Today’s chapter: Deathly Hallows, Epilogue - “Nineteen Years Later.”
The train began to move, and Harry walked alongside it, watching his son’s thin face, already ablaze with excitement. Harry kept smiling, and waving, even though it was like a little bereavement, watching his son glide away from him …
The last trace of steam evaporated in the autumn air. The train rounded a corner. Harry’s hand was still raised in farewell.
“He’ll be alright,” murmured Ginny.
As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absent-mindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.
“I know he will.”
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.
Finite Incantatem. Mischief managed. The end.
I know you enjoyed the books, but I hope you also enjoyed the HPreread experience and found it a good way to pay tribute to The Boy Who Lived, his excellent creator (The Woman Who Wrote?), and this wonderful series that’s been giving us all so much pleasure for so many years.
Thanks to the truly brilliant J.K. Rowling for writing such a magical story, and to you for reading along. Enjoy the movie and all your future rereads! :)
Today’s tale from Beedle the Bard - “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”
But though Death searched for the third brother for many years, he was never able to find him. It was only when he had attained a great age that the youngest brother finally took off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life.
When Harry gives up the Elder Wand at the end of Deathly Hallows, he says, “If I die a natural death like Ignotus, its power will be broken, won’t it? The previous master will never have been defeated. That’ll be the end of it.” I really like the parallel between Harry and the humble third brother. I imagine him living out a long, trouble-free life, and dying peacefully.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
Today’s tale from Beedle the Bard - “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump.”
Though some six centuries have elapsed since Beedle wrote this tale, and while we have devised innumerable ways of maintaining the illusion of our loved ones’ continuing presence, wizards still have not found a way of reuniting body and soul once death has occurred. As the eminent wizarding philosopher Bertrand de Pensées-Profondes writes in his celebrated work A Study into the Possibility of Reversing the Actual and Metaphysical Effects of Natural Death, with Particular Regard to the Reintegration of Essence and Matter: “Give it up. It’s never going to happen.”
Today’s tale from Beedle the Bard - “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart.”
As we have already seen, Beedle’s first two tales attracted criticism of their themes of generosity, tolerance and love. ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,’ however, does not appear to have been modified or much criticised in the hundreds of years since it was first written; the story as I eventually read it in the original runes was almost exactly that which my mother had told me. That said, ‘The Warlock’s Hairy Heart’ is by far the most gruesome of Beedle’s offerings, and many parents do not share it with their children until they think they are old enough not to suffer nightmares.
You might say it’s a little … grimm.
Today’s tale from Beedle the Bard - “The Fountain of Fair Fortune.”
The night’s entertainment concluded with a packed hospital wing; it was several months before the Great Hall lost its pungent aroma of wood smoke, and even longer before Professor Beery’s head reassumed its normal proportions, and Professor Kettleburn was taken off probation. Headmaster Armando Dippet imposed a blanket ban on future pantomimes, a proud non-theatrical tradition that Hogwarts continues to this day.
Today’s tale from Beedle the Bard - “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot.”
Beedle was somewhat out of step with his times in preaching a message of brotherly love for Muggles. The persecution of witches and wizards was gathering pace all over Europe in the early fifteenth century. Many in the magical community felt, and with good reason, that offering to cast a spell on the Muggle-next-door’s sickly pig was tantamount to volunteering to fetch the firewood for one’s own funeral pyre.
I love the fact that J.K. Rowling actually wrote this book. I love even more that she has included Dumbledore’s (hilarious!) commentary on the tales. Just when you think she couldn’t be more awesome …
Today’s chapter: Deathly Hallows, Chapter Thirty-Six - “The Flaw in the Plan.”
“The true master of the Elder Wand was Draco Malfoy.”
Blank shock showed in Voldemort’s face for a moment, but then it was gone.
“But what does it matter?” he said softly. “Even if you are right, Potter, it makes no difference to you and me. You no longer have the phoenix wand: we duel on skill alone … and after I have killed you, I can attend to Draco Malfoy …”
“But you’re too late,” said Harry. “You’ve missed your chance. I got there first. I overpowered Draco weeks ago. I took his wand from him.”
Harry twitched the hawthorn wand, and he felt the eyes of everyone in the Hall upon it.
“So it all comes down to this, doesn’t it?” whispered Harry. “Does the wand in your hand know its last master was Disarmed? Because if it does … I am the true master of the Elder Wand.”
Once again, Voldemort is defeated by his unwillingness to accept that anything might have a power above his own. Also: Neville and Mrs Weasley both get to be extremely, mindblowingly awesome one last time.
Personally, I loved this final book. It brings the story to a fitting, satisfying end (except Fred’s death should never have happened). What did you think?
Reminder: starting tomorrow (July 10), we read The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Our final HPreread post, on July 15, will be Deathly Hallows’ epilogue.
Today’s chapter: Deathly Hallows, Chapter Thirty-Five - “King’s Cross.”
“But you’re dead,” said Harry.
“Oh, yes,” said Dumbledore matter-of-factly.
“Then … I’m dead too?”
“Ah,” said Dumbledore, smiling still more broadly. “That is the question, isn’t it? On the whole, dear boy, I think not.”
They looked at each other, the old man still beaming.
“Not?” repeated Harry.
“Not,” said Dumbledore.
“But …” Harry raised his hand instinctively towards the lightning scar. It did not seem to be there. “But I should have died — I didn’t defend myself! I meant to let him kill me!”
“And that,” said Dumbledore, “will, I think, have made all the difference.”
This is the only way this story could have ended. Harry Potter, the boy who lived.
Today’s chapter: Deathly Hallows, Chapter Thirty-Four - “The Forest Again.”
He closed his eyes, and turned the stone over in his hand, three times.
He knew it had happened, because he heard slight movements around him that suggested frail bodies shifting their footing on the earthy, twig-strewn ground that marked the outer edge of the Forest. He opened his eyes and looked around.
They were neither ghost nor truly flesh, he could see that. They resembled most closely the Riddle that had escaped from the diary, so long ago, and he had been memory made nearly solid. Less substantial than living bodies, but much more than ghosts, they moved towards him, and on each face there was the same loving smile.
Today’s chapter: Deathly Hallows, Chapter Thirty-Three - “The Prince’s Tale.”
“If she means so much to you,” said Dumbledore, “surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?”
“I have — I have asked him —”
“You disgust me,” said Dumbledore, and Harry had never heard so much contempt in his voice. Snape seemed to shrink a little. “You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?”
Snape said nothing, but merely looked up at Dumbledore.
“Hide them all, then,” he croaked. “Keep her — them — safe. Please.”
“And what will you give me in return, Severus?”
“In — in return?” Snape gaped at Dumbledore, and Harry expected him to protest, but after a long moment he said, “Anything.”
Snape’s story explains a whole lot.