Don't read this unless you've finished The Deathly Hallows, don't care about spoilers, are or just a jerk who wants to find out what happens at the end and ruin it for everyone.
A small village in rural England, the sort of place that has an unbelievably high murder rate and unaccountably inept local cops who must rely on sweet old ladies to solve crimes. Two men materialize in front of the gate of a palatial estate.
Yaxley: HAI I IZ DEATHEATER NOT APPEARING IN PREVIOUS BOOKS. YOU HAS NEWS?
Snape: Of course I have news. I'm an evil genius of unaccountable intelligence.
YAXLEY: THAT IZ GOOD. WE B FRENDS?
Snape: Come on, Lord Voldiething is waiting.
YAXLEY: LOOK MALFOY BE HAVING ALBINO PEACOCKS LOLOLOLOLZ!
They enter Malfoy Manor where all the Death Eaters are seated around a SPECTRE table arguing how to take over the world. There is a body floating over the table, but no one is looking at it.
Voldemort: Snape, Yaxley, you're very nearly late. Sit down and have a doughnut, then tell your news.
Snape: The Order of the Phoenix will move Potter from Privet Drive on Saturday.
YAXLEY: LOLZ! THAT IZ NOT WHUT I HERD. THEY IZ MOVING HIM ON HIS BIRTHDAY.
Snape: Yaxley, you capering baboon, you're clearly being fed misinformation. Who is Voldemort going to believe, me, or some guy who didn't appear until the seventh book?
Voldemort: Quite right. Snape, I expect you to have plans ready to ambush Potter. Now, I'm going to need a different wand to deal with Potter. Let's see, which of my Death Eaters should I symbolically castrate by taking their wand ... Lucius, you're still on my shit-list, give me yours.
Lucius: Yes, Lord Voldiething.
Voldemort: Hmm, Lucius, your wand is quite a bit shorter than what I'm used to. Only about five and a half inches isn't it?
Lucius: Six, my Lord.
Voldemort: And not as rigid as I'd like. But it'll do. Now Yaxley, how goes our plan to take over the Ministry?
YAXLEY: WE B DOING BY CHAPTER 8.
Voldemort: Excellent. Next order of business, I understand Bellatrix and Cissy have a new addition to their family.
Bellatrix and Narcissa: Whut?
Voldemort: Your niece Tonks married the werewolf Lupin.
Death Eaters: LOL!
Voldemort: Don't worry, Draco, if they need you to babysit their cubs, I'll let you out of your duties for the evening.
Death Eaters: LOLOLOLOLZ!
Voldemort: Shut up! And now to show how evil I am, I'm going to kill a random character. Levitating over the table, you might've noticed Professor Burbage of the Muggle Studies department at Hogwarts. You may never've heard of her, because she's never actually been given a name until now, but I hope the ease with which I point my wand at her and say, "Avada Kadevera" will erase any doubts from your minds that I'm not the baddest motherfucker on the block. Now, are there any more chocolate-glazed left?
Harry Potter is spending an expository Saturday unpacking his school trunk fully for the first time since Book 1. Being a messy little berk who never listened to his Aunt Petunia about cleaning, the bottom of the trunk is full of detritus from many years at school. One such bit is a shard of the mirror that Sirius gave him in Book 5. "Hmm," Harry thinks, "this never actually served any purpose in the plot, and I haven't spent any time angsting over the fact that if I'd used it instead of breaking into Umbridge's office, Sirius would still be alive. But since there can't be any loose ends in this story, I better keep this shard in case it comes in handy later." Now bored with reminiscing over six books worth of backstory, Harry sits down to read the paper, letting the Daily Prophet do the expositing for him. First up is an obit for Dumbledore written by his old friend Elphias Doge, which tells about what a stand-up bloke ol' Albus was, and how he took care of his poor, sick sister until she died. But it's followed by an article on Rita Skeeter's new tell-all biography which promises to dish the real dirt on Dumbledore.
Later Harry goes downstairs to say good-bye to the Dursleys, who are about to be spirited away by the Order in case Lord Voldiething was crazy enough to try to get to Harry through them. Harry doesn't understand why the Order's wasting the effort when everyone he knows is privately hoping the whole lot will get AKed by Death Eaters. But Hestia Jones and Dedelus Diggle show up on schedule to take the Dursleys away, though not before getting offended that the Dursleys don't fall down and worship Harry as their lord and savior.
Harry: No biggie. They've always been jerks to me, why should this be any different. They've always thought I'm a waste of space.
Dudley: I don't.
Dudley (near tears): I don't think you're a waste of space. You're ... you're my hero. You are the wind beneath my wings.
Dudley: Gimme a hug!
Harry: Okay, time for the Dursleys to go bye-bye.
Hestia and Dedelus hustle the Dursleys out the door, leaving Harry totally alone. He wonders if he has enough time to jerk off in peace for the first time in years, but before he can even unzip his fly, half the Order of the Phoenix shows up -- Moody, Lupin, Arthur, Kingsley, Bill, Fleur, Hagrid, Tonks, Ron, Hermione, Mundungus, Fred, and George. Moody explains that they've leaked misinformation to Lord Voldiething, and he won't be expecting Harry to leave until his birthday, four days hence. But he might have Death Eaters stationed as look-outs, so to fool them, Fleur, Ron, Hermione, Dung, Fred, and George will be drinking polyjuice potion and immitating Harry, then everyone will split up and go their separate ways. Harry doesn't like putting everyone in danger, but reluctantly agrees. The six decoys drink their polyjuice and transform into Harry. They begin changing into Harry-sized clothes right there in the kitchen.
Harry: Hey, hey, hey! Have some modesty!
Hermione: Why? It doesn't matter if you see me naked, because it's not my body.
Harry: No, it's mine!
Hermione: So there's nothing you haven't seen before.
Fleur begins making googly eyes at Bill.
Fleur: You know Bill, zees is geeving me ideas.
Harry: Oh! Oh! Oh! That's not right!
With everyone dressed, they go outside and mount their rides. Harry's in the sidecar of Sirius's old motorcycle, which is now driven by Hagrid. They take off -- and are immediately attacked by Death Eaters. Death Eaters to the left of them. Death Eaters to the right. Death eaters to the front. Suddenly Hedwig dies in a blur text! Millions of children around the world scream while their parents curse Rowling. But Rowling just cackles madly, secure in the knowledge that she's richer than the Queen and has gonads the size of bowling balls.
A vicious aerial battle ensues. Harry's blasting Death Eaters off their brooms left and right until ... he sees Stan Shunpike. "WTF?" he wonders and hesitates before settling on "expelliarmus" instead of a stunner. The Death Eaters recognize this pussy move as a trade mark of Harry's and summon Lord Voldiething to join them. The bike's hit and starts going down, with Voldie in hot pursuit. Harry's wand acts on its own and blasts Voldemort, who dodges and continues closing on Harry. But just as the shit hits the inside of Harry's drawers, Voldie breaks off -- Harry and Hagrid have managed to make it inside the protective charms of their destination, Tonks' parents' house.
Harry and Hagrid take a portkey to the Burrow, where Molly and Ginny are waiting expectantly. None of the others have returned yet. Cue tense dramatic music.
Finally Lupin and George turn up, but George is missing an ear. Oh no, another maimed Weasley! This doesn't bode well for the others. Who still lives? Who died? The tense music ratchets up. Minutes pass. Kingsley and Hermione show up uninjured. More time passes. The music gets even tenser. Fred and Arthur show up.
Fred: ZOMFG MY BROTHER LOST HIZ EAR! WE R NOT IDENTICAL. HOW U FEEL?
George: Call me One-Ear Weasley.
Fred: LOLOLOLOLZ! 'EAR 'EAR!
But this only relieves the tension slightly. Half the escorts still aren't back. Finally Ron and Tonks show up, followed shortly by Bill and Fleur who have bad news -- Mundungus Fletcher turned chickenshit at the sight of Death Eaters and apparated away, leaving Mad-Eye to be killed by Voldemort.
Arthur: OMFG, it's not even page 100, and three characters are dead.
Hermione: But Burbage doesn't really count. I was the only one who took her classes, and I barely even mentioned her.
Ron: But if they killed Hedwig, anyone can die. Even me, and I still haven't told Hermione how much I love her.
Hermione: What was that last bit?
A few days pass, and the Weasleys busy themselves in preparation for Bill and Fleur's wedding. Ron, Harry and Hermione barely have time to discuss their plans for Horcrux hunting, but finally Harry gets them alone.
Harry: I've been thinking and--
Ron: You think it's too dangerous.
Hermione: And we shouldn't come along.
Harry: How did you know that?
Hermione: Harry, you're a good guy, but as characters go you're kinda predictable. And anyways, we are going.
Ron: Yeah, we've made preparations and everything. I've bewitched the ghoul who lives in the attic to look like me with spattergroit, so if anyone wonders why I'm not at school my parents will have something to say.
Hermione: And I used a memory charm on my parents.
Hermione: I altered their memories so they think they're a retired couple with no children who are moving to Australia to live.
Ron: Wow, Hermione, that is fucking hardcore.
Hermione: Just call me John Holmes, bitch.
Harry's birthday happens to be the day before Bill and Fleur's wedding, so he asks for just a small party, with Hagrid, Tonks, and Lupin present. That morning he's going downstairs for breakfast when Ginny calls him into her room to receive his present. When he walks in, he sees she has a bunch of candles and incense burning, and she's somehow procured a Barry White album, which is playing softly. Ginny says, "I want to give you something extra special," and kisses him passionately. Harry's wand presses uncomfortably against him in his pocket, and he feels the need to whip it out and shoot off some sparks. But just then Ron walks in.
Ron: Oi! Stop seducing my sister. And you, stop being such a round-heels. I'm tired of hearing stories about you in the boys dormitory.
That night after dinner, Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister of Magic shows up with important news.
Scrimgeour: I IZ B COMING WIT NEWS OF DUMBLEDORES WILL. HE B LEAVING THINGS 2 HARRY RON AND HERMIONE.
Ron: Free stuff?
Scrimgeour: BUT FIRST I B KNOWING WHY HE IZ GIVING U THIS THINGS.
Hermione: Wait a minute, Dumbledore died a full month ago. Why has it taken so long to give us his things.
Scrimgeour: WIZARD PROBATE B A LONG PROCESS.
Hermione: Horsehockey. You were examining the items.
Scrimgeour: THAT IZ RITE. THAT B PROPER PROCESS.
Hermione: Actually, under Article 5, Section 3(c)iv of the Wizarding code, you can only do that if you suspect the objects contain dark magic or violate other regulations.
Scrimgeour and Hermione begin arguing the finer points of probate law.
Scrimgeour: U WANTING BEING WIZARD LAWYER?
Hermione: No, I want to do something useful with my life. Now just give us what Dumbledore left us.
Scrimgeour reluctantly gives Dumbledore's deluminator to Ron, a runic book of fairy tales to Hermione, and a snitch to Harry, which is supposedly the one he caught in his first Quidditch match.
Scrimgeour: THERE B 1 OTTER THING. DUMBLEDORE IZ LEAVING HARRY THE SWORD OF GRYFFINDOR. BUT THE SWORD NO B HIZ TO GIVE. IT BELONGS TO HOGWARTZ SO U CANT HAVE IT. NOW I B SAYING GOODNIGHT.
Ron, Harry, and Hermione spend the rest of the night debating what the gifts are for, but soon realize that Dumbledore was an inscrutable ass who could never give a straight answer.
Fleur and Bill's wedding goes off without a hitch, but the reception afterwards is pure hell. Luna's father, Xenophilius Lovegood is wearing an arcane symbol that Viktor Krum claims is the sigil of Grindelwald, and gets into an argument. Harry, disguised as a distant cousin of the Weasleys, gets cornered by Ron's Aunt Muriel who tells him all sorts of nasty stories about Dumbledore -- apparently Big D's sister wasn't ill but a squib who was kept hidden in the cupboard under the stairs. After Dumbledore's mother died, the sister followed suit under mysterious circumstances, and Dumbledore got into a fist fight with his brother Aberforth at the funeral. Just as Harry's about to have an existential crisis like he did in Book 5 after finding out his father was a jerk, Kingsley's patronus appears and announces Voldemort's staged a coup against the Ministry of Magic. All hell breaks loose, and a few seconds later Death Eaters start materializing.
Hermione grabs Ron and Harry and apparates them into London. They're still wearing their wedding clothes, which is drawing unwanted attention, but Hermione reveals that she turned her beaded purse into a Handbag of Holding, and packed everything they'll need for their quest inside -- you know, just in case the wedding was unexpectedly attacked by Death Eaters and they had to make it on the lam with no notice. After changing clothes in a dark alleyway, they try to find a cafe where they can sit and think. Along the way they're accosted by some drunken muggles.
Muggle 1: HAI BABY UR TEH SEX!
MUGGLE 2: OMFG UR HAWT! LOLOLOLOLZ! DUMP TEH GINGER AND COME HERE FOR A GOOD TIME.
Hermione restrains Ron and leads them into a cafe where she orders them some half-caf extra mocha latte espressos.
Ron: Muggles drink this shit? I want some pumpkin juice.
Just then some Death Eaters burst in and a big fight ensues. After knocking out the DEs, the trio escape to the one place they have a reasonable expectation of privacy -- 12 Grimmauld Place.
Ron: Are you sure this place is safe?
Hermione: Oh yes, Rowling's revised the rules for secret keepers again. Turns out that when the keeper dies, everyone who knows the secret becomes the new keeper. Snape of course knows where we are, but the Order's cast jinxes that'll prevent him from revealing the information to anyone else, so unless he shows up in person, we're safe.
The next morning, Harry explores the house, going to Sirius's old room for the first time and finding it covered with pictures from FHM and Harley Davidson brochures. As he leaves, he notices a sign on the door opposite Sirius's -- "Regulus Arcturus Black".
Harry: Hmm, this might be a clue. But what could it mean? Regulus Arcturus Black. Hey, his initials are RAB, just like the guy who stole the locket from the cave. I wonder if they're the same person? Wow, Hermione will be so proud that I used my brain for once.
After discussing things with Hermione and Ron, they decide to call upon Kreacher and interrogate him to see if he knows where the locket disappeared to.
Ron: Just don't start any of that SPEW shit again, Hermione. Three books of it is more than enough.
Hermione: I won't drop it until it has some dramatic pay-off, so quit asking.
Kreacher appears at Harry's command and begins muttering about mudbloods and blood-traitors, but Harry orders him to be quiet and tell them about Regulus and the locket.
According to Kreacher, Regulus loaned him to Voldemort so Voldie could set up the protections around the Horcrux in the cave. When he was through, Voldie left Kreacher stranded on the island to die. Just as the elf was about to be eaten by inferi, Regulus commanded Kreacher to return, and he apparated to Grimmauld Place. Regulus really didn't like Voldemort's treatment of the elf, so he vowed revenge, taking Kreacher back with him to the cave. Knowing he'd die if he drank the potion protecting the Horcrux, Regulus instructed Kreacher to take the locket back to Grimmauld place and destroy it if he could -- which of course he couldn't, because Horcruxes have to be taken to Mount Doom, in the heart of Mordor, and thrown into the fiery depths. Or at least stabbed by a basilisk tooth. And so the locket stayed in the house for years, until after Sirius' death Mundungus Fletcher showed up and began stealing heirlooms to fence in Diagon Alley.
Harry: We need your help Kreacher.
Kreacher: Filthy blood traitors and their mudblood friend need my help, do they?
Ron: Don't call her a mudblood you filthy sub-human!
Hermione: Harry, Ron, can I talk to you?
Harry: Sure, what is it.
Hermione: Don't you get it?
Hermione: Of course you don't. Dumbledore knew you were a moron the moment you stepped into Hogwarts, and asked me to befriend you and make sure you kept your grades up so you'd make it through long enough to fulfill his plan. Six years of my life wasted feeding you answers, you dim-witted shitard.
Harry: What, I didn't hear that.
Hermione: Kreacher didn't love Regulus and the rest of the family because they were dark wizards. He loved them because they treated him kindly. And he hated Sirius, who was always an ass to him. That's why Winky was so loyal to Mr. Crouch, who was always good to her, but Dobby betrayed the Malfoys, who punished him severely.
Harry: So ... if I treat Kreacher well, he'll do what he's told without trying to double-cross us?
Ron: I still don't trust the little snot-rag.
Harry: Kreacher, I have a task for you. Go out and find Mundungus and bring him here. And here, this is the locket Regulus had when he went to the cave. I think he'd want you to have it.
And in Whoville that day, Kreacher's heart grew three sizes. And he said, "Yes master, I will find the nasty, tricksy Mundungus and drag him here by the hair!"
But days went by without Kreacher returning. The trio sat in Grimmauld place with nothing to do, while Death Eaters gathered outside, sure number 12 was somewhere close by even though they couldn't see it. Then one afternoon late in summer, Lupin drops by for tea, bringing news of the world at large. Seems Voldemort kept his take over of the Ministry quiet -- the official line is Scrimgeour resigned to spend more time with his family (in Hell!) and the new Minister, one Thicknesse, is implementing many reforms. Most people know there's something up, but they're too scared to say anything. Members of the Order are under constant surveillance, and they've put out wanted notices for Harry, saying he murdered Dumbledore. The Ministry's "reforms" include rounding up first-generation mudbloods and sending them to Azkaghraib, on the grounds that muggles don't give birth to wizards, so mudbloods must be stealing their powers from real wizards. The Ministry has also made attendance at Hogwarts compulsory.
Hermione: Well, that doesn't sound to bad. Most liberal Western societies have compulsory education for underage children.
Lupin: Nah, it's just Voldemort's ploy to make sure everyone's taught his new order. He's appointed a new headmaster -- Snape. And placed Death Eaters in teaching positions. I guess it's a good thing you're dropping out to go on this quest. Mind telling me what it is.
Harry: Sorry, Dumbledore told me to keep it secret.
Lupin: Then let me come along, just don't tell me what we're doing.
Ron: Don't you, uh, have a wife to be looking after.
Lupin: Yeah, well, see, I knocked her up on our wedding night, and she doesn't want to put out while she's pregnant, so it's going to be like seven months before I have any reason to return home.
Hermione: That is disgusting! Go back to Tonks right this instant and apologize. No, I take that back, stop by the corner market and pick up some ice cream and pickles for her to eat. Bastard.
Lupin leaves, and a few minutes later Kreacher arrives with a struggling Mundungus. Harry thanks Kreacher and then begins interrogating Mundungus, who won't talk until Kreacher begins beating him over the head with a frying pan.
Harry: Kreacher, stop.
Kreacher: Perhaps one more. For luck.
The trio soon discover that Mundungus had the locket, but he gave it to Dolores Umbridge as a bribe so she'd ignore his peddling stolen goods in Diagon Alley.
And so the trio begin making plans to break into the Ministry and steal the locket from Umbridge -- because it's obviously easier to sneak the most wanted wizard in Britain into the Ministry, which has now had its security reinforced, than to discover where Umbridge lives and raiding her home. But at least they have sense enough to make a plan this time, instead of simply barging into the Ministry in the middle of the night.
No, this time they're going to be sneaky, and ambush three Ministry officials who arrive for work early, and use polyjuice potion to imitate them. The plan works fine, until they get past the lobby. Harry's disguise is fine -- he's a bad-ass Death Eater whom no one's going to question, but Ron's a maintenance worker who gets cornered by Death Eater Yaxley.
Yaxley: UR BEING MAINTENANCE WORKER CATTERMOLE? UR WIFE IZ BEING TRIED B4 MUGGLE-BORN REGISTRATION COMMISSION TODAY. I IZ ON COMMISSION. IT B RAINING IN MY OFFICE. MAKE STOP RANE IF YOU B WANTING UR WIFE GET OFF.
And to top it off, Hermione is Mafalda Hopkirk, who's needed by Umbridge to take notes at the same Muggle-Born Registration Commission hearings. This leaves Harry to sneak into Umbridge's office on his own, though of course the locket isn't there. With nothing else to do, he puts on his invisibility cloak and sneaks into the Muggle-Born Commission hearings just in time to see Mary Cattermole being brought before the tribunal, which consists of Umbridge, Yaxley, and Hermione/Mafalda.
Umbridge: Mrs. Cattermole, if that is your name, is it not true that you are muggle born?
Mrs. Cattermole: That's correct.
Umbridge: Do you weigh more than a duck?
Mrs. Cattermole: What?
Umbridge: It's a simple question, do you weigh more than a duck?
Mrs. Cattermole: Of course I do.
Umbridge: Interesting. Interesting. And your parents are greengrocers, very unfortunate, you dirty mudblood. This isn't looking good for you, you know.
Harry: Of for Christ's sake! Stupefy!
Harry whips off his cloak and blasts Umbridge and Yaxley. Hermione takes the locket from Umbridge.
Hermione: What happened to our plan?
Harry: Changed my mind. Come on, there are tons more muggle-borns out in the hall, we have to get them out of here.
So Harry and Hermione herd the muggle-borns up to the lobby, telling them to go home, get their families, and flee the country, but by the time they get to the main entrance security's been alerted and the exits are being closed, but Harry uses his Death Eater disguise to get the muggle-borns out. It might even have worked, if Ron hadn't shown up just then, followed closely by the real Mr. Cattermole. Even TSA employees could figure out something's wrong, and the Death Eaters in security are smarter than TSA employees. The trio make a run for it and apparate as soon as they're clear of the Ministry, but one of the Death Eaters grabs ahold of Hermione and follows them to Grimmauld place. Hermione realizes this means their security's compromised and shakes him loose before apparating into a forest.
Hermione, of course, has thought of everything, and packed a wizarding tent in her handbag, so the trio can live fairly comfortably, though they lack food. They spend the following weeks wandering constantly, never staying put for more than a few days at a time. During their meanderings around England, they realize the first problem with their quest -- they don't have anything to destroy a Horcrux with, so they have to carry the locket with them until they come up with something. But like another small, golden dingus imbued with part of an Evil Overlord's soul, carrying the locket around their necks for too long affects their moods, making them despair. Even taking turns with the locket doesn't help matters much, and Ron takes it worst, reverting to emo-Ron from Book 4.
Meanwhile, Harry finds himself having waking dreams about Voldemort, the connection between their minds becoming stronger once more. Luckily for Harry, he only ever glimpses important, plot advancing events, and never anything mundane like Voldie sitting on the toilet, or having breakfast. Harry sees Voldie torturing Olivander, the wandmaker who disappeared in the previous book, for information on the workings of wands. When that proves to be no use, Voldie sets out for the continent, in search of the wandmaker Gregorovitch. When he tracks him down, Gregorovitch denies having what Voldemort's searching for. Voldie uses legilimency to look into Gregorovitch's mind and learns that the object he wants was stolen by a young blonde boy long ago.
One night while camping, the trio overhears some other people nearby. Without giving their location away, they listen in on the conversation, which is between several goblins and muggle-borns who are on the lam, among them Dean Thomas and Tonks' father Ted. Seems lots of wizards and goblins are taking to the hills rather than submit, but many people are losing hope since it seems Harry has left the country. One of the goblins, Griphook, relates a story he heard from Bill Weasley before leaving Gringotts -- it seems that Ginny, Neville, and Luna were caught breaking into Snape's office and stealing the Sword of Gryffindor. Snape sent them to the Forbidden Forest for detention with Hagrid, then shipped the sword to Bellatrix Lestrange's vault at Gringotts. But, according to Griphook, the sword they received was a fake, not made from goblins.
Ron: Man, I wish I was back at Hogwarts breaking into the Headmaster's office. It'd be something to do, instead of sitting here doing nothing. Excuse me, I'm going to go listen to The Smiths.
Hermione: Harry, I just realized something. Goblin-forged steel takes on the properties of substances its exposed to. And since you used the sword to kill the basilisk, that means it has the properties of a basilisk -- if we had the sword we could destroy the locket.
But they don't know where the sword is any more than they know about the other Horcruxes. They spend months crisscrossing England with no luck. And all the time Ron's becoming more depressed, moving past The Smiths into Rainer Maria and the Silversun Pickups. Hermione's attempts to cheer him up with some ska music do no good. Finally one night he throws a hissy-fit about how Harry doesn't know what he's doing, and when Hermione doesn't back him up, he walks out like the whiney bitch he is.
Harry and Hermione spend many more pages wandering the countryside, pausing occasionally to mail out videotapes of Harry, now with a bushy long beard and sitting in mountain meadows, threatening the Great Satan Voldemort if he does not withdraw his troops from Diagon Alley. Hermione insists they make a bunch of these videos, all containing non-specific rants, so they can continue to send them out even if Harry dies in a cave somewhere never to be found. But they needn't worry, because Voldemort has pretty much given up looking for them and is busy sending mudbloods to Azkaghraib and plotting the invasion of Iraq. Okay, maybe that last part isn't accurate.
Anyway, winter comes and they still haven't figured out where the Sword of Gryffindor or the remaining Horcruxes are. Harry's been suggesting for months that they visit Godric's Hollow, but Hermione's been gainsaying him constantly. But suddenly she changes her mind.
Hermione: I think we should definitely go. I've been thinking, and Dumbledore probably figured that the Ministry of Magic wouldn't let us have the sword, so he substituted a fake one and hid the real one somewhere he knew we'd be bound to look. Like Godric's Hollow.
Harry: How do you figure?
Hermione: It's GODRIC's Hollow.
Hermione: We're looking for the sword of GODRIC Gryffindor.
Hermione: So ... Dumbledore would've expected us to look for the sword in Gryffindor's home town.
Harry: Where's that? Hogsmead?
Hermione: No, Godric's Hollow.
Harry: Huh, I never knew that.
Hermione: Tell me, Harry, did Fred and George routinely beat you over the head during Quidditch practice.
Harry: Yeah, they said it was part of the warm-ups.
Hermione: We are so fucking doomed.
Harry: What was that?
And so on Christmas Eve Harry and Hermione apparated to Godric's Hollow and spent a merry evening wandering around to see the sights -- the enchanted war memorial that turned into a Potter memorial for wizards, and the vacant lot where the Potter house used to stand, the dark alley where Harry had been conceived one Halloween night, which was now full of broken beer bottles, hypodermic needles, and discarded condoms. And finally, they visited the cemetery and set about searching for the Potter plot. Before they find it, though, Hermione spots something else, a gravestone for one Ignotus Peverell, which has a curious mark engraved upon it.
Hermione: I've seen this before. It's in the book of fairy tales Dumbledore left me.
Harry: I've seen it to. Remember, this is what Luna's father was wearing at the wedding -- Krum thought it was Grindelwald's symbol. Do you think it's important?
Hermione: No dear, I'm sure it's just a meaningless coincidence.
They eventually find the Potters' graves.
Harry: Hermione, look at this. The dates on these graves. My parents were born in 1960 and died in 1981. That means it's late 1996 right now. By the time anyone reads this, I'll be like 27.
Hermione: You know what this means, Harry? Your mother ... your mother had Farrah hair!
And so, as always happens when Harry thinks of his mother, Harry drops to his knees and cries like a little bitch. Hermione spots something moving by the edge of the cemetery. She pulls Harry away and they go to investigate. What they find is an extremely frail old woman whom they recognize as Bathilda Bagshot, the author of their History of Magic text book, and, as they know from Rita Skeeter's articles, an old friend of Dumbledore's.
Bathilda's strangely silent as she leads Harry and Hermione back to her house, but the pair follow in the hopes that she has exposition to give them. "We haven't had any real info dumps since we overheard Dean and the others camping. It's about time we get some," Hermione said.
When they reach Bathilda's house, she leads Harry upstairs alone. In her bedroom, Harry looks around and notices some old pictures, including one of Dumbledore and the blonde teenager who robbed Gregorovitch. He picks it up to look at it, then hears something strange behind him. Harry turns and sees Bathilda doing something very odd.
Harry: Mrs. Bagshot, are you trying to seduce me?
Suddenly Bathilda's head falls of and Voldemort's snake, Nagini, shoots out of her shoulders.
The snake attacks Harry,
Hermione rushes in, grabs Harry, and apparates them away, though in the process she breaks Harry's wand. Harry loses consciousness and has a vision of Voldemort flying to Bathilda's house and finding the picture of Dumbledore and the blonde man.
When he regains consciousness, he tells Hermione about the vision.
Harry: I know I've seen the blonde guy before.
Hermione: Well, he was in a picture with Dumbledore. I just happen to have a copy of Rita Skeeter's book in my Handbag of Holding. Let's see if he's in here. Hmm is this it?
Harry looks and sees the man from the picture. He looks over at the caption, which identifies him as Grindelwald. Not believing it, Harry starts reading the book, which records a most unbelievable story -- after Dumbledore's mom died and Big D. settled down to take care of his family, Grindelwald came to visit his aunt Bathilda. Dumbledore and Grindelwald became BFFs, and exchanged letters detailing their plans to overthrow muggle governments and rule as beneficent dictators, killing only those who got in their way. Skeeter also claims that Grindelwald left the country on the very night that Dumbledore's sister died, and insinuates that the two young wizards had decided to put their theories into effect by starting on Dumbledore's squib sister.
Harry: Jesus Christ, can't I have one parental figure who wasn't a complete ass at some point?
Hermione: Well, Dumbledore was young when he thought those things.
Harry: He was our age!
A few nights later, Harry is sitting watch when he sees something move in the woods. He looks and sees a patronus -- a silver doe -- moving through the forest. He gets and follows it to a frozen pool. Looking down he sees the Sword of Gryffindor under the ice.
Harry: Well, that's an unexpected plot contrivance.
So he uses his wand to break the ice and dives in, but when he grabs the sword, the locket chain tightens around his throat. "Ack," he thinks, "this isn't Lord of the Rings!" But the locket won't let go, and just as he's about to pass out a hand reaches down and grabs him.
Harry rushes to embrace his friend, but Ron holds his arms up to stop him.
Ron: Whoa mate, you're naked. At least cover your junk first.
Harry: It's okay, the water's cold so it's all shriveled up.
Ron says he'll retrieve the sword, and Harry sits down and tries to warm up with his wand. Ron comes back up with the sword.
Ron: All right, now you can destroy the locket.
Harry: No, Ron, I think the honor should be yours. You retrieved the sword.
Ron: I don't want to. That's the reason I left -- any time I wore it, it'd talk to me. Tell me awful things. I couldn't stand it.
Harry: Well, all you have to do is destroy. That's the way these things go. The heroes journey and all that Star Wars BS.
Ron: Well, okay.
He raises the sword but hesitates. Then the locket opens up and two figures emerge -- shades of Harry and Hermione.
!Hermione: HAI LOOK THE WEASEL KING IZ GOING TO KILL US!!!!!11!!!!!11!!!! LOLOLOLOLZ!
!Harry: LOLOLOLOLZ! ROONIL, NOBODY LIKEZ U. UR A LUSER! EVEN UR MOM HATES U. SHE TOLD ME SHE WISHED I WAZ HER SON!
!Hermione: WHUT WOMAN WOULD EVER WANT U. U ARE A LUSER. ESPECIALLY WHEN COMPARED TO HIM.
!Hermione and !Harry begin to make out passionately, throwing each other's clothes off. Ron launches himself at them, hacking them to pieces, then turns and smashes the locket. There's a horrible scream as the locket shoots blood-like goo everywhere.
Harry: Ron, you should know better than to fear things like that. Why after you left, Hermione cried for weeks. She may've been on the rag for a few of those days, but not the whole time. She really missed you. And at night when I was standing watch, I'd hear her making weird moaning noises in her sleep and calling your name.
Ron: There's nothing between you.
Harry: She's like a sister to me. I think of her like you think of Ginny. And I think of Ginny like you think of Hermione.
Ron: You sonuvabitch!
Ron chases Harry back to the tent where they wake up Hermione. But Hermione is in no mood to see Ron.
Hermione: You bastard. You thought you could just walk out and leave us [...][5 pages later] and another thing, you're an inconsiderate git! If your mother were here, she'd paddle your ass, but I guess I'll have to do it instead.
Hermione eventually calms down and Ron has a chance to tell his story, which is even less eventful than what happened to Harry and Hermione. He apparated away and ran into a band of Snatchers, bounty hunters looking for runaway goblins, underage wizards, and muggle-borns. Ron spun a line of BS to get away and ended up at Bill's house because he was too ashamed to face his parents. Bad things are going on out there -- lots of muggle-borns have been killed, most of the Order is in hiding, and the Ministry's set up a spell to detect anyone saying "Voldiepants". He sat in his room for the better part of a month playing with his deluminator and thinking about Hermione. Then one night the deluminator produced a deus-ex-machina which transported him into the forest where he found Harry.
Hermione: Well that was convenient.
The next day Hermione suggests they go visit Luna's father to question him about the mysterious symbol he was wearing at Bill's wedding, and maybe learn what's going on at Hogwarts from Luna, who should be there on break. They arrive at the Lovegood place, a tower a few miles from the Burrow and greet Mr. Lovegood, who looks none to pleased to see them, even though the Quibbler has been keeping up a constant stream of pro-Potter/anti-Voldemort stories.
His house is full of the wizarding equivalent of crystals and pyramids, including one object he insists is a crumple-horn snorkack horn, though Hermione insists it's something else entirely, and potentially explosive. Mr. Lovegood ignores her and explains that Luna is off fishing somewhere, and he'll send for her.
Me: Yay Luna!
When he comes back Hermione asks about the symbol, which he in turn explains is an ancient sign representing the ... DEATHLY HALLOWS. And so, after 404 pages, we finally come to the title. The Hallows, Mr. Lovegood says, are mysterious artifacts associated with an old wizarding fairy tale called "The Three Brothers." Not coincidentally, this is one of the tales in the book Dumbledore gave Hermione. It's about a trio of brothers who outwit Death, and in payment Death offers them each a reward of their choice. The first brother asks for a wand that cannot be beaten in battle, the second for a way of making the dead return, and the third for a cloak of perfect invisibility. Death grants all their requests. The first brother goes off and gets drunk at the first inn he comes to and brags about his new wand. That night someone sneaks into his room and murders him for it. The second brother returns to his bachelor pad and uses the resurrection stone to call back his dead love, but he finds himself unable to touch her. Eventually he kills himself so he can be with her truly. But the third brother goes off under his cloak and lives a full life, then one day he decides he's had enough, removes the cloak, and greets Death as an old friend.
Hermione: It's very metaphorical. Those who try to avoid death bring him sooner, while those who accept him will live long lives.
Mr. Lovegood: That's not it at all, silly girl. The Hallows are real. The wand in particular has a long and bloody recorded history.
Hermione: There are plenty of tales of uber-wands, but they don't amount to much, just wizards with giant egos trying to convince people that their's is the most powerful. No one's ever seen this stone, and there are plenty of invisibility cloaks out there.
Mr. Lovegood: Enchanted bits of cloth that lose their charm with age. But a cloak that doesn't wear, that continues to work for more than a few years, there's never been anything like that apart from the Hallows.
Ron, Hermione and Harry look at each other.
Me: Where's Luna?
Hermione: So all these objects are real?
Mr. Lovegood: Of course, just like the crumple-horn snorkack. Excuse me, I need to check something. I'll be right back.
Ron: Harry, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Harry: Yes, Ron, but where are we going to hang a nargle-infested sprig of mistletoe over Voldemort?
Ron: No, the uber-wand! Think of what we could do with that.
Hermione: Ron, how many times do I have to tell you, it doesn't matter how powerful your wand is -- it's all about how you wave it.
Harry: Jesus, will you two just fuck already!
Harry gets up in disgust and wanders around the room. He sees the stairs leading up to Luna's room
Me: Jeez, where is Luna already? We've already had two chapters with her father and she hasn't shown up.
Harry climbs the stairs and sees that Luna's painted her room with a mural of him, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville, and linked them all with a fine chain of the word "friends" repeated over and over.
Me: Awwww. I wish Harry would kick that slut Ginny to the curb and go out with Luna instead.
Looking around, Harry notices the room is rather dusty and there aren't any clothes in the wardrobe. He climbs down the stairs.
Harry: Mr. Lovegood! Where's Luna?
Mr. Lovegood: She'll be along shortly.
Harry: No one's been in her room for a while.
Hermione: Harry, look at this.
She's picked up a copy of the Quibbler which shows Harry on the front, captioned "UNDESIRABLE #1".
Mr. Lovegood: They've taken her, the Death Eaters. This is the only way.
Harry looks out the window and sees a pair of Death Eaters approaching on brooms. Mr. Lovegood tries to stun the trio, but he misses and blows up the faux snorkack horn, creating a mess of rubble where the trio can hide, hoping the Death Eaters will assume Mr. Lovegood is just a crank and leave. But the DEs aren't entirely dim for once. Hermione throws the invisibility cloak over Ron, then blasts a hole in the wall so the DEs will see Harry before the apparate and not harm Mr. Lovegood.
And so it's back to the woods for the trio, for more fun adventures of sitting around doing nothing for months on end while they wait for the plot to fall into their laps. Let's here it for proactive protags! The trio spend most of their time, when they aren't gathering nuts and berries, debating whether they should continue after the Horcruxes or go after the Deathly Hallows.
Hermione: But they don't exist. It's completely absurd to believe in them.
Harry: But dragons, three headed dogs, philosopher stones, extendable ears are believable?
Hermione: That's not the point. Who's ever seen any of these objects.
Ron: Well, there are lots of stories about wizards who've owned super-wands. Maybe they're all teh same one, the uber-wand.
Hermione: Notice how all those legends involve wizards, never witches. Clearly they were trying to compensate for other inadequacies by saying they had the biggest wand around.
Ron: I'd take it if I could. People would respect me then.
Hermione: Case in point.
Harry: Anyway, we know the cloak exists -- my invisibility cloak has powers that normal ones don't. It's completely undetectable.
Hermione: True. Except by Moody's eye and the Marauders Map.
Harry: Details, details. It's obviously an uber-cloak. And I've been thinking, the ring Horcrux Dumbledore destroyed last year had a funny symbol on it, and it could've been the sign of the Deathly Hallows. So why can't the uber-wand be real? I think Voldepants thinks--
Death Eaters apparate around them. Hermione reacts immediately and curses Harry's face so it becomes covered with boils.
Ron: Didn't I tell you five chapters ago that the Ministry set up a spell that detects anyone saying You-Know-Who's name?
The Death Eaters put the trio with two other prisoners -- Dean Thomas, and the goblin Griphook. Thinking they've captured a bunch of truants, they're about to take the five of them to the Ministry for their reward when someone recognizes Hermione from a wanted poster. Again the Death Eaters aren't total idiots, proving the Voldemort's implemented stricter hiring measures since his return to power, and deduce that Ron must be a Weasley and pus-face is Harry. So instead of going to the Ministry, they decide to head for DE Central -- Malfoy Manor.
Narcissa: We can't just some the Dark Lord because we think we have Potter. We have to know the truth. Draco, come down here!
Draco comes down from his bedroom, his eyes wide and glassy and a strange scent of incense clinging to him.
Draco: What do you need? I have something I need to do at 4:20.
Narcissa: Is this boy Harry Potter?
Draco: I dunno. Is he?
Narcissa: What about these two? Do you recognize either of them?
Draco: Maybe. Can't tell.
Lucius: What are you talking about -- that's clearly the mudblood Granger, and this is one of the Weasleys. I don't know if that misshapen hulk is Potter, but he has something like a scar on his forehead.
Bellatrix: Then we should summon the Dark Lord. He will be most pleased with me. Perhaps he'll let me do that thing where I put a marshmallow in his--
Suddenly Bellatrix turned bright crimson. Harry realized there were many things he still didn't understand about the wizarding world.
Lucius: This is my house, I shall summon him.
Lucius pulls up his sleeve and moves his hand to touch his Dark Mark, but then Bellatrix screams -- "STOP!" She's just seen one of the Death Eaters is holding the Sword of Gryffindor.
Bellatrix: If you summon him now, he'll punish us most severely.
Bellatrix: Yes, I'm afraid it'll be the comfy chair for the lot of us. We must interrogate them before we summon the Dark Lord. Let's see, the mudblood first, I should think. Draco, fetch my leather bustier and the paddle -- no, better make it the riding crop.
Ron: No, not Hermione take me instead!
Bellatrix looks at him appraisingly and shakes her head.
Bellatrix: Please. I'll take the goblin before you.
Everyone but Hermione is taken to the cellar, where they're locked in with two other people -- Mr. Olivander, the wandmaker Voldemort had been interrogating, and Luna Lovegood. Hermione's screams can be heard from above.
Hermione: No! No! Not the clamps!
Ron: You betch! Leave her alone!
Harry begins going through the pouch hanging around his neck, which in a stroke of authorial fiat the Malfoys hadn't confiscated, to see if he had anything useful. The snitch Dumbledore had given him, which served no purpose that he could determine. His broken wand. Ah-ha! The shard of the mirror Sirius had given him. If it was ever going to accomplish anything, now was the time. He looked into the sliver of glass and saw a bright blue eye staring back.
Harry: Dumbledore? Is that you? Anyway, I need help. We're in the Malfoy's basement.
Hermione: No, no, please don't tickle me. Not the feet. Anywhere but the feet!
Ron: If I ever get out of here, I'm going to kill Bellatrix.
There's a loud popping noise as Dobby apparates into the dungeon.
Harry: Thank God the author's on my side. Dobby, we need your help. Take Luna, Dean, Mr. Olivander, and Griphook to Ron's brother's house, then come back for us, okay?
Dobby: Mesa be doing whatever you be saying, masa!
Dobby takes everyone but Harry and Ron and apparates away, but Lucius here's the noise and sends Wormtail down to investigate. Harry has seen enough Star Trek episodes during his time with the Dursleys to know how to deal with the situation, and has Ron set a distraction with the deluminator so they can take Wormtail from behind.
Even though Wormtail's a small little git who needs others to protect him, he manages to put up a good fight against two 17 year old boys. He's just about to strangle Harry, when Harry reminds him that he saved his life once. Wormtail hesitates for just a second, but that's all it takes. Wormtail's silver hand comes to life and starts to choke him. Wormtail struggles against it, but he can't stop. His last words are, "Mein Fuhrer, I can valk!"
Harry takes Wormtail's wand and leads Ron upstairs to free Hermione. Yet another action sequence ensues, in which Harry manages to disarm Draco and Bellatrix, and free Hermione. Dobby apparates in and they grab ahold of him to leave, but just as they do Bellatrix hurls a dagger at them, catching Dobby in the heart. Bellatrix rawks!
But even in death, Dobby's suckitude can't be stopped. Harry spends several minutes crying over his CGI corpse and empty, glassy eyes, then takes most of a chapter burying the miserable creature, then more time is wasted on a funeral service, the only highlight of which is that my beloved Luna gives a simple eulogy which leaves everyone else with nothing to say. And finally, the story can move on.
Harry: Listen, Bill, I need to talk to Olivander and the goblin Griphook.
Bill: They're both in a bad way, I'm afraid. I don't know that it'd be a good idea to bother them right now.
Harry: This is important. They both have vital, need-to-know exposition to give me.
Bill: Well, if it's a narrative expediency, I guess I can allow it.
Ron, Hermione, and Harry all go to Griphook's room.
Harry: The way I see it, Bellatrix wigged out when she saw the Sword of Gryffindor -- she must've figured we'd broken into her vault to get it. And she didn't want to call Voldemort after she realized that. Why? There must be something else in her vault, something that would make Voldemort very mad if we got.
Ron: Blimey, you don't think it's a Horcrux?
Harry: I do. And don't talk like such a cliche.
Hermione: So what we have to do is break into Gringotts.
Griphook: It'll be difficult. But I'll do it ... if you give me the Sword of Gryffindor. It's ours anyway. Gryffindor stole it.
Ron: No he didn't. He paid for it fair-and-square. Typical goblin behavior. All they're interested in is gold.
Hermione: Ron, STFU.
Harry: Okay, we'll give you the sword.
The trio get up to visit Mr. Olivander's room.
Harry: Mr. Olivander, I need you to give me an infodump on wands. How does a wand change masters.
Mr. Olivander: Any wand will work for any wizard, though some not as well as others. Normally a wand chooses its wizard, but if you take another wizard's wand during combat it will respect you as its rightful master.
Harry: This applies to all wands? Even the uber-wand?
Mr. Olivander: Legend says the uber-wand can only change hand by killing the rightful owner, but I suspect that's just a myth and it only changes hand in such a manner because so many people are after it. Defeating the owner in battle should suffice.
Harry takes out the three wands they got at Malfoy Manor. Ron disarmed Wormtail, so he gets that one. Harry tests Bellatrix's and Draco's, and decides on Draco's, which is a bit short, but pleasantly thick in his hand. It feels right to him. This leaves Hermione with Bellatrix's.
Later on the trio discuss what to do about giving Griphook the Sword of Gryffindor.
Ron: I don't like it. We need it for our mission. We should give him the fake sword from the vault.
Hermione: Ron, that would be extremely dishonest.
Ron: Cheating a goblin doesn't count. His kind are all money-grubbers looking to cheat wizards. They also steal our children and use their blood for religious ceremonies.
Hermione: That's not true.
Ron: It's all in the Protocols of Gobbledobble.
Hermione: Whatever. Griphook recognized the fake when Bellatrix took it to Gringotts in the first place; he'll recognize it if we try to pass it off to him.
Harry: I know. I've been thinking, and we didn't tell him when we'd turn the sword over, just after we break into the vault. I say we keep it with us until we destroy all the Horcruxes, then give it to him.
Hermione: You're just setting up an unnecessary plot complication.
Harry: Ooo, wait, I'm getting another plot-vision. Yes, it's You-Know-Who, and he's found the prison where Grindelwald's at.
Voldemort: You have knowledge of the uber-wand.
Grindelwald: Don't know what you're talking about, chap.
Voldemort: Tell me all you know.
Grindelwald: Don't think that tiny snake head could hold it all.
Voldemort: Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.
Grindelwald: Please, I was doing this schtick when you were still wiggling around in your daddy's nutsack.
Voldemort: Never mention my father!
Grindelwald: When you go, can you turn the light out.
Voldemort: Do not taunt the evil overlord!
Grindelwald: Sonny boy, I'm the evil overlord. You're a young upstart with delusions of grandeur. And I haven't got the wand, so you're wasting my time.
Voldemort: Who has it?
Grindelwald: Dunno. Your minions killed the man who took it from me.
Voldie flies away to Scotland and Hogwarts. He breaks into the ground and blasts open Dumbledore's grave. Voldemort pries the wand from Big D's cold, dead hands.
The next night Remus Lupin stopped by with news that Tonks had delivered her baby, Ted.
Lupin: Thank God. Hopefully she'll put out again before her boobies stop swelling. Anyway, it's a good thing Harry's here since I wanted to ask him to be the godfather to wee Teddy.
Lupin: Yeah, if we die in this war, someone has to look after Teddy. Who better than a 17 year old boy who's living in the woods, on the run from the entire magical government?
A few days later the trio and Griphook set off to Gringotts. Since polyjuice potion had worked so well at the Ministry of Magic, Hermione's using it to impersonate Bellatrix, using a hair she found on her sweater after Bellatrix interrogated her. Luckily this time it's actually the right person's hair, and not a cat's as happened when they used polyjuice potion back in Book 2. With Harry and Griphook under the invisibility cloak, and Ron disguised with a beard, the four manage to make it all the way through the lobby before being caught, at which point they make a mad dash into the vaults, engaging on an Indiana Jones style chase through the stygian pits of Gringotts.
Bellatrix's vault is in the most secure part of the bank, guarded by a dragon. The four get in, manage to find the fourth Horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff's cup, but by the time they're ready to leave security has them surrounded. There's naught to do but abandon Griphook, who now has the sword, and ride the dragon out of there.
They manage to dismount the dragon when it stops for a drink of water in rural England, but they're back in the position of having a Horcrux and nothing to destroy it with, nor having any idea where the remaining Horcruxes are. Luckily Harry has a vision of Voldemort at that moment which reveals much.
Voldemort is at the SPECTRE table again, Death Eaters and Gringotts goblins around him. He's just learned of the break in and begins walking around the table.
Voldemort: A man becomes preeminent, he's expected to have enthusiasms. Enthusiasms. What are mine? What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? Quidditch! A chaser flies alone towards the hoops, quaffle in hand. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he soars alone. But on the pitch, what? Part of a team. Teamwork. Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Dodges bludgers and scores points all the live-long day, Viktor Krum, Gwenog Jones, and so on, but if his team don't field ... what is he? You follow me? He's no one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans, what does he have to say? I'm goin' out there for myself, but I get nowhere unless the team wins.
Voldemort picks up a broomstick and bashes in the head of the goblin who brought the bad news. Then, for good measure, he AKs a few Death Eaters, because nothing builds loyalty better than randomly murdering underlings.
Harry hears Voldemort's thoughts -- he's wondering how the Potter brat found out about Horcruxes, and whether he knew about the others. He's going to check on them -- start with old Gaunt's house first, then the cave. Hogwarts last, but he'll let Snape know to be on the lookout.
Harry: That's it! The last Horcrux is at Hogwarts. We have to go now.
Hermione: Now? Are you crazy? We need to plan.
Harry: He'll be there in hours, and he'll move it. We have to get their first, and we have to stage a climactic battle in the process, so be it.
The trio apparates to Hogsmead, but they're violating the curfew and their presence activates alarms. Yeah, who could've foreseen that? The trio spends a few minutes running around, shooting patronuses at Dementors and ducking curses, until a voice calls out to them -- "Psst, over here."
The proprietor of the Hog's Head tavern ushers them in and tells them to wait up stairs. They hear the Death Eaters approach the door and demand if the proprietor saw Harry Potter go by. The proprietor denies seeing anything.
Death Eater: We saw his patronus come down this street.
Proprietor: That was mine you idiot -- keep your Dementors away from my store.
Death Eater: That was a stag.
Proprietor: It was a GOAT!
The proprietor slams the door and comes upstairs.
Harry: Hang on, you're Dumbledore's brother, Aberforth!
Aberforth: Brilliant Holmes! Almost as brilliant as showing up here after curfew -- I would've though Dobby would've talked some sense into you. Where is Dobby anyway?
Ron: You shouldn't've sent him out with a red shirt on.
Harry: Wait, you're the one I saw in the mirror?
Aberforth: The one and only. Dung stole the other half from Grimmauld Place and sold it to me. Now what are you doing here?
Harry explains that they need to get into the school, and Aberforth tells them no chance.
Harry: I have to do it. Dumbledore gave me a job to do.
Aberforth: Nice job, I hope? Pleasant? Easy? Sort of thing you'd expect an unqualified wizard kid to be able to do without overstretching themselves?
Harry: It's important.
Aberforth: Of course it is. My brother never used people for anything unimportant.
Harry: What's that supposed to mean?
Aberforth: Yer a pawn, Harry Potter.
Harry: Am not.
Aberforth. Okay, a rook. Perhaps even a queen. But you're still a piece moving as my brother directed. You have been ever since you set foot in Hogwarts.
Harry: It doesn't matter. He gave me the job.
Aberforth: Told you only you could do it, right? But did he tell you everything?
Harry: Well, I, uh --
Aberforth: Of course he didn't. My brother never told anyone everything, maybe not even himself. And what did it get him except a cold grave?
Hermione: Dumbledore loved Harry.
Aberforth: Yeah, funny about people my brother loved. They often ended up screwed up worse than if he left them alone. Look at Potter -- sent to live with Dickensian relatives who did every horrible thing you can imagine except beat him. Don't you think Dumbledore could've found somewhere better to put him? But he didn't. Why? It builds character. The sort of character who marches blithely to the gallows if he's told it's the noble thing to do.
Hermione: This is about your sister, isn't it.
Aberforth: My sister? Let me tell you about my sister. When she was six, some muggles spotted her doing magic. The muggles attacked her. They ... they made her dress up like a goat and march through town singing "Mack the Knife." She was never the same after that ... they turned her into a squib. Mother kept her locked away. After mum died, Dumbledore stayed at home to take care of her, but he hated it. He had to postpone his world tour for it. Then Grindelwald showed up, and they became best buds. And neglected my sister. One day I got into a fight about it, and Grindelwald defended my brother. Our shouting excited my sister and she started shooting off spells. We tried to restrain her, but in the commotion we ended up killing her -- we don't know which of us was responsible. Grindelwald ran off that afternoon, afraid of being implicated because he already had a reputation in his own country. But my brother ... he was free. Free to go off and become the great wizard he was supposed to be.
Harry: Dumbledore was never free. On the night he died he drank a poison that caused him to relive his worst experience. He kept pleading, "Don't hurt them, hurt me instead." Don't you see, he carried that with him all his life. He never got over it.
Nancy Reagan: And remember kids, just say no to drugs.
Gary Coleman: Don't be a fool, stay in school. You hear that Potter, you little drop-out punk!
Ron: Speaking of which, we really need to get in.
Aberforth: The Death Eaters have closed off all the secret passageways, but there's one way they don't know about. Hang on.
Aberforth goes to a portrait of his sister on the wall and gives her instructions. She disappears. Several minutes go by and she reappears accompanied someone else. The picture dissolves and reveals a secret passage behind it, and out steps Neville Longbottom, battered and dirty with long unkempt hair.
Neville: Greetings Comrade Potter! Now that you are here the revolution can begin!
Neville beckons Harry and the others to follow him to the castle. As they go, Neville explains that he, Ginny, and Luna have been leading a resurrected Dumbledore's Army against Snape and the Death Eater teachers, Amycus and Alecto Carrow, but Luna disappeared at Christmas time and Ginny escaped back to the Burrow a few weeks ago, leaving him to go it alone.
Neville: At first we tried overt resistance -- questioning the Carrows in class, spray painting "Wolverines!" on walls, and using Weasley Wizard Wheezes in the halls, but they started torturing us, so we switched to guerilla performance art. Dressing up as You-Know-Who in clown makeup didn't go over well. They finally got fed up with it and tried to send me off to Azkaban, but I hid out in the Room of Requirements. Figured out how to get it to keep the Death Eaters and their minions out -- and how to get it to create a secret passage to The Hog's Head. Now we're leading an aggressive insurgency from within the school -- mostly hit and run tactics, kidnapping Slytherins and stuffing them in a vanishing cabinet, that sort of stuff. Soon the halls shall run red with the blood of Death Eaters!
Ron: Wow. Neville. You are hardcore. Fucking Henry Rollins.
Hermione: Yeah, it's a shame You-Know-Who decided Harry was the subject of the prophesy, because you'd make a much better hero to this series. All this time people have been stuck reading about us camping in the woods and wiping our asses with leaves, while you've been here doing interesting stuff.
Harry: What was that?
Neville takes Harry aside and whispers: Why didn't you ever tell me being a bad-ass rebel leader made you a pussy magnet? I've been getting laid every night since I first stood up to Alecto. You would not believe what the Patil twins are like -- or maybe you would, since you and Ron took them to the Yule Ball. Though I have to say, never try anything with Luna.
Neville suddenly went crimson.
Neville: Not Luna. She has weird ideas about broomsticks.
"Whut?" Harry had the distinct impression that there were things he didn't understand.
They reach the Room of Requirement, and find it crowded with DA members.
Neville: The battle of Hogwarts begins in two hours!
Harry: Whoa, we're not here for any battle.
Dumbledore's Army: Whut?
Harry: There's something we need to fight You-Know-Who. In and out.
Neville: That puts a crimp on our plans.
Harry: What plans?
Neville: To rise up and throw off the yoke of our bourgeois oppressors! We though that was why you were here.
Luna: Hey guys!
Harry turns around and sees Luna and Dean emerging from the tunnel.
Harry: What are they doing here.
Neville: I sent for them as soon as I heard you were back. Ginny should be along shortly, and maybe a few others.
Harry: This is crazy. We're here for one thing, and then we're leaving. That's it.
Fred: Hey, we heard there was going to be a party in Snape's office tonight! George is bringing a keg of butterbeer.
Fred, George, Ginny, Lee Jordan, and Cho Chang emerge from the tunnel now.
Hermione: Harry, can I talk to you for a moment? Now look, I know Dumbledore doesn't want anyone else knowing about the Horcruxes, but that doesn't mean we can't get outside help if we need it. There are two dozen people here, ready to fight for you. We may need them.
Harry: But I'm the hero. I'm supposed to do it alone, or with the help of you and Ron. Letting everyone fight dilutes my coolness.
Hermione: You are a prat, Harry Potter.
Harry opens his mind to Voldemort, who has reached the Gaunt house and found the ring missing. He sets off for the cave.
Harry: Fine, we may have to do it your way.
He turns to the DA.
Harry: Here's the deal, there's an artifact somewhere in the school, probably something related to Ravenclaw, and we need it to fight You-Know-Who. Anyone have any ideas what it is.
Luna: You mean Ravenclaw's lost diadem?
Harry: Could be. Could be. Any idea where it's at?
Luna: No, it's lost silly.
Harry: What does it look like?
Cho: There's a bust of Rowena Ravenclaw in our common room, and she's wearing it. Come on, I'll take you to see it.
Ginny: Oh no you don't, betch!
Cho: Oh snap! I know you did not just say that.
Ginny: Get away from my man before I knock you upside da head, ho.
Cho: Come and make me!
Harry: There is a time and place for this -- perhaps after we defeat You-Know-Who, you two can work this out while standing in a vat of mud in your underwear, but not now.
Ginny: Fine. Luna, show Harry the Diadem.
And so Harry and Luna don the invisibility cloak and set off to the Ravenclaw common room. Instead of a password, the door asks a riddle -- "Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?"
Luna: What do you think Harry?
Harry: Hmm, well the flame has to be caused by the phoenix, so that can't be it. But the phoenix comes from the flame. So maybe it's the flame. But wait, the flame comes from the phoenix. Garsh, this is hard.
Luna: You are cute, Harry, but dumb as a troll. A circle has no beginning.
Door: Correct. Luna Lovegood, come on down!
They enter the common room and Harry slips out of the cloak to look at the statue, which is wearing a tiara. Harry reads the engraving on it aloud: "Wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure."
Alecto: Which doesn't even give you enough for a "Daily Prophet," Potter.
Harry turns to see the Death Eater pointing a wand at him. She reaches to her arm and touches her Dark Mark. Harry feels Voldemort's anger in his head -- Voldie' s almost to the cave and he doesn't like the interruption. He pauses to consider heading straight to the school, but decides to check on the locket first.
Alecto looks pleased with herself even as a stunner speeds out of thin air and hits her in the chest.
But just then there's a pounding on the common room door.
Amycus: U B LETTING ME IN ALECTO!
Door: Where does a vanished object go?
Amycus: I DO NOT B KNOWING. LET ME IN! POTTER B LETTING ME IN OR B GOING BAD 4 U!
McGonagall: What is this noise, Professor?
Amycus: I NEED B OPENING DOOR. B GETTING PROFESSOR FLITWICK 4 ME.
McGonagall: Professor Flitwick already let your sister in. Why doesn't she open it.
Amycus: I NOT B KNOWING. UR B OPENING DOOR FOR ME?
McGonagall agrees and answers the riddle. They enter and find Alecto sprawled on the floor, her Dark Mark glowing.
Amycus: POTTER MUST B DOING THIS. BUT WHERE HE B GOING? IF HE NO B HERE WHEN DARK LORD IZ ARRIVING, WE IZ D-E-D DED. I KNOW. WE BE BLAMING DA STUDENTS. SAY DEY IZ IN HER MARK.
McGonagall: You shall not blame your own ineptitude on the students while I still teach here.
Amycus: LOLOLOLOLZ! U B SHUTTING UP NOW.
Amycus spits in her face, and without hesitation Harry throws off his cloak and strikes him with a Cruciatus curse.
Harry: I see what Bellatrix meant. You really need to mean it.
McGonagall: Potter! You really shouldn't've done that.
Harry: No one spits at Minerva McGonagall and gets away with it.
McGonagall: Very gallant, but you know what this could mean?
Harry: Voldemort's on his way. He'll be here in an hour at the most.
Luna: Oh, we can say his name now?
Harry: I think he knows I'm here.
McGonagall: If he's coming, we have to secure the school.
Harry: Is that possible?
McGonagall: I think so. We professors have some small talent with magic, you know. We'll have to evacuate the students, though I don't know how.
Harry explains about the Room of Requirement.
McGonagall: Very well, I'll need the heads of houses. And something has to be done about Snape.
Harry and Luna don the cloak while McGonagall dispatches patronuses to alert Professors Flitwick, Sprout, and Slughorn, then they set off. They're just turning a corner when they come upon Snape.
Snape: Professor, what are you doing out of bed at this hour?
McGonagall: As a matter of fact, I was just on my way to find you and layeth the smack down upon your ass.
They begin to duel. Just as Snape appears to be getting the best of her, Sprout, Flitwick, and Slughorn appear. Sensing he's out matched, Snape bolts through a classroom door, jumps through a window and takes flight -- literally.
Flitwick: That's right betch, you better run or we'll pwn your ass!
The professors split up to gather their houses and take them to the Great Hall, while Harry and Luna head back to the Room of Requirements. But when they get there they find it even more crowded than when they left -- the old Gryffindor Quidditch team has shown up along with the surviving members of the Order of the Phoenix.
George: We sorta mentioned to the Order that you'd shown up at Hogwarts, and they wanted to come along to give you a welcome-home party.
Harry directs everyone to the Great Hall, but as they're all shuffling out he notices that Ron and Hermione aren't around.
Fred: They said something about going to the bathroom.
George: Yeah, we told them it's a helluva a time to do the horizontal mambo, but they wouldn't listen.
Just then another figure steps out of the tunnel -- Percy Weasley.
Percy: Am I late?
Percy: I was an ass.
Fred: Yeah, you were.
The great hall is crowded with students as Professor McGonagall gives instructions for the evacuation of underage students. Suddenly Voldemort's voice rumbles through the hall.
Voldemort: Is this thing on? Testing, testing. All right, I don't want to spill any wizard's blood, so if you give me Potter all will be well. You have one hour, and then I'll attack.
Fred: All will not be fucking well!
Pansy Parkinson: But Potter's right there! All we have to do is give him over!
McGonagall: Thank you Miss Parkinson, you'll be the first to leave, and if you don't shut up I'll have Hagrid expedite your departure by tossing you over the rampart. That goes for the rest of you Slytherins to -- Dumbledore was always talking about inter-house unity, but he could be a sentimental fool. I want you Slytherin ass-hats out of her right now. Except you, Professor Slughorn.
As the Slytherins and other houses start departing, Kingsley Shacklebolt steps up and begins ordering those staying to fight.
McGonagall: Potter! Aren't you supposed to be looking for something?
Harry: Whut? Oh, yeah.
Harry heads into the hall, wondering where he'd be if he were a lost tiara. If only Hogwarts had some sort of large room where lost objects often ended up. Suddenly an idea hits Harry -- this is very painful as it doesn't happen often, but he recovers swiftly and tracks down the Ravenclaw ghost, the Grey Lady. She tells him that she was Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter, and she stole the diadem and hid it in Albania. But many years later, another student had asked her about it -- Tom Riddle. Realizing Voldemort must've gone in search of the diadem during his travels, found it and transformed it into a Horcrux, then returned it to Hogwarts, Harry asks himself where Voldie might've stashed it. Some secret room, perhaps, that's hard to get to. Where no one would ever think to look. If only there was such a place at Hogwarts. Something like the Room of Requirements.
What's that brain? The diadem might be in the Room of Requirements? Hey, wow, Harry figured something out without Hermione! Go Harry!
As the battle commences, Harry heads to the Room of Requirements, and on the way he runs into Ron and Hermione.
Harry: Where have you two been?
Hermione: We knew we needed something to destroy the Horcruxes, and then Ron remembered there's a dead basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, so we went to get some of its teeth.
Harry: Neither of you speak parseltongue.
Ron: No, but I've heard you do it, so I imitated the sounds you made to the sink in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom.
Harry: And it worked? That makes no sense. And how did you get out? Last time we had to use Fawkes to carry us. And wasn't the tunnel caved-in?
Ron: Look, mate, there are only about 125 pages left. Do you really want to spend twenty of them helping us get into the Chamber and extract teeth? Just let it go and pretend it makes sense.
Harry: Anyway, I've figured out where Voldemort hid the diadem -- the Room of Requirement's lost-and-found. He must've discovered it while he was at school and figured no one else had ever delved so deeply into the castle's secrets.
Hermione: Didn't you say the lost-and-found is full of junk left by a thousand years worth of students who needed a place to hide stuff? Then how could he think he was the first to discover it?
Harry: There are only 124 pages left now, we don't have time to discuss this. Let's get to the Room of Requirements, Batman!
Just as Harry finds the diadem, who should show up by Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle.
Draco: Shut up you to.
Crabbe: WE R IN UR ROOM OF REQUIREMENT MESSING WITH UR JUNK!
Draco: I said shut up.
Goyle: U DO NO B TELLING US WHUT TO DO.
Ron and Hermione jump out and try to stun Crabbe and Goyle, but they dodge and start a running fight in which the diadem gets knocked into a pile of junk. Then Crabbe lights his fart on fire, creating Fiendfyre, the magical equivalent of an oil fire. Ron, Harry, and Hermione grab some old brooms left in the room and are about to get away, when Harry suggests they save Malfoy and the Dunder Twins. Goyle gets onto Ron and Hermione's broom, but Crabbe bites it in an extremely painful manner befitting a grade-A moron. Harry rescues Draco, who wraps his arms tightly around Harry, and they ride the broom stick out of the room, while Harry holds Malfoy's wand. Luckily Fiendfyre is one of the things which can destroy a Horcrux, and since Hermione destroyed the cup while in the Chamber of Secrets, the only thing separating Voldemort from his grave is Nagini.
As they're about to head out to find Nagini, Fred and Percy come around the corner dueling some Death Eaters. Fred blasts the mask off one, revealing Pius Thicknesse, the Minister of Magic. "Consider this my resignation!" Percy says and stuns the Minister.
Fred: LMFAO! PERCY U MADE A JOKE!
Percy: Yeah, well I haven't had a girlfriend since Penelope dumped me, so I've been spending my evenings watching muggle movies. There's this one with this guy named Arnold Schwarz--
A blast rocks the castle, and the wall where they're standing collapses. Percy manages to get out of the way with minor injuries, but Fred lies in the rubble, staring up with the empty glassy spheres of his eyes.
They manage to drag Fred's body to safety, but before they can do anything else Aragog's children swarm into the castle.
Ron: Oh poo!
Percy: We're boned.
They manage to get Fred out of the way, then Harry has another plot-advancing vision.
Voldemort is in the Shrieking Shack talking to Lucius. Nagini is floating over their heads in a protective charm.
Lucius: My Lord, you know how incompetent your Death Eaters are.
Voldemort: They're more competent now than in the previous volumes, thanks to my killing everyone who's an egregious screw-up.
Lucius: But all it takes is one to slip through the cracks, and he might kill Potter against your orders. We should recall the troops and determine whether he's still alive.
Voldemort: Don't pretend you can manipulate me, Lucius. Your son didn't return from the castle, and you want a chance to find out if he's alive.
Lucius: You don't know what it's like to be a father -- the sight of an ugly, wrinkly thing with your own face, that slowly grows into a model of you, taking on your mannerisms and beliefs.
Voldemort: Spare me your romantic notions and fetch Snape to me.
Harry: Voldiekins is in the Shrieking Shack, and Nagini's with him.
So they make their way through the battle to the Whomping Willow, and then towards the Shrieking Shack. By the time they get there, Snape is already present.
Snape: The resistance is crumbling My Lord. Let me go and bring the boy to you.
Voldemort: No, I have something more important for you to do.
Snape: What might that be?
Voldemort: You need to die. You see, the uber-wand that I stole from Dumbledore's grave isn't living up to the hype -- it just isn't giving me enough cowbell, only cranking to 10, not the full 11 -- and I've been wondering why not. Dumbledore was killed, so the wand should be ready to give itself to a new master. But not any master, the one who killed Dumbledore, which wasn't me but you. Yes, Severus, I'm afraid the only way for me to control the wand's full might is to kill you. So sorry. Nagini, sick balls.
Nagini drops from his protective field and attacks Snape.
Snape: ZOMFG, I'm killed by a fucking snake?
Voldemort: Now let us go test whether my new wand rocks as much as I want.
They exit, and then Harry sneaks in to see Snape, who isn't quite dead yet. Silver goo starts oozing from the potion master's ears. Hermione magics a flask into existence and gathers it up.
Snape: You ... have your ... mother's eyes ... Potter. Let me ... look into them ... one last time.
Harry leans over Snape and they stare at each other for a moment.
Ron: ZOMFG, UR TEH GAY!
But the life has left Snape's eyes, and they turn to empty glassy spheres.
Hermione: That's like the third time she's used that metaphor in this book.
Then Voldemort's voice echoes through the night.
Voldemort: Brave fighters of Hogwarts, I do not wish to spill blood that doesn't need to. Therefore I shall withdraw my Death Eaters for one hour. Potter, if you don't want more of your friends to die, I suggest you come out and face. I'll be in the Forbidden Forest.... No Lucius, I told you a Big Mac, hold the pickles. Does this look like they held the pickles? I don't care what the clerk says, they can damn well hold the bloody pickles! Pick them off? No, their juice will still be on the burger, mixed into the special sauce. Just go back and tell them to get the order right this time. What Yaxley? Still on? Oh. You have one hour, Potter! That is all.
The trio return to the school, where the bodies of the fallen are being gathered to the Great Hall. Ron joins his family to mourn Fred. Harry sees that Lupin and Tonks are among the dead.
Harry: Sonuva -- great, I drop out of school, and now I'm a single father. Thanks a lot, Lupin. Way to be.
He storms out and heads to Dumbledore's office, where he pours Snape's dying thoughts into the Pensieve.
Snape: Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there, and tell you how I became the half-blood Prince of a school called H-warts. In Spinner's End born and raised, in the playground is where I spent most of my days, chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' out cool, shootin' some quaffles outside of the school.
Harry finds himself on a playground. A little boy with unkempt, greasy hair is sitting behind some bushes watching a pair of girls on the swings. One of the girls jumps from the swing and flies through the air in defiance of gravity.
2nd Girl: Lily, you shouldn't do that. You might get in trouble.
Lily: Trouble with who, Tuney?
Tuney: You know, God 'n' stuff.
Snape: God has nothing to do with it. It's magic.
Harry does a double-take -- there's no way a nine year old boy should sound like Alan Rickman.
Snape: Sure. You're a witch.
The scene dissolves to a few years later. Snape and Lily are sitting on the grass talking.
Lily: It doesn't make a difference that I come from, what did you call them, Muggles?
Snape: Not to anyone who matters.
The scene dissolves to the Hogwarts express. Snape and Lily, now about 11, are sharing a compartment with James, Sirius, Lupin, and Wormtail.
Snape: I hope you're in Slytherin, Lily, it's the best. All the coolest wizards are from there.
James: You want to get into Slytherin? LUSER!
Snape: I suppose a dumb jock like you wants to be in Gryffindor.
Lily: Come on Sev, let's go sit somewhere else.
The scenes continue in quick succession, and Harry realizes that Lily really loved Snape, and had tried to keep him from getting involved with the Dark Arts, but the call of power was too much for him. Then Harry sees Snape's worst memory, from the chapter of the same name in Book 5, and he realizes that what Snape hated about it wasn't being bullied by James and Sirius, but calling Lily a mudblood. Later that night he tries to apologize, but Lily refuses to listen.
The story flashes forward a few years to a repentant Snape visiting Dumbledore and confessing that he revealed the prophesy to Voldiepants without realizing that Lily's son was the subject. Snape offers his unconditional cooperation if Dumbledore will stop Voldie. But of course, Dumbledore fails, but Snape's anger at Voldemort is too great for him to switch sides again. He agrees to stay on as a teacher and help protect Harry when he enters school. But his resolve is soon tested.
Snape: The kid is a little brat. Thinks he can break any rules he wants -- and he can because you turn a blind eye to him.
Dumbledore: I'm just exercising discretion. He's a good boy. Precocious.
Snape: Dumb jock just like his father. If you hadn't put that Granger girl to help him, he'd be failing Potions. I hope he doesn't corrupt her like James corrupted Lupin.
Flashforward. Dumbledore now has the wounded hand he received at the beginning of Book 6, and Gaunt ring sits on the desk next to him.
Snape: I've done the best I can, but the curse is too strong. It'll eventually kill you -- a year tops.
Dumbledore: Very well then. I have no desire to suffer a painful, lingering death, so you'll have to kill me.
Snape: Would you like me to do it now, or do you desire a few moments to compose an epitaph.
Dumbledore: Not quite yet. But you'll know the proper time.
Dumbledore: Snape, the time will come when Voldemort begins keeping Nagini close to him, perhaps behind protective charms. This will be the end game, and you must find Harry and tell him one last thing -- he is a Horcrux. Voldemort was planning to make one the night he killed James and Lily, but he didn't realize he succeeded. A part of his soul came loose when he died and attached itself to Harry. For Voldemort to be defeated --
Snape: Potter has to die? Jesus jumped up from the grave and did the rumba Christ! I thought all this time we were protecting the brat because he was Lily's son. But it was all part of your plan.
Dumbledore: Of course. If you haven't noticed I am a master planner. Everything I have done is towards this end.
The scenes continue, revealing that Snape planted the idea of using Polyjuice Potion to create decoys during the escape from Privet Drive, and he'd severed George's ear while trying to save him from another curse, and that it was he who sent the doe patronus to guide Harry to the Sword of Gryffindor. The portrait of Dumbledore in the headmaster's office is curious about that last bit.
Dumbledore: After all this time?
Dumbledore: You know, Severus, you had your big fight with her when you were 15, over half a lifetime ago. Carrying a torch for her after all these years ... bit obsessive don't you think. Maybe it's time you move on. Start dating. I've found the personal ads in the Quibbler are quite rewarding.
Snape: There'll never be anyone else for me. Now excuse me, I'm going to listen to The Cure.
Harry emerges from the Pensieve knowing what he has to do. As he heads out for the Forbidden Forest, he sees Neville, who is carrying the body of Colin Creevy back to the castle.
Neville: He stayed at his post while the trainees ran!
Harry stops to give him instructions: "If anything happens to me, there's something you absolutely have to do -- kill Nagini, Voldemort's snake." Continuing on his way, he suddenly figures out how to open the Snitch Dumbledore left him, and inside it he finds the Gaunt ring, which contains the resurrection stone. He uses this to bring back his parents, Sirius, and Lupin for one last chat.
Lily: We're all so very proud of you.
James: And we're so looking forward to hanging out with you. Fred's already here, and we're throwing a huge bash to welcome him.
Sirius: In fact, if you get a chance, tell George to off himself and join us.
Harry: Is it painful to die.
Sirius: Not at all. 'Course I just fell through some curtains, which now that I think of it is probably the most suck-ass death in this entire series.
Harry marches straight into the Death Eaters' camp and reveals himself to Voldemort.
Lucius: About damn time! He won't let us have any pizza until your dead. It's probably cold by now anyway.
Harry: One shall stand, one shall fall.
Voldemort: Why throw away your life so recklessly?
Lucius: I thought that was the plan?
Harry: That is a question you should ask yourself, Voldetron.
Voldemort: Enough of this. Avada Kadevera!
Harry wakes to find himself in a room of red mist. There is a sword here. And a really ugly baby that's been flensed of its skin and is screaming.
Dumbledore: Ah, Harry, so nice of you to join me.
Harry: I'm dead.
Harry: What do you mean?
Dumbledore: See, Voldemort's curse killed the part of his soul attached to your body, but because of the linkages between you and him, you are still anchored to the Earth. It's all very complicated -- you and he are linked in so many ways I can't keep track. But that's why your wand acted funny at the start of the book. And why his wand, even once he's given up his original, is giving him trouble against you -- all the wands a person owns take on the same properties. I think. The metaphysics of the whole thing is fuzzy even to me. But I think I've told you enough for you to survive the climax, so you can return to life.
Harry wakes up and it's as if no time has passed. He's lying on the ground and Narcissa Malfoy approaches to make sure he's dead. She sees he isn't, and whispers to him, "Is Draco still alive?" Harry nods.
Narcissa: He's deader than dead.
Death Eaters: Callooh! Callay!
Voldemort: Then let us go and present his body to the school.
Hagrid, who's been taken prisoner, carries Harry back to Hogwarts. Harry has a tremendous itch on his left arm, but he can't scratch it. The more he tries to ignore it, the worse it gets.
Yaxley: IZ NOT PPL SUPPOZED TO B VOIDING BOWELS WHEN DEY IZ DYING?
Harry curses silently, but does what needs doing to satisfy Yaxley.
Yaxley: THAT IS BEING BETTER.
The Death Eaters arrive at the castle, and Hagrid places Harry's body on the ground. All the remaining fighters have gathered in front.
Voldemort: Behold your leader! He was trying to sneak away, to save his own skin, when my Death Eaters killed him. Be thankful. You are no longer stuck foll--
A cry breaks out from the fighters, and Neville charges forward with his wand drawn. Voldemort subdues him easily.
Bellatrix, with a very creepy smile: It is Longbottom, My Lord. He should be taught manners. Give him to me. I will show him things I never showed his parents.
Voldemort: No, he is a pure-blood. Join me, Longbottom, and together we can end this destructive conflict.
Neville: I'll never join you! San Dimas High School Football rulez!
A cheer breaks out from the students. Voldemort tries to silence them with magic, but it doesn't work. When the cries die down, Voldemort speaks again.
Voldemort: There shall be no more houses at Hogwarts. From this time forth, everyone will be Slytherin. Longbottom here will demonstrate what happens to those who oppose me. No, Bellatrix, I'm not giving him to you. Some might enjoy it and rebel just to be with you. Accio Sorting Hat.
The Sorting Hat flies from the castle to Voldemort who puts it on Neville's head and sets it on fire.
Many miles away, Griphook the goblin is sitting in his living room gently stroking the Sword of Gryffindor.
Sword: Gotta go.
The sword disappears.
Great cries break out from everywhere. From the school an army of house elves comes rushing out, brandishing kitchen knives and frying pans. From the forest come stampeding centaurs. And from the gates come parents who've arrived hearing what's going on.
Neville breaks the curse that's restraining him, and Voldie sics Nagini on him.
Neville whips off the Sorting Hat, pulling the Sword of Gryffindor from it, shouts, "I am no man," and strikes off Nagini's head. "PWN this."
Harry puts on his invisibility cloak as the Battle of Hogwarts resumes all around him. The Death Eaters are overwhelmed and chased into the Great Hall, where at last the fight comes down to two duels -- Voldemort against Kingsley, McGonagall, and Slughorn, and Bellatrix against Luna, Hermione, and Ginny. Bellatrix hurls a killing curse at Ginny, missing by bare inches. Suddenly a shout comes from the sidelines: "Get away from her YOU BITCH."
Bellatrix looks over and sees Molly Weasley running out to face her. Bellatrix laughs.
Bellatrix: Come on, like I'm going to be killed by a tertiary character who exists only to nag. Puh-lease. If you were Longbottom or Tonks, I'd be worried, but a villain as cool as I am isn't going to be ki--
Mrs. Weasley shoots a killing curse straight at Bellatrix, who has time to mumble, "Not fair," before falling over, dead. Before Voldemort can turn his attention to Mrs. Weasley, Harry throws off his cloak and casts a protective spell between them.
Seamus: Harry, we thought you were dead!
Harry: I was. I got better.
Music begins to play from nowhere:
You never bend, you never break,
You seem to know just what it takes,
You're a fighter,
It's in the blood, it's in the will,
It's in the mighty hands of steel.
When you're standin' your ground,
And you never get hit when your back's to the wall,
Gonna fight to the end and you're takin' it all.
You got the touch,
You got the power!
Lee Jordan: Two men enter, one man leaves!
Voldemort: So, it comes down to this, at last. A duel between us. But there is something you should kno--
Harry: STFU! I'm sick and tired of this shit. Every freakin' book I face you, and you give some long-ass speech about what a cool bad-ass you are, then after I defeat you, I have to listen to Dumbledore give another speech about why I was able to defeat you. Even after he's dead, Dumbledore shows up and gives me one. Well, enough. It's my turn. My time! You see, Riddle, you screwed up. You trusted Snape, but he was never yours. Not since you killed my mum. But you never realized that, because you've never known love -- never known the touch of a woman. You just couldn't understand that Snape loved my mum more than he cared about the Dark Arts. And he betrayed you -- all this time, he's been helping me.
Voldemort: Doesn't matter. He's dead and can't help you any more.
Harry: And you killed him for the wrong reason. You thought that murder was the only way to gain control of the uber-wand, and that he must be the master because he killed Dumbledore. But wands don't work that way -- they change masters when one wizard takes it from another by force. And Snape didn't disarm Dumbledore the night he died -- Draco Malfoy did. The uber-wand is his. But I disarmed Malfoy earlier this year, and took his regular wand. Which means all his wands now bend to MY will. Even the uber-wand.
Voldemort: Oh come on, you're just pulling this out of your ass.
Harry: Maybe I am, maybe I'm not. But I know what you're thinking -- you've used the killing curse on me twice, and it's failed both times. What's to make the third try any different.Well to tell you the truth, I'm not sure myself. But you've got to ask yourself one thing -- "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?
Voldemort raises his wand and casts the killing curse at Harry; Harry parries with Expelliarmus. The AK bounces off Harry and hits Voldie, who keels over dead.
Nineteen years go by, and on September 1st, 2016 Harry and Ginny are taking their children, James, Lily, and Albus Severus, to the Hogwarts Express. There they meet Ron and Hermione, with their kids Hugo and Rose, and see Draco, who has a receding hairline, with his son Scorpius, who's in the same year as Albus. This makes many fan-fic writers happy, because they can counter this excessively treacley epilogue with slash fic about Al and Scorp, henceforth to be known as AS/S.
Hey, peeps, if you enjoyed this, check out some of my books. Some of them are funny, some are serious, and some of them might explain Luna's broom fixation.