The Thief

chapter fourteen of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry lands in a woods and realizes that Ron has been splinched; Hermione explains that she accidentally let Yaxley into Grimmauld Place while apparating and they can’t return. So the trio sets up camp, discussing the horcrux – and then, while keeping watch, Harry drifts off and sees Voldemort torturing Gregorovitch. He learns then that Voldemort is after something that was stolen from Gregorovitch years before.

Essence of Dittany, by Catching-Smoke

“Harry, quickly, in my bag, there’s a small bottle labeled ‘Essence of Dittany’ – … Quickly!


Hermione in the Woods, by Cambryn

Hermione sprang to her feet. “Where are you going?” asked Ron.
“If we’re staying, we should put some protective enchantments around the place.”

(by Cambryn)


Potter, by Elisabeth Alba

[Harry] had thought that he would feel elated if they managed to steal back the Horcrux, but somehow he did not…. There were other Horcruxes out there somewhere, but he did not have the faintest idea where they could be. He did not even know what all of them were. Meanwhile he was at a loss to know how to destroy the only one that they had found….


Danger Ahead, by robin edwards

Nameless forebodings crept upon him… relentlessly. Neither can live while the other survives. Ron and Hermione, now talking softly behind him in the tent, could walk away if they wanted to: He could not.


The Flight of the Dark Wizard, by Hala Zabaneh

The blond-haired youth’s face… was merry, wild; there was a Fred and George-ish air of triumphant trickery about him. He… soared from the windowsill like a bird….
“Who was the thief, Gregorovitch?” said the high cold voice.
“I do not know, I never knew, a young man – no – please – PLEASE!”
A scream that went on and on and then a burst of green light….


The Thief, by Elspethelf

With Gregorovitch dead, it was the merry-faced thief who was in danger now, and it was on him that Harry’s thoughts dwelled, as Ron’s snores began to rumble from the lower bunk and as he himself drifted slowly into sleep once more.


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

As Harry, Ron, and Hermione find safety in the woods, I love thinking about the scene they left behind at the Ministry. Hopefully Reg Cattermole escaped with his wife, but both Mafalda Hopkirk and Runcorn (who Hermione and Harry were impersonating) would have eventually showed up, and the Ministry would have been able to put two and two together and figure out that there were Polyjuiced intruders. But when you think about all that happened – the craziness by Umbridge’s office, Ron’s behavior toward Yaxley, Umbridge and Yaxley being Stunned, the melee in the Atrium as the Muggle-borns escaped, and so on – it would take a lot of people a lot of time to piece together exactly what had happened. And you have to wonder how much people like Arthur and Kingsley might have heard about what happened, and wondered who was behind it (especially with Moody’s eye going missing from Umbridge’s door….).
Even more than that, however, it’s in many ways lucky that Harry and Hermione helped the Muggle-borns escape. Why? Because the Ministry would undoubtedly conclude that helping Muggle-borns escape was the reason the intruders were there. Which is important because it’s absolutely critical Voldemort not find out who the intruders actually were, or the real reason they had come. And as it was, I bet he never even learned the intrusion had taken place. Sometimes Harry’s having his heart in the right place helps in out in more ways than he even realizes.
Finally, I do also wonder whether anybody ever figured out that it was Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Ministry. For one thing, there were three of them, and there can’t be too many possibilities for who would have the guts to pull off a stunt like that. For another, the Order knows that the trio is on a top-secret mission together. And for another, Harry and Hermione do call each other by their real names as things get crazy, and while they’re mostly only in front of the Muggle-borns who then escape, it’s possible someone else overheard. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kingsley put two and two together during the investigation and helped cover their tracks, the way he did two years previously for Sirius. And if any of the Muggle-borns figured out what was going on after hearing Runcorn and Mafalda refer to each other as “Harry” and “Hermione” – well, what a story they’d have to tell their children!

56 Responses to “The Thief”

  1. I liked the detail of the Deathly Hallows sign on Elspethelf’s picture. What would Voldemort have done if he knew that detail?
    One thing about the escape from the Ministry: why in the hell did’nt they think to Apparate at a different location if anything go wrong? That only proves how poor was their plan…

  2. I really hope Mr Weasley found out that it was the trio who broke into the Ministry and took Harry’s warning for what it was.

  3. I agree. I never understood why folks thought it was too much camping.

  4. I agree with Amy. I know up front it would’ve just felt like another threat from those in power but, after everything else that happened that morning, I hope he realized it was a legitimate concern and that he then would’ve taken extra care with everything he was up to.
    And, Josie, they did camp a lot. Granted, not every chapter takes place solely in the tent, but, MAN, they’re out in the woods and wandering for a really long time. And, while I always tell myself that my feelings of frustration are actually a sign that JKR is genius since that’s exactly what the Trio feel, I’m still upset that I’m frustrated. :D

  5. I have to say that I totally agree with you on the great job JKR did writing these books. I have read and re-read them probably between 7 and 10 times each, and when I start over it always amazes me how much planning she did for these books. Sure about 1/3 of book seven is a little longer to go through, but like you say, it is not supposed to be a breeze….

  6. Agree with you there, Josie – I mean, what did those who were comnplaining about the camping/slowness expect them to do – after all except for the OP who were being watched who else could they trust? And they certainly did not want to get anyone else into trouble – even Kreacher! They after all did not know what was happening in the outside world so had to keep to themselves. JKR did a magnificent job with all these books – I, like Maria, have read them many times and still occasionally suddenly realise that this fact in Book ? is relevant to something in Book 7. Yes, all the non-action parts were frustrating but isn’t that what good writers do? Bring the reader into the emotions of the character. I imagine the trio were every bit as frustrated as all of us. After all they didn’t have much to go on in the first place.

  7. I love Harry’s magnificent green eyes in robin edwards’s drawing ^_^

  8. You know, if you think about it, the ministry would be pretty humiliated to find that their new “Undesirable number 1” managed to pull off a stunt like that and get away with it. Can you imagine the field day the Daily Prophet would have? Or would they try to cover up, as to not encourage the antiVoldemort movement?

    This is why I liked it (in the new movie) they all lost their polyjuice potion. My reaction was like, “Ha! Take that Volde Supporters! Harry Potter was here and got away under your very noses!”

  9. I think JKR uses the non-action parts of her books very well. Besides giving the reader some emotional space between the intense scenes in the books, she also crams a wealth of detail into those slow stretches – so much that we don’t notice when she slips in a real clue.

    And I see that she’s still successfully hiding clues in plain sight. I thought she couldn’t possibly get away with that again after the vanishing cabinet in book 6 (“Did you see what Draco was pointing to?” “No, that cabinet was in the way.”). But she does it again in this chapter. Harry sees the thief jump out of the window with a wand and tells Ron that he doesn’t know what the thief stole, but it must have been something small. Did anyone realize, when reading this for the first time, that the thief had stolen the wand? I sure didn’t.

  10. Brilliant stuff in the “SYMNHN” section – I actually didn’t catch any f that. I guess I was so focused on the Trio I never thought back to the mayhem they left at the Ministry.

    Laura, I don’t see the Daily Prophet printing anything anti-Voldy – the editor doesn’t want to get killed, does he? It’s said in the next chapter that the Prophet is a rag not worth believing anymore, and that the only real news cna now be found in the Quibbler.

  11. I thought it interesting that Hermionie brought them to the woods where they held the Quidditch World Cup. So it’s a familiar place to them, in a way. I appreciated the quiet times following the intense moments that JKR does throughout the book. I also wonder if they fully appreciated the miracle they worked that day in the ministry, as they helped the muggleborns escape. The one thing that puzzled me about the trio, especially Hermionie, is that they could not change the mushrooms they found into something more sustaining. This should have fallen under basic transfiguration.

  12. GinGin4, I agree with your last point. According to Gamp’s Elemental Laws of Transfiguration, you can’t create food out of nowhere. But if they had the mushrooms, which theoretically count as food (do they?), then they should be able to multiply them, or engorgio them, or transfigure them into a mushroom pizza…

    What I wonder is how Muggleborns were treated after this event. Do you think that there was a lot of increased security for them? Do you think word leaked about all of this, and that gave lots of Muggleborns the clue that they should leave the country? On the whole, I do wish we could get DH from someone else’s perspective, I think it would be a fascinating story.

  13. I have also found it puzzling that Hermione has so much trouble transforming food. Maybe it’s a little like cooking, if you have never done it, it takes practice and some good instructions (like following a recipe)?

    Does anyone else wonder why Ron got splinched? If Hermione was doing side-along apparition, why did it cause a problem for Ron?

  14. Apparition is tricky if your head is not on the proper place, and Hermione had to do two Apparitions in a row since they were in trouble. In that confusion one of the three D’s failed: either Determination or Deliberation because the Destination ended up in the correct location.

  15. Considering the example of what happened to Susan Bones during the Apparition classes we might say that the trio even had some luck, just imagine if one of Ron’s arms was left back in London… I had a quick look at HBP and according to the Apparition professor splinching occurs when the mind is not sufficiently determined.

  16. About the cooking, with Hermione we take for granted how good she is at magic that we assume that she can swish her wand and transfigure objects into food. A good illustration of spells taking practice Rowling provides in ‘Goblet of Fire’, where it takes Harry chapters to learn the Summoning Charm we grew so accustomed to. I think Hermione can’t transfigure or do any other kind of food charms is because she never had a reason to learn and practice them, seeing that she was fed “three delicious meals a day, courtesy of Hogwarts house elves”.

  17. Good point about the mushroom thing. I always wondered why when they managed to get food they couldn’t just multiply it into a really large amount, even if it was all just fish or mushrooms or something. They probably weren’t risking starvation or anything, but Ron probably just got really sick of eating mushrooms. Again, why didn’t they transfigure it though? Maybe there are rules about transfiguring food…or it was just really hard (that seems like the best guess at the moment)…I’d like info on this though.

  18. Regarding the transfiguration of food: I think it has to do with experience, too. Give my mother and me the same ingredients and I will bet every day and twice on Sunday that her food will be better than mine! Although Herminone is “best at magic”, when would she have opportunity to practice cooking charms, transfiguration of food, etc? She can’t do magic at home, she can’t cook at school, and I bet she didn’t really think of that before they left on their trip. She is the sort that makes lists and lists and lists, and thinks of just about everything…and forgot to think of what they were going to do about food if they couldn’t pack any. Remember, they certainly didn’t know the Ministry was going to fall when it did, or that they weren’t going to be able to return to Grimmauld Place, or that they were going to be on the run quite as quickly as they were.

    I think her mind was a bit more focused on other magic. ;)

  19. about the frustration of camping: Josie, you said that they were only camping for 3 chapters, but if you think about it chonological, they practically camp the whole year, with just some action here and there… when the real action starts, at 2/3rds of the book, it all takes place in one day. Of course it’s supposed to make you feel as frustrated as the trio, but to say that they aren’t in the woods that much is a bit of an understatement…

    About the transfiguring food: Did anybody else feel as frustrated by the camping as that they did by Ron’s attitude? Again, it only shows JK’s suberb writing, but it also gave me a nagging feeling. Ron always seems to be the most flawed person of the three of them.. Hermione is great in spellwork and Ron is supposed to be the most loyal, but even that great attribute now suddenly seems flawed…

  20. Regarding the mushrooms. Remember when Hermione is explaining Gamp’s law that she says “you can increase the quantity of something if you’ve already got some” – to which Ron replies, “well don’t bother increasing this, it’s disgusting.” I don’t think changing a mushroom into a tomato to make, say, mushroom pizza is any more possible than turning a rock into a tomato; otherwise Hermione would have done it. To me there seem to be two problems contributing to her food: one is that she’s never learned to cook (cooking is much more an art than a skill, it’s presumably not taught at Hogwarts, and who would she ever have learned from?), and two is that her only ingredients are wild mushrooms. If you’ve ever eaten wild mushrooms, they are not like the farm-grown white mushrooms from the grocery store – their textures tend to be incredibly tough and rubbery, and they are generally used in very small amounts as a flavor enhancer. If you offered me an entire meal consisting of nothing else, created by the best chef in the world, I wouldn’t take it. Made by somebody who’s never cooked in her life, and who doesn’t have a recipe? Disaster.

  21. There’s mushrooms and mushrooms, some wild mushrooms taste like crap, some others after cooking look and taste almost like beef, but you also need to know what mushrooms to take, and dealing with wild mushrooms is entering a dangerous area, if you don’t know what you’re picking you could end up with indigestion or something worse… Even for a wizard the efect of eating a poisonous mushroom should be very nasty.

  22. I really think that would make a fantstic elective course at Hogwarts – magical cooking. It would certainly be fascinating, and knowing Hermione, she would have taken it.

    While we’re on the subject, why aren’t there more elective courses like that at Hogwarts? Another one I can think of would be healing spells, since Harry even says in the beginning of DH that it seemed like an important thing to skip in his education.

  23. @hpboy13: It really does seem that Hogwarts doesn’t teach its students some vital real world skills – just like most high schools don’t. I like the idea of having cooking as an elective. Far more practical than arithmancy! And it seems as though basic healing spells should be taught to every student as part of charms. The problem is, how on earth would the class practice the spells? Flitwick couldn’t injure students – or anyone – so that the class could practice healing them.

  24. hpboy13 and Billie, it reminds me of our world. You don’t learn to cook or practice medicine (or really much else practical) until you hit secondary education. Many times, not even then. It reminds me of the quote where Rowling said something along the lines of, she wanted Harry to enter this magical world and discover it has the exact same problems as the world he left behind.

  25. But Josie, isn’t Hogwarts supposed ot be primary AND secondary education – you know, junior high and high school? And Jo has also said that there are no wizarding colleges, the only post-Hogwarts education we hear of is Auror Training, and the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts. So what gives?

    And Billie, I see two potential solutions to practicing healing spells. One is to actually injure stdents for relatively minro things – you know, scrapes and the like. Otherwise, why not transfigure a chair into a person and practice on that?

  26. Re: Ron.

    It’s not that he’s the most flawed, but that he’s the least grown up. Hermione has always been rather mature, Harry grew up previous to this (i won’t argue exactly when he grew up the most), but Ron grows up in this book (in part when he returns, in mpart when he kills the horcrux).

    It’s the reason Jo didn’t kill Arthur in OP as she had originally planned – it would have forced Ron to grow up too soon in the story-line.

    Not that his behavior isn’t annoying – but it is perfectly understandalbe and forgivable.

    (sorry about any typing mistakes – don’t have my glasses with me)
    – m.

  27. hpboy13, I’m sorry but I can’t recall where you’re from – I was thinking of primary and secondary education both when I wrote the above. Even most college students in the US don’t get much practical training – thinking of the most common degrees of English and so forth. It would only be students in vocational school who train to be chefs, doctors, etc. who ever get any schooling on that type of thing at all. For everything else, you learn on the job, just like wizards do. Here, in the case of Healers (and Aurors), there is specific training built in – in my eyes, it sounds like university but structured differently. Home cooking skills and other “householdy” spells, as with Muggles, would simply have to be learned at home. It seems a bit unfair for Muggle-borns (not to mention the fact that *everybody* goes to boarding school), no? Who could teach them?

  28. In regards to cooking at school, we had design and technology in secondary school. It included woodwork, textiles, graphics and cooking. We would change each term from years 7 to 11 (or in Hogwarts years – 1 to 5). It didn’t add up to that much and we spent most of our time making cupcakes or pizza, learning about health and safety and how to make things healthier. Even so, it does exist in secondary schools in the UK.

  29. m.flanagan, I even question whether Ron is the least mature. We certainly see him at his worst here, even allowing for the Horcrux. But Hermione had pretty appalling social skills for the first few books, and when she did improve her capacity to convey interest in and warmth towards other people, she learned most of it from Ron! It’s just that at this stage in the storyline, social skills are not required, so Hermione shows to advantage. Perseverence is necessary here, and Ron has always had something of a tendency to give up if he’s bored.

    Sabila, I agree that Hermione probably can’t cook beyond the basics, but there’s also the issue of food groups. Even if she managed to produce enough mushrooms, they’re not a balanced diet by themselves, which is the reason you’d sicken of them if they were all you ever had. The body would be craving alternative nutrients.

    Regarding those British schools: Primary school is what we call the first seven years (ages 4-11). Secondary school is what we call the next seven years (ages 11-18). Tertiary education is what we call anything that happens after that (three years to the Bachelor’s degree; another three years to the PhD). Hogwarts is the parallel and parody of the British secondary school. Yes, it’s usual for Muggles to do a little of each practical skill and not learn much about any of them – my experience agrees with Amy’s. So it strikes me as quite normal that a wizarding school would overlook basic skills such as magical cookery and healing (“first aid”). Even if they were offered as options, they wouldn’t be taught in enough depth to be useful in real life.

  30. I’m from New York City, so all this primary/secondary thing is slightly confusing. We have elementary (age 4-11), junior high (11-14), high school (14-18), and college. But in my experience most high schools (the latter hald of Hogwarts is the equivalent) have some sort of Home Economics class or some elective for this type of thing. At my high school (which was a math and science school, mind you), we had an elective called “nutritional science” where kids learned to cook, and a lifeguard training course which involved first aid and CPR and so forth.

    I’m not saying teach them enough to become professional chefs or Healers, but a year-long, or even half-year-long course would do wonders. Maybe for sixth and seventh years, they should have the option of taking electives and not just NEWT classes (since I always wondered – what on earth did Fred and George do all day if they only received 3 OWLs each?).

  31. When I was in junior high school (grade 6-9, ages 11-13 or 14, roughly) we had home economics (sewing and cooking) and shop (wood and metal working) however, that was in the 1970’s and in Iowa. I now live in Texas and have 2 kids in elementary (grades K-5), 1 in middle school (grades 6-8), and 1 in high school (grades 9-12). None of them have home economics as an elective option, but in a near-by district, high school kids can take classes in culinary arts. In the US, each state and often each school district (think city) decides what will be offered and when. So in the US there is not much standardization except everyone takes English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Electives vary greatly.

  32. hpboy13: “what on earth did Fred and George do all day if they only received 3 OWLs each?”

    I’m guessing they alternated between making mayhem and thinking up more mayhem. =p

    Seriously, F&G’s 6th and 7th years were Harry’s 4th and 5th. In 6th year a lot of their time was probably spent trying to get their money back from Bagman, hitting on random Beauxbatons girls (unless Fred was hitting on Angelina full time), and working on their secret joke shop project. In 7th year they were working on WWW full time… At least until they decided to make hell for Umbridge their top priority. And then, of course, they left.

    Actually, F&G always seem up to so many things, that the only explaination on how they managed to make time for it all is that they were only taking three classes!! (so from my POV, the problem actually works backwards)

  33. My sense was it wasn’t that F & G only took three classes, it was that they only PASSED 3 OWLs. For obvious reasons. :)

  34. We need to remember that in book 6, Snape tells Draco that Crabbe and Goyle had better pass their Defense Against the Dark Arts OWLs this time around, implying that they were still taking DADA even though they’d flunked their OWLs the previous year. So we can’t use the fact that Fred & George only got three OWLs to guess how many subjects they were taking in their sixth year.

  35. Who teaches Muggleborns to cook? Well, we only hear about Charms Club when it interferes with Quidditch practice, so who knows what other fun activities might exist? And even the rather ethereal Dumbledore knows enough about ovens to appreciate that cleaning them is no easy task, with or without magic – hence the Dragon’s Blood.

    But who would really teach Muggleborns? How about their friends’ parents? Fleur’s mother knows a lot of household magic, and Molly is the cook of every boarding-school pupil’s dreams. If Hermione hadn’t been so busy with other activities, she could have picked up a lot during the holidays. As it is, she knows enough to know that what Molly does isn’t easy, but no more.

  36. I imagine there being cooking clubs, reading clubs etc. just like the gobstone club and duelling club in Hogwarts.

    Harry, Hermione en Ron were just too busy having adventures to join those clubs.

  37. Anna1: the fact that F&G only passed 3 OWLs is not an indication of how many OWLs (= 1st through 5th year classes) they took but of how many classes they were allowed to take AFTER that (6th and 7th year), ’cause you can’t go on to NEWT’s level if you didn’t get your OWL.

    Billie: I’m pretty sure Crabbe & Goyle were FORCED to re-take DADA in their 6th year (either by their parents or simply because they flunked everything and their choice was either take some classes and OWLs again or drop out).
    But I’m guessing the choice whether to try again for a specific OWL or not is ultimately a pupil’s choice and I’m prepared to bet that F&G had no interest whatsoever in doing it: they kept up appearances only for their mum’s sake but once they had the funds and merchandise for the joke shop they had no interest in staying at Hogwarts any more. I’m guessing students in England are allowed to drop out after their OWLs equivalent and find a job if they’re fed up with school and aren’t interested in college and the careers that can only be reached through college. (in Italy, you can legally work after you turn 14 and school is mandatory until 16, but you can only go to college if you’ve taken the huge, final “maturity” exam, which you get at the end of high school — 13th grade, basically — when you’re 19. If you’re not interested in the final diploma, you can join the workforce as early as 16… Just as if you’d left Hogwarts after your OWLs.)

  38. Yeah, what I got out of Crabbe and Goyle retaking DADA is that they were in a sense left back – like Marcus Flint. I also think that Hogwarts students can drop out after OWLs – like Fred and George, or the Trio. We have the same system as Italy here in New York, where you can work after 14, and after 16 you can drop out of school, but you can still go to college if you take the SAT or some equivalent.

    And my question isn’t what Fred and George did with their time, but how they were allowed this much free time. If the NEWTS classes meet let’s say twice a week, that would make Fred and George pretty much the equivalent of part-time college students here.

  39. Despite the fact that Hogwarts is in Scotland, its exams, and indeed the whole magical education system, closely mirrors the system in England and Wales, which differs from Scotland in several respects.

    For the benefit of foreign readers, I will briefly explain the English system. “Secondary” school is from age 11 to age 18, but is only compulsory up to 16 – to be more exact, the end of the month of June following your 16th birthday, unless like Harry your birthday falls in July or August in which case its the end of June preceding the 16th birthday (this is beacuse the academic year starts in September).

    Until about 1987 the public exams taken at the end of compulsory education were either GCE “Ordinary” levels (“O Levels”) or the less academic (supposedly more vocational) CSEs. The name of “OWL”s is obviously a nod at the “O levels”. Like me, JKR is of the generation that took these, but both qualifications have now been replaced by the GCSE. One would usually take about nine subjects at GCE or GCSE. Each subject is passed or failed independently of the others (unlike the pre-1951 School Certificate, which required a pass mark in several subjects).

    Those who stay at school after 16, are known as “Years 12 and 13”, (counting from the beginning of primary school at age 5), or the “Sixth Form”, (even though, unlike the lower “forms” at secondary school, it lasts two years). The qualification taken at age 18 (analagous to the Hogwarts “NEWT”) is the GCE “A” (Advanced) level. Most students take only three of these. (This is the most significant difference from the Scottish system, where “Highers” are taken in five subjects, at age 17).

    Most English university undergraduate courses last three years, students usually graduating when they are 21.

    An innovation in the 1960s was to have three levels of school, changing at about age 9 and again at 13 instead of the convnetional usual single change at 11 and some areas of England (Northumberland, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and the Isle of Wight,) still have this arrangement.

    Many private schools also switch at 13: their feeder schools (for 9-13 year olds) are known as “preparatory” schools, familar to readers of Anthony Buckeridge’s “Jennings” stories. Smeltings (the alma mater of Dursley pere et fils) was probably such a “prep” school, as Dudley went there at age 11.

    (Until 1972 you could leave school at 15, a year before you would have taken your O levels/CSEs)

  40. When Hermione tells Harry she brought Yaxley within the Fidelius charm’s protection, Harry thinks “Even now, he could be bringing other Death Eaters in there by Apparition.” But I don’t think so. I don’t know if Rowling intended them to be wrong, but it seems that they are. When Dumbledore died, everyone he told the location of 12 Grimmauld Place to, became a secret-keeper, including the trio. Hermione shows it to Yaxley, but that doesn’t make him a secret-keeper! The only way somebody new can become a secret-keeper from this point is if anyone Dumbledore told 1) tells someone else AND 2) dies. You obviously have to be a secret-keeper to bring someone in by Apparition, otherwise it would defeat the purpose of the Fidelius charm. Am I missing something here?

  41. Will, I hadn’t thought about it before, but I’m fairly sure you’re right. The protection isn’t ‘broken,’ there’s just one more person in on the secret. Surely the three of them could take Yaxley by surprise, under the Invisibility Cloak he’s not aware of, in a building they know and he doesn’t, and overpower him… right?

    Oh, Rowling bending her own rules to make the plot work. Not the first time in this book, of course (see: seven Potters).

  42. Interesting theory, but when Yaxley is brought to the house accidentally and sees the house, is that not him more or less being told of it’s existence and location, and therefore becoming a secret keeper thus allowing him to tell the other Death Eaters? Or does he have to be told verbally by a current secret keeper?

  43. Heath, I think only the secret-keepers can tell the location of the house – isn’t that the point? Harry, Ron, and Hermione *become* secret-keepers due to Dumbledore’s death, but Yaxley wouldn’t have had anything like that. He knows the location of the house now, and can always get back in, but he won’t have the ability to tell anyone else.

  44. has anyone ever noticed that when they were learning to apparate susan bones splinched herself and lost a leg but there is no talk of blood or gore and it says that she just looked silly
    ive always wondered why her losing a leg wasn’t a big deal when ron losing a little piece of arm was

  45. re: electives

    I always thought the most unfortunate “missing” electives at Hogwarts were language classes, like mermish and gobbledegook. We can only assume Dumbledore and Crouch were self-taught.

  46. Since we’re talking about school, what happened to Katie Bell? In HBP, she was sent to Mungo’s in winter? and came back close to summer. There’s no way she could have just gone on to next year or passed school if she was a 7th year. I wonder if she was at Hogwarts in this book.

    @dragon It’s possible the Great Hall was under enchantments during the apparition tests to prevent a gory mess, or it’s possible that the teachers got there really, really fast, and fixed the problem immediately.

    Also, Josie, the summary says “a woods”? I know I’m being nit-picky, but I think it would be “a wood”. I suppose it could be argued either way, but it seems awkward to say.

  47. I feel like the cooking thing is in fact a matter of practice and skill. Rowling makes a point to say that Molly’s cooking is excellent and despite the fact that they have very little money and seven children, they are always well fed. In all the times Mrs. Weasley requests that the kids perform tasks, none of them have to do with the actual food. It therefore makes a lot of sense that none of the kids are particularly good at it (Hermione makes food just fine the muggle way). The only thing that surprises me about this is that Hermione doesn’t have a book on the subject. ;)

  48. In response to @Josiah about Katie Bell. I believe she appears at the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of the book.

  49. On not being able to conjure food. I have a major issue with this. While I can see why you shouldn’t, I can’t see why you couldn’t. You shouldn’t because, as the magic is part of your energy, you’re using your energy to make food to give you energy. Doesn’t really work out well that way, but in that respect, I can’t why you couldn’t.

    Well, we’re told you can’t. Except…You can conjure flowers (presumably other plants as well, but flowers are edible enough for this argument), you can conjure birds (remember the little feathery bullets Hermione attacked Ron with in the last book?), you can conjure water. You can transfigure animals into pincushions, teacups, and water goblets, so turn the table into a pig and have a cook out.

    Take your cauldron and, “Aquamenti!”, it’s full of water, “Incendio!”, there’s a roaring fire under it, and, “Avis!”, you’ve got a nice canary stew going. Add wild mushrooms to taste. Simmer, stirring occassionally until the meat is fork tender. Serves six.

  50. I agree with Jose on this. It surely seems disconcerting for readers like me to know that the trio hadn’t thought of where to go, in case something wrong happens and a Ministry official tails them. Like what I mentioned on the previous chapter, their plan, though a huge wondrous feat, has a lot of gaping holes. The trio hadn’t thought of all the possible leeways of their plan. And for Harry and Hermione to call each other by their proper names while disguised, well, I can only say that their stealth skills are a tad bit disappointing. Though, I do commend them for accomplishing much of their plan, to think that they are only teenagers who are still supposed to be in school. ;)

  51. Some of the early comments imply that Josie posted something about the amount of camping that the trio did (and the readers’ response to it) on this page, but I can’t find that statement; just the Ministry’s probsble response to their break-in. Was that part taken down (though I can’t see why Josie would have done that)?

  52. Todd, I wish I had a better response for you, but I truthfully don’t remember what happened to the original comment. I do occasionally alter pages or even delete things I wrote altogether when commenters change my mind on a subject; it seems I must have done that here, though I have no memory of it. :)

  53. Josie, As I recall your camping comments were made on one of your early updates blog when you first put up your thoughts about this chapter. I think they were something about how the trio seemed to be camping for a long time, even though there were only a few actual chapters devoted to them camping.

  54. Ahh, of course, thanks Pam! I didn’t think of that. Here’s the link:

  55. Happy to help! It’s what l get for being a librarian (know how to find things, well most of the time, now if I could only find my glasses…;-)

  56. Hey, was pondering all of your comments about “wizard cookery” classes. I believe if there were such a thing, that Hermione would not be interested at all.

    I’ve always considered cooking to be a sort of art form and Hermione seems to be more interested in logic than creativity.
    Even Trelawny points this out (somewhat) in the third book.

    I believe the idea that Hermione isn’t great at cookery fits very well with her personality type. Kind of like how she doesn’t like Divination because it forces her to think outside of her square of logic.

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