him, and he can’t believe Harry knows so much about his past and his Horcruxes. Voldemort now is no longer sure the rest of his Horcruxes are safe and realizes he must go check on all of them, immediately, to make sure.
When Harry comes to he realizes that the last physical Horcrux, other than the snake Nagini, is at Hogwarts. That is where they have to go next, and soon, because Voldemort will be checking to make sure it’s safe.
As soon as they Apparate into
a scream rents the air, alerting the Death Eaters to their presence. They’re taken in by the barkeep of the Hogs Head, who hides them from the Death Eaters and makes up an excuse for the alarm going off. Once he’s thrown them off the trail he closes the door and looks Harry, Ron, and Hermione up and down. Harry suddenly recognizes him as Dumbledore’s brother. He finds out that Aberforth is the one who sent Dobby to rescue them when Harry shouted into the mirror. Hogsmeade Village
Aberforth also tells them the truth about Dumbledore’s past, and agrees to help them get into Hogwarts. He speaks to the portrait of his dead sister, Ariana. She leaves and brings back none other than Neville Longbottom.
Neville is overjoyed to see them but Harry is horrified at Neville, who looks like he recently got beat almost to death. Neville leads them through the portrait down a long, dark hallway. It’s the last secret passageway into Hogwarts. As they walk Neville fills them in on what’s been happening at Hogwarts. It’s been horrible, and the three can’t believe at how different things are at the school.
When they get there they are surprised to come out in the Room of Requirement. There is a cheering crowd waiting for them, and they’re all happy to see their old friends again.
There’s an argument, however. Harry knows that they don’t have much time, but everyone wants to help him. He insists they stay behind, and he gets even more panicked when more and more people start pouring in from the Hogs Head. Luna, Dean, Fred, George, Ginny, Lee Jordan, Cho Chang all come climbing through. Harry, with some urging from Ron and Hermione, agrees to let them help. He figures out that they’re looking for Ravenclaw’s diadem, a type of crown she wore.
When Luna takes Harry to the Ravenclaw common room to look at a picture of the lost diadem, they’re met by one of the Death Eater professors, who instantly touches the Dark Mark to alert Voldemort that they found Harry.
They stun the Carrows and begin to tell Professor McGonagall what they’re up to. They tell her that they must find the lost diadem before Voldemort gets into the castle. McGonagall tells Harry that she and the others will secure the castle against Voldemort as long as they can so that Harry can search for the diadem.
As they’re walking through the hall they run into Snape. He and Professor McGonagall duel fiercely, magic so quick that Harry has never seen the like of it. When the other professors show up to help McGonagall, Snape jumps out one of the windows to join Voldemort, who is now just outside the grounds.
The professors immediately begin putting charms and spells all around the castle to hold off Voldemort.
When Harry gets back to the Room of Requirement he’s shocked to see that even more people have shown up, including Lupin, Kingsley, and Ron’s whole family. Finally, even Percy shows up and apologizes to his family, saying that he was a deluded idiot and that he’s sorry he’s been such a big prat for so long. His family forgives him instantly, and they all leave to join the battle together.
In the Great Hall teachers and prefects are sneaking the younger students out of the school before the battle begins.
The Order and the professors have agreed upon a battle plan and start splitting up. Many students who are overage have stayed to fight, and they’re all preparing for the battle that will come soon. The air is tense with expectation and still Harry, who is starting to panic, does not even know where to begin looking for the diadem.
As he races through the hallways he has a brainwave. Everyone keeps saying the diadem hasn’t been seen by anyone in living memory. That does not, however, include ghosts. He hunts down Nick, the Gryffindor ghost, and asks him about it. Nick points him towards the Gray Lady, who is Ravenclaw’s ghost, and Harry asks her about the diadem. She tells him that she was Ravenclaw’s own daughter, and that she was the one who stole the diadem from her mother.
He runs into Hagrid after talking with the Gray Lady, and suddenly he knows exactly where the diadem is. He realizes he saw it last year in the Room of Requirement, when he went in to hide his Potions book. It’s a tiara, on a stone bust, in that junky old room. He can’t believe it.
As he’s racing to the Room of Requirement he finally finds Ron and Hermione, who had the brilliant idea to go down into the Chamber of Secrets and get some basilisk fangs, which is one of the only other things that can destroy the Horcrux. He’s amazed at their brilliancy. Hermione has already destroyed the cup.
The battle has begun and they race even harder to get there. When they finally get the Room of Requirement open, they begin searching for the stone bust that Harry knows the diadem sits on. They’re disgusted to find out that Draco Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle are in the room as well.
They begin to duel and Harry just manages to grab the tiara before the piles of junk bury it forever. The room catches on fire from a spell and they manage to get out, saving Malfoy and Goyle in the process. Crabbe is burned to death by the Fiendfyre.
After they get out they realize the tiara got destroyed in the magical fire, which makes them really happy, but suddenly Percy and Fred come into view, dueling with two Death Eaters in the hallway. Suddenly the wall is blasted open from the outside, and Fred is killed in the explosion.
They have to drag Fred’s body out the way, and Harry can’t permit himself to grieve. The castle is under serious attack, and the last Horcrux to be destroyed is Voldemort’s snake, Nagini.
Harry allows himself to go into Voldemort’s mind, and discovers that he’s in the Shrieking Shack. They throw on the Invisibility Cloak and weave their way through the battle. They make it to the Whomping Willow and head into the tunnel that leads to the Shrieking Shack.
While they are in there, they hear Snape talking with Voldemort. Voldemort wants to know why the Elder Wand won’t work for him like it’s supposed to. He can’t do the extraordinary magic that he thought he’d be able to, and he blames Snape for this. Because Snape is the one who killed Dumbledore, Snape is the wand’s true owner. He therefore must kill Snape in order for the wand to work properly, and he does this immediately, with no remorse, setting Nagini on Snape. Voldemort leaves the shack and the three of them rush in to see Snape dying. Snape, however, gives Harry one last thing before he is gone for good: he gives him his memories. After that, Snape tells Harry to look at him. Snape stares at Harry's green eyes before his own eyes fade away.
Before Harry can even wonder what Snape just gave him, he hears Voldemort’s voice magically magnified. He calls for his forces to retreat, and tells Harry that he has one hour to surrender. If he doesn’t, Lord Voldemort will enter the battle himself, and kill every single person in Hogwarts.
They make their way back up to the castle to think of what to do. All the casualties have been put in the Great Hall, and Harry is horrified to see how many have lost their lives. Fred, he knew, but he’s shocked to see both Tonks and Lupin there, laid out side by side.
Harry can’t breathe, seeing everyone who died for him, and he races away to Dumbledore’s office. His sadness is too much to handle. He decides to look at Snape’s memory to see what he’d been trying to tell him.
What he sees is so shocking that he doesn’t even know how to comprehend it. Snape, it turns out, had been in love with his mother, Lily, since he was a boy. He worshipped her, and even though he lost her to James, Harry’s father, he never stopped caring about her. While Harry was at Hogwarts Snape did whatever he could to protect him, and it was all done out of love for his mother.
Harry also sees that last year, after Dumbledore took the ring Horcrux that shriveled his arm, he had a limited amount of time to live in spite of Snape’s best efforts to remove the poison. Dumbledore knew that Malfoy had been put to the task of killing him, and asked Snape if he would do it when the time came, since he was dying anyway. Events and memories unfold, and Harry sees that Snape was loyal, that he always was, and that perhaps he even cared for Harry in spite of his best efforts to hide it.
Harry also finds out that a piece of Voldemort’s soul is inside him, and has been since he was an infant and Voldemort tried to kill him. He finds out that he must die in order for Voldemort to be truly defeated, and Voldemort has to be the one to do it.
His heart seems to beat harder, with more vigor, now that he knows he must die. Now that he knows, he feels more alive than ever, and wonders if it will hurt. As he sits in the office coming to grips with the fact that he must die, and soon, he knows that he won’t duck out. Too many people have died for him already. No more.
He can’t bear to say goodbye to anyone, so he doesn’t. He sees Neville on his way out, and tells him that if something happens to Harry, he must kill Voldemort’s snake at all costs.
As he walks across the grounds towards the
he’s flooded with memories of his time there. Everything is suddenly so precious, and he wishes more than anything that he just had more time to live his life. He realizes suddenly that the Snitch might open now that he is about to die, and when he tries it sure enough, it opens. The Resurrection Stone falls out. When he turns it, his parents, Sirius, and Lupin all appear, ghostly white in the night. They stay with him as he walks to the middle of the forest to meet his doom. Forbidden Forest
When he finally finds Voldemort, it only takes a moment. There is a flash of green light, and then nothing at all.
When he opens his eyes he is alone in a bright mist. The more he looks around the more it looks like he’s in some domed room. He thinks that he is in King's Cross. He sees an ugly, small crying child and before he can do anything about it, Dumbledore appears.
Dumbledore tells Harry that he (Harry) is really not dead, and explains to him that because Harry let Voldemort kill him, that piece of Voldemort that was inside Harry is now gone. Harry still doesn’t understand why he’s not dead, however, and Dumbledore tells him that because Voldemort used Harry’s blood to regenerate himself, Lily’s protection is now inside both of them. His body keeps her sacrifice alive, and it’s because of this that Harry is still alive.
Dumbledore also tells Harry about the Hallows, and how all this time Harry has had the magical Cloak from the legend. He explains all about his true past, his duel with Grindelwald, and their quest to obtain all three Hallows for themselves. He is sad and bitter about his past, but is determined not to have any more secrets from Harry.
He also tells Harry that he has a choice to stay or go back, and Harry decides to go back. Before going back, he looks at the child for the last time when Dumbledore tells him to pity the living, not the dead.
When he opens his eyes again he’s back in the forest, facedown on the ground. He hears Voldemort, who is on the ground as well, telling someone to make sure he’s dead. Soft hands touch his face, and a whisper asking if Draco is alive. He whispers that he is, and Narcissa yells back to the crowd that Harry is, indeed, dead. Voldemort makes Hagrid carry him back up to the castle to show everyone that he’s dead.
When they reach the grounds all the fighters of Hogwarts come out. Harry is still pretending to be dead, and his heart hurts to hear their grief for him. As Voldemort tortures Neville for trying to defy him, several things happen at once. Centaurs flood the grounds, shooting arrows at the Death Eaters, Grawp comes bursting out of the forest, and Neville manages to slice off Nagini’s head with Gryffindor’s sword, which he pulls out of the Sorting Hat.
A new battle rages on, and Voldemort runs into Hogwarts. Under his cloak, Harry follows him, intent on ending it for good. The battle is fierce, and Harry winds in and out, determined to get to Voldemort.
He watches in amazement as Mrs. Weasley kills Bellatrix Lestrange in an epic duel. Voldemort turns to kill Mrs. Weasley in return, and Harry unveils himself at last. The entire hall erupts in cheers and then silence as he and Voldemort circle each other, preparing to duel at last.
Harry tells Voldemort many interesting things as they circle each other, and he tries to get him to feel some remorse for what he’s done. Voldemort, of course, doesn’t believe anything Harry tells him, and when the spell is finally cast it’s over in a moment. Voldemort is dead, and Harry is left alive, the true master of the Elder Wand.
After it’s over Harry wants nothing but to be alone. He sneaks out with Ron and Hermione in order to tell them everything that happened. They go up to Dumbledore’s office for one last talk with the Headmaster’s portrait, and Harry decides to put back the Elder Wand because it causes more trouble than it’s worth. Dumbledore, it turns out, agrees with him. Before returning the Elder Wand, however, Harry uses it one last time to repair his broken wand.
Harry and Ginny have arrived at King’s Cross to see their kids off to school. Lily, their daughter, is not quite old enough, but James and Albus are leaving. It’s Albus’s first year, and he’s very nervous that he won’t be in Gryffindor like his father. They run into Ron and Hermione, who are also there dropping their kids off. Everything ends happily ever after.