Shell Cottage & Gringotts

chapters twenty-five & twenty-six of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry plots with Griphook, hears from Lupin that his son has been born, and receives a warning from Bill about dealing with goblins. Then he, Ron, Hermione, and Griphook make good on their plans and break into Gringotts. Their plot is nearly foiled as the goblins sniff out what’s going on, but miraculously the trio manages to grab the cup and escape on a dragon, as Griphook makes off with Gryffindor’s sword.

After Malfoy Manor, by briarthorn

The enormity of his decision not to race Voldemort to the wand still scared Harry. He could not remember, ever before, choosing not to act.


Bellatrix Lestrange, by Laurence Peguy

The sound of a door opening made [Harry] look around. Bellatrix Lestrange was striding across the lawn toward [him]…. Though Harry knew perfectly well that it was really Hermione, he could not suppress a shiver of loathing.


Diagon Alley - Gringotts by cambium

They… [headed] along the crooked, cobbled street toward the place where the snowy-white Gringotts stood towering over the other little shops.

(by cambium)


Thief's Downfall, by MartinTenbones

The took a hairpin bend at speed and saw ahead of them, with seconds to spare, a waterfall pounding over the track. Harry heard Griphook shout, “No!” but there was no braking: They zoomed through it…. “The Thief’s Downfall!” said Griphook…. “It washes away all enchantment, all magical concealment!”


Gringotts, by Hannah-Dora

“It’s up there, it’s up there!”
Ron and Hermione pointed their wands at it too, so that the little golden cup sparkled in a three-way spotlight…. “And how the hell are we going to get up there without touching anything?” asked Ron.


Inside the Lestranges' Vault, by Laurence Peguy

The entrance of the vault opened up again and he found himself sliding uncontrollably on an expanding avalanche of fiery gold and silver….


Escape From Gringotts, by Sanna Lorenzen

With a roar [the dragon] reared: Harry dug in his knees, clutching as tightly as he could to the jagged scales as the wings opened, knocking the shrieking goblins aside like skittles.


Escape From Gringotts, by FrizzyHermione

Finally the dragon had room to stretch its wings: Turning its horned head toward the cool outside air… it staggered into Diagon Alley and launched itself into the sky.


about the chapter


Harry, Ron, and Hermione are generally very good at thinking their plans through and making sure they make sense, but a lack of perspective on the outside world has nearly done them in twice in recent weeks. First, when cornered by Snatchers, Hermione made sure to alter Harry’s appearance but not her own – despite the fact that she’d been spotted with him by Death Eaters at Xeno Lovegood’s, ensuring the fact that her face would be all over the lists of most wanted criminals. Sure enough, it was Hermione who was recognized by the Snatchers, and again by Bellatrix. Now, it seems the trio similarly hasn’t stopped to think what must be going on at Gringotts. They know Bellatrix is terrified that her vault’s security has been compromised, and they know Gringotts is under Death Eater control. So why didn’t they stop to consider the fact that Bellatrix might have warned the bank an imposter might be coming? They are lucky indeed to have escaped, and here’s hoping they’ll take the lessons to heart and realize the world around them doesn’t stay still just because they aren’t aware of its changes.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

Bill and Fleur were at the Burrow the night Harry was left the contents of Dumbledore’s will – so they would have known that he was supposed to receive the sword of Gryffindor, yet that this exchange was blocked by the Ministry of Magic. Since then, it’s apparently also become fairly common knowledge that Neville, Luna, and Ginny tried to break into Snape’s office to steal the same sword – yet were caught, and cruelly punished. So what must Bill and Fleur be thinking when, just a few months later, Harry shows up at their house with the sword of Gryffindor? I mean, how on earth does this kid do this stuff?
(Of course, Luna’s reaction is even more fun to imagine: “Oh, I see you got the sword. That’s nice. We tried to steal it for you, you know….”)

The Boy Who Lived

Harry certainly never dreamed when he was younger that he would one day attempt to break into Gringotts. But it’s not the only law he breaks; he also surprises many readers by casting Unforgivable Curses, Imperiusing Bogrod and Travers so as to be able to get into Bellatrix’s vault. It’s not the first time he’s tried an Unforgivable Curse (he also tried the Cruciatus on Bellatrix right after she killed Sirius), but this one feels different: after all, it’s premeditated, and the victims are more or less innocent bystanders. Remember, the automatic penalty for an Unforgivable is a life sentence in Azkaban. That’s not really a risk for Harry right now, given that he’s facing far worse if caught by the Ministry, and even if the good guys do one day take the Ministry back, they certainly won’t fault him for what is essentially an act of war forced upon him by his need to act for the greater good. Of course, acting for the greater good is subjective too, and as we’ve seen, can also get someone into trouble. No matter how you feel about Harry’s using the curse, it’s hard not to wonder if we’d do the same thing in his situation. What other choice did he have? It’s a scary thought, no?

The Power of Magic

Harry recently learned from Ollivander that wands grow and learn along with the wizards who hold them; it’s also clear that part of the power of the Elder Wand is the knowledge and power of all the various wizards who have owned it over the years, the “knowledge” that is somehow stored in the wand. It’s interesting, then, that when Harry is forced to cast an Unforgivable Curse for the first time, he’s doing it with a wand previously owned by Draco Malfoy. Not that I think Draco made a habit of Imperiusing people around Hogwarts or anything, but we do know he’s at least cast the Imperius Curse on Madame Rosmerta, and he’s been forced to Crucio other Death Eaters who Voldemort wanted punished. It’s certainly not a stretch to suggest that his wand has performed much more Dark magic than Harry’s ever had. So it’s worth asking, is it possible that Harry’s ability to cast the Imperius Curse on Bogrod and Travers was improved through the fact that he was using a wand that wasn’t his own, even when the rest of his usual magic seems weaker? And would, for example, a Patronus be substantially more difficult, given that it’s a piece of magic the wand has never had to perform?

Full Circle

Harry’s trip through Diagon Alley and into Gringotts is awash with memories of his first visit to the wizarding world, and it provides a beautifully stark contrast in the way the wizarding world, and Harry’s perspective on it, has changed. When he was eleven, Harry walked through a bustling Leaky Cauldron, down a Diagon Alley filled with magic and light and beauty, and into Gringotts, amazed at the magical, limitless world he was now a part of. Now, less than seven years later, he walks the exact same path but sees it all from a different perspective – everywhere are reminders of the corruption of the Ministry and the evil of Voldemort. And as Harry walks into the bank, reading the sign above (“thief you have been warned, beware…”) he recalls how a “place of wonder” has been transformed, as he returns now in a way he would never have imagined, with the intent to rob the bank in the name of good and in the name of justice (and escape on a dragon that, on his first visit, seemed like a myth!). It’s a fitting metaphor for all that Harry has discovered about this wizarding world: it may be magical, but it has just as many problems as the world he left behind. And sometimes, you just can’t imagine what that world might force you to do.

52 Responses to “Shell Cottage & Gringotts”

  1. One of the parts I’m most looking forward to see in movies..
    the art by Sanna Lorenzen is awesome!!
    I liked Hannah Dora’s portrayal of the trio, but the cup looks ordinary. And in FrizzyHermione’s dragon looks like a Night-Fury. :)

  2. A point to note; about Draco’s wand and Dark Magic, he does admit in the half-blood prince that he had Madam Rosmerta under the Imperius, so perhaps the wand is more particularly attuned to that spell than to the other Unforgivable’s.

  3. great chapters, I hadn’t thought of Draco’s wand and the unforgivables! What I did notice, was that if you look at these chapters in the book, after this, there is still 1/3 to read, but those things happen all in one day. I certainly didn’t expect that during my first read….

  4. Very interesting thought re Harry’s casting the Imperius curse with Draco’s wand. I’ve picked up on more stuff by digging through these posts than I have in the umpteen times I’ve read the books- and I find something I missed before every time I read them.
    Voldemort didn’t think that anyone knew the secret of his horcruxes so why would they be on the lookout for someone trying to steal the cup? Possibly just because of the historical value of the cup? This and the guarding of the Ravenclaw common room later have always puzzled me a bit.
    And- in reference to a discussion on the previous post- Harry’s Longest Day starts from the pic of Hermione as Bellatrix.
    By the way- I love the way you stick to the same basic format for every post. Love the organization of mind you apparently have!

  5. As far as the trio’s thinking ahead goes, even if they did think that Bellatrix had warned Gringotts, what other course of action could they really have taken? It was either impersonate one of the Lestranges to try and get into their vault or go as themselves, which would be a far worse idea. They couldn’t very well just leave that horcrux, so in the end even though the circumstances going into Gringott’s weren’t ideal, there weren’t any other options.
    That said, they’re extremely lucky to not only have made it out of there, but to have gotten the horcrux as well.

  6. I love the colours in the last drawing. Thank you for pointing out about Draco’s wand and the unforgivables and patronus. It’s a great way of looking at it that hadn’t occurred to me. I am really looking forward to seeing Helena BC pretending to be Hermione pretending to be Bellatrix. I love her as an actress and can’t wait to see how she portrays it.

  7. Re: The Boy Who Lived
    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts in this section! I remember I was shocked when Harry used the Imperius curse at Gringotts, but as you say, what choice did he really have? I like that Rowling included this moment in the novel… it shows how moral choices are not always black & white, and yes, surprisingly scary sometimes!

    Re: The Power of Magic
    It doesn’t seem that Harry has any difficulty casting a patronus with Draco’s old wand a couple of chapters from now when the trio is attacked by Dementors in Hogsmeade. The wand learns from the wizard too, and we know that Harry can cast a powerful patronus.

    Re: Full Circle
    Another full circle moment (maybe too obvious) is Harry becoming godfather to Lupin & Tonks son. Harry recognizes that he might be just as reckless a godfather as Sirius was too.

  8. Hermione cast the stinging hex on Harry in a moment of panic, without regard for herself. Likewise, in Gringotts, Harry performed the Imperious Curse in a moment of panic, plus the fact that Griphook told him to do so at the same time. This is where we are reminded that, however huge the responsibility on their shoulders, they are still just teenagers with no one to trust except the goblin who they hope will help them because they saved his life. And the unforgiveable curse actually worked in their favor. So it is no surprise that Harry casts it a second time.

  9. Great dragon art; great discussion.

  10. In response to Ann:
    Voldemort places a watch on Ravenclaw tower after he realizes that Harry knows about and is hunting Horcruxes. He learns this that very night when the goblin tells him. So, he tells Snape to stick some people in there to watch for Harry on the off chance he finds his way into Hogwarts (he broke into Gringotts for goodness sake, even Voldemort isn’t stupid enough to think Hogwarts is completely impenetrable). Hope that helps.

    Also, I always thought the urge to cast the Imperius curse can from both Griphook and the wand’s familiarity of using that spell in situations like the one Harry is in. Draco used it when he needed to get things done and needed the help of otherwise uncooperative people. So, the wand, knowing that from its previous owner, would have little trouble extending its knowledge to its current (if temporary) owner for the sake of familiarity.

  11. Ann: it’s not that Voldemort needed to keep the Cup safe. Rather, as Harry reasons in Shell Cottage (prompting Ron to compliment him on his insight), Gringotts is a very special place to the wizarding world and Voldemort *wants* one of his Horcruxes there… Like he wants one in Hogwarts and hides one in the Cave and one in his family hovel in Little Whinging.
    I don’t know what’s so special about giving the Diary to Lucius (even though Malfoy Manor seems a pretty sweet residence), but I think it has been said that Voldemort wanted to “try out” at least one Horcrux and see what would happen…

  12. I would like to know what would be future relations between Harry and the goblins, the epilogue does’nt give us that kind of information. Aftear all he did break into Gringotts, and even if you think that is breaking could be considered like an exchange deal with the goblins (the sword for the chance to do what he needed), the fact is that the goblins lost the sword a few hours later, so they must at least have thinked that Harry had managed to fool them…

  13. I read this update a bit in a hurry and for a moment I thought that I really had missed Luna’s reaction to the sword. That’s a good point, JKR did forgot to show us Luna’s reaction to the sword, but it would be something like that :)

  14. I must admit I have always been a little bit surprised at the way we are supposed to accept Harry’s use of Unforgivables as a necessary evil. They aren’t named “Forgivable In Desperate Circumstances” — they’re presumably called Unforgivable for a reason. Then again, we’ve already seen that they can be cast openly in Hogwarts, on students, with essentially no consequences, so perhaps by this point we’re meant to understand that there are actually a great many circumstances in which the Unforgivables are the Explainable-Aways.

  15. re: Harry and the goblins

    I don’t know what kind of relationship Harry had with the goblins in later years, but I’m guessing they might have forgiven him breaking in, given that they too profited from Voldemort’s downfall. After all, Voldemort’s regime had insisted upon infiltrating the bank’s management with wizards, and it was ultimately Bellatrix’s fault that the Trio had the chance to break in, in the first place.
    It’s also possible that the goblins intensified their security even more, after that… Maybe putting some kind of “Thief’s Downfall” right at the entrance to the vaults.

    With regards to the Sword, I doubt they ever knew about it… After all, Griphook got it in exchange for helping the Trio break in and lost it a few hours later… I doubt he had time to brag about it as he had it, and he probably avoided doing so after it disappeared.
    Griphook, on the other hand, might have felt personally cheated, and he’s certainly one who would hold a grudge. But after all, Harry promised to let Griphook have the Sword after breaking into Gringotts… He never said he’s make sure Griphook never lost it again!! And the fact that any true Gryffindor might get it out of the Hat, wherever the Sword might be, should settle any property claim on the goblins part…

    P.S. Was it even ever stated that Harry did NOT give the Sword back to Griphook after the war?? I guess the Ministry would have agreed with anything Harry said, after the battle… So as far as we know, the Sword might be sitting in a cristal case in the middle of Gringotts’ Hall, to make everyone happy. At least, it would get more visibility there than in the Headmaster’s Office.
    Of course, that would require a big fat inscription reading: “Gryffindor’s Sword, goblin made. With this Sword, Neville Longbottom killed Lord Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, on May 2nd 1998.” =)

  16. Lots to respond to!

    ann – my thoughts about Gringotts being on the lookout has less to do with Voldemort’s fear of the cup being stolen than it does with Bellatrix’s fear of the same. Bellatrix doesn’t know what it is, and she’s terrified when she thinks someone has been in her vault – so I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that she put out an extra lookout without Voldemort’s knowledge. My thinking on Ravenclaw Tower is the same as Christa’s, above.

    Jes – You’re right, of course, that the trio didn’t have many options. They could have stayed hidden under the Invisibility Cloak and Imperiused a goblin, but it’s fair to say that they would have preferred to avoid using Unforgivables in their advance planning.

    Andrea – I thought about writing the godfather bit in ‘Full Circle,’ but then decided it will be more appropriate later when it becomes much *more* full circle.

    Jose Lopes / Irene M. Cesca – I’ve wondered about Harry’s relationship with goblins, too. Would they have understood why he did what he did? I have to think they would have, and it’s not hard to imagine word of his general treatment of “inferior” creatures getting around and working in his favor, too. And I LOVE the idea of the sword sitting in a case in Gringotts hall.

  17. I have just discovered this site and am loving it. Can’t wait for the next chapter. As far as the Unforgivable Curses go, I believe that during war time you do what you have to do. Most people would not normally kill others or look to hurt them but in a war all the rules change. We even see McGonagall and the other Order members using them, later. I think all of this would have been overlooked.

  18. Bellatrix knew for sure what happened to Lucius when Voldemort discovered the truth about the diary, so she has complete reason on being terrified that she could suffer the same punishment, especially now that she already has two fiascos on her account: the battle at the ministry and Harry’s escape from Malfoy Manor.

  19. Josie and Irene: And I love the idea of Griffindor’s sword sitting in a display case in the lobby at Gringotts – and then quietly disappearing one day when a Griffindor needed it!

    I wonder if the goblins had to revise their view of the sword’s history. The fact that it can “present itself to any worthy Griffindor” argues against their contention that Godric Griffindor stole it. I know that Jo has said in an interview that the sword really was made for Griffindor. Perhaps the fact that it’s impossible for the goblins to keep possession of it indefinitely finally convinced the goblins on this point.

  20. There’s also the question of how long did it took to the goblins to realize that the sword had vanished. I suppose that the sword must have been stuffed into an high security vault as soon as they finished checking Lestrange’s vault inventory to find out what was missing. Did the disappearing of the sword also raised an alarm?
    This is bad for Gringotts reputation: two security breaches in just a few hours time (even if the fact was’nt officially divulged)…

  21. Interesting thoughts on Harry using the Unforgiveable curses, I never really thought of it that way. When he tried Crucio on Bellatrix, he was upset and seeking revenge without really thinking it through, and it didn’t really work anyway. First time I read it, I was a bit surprised to see him use a “bad-guy” curse, but I guess many people would do the same if someone had just injured or killed one of their loved ones.
    However, the way he used the Imperious Curse is in my opinion far from Unforgiveable. He didn’t use it to deliberately control anyone for a longer period of time, or to make anyone do anything harmful. To me, it was more like Hermione’s Confundus spell at Keeper tryouts.

  22. I think making someone steal from a bank would fall under the “make anyone do anything harmful” classification :)

  23. Billie:

    I think Harry tried to use that reasoning with Griphook: that the Sword had come to him, so that must have meant something in Gryffindor’s favor… But I’m guessing the goblins would just assume that the whole “worthy Gryffindor” spell was just another way in which wizards were trying to rip goblins off…

  24. To be honest, just the fact that any worthy Gryffindor can get the sword does not prove that Gryffindor didn’t steal it. There are a few things to remember:
    The Goblin definition of stealing is different from that of Wizards. Goblins may believe that Gryffindor stole it because he didn’t give it back to the goblins after his death (in a will or something).
    Also, the sword could have been bewitched to present itself to a worthy Gryffindor. It doesn’t prove it was “rightfully” Gryffindor’s (to goblins).

  25. Had to go back and read my original comment re the guarding of Ravenclaw common room and the fear of the cup being stolen- To me it seems that setting guards in the Ravenclaw common room really has nothing to do with the horcrux. I mean- Yes, Voldemort knows by now that Harry is on to his horcruxes but it’s not in Ravenclaw tower and even though the statue is there in the common room- that is not the only place H could have seen the diadem. And- how on earth was H really supposed to come up with the diadem being the horcrux. It just seems contrived to me. Something that a person would put in the story because they already know the answer but not a logical step… Maybe this is an indication of how well Voldemort knows Harry or is this an indication that V is actually aware of H’s thought process at this point?
    re the cup- Why would Bellatrix fear the cup being stolen? Why would she think H was looking for it or even knew about it? I suppose it’s simply the fear of someone stealing what Voldemort had entrusted to her rather than specifically H knowing about it, looking for it and taking it. She would have known about V’s wrath with Lucius after the diary fiasco.

    @Irene M. Cesca- re the diary- that was to be used to re-open the chamber of secrets and to prove that Voldemort was the heir of Slytherin, I think.
    I love the thought that the sword of Gryffindor cannot be kept by even the goblins when they (obviously) are not the rightful owners. Brilliant. The fact that it presents itself to worthy Gryffindors seems to prove that Gryffindor did not steal it and that it really does belong to the Gryffindors.

    I do love this site! So many on- and off-topic discussions! thanks you all!!

  26. ok- true, the goblins’ idea of stealing is quite different than Harry’s, so there really is no arguing with them about ownership of the sword. I opened the page and then did a bunch of other stuff before getting to this site and posting my answer so Christa’s and Irene’s last responses hadn’t posted on my page. Actually- that totally makes the discussion of ownership pointless. Thanks for pointing that out!

  27. Ann-
    Also regarding the fact that V guards Ravenclaw tower even though H probably doesn’t know about the diadem: Voldemort really can’t underestimate Harry OR Dumbledore anymore. Think about it. He has to be overly cautious. I think the only reason he didn’t stick a person in the corridor of the RoR is because he was afraid of drawing attention to it. Guarding Ravenclaw tower might even have been a ruse? I dunno, I’m getting a little bit too into this ;)

  28. And so the last day begins! It is almost hard to imagine that from the start of the day at Shell Cottage to the end of the Wizarding War II is just ONE DAY. Look how much happens. And Harry somehow manages to keep it all together. The next chapters, more than any others that came before, show how much he has grown as a person and a character. I am sure I am not the only one who hit this point in their first read-through and simply could not stop!

  29. @Christa- yeah- and I am, too. It’s just a book, after all! As if there are real answers to real events here! I guess I still have a hankering for my high school lit class when we did this kind of stuff!

  30. Oh dang, there is so much to discuss here! First, I’d like to address the goblin thing. I think that Harry and company began campaigning for goblin and house-elf rights after the war, and Hermione for one would make sure something was done. The goblins would be so grateful, they would overlook the sword. Of course, Griphook would never forgive them, but oh well.

    The alternative (and I was planning an epic fanfic on the subject) is a huge war between goblins and wizards sparked by this. Such a war would be really bad, and would set back wizard/goblin relations a long way. The alternate is a “Cold War” between goblins and wizards (just like there was the Cold War after WWII). If ever we hear about Albus Severus, I have a feeling that goblin relations will be an important aspect of the story.

    That is a brilliant point about Draco’s wand helping with the casting of Unforgivables! I’ve never had issue with Harry’s use of the Imperius, because it was absolutely necessary. Now, as for his use of the Cruciatus later on, that I do take a lot of issue with. My friends and I had a very long debate about this during our “Wizards on Trial” meetup where we were a jury judging various HP characters for their crimes, culminating with Harry.

    Also, Luna’s reaction to the sword made me laugh out loud – I can totally imagine her saying that! But honestly, Harry’s exploits will soon become the stuff of legend at this rate. Even the people close to him now see him as odd – he knows things he has no way of knowing, he somehow accomplishes things that are impossible, he respects house-elves and goblins to a strange degree…I can just see these things being blown so far out of proportion as time goes on. Unless Harry publishes a tell-all autobiography (in 7 volumes: Harry potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, etc), very soon people will be swearing by “Potter’s Scar” instead of Merlin’s beard.

  31. This is a chapter where everything is turned upside down (much as Harry is symbolically turned upside down inside the Lestrange vault).

    * The Imperius Curse is used, not to order the victim to “Bring down that Cup and ignore the burns,” but simply to, “Turn around and don’t look.” (I’m not comfortable with using the Unforgiveable either, but this is war.)

    * The “thieves” in the bank have not come to steal at all. The Hufflecup does not belong to Bellatrix, who is only caretaking it, or even to Voldemort, who stole it in the first place, and committed a murder in order to do so. Harry really only wants to borrow it: once he has destroyed the horcrux, he has no desire to possess the Cup itself. (I imagine it belongs morally to the heir of Hephzibah Smith. I wonder if that person is Zacharias??)

    * The “sin of greed” is not even a temptation for the Trio. (Compare Ron’s earlier attitudes to money!) They are surrounded by treasures, and all they can think about is their task. Mammon, the reigning god of any bank, does not seem to be present in this case.

    * A dragon is tamed into service by being unleashed and left to fly free. This is completely unlike the traditional way of defeating dragons. (I don’t know whether this dragon symbolises the devil & etc., but it’s interesting that he isn’t bludgeoned or outwitted, but simply tamed.)

    * Griphook defeats the proposed double-cross by grabbing the Sword and taking off with it. That was one piece of dishonesty to an almost-ally that made the Trio look less than heroic (they could have explained to Griphook that the Sword would be necessary for defeating Voldemort so they would need to borrow it again before finally handing it over to him), so it is fitting that this part of their plan was overturned.

    There is almost certainly some symbolism about the Cup impaled on a Sword, but I haven’t worked it out yet. Both are Arthurian motifs (Excalibur and the Holy Grail). The Hufflecup also seems to be related to the Celtic theme of the Cauldron of Plenty, i.e. the food supply will never fail, and the Christian idea of the Communion chalice, i.e. the promise of divine forgiveness. The Sword is a general symbol of justice and righteousness.

    Any help from the rest of you on these points??

  32. I’ve forgotten – wasn’t the fake sword supposed to be in the Lestranges’ vault too?

  33. Daddybug: Yes it was. I also wondered about that. I’m surprised they never noted it.
    Grace has Victory: Wow. My head it spinning. You said so much that I never even thought about. It was awesome to read. I really enjoy when you all boggle my brain ;)

  34. daddybug and Christa, the fake sword is noted in the vault, just in passing:

    “Lumos!” Harry shone his lit wand around the vault: Its beam fell upon glittering jewels; he saw the fake sword of Gryffindor lying on a high shelf amongst a jumble of chains.

  35. Drats.
    How did I forget that? :(

  36. Christa, it was because the Trio forgot it, and you were reading from Harry’s point of view. They knew it was a fake, so they were not interested in it.

  37. I love the thought of Zacharias Smith being a descendant of Hepzibar! Would be a nice little touch. Of course, that surname is very common but still….
    It’s nice symbolism, in general, that things are a bit upside down- the trio taking from Gringotts but not for personal gain, the Imperius curse used in an innocuous way, and (my favorite) the dragon ‘tamed’. I’ll bet this would fit in nicely with Dumbledore’s theory of magic that is stronger than the kind Voldemort knows. The ‘magic’ of pure/clean/good/right intentions. Not sure how much help that is but it’s what went through my mind.

    So- do you think that the wizarding world will wait till Harry’s dead before they start using the expression ‘by Potter’s scar’? Loved that one, too!

  38. Grace, you are brilliant as ever. I do love all your points. Also, your points got me thinking about the inscription at Gringotts, and I believe I’ve just had an epiphany!!

    What if…the incription can also be used to mean immortality in the context of the series?!?!?!! It’s a warning to Voldemort not to meddle with immortality. Voldemort is guilty of the sin of greed when it comes to life – not content with just living a long life, he wants to be immortal. (Enter stranger but take heed/Of what awaits the sin of greed)

    Voldemort takes the lives of innocent people in order to create his Horcruxes – he has not the right to kill these people since they have done him no wrong, but he does so anyway in his quest for immortality. (For those who take but do not earn)

    And he does end up paying dearly for this. He has to suffer thirteen years of a torturous existence, and then of course he is killed eventually. (Must pay most dearly in their turn)

    Voldemort is trying to achieve immortality, but not through any means that are “allowed” to wizards – namely, the Sorcerer’s Stone is the only good immortality device we’ve seen. But Voldemort doesn’t want that, even though he’s willing to use it for a brief period. Instead, he takes what was never his – unicorn blood, Horcruxes – in order ot tether himself to life when he should be dead. (So if you seek beneath our floors/A treasure that was never yours)

    And Voldemort receives ample warning that this should not be done. Slughorn tells him that making Horcruxes is a no-no, Dumbledore tries to get through to him countless times…even Harry offers him one last chance at remorse. (Thief you have been warned, beware)

    And of course, this doesn’t go as Voldemort planned. In his quest to split his soul, he made it so unstable that part of it latched on to Harry, which equipped him with everything necessary for Voldy’s downfall. (Of finding more than treasure there).

  39. Grace: Yes, you have answered a question for me – I have always been a little uncomfortable about Harry, Hermione and Ron’s “dishonesty” with regard to Griphook and the Sword. It would have been far better for them to have been honest with him -but would he have believed them? Who knows? Depends on how he really views Voldemort.
    And hpboy13 – I love your take on the warning at the doors of Gringotts – whether JKR meant it to be this way – it is certainly true.
    As for Harry using the unforgiveable curses – I don’t think that we can always have “a box of fluffy ducks” – sometimes for the sake of “the greater good” fire needs to be fought with fire. Imagine what would have happened if Harry hadn’t used the Imperius Curse – he was after all fighting for the good of the wider wizarding world – not the “Voldermort and his Death Eaters Power World”. I may be in a minority, but I think that Harry did the right thing in the circumstances.

  40. This is my first comment on this site, though I have been reading it for quite some time. To repeat what everyone has already said, this is an amazing site and HATS OFF to Josie for compiling together such beautiful artwork and for all the mind blowing analysis! Whenever there’s an update, it makes my day!
    I didn’t notice it my first time, but when I read this chapter the second time, I was surprised to see Hermoine using a hair,”plucked from the sweater Hermione had been wearing at Malfoy Manor” for transformation, considering what happened when she did the same thing back in second year!(Lucky, the peacocks were outside, in the garden :-))
    Re Zacharias- I had always assumed that he WAS the heir of Hepzibah Smith! I am from India and did not know that Smith is a common surname in Britain. I just thought that JKR didn’t include it because it didn’t add to the story much(just like she didn’t include Dumbledore being gay.). But she could have mentioned it in an interview later,maybe I just assumed wrong.

  41. hpboy13, that is excellent! The Gringotts poem always reminded me of the curse on the Walled Garden in The Magician’s Nephew, and I’m sure JKR had a similar purpose. Can you give us a similar analysis about how the poem applies to Harry, given he is stealing for reasons other than “the sin of greed”?

    Electa, I think there is a very good chance that a suspicious person like Griphook would not have trusted HRH and would not have cooperated with lending the Sword. His suspicion would double when they were unable to tell him why they wanted it. But I still think they should have tried to get him onside. After all, the goblins hated Voldemort too.

    In the end, the Sword would have returned to Harry when he needed it. But he didn’t know that. He was out of options, but I think he made a wrong choice at that point.

  42. You know, I’d forgotten about that poem in Magician’s Nephew, but I just looked it up and it is very similar. JKR did love that book after all (and it’s my favorite Narnia as well).

    I don’t think there’s much to analyze since it doesn’t apply to Harry. Like you said, he’s not stealing for the “sin of greed,” so the rest of the poem isn’t really applicable. The poem says that “those who take but do not earn must pay most dearly in their turn.” And I believe this can refer to how Harry used the Hallows – he did not actually take any of them but the wand. He was bequeathed the Cloak and the Stone by Dumbledore, and he took the wand by “earning it” when he secured its loyalty from Draco. So because of that, he did not have to pay dearly for it – the Stone did not just bring back shades for him, and the wand didn’t get him killed (not permanently, anyway).

  43. i’m glad to be reading from here again and seeing all the wonderful comments.

    I loved it when the dragon got itself free and HRH using it as their way out of Gringotts. There was something about a creature that enormous being a slave in the bank and how it was taught to react to certain sounds. That Harry, Hermione, and Ron help it, as well as themselves, when finding a way through the walls of Gringotts was a beautiful moment. The contrast between the three of them and the dragon itself, in terms of its size, is interesting as well.

    The comparison of how Harry originally viewed Diagon Ally and his perception of the place in this chapter is something i remembered. The deep contrast shows how dire the situation is now that Voldemort is in control, as opposed to all the magic and wonder that place held from the first couple of books.

  44. the dragon may have seemed a myth on Harry’s first visit to Gringotts but if my memory serves me he did notice a puff of smoke coming from one of the tunnels beyond his vault when Hagrid first took him there, it never ceases to amaze me how JKR had these books planned out from the start

  45. When Griphook told Harry to use the Imperius curse and Harry complied, I was shocked. I wasn’t angry, really, just surprised that it had come to that. It made the scene incredibly powerful and intriguing. Gringotts is definitely one of my favorite chapters.

  46. One of the most powerful chapters from the series for all the reasons people have pointed out. On the question of Harry using an unforgivable I can’t think of how they would of got the cup otherwise. Is it odd that Hermione decides to use a dark spell designed to abuse someone (Levicorpus) to lift Harry up instead of a simple spell taught to children like wingardium leviosa? It would have accomplished the same thing but in a calmer more controlled way

  47. how come the muggles not notice a real live dragon in air but see a ford anglia???

  48. To ud: Maybe because Ford Anglias are everyday Muggle objects and dragon’s aren’t?

  49. I have an important question: Where and how did Hermione found a dress similar to Bellatrix’s? I mean the Polyjuice Potion does not transform the clothing of the person right? It really bugged me. Help!

  50. Jess, I think they could magically transform an existing garment to look like something Bellatrix would wear.

  51. About Harry’s post war relations with the Goblins..
    I know this thread is about the books and not the movie but in the movie and in the books, most of the Goblin witnesses to the passing of the sword were killed by Voldemort.
    In the movie Griphook was killed as well.

  52. To Grace has Victory, your set of points on the good and evil actions of the trio at the Bank are well founded, with one exception. The trio *are* indeed thieves with regard to the Bank and the Lestrange vault. They do not have the Bank’s sanction, let alone the Lestrange family’s, to enter that vault. They were asked to hold the Hufflepuff cup in the vault for its safe-keeping by Voldemort. Whose cup it is doesn’t really matter here, nor does where it is matter. The trio are not the owners, rightful or otherwise. They entered the vault by nefarious means, to remove an item that is not theirs. That is thievery. Since it occurs in the presence of someone representing the bank (well, formerly) and he warns others, it is robbery. Robbery is a more severe crime as a ‘crime against the person’ than theft, a ‘crime against property.’

    For the future of the world there were obvious and good reasons to commit these actions, but in an absolute sense they were crimes. As you noted in your comment, however, this is war.

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