The Battle of Hogwarts

chapter thirty-one of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Hogwarts gathers in the Great Hall preparing for battle, and after Voldemort’s warning, the younger students and Slytherins evacuate while the rest stay to fight. Harry runs off and talks to the Grey Lady about the diadem, then soon realizes it’s in the Room of Requirement: there he meets Ron and Hermione, holding basilisk fangs and fresh from the Chamber of Secrets. They take a moment to kiss, then the trio searches for the diadem. They are nearly foiled by Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, and narrowly escape Crabbe’s Fiendfyre, but the diadem is destroyed – then several Weasleys come into view, fighting, and an enormous explosion hits them all, killing Fred.
 

Minerva, by FizzingWhizbees

“Evacuation will be overseen by Mr. Filch and Madam Pomrey. Prefects, when I give the word, you will organize your House and take your charges, in an orderly fashion, to the evacuation point.”


 

The Grey Lady, by Runcible

“Albania,” repeated Harry. Sense was emerging miraculously from confusion…. “You’ve already told someone this story, haven’t you? Another student?”
She closed her eyes and nodded. “I had… no idea…. He was… flattering. He seemed to… to understand… to sympathize….”


 

She Really Likes House-Elves, by gerre

There was a clatter as basilisk fangs cascaded out of Hermione’s arms. Running at Ron, she flung them around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Ron threw away the fangs and broomstick he was holding and responded with such enthusiasm that he lifted Hermione off her feet.

(by gerre)


 

by reallycorking

“Is this the moment?” Harry asked weakly…


 

The Moment, by Cambryn

…and when nothing happened except that Ron and Hermione gripped each other still more firmly and swayed on the spot, he raised his voice. “OI! There’s a war going on here!”

(by Cambryn)


 

Now or Never, by Loleia

Ron and Hermione broke apart, their arms still around each other. “I know, mate,” said Ron, who looked as though he had recently been hit on the back of the head with a Bludger, “so it’s now or never, isn’t it?”

(by Loleia)


 

My Wand, by Elspethelf

“That’s my wand you’re holding, Potter,” said Malfoy, pointing his own through the gap between Crabbe and Goyle…. Harry laughed, though there was nothing very humorous about the situation…. He could not believe that he was this close, and was going to be thwarted by Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle.


 

The Battle of Hogwarts, by Hannah-Dora

“RUN!”
Malfoy grabbed the Stunned Goyle and dragged him along; Crabbe outstripped all of them, now looking terrified; Harry, Ron, and Hermione pelted along in his wake, and the fire pursued them.


 

Saving Draco, by Sullen-Skrewt

And then he saw them: Malfoy with his arms around the unconscious Goyle, the pair of them perched on a fragile tower of charred desks, and Harry dived.


 

Fiendfyre, by Emily Benson

“The door, get to the door, the door!” screamed Malfoy in Harry’s ear, and Harry sped up… through the billowing black smoke, hardly able to breathe: and all around them the last few objects unburned by the devouring flames were flung into the air….


 

Fiendfyre, by forbis

“What are you doing, what are you doing, the door’s that way!” screamed Malfoy, but Harry made a hairpin swerve and dived.

(by forbis)


 

Clockwork, by Emily Benson

Harry looked around and his heart seemed to fail: Death Eaters had penetrated Hogwarts. Fred and Percy had just backed into view, both of them dueling masked and hooded men.


 

You Actually Are Joking, Perce, by gerre

“You’re joking, Perce!” shouted Fred as the Death Eater he was battling collapsed under the weight of three separate Stunning Spells. Thicknesse had fallen to the ground with tiny spikes erupting all over him; he seemed to be turning into some form of sea urchin. Fred looked at Percy with glee. “You actually are joking, Perce… I don’t think I’ve heard you joke since you were -

(by gerre)


 

Moonlit Death, by Julie Graham

The air exploded…. And then the world resolved itself into pain and semidarkness….
“No – no – no!” someone was shouting. “No! Fred! No!”
And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred’s eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.


 

about the chapter

 

In the years leading up to the release of Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling worked hard to ensure that her fans felt anybody could be killed – after all, this is a war, and in real wars, people aren’t protected just because we like them, or because they’re a protagonist of a story. Yet while fans had plenty of conversations contemplating who might die, it’s safe to say no death shocked, and therefore saddened, readers more than that of Fred Weasley. He was someone we knew so intimately; who was so young; and who brought so much life and humor to the books (and to Harry’s life!). And his death is one many people have criticized Rowling for: “why did one of my favorite characters have to die for no reason?!?” But that’s just it, isn’t it? War is a terrible, evil thing, and it doesn’t stop to consider how good, or funny, or positive, a person is before he or she is killed. And Rowling knows that for us to truly see that, and truly understand it, and for the story to truly be real, we have to lose people we love. Needless death is perhaps the greatest tragedy of humankind, and for those of us lucky enough not to have experienced such a loss firsthand, Fred Weasley gives us a taste of just what that evil might be like. We’ll miss you, Fred.
 

Something You May Not Have Noticed

It’s sort of funny that Voldemort hid the diadem of Ravenclaw in the Room of Hidden Things – after all, when Ron walks into it for the first time, his first reaction is, “he never realized anyone could get in?” The room is packed to overflowing with stuff! And when you contrast this to the hiding places of, say, the locket and the ring – both with hoardes of magical spells in addition to their secluded locations – it seems a bit shoddy of Voldemort to just drop the diadem in the room and scamper off. But at the same time, he did have a limited amount of time in which to hide it, and it is true that the odds of Harry’s actually finding it there were pretty astronomically small, even if someone had told him it was in that room (luck was sure on his side the day he hid his Potions textbook and stumbled across the Horcrux).
 
Another possibility is that Riddle discovered the Room of Requirement while he was a student at Hogwarts, but had never actually been in it as the Room of Hidden Things. This way, when he came to hide the diadem, he would have had an experience similar to Harry’s the first time he went – thinking “I need a place to hide this!” and then being absolutely stunned at the enormity of the place. And in Riddle’s case, he has no fallback plan, as he has to leave the castle immediately; so he simply hides the diadem there anyway, even though it’s clearly not as secure as it could be. After all, it’s still pretty darn hard to find!
 
And one more thing: think how interesting it would have been if some Ravenclaw had come across it while hiding something of their own, and recognized what it was! “Um, Professor Dumbledore? I think I found the lost diadem of Ravenclaw….”
 

Something Else You May Not Have Noticed

My favorite thing about the fact that the diadem is destroyed by the Fiendfyre is the fact that each of Voldemort’s Horcruxes (thus far) has been destroyed by a different person. And even more specifically, the list of people who did it: Harry Potter – diary; Albus Dumbledore – ring; Ron Weasley – locket; Hermione Granger – cup; and… (drumroll please…) CRABBE! It’s like a hilariously perfect game of “which of these is not like the others,” and I laugh every time I think of it.
 

The Wizarding World

I wonder what must be going through the heads of most of the students at Hogwarts this night – especially the younger ones. It’s hard to say what they know, or at least believe, about Voldemort; it’s certainly common knowledge that he’s returned, yet the coup of the Ministry and the Daily Prophet were silent and apparently unnoticed by the masses. Most likely Hogwarts has been in a state like it was near the end of Umbridge’s time there: officially nobody would know that Voldemort is running the government, or that Snape or the Carrows work for him. And officially, they know that Harry is wanted for questioning in Dumbledore’s death. But I’d be willing to bet most students, talking amongst themselves, have at least some idea of what’s really going on.
 
Still, though, think about what’s happened to them tonight: the students have all been awakened in the middle of the night and ushered to the Great Hall, where the wizarding world’s most wanted criminal is standing along with them, clearly with the full support and backing of the entire staff of the school. And then just as they’re digesting this, Voldemort’s voice comes through, making an amplified announcement throughout the school. And then you’re ushered to a room you never knew existed (with hangings for three houses, but not Slytherin), and through a secret passage to a dodgy bar. Where… what happens? Are they all just sitting in the Hog’s Head for the rest of the night, without Aberforth even around? Either way, it’s a night none of the students will ever forget.
 

Life at Hogwarts

It’s a shame that the Slytherins are such a loathsome bunch; not only does Pansy Parkinson rush to hand Harry over to Voldemort, but when the Great Hall is evacuated, not a single Slytherin stays behind to battle the Dark Lord. Many people (fans and book characters alike – think of the Sorting Hat, or Nick) have wished for the Slytherins to redeem themselves in some way, and I did find it disappointing when the table had cleared completely. But when you think about it, it does make sense, in a way. After all, the overwhelming majority of Slytherin students who are of age (and therefore able to stay and fight) are in Harry’s own year; whatever their internal feelings about Voldemort, they’re unlikely to take Harry’s side in an overt war. And then there’s simply the risk involved. While the table of reckless Gryffindors has twelve-year-olds dying to take on Death Eaters, we’ve certainly heard before about Slytherins, and how “when given a choice, we will always choose to save our own necks.” Of course Crabbe and Goyle still stuck around unnoticed, so it’s possible others have too, and we haven’t heard what became of Slughorn yet. Still… just too bad.
 

Full Circle

While reading the scene between Harry, Crabbe, and Goyle, I can’t help but think of the first time those four met together, as eleven-year-olds on the Hogwarts Express. And especially these lines:

Draco… turned back to Harry. “You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”
 
He held out his hand to shake Harry’s, but Harry didn’t take it.
 
“I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks,” he said coolly.

Six and a half years after Draco quite literally extended a hand of friendship to Harry and Harry turned him down, the tables have been beautifully reversed: Draco and his friends are now trying to end Harry’s life, yet when they inadvertently put themselves in danger as well, Harry just as literally extends his hand, pulls Draco onto his broom, and saves his life. It’s a brilliant metaphor for these two characters: Draco offering, through a handshake, something entirely about image and prestige, which Harry doesn’t care for; and Harry, later, offering his hand for something so much more real – saving a life – despite Draco’s just having proven his disrespect for Harry’s. What a conclusion to years of a fascinating relationship.
 


130 Responses to “The Battle of Hogwarts”

  1. Loving those fiendfyre pictures, the colours just right to make it feel like real fire in my mind.

  2. Also another point about Draco, throughout the books Harry refers to Crabbe and Goyle as Draco’s hangers on, body guards etc but in one moment Draco I think shows that he does actually care about them as friends. That moment when he asks and Ron just bluntly says there dead.

    Also for the Slytherin’s I don’t think many are given the choice to stay, they’re rounded up and moved on and though its not clear in a later chapter when a bunch of people join the fight to help those already there, coming from Hogsmeade, I’d like to think that some of them are Slytherins coming to their aide. I also think that it maybe Slughorn who sounds the alarm to get all those people there, he does have the connections after all

  3. One of my favourite scenes comes in this chapter. It’s when Pansy shouts for someone to grab Harry and all the Gryffindors, Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs stand up not facing Harry but facing the Slytherins with their wands drawn. After everything Harry faced in school, all the comments and all the gossip and all the whispering, when it comes down to it the rest of the school has his back and is behind him all the way. It was definitely a crowning moment of heartwarming for me.

  4. I had never thought of what happened to the rest of the students after they got evacuated, I had just assumed that they were sent home. It really does conjure up a powerful image of all the 11 to 16 year olds sitting in the Hogs Head listening to the noises coming from the battle. It definitely would have been a night to remember.

    As for the Slytherin’s, didn’t some of the older students go and join the death eaters at the start of the battle?

  5. Oh, so much going on in this chapter…
    First, can we comment on the kiss? I love that there are four images of the Ron-Hermione kiss. I’m sure I can’t have been the only one who jumped up and down TomCruise-style on my bed when I read that passage. Of course, I then had to spend a few minutes looking for my book, as it had flown off my hand and under my desk.
    Also, I loved the parallelism of Draco extending his hand in an offer of status and prestige, and years later Harry externding his to save Draco’s life. I noticed it the second time I read the book (the first time I was too excited to notice anything), and I thought it was so fitting. That scene completes a perfect circle and highlights how different both characters are.
    Finally, there is a great picture of the Slytherins clearing out of the Great Hall. You can see it here: http://forbis.deviantart.com/art/Pansy-and-the-Walk-of-Shame-68367965?q=sort%3Atime+favby%3Arayo-like-mayo&qo=104&offset=40

  6. Oh, so, you are actually going to change the HPC Banner with every chapter! So, that’s what you meant by “you will be getting your wish very soon in a big way.”! Thanks, John…Not just for this, But for everything on this site…:)

  7. Actually about the slytherin thing I’m fairly certain that some of them did return. To quote HP wiki:

    “During the Battle of Hogwarts, while all of the Slytherin students left the school before the fighting started, several of them did return with the Hogsmeade reinforcements to join the fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Further it should be noted that the acting head at the time ordered the entire house to leave due to a single Slytherin student suggesting the student body hand Harry Potter to Voldemort.”

    She said this during the 131st episode of PotterCast. So there’s that.

  8. Great chapter, and even more great the pictures that go with the adventures! I really liked Draco in these last few chapters, or actually, troughout this whole book… he redeemed himself to me, which is actually great writing if you think about how much JK made him a villain and a bully in the other books…

  9. I thought John wrote beautifully about this chapter. The pictures are really amazing. Like Emma said, just gorgeous.
    Fred’s death really is a sad moment. What was written about war, too, was a little something to think about as well. I have nothing to add to what was done so perfectly:)

  10. I don’t understand why Harry says that he has never heard Crabbe’s voice before. Ron metamorphosed into Crabbe during their second year. So, it wasn’t the first time.

  11. Wow, lots to be said!

    Emma, I love your point about Draco caring that Crabbe died. That is a really interesting moment.

    Emma/Danielle/hazel, about the Slytherins: McGonagall states quite clearly before Pansy shouts anything that anyone who is of age may stay and fight. It definitely would have been an extraordinarily brave move for a Slytherin to, say, break ranks and join the table next to theirs after McGonagall ordered the “rest of [the] house” to leave. But it could have been done. And hazel, I’m not sure how I feel about that quote you pulled from the Wiki. Here’s the quote from Rowling:

    “Slytherins… may have a slightly more highly developed sense of preservation than other people…. A part of the final battle that made me smile was Slughorn galloping back with Slytherins. But they’ve gone off to get reinforcements first, you know what I’m saying? So yes, they came back, they came back to fight.”

    It’s mentioned in the book that Slughorn and Charlie Weasley lead the reinforcements, described as “what looked like the families and friends of every Hogwarts student who had remained to fight, along with the shopkeepers and homeowners of Hogsmeade.” Slughorn and Snape certainly play their part as representatives of Slytherin, and apparently Rowling had in mind that some returned even though it wasn’t in the book. But I still find that Wiki quote fairly misleading (perhaps written by a defensive Slytherin?).

    Finally, Valeria, somehow I missed that drawing by forbis, but it’s great. Perhaps I’ll add it in at some point. Her drawing on this page of Harry and Draco on the broom, grabbing the diadem, is one of my favorite pieces of fan art of all time (she wouldn’t believe me when I e-mailed her and told her it was my computer desktop background at the time :) ).

  12. I got so excited when I saw this update! Thank you again for another beautiful update!! Like Valeria said, the multiple images for the Ron/Hermione kiss was exciting to see (I also jumped up and down when I read of the kiss in the book :) no worries)
    As for the Slytherin’s leaving, I think a lot of them left too because when you think of it, a lot of them probably had family fighting for Voldemort. I mean if I remember correctly (bare with me I only started re-reading the books recently – it’s been far too long) we’ve heard our fair share of Sr. Death Eater names that we can recognize from the students – so many slytherin’s probably fled in fear of defending either their school, or their parents.
    I do also like to think though that many of them came back to help defend Hogwarts. I’m sure hearing the battle would really affect them about how their home of 7 years was being destroyed.

  13. John: What a beautiful eulogy for Fred. (And, upon second reading, reminds me a lot of Dumbledore’s comments concerning Diggory in book 4.) Also, loved the comments from Full Circle.

    Valeria: Thanks for posting Forbis’ link; if you hadn’t, I would’ve!

    S.O.: The book says, “[Crabbe's] voice was surprisingly soft for such an enormous person; Harry had hardly ever heard him speak before.” So JKR takes into account the fact that Harry has been in classes with this kid for six years and, also, the polyjuice moment.

    Second favorite Ron moment this chapter: “IF WE DIE FOR THEM, I’LL KILL YOU HARRY!”

    What really saddens me is that a few chapters ago we found out that horcruxes must be destroyed beyond repair and Voldemort was selfish/elitist enough to take such wonderful historical objects and put his bits of soul in them. I mean, granted, he thought he would be able to live forever but, on the off chance someone finds a horcrux and knows what to do with it, the object has to be completely ruined in order to get rid of the soul-piece. How horrible to lose Hufflepuff’s cup, Slytherin’s locket and Ravenclaw’s diadem.

    And I echo Ron’s question–do you think the Room of Requirement will work properly after the Fiendfyre had its way?

  14. Natalia, I’ve thought of that too – three of the five historical artifacts from the founders have been destroyed. The only two left, of course, are Gryffindor’s. Typical Rowling that the other three houses’ histories would be demolished, while Gryffindor’s hat and sword would be crucial to winning the final battle and be preserved forever.

    Another point on S.O.’s note about Crabbe: being a boy, his voice certainly has to have changed substantially between Chamber of Secrets (age 12) and today (age 17). So I doubt Harry’s hearing Crabbe’s voice back then would have any impact on the way it sounds to him today.

  15. About the students who left – they can’t possibly all have been hanging around the Hog’s Head for the rest of the night. I assumed that the oldest students were transporting the younger students home from the Hog’s Head by side-along apparition. This would have helped spread the word about what was happening. Probably some of the parents whose children were returned home would themselves apparate to the Hog’s Head to help with the evacuation, and then return for the battle.

  16. Wow, looking at these updates, I’d forgotten just how dense these chapters are! So much to discuss here! But first, I have to say how beautiful the artwork is here – and I, like everyone else, love all the pictures of the kiss. It was just such a perfectly written moment by Jo – the romance, the humor, the drama! Loved it.

    Also, I can’t believe Fred was killed. There were a few characters that no one thought would actually be killed – top of the list were the twins and Hedwig. It’s just so sad!

    I never thought of what the younger students were doing, but I picture it sort of like that scene in Book 3 where they’re all sleeping in the Great Hall – a lot of whispering, crazier and crazier theories being passed around. Possibly a few scuffles between Slytherins and Gryffindors.

    I agree that Voldemort’s hiding of the diadem was somewhat shoddy. There’s something to be said for hiding it in plain sight, but he should at least have put it in a drawer or something. But then, his arrogance has always been a weakness. And I think Jo deliberately made different people destroy his Horcruxes to show that taking Voldemort down is a team effort – that Harry, while being the Chosen One, does not defeat Voldy on his own.

    Lastly, we come to the matter of the Slytherins. And while I saw what happened as realistic, I was still slightly disappointed. I don’t buy Jo’s quote about how the Slytherins all returned – if she’d wanted them to return with reinforcements, she would have said so in the book – it’s not like Harry wouldn’t have recognized or taken note of that. Now, I can see why they would all leave, if the entire school turned against them because of something an idiot like Pansy Parkinson said. And, like John said, most of the people eligible to stay and fight were the children of Death Eaters and personally hated Harry.

    But what I think should have happened was that one Slytherin should have stayed and fought on Harry’s side. There are still a few no-name Slytherins in seventh year that Harry has never interacted with, and who have no Death Eater parents. My first thought was Daphne Greengrass – she is mentioned once in the series and there is no Greengrass Death Eater to our knowledge. I just think it would have been a huge statement to make.

    Some argue that Slytherin was redeemed with Slughorn and Regulus and Snape. But is it too much to ask that we get a redeemed Slytherin in this generation?

  17. John – I love the fact that each of the Horcruxes is destroyed by a different person, and that the only one Harry destroys personally is the diary – in his second year!

  18. ETA: Responding to the last few posts.

    I’ve also thought about what a shame it is to destroy such wonderful historical artifacts – and like you said John, typical Rowling that Gryffindor’s stay very much intact. It’s almost like the reverse of Chamber of Secrets when Lee Jordan is counting down the basilisk’s victims: “Three Gryffindors, a Ravenclaw, and a Hufflepuff, but the Slytherins are all safe!” Well here we get the opposite: two Slytherin artifacts, one Ravenclaw, one Hufflepuff, but Gryffindor’s are safe!

    Natalia, about the RoR working. I think it will still work afterwards, but if anyone tried to access the Room of Hidden Things, they would probably find a huge cavernous room covered in soot and ash, which will doubtlessly confuse some newer students in the years to come. Unless McGonagall does a thorough cleaning of the RoR during the castle’s cleanup following the battle.

  19. Doesn’t Harry say something about sneaking the students out of Hogsmead because the Death Eaters will be too preoccupied to notice a bunch of kids leaving the Hog’s Head?
    Yeah, page 596 of the American version:
    “I know, Professor, but if Voldemort and the Death Eaters are concentrating on the school boundaries they won’t be interested in anyone who’s Disapparating out of the Hog’s Head.”
    So, they probably have of-age people Apparating kids out of there.

  20. Christa, you’re right about that quote, I just wonder who it would be that’s doing it – surely the Order wouldn’t want to give up any potential fighters? I guess the evacuation was organized by Filch and Pomfrey… even though Pomfrey comes back later to help with the wounded, perhaps the support staff who didn’t want to stay and fight (like Pince, or Hooch, or random teachers we never hear about i.e. Sinistra) take charge of evacuating the students and help them Apparate to safety. It can’t be more than a few people, though, and that would still take a heck of a long time – certainly long enough for a good number of students to be stuck in the Hog’s Head while the battle begins to rage.

  21. Just to add my thoughts to the mix, I agree with those who have stated that the Slytherin students most likely acted in their own best interest in leaving the castle en masse. With their loyalties divided between the school and their Death Eater families (and their loyalties being brought into question by Pansy Parkinson’s rather rash action) what other realistic choice did they have? I also agree that some of the students from ALL the houses, including Slytherin, ended up returning with Slughorn and Charlie, it just happened off-page (and I do remember assuming when I read that passage that the Slytherins specifically had done so).

    But having some no-name Slytherin join Harry’s side openly would have felt cheap to me, like Rowling was pulling out a deux ex machina and saying, “Look! Here’s the pure, good Slytherin you’ve all been looking for!” Personally, I feel like the Slytherins we saw “redeeming” themselves were much more interesting: the Malfoy family, Slughorn, Regulus (and even Kreacher, by extension). Rowling’s characters are (mostly) human; they are the sum of their parts, the good and the bad. We as readers have to accept that the whole of Slytherin House did not have an abrupt character change at the last minute, no matter what we would have wished. What is redemption anyway? Can one generation of students reverse so many years of division? I don’t think so.

    John, I also agree with your assessment of Rowling’s motivations behind Fred’s death. I am frequently put off by writers who refuse to take risks with their characters (or people who worry that having children read about death will somehow cause them damage). Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series comes to mind. I love that Rowling treats her audience with such respect, and is willing to take risks in telling her stories. In this instance, she reminds me of Llyod Alexander, especially in his “Prydain Chronicles” seriese, which features the deaths of several beloved characters in the final volume.

    Also, John: I wonder if you can elaborate on your, “Typical Rowling,” comment regarding Gryffindor’s artifacts. Besides the obvious, do you have other examples of Rowling’s bias towards that house? Just out of curiosity…

  22. Meri, a very good point you make about the potential for it to feel “cheap” if a no-name Slytherin stays behind. It still seems to me like she didn’t need to go out of her way to say that Slytherin’s table was completely empty – couldn’t there have just been two or three students there, without making a big deal out of it? But it’s hard to say whether it would feel cheap, given that it’s not in there. Maybe I’d be sitting here complaining about the cheapness instead. ;)

    I did just notice one other reference to this that I’d completely forgotten about, as I started working on the next chapter – Voldemort, in the Shrieking Shack, tells Lucius Malfoy, “your son… did not come and join me, like the rest of the Slytherins.” So lots of them must have fought, just for the other side. I wonder who? Pansy? Blaise? Theodore Nott? Millicent Bulstrode? He’s not talking about Crabbe or Goyle….

    In terms of Rowling’s bias… I just often feel like she consistently treats Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses as also-rans, where anything that is truly good or noble must be a trait of Gryffindor. Part of this is surely the fact that the stories are simply written from Harry’s perspective. But there are other little things, too: the Sorting Hat belonged to Gryffindor. Dumbledore operates like a shining example of a Ravenclaw – but he’s a supreme good guy so he’s referred to as a Gryffindor instead. The founders’ feud wasn’t between Slytherin and the other three; it was between Slytherin and Gryffindor (like the two women didn’t even matter). Just little things like that seem to me to consistently exaggerate the importance of the one house over the other two ‘good’ ones. But that’s definitely an opinion; it may not be one others share.

  23. Loved all of the pictures of Ron and Hermione… And Fred’s death for me was the saddest in the entire series, but it also did help illustrate the blind killing of war… Still, sad :'(

  24. Great discussion!

    Not much to add, except in retrospect I found it sad that H. & R. wasted time (we find out later) bringing back all those basilisk teeth, when they are never used. Also that Harry went back for the diadem; if Hermione had told him that fiendfyre destroys horcruxes, he would have been able to just leave.

    And for me, the saddest part of Fred’s death is its effect on George. I always wondered if he was able to continue the Wizard Wheezes to the same extend without the symbiosis of “Fred & George.”

  25. I think many of the Slytherins probably did join the Death Eaters, but for those who didn’t wouldn’t it have been the far more Slytherine option to help with the evacuation of the younger years. That way you are still helping and proving you are on the good side but saving your own neck at the same time. Also any Slytherine worth their salt must know that being seen openly defying Voldemort in front of the rest of their house is tantamount to commiting suicide. Far better to appear to leave with the rest and sneak back later. We know that some younger pupils did so it only makes sense that the odd Slytherine did as well.

    As for the sidelining of the other houses I always wondered what te whole thing must look like from the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff points of view. I’m sure a lot of the posturing from Gryffindor and Slytherine must have seemed absurd. Those two houses must of ended up having completely different school experiences to the others.

  26. One of the things that shocked me on re-reading this chapter was Fred’s death. It’s not that I didn’t notice it the first time around, but that there’s so much happening on all fronts, it seemed to me that Fred’s death went somewhat unnoticed. But that’s just what it is like even for us muggles, right? In the middle of a battle there is no time to mourn appropriately, bury the dead and tend to the wounded. You just push your feelings down and continue fighting.
    Regardless of how utterly sad Fred’s death is, I was pleased that it was portrayd in an honest manner. I mean, Fred was, plain and simple, a casualty of war. He died with no fanfare, no hero’s farewell or anything. It felt so random and so pointless, which is exactly how some deaths feel in real life. Just like Cedric Diggory’s, Fred’s death shows that nobody’s safe. This is war and people will die for no good reason.
    John: Forbis is a great artist and all her pictures are better than good. But you are forgiven for missing it, there’s too much fabulous art out there.
    Natalia: Evidently, great minds think alike.
    Kloe: Glad I wasn’t the only one jumping. I would have felt foolish!

  27. Wonderful as always, and such great art for the kiss especially! I always did wonder what happened to both Crabbe and the RoR. They pretty much assume that Crabbe died, but you never know… Maybe the fire eventually went out, and Crabbe was stranded inside a sealed-off Room of Requirement. Plotting his revenge… Or maybe he managed to exit before the rest, Harry did say that he outstripped all of them. Not many seem to weep for him. But the Room… I always wonder… Is it closed forever now, will the Fiendfyre rage forever? Hmm…

  28. Anna1, I totally agree with the concept you raise about Hermione’s knowledge of how to destroy Horcruxes. While the trio is still at the Weasley’s place, she notes that she retrieved books(!) on horcruxes from Dumbledore’s office after he died. Yet, during their nearly year on the run, not another mention is made of her studying those books and passing that knowledge on. Given her talent and proclivity for gaining knowledge (and showing it off) from books, it is astounding that she had not been better prepared or prepared her friends to some extent.

  29. LizB: I never really considered the view of the other houses. Thank you for putting that into my head before I re-read the series again.
    I mean we never really get an insight, even from Harry’s point of view of the other houses. We hear mention of the Gryffindor’s having ‘Charms with the Ravenclaws’ or ‘Herbology with the Hufflepuffs’ but we never really get introduced to the characters from Harry’s year from other houses, other than the handful of Hufflepuff students we hear of in Chamber of Secrets, and even then they’re kind of put there just so that there is someone to be ‘afraid’ of Harry being the potential Heir of Slytherin. The Ravenclaw’s are mentioned even less I find, the only one I can recall off the top of my head from Harry’s year is Padma Patil (And please forgive me if I’ve overlooked someone, it’s been quite a long day.)
    With regards to classes as well, I found that most of the classes where the most action/plot development occured (Potions, Defence, Care of Magical Creatures) where shared with the Slytherins for the most part. Really emphasizing the relationship between Slytherin and Gryffindor and how the two houses seem to be the strongest and most important to the school/book.

    Anna1/Gary: I completely agree too. I find it odd that with all the research Hermione claimed to have done on the Horcruxes and how she knows the fiendfyre destroys horcruxes, you would think she could have volunteered a way to destroy the locket that was visibly destroying their friendship while they were on the run.

  30. Fred is not dead. He is in a magical coma.

  31. @Anna1: the trio DID use one fang to destroy the cup. I think the rest were partially “just in case” and “how clever of them,” but mainly for the dramatic effect of the fangs “cascading out of Hermione’s arms” (much like McGonagall carrying around books to drop when surprised). Also anna1, I read recently that George never goes completely back to normal, but *SPOILER* he actually does keep doing WWW with Ron!

    I feel like, often, too much is made of the kiss. Maybe it’s just because I’m not as much into the romance as the general magic and adventure. I do like Cambryn’s of Harry looking a little awkward.

    I would really love to think that the RoR would still work after the fire, but I don’t know why JK would have put that line in if she didn’t think the room was permanently damaged.

    I was just doing some movie research and came upon some terribly non-canon things, one of which was from this chapter…
    *MOVIE SPOILERS*
    It’s Malfoy, Goyle, and Blaise Zabini that go into the RoR, and Goyle dies! (I don’t know where the heck Crabbe is!)

  32. Ragmar: The actor who played Crabbe got into some trouble with the law and did some jail time, therefore, he couldn’t be part of the film.

  33. I always forget that the kiss and the death are in the very same chapter (not to mention the RoR).

    I distinctly remember sitting on my bed at three or four in the morning and making very literal “squeee” sounds when I first read this chapter. Squee sounds followed soon after by real-life crying. *Sob* Fred *sob*.

  34. “I virtually lived in the Room of Hidden Things all last year, I know how to get in.” –Draco

    So, just out of curiosity, does anyone know or remember how the vanishing cabinet ended up in the ROR for Draco to repair? I’ve been flipping all over HBP and can’t find an explanation of how the cabinet got from the first floor of Hogwarts (where Fred & George shoved Montague into it during Harry’s fifth year) up to the ROR. It makes sense that Draco was the one to “hide” it there… it just seems awkward that he conveniently discovered the Room of Hidden Things and managed to move the cabinet there unnoticed and unmissed (it’s not a small object to hide).

    And normally I wouldn’t commet on the films, but I’m wondering how they’re going to have Harry remember that he’s seen the diadem in the ROR, when it was Ginny who hid Harry’s potion book in the room in HBP when his eyes were closed…

  35. On the comment of the movie, they couldn’t have Crabbe go in that time because the actor who plays him died. And he who is not like Dumbledore wouldn’t be replaced so they probs just changed the story to accomadate that difference.

  36. Sorry, my mistake it was the jail time not the death; I can’t remember where I heard the dead thing, huh? My brain is slowly becoming a warped so all I can think about is harry potter and oh, pretty picture!

  37. John, I agree with you about Rowling’s bias towards Gryffindor, it’s pretty obvious. Which leads me to wonder…remember how angry the Hufflepuffs were when Harry was chosen as a second Triwizard champion? What I wonder is if they would have been as angry if a Ravenclaw had been chosen as a second champion? Harry assumed they’re mad because he’s stealing their glory, but I think they’re just sick of singing Gryffindor’s praises. I think this is also why the Ravenclaws turn against him – they’re also likely fed up with the posturing from the Slytherins and Gryffindors.

    What I also don’t understand is why the Ravenclaws weren’t the ones winning the House Cup all the time? The students get points for correctly answering questions in class, so it stands to reason that Ravenclaw would be in first place. And Kloe, you’re correct that there are no Ravenclaws or Huffelpuffs in the books. For Hufflepuffs, we get Cedric and a bunch of DA members, for Ravenclaw we get Padma, Luna, and Cho. Which makes cosplaying a right pain in the rear.

  38. Emma – I think I know what you must have been getting confused with; the actor who played Marcus Belby (from the Slug Club) in the sixth film was stabbed to death outside a club after defending his brother from some bullies. I’m not certain, so anyone who knows better, please correct me if I’m wrong :).

  39. What upset me most about Fred’s death was that she doesn’t really cover George enough now. To me, it felt like he was killed just to make a point and because he would make us upset, but the real implications of it being him were sort of glossed over.
    if that’s coherent at all …

  40. I’m delighted to see Forbis’s artwork, and look forward to more!

    I went to her end of deviantart, and found a non-canon pic of Draco, staring in horror as someone hits Snape with an Avada Kadavra (which I don’t think I can spell at the moment) during the Battle of Hogwarts. It’s wonderful, and what made it better is that it bears a remarkable resemblance to Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London … that hair, those madly staring eyes … do yourself a favour and take a look.

  41. The logical place to conceal the tiara would be the Chamber of Secrets, but Voldemort didn’t had time for that, he assumed a lot when he thinked that noone knew the Room of Requirement.
    If Voldemort had known a bit more of whats happened inside Hogwarts he wouldn’t believe it. The Horcrux he planted on Hufflepuff’s Cupp was stolen from an unbreakable place, destroyed by a muggleborn witch that used the fang of a monster that only Voldemort was supposed to control, locked in a secret room that also Voldemort was supposed to be the only one to have access, room opened by someone without the ability to speak parseltongue but that gained access to the room because he happened to hear Harry speak up the word “open” in parseltongue (twice, first when he opened the Chamber of Secrets and second when he opened the locket)…

  42. One remark: the Room of Requirement should be locked against any Carrow supporters, even so Slytherin’s house managed to get out of Hogwarts through the RoR.

  43. You know I always thought it would have been funny to see Voldemort’s face (And everyone else’s too for that matter – Mrs. Weasley’s and the rest of the Order’s) if Harry had had the time during the final battle to be like “oh yea, so I destroyed your first horcrux when I was 12, and Dumbledore got your second, but then we got the locket, Regulus had already stole it and tried to destroy it, but then Ron – see him there – he destroyed it with Gryffindor’s sword. Oh and my muggleborn friend Hermione, she destoryed the cup…”
    I mean, it would be a very scooby doo moment ‘I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those medling kids…’ and obviously take away from the intensity of the battle, but could you imagine everyone’s faces that these bunch of kids had destroyed some of the darkest magic and thwarted Voldemort?

  44. Love the pic of McGonagall and also Loleia’s depiction of Ron and Hermione!

  45. (1) I LOVE the art!

    (2) I always wished that Ginny had destroyed a Horcrux. It seems fitting that she should have played a small yet essential part in Voldemort’s downfall, much as Neville did. But, yes, there is definite humour value in the list of Harry, Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, Neville and… CRABBE!

    (3) Pansy Parkinson = Caiaphas: “It is convenient to let one man die for the sake of everyone else.”

    (4) Voldemort states that “the other” Slytherins fought on his side. Although JKR now says, “Not all of them,” we are actually talking about a fairly small group of students. There are only about 17 Slytherins who are old enough to fight at all (ten in Harry’s year and 2/3 of those in the year below). Crabbe is dead, and Malfoy and Goyle don’t seem to fight at all. I doubt Pansy took much action either. That leaves 13 Slytherins – maybe ten to fight for Voldy and three to return to Hogwarts with Slughorn? – But that’s assuming that all of them fought on one side or the other, and that none sat quietly in the Hog’s Head hoping to survive.

    Regarding who did what: it’s difficult to infer much heroism from Blaise, Millicent or Runcorn’s daughter. If they fought at all, they probably took the line of least resistance and helped Voldemort. As someone said above, we know nothing about Daphne Greengrass except that she’s a member of Pansy’s gang and that her sister later marries the (reformed) Draco. We know nothing about Tracey Davis except that she’s a half-blood (= second-class Slytherin). So we don’t know on which side they fought, or whether they fought at all. I can swallow that one or two of the sixth-year Slytherins did in fact return to Hogwarts with Slughorn, but it doesn’t honestly sound as if it was anyone whose name we know.

    We do know that Theodore Nott is capable of questioning his father’s Death Eater values. I always hoped that his surname was significant and that he would NOTT end up like his father. If anyone secretly returned to fight, I always hoped it would be Theo… But surely such an important switch of loyalties would have been noticed by one of Harry’s friends?

  46. Andrea: I assume that in the movie it will be Ginny who accompanies Harry into the Room of Requirement to find the diadem. No inside information here – I just figured that the film makers had Ginny hide Harry’s potions book in order to give her a bigger role in the last film.

  47. Billie/Andrea: I can imagine a few ways this would happen, but the simplest to me is simply that instead of thinking “my final hiding place is Hogwarts” when Harry’s reading his mind, he thinks, “my final hiding place is the Room of Requirement.”

  48. Jose Lopez/Kloe: Thanks for giving me a much needed laugh this morning–I’d never thought about Harry taking the time to monologue about his victory to Voldie. Hee hee hee!

  49. Excuse me, but may I register a mild dissent re the “meaninglessness” of Fred’s death? I’d contend that there are scarcely *any* meaningless deaths in the series. Cedric’s and Hedwig’s might qualify, since theirs were cases of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But virtually all of the other deaths of “good” characters come as a result of a choice to place themselves in mortal peril for the sake of a loved one or a cause. Fred didn’t have to be at Hogwarts; he chose to be there to protect a place and people he loved, and to help rid the wizarding world of Voldemort and his minions. His death wasn’t meaningless; it was heroic. I think the word people are reaching for here is “randomness.” Wars are indiscriminate in who they kill; they’re also indiscriminate in who they allow to survive. But death in a war is only meaningless if the war itself is meaningless. This war matters.

  50. Harry can’t monologue about his destroying the horcruxes, that behaviour is reserved for SuperVillians only :-)

  51. To John Kearns regarding what he said above:”I did just notice one other reference to this that I’d completely forgotten about, as I started working on the next chapter – Voldemort, in the Shrieking Shack, tells Lucius Malfoy, “your son… did not come and join me, like the rest of the Slytherins.” So lots of them must have fought, just for the other side. I wonder who? Pansy? Blaise? Theodore Nott? Millicent Bulstrode? He’s not talking about Crabbe or Goyle….”

    I disagree, as when reading that passage in the book, I always had interpreted it as Draco not joining Voldemort *like* the rest of the Slytherins, meaning that they didn’t join him either.

  52. And yes, fantastic artwork.

  53. Jose Lopes, I also thought that there would be a Horcrux in the Chamber of Secrets! It just seemed like the obvious choice, given Voldemort’s history with the place. And it would be hard to have a better protected Horcrux, considering Harry is the first Parseltongue since Voldy to attend Hogwarts (so no one would even be able to access the Chamber!). And if by some miracle they managed to access the chamber, they would still have a basilisk to content with. Not to mention, the Chamber is such a fantastic setting, I wanted to revisit it!

    Grace, it’s not mentioned anywhere in the book that Daphne is part of Pansy’s gang, actually. But other than that, I fully agree with your assessment of the Slytherins. I don’t really see Theo openly defying the Death Eaters (though he must have been pissed that the DEs left his father injured in the DoM battle). But Daphne or Tracey, along with one or two sixth years, I could see happening.

  54. I was unhappy about how everything turned out for the Slytherins, and I think it highlights what I felt were the major flaws in the Hogwarts house system. (Oh dear, I feel a rant coming on. Feel free to ignore me.) Regardless of what JKR’s intention was, the result of such a system is that the school is divided—in an authority-sanctioned way—into four cliques: the cool kids, the evil kids, the smart kids, and the other kids.

    I know I’m not the only one who read the first book, with its line about “There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin” (which we now know isn’t true, but it says something about the house’s reputation), and thought “Then why on earth have a Slytherin house at all, if all it does is produce evil wizards?” As the books went on, JKR made a half-hearted attempt to show us that initial assessment was untrue—there are decent Slytherins and there are evil wizards from other houses—but it’s not developed very well. Evil wizards who aren’t Slytherins are regarded as the exception, like an unexpected surprise. And off the top of my head, I can think of maybe one Slytherin who seems to have been a genuinely good person (although I openly admit I’m rusty on my HP lore): Andromeda, who’s a very minor character. The others we hold up as good Slytherins—Slughorn, Snape, maybe Regulus—aren’t really shining examples; they may have turned out good but not in the way JKR’s pet Gryffs are (Slughorn is self-serving; Snape’s reasons for turning good were largely motivated by a girl and not some idea of goodness or what’s right, and he was still personally, though no longer morally, loathsome; Regulus, before his conversion to good, joined the Death Eaters because That’s What Proper Slytherins Do). I don’t think this is what JKR intended, but the message I pull from the Slytherins is that if you were born into a certain family, if you have certain character traits when you’re young, you will never be able to move past that. Even if you try, you will never be quite as good as the good guys.

    The point is, JKR had a really good chance in this chapter to undo some of her rather unfortunate house profiling. She had a chance to explicitly state that some Slytherins stayed and fought, saying to her readers that we do not have to be defined by where we came from, by choices we made in the past, by the fact that we were sorted into Slytherin house. This was a chance to recognize the flaws in a system that sorts children into a small, hated group with very negative connotations, by saying “Yes they’re cunning and self-serving, but surely at least some of them, faced with a threat to their way of life from a source of pure evil, will stand up and fight.” But no one stayed. They slithered out, because they’re the bad kids. And whether or not JKR felt that some of the Slyths came back, she didn’t say it in the book, so the message remains: Slytherin really is the evil house and most of its members will never change.

  55. hpboy13, there was a Horcrux in the Chamber of Secrets…the diary. :)

    And Ragmar, yeah, I did realize they used one of the fangs. But it seemed like overkill to bring them all back (as you say, just to have H. drop them!). Since there was only one more Horcrux, why would you even need that many? At most, three so each one of HRH could carry one. :)

  56. Wow! What can you say after all that. Great discussion, guys.
    I also think that most of the Slytherins ran to save their necks. I just imagine them apparating out of there and hiding in their homes until the storm blows over..maybe even under their beds. After all, for six years they have observed the impossibly powerful Potter and his friends and most recently his army! I bet they didn’t want to get caught in the cross-fire.

  57. Do you remember the scene in HBP 15, where Snape had put Crabbe and Goyle in detention for poor performance in DADA, and had tried to convince Draco, how important DADA is, after he had been caught by Filch wandering the castle at night? Obviously Crabbe had not got it! He was able to set Fiendfyre, but not able to stop it, what had eventually costed his life.

  58. Did no body else have a “wtf” moment when Ron came back with the fangs saying that he just “copied” Harry’s hissing and it legitimately passed as Parseltongue?

    I had always imagined it as a special ability, not just someforeign language. Like Harry doesn’t have to learn it, he just *knows* it, and he doesn’t even know he knows it. I imagined that he’s probably not even making human speech sounds, that it’s simply a magical hissing that’s coming out of his mouth. It just seemed so cheap, so “jumping the shark”, when Rowling pulled a “guess what? Ron can speak Parseltongue too! Well, he’s only learned a few words, the tenses are a bit hard for beginners”. You know what I mean?

    We *have* seen evidence that magical languages can be learned, I remember in GoF, when Percy was kissing Crouch’s… uhh… backside :P, he was saying something like “Oh yes, Mr Crouch can speak Gobbledegook and Mermish and blah blah blah”. Gobbledegook I can get, that sounds like a human reproducible language. But Mermish? Can you imagine a human trying to make those squeaky sounds that emanate from the egg? We’ve seen Dumbledore understand Mermish at the second task, and parseltongue in the memories, but I had always assumed he couldn’t *create* those noises. Or if he could, it would take some serious magic on his part to even make it *possible* in the first place.

    Basically, what I’m saying is, did anyone else really not buy Ron suddenly being able to *speak Parseltongue*?!

  59. Warren Lewis: I interpret it as John did, that what Voldy thinks are the rest of the Slytherins came to fight for him. Otherwise, I do not believe he would bother mentioning it as he is a prideful character and it’s very in character for him to subjugate Lucius further to serve his own purposes by saying “your son is not as good as he’s supposed to be”. I am confident that this is what JKR meant. As for the Ravenclaws in Harry’s year: I agree that they’re under-represented but among the DA members we have Anthony Goldstein, Michael Corner and Terry Boot. Emily: just because it’s true that people can change doesn’t mean that any among a select number of people (in this case the of-age Slytherins) actually will in any given moment. It isn’t an indictment of the nature of Slytherin that no-one stayed; merely an indictment of the behaviour of those particular people in that instant. As far as the redeemability of Slytherins goes, Slughorn, Snape and Regulus, for my part, have done their bit to be redeemed (for Snape, this is true at least in regard to his actively evil actions; he could still have used some therapy in order to stop being a bit of a jerk). Slughorn never really did anything nasty in the first place as far as I’m concerned; he’s just a bit of a gluttonous entitled idiot until TBOH. I don’t see that there is a message left in about Slytherin’s negativity: messages that are not hinted at are open to interpretation.

  60. AndreRhineDavis: I bought Ron speaking Parseltongue with pleasure. I see it as a treatise on the reality of JKR-world magic: nothing is above intellectual pursuit, no matter how much instinctive ability may be bigged up by self-important, prejudicial dingwads like Voldemort. As for Dumbledore, I’m fairly certain that he does speak Mermish in GoF. I don’t have the book with me but I seem to recall a passage about him leaning down to the merpeople and replying to them in squeaks.

  61. The random nature of death is, sadly, something familiar to the cast of the films. Two members of the cast died during filming – Richard Harris (Dumbledore in the first two films) had been ill for some time and his death was not unexpected, but the sudden and senseless death of Robert Knox (who played Marcus Belby in HBP), was quite another matter. I don’t want to force the analogy with Fred Weasley, Robert did die defending someone (his brother) who was important to him.
    His murderer was convicted shortly before HBP was released. It was the only film in which Robert appeared, and he never got to see it.

  62. Ron does not speak parseltongue, he managed to say one “word” that he heard Harry say twice. To say that Ron speaks parseltongue for that is the same as saying that someone speaks japanese because that someone learned the word “sayonara”.

  63. I think another part of JKR not having the Slytherin’s suddenly reform their ways has to do with the fact that perhaps they have not grown up as fast as the others in a sense. When you think of the books, the trio obviously had to grow up much faster than everyone else, while I could see the hufflepuffs growing during Cedric’s triwizard days. Not to mention everyone who was involved in the DA (some of whom are not named) Also perhaps, having to defend themselves from the Slytherin’s all through school has taught the students of the other houses to stand strong together. The Slytherin’s on the other hand have been so used to having the upper hand (and I believe probably even more so this past year, with Snape and the Carrows running things) that all of a sudden they have no control, and the rest of the school is standing up against them together. It seems like it would be such a sudden upset for the Slytherin’s that they would be slightly too shocked to stick around, afraid maybe even. I don’t know, it’s just something that crossed my mind while I was reading the comments.

    And as for languages, I do think Dumbledore said somewhere that he could speak a bit of parsletongue as well. He definitely said he could understand it. Ron ‘learning’ it from Harry definitely was one of JKR’s ways of showing how far Ron has grown.

    On that note, I enjoy thinking that one of the first times we see Ron is in class when Hermione is correcting his pronunciation of ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ Here he is 7 years later speaking Parsletongue all on his own. I find this quite a substantial step for Ron’s character.

  64. Emily Benson‘s fire looks as if it would really burn. But didn’t anyone else worry about Ron’s poor broomstick? I imagine a sturdy broom can carry two passengers quite happily, but three? Especially when the third is the size of Goyle, who is a dead weight while he’s unconscious, and being held to the post only by the acrophobic Hermione?

    hpboy13, the quote about Daphne Greengrass is here http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/personoftheyear/article/0,28804,1690753_1695388_1695569,00.html. Most people consider Rowling’s interviews to be canon.

    She does, however, contradict herself about Ron. At one point she says he became an Auror, then later she says he worked in George’s shop. Personally, I would be really happy to think that Ron did both. I become very annoyed by films and fanfic that portray Ron as stupid: after all, he can beat Harry at chess. I have no trouble believing that a bright boy like Ron could remember one word of a foreign language, especially as it was the word that saved his sister’s life. It doesn’t make him a Parselmouth; it only makes him smart enough to be kissed by Hermione.

    Kloe, I agree with your basic point that the Ravenclaws don’t receive much air-time. For example, we know that Michael, Terry “and two others” were in Slughorn’s potions class, but we never find out the names of the others.

    However, we do in fact know the names of nearly all the Ravenclaws in Harry’s year. The four who join the D.A. are Terry Boot, Michael Corner, Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil. Three more who are mentioned at the sorting, though never again, are Mandy Brocklehurst, Morag MacDougal and Lisa Turpin. JKR’s working notes mention Stephen Cornfoot (pure-blood), Kevin Entwhistle (Muggle-born) and Su Li (half-blood). Personally, I believe that Stephen Cornfoot ended up in Hufflepuff, i.e. was swapped with Michael Corner, who is a Hufflepuff in the early notes but in canon has become a Ravenclaw. If that is right, then the fifth Ravenclaw boy is possibly named Moon or Roper (but I think both these characters are female) or, more likely, Rivers or Spinks. I would have liked to see all of these characters better developed. Maybe in the Scottish Book?

  65. Re: Ron’s Parseltongue

    I thought it was a great “in plain sight” bit. I think some of the WTF responses were due to readers only remembering the more similar scene in COS and not also the more recent (and arguably more intense) moment from Ch19.

    Re: Portrayal of Slytherins

    I agree with the general sentiment that JKR could probably have been more explicit about Slytherin != evil.
    One defence might be that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy–Where have we heard that before?–where the perception of Slytherins leads to self-selection, leading to the extreme scenario. This point obviously relates to family ties.
    Another thing I have to occasionally remind myself about is certain Slytherin traits seeming bad just because of the values I was brought up on, i.e. Slughorn’s self-serving isn’t really all that bad, but it is looked down upon in our society. (Of course, many people don’t practise what they preach.)

  66. I think the fact that Gryffindor seems to continually outshine the other two ‘good’ Houses is to do with the setting of the book. The Wizarding World is experiencing an era of war, where bravery is the most valued quality. Accordingly, Gryffindors stand out the most.

    In times of peace, I expect Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff to be more prominent, as things like innovativeness and decency are more valued when a society is not at war.

  67. Anna1, no there wasn’t. The diary was brought there at the last second by the piece of soul control Ginny – I meant legitimately hide a Horcrux there.

    I did have a WTF moment when Ron spoke Parseltongue. I suppose it’s possible and all that, it just seemed like a bit of a stretch.

    Emily, I’m in full agreement with you. And the truth is that throughout the books, we don’t really get a redeemed Slytherin until the last book – where, as you said, they’re not exactly all redeemed (though I’d argue Regulus is, since in the end he fought against his background and did the right thing for the right reason). But what angers me most of all is Dumbledore’s quote in “Prince’s Tale” – and let’s keep in mind Jo said she speaks through Dumbledore. When Snape and Dumbledore are talking, Dumbledore says in regard to Snape, “I fear we Sort too soon.” Which I interpreted as, “You’re a good guy, you shouldn’t have been a Slytherin after all!” Basically, the fact that Snape is (arguably) good means he doesn’t belong in Slytherin, because Slytherin is only for the villains. And in that one quote, we see the entire problem of the House system – that because Jo is biased against them, the Slytherins never will be redeemed.

  68. Hpboy: I totally agree with you comment about Dumbledore telling Snape they may sort too soon. There are only 2 Slytherins who really redeem themselves in the series (Snape and Regulus), and they do so DRASTICALLY. JK paints them as really just not good people, and they have to literally give up their lives to gain our respect… in the final book of the series.
    When Phineas Black shouts at the end of the book about remembering that Slytherin house played it’s part, we’re all kind of like “well, there’s that Slytherin arrogance again. They didn’t really DO anything.” Which is sad. Not all Slytherins were bad, but we get the worst of them all the time.

  69. Re: Slytherins
    Love what Emily said up there: “Then why on earth have a Slytherin house at all, if all it does is produce evil wizards?” and the discussion later about Dumbledore’s comment that “we Sort too soon.” I took that last part to mean something along the lines of “personalities develop, events happen, people are ever-changing.” We have several examples ourselves: Dumbledore, easily swayed by love and a belief that what he was doing was for the “greater good” didn’t change until after he left school; Regulus, coming from a “this is what is expected of me” family and in his late teens finding out that the man he followed blindly was not the best choice for wizard-kind; Snape and his entire story . . .

    Re: Ron/Parseltongue
    The book itself reminds us that Ron heard Harry speak it in Ch19 (“it’s what you did to open the locket”) and also apologizes for the fact that he’s not fluent or suddenly proficient in the language (“I had to have a few goes to get it right, but . . . we got there in the end.”) I’d lean a little more with rtozier and Jose Lopez on this one–not so much a wtf moment as just someone learning a word or phrase to be able to get a point across (like, “¿donde esta el baño?” or “¿cuanto cuesta?”).

    Re: Horcrux location
    hpboy13 (and others): JKR loves her red herrings, doesn’t she? I think that, along with the Chamber of Secrets, Godric’s Hollow was one of the top fan-choices for the location of a horcrux. And while there technically was (Nagini, disguised as Bathilda Bagshot), that’s not where the horcrux was originally kept, nor where it was destroyed.

  70. I think the issue with learning even just one word of Parseltongue (or Mermish) is that it isn’t a *human* language. A lot harder than just learning “sayonara” or “pardon.”

  71. Oh, and I like the discussion about Slytherin and why have it if it’s just evil/”sort too soon.”

  72. Anna1: It’s not a “human” language no. But it is a language none-the-less. I think Ron learning one word in Parseltongue is possible, but I honestly think it serves more to demonstrate how much Ron has grown since his ‘Wingardium leviosa’ moment.

  73. Prominent traits of Slytherin are known to be cunning and ambition, and I don’t really see much evil about those. Of course, in some known Slytherin cases, ambition = creation of an evil empire and its domination, by any means, and cunning = creating these means. But still, Voldemort’s idea of uniting the houses was great! Granted, he wanted to unite them under Slytherin colors, but generally uniting them, I think, is a great idea. I mean, why divide kids into groups with only certain celebrated traits, when loyalty, kindness, intelligence, daring, nerve, chivalry, cunning and ambition can create SuperWizards? No?
    I remember in one of the books that Hermione condemns the rivalry between Houses the House cup and the quidditch cup create and how unnecessary it is.

    Regarding Harry and Draco, I find the parallels drawn between them and James and Snape interesting. Although they are not at all equivalent, both pairs dislike each other instantly, in both, the Potter saves the other. I am curious, though, if in Snape’s case it lead to much dislike towards James (although, we know other reasons of his dislike of James), what did it lead to in Draco’s case. ***spoiler?*** We see in the Epilogue that Harry and Draco are on somewhat hostile “nodding” terms, so does that mean that Draco feels gratitude and dislike simultaneously? Thoughts?

  74. RE: discussion on “why sort into houses?” It is a span of control issue. The adult in charge has to get to know his/her charges — even more so in a boarding school where the off-class (as well as the in-class) hours are spent within the school. With any number of students larger than XX (you pick a number), it is simply too hard to know the students, administer grades, approve trips to Hogsmeade, administer punishments, etc. The better (fewer students within the span of control) the adult knows the kids, the better the administrator of the house will be able to “deal with” the issues. So, once that basic administrative requirement is determined, then groupings allow for competition in varous intramural events. Clearly only once during the 7 years was there a competition between the wizarding schools — GOF. Youngsters need competition to grow. The house system enables it, providing it doesn’t get outta hand.

  75. Yes, there are American secondary schools that are adopting the “house system” for those reasons…although in those cases, there is no sorting hat. They are either randomly assigned, or by subjects, or other criteria. It’s the “small learning communities” movement. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Learning_Community

  76. I’d say Pettigrew is a better example of the students being “sorted too soon” than Snape or Regulus. Can anyone tell me why he was made a Gryffindor, other than the fact it was convenient for the betrayal plot in PoA?

  77. Maybe because he sucked so much that he didn’t belong anywhere else either. He wasn’t loyal or hardworking, intelligent, or brave. He did often save his own skin, but I wouldn’t call him clever…
    Maybe the sorting hat saw something in him that ended up changing a lot after a few years.

  78. I agree with Anna1, the Sorting should be randomized. First off, did no one think it a bad idea to group all the reckless students together, all the cunning ambitious students together, etc? I mean really, what are they thinking? Second, if the Sorting is randomized, then rivalries will be fluid, and there will be none of this “Oh noes, Gryffindor will lose for the first time in 300 years!!!” It will put the Houses on a much more even playing field.

  79. I don’t know if someone has mentioned this, but I’ll say anyway. I like the idea of what could have happened if a Ravenclaw student would have found the diadem. But other than taking it to Dumbledore, I thought, what if the student kept it for him or herself? What if he or she put it on, in an attempt to become smarter? Some food for thought, isn’t it?

  80. It is an interesting point Seb – but if you put it into context; theyre not likely to see an old tiara and immediately think ‘ooooh I’ve found Ravenclaw’s lost diadem’, I mean, the chances aren’t very high. But then again, they are the smart ones, so it is definitely worth some thought.

  81. As a Ravenclaw I like to believe they would have taken it to the authorities had they known its importance.

  82. I love reading all your comments! I’m rereading DH right now and I’m sure I will notice a lot more now, thanks to you guys.

    RE: Ron/Parseltongue
    I don’t think anyone mentioned this yet, but humans can sometimes “speak” non-human languages, just like Ron did–some people can imitate birds or bark in a fairly convincing way. If you didn’t have to specifically say “open” in order to open the chamber of secrets, perhaps some of the hissing noises Ron could perform were close enough.

  83. Jose, I don’t think it’s true that Carrow-supporters can’t enter the Room of Requirement; Malfoy and his sidekicks have no trouble entering the Room of Hidden Things. The only aspect of the RoR from which Carrowphiles are banned is the specific place where people hide from the Carrows.

    As to how the school, including some Carrowphiles, was evacuated to the Hog’s Head: It could be that the RoR had to create a new passageway to the Hog’s Head, specifically to meet the need of the moment. We don’t really know, as Harry didn’t see exactly what they did. Or it could be even simpler than that. Perhaps anyone can enter any aspect of the RoR if someone else has left the door open.

  84. @Emily: Yes yes yes exactly what you said!
    Although I can easily see how, in-universe, the twenty-ish (depending on how big you think Hogwarts is) eligible Slytherins individually would choose not to fight, I think it is more disappointing Thematically that not a single Slytherin stays to fight, even after all the “not all Slytherins are evil” build-up. Yes, Slughorn comes back at the end, but he is also the only member of staff to leave the battle at all (aside from Filch, who as a squib is probably a non-combatant in any case). I think it is also important that none of the children characters are shown to be non-evil Slytherins, the only examples we see are the adults.

    In defense of the house system in Hogwarts, we do get to see in this book that there is a difference in atmosphere between the houses that seems beneficial. I’m sure the quizzing door knocker of Ravenclaw tower is as beloved by the Ravenclaws as the Fat Lady is by Gryffindors, and it suits their temperament well, while I could see someone like Neville becoming quickly frustrated with the constantly changing requirements for entry, or Ron being bored with having to do “extra work” to get in his common room. It also makes me wonder if maybe the Fat Lady’s flaky personality and inattention to rule-breakers is perhaps purposeful, to be better suited for risk-taking Gryffs.

  85. Re: parseltongue
    When Ron hissed “Open,” I immediately accepted it because JKR has set up throughout the series how good the Weasleys are at mimicking voices. Ginny does such a believable Umbridge that some of the kids at that initial DA meeting looked around in fear, expecting to see her standing behind them. And there were several instances of Fred or George sounding uncannily like their mother (or even Percy), when one of them was imitating her warning them off some adventure or the other. So it came as no surprise that Ron also has an ear for mimicry (if that’s how you spell that), and could hiss out a word. It doesn’t make him a parseltongue, it means he can imitate a sound/word with great accuracy.

    As for the “sort too soon” comment, I must admit I got a bit weepy because I took it as Dumbledore paying Snape a heartfelt compliment that meant something like, “You are one of the bravest wizards I’ve ever known,” a sentiment to be later echoed in the Epilogue.

  86. Meauneek, it is how you spell mimicry. I like your ideas. As for the “sort too soon” comment, it doesn’t in my mind mean that all Slytherins are bad, merely perhaps that all 11-year-olds who are in a bad place are put in Slytherin. Which is a bad idea, but not an indictment of the nature of Slytherins.

  87. Re: the evacuation: We see direct evidence of GhV’s point that “anyone can enter any aspect of the RoR if someone else has left the door open.” It’s when the DA is exposed in OP27, and Pansy runs into the Room of Requirement “to see if they had left anything behind” and turns up Hermione’s list of DA members. Granted, they probably hadn’t specifically barred the room from allowing any, say, Inquisitorial Squad members in, the way Neville seems to have done this time around with the Carrows. But it still seems to fit the laws of magic that someone could enter an open door. It would be like Muggles visiting Diagon Alley, for example, pulled through by a wizard.

  88. Meauneek, that’s brilliant about the Weasleys! I’m really impressed, I totally had not picked up on that. But you’re right, we do see that as a recurrign theme throughout the books. Suddenly, I am much more accepting of Ron’s Parseltongue.

  89. Yes, me too. :)

  90. first of all i luv ron and hermione kissing but i have to say i cried my eyes out after fred died. first i was terrified it was ron but fred is my second fav charecter other than George. (idk, fred gets all the attention but george is realllly awesome). I saw some previews and in them is fred dying and i started crying again. we luv u fred. :'(

  91. And I! Brilliant!

  92. John – Thanks for responding. I have major issues with the Gryffindor-Slytherin feud as well. Those are some of my most nagging unanswered questions. I always thought that Slytherin got a raw deal in his depiction in history. He was doing his best to look out for the good of Hogwarts at a time when witches were being burned and tortured and so on. It is not an easy job, protecting a society, and though I am a liberal myself, I can certainly see and understand his more conservative point of view (to take a real world example, John Adams and the Alien & Sedition Acts – a good person driven to upend his own morals due to the conditions of the time). It also very much bothered me that the female founders were seemingly cast aside, as if they did not matter. Whether or not there is some sexism present in the sereis (I would argue that there is), shouldn’t Slytherin’s quarrell been mainly with Helga Hufflepuff?

    Of course, for all the nuance and grey areas that JKR does manage to include in these wonderfully complex stories, she is only one writer; achieving perfection is out of her hands and even she will never be able to satisfy every qualm of every reader! HP is not a perfect story, but there is much good to be read here!

  93. Meri, I would actually love to go back to the founders, because I feel Helga Hufflepuff should have given all the other founders a piece of her mind! Discriminating by birth is bad, but is discriminating among those who “have brave deeds to their name” and those who don’t, or those who are brilliant and those who don’t, is that really any better? Remember, Hogwarts is pretty much the only school in the UK (if not all of Europe at that point!), which means that if the other founders had their way, children who were meek or shy, or children who were not as brilliant, who have no chance at a proper education! Which I find deplorable. As educators, all four founders should have “taken the lot, and treated them just the same.”

    But you’re right that this isn’t a perfect story…however, I will argue vehemently that it is as close as we can get. It’s astounding that she inspired the world to read, that we have sites like these to dissect her stories, that we can even have over 90 responses to one chapter! So for all my criticism (of which there’s been a lot, lately, I realize) I am still in awe of the story Jo managed to tell.

  94. At the risk of stating the obvious, let me say what nobody else has yet said…

    The Fiendfyre represents the fires of Hell. (A “fiend” is a demon.)

    Calling up the Fiendfyre (Hell) is the only action we ever see Crabbe take on his own initiative, independent of either Draco or Goyle. His one independent action is to call down Hell. He succeeds: people who truly want to go to Hell will always succeed. Of course, when it finally happens, they don’t usually like it any more than Crabbe did. The experience very quickly became something outside his control.

    It was not possible for HRH to save Crabbe, because he wanted to go to Hell.

    But they did manage to rescue both Draco and Goyle. When it came to the crunch, these two did want to be saved. It was against everything Draco had ever believed in to allow himself to be saved by Harry Potter. But there was no other choice: take Harry’s hand, or burn in Hell.

    Goyle, being unconscious, didn’t make much of an active choice, but Ron & Hermione prudently decided that he wasn’t the one who had called down the Fiendfyre so he probably didn’t want to burn in it. The default position seems to be that people are redeemed unless there is a reason why they shouldn’t be. Who would have thought that Crabbe and Goyle would be so different?

    The Fiendfyre also destroys the Horcrux. Voldemort used infernal magic to make himself immortal, but he was foolish to expect Hell to keep its side of the bargain. The Devil has never promised to assist his allies. On the contrary, they ought to expect that he will cheat them.

  95. After thinking it over for a couple of days, the analogy is a little better than I realised – it directly relates to the Full Circle handshaking.

    Seven years ago, Draco tried to “sell” himself to Harry by pointing out the advantages that a Malfoy could bring to the friendship. But Draco had nothing that Harry wanted. And in the end, Draco did not want to benefit Harry with his friendship, but to benefit himself with his connection with The Boy Who Lived.

    Draco was in the exact position of the sinner who tries to “sell” himself to God with his own good works and all the wonderful advantages he can bring into God’s Kingdom. In the end, however, no mere human has anything that God wants; God cannot benefit from our assets.

    Draco goes off in a huff at Harry’s failure to accept this bargain, just as, according to the Christian mythology, many a sinner does not want to be God’s friend on God’s terms.

    Seven years later, the tables are dramatically turned. Draco finally knows that he is sitting on the edge of Hell. He has nothing to give anyone, only a desperate need. He cannot demand rescue by calling in past favours because he has never done anything for Harry. He has to accept that Harry has all the assets, and Draco’s only choice is whether or not to take his hand.

    Because of Draco’s past history with Harry, this is not only a “grace” moment, but a “grace versus works” image.

    BTW, doesn’t Draco now owe Harry a life-debt? And Goyle one to Ron & Hermione?

  96. @ Andrea: The vanishing cabinet was placed in the RoR because it was broken when Nearly-Headless Nick got Peeves to drop it above Filch’s office to get Harry out of detention. (That is the most character-filled sentence I have ever written) :)

  97. Re Slytherins returning: Doesn’t it say that Slughorn, McGonnagal, and Kingsley were dueling Voldemort after Harry *dies*?

  98. I mentioned before on this site (can’t remember which book or chapter, sorry) how I think the sorting hat works, and this discussion convinces me even more: I think that, ultimately, the final choice of house is decided by the students themselves. The hat is endowed with the spirits of the founders who often advise and perhaps argue with the student, but in the end the student goes where s/he thinks s/he belongs. This explains “mistakes” like Pettigrew and Zacharias Smith; why pure-blood students who grew up knowing what house they want, like Draco and Ron, are sorted immediately, while muggle-raised kids like Harry and Hermione take more time; and why the current crop of Slytherins doesn’t seem to fit the “ambitious and cunning” description.

    Re: Slytherins–I think the “bad kids” image of Slytherin was created by Tom Riddle and his friends while he was at Hogwarts. The only pre-Riddle Slytherin we meet is Slughorn, and I imagine that the olde-time Slytherins were more like him: politically savvy, charming, clever, knew how to avoid trouble, masters of disguise. Judging by the Slug Club back then, the “future winners” he was so good at picking out were mostly, if not all, Slytherins. Tom Riddle himself exhibited these characteristics, and apparently no one but Dumbledore thought anything was wrong with him. After that, though, that whole swath of Slytherins wrecked havoc on the wizarding world, and the house’s reputation was ruined.

    If my belief about the sorting process is correct, post-Riddle Slytherin house has become quite a paradox! A student who is truly ambitious and cunning (a perfect Slytherin!) would avoid that house like the plague, knowing they could gain more trust and have more influence in another house. Why are all the bad kids in Slytherin? Because only kids who are looking for “dark glamour” and protection (gang mentality—power through fear) and/or come from families of LV supporters and don’t care who knows it will choose to be in that house.

    I could go on and talk about the effect this had on the other houses, but this is already too long! This is something that has been forming in my head for awhile, but I haven’t had a chance to bounce it off anyone else. Let me know if you see any glaring errors or contradictions!

  99. Sara, I mostly agree with you. I explain it somewhat differently: that everyone is sorted based on what’s most important to them, regardless of if they possess it or not. So for example Hermione, who is brilliant, states in SS that “there are more important things like friendship and bravery” so she would be a Gryffindor. But it comes down to the kids being sorted based on what they value as opposed to what they have.

    But if you’re right, then Slytherin House will be quite barren for quite a few years after the war, since the only students who wouldn’t know of its appalling reputation would be the muggle-borns who are accepted there anyway. But it would appear that by the time the epilogue rolls around, Slytherin is back in full force.

  100. Considering the reaction of Albus to the idea that he may become a Slytherin there must be yet some bad reputation to Slytherin house (or just maybe the same that was when Harry joined Gryffindor – all bad wizards have come from Slytherin).
    An now, fireworks: 100 replys!

  101. @ Anastacia Malfoy – The Vanishing Cabinet wasn’t moved to the ROR after Peeves dropped it in CoS8, but rather it sat on the first floor of Hogwarts for a few years until after Fred & George shoved Montague into it in OoTP28… Fred says, “we forced him head-first into that Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor.” I was wondering who moved the Vanishing Cabinet to the ROR (was it Draco? a teacher? house elves?) and if we ever find out when this took place.

  102. Jose Lopes, you also have to consider Albus’s background. He grew up with the Weasleys, so I’m sure they still aren’t very pro-Slytherin. I’d like to think that in general there is now less prejudice in the world. But there will always be those families that are biased against one house or other.

    And agreed – yay for over 100 posts!! Have we reached that milestone on any other chapter?

  103. I’m not aware of hitting 100 posts elsewhere – I think second highest might be somewhere in the 60s. We also hit our 6,000th overall post just a couple of days ago, and while on the subject of milestones, we’re a day or two away from our two millionth page view. :)

  104. Oh wow, congrats on all those milestones John!

  105. I haven’t replied for a few months and have been ‘lurking’ around. There are too many great things to respond to here (as well as all of these last chapters!) but I must tell Grace has Victory (great name, btw) that I always love reading your Christian allegories! I usually end up passing them along to my sister-in-law and fun discussions ensue. Thank you for your insights, and everyone else… this has been one of my favorite sites since I stumbled upon it in January.

  106. Thanks, Loony, I’m glad you didn’t think I was over-working the point. But people here are pretty tolerant, aren’t they? Anything is allowed provided it’s pro-Harry Potter.

  107. Wow! This chapter brings back memories. I remember reading this for the first time: when Fred was killed I turned to the next chapter, paused for about 10 seconds, returned to the previous page while saying out loud “What the h*ll just happened?!” and I started to cry uncontrollably until the last chapter. I really didn’t see that one coming and it was devastating.

  108. I think part of the point JKR might be making in not having the Slytherins fight is that how you are thought of can really impact your actions (like a self fulfilling prophecy). Dumbledore says to Snape something along the lines of “Sometimes, I think we sort too early”. At 11 years old these kids don’t necessarily have a strong sense of self so where they are placed very much becomes them. Had the sorting hat placed Harry is Slytherin, he would have been a very different person at 17. I think the same can be said for all of those placed in other houses. The environment plays a part in making the person. If Draco had been placed elsewhere he would have taken on some of the “supposed traits” of that house. Hermione could easily have been a Ravenclaw, but her proximity to her reckless (Griffindor) friends gives her the opportunity to brave like her house stereotype states she should be (had she been in Raveclaw she likely wouldn’t have had the chance). Maybe the fact that none of the house stays is more of a result of years of being thought of as opportunistic and evil than of those people having actually started out that way. The slytherins are very much alienated from the “good” houses throughout and are clearly still feeling that separation in this moment.

  109. Ps. I always assumed Filched place the Vanishing Cabinet in the RoR because he couldn’t fix it.

  110. Maybe too small a point and just a coincidence, but I liked this anyway. Flitwick, Sprout, and McGonagall each led groups up to the towers; Lupin, Arthur, and Kingsley led groups onto the grounds, and Fred and George led a group that defended the passageways. So in all, the defenders of Hogwarts split themselves into seven parts to counteract Voldemort… :)

  111. @Ember- that is a pretty cool observation! :)

  112. Also many Slytherins are DE sons or daughters!!!

  113. I was a huge proponent of the One Big Happy Weasley Family theory (i.e. all the Weasleys would live, Ron would marry Hermione, Ginny would marry Harry). I knew it was unlikely, considering how many Weasleys there were, that all would make it out alive, but I desperately wanted them to. Bill just got married, so he’d *probably* live; Charlie was the most minor Weasley character, so he might die; Percy…well, I could’ve seen Percy dying, either in his misguided defense of the Ministry, or in some heroic finish to redeem himself; Ron and/or Ginny…just…no. As for the twins, I always figured they would live or die together. Even Molly’s boggart showed them dying as one. The thought of leaving one to go on without the other was just unbearable. Surely JKR wouldn’t be so cavalier.

    Well. Never underestimate Jo Rowling.

    I’m surprised I haven’t seen this mentioned (at least, I don’t remember seeing it! I did just read over 100 comments :D), but this moment when Harry saves Draco, when he is being the hero we all know and love, doing the right thing instead of what is easy, ends up saving Harry’s life in the end. I wonder what would have happened in the forest if Harry had to tell Narcissa her son had died…

  114. To me, the most horrendous part of Fred’s death (and I mean it in a good way) is that George *doesn’t* die. Think about what life will be like for him without his twin and partner-in-mischief.

  115. I have one thought regarding the diadem & the Horcruxes in general. I have always wondered why the ring cursed whomever put it on, but none of the others did (besides moving along the plot). HRH never even considered this when planning to retrieve the Horcruxes.

  116. Christy, I would think that that was the only defense on the ring against it being taken.
    The ring, I think, was one of the earliest Horcruxes he hid, so all he did was put it under the floorboards in an old house and then curse it. It was the Horcrux offered the least protection by its environment.
    The locket was definitely the most secure of all in the hidden entrance to the cave with the hidden boat on a lake of Inferi with the potion, so it didn’t need to be cursed. All the others were hidden in places Voldemort thought were completely secure, even thinking they were places only he knew about or could ever possibly reach.
    I would say that the trio ought to have considered that, though, when they were planning.

  117. I know this site is about the books and not the movies, but there is something about the battle I didn’t think about until I saw it visually in the film, and I think it applies to the book as well.

    As the students are standing in the hall, waiting for the Death Eater army to arrive, I was painfully reminded that these were just KIDS. Yes, the DA members were better prepared than the rest, but still. I’m sure McGonagall would have liked nothing better than to send them ALL underground to keep them safe until the battle was over, but she couldn’t. The Order of the Phoenix was way too sparse, they needed the students to fight.

    That was when I wondered, where the heck are these kids’ PARENTS? Why are Mr. and Mrs. Weasley the only Hogwarts parents fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts? All of those kids had at least one magical parent, since muggle-borns weren’t welcome at Hogwarts that year. Where is Augusta Longbottom, Mrs. Finnigan, the Patils, the Browns? They might not want to be full-time, active members of the Order, but I’m sure they would be willing to stand between their CHILD and the most dangerous wizard that ever lived. The Order knew something like this could happen, shouldn’t they have planned some kind of notification system so these people could come and bulk up their numbers in an emergency? It almost makes me cry to think that these students were going to face a grown-up battle, and Ginny was the only one whose parents were there to protect her.

    Actually, that’s not quite true–the Malfoys were there. The bizarre thing is, quite a few Death Eaters were attacking the school that they knew contained their children. Did they feel the same as the Malfoys? Were Crabbe and Goyle Seniors secretly searching for their sons so they could whisk them away from the danger?

  118. @Sara: Augusta Longbottom *was* there. On page 624, Harry converses with her and finds out she has sealed the passageway between the Hog’s Head and Hogwarts. So, even if some of the other parents had found out about what was going on at the school, they wouldn’t have had as direct a route as members of the Order. And, in my mind, I always figured the reason Mrs. Longbottom found out is because she still has some connection with aurors, due to her son’s occupation. Also:
    1) Other willing parents may have had young children that needed caring (as was the case with Andromeda Tonks)
    2) Several students were sent home, presumably to their parents, where families would then want to stay together.

    On a slightly different note, the lack of two Order members, Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle, always made me curious: I know they were protecting the Dursleys, but I wonder if they had heard about the battle, too, and how difficult it may have been for them to stay put.

  119. Oh, I missed that about Augusta, thanks! I still wonder why she wasn’t an active member of the Order, though…

    It makes sense that some families with younger kids may have had to stay away, but it just seems so sad that all those children (“of age”, sure, but still schoolchildren!) had to fight in a battle with so little adult help.

  120. Sara, it’s possible that some of the parents did arrive with the Hogsmeade villagers. Harry wouldn’t have recognised them, so the reader doesn’t notice either. I agree with you, though – it’s distressingly few.

    BTW, I think Lavender is a Muggle-born. She certainly acts like one in the early books. And we know that Mrs Finnigan isn’t the bravest. But Parvati’s parents are both wizards (since they are friends with the Parkinsons), so where are they? Even more telling, what happened to Mr and Mrs Macmillan, who have always been “firm behind Dumbledore”, or the remaining members of the doomed-to-martyrdom Bones family?

  121. The quote about the reinforcements is this:

    Harry saw Charlie Weasley overtaking Horace Slughorn, who was still wearing his emerald pajamas. They seemed to have returned at the head of what looked like the families and friends of every Hogwarts student who had remained to fight, along with the shopkeepers and homeowners of Hogsmeade.

    I think most of the students’ parents didn’t come earlier because their children had no real way to contact them – the talking Patronuses seem to only be used by members of the Order, owls are far too slow, and any other means of communication would be observed by the Ministry. So Slughorn and Charlie did the smart thing: they took the time to get as many people as they possibly could to make a final stand, just in case it was needed. Their messages would have been the first most students’ parents realized what was going on, and they arrived at their first possible opportunity. As it turned out they didn’t particularly affect the outcome, but there are many different ways this could have played out where their arrival could have made the entire difference in the way things went.

    Can you imagine being Charlie? He knows his entire family is fighting at Hogwarts – while he’s rounding up help, they could literally *all* be dead. But he knows he’s more valuable doing what he’s doing than adding one more wand to the fight. That’s an incredible form of bravery.

  122. John that’s an interesting point. There are just so many different types of bravery. Obviously the students who elected to fight were immensely brave but they would soon be caught up in the battle and have little choice to leave. In a way Charlie may have been braver. He didn’t get swept up in the action like the others but chose to round up help whilst, for all he knew, his whole family could’ve been dying.

  123. @John: I hope you include that note when you (eventually) make a page for Charlie!

  124. Wasn’t enrollment significantly down at Hogwarts by this point? Long before it was to the point of taking a stand at Hogwarts, it seems families had to decide whethetout was worth it to keep their children studying there. I’ve always imagined that by this point, Gryffindor and Slytherin probably held far more students than Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, AND that remaining Slytherins were more likely than ever to have Death Eaters for parents. My thinking is this: those two houses attract students who are level-headed for one reason or another, and the most levelheaded choice would probably be to somehow seek out an education another way for a while, come back when it’s safer. Gryffindors, on the other hand, would fight to stay whatever their parents’ concerns and Slytherins from Death Eater families would have considered the school safer than ever.

  125. Comment #145! :)

    First of all, thank you, John, for this amazing and beautiful site! I’m only on my 2nd reread of the series, and using your thoughts (and those of the commenters) has enriched my understanding and enjoyment of this epic story. Thanks, especially, to Grace has Victory for your thoughtful insights into the parallels to Christianity. It has hit me over the head this time around, but you have significantly added to my realization and appreciation of it! I just can’t thank you all enough for what a blessing this site has been to me!

    This chapter brings back memories of the first time I read the series 3 months ago – I wanted it to last as long as possible, which meant hiding the book from myself. When I got to this chapter, however, I started hyperventilating and realized that I could not put it down until I finished it – never mind that it was after 1 am!

  126. There is another reason why it makes sense that the Slytherins wouldn’t fight: Even those who never voiced any anti-Muggle sentiments (like Theodor Nott – fanfiction writers like to write him as evil in place of Draco, but he is in fact the only males Slytherin in Harry’s year who never used the word “mudblood” as something other than a password), most likely have family between the Death Eaters. Even if it not the parent, given how closely the Purebloods are related, they would most likely be forced to fight at least cousins.

    About the parents of the students who stayed to fight: They don’t have the “direct in” the Weasley’s have, or Augusta Longbottom might have due to her contacts to the Order of the Phoenix. They might have come later on.

  127. What do you mean you don’t know if slughorn stuck around or not? He was duelling voldemort with mcgonagall and shacklebolt after harry ‘dies’!

  128. Wow. I don’t think I have much to add so I think I’ll go ahead and add a personal thought of mine that doesn’t have much to do with the book. I hope it’s allowed. Is it me or is reading the climaxes of the HP books in the late hours of the night a common thing? Gelatogirl brought back some great memories when I was reading the battle scene in DH for the first time back in ’07. My mother woke up at around 3 am to find me in the living room and she made me go to sleep under threat of punishment (imagine, getting in trouble for reading books too late at night). I remember sleeping for 2 hours or so and then waking up just as the sun was rising and finishing the book with the light from my window. I remember it vividly because the final show-off between Voldemort and Harry took place in the wee morning because the battle supposedly lasted all night. When I closed the book after finishing it, the sun was slowly rising out of the horizon symbolically signaling the first day of life after Harry Potter. Same thing happened with HBP. I got to the chapter of The Cave around 11pm but at that point, you reached the parts where you literally could not put the book down until you reached the very end and so I ended up going through Dumbledore’s death, Snape’s apparent betrayal, the lament and the funeral in the middle of the night and then crying myself to sleep. Haha!

    I stumbled on this website by accident and as I read all these responses I want to thank whoever created this discussion for taking me back to the days when I was an avid Harry Potter book fan with my friends back in middle school/high school. I’m still a HP fan for sure, but it’s sad thinking about it knowing all the books are over and all the movies are done.

  129. This post turned out to be quite long. You don’t have to read all of this, but can I add my thoughts about the number of people present at the battle of hogwarts? I am aware, of course, of the small number of people present by their names being mentioned, but when I read those scenes, I never imagined that those people mentioned were the only people there. Get what I mean? I always imagined that there were much more people involved in the story.

    Let me back up a bit. For a quick example, everyone knows that there are supposedly 40 kids in Harry’s year. Rowling says it herself. However, while reading, even though I know there are supposed to be only 40 kids I took the liberty in my imagination to think there were at least a couple hundred kids in Harry’s year, and a couple hundred kids in each year, thus numbering the kids at Hogwarts into the thousands. Same with the teachers. Even though only the heads of houses were mentioned, and a couple extra teachers here and there, I still imagined Hogwarts to have a ton of extra faculty that just simply weren’t mentioned. Same with the Order of the Phoenix, yes I know that Mad-Eye actually shows Harry the people that belonged in the Order, yes I know that there are only just those people mentioned, but I always went ahead and imagined extras that were never mentioned. Wizards and witches here and there that were part of Dumbledore’s huge army. Same deal with LV and his Death Eaters. Even when we’re talking about the population of wizards and witches in Britain, even though Rowling says that there are very few of them left, I still imagined there being millions of wizards (or at least hundreds of thousands) living all over Britian with several of their own towns and communities spread around the country.

    So back to the battle. Yeah it seems small when reading the number of participants, and yeah it seems like it was mostly kids, but I just always imagined there were just more people than mentioned in the book, and thus the battle for me was more than satisfying because there were people fighting in every corridor and all over the grounds, and the Great Hall was jam-packed in the second wave. So for me, the kids and the Order had plenty of fighters on their side, enough to be roughly equal in strength to the Death Eaters, and it’s all because I took liberties in imagining things while reading the book. As for the 50 figure that Harry counted among the dead – you guess it – I imagined there being more too. The book specifically says “50 others” but since that could have been an estimate rather than an actual number, I felt comfortable imagining a number way above that. I never really did stop to think that the people mentioned were the only people present.

  130. I know I am incredibly late in this convo and thread but @ Sara may 29th.
    Brilliant reasoning!! Kudos=]

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