Bathilda’s Secret

chapter seventeen of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry and Hermione leave the graveyard and find Harry’s parents’ old house – but are interrupted by Bathilda Bagshot. They follow her to her house but she turns out to be Nagini in disguise, and Harry and Hermione narrowly escape Voldemort. Harry is then plunged into Voldemort’s memories of the day James and Lily were killed, and finally awakens to discover his wand has been broken.
 

Godric's Hollow, Christmas Eve, by somelatevisitor

[Harry] slipped a hand from beneath the Cloak and grasped the snowy and thickly rusted gate, not wishing to open it, but simply to hold some part of the house.


 

Godric's Hollow, by Katrina 'Rohanelf' Young

“They shouldn’t have written on the sign!” said Hermione, indignant.
But Harry beamed at her. “It’s brilliant. I’m glad they did….”


 

Bathilda Bagshot, by Tealin Raintree

Finally Harry spoke, causing Hermione to gasp and jump.
“Are you Bathilda?”
The muffled figure nodded and beckoned again.


 

Bathilda's Secret, by briarthorn and greendesire

The snake… struck, Hermione screamed, “Confrigo!” and her spell flew around the room….


 

Bathilda's Secret, by Hannah-Dora

The night wet and windy… and he was gliding along, that sense of purpose and power and rightness in him that he always knew on these occasions…. Not anger… that was for weaker souls than he… but triumph, yes….


 

The Boy Who Lived, by Beeeb

“Not Harry, not Harry, please not Harry!”
“Stand aside, you silly girl… stand aside, now.”
“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead -“

(by Beeeb)


 

31 October, 1981, by somelatevisitor

And then he broke: He was nothing, nothing but pain and terror….


 

Through His Eyes, by FrizzyHermione

And now he stood at the broken window of Bathilda’s house, immersed in memories of his greatest loss….


 

about the chapter

 

Something You May Not Have Noticed

I’d always thought it was simply coincidence that Voldemort attacked Harry and his parents on Halloween, but now as I read Voldemort’s memory of that night, I’m not so sure. For one thing, it’s already been made clear in Lily’s letter that the Potters were in hiding for some time before Voldemort arrived and killed them; and as Wormtail was their secret-keeper, he surely could have given Voldemort the information on their location earlier on, no? Then there’s the interesting tidbit from Voldemort’s memory that he’s openly walking through the square of Godric’s Hollow, where the only reason he doesn’t seem out of place is because the Muggles around him assume he’s wearing a Halloween costume. But Voldemort doesn’t seem to be much for abiding the statute of secrecy; I doubt he’d care if he stuck out on a different day. So why Halloween? My best guess is that he has to approach the Potters from a distance, much the way Dumbledore and Harry did when visiting Slughorn a year and a half ago, and Voldemort doesn’t want a commotion in the square over his appearance to alert the Potters to the fact that he’s coming. Remember that they’ve escaped him three times, so he knows they’re powerful wizards. So the disguise could be important. But still… something about it doesn’t quite add up to me.
 

Something Else You May Not Have Noticed

Harry and Hermione are very, very lucky that their trip to Godric’s Hollow didn’t turn into a total disaster. It’s bad enough that Harry gave Voldemort the means of finding out who the merry-faced thief was, simply by dropping the photograph as he battled the snake. But think what could have happened if Voldemort had arrived a split second earlier – and even if he hadn’t managed to kill Harry, had seen Slytherin’s locket hanging from Harry’s neck. He would immediately know that Harry was hunting Horcruxes, and that it was on Dumbledore’s orders. And he would certainly take steps to further secure the remaining Horcruxes that are out there. In many ways, the idea of wearing the Horcrux seems so foolhardy to me. Why not just put it in Hermione’s beaded bag, which is kept equally secure but which is also out of sight? Or for that matter, in Harry’s pouch, which he wears around his neck anyway?
 

The Power of Magic

Harry doesn’t realize it at the time, of course, but he gets an interesting insight here into the way Voldemort’s Horcruxes react when they come near each other. Because while Harry attributed the beating of the locket to the potential presence of the sword, it’s clear now that it was not the sword the locket was reacting to, but Nagini. What’s more interesting is the fact that the locket then seemed to sear itself into Harry’s chest – so much so that Hermione had to physically injure Harry in order to remove it. These devices are pretty outrageously mysterious, powerful, and Dark, and it’s not hard to blame the trio for not wanting to wear one around their necks.
 

The Boy Who Lived

Harry doesn’t express any desire to enter his parents’ old house – and I can’t say that I entirely blame him. Walking through a building that has been derelict for the better part of two decades would be a pretty creepy experience, and knowing that the items in the house are the same as they were the night your parents died wouldn’t help. But at the same time, Harry so treasures the letter he found in Sirius’s bedroom, written by his mother… surely going through his infant home would bring him so much more? It’s clear this isn’t the time or place (and it’s possible Harry couldn’t get in anyway, if the Ministry or Dumbledore put up protection to prevent people like Mundungus – or for that matter, Death Eaters – from getting in). But I wonder if Harry might want to return one day to see more of the life he left behind.
 

Something to Remember

We’ve always known that Lily died to save Harry. But something I think not many readers considered prior to this chapter is why she was given the option to live. Voldemort says that she “has nothing to fear” (as though losing her husband and baby is nothing to fear, first of all). But Voldemort kills James without a second thought, and seems to have been intending to all along. Why would that be?
 


51 Responses to “Bathilda’s Secret”

  1. This is one of my absolute favorite chapters in Deathly Hallows…in all seven books, actually. Finally getting to see exactly what happened that Halloween night was so rewarding. Now rereading Chapter 1 of Sorcerer’s Stone is so much different, knowing the brutal truth about the days just prior to Harry coming to live with the Dursleys. As to why Voldemort decided to attack on Halloween night, I never really thought too much about it before. Perhaps you’re right, and the idea was to blend in with the Muggles he would invariably pass on his way to the cottage (however if the little kid’s reaction to seeing him is any indication, perhaps he wasn’t “passing” nearly as well as he could be!) but I always assumed that it fit with Voldemort’s sense of self-import and grandeur. Halloween is celebrated by feasting and partying in the wizarding world (though we are never explicity told why they celebrate) and I would assume that Voldemort would have wanted his greatest conquest (killing the only one he needed to fear) to happen on a night assosciated with celebration. But that’s just a thought. Perhaps it was simpler; Wormtail sold the Potters out on October 30th!

  2. I had the impression that Sirius had been the Potters’ secretkeeper for some period of time before deciding that he was too likely to be suspected and transferring the responsibility to Wormtail. Perhaps Wormtail only became secretkeeper on October 30. I don’t think the timetable is ever spelled out in the books.

  3. Reading your update really brought it home to me what happened that night. It was bad enough reading the chapter but thinking about it in terms of real people made me tear up. I felt physically sick near the end of the chapter when Bathilda turns into the snake. It’s times like this (and the inferi in the lake) that I wish my imagination wasn’t as strong. Just picturing it is horrible, the films can never to scenes like that justice although DH did a pretty good job with the blood and flies. Ergh just thinking about it makes me feel ill, JKR has sure got a powerful imagination.

  4. Oh, as for Voldy attacking on Halloween; I agree with Meri. He was waiting for a special death (Harry’s) in order to make his last horcrux so why not wait until a special day such as Halloween?

  5. I wonder if Voldemort killed James so quickly because he knew how much Snape despised him. Voldemort was willing to let Lily live, after all, for Snape, so why not reward one of his most trusted DEs with killing James as well? Just a thought.

  6. I get frustrated by how H&H give away information, like they say “are you Bathilda?” instead of “who are you?” so all “she” has to do is nod.

    Another pet peeve — the movie version showing Harry as an infant instead of 15 months old, when he is left on the Dursleys’ doorstep.

    I look forward to seeing the new navigation.

  7. Though we don’t know enough about the Fidelius Charm to be sure, I doubt if it is possible to transfer the position of Secret-Keeper once the spell is cast. The way I understood Sirius’ words in PA was that he was to be Secret-Keeper, but before the spell was cast the Secret-Keeper was changed to Wormtail.

    I’m not sure how it is in the wizarding world but don’t muggles believe that on this day dead spirits come back to walk the earth? If that belief is also valid to wizards, then I think it’s quite interesting that Voldemort chose Halloween to kill the Potters, whatever his intentions were.

    Intersting note that Halloween is also called ‘All “Hallow”s’ Eve’… (not that it has anything relevant to do with the storyline..)

  8. Yes, that Hallows thing had me very confused when the book title was released before the book, since is means “holies” (i.e. “Saints”) in the phrase All Hallows’ Eve (i.e. Halloween). So I kept waiting for the Deathly Hallows to have something “holy” about them. Finally just had to give up and think of it as a completely different word.

  9. As mentioned in “Something to Remember,” why DID Voldemort give Lily the option to live? Even if it was for Snape, you have to remember Lily was muggle-born. I mean, he killed James without a thought, and James was a pure-blood! Plus, if you think about how Voldemort killed Snape in The Deathly Hallows, he can’t really care what Snape wants or needs, so long as he continues to serve him well.

    So the question is: WHY?

  10. Josie, Sirius tells Harry in PoA: “I persuaded Lily and James to change to Peter at the last minute”.

  11. One of my favorite chapters. Really exciting and intense.
    One thing I would want to know. What was Harry like when he was witnessing his parent’s murders and his own attempted? Poor Hermione. I know when Harry’s mind slips into Voldemort he says things in his sleep, but I wonder what he said or did during this experience. “Shouting and saying…things,”
    But what things? I wish I knew…

  12. Harry was reliving the events from Voldemort’s perspective, he probably was repeting Voldemort’s words and intense thoughts. Poor Hermione, having to listen to Harry say “Stand aside, silly girl” over and over; not knowing if Voldemort possesing Harry was telling her that, if the current Voldemort was telling someone else that and Harry was just repeting the words due to their connection or if Harry was in a completely “normal” state of shock.

  13. Such great artwork as usual! I love piece by FrizzyHermione!

    Re: The Power of Magic
    I’m a bit confused as to why the locket horcrux responds so strongly to the presence of Nagini (another horcrux), yet doesn’t react in any discernably different way to Harry, who is also a horcrux for a piece of Voldemort’s soul. Of the three friends, it’s Ron who seems most negatively affected when wearing the horcrux… but you would think there would be some sort of significant recation when Harry wears the locket.

    Re : The Boy Who Lived
    In the opening chapter of Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid tells Dumbledore that Harry’s “house was almost destroyed but I got him out all right.” From these lines, I always envisioned that the Potters’ house was essentially reduced to a pile of rubble and Hagrid miraculously found Harry sitting among the charred remains. I was so surprised when I first read in this chapter of DH that “most of the cottage was still standing” and just part of the upper floor was blown out. I wonder if Hagrid or Dumbledore or someone from the ministry ever sorted through the remains of the house to collect some of the Potters’ personal belongings (photos, letters, etc). I could almost imagine a box of personal items being sent to Aunt Petunia for her to pass along to Harry, and she just disposing of it. It’s hard to believe that the house was left completely untouched after the seeming defeat of “You Know Who,” but it is surprising that Harry is content just to hold the gate in this moment (even Hermione worries that Harry likely will want to go in!).

  14. Josie, I always wondered why Harry didn’t put the locket in the moke skin!

  15. Regarding the hiding of the Potters, I’d assumed it happened at two levels.

    JKR once said that they went into hiding “soon after Lily became pregnant”. This fits with Trelawney making the prophecy several months before Harry was born. However, Lily’s letter to Sirius, written when Harry is a year old, indicates that they are not yet hidden under Fidelius.

    It seems that the Fidelius Charm was only cast after it became clear that someone was selling out the Order. The Potters appear to have moved to a new location (Godric’s Hollow) and are living under new restrictions. This seems to have occurred only a few days before they were betrayed.

  16. Somehow I did’nt pictured the scene of Harry’s getting his scar as being so violent (there was enough violence already with the killing of both parents) with a pool of blood dripping from Harry’s forehead…
    Nice picture from FrizzyHermione.

  17. First off, I have to say the pieces by Beeeb and FrizzyHermione are some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen on this site! Those images are truly haunting.
    I also wondered why the hell the Trio felt the need to wear the locket. We see that Hermione’s bag is secure, as is Harry’s pouch, so I just don’t get it. I guess it’s more dramatic and gives a reason for Ron’s douchiness. I dunno, as we keep going through this book I seem to pick up more and more of these logical errors – perhaps Jo was so caught up in making the most dramatic finale ever that she forgot some practicality in the process?
    Andrea, your point about the locket. This may seem like clutching at straws, but technically Harry’s scar is the Horcrux, not Harry himself, so unless the locket ever touched the scar it wouldn’t react as much. Alternately, perhaps it DOES react to Harry and he just assumes it’s normal, and then it just goes haywire with Nagini because there are TWO Horcruxes nearby. Either way, I really want to know more about Horcruxes.
    I may be in the minority, but I always felt a little anticlimactic when reading the flashback. Perhaps it’s my own fault so raising my expectations, but those who were in the fandom before DH came out remember that the events of that day were probably the most hotly-debated topic after Snape’s loyalties. Mugglenet had five-part editorials dedicated to the “Lost Day,” and everyone had their own theories as to what happened. Was Pettigrew watching and waiting to pick up Voldy’s wand? Was Snape there under James’s Invisibility Cloak? Was Dumbledore watching, or perhaps Fawkes? Did Lily cast the Homorphus Charm at Voldy? Did Frank Longbottom wrestle Snape downstairs as Voldy killed Lily? There were countless hours and numerous essays dedicated to discussing all of this. And after all that, we got a three-page flashback which pretty much told us everything we already knew, just put it together and made it straightforward. This was probably the most underwhelming part of DH for me (excluding the epilogue).

  18. Jose Lopes, it’s funny you say that – I always pictured it as being pretty bloody. Just because, to get such a hefty and distinctive scar, you generally have to get a pretty hefty and distinctive cut.

  19. As mentioned in “Something to Remember,” why DID Voldemort give Lily the option to live? Even if it was for Snape, you have to remember Lily was muggle-born. I mean, he killed James without a thought, and James was a pure-blood! Plus, if you think about how Voldemort killed Snape in The Deathly Hallows, he can’t really care what Snape wants or needs, so long as he continues to serve him well.

    So the question is: WHY?
    (Just something to consider. HP 4EVER!!!!!!!!!!!)

  20. Maybe this was contamination from the movie, since I started reading the books only after watching the first movie. In the movie baby Harry’s already has its wound cleaned, so we don’t see any blood at all.

  21. Sorry! I accidentally posted that one comment twice, because I did it once before I was finished!

    (HP 4EVER!!!!!!!!)

  22. (To Jose Lopes) You can’t very well get a scar without there being a wound, and that was a pretty big cut that Harry got on his forehead. I think it would only make sense if there was blood.

  23. Possibly (about the blood), but I though the thing about Avada Kedavra we learn through the elder Riddles’ deaths is (quoting from memory) “there was nothing wrong with them except that they were dead,” i.e. I am assuming the A.K. curse doesn’t actually draw blood. The scar is referred to as a “cursed scar” and may or may not have involved a regular muggle-type cut. I wonder if JKR has addressed this anywhere?

  24. SPOILER ALERT!

    Bia Q. have you finished reading DH? I don’t want to spoil the whole ending.

    We find out a little later that Snape asked Voldemort to save Lily, because he was in love with her, but he didn’t care for either her husband or her son. When Lily dies, Snape leaves Voldemort and joins Dumbledore. Perhaps he decided to consider Snape’s request during the moment. Harry’s parents were both very powerful, and Lily would have made an excellent addition to the Death Eaters.

    The last of that was pure speculation, feel free to come up with your own ideas.

  25. @Anna1:
    I think the AK curse USUALLY leaves no mark, but it behaved differently towards Harry (because of the act Lilly had just performed in dying). His being physically marked by the curse is one of the things that marked Harry’s case as “odd”, just like the fact that it didn’t kill him.
    In the beginning of Philosopher’s Stone, Harry is described as having “a nasty cut” on his forehead, I think. Dumbledore and McGonnigal remark on it and on the fact that it will “probably” leave a scar…
    I never thought about how much that cut could have bled, because Jo never describes that explicitly, but I’m sure it’s realistic that it would have. I imagine Hagrid and Sirius cleaned him up before Sirius gave Hagrid his motorbike.

    Ugh, it’s all so sad. :(

  26. Josie, I agree about going in the house –I think I would be really curious about it if I were Harry. I’d want to know the layout of the rooms, and where the furniture was, and everything about it, just to make it seem more real. Just as his mother’s letter makes her real for him again.

    Then again, Harry effectively gets to “see” all that stuff when he witnesses Voldemort’s memory, and those details are not exactly what he’s fixated on in that experience. It’s all so tied up with his parents’ deaths that maybe I get why he wouldn’t want to go in. After all, the letter was a reminder of Lilly’s daily life, the mundane little things that made up his world so long ago… but the house is overlayed with the reminder of her death.

    I really like the details we’re shown about how Horcruxes interact with each other. I imagine that the fragment of Voldie-soul in Harry sort of stays dormant most of the time –except during moments like in OotP when he looks in Dumbledore’s eyes and feels a surge of hatred like a snake inside. If that were to happen now, I’m sure the locket would react.
    In fact, that’s basically what happens in this chapter. The bit of soul in Harry, along with the bit of soul in the locket, basically possess him for hours. He’s unconscious because it has control. And it takes over because of the proximity of the locket, the snake, and Voldemort himself. It seems the bits of soul long to return to their whole, because they twitch towards each other, and when enough of them are close to each other, they wake up and try to come together into one experience, like magnets or water droplets joining.

    One thing I find extremely useful to know, and which I’m not sure if Josie has included elsewhere at this point, is the exact reason Harry’s scar hurts him. It happens when the fragment of Voldemort’s soul is trying to ESCAPE the way it got in –through the cut in his forehead. Jo said this in a number of post-DH interviews, and I wish she’d included that detail in the books, because the idea of having a bit of Voldemort’s soul in you that’s trying and failing to escape your body sounds excruciating in a way random stinging and burning feelings just don’t convey. :(

  27. Regarding the scar again: hazelwillow said it well. The AK usually leaves no mark, but then, the AK usually kills people. We can’t really compare it to the Riddles’ deaths, because it’s a completely different situation. And how would you get a scar without getting a cut first?

  28. The power of certain acts. Even voldemort knew that a horcrux shouldn’t be a random rock and that making one should not happen on just a random day…

  29. Yes, I have finished reading the Deathly Hallows.
    Voldemort would never want Lily as a death eater, considering she was muggle-born. If she was pure or half-blood that might be different. Also, (don’t read this part if you haven’t finished DH) Voldemort killed Snape without a second thought, so he couldn’t really care what Snape wants.

    Even though Harry’s scar was a cursed scar, there has to be a way that it got there. In my opinion, there probably should be blood.

  30. The last picture by FrizzyHermione is simply superb! This is one of my favourite chapters in the series.. After reading the chapter I had exactly the same feeling that Harry did.. It was kind of a tired and sick feeling… And yeah hadn’t they been quick, the consequences would have been disastrous …

  31. When I didn’t know the end of DH I thought that Voldemort told Lily to step aside because he was so anxious to get to Harry to kill him, the boy mentioned in the prophecy. Afterward I expected him to then dispose of Lily.

    Anna1, the reason Harry addressed the woman as Bathhilda is in direct reference to the letter he found signed by his mother. Lily said they were good friends. The old woman seemed to have a ‘Dumbledorish power” about her as though Dumbledore had purposely sent her to help them. No wonder he easily fell under her spell.

    One of the saddest parts in the chapter is when Harry realizes his wand is broken, and, of all things, Hermionie can’t fix it.

  32. GinGin4, that is a very good point, though, about Voldemort being anxious to kill Harry.

  33. In the books, I think some days, numbers, or actions have their own sort of “magical” characteristics, (for example 7 being the most magical number), and Harry even states there is a certain inescapable need or fundamental correctness of certain acts (I am at work and don’t have the quote) – so Halloween is possibly one of the most magical days of the year, and Voldemort would want to take advantage of any specialness inherent in that day. Perhaps actions are more powerful or magic is stronger, something lik that, if that makes sense.

    Voldemort does kill Snape, but it was done so he could (he thought) gain control over the Elder Wand. He “regrets” it but he feels it’s necessary. Voldemort is very cold, calculating, and remorseless, but he is also very practical and would not have killed Snape without need. So, I think, when it came to Lilly, Voldemort wanted to reward Snape and decided that he would spare Lilly because he (Snape) asked for her. Voldemort does reward his helpers and I think it is the most likely reason he was not planning on killing Lily. However, he certainly did not think twice about it when she got in his way.

    I have always though of Harry as not being a true horcrux since, unlike all of the others, he in an unintentional repository of a piece of Voldemort’s soul – an accident. He was not intentionally created. It takes dark magic to make a horcrux and I have always seen true horcruxes as being somewhat different, more evil. So I can see where the locket would react to Nagini in a different way than it does to Harry when he wears it.

  34. If Harry was born at the end of July, he must have been conceived at the end of the previous October. So wouldn’t it have seemed appropriate to Voldemort to take him out of life on the exact anniversary of when he began to live?

    I haven’t got my books with me, but I do seem to recall that Quirrell put his mountain troll in the loo at Halloween, and that the final task in GoF was also on that day. There may be others – what about CoS, and PA? So Halloween in the wizarding world seems to attract “bad” magic with at least a possibility of “good” coming from it.

  35. Good point, Pam, that is probably what JKR intended to mean. But still, considering what happened to Quirrel, I wouldn’t think he cares.

  36. Deborah,
    I also remember significant events happening on Halloween throughout the books… as for CoS, the trio attended the “Deathday” party, and on their way back, Harry heard the Parseltongue (“kill”, etc)… and wasn’t Mrs. Norris petrified?
    I can’t recall the PA Halloween!

  37. PS Halloween was the troll…
    CS Halloween was the deathday party, when Mrs. Norris was petrified…
    PA Halloween was the night Sirius Black tried to break into the Gryffindor dorm and slashed the Fat Lady…
    GF Halloween was the night Harry’s name came out of the Goblet of Fire…
    and, anticlimactically, Halloween is never mentioned in the last three books. :)

  38. With the whole issue on why Voldemort killed James without a thought but gave Lily the choice to live, I believe it’s because James had gotten up with every intention of stopping Voldemort. Unfortunately, James had left his wand in the other room and therefore was killed. In Lily’s case, if she had decided to just escape without standing up to Voldemort, she would have been able to go because she would have done nothing to defy what Voldemort wanted. However, as we all know, she tried to stop him and told him to kill her instead, so Voldemort did. In conclusion, because they had defied Voldemort in his eyes, they were killed.

  39. hpfan, I’m pretty sure we’re meant to believe that Lily was given the opportunity to live was because Snape had asked this of Voldemort. Otherwise Voldemort would have killed her without a second thought as well. After all, she was quite as much of an enemy to him as James was.

  40. I was always a little confused by the protection Lily gives Harry… Shouldn’t she and Harry have been protected by it because James told them to run while he died trying to hold Voldemort off? He knew he didn’t have a wand and had no chance… He gave his life to give his wife and son a chance to attempt escape. Shouldn’t the spell have rebounded off of Lily first?
    Just a thought.

  41. Christa, here’s an excerpt from an interview in which J.K. Rowling addressed your question:

    (Interviewer: “This is one of my burning questions since the third book – why did Voldemort offer Lily so many chances to live? Would he actually have let her live?”)
     
    Rowling: “Mm-hmm.”
     
    (“Why?”)
     
    “Can’t tell you. But he did offer, you’re absolutely right. Don’t you want to ask me why James’s death didn’t protect Lily and Harry? There’s your answer, you’ve just answered your own question, because she could have lived and chose to die. James was going to be killed anyway. Do you see what I mean? I’m not saying James wasn’t ready to; he died trying to protect his family but he was going to be murdered anyway. He had no – he wasn’t given a choice, so he rushed into it in a kind of animal way, I think there are distinctions in courage. James was immensely brave. But the caliber of Lily’s bravery was, I think in this instance, higher because she could have saved herself. Now any mother, any normal mother would have done what Lily did. So in that sense her courage too was of an animal quality but she was given time to choose. James wasn’t. It’s like an intruder entering your house, isn’t it? You would instinctively rush them. But if in cold blood you were told, “Get out of the way,” you know, what would you do? I mean, I don’t think any mother would stand aside from their child. But does that answer it? She did very consciously lay down her life. She had a clear choice.”

  42. Josie- thanks for clearing that up, I’d often wondered the same thing but had chalked it up to Voldemort always having intended to kill James, but not Lily.

  43. Deborah Hubbard, Hallowe’en is (in Celtic mythology) the time when dark magic is at its height. JKR does indeed appear to have made it a deliberately significant date in her stories.

    In the same mythology, Beltane (1 May) is the time when good magic is at its height. This is the Long Day when Harry has his final showdown with Voldemort, although Voldemort doesn’t actually die until dawn on 2nd.

  44. I’ve just been reading the chapter again and noticed a curious detail: when Mr. Weasley was attacked he had to spend a lot of time in St. Mungo’s because is wounds did’nt heal. On the other hand Harry was bitten on the arm and his wound was cured with a bit of dittany…

  45. Jose, I think the difference is in why the snake bit each individual. It was trying to kill Mr. Weasley, but only hold onto Harry. From what I understand about snakes, it is possible for them to bit without releasing venom, so it may be with Nagini, she can bite without killing. If that makes sense.

  46. Another theory as to why Voldemort would have let Lily live: this particular couple manages to defy Voldemort three times, but when he pays them a personal visit, Lily is forced to watch and hear him kill her husband and one-year-old son. I believe that that possibility, like the idea of the Dark Mark, would have been extremely useful in terms of psychological warfare: the sense of “You can run, but you can’t hide forever.”

  47. What if Snape had not asked Voldemort to spare Lily’s life? Voldemort would have killed Lily on sight, just like he did to James. If this were the case, then Lily would never have had the opportunity to choose to die for her son. Thus the magical protection of her sacrifice would never have been triggered, and Harry would have died that night along with his parents. So, this marks the first occasion (and not the last) on which Snape helps save Harry’s life.

  48. About the Fidelius Charm… if James and Lily “switched” from Sirius to Peter at the last moment, wouldn’t that mean that Sirius never knew where they were hidden? Otherwise both him and Peter would have been the secret keepers. I thought there was only one, because that would mean higher protection. As with Grimmauld Place – it has too many secret keepers for it to be entirely safe anymore, right? But in that case, how did Sirius know where to go when he heard that James and Lily were dead? I’m not sure I’ve got it all right, is there someone who could explain, please? :)

    Oh, yeah, I also just noticed the parallel to “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. The snakes there in the story “Rikki-tikki-tavi” are called Nag and Nagaina ;)

  49. Amanda, I’ve thought about that too. The Fidelius Charm is funny, because clearly Sirius, Dumbledore, Bathilda, etc. *knew* where the Potters were hiding. Yet they were prevented from accessing them. The same seems to be true later – when Kreacher comes to Narcissa and Bellatrix, they probably have a pretty good guess of where the Order’s headquarters are located, and I can’t imagine when Bill disappears from Gringotts it wouldn’t have occurred to any Death Eaters that he might be, you know, at home.

    I see two possibilities. One is that the Fidelius somehow alters everybody’s consciousness so that they literally forget the hiding place is an option, like the Muggle-repelling charms that make Muggles remember urgent appointments they don’t actually have. Thus, as soon as the charm is cast, Sirius etc. would have somehow lost the idea from their brains that the Potters live where they do (it would return when the spell broke). How this would work seems tricky, but Flitwick does describe the charm as immensely complicated. The other possibility I see is that the charm somehow prevented people from *finding* the Potters, even if they knew which house they were in.

    Either way, it’s a crazy spell.

  50. One of my favorite scenes is Voldemort’s memory of 10-31-81. How many times has Harry escaped Voldemort now?

  51. **potential spoiler**
    I would have said something similar to Pam referring to Voldy attempting to spare Lily.

    I don’t believe that Voldy cared about Snape or his love for Lily. (Which incidentally, he believes to be only a mere infatuation.)

    Voldemort did believe at that time, that Snape was a valuable and helpful ally. After all, Snape did tell Voldemort about the potential threat in the form of the prophecy.

    As Pam pointed out and I agree, Voldy was a shrewd and calculating villan and he didn’t want to lose one of his most useful and informative followers if he could help it.

    It’s a testament to his truly vile nature though, that as soon as Lily became an interference in his plans and simply did not stand aside, he killed her. In the end he did the exact same thing to Snape himself.

    It seems, to me, that Voldemort had a narcassistic and sociopathic nature that J.K portrays so well and stays true to..
    As long as the people surrounding Voldemort were ‘loyal’ and obedient then they were an asset. The second that they became a liability to him and were useful no more, they also became disposable.

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