Friday, December 20, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Deathly Hallows, Chapters 25-28

Last week's assignment was another set of exciting chapters: Chapter 25 ("Shell Cottage"), Chapter 26 ("Gringotts"), Chapter 27 ("The Final Hiding Place"), and Chapter 28 ("The Missing Mirror").  Spoilers ahead.

I was struck by Harry's observation in Chapter 25 that, for the first time, he is choosing not to act by resisting the temptation to steal the Elder Wand from Voldemort. I appreciate that Harry is growing in maturity over the course of this book and no longer acting rashly in moments where he previously would have. I also had a bit of a lump in my throat when Lupin appeared to tell everyone his son had been born. (Is this the last time we see him alive? I can't remember, but if it is, it feels very poignant, especially when he asks Harry to be young Teddy's godfather.

Another moment that had similar emotional resonance was when, while at Gringotts attempting to break into Bellatrix's vault, Harry remembers Hagrid telling him 6 years ago, in the first book, what a fool a wizard would be to try to rob Gringotts. This was such a nice way to bring things full circle even in the midst of a suspenseful scene. I had actually forgotten everything else that goes on in the vault, including the fact that each time they touch something, it multiplies. I also didn't remember Harry casting the Imperius curse, and it felt a little off to me that he got so comfortable doing it so quickly.

It also felt off - or at least too easy - that Harry is able to find out the location of the horcruxes simply by reading Voldemort's thoughts. It felt really convenient to me, and not believable. This is quickly forgotten, though, because on their way to Hogwarts to find the horcrux that is hidden there, Harry, Ron, and Hermione meet Aberforth Dumbledore, who, for just a moment, gives us the same sense of comfort as Albus himself always did when he came on the scene in previous books. He also gives a much more emotional and nuanced picture of young Albus Dumbledore and the pain the family underwent because of their sister, Ariana. And if that isn't emotional enough, there is the extra moment of joy at the end of the chapter when Neville Longbottom suddenly shows up!

I know lots of characters I have loved for seven books are about to die in the remaining chapters of this book, and that almost makes me not want to continue. But I also know that the truth about Snape is about to come out, and I've been looking forward to that for weeks!

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