Chapter 28 – The Missing Mirror
- What else could Aberforth’s Patronus be but a goat? Though according to Pottermore, it is unusual for a Patronus to take the form of the wizard’s favourite animal. (When I took the test, mine was a St Bernard, a breed of dog I feel no special affinity for.)
- We’ve been taking it for granted that Harry, Ron and Hermione have to do all this dangerous stuff, but Aberforth reminds us that they’re still kids – and he’s also not afraid to talk about the more questionable side of Dumbledore’s nature.
- “And my father went after the bastards that did it…” The swearing really goes up a level in this book.
- Having seen about Dumbledore’s backstory from both Elphias Doge and Rita Skeeter, who were biased in opposite directions, it stands to reason that the truth would lie somewhere in the middle. It’s easy to understand that being stuck at home must have been immensely frustrating for Dumbledore, and why he was tempted by the plans of fellow genius Grindelwald. All this time, Dumbledore has been haunted by his past, and he never gave a real hint of it until Half-Blood Prince.
Chapter 29 – The Lost Diadem
- It’s brilliant to hear about Neville leading the new rebellion at Hogwarts, including how he was specifically inspired by Harry (“The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope. I used to notice that when you did it, Harry.”) Neville’s grandmother sending at least one Auror to hospital and going on the run is equally cool.
- No Slytherin colours in the Room of Requirement – so either none of the Slytherins want to oppose the current regime, or the other rebels have been excluding them. Neither is especially pleasing, considering things are supposed to be less black and white than at the beginning of the series.
- It’s so great, watching all our heroes starting to gather together again for the approaching climax.
- “Just going to make it up as we go along, are we? My favourite kind.”
- Cho wants to take Harry to the Ravenclaw common room, and looks disappointed when Ginny and Luna prevent her – has she had a rethink and decided she would like another chance with him?
- It’s very nice to see Ravenclaw (my Hogwarts house, according to every survey I’ve taken) finally being highlighted – with a door security system that makes you smarter, and a beautiful, airy common room.
Chapter 30 – The Sacking of Severus Snape
- The little boy going up to unconscious Alecto and shouting “I think she might be dead!” feels like something out of Roald Dahl.
- We first saw Harry trying to use the Cruciatus Curse on his godfather’s murderer. And now he ends up using it…on the guy who spits on McGonagall. Doesn’t seem on quite the same level.
- With hindsight, you can see how Snape is purely on the defensive when the other teachers attack him. Then he goes flying out of the window, which makes me imagine the “huge, bat-like shape” slowly flapping its wings like something from an old vampire movie.
- “Students out of bed! Students in the corridors!” “They’re supposed to be, you blithering idiot!”
- Now everybody from the old days is coming together, right up to Harry’s old Quidditch team. And with a hilariously awkward entrance, we finally see Percy swallow his pride and apologise for being an idiot.
Chapter 31 – The Battle of Hogwarts
- Given all the emphasis on Voldemort’s attachment to Hogwarts in the last book, it’s predictable that he would be reluctant to attack it.
- Pansy Parkinson’s declaration that somebody should grab Harry might have been motivated out of simple fear, but I can imagine her going through life without ever being allowed to forget this.
- So there we go: not one Slytherin chooses to defy everybody else’s expectations and fight. That’s a real disappointment. Maybe some did want to stay but felt like nobody else wanted them there.
- Just as Harry had the right ammunition to talk Slughorn round in the last book, so too with the Grey Lady.
- Even with Voldemort’s arrogance, it seems a tad unbelievable that he would walk into the Room of Hidden Things – full of hundreds of years worth of rubbish – and think that he was the only one ever to find it. Unless the book only means in his lifetime.
- Another unexpected callback, this time to the Chamber of Secrets.
- Finally, finally, the big kiss between Ron and Hermione! It is a thing of beauty.
- Another little convenience: Crabbe being able to summon never-before-mentioned magical fire that happens to be able to destroy a Horcrux.
- Fred…now that one really hurt.
Chapter 32 – The Elder Wand
- After being on the edges of the battle for the previous chapter, Harry, Ron and Hermione now go right into the fray, with a whole range of hostiles coming at them – oh, and Professor Trelawney finally discovering a good use for a crystal ball.
- Yelling at everybody not to hurt the spiders…seriously, Hagrid?
- A brilliant callback to the first book as Hermione yells at Ron, “Are you a wizard or what?” and the simple Wingardium Leviosa makes a re-appearance.
- Why doesn’t Voldemort just use Avada Kedavra on Snape? He doesn’t even kill Snape directly; for all he knows, letting Nagini do the work might not count from the Elder Wand’s point of view. Really, the only reason – except maybe that Voldemort might be especially angry at Snape for unknowingly denying him the wand, and want to make it as nasty as possible – is that Snape has to survive long enough to pass the memories on to Harry.
- Now Snape is gone – and the moment feels very significant, even without considering what is coming.