The Goblin’s Revenge

chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The trio travels around Britain, desperately seeking leads for more Horcruxes. Finally, they happen to overhear a conversation among wizards, where they learn that Ginny tried to steal the sword of Gryffindor from Snape’s office – and when Hermione asks Phineas Nigellus about it, they discover that Dumbledore used the sword to destroy Horcruxes. This triumph doesn’t cheer Ron up, however, and he soon confronts Harry over how slowly things are moving, and then storms out on his friends.

Mad-Eye's Tree, by Katrina 'Rohanelf' Young

Early next morning… Harry left the tent to search the woods around them for the oldest, most gnarled, and resilient-looking tree he could find. There in its shadow he buried Mad-Eye Moody’s eye and marked the spot by gouging a small cross in the bark with his wand. It was not much, but Harry felt that Mad-Eye would have much preferred this to being stuck on Dolores Umbridge’s door.


Hunting for Horcruxes, by Vizen

This was their first encounter with the fact that a full stomach meant good spirits; an empty one, bickering and gloom.

(by Vizen)


The Goblin's Revenge, by Laurence Peguy

“Dean and I are still missing something here,” said Ted.
“So is Severus Snape, though he does not know it,” said Griphook, and the two goblins roared with malicious laughter.


Harry and Hermione Seek the Aid of Phineas Nigellus Black's Portrait, by Drew Graham

Phineas Nigellus… had at last managed to locate the exit…. “Professor Snape has more important things on his mind than the many eccentricities of Albus Dumbledore. Good-bye, Potter!”


The Goblin's Revenge, by Hannah-Dora

Harry looked around. For one bewildered moment he thought that Ron had left the tent, then realized that Ron was lying in the shadow of a lower bunk, looking stony. “Oh, remembered me, have you?” he said.


The Big Fight, by Behindtheveil

“All right, I’ll spit it out. Don’t expect me to skip up and down the tent because there’s some other damn thing we’ve got to find. Just add it to the list of stuff you don’t know.”


Just Some Kids, by Pen-umbra

“It’s all right for you two, isn’t it, with your parents safely out of the way -“
“My parents are
dead!” Harry bellowed.
“And mine could be going the same way!” yelled Ron.
“Then GO!” roared Harry. “Go back to them, pretend you’ve got over your spattergroit and Mummy’ll be able to feed you up….”


Ron's Departure, by Cambryn

Harry stood quite still and silent, listening to [Hermione] sobbing and calling Ron’s name amongst the trees. After a few minutes she returned, her sopping hair plastered to her face.
“He’s g-g-gone! Disapparated!”
She threw herself into a chair, curled up, and started to cry.

(by Cambryn)


about the chapter


Harry has gotten into fights with both of his friends before (or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that Ron has…), but none of them have stung quite like Ron’s departure from Harry and Hermione. This time it’s not a silly squabble about pets, or jealousy over someone getting attention, or a quarrel over boyfriends and girlfriends. Instead, Ron is choosing to leave his friends – figuratively at first, and then literally – when they are most in need of him. Dumbledore said that defeating Voldemort rested on Harry’s shoulders; and Harry is well aware of how badly he needs his friends. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that Ron’s departure in this moment would leave a mark on his friendships for the rest of his life, no matter how (or when) their dispute is resolved. And I feel the pain that all three friends must be feeling every time I read the fight. It would be hard for any of the trio to get much lower than they’re feeling right now.

The Boy Who Lived

It’s interesting that Dean, with no knowledge that Harry is listening, supports Harry in front of his fellow wizards, saying that he believes Harry truly is “the Boy Who Lived.” Harry and Dean were never close, and you have to wonder what Dean and Seamus’s conversations about their roommate must have been like over the years. But Dean joined Dumbledore’s Army (even when Seamus wouldn’t), and was certainly always friendly to Harry. Even now, after Harry basically stole his girlfriend, he remains loyal to a friend who he believes is fighting for what’s right. He must have had a fascinating vantage point from which to watch Harry Potter’s story unfold. If he ever wrote a tell-all memoir, I’d line up to buy it. ;)


There are moments in any story when coincidences have to happen to push the plot along, and in many ways it’s an accepted part of literature – there are simply times when an author needs one of his or her characters to know something, and has to come up with a fairly convincing way to deliver the information, even if the way they learn the information doesn’t exactly fit with the story line. In the Harry Potter books, for the most part this is done brilliantly (think of Nicolas Flamel on the chocolate frog card, for example). But there’s one moment that always pushes me beyond the limits of my willing suspension of disbelief – and it’s in this chapter, when the trio *just happens* to (a) run into wizards in the middle of nowhere; and then (b) happen to overhear those wizards’ conversation about the one piece of information they need to know. The odds against this happening are laughably, astronomically small (in the realms that a human brain is incapable of comprehending, so I can’t even come up with a good analogy. They’re like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy small). The moment those wizards appear on the scene always makes me cringe when I read it. Yet somehow Harry had to find out about that sword….

49 Responses to “The Goblin’s Revenge”

  1. Nice thoughts on Dean Thomas.

  2. Even if they hadn’t found about the sword in this chapter, they eventually would have got the real sword from the silver doe. Dumbledore had got it planned pretty well considering the circumstances. Of course, the chance element helps Harry too much throughout the series, and greatest in this book(that fight with malfoy, narcissa and much more).

  3. Earlier in this book, Hermoine states that she got Dumbledore’s books on Horcuxes. Why no research on her part to learn more on how to destroy them or even to use this as the plot vehicle to bring the sword into the story? Also, the trio / duo still had problems getting food — here their overheard guests used the summoning charm to get the salmon. That appears to be a lesson unlearned by our heros — summon small game and edible plants. I understand and support the reluctance to steal food, hence Hermoine leaving money. It adds to the moral lessons of the series.

    Ron’s leaving always hurts whenever I read it. The explanations (Horcrux effects & hunger) are most believable. It makes the return/redemption much more special — Ron & Harry are stronger for the separation.

  4. I love that one flash of red in Behindtheveil’s black-and-white drawing…

  5. Yes, Dumbledore keeping the sword a secret was an unnecessary bit of subterfuge that could easily have gone wrong. The trio found out purely by chance that the sword could destroy Horcruxes. He should have told Harry when they were last with one another in his office – “Harry, incase I don’t make it back, I want you to have the sword of Gryffindor, which is the only artefact I have that can destroy Horcruxes.” This part of Deathly Hallows reads like a game of Dungeons and Dragons with an inept games master. Nothing happens except by a completely random dice roll.

  6. Vizen’s Ron threw me off because he resembled how I picture Bill. :) And the goblin portrait is perfect.

    Love your thoughts on Dean Thomas. He’s a good kid and I’m glad that he was able to stand up for Harry with strangers and, even harder, to his friends.

    Reminds me–Ron and Harry were best friends and Dean and Seamus were always together, so did Neville just hang out alone or has anyone noticed that he has friends in books 1 – 4?

  7. This is a rather sad chapter.
    Excellent art.

  8. I hated reading when Ron left for the first time. I had to speed up reading to make sure he came back. With all that was happening it’s no wonder I read it in less than a day.

  9. I never got over Ron’s storming out. It was natural and we had been prepared for it (the Trio have quarrelled among themselves rather too often to be entirely convincing as unshakeable allies) but it still detracted from Ron as a hero. Later we discover that his anger was over in a matter of hours and he “tried to come back” on the same day… But it was never quite convincing. I think JKR meant us to understand that he really did want to come back, but those weeks in Shell Cottage kept him just a little too safe for heroism.

    Yes, I agree the meeting with the goblins was too much of a coincidence. Dumbledore did leave the Trio a hint about the Sword: he apparently left it to them in his will. But he needed to give a stronger hint, so they could actually work out the clue without input from third parties. I was always rather glad to know about Dean Thomas and Ted Tonks, but there would have been less coincidental ways to find out about them: for example, the Trio could have read about their disappearances in the Daily Prophet, then heard more about it on Potterwatch. Meeting Dean & friends in person was more fun to read than these ways would have been, but it simply wasn’t convincing as a likely event. The encounter wouldn’t have been likely even if it HADN’T resulted in Harry learning what he needed to know.

    Natalia, I think Neville was pretty much alone up to the time he raided the Department of Mysteries. That’s the point. His extraordinary courage grows despite his rarely receiving any support from anyone.

  10. @Gary: Hermione couldn’t have possibly found out about the sword in books. The sword only became capable of destroying Horcruxes after Harry stabbed the Basilisk to death 4.5 years before, when it absorbed the Basilisk venom.
    What she did found in books was about the venom itself, however at the time they failed to make the connection with the sword – maybe because they didn’t know about Dumbledore’s will at the time.

  11. I think Neville might have hung out with Dean and Seamus, he probably just wasn’t as clost to them as they were to each other.
    I don’t think he was alone the whole ime, because Harry and Hermione would’ve noticed and maybe been kinder to him.

  12. We have certainly seen elsewhere that magic seems to transcend the borders of reason. I was always puzzled yet delighted, in the GOF cemtery scene when Harry’s parents appeared to him. They were not simply the ghost of a previous spell, they actally helped Harry escape from Voldemort. In this case it appears that someone is assisting the trio. There is help coming from some source, guiding them in their quest. After all, the very fact that Harry lived was, in itself, a supernatural occurance and now he is charged with vanquishing the monster that is destroying the world. Harry himself told Riddle that Dumbledore will never be gone to those who are loyal to him.

  13. This chapter and subsequent discussion has brought up many points that I have spent hours debating with my friends. First and foremost, this was the part of the books that made me hate Ron – I just never got over what a douchebag Ron was here.

    You bring up a good point about Dean’s perspective on all of this – it would be rather fascinating. But this isn’t the coincidence that most bothers me in DH – it’s when Harry and Hermione don’t say “Voldemort” for months after this. Knowing that they both say the name without issue, and they are on a mission to destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes (meaning they would have to discuss them quite a lot), I just never bought that neither one of them ever said the name and activated the Tabo.

  14. I don’t think that Neville was really perceived positively by most Hogwarts students until his seventh year, when he became the leader of the resistance.

    When I read after book 7 that Neville eventually married Hannah Abbott, I was surprised. But it makes absolute sense that he would have married a Hufflepuff who was in his year at school. They were the people who always saw Neville at his best, sharing Herbology classes with the Griffindors. Hannah knew Neville from Herbology and the D.A., so she probably always thought well of him.

  15. I knew there was something I wanted to comment about this time, thanks hpboy13 for reminding me what it was: the transition from Grimmaud Place, where Voldemort’s name was constantly brought into conversation, and now where is name is never mentioned…

  16. I don’t understand how JK had to let Ron storm out. On one hand, she tries to tell us, that where Hermione is helpfull and motherly, Ron is loyal to Harry no matter what. However, it is his most loyal friend that is storming out of the tent right now… I get that it’s because of the locket, but like some other readers, I always get the nagging feeling that Ron is “disposable” and more flawed than Hermione. It annoys me, is all I’m trying to say.
    However, I don’t think something like that can damage their friedship forever, Josie. Harry isn’t one to hold a grudge, I think.

  17. Yes, Voldemort’s name is a big issue. But I think JK explains it rather well, first with Ron being really annoying about it (the “show the guy some respect” line is… Something I hardly know how to describe. Funny? Weird? Deep? Stupid? …?!), then with the Duo keeping up the nicknames out of habit. I think they even address the fact later on, that it was a small, subconscious way for them to pretend Ron hadn’t left or something… Or maybe they just say they had become accustomed to “you-know-who” and I’m injecting the psycoanalysis. =p

    I agree with the scene in this chapter being the biggest coincidence of all, besides all the little things that come together just so that Harry survives in the end, and Voldemort doesn’t. But I disagree that the point of the encounter was to have Harry learn about the Sword: as it has been said, the Trio knew Dumbledore had tried to give them the Sword and it was only a matter of time before the Silver Doe would find them. Even if by that point they hadn’t known about the Basilisk’s venom strenghtening the Sword, I’m pretty sure they would have tried it on the locket.
    The point of the whole “coincidence” was rather to have the Trio (and us!!) learn a bit of what was going on at Hogwarts, and with Neville, Luna and Ginny in particular, so that Ron would have an ultimate reason to snap.

    As a hardcore Snape fan, I have to add: it’s a fact that every time Snape is made fun of or slighted, things are never as they are portrayed and Snape actually ends being a better person or at least a step in front of everyone else!! Like here: the goblins make fun of him not knowing that the sword in Gringotts is a fake when in fact Snape MADE that fake. =p
    (sorry, I had to indulge in some Snape!love)

  18. Something you may not have noticed:

    Harry, Ron and Hermione should have figured out, that there is something odd with Snape.

    Snape was able to enter the headmaster´s office, while Umbridge, who gained headmastership by coup d´etat, was barred the way to it.

    And that Snape had punished Neville, Luna and Ginny very mildly for a serious offence, is also suspicious, since in previous years he had punished Neville more severely just for failing in classes.

  19. @ Johny Muggle

    Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought that Goblin made armor/weapons were infused with the venom upon creation? Not that it absorbed it later, since the sword never had direct contact with the venom (Harry stabbed the snake through the roof of it’s mouth).

  20. Never mind. According to the lexicon I’m wrong… Apparently I don’t remember things as well as I thought… grr

  21. kim, I don’t think that Harry would hold a grudge against Ron – after all, Ron’s returning made a pretty big impact on him, too. But I do think there are some actions, like this, that you just never forget. And subtly, Ron’s relationship with Harry (and his relationship with Hermione) would just always have that there. I think of it like a spouse that cheats on their partner – fifty years later, everyone can have been totally clean, the partner can have completely forgiven the action, and so forth, but it’s just always… there. And the relationship will never be quite what it was prior to that. It could even be stronger, thanks to other things, or thanks to the way everyone reacted to the unfaithfulness – but subtly, yet importantly, it’s still different from what it was before. Does that help explain?

  22. Weri, I wish you were right about that, but I don’t think so. I think we’re meant to understand that Neville is always a loner; Hermione, and later Ginny, are the only people who sometimes make time for him.

    Neville is a kind of test character for all the other players. The way any character treats Neville reveals the truth about that character’s real attitude to the whole human race. Harry’s attitude, for example, greatly improves as he matures.

    We just don’t SEE Neville with Dean & Seamus. We usually see him alone, and I think that’s deliberate.

  23. I love your thoughts on Dean Thomas; I find it particularly interesting that Dean was originally going to play a much larger role in the books (on par with Neville, Luna and Ginny).

    Also, I think Neville wasn’t alone, per se but just awkwardly floated between Seamus & Dean and Harry & Ron.

    Also, I agree with Marco’s comments on Snape.

  24. Marco: I agree with you on Snape’s actions being somewhat questionable. Yet, the Trio has spent six and a half solid years thinking the worst of Snape, no matter how much things proved him innocent or how many times Dumbledore said he trusted him: that Snape has just killed Dumbledore himself certainly won’t help them putting things into perspective.

    About the Head’s Office not shutting down for Snape as it did for Umbridge: if they ever considered it, they might have just gotten to the conclusion that with Umbridge Dumbledore might have had something to do with it. With Snape, he’s not there to prevent him getting in anymore. It could also be argued that the Office not letting Umbridge in might have showed alliegiance to the true Headmaster, while there’s no one else but Snape to take office once Dumbledore is dead: there’s no more legitimate candidate. Yet one could say that the Office might still defend a previous Head by barring entrance to his/her killer.
    Regarding that, anyways, if it had been me in the Trio’s shoes I would have spent a few precious minutes imagining how things must have been between Snape and Dumbledore’s portrait.

  25. Irene, I disagree with your statement that there’s no one to take the office other than Snape. The most likely candidate to the job would be Minerva McGonagall, being Deputy Headmistress. Snape’s choice for the job was only due to the Voldemort’s rise to power (only that ascension to power prevented Snape from being a wanted wizard for killing Dumbledore).

  26. Jose Lopes, McGonagall is the most likely candidate, btu as I understand it the office would only seal itself if the rightful Headmaster was still alive and well. So while McGonagall may have been the rightful successor, she was never actually the Headmistress, so the office wouldn’t recognize Snape as an imposter. Hope that makes sense…it did in my head.

  27. I wished Dean had played a more important role in the series. It really does seem like he was supposed to. There is a lot of backstory about his family in the first book,he was paired up with Harry in Charms(Harry couldn’t be with Ron for plot reason, but until that point Dean almost didn’t exist) and at some point in the drafts, he accompanied the Trio + Neville in the Midnight Duel chapter. It would have been vary natural for Harry to bond with the only other muggle-raisedboy because first, everything was as new to him as it was to Harry and because Dean hasn’t grown up hearing Harry’s name as a legend, so he doesn’t expect Harry to live up to his name. Another interesting point is that Dean, just like Voldemort, was a half-blood raised by muggles who were unaware of his true nature and also wonders whether his father was a wizard (which, in his case, it’s true).

  28. Martin, I agree. Dean is, along with Seamus, Lavender and Parvati, one of my favorite characters.
    And grace has victory…we don’t really see Neville at all, do we? I don’t recall any scenes where he is alone. we just see him in class.

  29. I think the way JKR story-tells, you don’t notice how unlikely it is that the trio came across a group of magical beings. Now that you mention it, it does seem unlikely – but how often do things like this happen in books? The answer is: all the time.

  30. I always thought there was a chance they would meet other refugees, I don’t have a problem with that. There are more people on the run, hiding in forests. However, I agree it’s véry coincidental those people and goblins formed a group ánd shared info that was useful for Harry.

  31. There are no such thing as perfect friendships. People, including wizards and witches are imperfect beings. I admire the way Harry and Hermionie put up with Ron before he stormed out. I agree the horcrux contributed to the way Ron was acting but his selfish, self-centered ways were always there. So the horcrux merley enhanced his behavior. Ron does own up to this later and repents his actions, and Harry forgives him straight away, as he always has. Everyone screws up sometmes. The important thing is to forgive and move on.

  32. I agree that coincidences happen all the time in literature, thats one of the reasons we read it. And they have been wondering for weeks and this is the first time they overhear anyone else hiding out. There have got to be many who are hiding, 3 different groups happen to meet. I can except it.

    I do wonder why the didn’t think to pull out the portrait before this though.

    And as far as Ron goes, some poeple have to make a big mistake to grow, we all grow from our mistakes and considering, he is a slower at growing, he needed a push. Plus we need to find out the reason he got the deluminator right.

  33. The trio’s time out follows classical epic archetypes. The hero wanders in the wilderness before committing to the heroic act. I forget whty, guess it’s time to read Campbell again. Ron’s departure is also common, someone usually leaves when the hero is doubting his abilities only to show up at the right time. Yay, we are OK! Doubt is eliminated and off we go to kill the dragon/blow up the death star/deal with evil. It also serves to remind the hero that his allies are not just extensions of himself. It’s not just about you, Luke/Siddhartha/Harry!

  34. I find it interesting in this chapter that Harry marks a cross on the tree – when just a few chapters ago you talking about how even with the funeral and wedding, there is no real indication if wizards are religious. The cross is one of the most common religious symbols, and I find it clever on Rowling’s part that she can incorporate the idea, without centering out one specific religion.

  35. I never bought the explanation for why they had to wear the locket around their necks all the time. Why not just put it in Hermione’s beaded bag? It’s not like they didn’t store other valuable things in there.

    Also, I’ve always thought that the sword had the ability to destroy Horcruxes even before it absorbed the Basilisk venom, since it was so old and magical, made by goblins and belonged to Gryffindor.

  36. I’ve always thought the one glaring flaw in Deathly Hallows was that so much was left to chance. Granted there was a little bit of luck in every book but this one takes it too far. Meeting other refugees doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the Silver Doe finding Harry. How on earth was Snape going to find him if Hermione hadn’t decided to take Phineas’s portrait with them on a whim?

  37. On the Trio running into the others, it’s a coincidence…sort of. I mean, they’re wandering around the countryside for a long while, so you’d imagine they’d run into some others in hiding eventually. Britain isn’t exactly a big place. And, if the things they were talking about happened recently, and since both groups (humans and goblins) are against the Dark Lord and his regime at the Ministry and Hogwarts, of course they’re going to share tales of the heroics of the resistance and the failings of the Death Eaters.

  38. Josie, given your reference towards the end of your thoughts on the high coincidences of this chapter, can we posit a crossover and say it happened because of the Infinite Improbability Drive? On a more in-universe note, perhaps the bank they went to was a place Hermione and Dean both knew from being told about it by Lavender as a secluded holiday spot? Now, excuse me while I clutch at a straw.

  39. @Lesharo: Britain’s a big enough place. It’s not like being on a small island like, say, Nauru: on an island big enough to accommodate 55 million residents, it still counts as enough of a coincidence as to be implausible enough for there to be scope for a coincidence-reducing explanation. I like your point about sharing tales of resistance.

  40. Yeah, Lesharo, here are some numbers to show what I’m talking about:
    Say the trio can hear anybody talking within fifty yards of their tent (that’s half a football field, being pretty generous, I think). So they’re basically in the center of a 50yd-radius circle, where they can hear anybody within the circle. Divide by the area of Britain, and there are around 35 million such areas in the country. There are only a few thousand wizards in Britain altogether, so how many groups can there be on the run? A few dozen, at most? If you assume four dozen, that works out to running into somebody about once every 2000 years.

    And that’s without considering the percentage of that group’s time they spend talking about information that’s useful to the trio. We’re definitely talking Improbability Drive type numbers.

  41. You’re definitely right about the huge improbability thing in here, Josie. I do remember how the impossibility of that bugged me over and over, whenever I go back to reading this chapter.

    Sad to say, no one need have wondered why my overall opinion on Ron’s character dropped a few notches here. Something about his persistent moaning and whining annoyed me, since both Hermione and Harry aren’t complaining and are trying their best to cope with the situation. Plus, his personal comfort mattered more than his friendship with Harry and his promise to the latter that he’d help. It’s good to see that they’d fix things up later but what happened here in this chapter will, sadly, never fail to disfigure my general outlook regarding Ron, for subsequent readings to come.

  42. just remember that Ron was only acting like that because he was wearing the locket for a long time and he was probably hungry too. I always thought that he was affected the mot by the locket of the three so that’s why he couldn’t handle it.

  43. One of my favorite comments about “Deathly Hallows” was in a forum where somebody remarked that the locket’s effect on the trio seemed a lot like the One Ring in “The Lord of the Rings” – followed by “Of course! The One Ring was Sauron’s Horcrux!” (Well, it followed a different set of rules, but was based on the same concept: an inanimate object containing the life-force of an evil wizard.)

  44. I think rtozier is onto something with the idea that both Dean and Hermione had heard a classmate talking about the place. That might not be the explanation, but I definitely think that the two groups’ selection of that hiding place wasn’t entirely random. If they apparated there, they had to concentrate on a specific location to apparate to, like “Forest of Dean” or “woods where the World Cup was held.” No one would be able describe in their mind 35 million different locations in Britain, so the chances of two groups going to the same general location is much better than one in 35 million.

    Wizards on the run from the ministry also need to apparate to unpopulated places, which eliminates most of Josie’s 35 million areas right there. Perhaps this hiding place is in a National Park – or the British equivalent of a National Park. A nature preserve that is open to the public for some limited recreational use. If so, it would be an unpopulated area that had a name, and its name might be familiar to many people, especially people like Hermione, Dean and Ted Tonks, who were all raised by muggles.

  45. @Todd: Lol! I’ve had a similar thought but not in that exact wording. :)

  46. What bothers me much more than the running into other magical people is the fact that Dean & Co never thought of casting any protective spells around them.

  47. Josie, and others, yes, those coincidences are coincidental. You keep citing or imagining long odds against an occurrence, as if that means those things CAN’T happen. Well, long odds don’t mean the odds are zero. Things do happen despite the long odds against them occurring.

    But I think the odds are increased in a few ways. There are some people on the run besides the trio, probably besides Dirk Cresswell, Ted Tonks, Dean Smith, and the goblins Griphook and Gornuk. Despite the geographical size of the United Kingdom (at least the parts on the island of Britain), it’s a fairly small geographical area. 55 million people on an island roughly the size of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula (which has a population less than 1/5th the number). There are plenty of populated places, even aside from the major cities. All the fugitives need to be out of sight of others. There are Snatchers and Death Eaters to avoid. There are innocent Muggles whom they don’t want to endanger by having seen them, to have them accused of harboring illegal refugees. There are surely Wizarding families, likewise, whom they don’t want to endanger further by being accused of harboring illegals.

    Harry and Hermione later went a few places that were uninhabitable (a marsh, a snowy field in Scotland, a coastal area). Those places didn’t provide possible food, either. So where any fugitives can hide is pretty limited, in terms of shelter and available food, and i terms of relative isolation. These needs and desirable qualities plut more limitations on choices of spots. So, even given the shielding spells the trio, or Harry and Hermione made, they were surely going to run into somebody! Thank goodness they had some of Fred and George’s Extendable Ears (along with the Decoy Detonator used at the Ministry) to eavesdrop on some other fugitives. With a goblin among the group with a former association with Gringotts, surely conversation was going to turn at some point to matters that would be worth hearing?

    So, no, I am not bothered by the coincidental nature of the close encounter, and the plot-advancing information that it provided. Likwewise with Ron. Ron’s departure also provided him with experiences that were useful (the existence of the name taboo, Snatchers, Potter Watch) later. And his attempt to return shortly after he left the tent is plausible, as well, because he indicates he was outside the effect of the shield spells. He was surely in a funk that would take a while to wear off in his mind, considering the anger he felt and that was induced while he wore the locket. I could easily imagine a young man, feeling angry and helpless, requiring a fast walk to cool his temper. And in that state, I can imagine easily his going beyond the effect of the spells before remembering they were there. That is not a lame element of the story, at all! It is another indication of the truly human qualities, both weakness and strengths, of these characters.

  48. @Billie: we do have National Parks in Britain, and this is what I imagined Harry and Hermione doing. The island in the loch was (for me) Loch Lomond, the snowy mountain was Ben Nevis (which is in Cairngorm National Park) and the heather-covered moor was somewhere in the North York Moors. These are all National Parks which are well known in Britain, especially to someone bookish like Hermione and myself!

  49. Learning about the sword could have been handled differently, I agree. The movie did a better job in letting them discover about the sword.

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