The Seven Potters
chapter four of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry says goodbye to Privet Drive and takes off with the Order of the Phoenix and six doppelgangers (actually friends using Polyjuice Potion) – but the group is soon ambushed by Death Eaters, with Harry and Hagrid personally attacked by Voldemort, and Harry crash-lands into a mud pit.
“And under here, Hedwig” – Harry pulled open a door under the stairs – “is where I used to sleep! You never knew me then – Blimey, it’s small, I’d forgotten….”
“Harry, guess what?” said Tonks… and she wiggled her left hand at him; a ring glittered there.
“No need!” snarled Moody…. “You-Know-Who… might not be able to get at you or this house while your mother’s charm holds, but it’s about to break and they know the rough position of the place. Our only chance is to use decoys.”
(by Michael Greenholt)
The real Harry thought that this might just be the most bizarre thing he had ever seen, and he had seen some extremely odd things.
He felt like asking them to show a little more respect for his privacy as they all began stripping off with impunity, clearly much more at ease with displaying his body than they would have been with their own.
“My job’s ter get you there safe, Harry!” bellowed Hagrid, and he opened the throttle.
(by Leela Starsky)
As they soared upward… Harry spat blood out of his mouth, pointed his wand at the falling sidecar, and yelled, “Confrigo!” He knew a dreadful, gut-wrenching pang for Hedwig as it exploded.
And then Harry saw him.
Voldemort was flying like smoke on the wind, without broomstick or thestral to hold him, his snake-like face gleaming out of the blackness, his white fingers raising his wand again -
Harry… was going to crash and there was nothing he could do about it…. He stared into the red eyes and was sure they would be the last thing he ever saw: Voldemort preparing to curse him once more….
(by Elad Tibi)
about the chapter
There are plenty of surprises awaiting readers throughout Deathly Hallows, but this chapter held one of the biggest for me – for in no other book do we get an action sequence like this battle anywhere close to the beginning of the story. I remember reading this chapter for the first time and just being blown away. Rowling is giving us the message right up front that the wizarding world has changed, and Harry’s life along with it. And just as Harry doesn’t know when the threats might be coming, neither can we readers rely on waiting for the climax of the story before the action begins. Look out.
Something You May Not Have Noticed
In the previous chapter, Uncle Vernon demanded of Harry that Kingsley be assigned to protect his family rather than Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones. At the time Harry explained that this was impossible because Kingsley was needed to guard the Muggle Prime Minister, who was obviously much more important. But a few short minutes after the Dursleys depart, Kingsley does show up – and promptly tells Harry that he took the night off from the Prime Minister’s because Harry is “more important.” It’s fun to imagine what Uncle Vernon would have made of that pronouncement, coming from the only wizard he trusts!
Something Else You May Not Have Noticed
My first time through this chapter I totally missed the fact that each of the fake Harrys had a rucksack and a stuffed owl to match his. On one level, it’s sort of funny – I mean, wouldn’t it have just made sense for Harry to let Hedwig fly to the Burrow, and avoid all the trouble of handling six fake owl cages? But even more interesting is the fact that Moody had six rucksacks identical to Harry’s, and six pairs of glasses that matched Harry’s prescription. How would Moody have known how to make those?
The Final Word
(Question: “Why did you feel that Hedwig’s death was necessary?”)
“The loss of Hedwig represented a loss of innocence and security. She has been almost like a cuddly toy to Harry at times. Voldemort killing her marked the end of childhood. I’m sorry… I know that death upset a LOT of people!”
“–J.K. Rowling, July 2007