Chapter Twenty - Xenophilius Lovegood
Hermione remains angry at Ron, but Ron and Harry feel much more optimistic now that they’ve destroyed one Horcrux. Ron tells Harry that a magical Trace has been placed on Voldemort’s name, so that anyone who says it can be tracked by the Ministry. This Trace is how the trio were discovered in Tottenham Court Road. Fortunately, Harry and Hermione have already slipped into the habit of calling Voldemort You-Know-Who.
Hermione announces that she wants to visit Xenophilius Lovegood, having found, in the signature of the letter from Dumbledore excerpted in Skeeter’s book, yet another appearance of the triangular symbol associated with Grindelwald and worn by Xenophilius. Ron concurs, noting that Xenophilius’s underground newspaper, The Quibbler
, has been staunchly pro-Harry, despite the price on his head.
The trio find the tower where the Lovegoods live, but Xenophilius seems alarmed at their presence and reluctant to invite them in or help them. Grudgingly, he lets them come in. Ron chides Xenophilius for printing in his newspaper that people should help Harry, then appearing unwilling to help Harry himself, and finally Xenophilius agrees to help. He excuses himself to go call Luna, who, he says, is outside fishing, then serves them a nasty-tasting root infusion. Xenophilius asks Harry what he has come for, and Harry inquires about the symbol. Xenophilius tells him that it is the sign of the Deathly Hallows.
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Chapter Twenty-One - The Tale of the Three Brothers
Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all baffled—none of them have heard of the Deathly Hallows. Xenophilius explains that the Deathly Hallows have nothing to do with Dark Magic, and that the symbol is merely a way for wizards to indicate to each other that they believe in a particular legend and are engaged in a quest for certain objects—the Deathly Hallows. To explain what these objects are, Xenophilius has Hermione read an old and familiar fairy tale from The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Three brothers were traveling on a road when they came to a river. They made a bridge using magic, but when they were halfway across, Death spoke to them. Death was angry at being cheated of their lives, but he congratulated them and offered them each a prize. The oldest brother asked for a wand that would always win duels, and Death fashioned one out of an elder tree branch. The second asked for the power to bring people back from the dead, and Death gave him a stone with that power. The youngest brother asked for something that would let him leave that place without being followed by Death, and Death reluctantly handed over his own Invisibility Cloak.
The three brothers departed. The first brother was killed in his sleep by a thief after he boasted about his wand. The second brother summoned the spirit of a girl he had once loved, but she couldn’t truly be with him in life, so he killed himself to join her. The youngest brother lived for many years, then handed the cloak off to his own son and welcomed Death like an old friend.
Xenophilius explains that the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Cloak of Invisibility are the Deathly Hallows. Initiates into the legend behind the fairy tale believe that the possessor of all three objects will be the master of Death. Hermione questions whether these objects actually exist, but Xenophilius unwittingly draws her attention to the fact that Harry’s cloak sounds exactly like the cloak in the story. He has no proof that the stone exists, but he notes that there is ample evidence for the existence of the wand, which has been passed from famous wizard to famous wizard, with the new owner always capturing it from the old one in order to truly master it.
Hermione asks Xenophilius if the Peverells have anything to do with the quest, since she saw the symbol on the gravestone of Ignotus Peverell in Godric’s Hollow. Xenophilius explains that many believe the three Peverell brothers to have been the three brothers in the story. Then he excuses himself to fix the dinner.
The three friends debate the relative merits and possible existence of the three artifacts, then Harry wanders upstairs into Luna’s room, seeing paintings of himself and Luna’s other friends, as well as a photograph of Luna and her mother. Harry is startled to realize that the photographs are dusty and the room clearly has not been inhabited for months. He confronts Xenophilius with his lie, and Xenophilius admits that the Ministry has kidnapped Luna because of the pro-Potter articles Xenophilius had been printing. When Xenophilius had gone outside earlier, he had actually dispatched an owl to the Ministry.
Death Eaters arrive, and Xenophilius attempts to subdue Harry and his friends with a spell, but the spell hits an explosive Erumpent horn hanging on his wall, which detonates and blows up half the tower, leaving the trio upstairs and Xenophilius below, separated by rubble. The Death Eaters beat Xenophilius and berate him for constantly summoning them on false pretexts, but one of them uses a spell to determine that someone is indeed upstairs. Ron, Harry, and Hermione Disapparate, but not before Hermione hits Xenophilius with a Forgetting spell to erase his memory and allows the Death Eaters to catch a glimpse of Harry, so they’ll know Xenophilius wasn’t lying.
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Chapter Twenty-Two - The Deathly Hallows
Having transported themselves safely to an empty field, Ron, Harry, and Hermione discuss what they’ve learned and debate whether the Deathly Hallows could possibly exist. Hermione steadfastly maintains that it is all nonsense, but Harry starts to put together the information they’ve just gathered into a coherent picture, until he becomes almost obsessed with the Hallows.
First, Harry remembers that during the previous year, when he viewed images in Dumbledore’s Pensieve of Marvolo Gaunt (Voldemort’s grandfather), Gaunt had claimed to be the descendant of the Peverells and claimed that their symbol was on his ring. (This was the ring Horcrux that Dumbledore destroyed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
.) Harry puts these pieces together and decides that Gaunt must be the descendant of one of the three brothers in the tale, and that the Resurrection Stone is the stone that was in the ring—and that Dumbledore must have hidden it for Harry inside the Snitch, which they have yet to open.
Harry further realizes that Voldemort was tracking Ollivander, Gregorovitch, and now Grindelwald because he wants the Elder Wand—not because he wants a new wand, or answers about how to defeat Harry’s wand.
Finally, Harry decides that his Invisibility Cloak—the cloak his father left to him—must be the cloak in the story, and that he himself must be descended from the third brother in the story, living as he did in the same town as the Peverells. He remembers that in the letter fragment from his mother that he found in Sirius’s house, she mentions that Dumbledore had borrowed the Cloak. Harry reasons that Dumbledore must have known that it was one of the Hallows and must have wanted to assemble them all. Harry is seized by the idea that if he gathers the Hallows himself, he will finally be powerful enough to defeat Voldemort, whose Horcruxes will be no match for the Hallows.
It occurs to Harry that Voldemort must not know about the Hallows, having been raised in a Muggle orphanage without being read wizard fairy tales. He must be searching for the wand thinking only that it is a powerful wand, not one of three artifacts. If Voldemort had known, he would have pursued the Hallows rather than making the Horcruxes, and he wouldn’t have made a Hallow into a Horcrux (the ring with the Resurrection Stone in it).
As passionate as Harry is about his deductions, Hermione resists, noting that there would be no reason for Dumbledore not to tell Harry about the Hallows if they existed, and reminding Harry that Dumbledore left clear instructions to find and destroy Horcruxes—not to go searching for Hallows to destroy Voldemort. Ron supports Hermione, so the matter seems to be closed, but Harry lies awake that night obsessing about what he could do with the Resurrection Stone and the Elder Wand—for example, using the Stone to question Dumbledore and the Wand to free Luna from Azkaban, where she is most likely being kept. Over the next few days, the sense of division between Harry and Ron and Hermione deepens.
One night, Ron manages to tune into the underground radio program "Potterwatch," produced by members of the Order of the Phoenix. Harry, Hermione, and Ron listen eagerly as wizards they know and recognize give out news of the outside world and the people they know and love. Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell have been murdered, along with a goblin; Xenophilius is in prison; Hagrid was almost arrested but escaped; Muggles are being murdered by Death Eaters in great numbers. Rumors have circulated that Voldemort has been sighted outside of England.
As the program ends, Harry seizes on this last piece of information to insist that Voldemort must be searching in Europe for the Elder Wand. Unfortunately, he slips and says Voldemort’s name, breaking the Trace and leading the Ministry’s agents to their hiding place. A voice announces that a dozen wizards are outside the tent, and orders them to come out with their hands up.
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Chapter Twenty-Three - Malfoy Manor
Hermione points her wand at Harry’s face and causes it to swell so that he’s unrecognizable, just before the three friends are seized by a gang of Snatchers. Harry can’t see, but he recognizes one of the voices menacing Hermione as belonging to Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf. Questioned about their names, Harry claims to be Vernon Dudley, Ron to be Barny Weasley (after having been caught in the lie that he was Stan Shunpike), and Hermione to be Penelope Clearwater.
As the Snatchers go to check their names against lists of wanted persons, leaving the prisoners bound together, Harry and his friends discover that Dean Thomas, their fellow Gryffindor, is bound with them. Dean tells them that these Snatchers are merely looking for truant Hogwarts students to sell to the Ministry for gold.
The Snatchers return, not having found the names they gave on their lists. Harry is able to lie convincingly that he is a Slytherin and that his father works in the Ministry, but the Snatchers realize who they’ve actually caught when they match Hermione to a picture of her in the newspaper, which states that Hermione is known to be traveling with Harry Potter, then discover the Sword of Gryffindor and Harry’s glasses. Throughout this ordeal, Harry has trouble staying in the present moment, as he keeps having visions through Voldemort’s eyes of Voldemort flying to the top of a black fortress—Azkaban. The Snatchers decide to take the prisoners to Malfoy Manor, Voldemort’s base of operations, and as they go there, Harry has visions of Voldemort interrogating Grindelwald in his cell at Azkaban.
At the manor, Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy try to get Draco to positively identify Harry, whose face is still unrecognizably swollen, but Draco, fearful and reluctant, won’t commit. Narcissa and Lucius think it is Harry, because they can identify Hermione and Ron, but they don’t want to contact Voldemort without being sure. Bellatrix Lestrange enters the room, and though at first she seems ready to contact Voldemort herself and end the dispute, when she discovers the Sword of Gryffindor, which she had thought safe in her own vault at Gringotts, she tells Narcissa and Lucius that they are all in mortal danger, and she has Harry and Ron thrown into the dark basement so she can interrogate Hermione and plan her next move.
As Bellatrix tortures Hermione to learn where they got the sword, accusing her of breaking into Bellatrix’s Gringotts vault, Harry and Ron discover that the basement also holds Luna, Ollivander the wandmaker, Dean Thomas, and Griphook, a Gringotts goblin. Luna has a nail that she uses to untie them, and Ron uses his Deluminator to light the basement. As they hear Hermione screaming in pain, Harry desperately looks for a way to escape. Finding none, he empties his pouch, looking for something that might aid him, and he finds the shard of Sirius’s magic mirror. Dumbledore’s eye is looking out of it at Harry. Harry asks the eye for help, and it disappears.
The prisoners hear Hermione claiming that the sword is only a fake, and then Bellatrix stating her intention to question the Gringotts goblin. Harry asks Griphook to lie and say the sword they were carrying is a fake, then they turn out the lights, just as Malfoy comes down to bring Griphook to Bellatrix.
There is a loud crack, and they relight the Deluminator to discover that Dobby the house-elf, who served the Malfoys until Harry tricked Lucius into freeing Dobby, has appeared in their midst, ready to rescue them. Dobby, with his special house-elf magic, can Disapparate in and out of the house, taking humans with him, so Harry tells him to take Luna, Ollivander, and Dean to Bill Weasley’s house, and then return for the rest of them. The people upstairs hear the crack of the elf disappearing, so they send Wormtail to investigate. Ron and Harry struggle to subdue Wormtail, but Wormtail’s silver hand clamps around Harry’s throat and chokes him. Harry reminds Wormtail that Harry once saved his life and says that Wormtail shouldn’t kill him, and Wormtail actually loosens his grip. But then Wormtail’s silver hand, which had been given to him by Voldemort, turns on Wormtail and strangles him, a punishment for his moment of hesitation.
Upstairs, Griphook tells Bellatrix that the sword is a fake, and Bellatrix, reassured, summons Voldemort by tapping the Dark Mark on her forearm. Harry has a vision from Voldemort’s point of view of Voldemort being enraged at being summoned, and, in his impatience, killing Grindelwald.
Bellatrix announces that she’s finished with Hermione and offers Hermione to Greyback to eat. Ron and Harry rush in, disarming Bellatrix of her wand and incapacitating Lucius, but Bellatrix holds a knife to Hermione’s throat and forces Harry and Ron to drop the wands they have taken (from Bellatrix and Wormtail, respectively), which Draco picks up. Harry senses that Voldemort is very near.
With a grinding sound, the chandelier above them starts to fall. Bellatrix leaps out of the way, and the chandelier falls on Hermione and Griphook, who is holding the Sword of Gryffindor. Harry jumps up and wrests Draco’s wand from his hands, as well as the two wands Draco had picked up.
Narcissa sees Dobby and realizes that her former house-elf is the one who helped Harry and his friends. Dobby seizes her wand as Bellatrix screams for Dobby’s death.
Harry, Ron, Griphook, and Dobby all Disapparate to Bill Weasley’s cottage, but Dobby arrives mortally wounded, Bellatrix having thrown her silver knife into his body before he disappeared. Harry tries to comfort Dobby and pleads with him not to die, but the house-elf dies in Harry’s arms after saying Harry’s name.
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Chapter Twenty-Four - The Wandmaker
As Bill and Fleur help the escaped prisoners, Harry covers Dobby with his jacket. He is aware that he can see and hear the enraged Voldemort punishing the residents of Malfoy Manor, but in his grief—which is a manifestation of his love—for Dobby, he finds himself able at last to close his mind to Voldemort and to choose not to listen. Harry digs Dobby’s grave himself, using a shovel rather than magic. They have a brief funeral service for Dobby, then Harry uses one of the wands he seized to inscribe a stone with the inscription "Here Lies Dobby, A Free Elf."
Harry, having had time to think as he dug the grave, decides that he should be pursuing the Horcruxes as Dumbledore instructed, rather than the Hallows. He guesses that Dumbledore didn’t tell him about the Hallows because he knew that Harry would have to struggle with himself in order not to pursue them, and that Harry would need time to work out for himself that they’re not worth pursuing.
Harry takes Ron and Hermione with him to question Griphook. Harry asks the goblin to help him break into the Lestrange vault at Gringotts, and Griphook, who is impressed by the kindness and respect Harry shows to elves and goblins, says he’ll consider it. Outside of Griphook’s room, Harry tells Ron and Hermione that he thinks the vault may house a Horcrux, since Voldemort trusted Bellatrix and tended to find grandiose homes for his Horcruxes, and also because Bellatrix seemed so worried to hear that her vault might have been broken into.
Harry and his friends next go to question Ollivander. Ollivander tells him that his broken wand is past repair. He identifies the wands Harry and Ron took as belonging to Bellatrix and Draco, and tells them that when a wand has been captured, it generally shifts its allegiance to the new owner—regardless of whether the previous owner is still alive. Ollivander confirms that Voldemort had taken him prisoner and tortured him to find out how to overcome the problem of not being able to beat Harry with the wand that shared the same phoenix-feather core as Harry’s. Ollivander first told Voldemort to simply borrow a wand, but Harry’s wand destroyed the borrowed wand. Then, Voldemort decided to try to find an even more powerful wand, and that is how Voldemort began to seek the Elder Wand. Ollivander confesses that he told Voldemort to look to Gregorovitch for the wand, because Gregorovitch was rumored to possess it. However, though Ollivander knows about the history of the Elder Wand and its powers, he doesn’t know about the Deathly Hallows or the wand’s connection to the other artifacts.
Harry deduces that if Gregorovitch had the wand and it was stolen from him by Grindelwald (as he had witnessed during his vision of Voldemort reading Gregorovitch’s mind), and then Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald in their famous duel, then the ownership of the Elder Wand must have passed to Dumbledore. Harry realizes that Voldemort must have figured this out by now and must already have gone to Dumbledore’s grave to take the wand, and that they’re too late to stop him, but he accepts this fact with equanimity, having deliberately decided to talk to Griphook before Ollivander because he is now committed to pursuing Horcruxes rather than Hallows.
At Hogwarts, Voldemort enters Dumbledore’s grave and takes the Elder Wand from his hands.
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Chapter Twenty-Five - Shell Cottage
Griphook agrees to help them break into Bellatrix Lestrange’s Gringotts vault, but he demands the Sword of Gryffindor as payment. This puts Harry and his friends in a bind, because if they refuse, they’ll never get into the vault to look for a Horcrux, but if they give up the sword, they’ll have no way to destroy any Horcrux they find. Harry decides to trick the goblin, telling him he can have the sword after
they break into the vault, but not specifying how long after. Feeling somewhat guilty, Harry gives his promise to Griphook, and for several weeks they plan the break-in.
Lupin arrives at the cottage with the news that Tonks has had her baby. He asks Harry to be the godfather, and Harry agrees.
Before Harry and the others embark on their mission, Bill takes Harry aside. He does not know what Harry is planning to do or how Griphook is involved, but he warns Harry to be careful of goblins. He says that goblins are deeply distrustful of wizards, believing that wizards do not respect agreements involving treasure and tend to trample on goblin rights. He explains that goblins believe manufactured items belong to the maker, and that ownership of goblin-made goods should not pass from wizard to wizard but should revert to the goblins after the first owner’s death. He warns Harry of the dangers of reneging on a deal with a goblin.
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Chapter Twenty-Six - Gringotts
To break into Gringotts, Hermione disguises herself as Bellatrix Lestrange and changes Ron’s appearance so he’s unrecognizable. With Harry and Griphook under the Invisibility Cloak, the four go to Diagon Alley, where they see witches and wizards begging in the streets, deprived of their wands by the Ministry.
A Death Eater named Travers stops Hermione/Bellatrix, noting that he’d heard she’d been confined to her house and lost her wand, but Hermione dismisses his questions contemptuously, in a good imitation of Bellatrix’s manner. Unfortunately, Travers is going to Gringotts too, and they enter the bank together.
The first security obstacle they face is Probity Probes—rods that detect the presence of Concealment spells and magical items. Harry sneaks up in his cloak and zaps the guards working the probes with spells of Confusion.
At the customer service counter, Hermione asks to be admitted to Bellatrix’s vault, and a goblin asks her for identification. When the goblin says her wand will suffice, Harry realizes that they must know Bellatrix lost her wand and must be expecting an impostor, so he uses the Imperius curse to control the goblin’s mind. The goblin compliments her on her new wand, which makes Travers suspicious, so Harry controls him as well.
The entire party, led by the mind-controlled goblin, gets into a rail cart and travels deep into the vaults. Harry curses himself for the strategy they’ve adopted, realizing that the Death Eaters know all about who stole Bellatrix’s wand, and that posing as Bellatrix has already brought them too much scrutiny and attention. When the cart passes through a waterfall and all of their Disguising spells are undone, Griphook tells them that the Gringotts employees have set up defenses indicating that they know impostors are present.
A dragon blocks the passageway to the vault, but Griphook shakes metal instruments called Clankers, which the dragon has been trained to fear, and it backs up. The mind-controlled goblin places his palm to the door of the vault, and it opens.
Harry knows from his conversations with Dumbledore that if a Horcrux is in the vault, it must either be the Hufflepuff cup or else an unknown object, so they have no choice but to look for the cup. Unfortunately, whenever they touch anything inside the vault, it burns them and then multiplies into myriad worthless copies, so that if they continue touching items in the vault, it will eventually fill and crush them. They try not to touch anything as they search, but this proves impossible.
Finally, they see the cup sitting high up out of reach. The dragon roars outside the door, and the heat from the multiplied treasure is overwhelming. Hermione Levitates Harry toward the cup, but he knocks over a suit of armor, and they begin to be buried in hot objects. Harry uses the sword to skewer the cup through a handle as Griphook sinks beneath the burning treasure. Harry stops to save him, letting go of the sword, and Griphook seizes the sword, flinging the cup into the air. Harry realizes that Griphook never believed Harry would keep his word, but he manages to catch the cup again as Griphook disappears.
A crowd of goblins appears in the passage, there to apprehend Harry and company. Harry uses his wand to free the chained dragon, then the three get on the dragon’s back and ride it through the tunnel, eventually emerging in the bank lobby, exiting through the door, and flying off into the sky above Diagon Alley.
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Chapter Twenty-Seven - The Final Hiding Place
The dragon flies far off into the countryside, finally flying lower over a mountainous lake. Harry and friends decide to jump off into the lake, and make their way, bruised, burned, and battered, to the shore, the cup safely in their grasp.
Harry has a vision in which he not only sees out of Voldemort’s eyes but reads his thoughts. Voldemort is questioning a goblin about the break-in, and when told that Harry Potter was the thief and that the cup was the item stolen, he flies into a rage and kills the goblin and all the wizards who don’t flee fast enough, using the Elder Wand. Voldemort is not yet aware that Harry knows about his Horcruxes and is destroying them, because he does not feel anything when they are destroyed. Now that his cup Horcrux has been stolen, it finally occurs to him that Harry might be after his Horcruxes, and that Dumbledore might have given Harry the means to find them out. He resolves to check on his ring and his locket to see that they’re safe, and to keep Nagini the snake (which is itself a Horcrux) beside him at all times. Finally, he will check on the last and safest Horcrux, which is at Hogwarts.
Harry relays this information to his friends. They know they have very limited time, because Voldemort will discover that his ring and locket are gone within a matter of hours, and may move the final Horcrux to a new hiding place. On a more positive note, they now know the final Horcrux is at Hogwarts, so they set off for the village of Hogsmeade.
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Chapter Twenty-Eight - The Missing Mirror
Harry, Ron, and Hermione appear in Hogsmeade, but their appearance triggers a magical alarm that sounds like loud screaming. A dozen Death Eaters burst out of the Three Broomsticks pub in search of them. Though they remain under the Invisibility Cloak, they have nowhere to hide, and they infer from the Death Eaters’ comments that enchantments will keep them from teleporting away again. The Death Eaters unleash dementors in search of them, and Harry summons his Patronus, potentially giving their position away.
Before the Death Eaters can find them, however, a door opens in a house on the street, and a rough voice summons them inside and into a room above the Hog’s Head Inn. Still cloaked, they look out the window down at the street below, where the man who saved them—whom Harry recognizes as the Hog’s Head barman—argues with the Death Eaters. The man claims that it was he who set off the alarm, letting his cat out after curfew. He claims that the Patronus was his own goat Patronus, not Harry’s stag, and points out that Voldemort won’t want to be summoned over a cat. Mindful that the Hog’s Head bar is a convenient place for them to trade black market goods, the Death Eaters leave him alone.
Harry recognizes the man’s blue eyes as those he’s been seeing through the magic mirror, and he realizes that this man must be Aberforth, Dumbledore’s brother, and that Aberforth was the one who sent Dobby. Aberforth acknowledges that he’s been trying to keep an eye on Harry, though it was not he who led them to the sword.
Aberforth tries to convince Harry that Voldemort has already won, and that Harry should abandon his quest—whatever it is—and leave the country, before he meets Dumbledore’s fate. He reminds them of his brother Dumbledore’s penchant for lies and secrecy, and says that many of those Dumbledore loved and cared for turned out to be worse off than if he’d left them alone.
Hermione guesses that Aberforth is talking about his sister, Ariana, and prods him into giving them the real story of what happened to her. Ariana was not a Squib, as Rita Skeeter claimed. When she was six years old, as her magic was beginning to manifest itself but before she could control it, she was observed doing magic by three much older Muggle boys, who attacked her in some unspecified way, leaving her permanently unhinged. Dumbledore’s father was imprisoned in Azkaban for attacking these boys, and Dumbledore’s early flirtation with the idea of wizards dominating Muggles stemmed from anger at what had happened to his sister and father, coupled with a wish to create a world in which his sister would not have to hide.
Dumbledore returned home when his mother, Kendra, died and took responsibility for Ariana. He met Grindelwald, and the two began hatching grand plans to change the world, wanting to set off as soon as possible. Aberforth confronted them, pointing out that Ariana was in no fit state to travel or be left alone, so they had no way to do whatever it was they wanted to do. As the argument grew heated, Aberforth drew his wand, and Grindelwald used the Cruciatus (torturing) curse on him. As the three fought, Ariana came to intervene, and one of the curses the three wizards were hurling at each other killed her. Grindelwald left immediately, and Dumbledore was free to embark on his career.
Harry tells Aberforth that Dumbledore was never free of his past, and describes how Dumbledore, when he drank a potion and went out of his mind in the previous book, was begging an unseen figure to hurt him instead of “them”—clearly a memory of seeing Grindelwald hurting Aberforth and Ariana. Harry says that he hasn’t given up on the Order of the Phoenix and intends to defeat Voldemort, and Aberforth agrees to help him get into Hogwarts.
Aberforth turns to an oil painting of Ariana on the wall and tells the picture of Ariana that she knows what to do. Ariana turns around within the picture and walks down a tunnel, growing smaller and smaller until she disappears, eventually returning through the picture with a bedraggled and scarred Neville Longbottom, who emerges from the painting into the room.
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Chapter Twenty-Nine - The Lost Diadem
Neville wants to know if rumors he’s heard about Harry breaking into Gringotts are true, and Harry confirms this. Neville describes what’s happening at Hogwarts: the Carrow siblings, Amycus and Alecto, have been made professors and put in charge of discipline. Amycus teaches students how to use the Cruciatus Curse, while Alecto teaches Muggle studies with an anti-Muggle bias.
Neville proudly shows the scars he earned for standing up to the Carrows. Neville remembered that when Harry stood up to unjust authority figures, it gave the rest of the students hope, so he tried to fill this role after Harry left school. Luna was taken away from school, and Ginny never returned after Easter break, so Neville found himself increasingly on his own in carrying out underground acts of resistance against the new regime. Eventually, the Death Eaters tried to stop Neville by going after his grandmother, who put a Death Eater in the hospital and then went on the run. Neville knew that it was time for him to disappear, and he has been in hiding in the Room of Requirement, which they had used in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Neville leads Harry and company through the portrait into the Room of Requirement. About twenty students are hiding in it, all members of Dumbledore’s Army and supporters of Harry who’ve been driven into hiding. They are wild with joy at seeing Harry and his friends. Soon after, Luna Lovegood and Dean arrive. All of the students are eager to help Harry, and are unhappy and resentful to hear that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on a mission alone that they won’t disclose or accept help with. With some prodding from Ron and Hermione, Harry realizes that he doesn’t have to be quite as cryptic as Dumbledore and can recruit help in searching for the Horcrux without explaining what it is.
Harry tells the assembled students that they’re looking for a distinctive object, and that they don’t know what it is but think it might be associated with Ravenclaw (given that other objects were associated with other houses). Luna volunteers that there is a legend about a lost diadem of Ravenclaw, which has been gone for centuries. Harry could see a reproduction of it on the statue of Rowena Ravenclaw in the Ravenclaw common room.
Luna and Harry put on the Invisibility Cloak, and Luna leads him to the room so he can see it. Instead of a password, the Ravenclaw door is opened by answering a very philosophical question. The knocker asks, "Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?" and Luna opens the door by answering, "A circle has no beginning."
Harry climbs up on the statue to get a good look at the tiara, but is apprehended by Alecto Carrow, who touches her Dark Mark to summon Voldemort.
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Chapter Thirty - The Sacking of Severus Snape
Harry has a vision of Voldemort receiving the summons. Luna Stuns Alecto, knocking her out and waking the Ravenclaw students, who enter the common room. Amycus pounds on the door, but he’s too stupid to answer the doorknocker’s next question, and can’t get in. Harry slips into Voldemort’s mind and sees that Voldemort has decided to check on his locket Horcrux before coming to Hogwarts, giving Harry a little extra time.
Professor McGonagall arrives outside the room and lets Amycus in. Harry and Luna have recloaked, and Amycus sees only his Stunned sister on the floor. His chief worry is that they will be punished for giving a false alarm, and he muses aloud that he can blame the summons on the Ravenclaw students, so Voldemort may be satisfied with killing a few of them. When Professor McGonagall stands up to Amycus defiantly, he spits in her face, prompting Harry to step out of the Cloak and deliver a Cruciatus Curse at Amycus.
Professor McGonagall urges Harry to flee, but when he explains that he is looking for the lost diadem of Ravenclaw on Dumbledore’s orders, she says that the teachers will secure the school from Voldemort while he searches. Visions of Voldemort reveal to Harry that Voldemort has discovered that his locket is missing and is on his way to the school.
Harry and Professor McGonagall quickly make a plan to alert the other heads of houses and evacuate any students unwilling or too young to fight against Voldemort. They are on their way to alert the heads, with Harry and Luna hidden under the cloak, when they meet Severus Snape in the hallway. When Snape demands to know if McGonagall has seen Harry Potter, she attacks him, and they duel. McGonagall holds Snape at bay, and he is finally forced to take flight when Professors Sprout and Flitwick run up to aid her. Snape leaps from the window and flies away on huge, batlike wings.
Professor McGonagall organizes the other professors in establishing magical defenses and evacuating students, putting to work those students who can help defend the school, including Dumbledore’s Army. Lupin and the entire Weasley family enter the school in order to help, with Percy apologizing for being a pro-Ministry prig and Lupin showing pictures of his and Tonks’s baby.
Ginny Weasley tells Harry that Ron and Hermione said something about heading to a bathroom. Harry starts to look for them when he has a vision of Voldemort arriving at the school gates, Nagini draped across his shoulders.
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Chapter Thirty-One - The Battle of Hogwarts
As the students of Hogwarts prepare to fight or flee, Voldemort’s voice echoes through the school, promising to leave Hogwarts untouched if Harry Potter is handed over by midnight. Pansy Parkinson of Slytherin House shouts that they should grab Harry, but the Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws all stand in his defense. The Slytherins all leave the school, but McGonagall has to force out the members of other houses who are underage but want to stay and fight for Harry.
The professors go to man their battle positions, as Harry turns back to his search for the lost diadem of Ravenclaw. Remembering that the diadem has not been seen "in living memory" he decides to ask the dead—the Gray Lady, who is the House ghost of Ravenclaw. Harry finds the Gray Lady, who refuses to help him until he confronts her with the threat to Hogwarts. Then she admits that she is the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw, the daughter of the founder. Helena had stolen the diadem, hoping to make herself smarter and more important than her mother. She fled to hide in a forest in Albania, and her mother, Rowena, concealed the theft. On her deathbed, Rowena wanted to see her daughter one last time, so she sent a man who loved Helena to seek her out. Helena refused to come, and the young man killed her in anger, then killed himself. The young man became the Hogwarts ghost known as the Bloody Baron, while the diadem was left in the forest.
Pressed by Harry, the Gray Lady admits that she told her story to Tom Riddle (Voldemort’s name when he was a student at Hogwarts). Harry guesses that Tom Riddle went and found the diadem in the forest, but when he made it a Horcrux, re-hid it at Hogwarts. (Harry knows from his vision that it’s at Hogwarts now.) He reasons that Voldemort’s only chance to hide it after he graduated from Hogwarts would have been the day he came to ask Dumbledore for a job, on the way to or from Dumbledore’s office.
Harry leaves Ravenclaw Tower and runs into Hagrid, who is with his giant dog Fang and giant half-brother, Grawpy. Harry leads them off in search of Ron and Hermione, seeing signs everywhere that the battle for Hogwarts has begun. As they run through the school, Harry remembers with a shock that he has seen the diadem in the Room of Requirement, in its form of "the room where everything is hidden," when he hid his own Potions book there in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Finally, Harry encounters Ron and Hermione, who have gone to the Chamber of Secrets to retrieve basilisk teeth to destroy Horcruxes with. Ron was able to imitate Harry speaking Parseltongue to gain entry to the room, and they destroyed the cup. Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to the Room of Requirement, taking stock of the ever-worsening battle swirling around them. In the room, amid the labyrinth of hidden objects, Harry finds the diadem but is confronted by Draco Malfoy and his cronies, Crabbe, and Goyle, who followed Harry in to capture him, hoping to hand him over to Voldemort.
Crabbe and Goyle try to kill Harry rather than capture him, for once ignoring Draco’s leadership, and in the struggle the diadem is dropped. Crabbe uses a fire curse to try to kill Harry and his friends, and it rages out of control. Harry and Ron seize broomsticks and save Hermione, Goyle, Malfoy, and the diadem, but Crabbe dies. Outside the Room of Requirement, they see that the diadem Horcrux has been destroyed by the fire curse.
A noise in the corridor alerts them that Death Eaters have gained entrance to Hogwarts. They go to help the defenders of Hogwarts, and in the ensuing battle, Fred Weasley is killed.
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Chapter Thirty-Two - The Elder Wand
Giant spiders from the Forbidden Forest enter the school, fighting on the side of the Death Eaters, as Harry, Ron, and the Weasleys try to move Fred’s body to a safe place. Ron wants to stay and fight to avenge his brother, but Hermione urges him to focus on the goal: to destroy Nagini, the last known Horcrux. Harry uses his ability to see through Voldemort’s eyes to find out where he is, and has a vision of Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade ordering Lucius Malfoy, who is frantic with worry about Draco, to go fetch Snape.
They head toward the Whomping Willow to enter the passageway to the Shrieking Shack, on the way fighting off attacking Death Eaters and saving Draco Malfoy’s life from a Death Eater who mistakes him for an enemy. Before they reach the Willow, they see that giants have joined the fight on both sides, and they have to fight off a hundred dementors, with some help from Luna, Ernie, and Seamus, who have mastered the art of summoning Patronuses.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter the passage and creep to where they can observe what’s happening in the Shrieking Shack. Voldemort is telling Snape that the Elder Wand is working no better than his old wand and has not given him the extraordinary powers it was supposed to. Voldemort concludes that he is not yet the true master of the Elder Wand, because Snape killed its previous owner, and thus Voldemort must kill Snape to be the wand’s master. Voldemort orders Nagini to kill Snape, and the great snake bites Snape’s neck, mortally wounding him. Voldemort leaves.
Harry goes to Snape’s body, and Snape, dying, tells Harry to "Take it," and expels a silvery substance from his mouth, nose, and ears. Harry collects the substance in a flask that Hermione provides, and Snape, after telling Harry to look at him, dies.
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Chapter Thirty-Three - The Prince’s Tale
Voldemort addresses the school, telling them that he will give them a one-hour reprieve to dispose of their dead and treat the wounded. He announces that Harry should meet him alone in the Forbidden Forest in one hour, or Voldemort will recommence the battle, enter the fray himself, and kill every person who helped Harry.
In the Great Hall of Hogwarts, those who have died fighting for Harry are laid out. Among the dead are Lupin and Tonks.
Leaving behind his grieving friends, Harry goes to Dumbledore’s office to place Snape’s memories into the Pensieve for viewing, witnessing Snape’s true life story. He sees Snape as a boy of nine or ten, observing Lily Evans, Harry’s future mother, first discovering her magical talents, and Snape clumsily trying to befriend her by telling her about her true nature as a witch. In a slightly later memory, Snape has become her friend and is giving Lily her first introduction to the wizarding world. Lily’s sister, Petunia, taunts Snape for his awful clothes, provoking him into attacking her, which angers Lily.
Harry observes a scene in which Snape watches Lily say good-bye to her family to board the Hogwarts Express for the first time. Lily reveals to Petunia that she knows that Petunia, who professes to hate magic, begged Dumbledore to admit her to the school. Petunia angrily accuses Lily of being a freak and a sneak, and Lily feels discomfort regarding Snape, who was the one who stole Petunia’s letter of response from Dumbledore. On the train, young James Potter and Sirius Black taunt and mock Snape.
Harry sees Snape’s disappointment at Lily’s being Sorted into Gryffindor rather than his own Slytherin. Later in their school career, Lily and Snape are still close friends, but Snape is jealous of James Potter’s attraction to her, and Lily disapproves of Snape’s Dark magic–practicing friends. Lily is furious with Snape for calling her a Mudblood, and for speaking contemptuously of Mudbloods in general. Snape frantically apologizes, but Lily tells him they have chosen separate ways.
Harry watches as Snape meets with Dumbledore on a wild hilltop. Snape has sworn loyalty to Voldemort but is meeting with Dumbledore secretly because he knows that Voldemort plans to kill Lily, her husband James, and her son, all because Snape told Voldemort about Professor Trelawney’s prediction that Voldemort would be killed by a boy born at the end of July. Snape promises to do anything Dumbledore asks if he will protect Lily.
Later, in Dumbledore’s office, Snape sobs for Lily Potter’s death. Dumbledore tells him that the son survived, and that Snape’s path is clear if he truly loved Lily. Snape agrees to devote his life to protecting Harry but makes Dumbledore promise never to tell anyone.
Much later, when Harry is a student at Hogwarts, Snape expresses his irritation at how Harry resembles his father in attitude and actions. Still later, Dumbledore and Snape discuss Karkaroff’s darkening Dark Mark, and Voldemort’s imminent return, which it presages.
In another memory, Snape ministers to Dumbledore after Dumbledore rashly puts on the ring of Marvolo Gaunt and suffers a blackened and burned hand because of the ring’s curse. Snape’s potions buy Dumbledore a year of life, but nothing they do can prevent the curse from killing him eventually. Dumbledore makes Snape promise to protect the students at Hogwarts if Voldemort gains control of the school, to help Draco stay out of trouble as he tries to carry out Voldemort’s instructions to kill Dumbledore, and to kill Dumbledore himself when the right time comes.
Later, Dumbledore tells Snape that after Snape kills Dumbledore, there may come a time when Voldemort seems to fear for the life of his snake (which will mean that the other Horcruxes are destroyed or threatened). At that moment, Snape should tell Harry the truth: that when Voldemort sent his killing curse at Lily Potter and blasted his own soul to bits, a piece of Voldemort’s soul bound itself to Harry’s. This event is the reason that Harry can read Voldemort’s mind and can speak Parseltongue. As long as Harry lives, so will Voldemort. The only way Voldemort will die is if all of the Horcruxes are destroyed and Voldemort himself kills Harry, who is in fact the seventh Horcrux. Snape is furious, accusing Dumbledore of raising Harry as a lamb for slaughter and using Snape by falsely telling him he was protecting Lily Potter’s son.
Later, after Dumbledore’s death, the portrait of Dumbledore tells Snape to give Voldemort the correct date of Harry’s departure from the Dursleys and to plant the idea of using decoys, so Harry can escape. In the pursuit of Harry, Snape burns off George Weasley’s ear accidentally, while trying to protect Lupin from a Death Eater.
Snape goes to Sirius’s house and steals the small fragment at the end of the letter Harry found, simply because the page is signed "Lots of love, Lily." He tears Lily’s picture out of the photograph of Lily, James, and Harry.
Finally, the portrait of Phineas Nigellus tells Snape that Harry and Hermione are hiding in the Forest of Dean, Hermione having mentioned the place while opening her magic bag. Dumbledore urges Snape to take the Sword of Gryffindor to them under the right conditions, and Snape leaves, on his way to put the sword under ice and use his own Patronus (the silver doe) to guide Harry.
The memories over, Harry wakes up in the headmaster’s office.
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Chapter Thirty-Four - The Forest Again
Harry, though filled with dread, accepts that he has to die. He sees that Dumbledore knew him well enough to know that he would sacrifice himself willingly if he could save the lives of others. He notes that Dumbledore overestimated him, because the snake remains undestroyed, but he trusts that someone else can manage to kill the snake, now that Ron and Hermione know how.
Harry puts on the Invisibility Cloak and goes downstairs, almost running into Neville, who is helping carry in the dead body of Colin Creevey, the younger boy who had long idolized Harry. Harry avoids encountering any of his other friends, but goes up to Neville and gives him the information that the snake Nagini must be destroyed, in case anything happens to Ron and Hermione. So if the chance presents itself, and Neville happens to think of it... he should kill the snake.
Harry enters the forest. He takes out the Snitch Dumbledore left him, whose message said "I open at the close." He tells the Snitch he is about to die, and it opens for him, revealing the cracked Resurrection Stone. Behind him, the shades of his parents appear, as well as Sirius and Lupin, who was killed in the recent battle. The shades tell him they are proud of him and that it doesn’t hurt to die, and they promise to stay with him in his ordeal, invisible to all but him.
Harry goes farther into the forest. He sees dementors, but they are powerless to affect him, as the shades of his loved ones act like Patronuses. In a clearing in the forest, Voldemort stands, surrounded by followers. The hour is up. Voldemort says he thought Harry would come but must have been mistaken. Harry says loudly that he wasn’t, as he steps out of the Cloak and drops the stone, causing the shades to vanish. He keeps his wand put away.
Everyone waits for Voldemort to act. Hagrid, taken prisoner and tied, shouts at Harry but is silenced. Harry thinks of Ginny’s face and her kiss. Voldemort casts the Killing Curse, and everything vanishes for Harry.
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Chapter Thirty-Five - King’s Cross
Dumbledore leads Harry to a couple of seats and commends him for his bravery. He acknowledges that he is dead, but says that Harry is probably not. He explains, or helps Harry to figure out, that while Voldemort has just killed the part of his own soul that was embedded within Harry, Harry is still alive because Voldemort reconstituted his own body out of Harry’s blood (in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
). Because Voldemort contains Harry’s blood, as long as Voldemort is alive he preserves Lily Potter’s charm, so Harry can’t die at his hand. Thus, paradoxically, while Harry had to die before Voldemort could, Harry can’t die while Voldemort lives. They have a double bond, with Voldemort’s soul in Harry and Harry’s blood in Voldemort.
Dumbledore explains the mystery of why Harry’s wand defeated Voldemort even when the latter had Lucius Malfoy’s wand. The first time Harry fought Voldemort with their twin wands, Harry won because his courage was greater. Because of Harry’s bond with Voldemort, and because of the kinship between their two wands, Harry’s wand absorbed a bit of Voldemort’s essence and also came to recognize him as a mortal enemy. That is why Harry’s wand recognized Voldemort and defended against him, turning a bit of Voldemort’s highly potent magic back against him and destroying Lucius’s wand.
Harry raises the subject of the Deathly Hallows, and Dumbledore admits with shame that he was seduced by their promise to make him master over death. The search for the Hallows drew Dumbledore and Grindelwald together years before, and they had intended to embark on a search for them when Aberforth pointed out that they couldn’t leave Ariana. Dumbledore, realizing that the craving for power was his most dangerous weakness, turned down the post of Minister of Magic and stayed at Hogwarts his whole career.
Dumbledore avoided facing Grindelwald for as long as possible, afraid that he might learn that it was he, Dumbledore, who cast the spell that killed Ariana. Finally, he defeated Grindelwald and took the Elder Wand from him. Dumbledore had given up on the search for the Hallows when he learned that Harry’s father had the Cloak and borrowed it to examine it. When Dumbledore got hold of the ring with the Stone, he couldn’t resist using it to try to speak to his sister and parents. He put it on, forgetting that the ring was now a Horcrux and thus cursed, thereby ruining his hand and causing his own eventual demise. He says that he never could have united the Hallows because he took the Cloak out of idle curiosity and the Stone for selfish reasons, wishing to disturb the peaceful dead. He only did the right thing with the Wand, having taken it to protect others from it. Harry, on the other hand, only wanted each of these items for selfless reasons.
Dumbledore concludes by explaining that he had counted on Hermione to slow Harry down somewhat during his quest, keeping him from rushing after the Hallows, so that Harry would not impulsively seize upon the Hallows for the wrong reasons. He says that Voldemort just wanted a wand powerful enough to beat Harry, while understanding nothing of the Hallows. Dumbledore admits that he hoped that by having Snape kill him, he could protect the Wand from being taken by another unscrupulous master, but that things hadn’t worked out as he’d planned.
Finally, Dumbledore tells Harry that he can choose to go back to life or move on. In answer to Harry’s question, he acknowledges that all of this is happening inside Harry’s head, but that this fact does not make the conversation less real.
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Chapter Thirty-Six - Epilogue
Harry awakens at the scene where he expected to be killed by Voldemort, though he does not show that he’s alive. He listens and watches, and gathers that Voldemort also collapsed and was unconscious, much like Harry. Voldemort sends Narcissa to see if Harry is alive, and Narcissa feels Harry’s beating heart, but instead of betraying him, asks in a whisper if Draco is alive and in the castle. Harry whispers yes, and Narcissa announces that Harry is dead.
Voldemort’s followers celebrate, and Voldemort casts a Cruciatus Curse on Harry, lifting him in the air and toying with his body, though Harry does not feel the pain from the curse as he should. Voldemort orders Hagrid to carry Harry to Hogwarts with them.
At Hogwarts, Voldemort announces that Harry was killed while running away, and orders everyone inside to kneel before him or die. The crowds resist, somehow shaking off the silencing curse Voldemort throws at them, and McGonagall, Ron, and Hermione all shout defiantly at Voldemort.
Neville Longbottom comes forward to confront Voldemort, who tries to win Neville over with promises of a senior position as a Death Eater. Neville rejects Voldemort.
Voldemort summons the Sorting Hat, saying that it won’t be needed anymore and that all of Hogwarts will be in Slytherin. He puts the hat on Neville and lights him on fire.
Neville pulls the Gryffindor Sword out of the hat and kills Nagini, as all of Harry’s supporters and all of Voldemort’s erupt in a fresh battle.
Harry slips on his Cloak in the confusion and sends curses at the Death Eaters. Voldemort holds McGonagall, Kingsley, and Slughorn at bay, while Bellatrix faces off against Hermione, Ginny, and Luna. Mrs. Weasley steps in, duels Bellatrix by herself, and kills her, infuriating Voldemort. Harry casts a Shield charm to protect Mrs. Weasley from Voldemort, then takes off his cloak, revealing himself to be alive for the first time.
The room goes silent as Harry and Voldemort circle each other. Voldemort tries to insist that Harry has only ever succeeded against him by accident or because greater men and women were shielding him and pulling the strings. In reply, Harry observes that by laying down his life for all those at Hogwarts, Harry has put a protective charm on them like the one his mother put on him, so that all of Voldemort’s curses keep sliding off of them. He tells Voldemort that he knows many important things Voldemort does not know.
Harry informs Voldemort that Voldemort actually did not have Dumbledore killed, because Dumbledore had planned and orchestrated his own death months before. Harry tells Voldemort that Snape was Dumbledore’s spy almost his entire career, having loved Lily Potter since he was a child. Most important, Voldemort is not the master of the Elder Wand because he still hasn’t defeated the Wand’s most recent master. That master was not Snape, because Snape did not defeat Dumbledore but merely helped him die. The one who defeated Dumbledore, without ever knowing it, was Draco (in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
). The Elder Wand had recognized Draco as its master, though Draco never knew this or took possession of the Wand, and the Wand was buried with Dumbledore. Harry recalls that he himself disarmed Draco weeks before, and that if the Elder Wand is aware of this fact, Harry is the Wand’s true master. He invites Voldemort to help him test this hypothesis.
Voldemort fires his Killing Curse, and Harry simultaneously sends a Disarming Curse, and the two curses meet in the middle, with Voldemort’s rebounding and killing him and the Wand coming to Harry’s hand.
All of Hogwarts erupts in victory and begins to celebrate. At the first opportunity, Harry puts on his Cloak and takes Ron and Hermione with him to the headmaster’s office, where the portraits of former headmasters and headmistresses applaud him. Harry speaks to the portrait of Dumbledore, announcing his intentions to leave the Stone where it fell in the forest, to return the Wand to Dumbledore’s grave in the hope that Harry will die a natural death and end its power, and to keep his Cloak. Dumbledore approves.
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Epilogue - Nineteen Years Later
Nineteen years later, Harry stands at the train station, waiting to send his younger son to Hogwarts for his first year. Harry is married to Ginny, and they have three children: James, who attends Hogwarts already; Albus Severus, who is just starting; and Lily, who is still two years away from going. James is taunting Albus that he might be selected for Slytherin House.
The Potter family meets Ron and Hermione, who are married and who have two children. Rose, the elder, is starting her first year at Hogwarts, and Hugo is younger.
Draco is on the platform as well, with his own wife and son, Scorpius. Draco nods curtly to Harry and looks away.
James reports that Lupin and Tonks’s son, Teddy Lupin, is kissing their cousin Victoire, the daughter of Bill and Fleur Weasley.
Ginny tells James to send Neville Longbottom, now the Hogwarts Professor of Herbology, her love.
Harry offers some final words of comfort to Albus Severus, noting that one of the headmasters he was named for, Severus Snape, was a Slytherin and was the bravest man Harry ever knew.
The train departs. Harry gives a final wave, confers with Ginny, then touches his scar. It has not hurt for nineteen years, and all is well.
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Thank you to SparkNotes for this information.