The Forest Again

chapter thirty-four of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry makes his way to sacrifice himself to Voldemort in the forest, stopping en route to tell Neville about the snake and to watch Ginny one last time. He then remembers Dumbledore’s snitch and finds the Resurrection Stone inside, bringing his parents, Sirius, and Lupin to escort him to the forest clearing – where Voldemort kills him.

The Cloak of Invisibility, by TomScribble

Perhaps some tiny part of him hoped to be sensed, to be seen, to be stopped, but the Cloak was, as ever, impenetrable, perfect, and he reached the front doors easily.


Neville Longbottom, by MartinTenbones

Neville seized his wrist as Harry made to move on. “We’re all going to keep fighting, Harry. You know that?”


Feel You Near, by Mudblood428

With a huge effort Harry forced himself on. He wondered whether she had sensed someone walking nearby, but he did not speak, and he did not look back.


by reallycorking

The Snitch. His nerveless fingers fumbled for a moment with the pouch at his neck and he pulled it out.
I open at the close.


I Open at the Close, by Jenny Dolfen

This was the close. This was the moment. He pressed the golden metal to his lips and whispered,


I Open at the Close, by onikini

“I am about to die.”

(by onikini)


The Third Hallow, by Helene Sirois

He knew it had happened, because he heard slight movements around him that suggested frail bodies shifting their footing on the earthy, twig-strewn ground that marked the outer edge of the forest.


A Different Kind of Bravery, Part 2, by Marta T

Lily’s smile was widest of all…. and her green eyes, so like his, searched his face hungrily, as though she would never be able to look at him enough.

(by Marta T)


You've Been So Brave, by TomScribble

“You’ve been so brave.”


Lupin, by LMRourke

“I am sorry too,” said Lupin. “Sorry I will never know him… but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.”


The Forest Again, by FrizzyHermione

Harry clutched the Cloak tightly around him in the darkness, traveling deeper and deeper into the forest, with no idea where exactly Voldemort was, but sure that he would find him. Beside him, making scarcely a sound, walked James, Sirius, Lupin, and Lily, and their presence was his courage, and the reason he was able to keep putting one foot in front of the other.


The Forest Again, by Hannah-Dora

“You weren’t.”
Harry said it as loudly as he could, with all the force he could muster…. At that moment he felt that nobody mattered but Voldemort. It was just the two of them.


The Forest Again, by somelatevisitor

Voldemort had raised his wand. His head was still tilted to one side, like a curious child, wondering what would happen if he proceeded. Harry looked back into the red eyes…. He saw the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone.


about the chapter


Full Circle

One of the most beautiful moments in the series comes when Harry follows in his parents’ footsteps, both literally and figuratively, to Voldemort’s doorstep. James and Lily – like Sirius, and like Lupin – chose to die to protect someone they loved. And now, on a much bigger scale, Harry is doing the same for the entire wizarding world. He walks with his parents through the forest, just as he chose to step in front of Voldemort, just as he’s spent his life choosing to follow in his parents’ footsteps and fight for what is right. And in the end even the soundless “green flash” that signifies Voldemort’s Killing Curse is familiar. James and Lily’s fight didn’t end when they were killed; rather, their influence continued for another generation through their son. And much the same way, Harry has made sure his fight will continue as well, through Ron, Hermione, and now Neville. And the circle will continue forever for as long as Voldemort’s evil lives on.

The Final Word

“Since he was young… Harry [has been] required to be a better man in that he is obligated to accept the inevitability of his own death. The plan of the books was that he should have contact with death and with the experience of death. And it was always Harry alone who had to have that experience. It all came down to conscience, because the hero had to live these things, do things, see things on his count. It’s part of that isolation and sadness that comes with being a hero.
“For me, [this] chapter is the key of all the books. Everything, everything I have written, was thought of for that precise moment when Harry goes into the forest. That is the chapter that I had planned for 17 years. That moment is the heart of all of the books. And for me it is the last truth of the story…. He reaches that unique and very rare state which is to accept his own death. How many people have the possibility of accepting their death before they die?”
–J.K. Rowling, February 2008

46 Responses to “The Forest Again”

  1. Oh wow. The illustrations are perfect.

  2. This chapter is so incredibly written.
    I love the art work.

  3. Wow. I’ll never forget my heart pounding and tears flowing as I read this chapter for the first time very late one night. I wish I could read it again with the same intensity, fear and contemplation my own mortality.

    All of the images for this chapter were solemnly moving, and reinforced for me what an incredible bequest Dumbledore left to Harry… Dumbledore really did know Harry and exactly what he would need in order to meet his own death.

  4. The ones by Hanna-Dora and Jenny Dolfen and onikini are remarkable.

  5. I remember the first time I read this chapter, and how from the line “I am about to die.” to the end I was a complete blubbering mess. Now, I am not reduced to tears every time I re-read, but I still feel a shiver run down my spine.

  6. My first reading of this chapter was with, as Andrea just described, heart pounding and tears flowing. I was reading it aloud to my daughter and could barely get the words out, at times only managing a whisper. When Harry asked Lily to stay close to him, I had to stifle a sob.

    So powerful. So wonderfully written.

  7. This chapter, and the previous in a different way, were the most influential chapters in the entire series. This is where power of the morals of the story are really highlighted: How many people do you know would willingly walk towards death like that, let alone carry on a battle that you never started nor should have been involved in? It’s messages like these that JK presented to us that really make me proud of this story, and extremely defensive of the series. I can’t stand it when people hate Harry Potter, or don’t read and appreciate the books properly. What a fantastic story. I’m so privileged to have read it at the age I am and was.

    I too was in a mess when I read this. Bawling my eyes out. Still remember how I literally had a huge wet patch on my shirt from all the tears. Will never forget the feelings I felt when reading this.

  8. My God, the artwork for this chapter is beautiful – every single piece is just incredible!!

    I also have to say that, although I was crying on and off for pretty much the last two or three chapters, throughout this chapter I was just heaving with sobs as tears flowed down my face. And the incredible thing is that this happens EVERY SINGLE TIME I reread it…which is now about half a dozen.

    I have been highly critical of this book in the last few chapter discussions, but I think that any error was overshadowed by the beauty of this chapter. I agree with Jo, that this chapter is the heart of the series, and makes everything else worthwhile.

    Also, here’s a funny thought: that this is one of four chapters in a row dedicated to the four main characters. The previous chapter was Snape, where we finally learn what was in his heart the entire time and accept that he was good. This chapter is Harry’s shining moment, where he accepts his death. The next chapter is Dumbledore’s moment to shine, where he earns Harry’s forgiveness and accepts his own actions, and explains everything one last time. And then after that we get Voldemort, who finally meets his demise.

  9. I cried many times throughout the series, but this chapter did it for me. I was literally sobbing, and if you look at my copy of DH, this chapter is all wrinkly from the tears.

    I love the artwork, especially the one by onikini.

  10. Dolfen, Onikini and Marta’s pictures were incredible! I loved seeing Onikini’s picture when i opened this chapter…i thought that the picture was potent, especially with everything going on in this chapter.

    It’s nice to see Harry surrounded with his family. Before they appear, the walk towards the forest is also heartbreaking…parting with advice to Neville and having a last look at his girlfriend.
    I had no idea that JK Rowling had planned all the books to reach this point over Harry’s death. Although i do agree that this chapter is a very important one, i saw plenty of moving moments along the way that looked powerful in their own way: the chapter on Snape, for instance…or the end of the wedding.

    How bizarre that more would happen in the following chapters after this. I certainly couldn’t have predicted what followed.

  11. After reading this chapter I (of course) had to turn to other page, and I almost expected the next pages would be all blank, just imagine, how cruel would that be?

    P.S. my first comment here, perfect site!

  12. What always strikes me is the stillness of the three chapters this one is the middle of. All three seem disjointed from the rest of the action and I don’t mean that in a bad way. You feel more detached you ull away like Harry has done. The first is the realisation of everything, with harry you journey into another persons life and the emotions of it are quite different from the previous batlle scenes. Then the walk to death and finally Dumbledores moment to shine in the next chapter. In a way you make that choice with Harry to return from the stillness to the chaos of the Battle.

    What JK Rowling has always done really well for me is put you right in the emotional shoes of Harry. I remember feeling Harry’s frustation in the 5th book and crying as he shouted at Dumbledore after Sirius died. In this chapter she did it again and it’s heartbreaking. Ginny’s bit somehow gets overlooked but I always found it moving that she was with that girl who just wanted to go home. That and the body of Colin drove it home that this was something Harry needed to do. These were the people he had to save, the children thrust into a war.

  13. Beautiful art, again. And a moving chapter.

  14. Is TomScribble’s Lily a portrait of J. K. Rowling?

  15. I still love reading this chapter. As many others have mentioned, my emotions could not (and still can’t!) be held back. I think the bit that is so emotional for me is realizing how much Harry has grown up. All his life he wanted a family and love and he finally, FINALLY has the parents he barely knew and a couple of father figures with him and they’re only there temporarily, as he makes his way to certain death.

    Thanks for including the Neville quote. What wonderful, heartfelt assurance for Harry to hear. Neville truly is brave and good.

  16. I so agree with Jo that this is the heart and really…the soul…of the whole series. Harry’s unbelievable courage to not only face his own death but to walk to it amazes me. All he had to do was curl up in a ball under the cloak and live…but instead he chose to courageously offer himself up to stop the insanity of Voldemort. When I read it, I wept and will still cry upon reading it. It is one of the most beautiful and courageous moments in literature. It really has a “Christ-like” tone to it. Very similar to Christ facing into his arrest at the Garden of Gethsamene knowing and foreseeing what was in store for him.

  17. More beautiful artwork!

  18. Wonderrful art work, Josie. Good choices and my favorite artists!

    I too bawled through this chapter as well. It reminded me very much of the stations of the cross. One of the stations is Jesus meets his mother. Christ was comforted on his journey to the cross by meeting his mother, and I was pleased that Jo did the same for Harry. One of the lines that really got to me was when Harry asks if it hurts to die. He sounded so much like a child needing assurance at that critical moment and it broke my heart.

  19. So perfect. Jenny Dolfen’s picture is beautiful

  20. I get so excited when I see pics of Harry’s parents depicted at the age they were when they died. In the movies his parents look so OLD. They were 21 when they died. I’m not sure why this is the one thing that irritates me the most about the movies!

  21. Yes… this is the heartstone of the series. It’s hard to know what to say about it because it goes deeper than words and no commentary of mine could do it justice.
    I, too, love Jenny Dolfen’s drawing.

  22. In this chapter, it was mentioned, that Colin Creevey was killed in the Battle of Hogwarts. But I asked myself, how Colin was even able to attend that Battle. As a Muggle born he was barred from attending Hogwarts in that year and was most likely WANTED by the MoM. Of course, as a DA member he could be alerted by the fake coin, but he was not capable of apparation, an most likely on the run either alone or with his parents, with no companion arround, with whom he could apparate side-along. Also other means of quick transportation were not aviable to him.

  23. Excellent point, Marco.

  24. It doesn’t take much to make me cry but it’s usually just silent tears running down my checks. However, this chapter had me actually sobbing which is very rare. I don’t think another book, or even another chapter of HP, has made me sob. The tears come every single time I read it. It just shows how attached I am to Harry. Like I said earlier, I have grown up with the books. I started reading them when I was 9 or 10 so I’ve grown up at the same time as Harry. Seeing that he is about my age and going through so much I can’t help but put myself in his shoes. Oh this chapter just had me in a wreck. Seeing Ginny for the last time, the realisation of how he could open the snitch, his parents, Hagrid’s reaction, thinking about Ginny in his last moments. He is just so brave. Not only does he have to die but he has a long walk to his death. How many 17 year olds would be able to do that? He may be an idiot at times but he is fiercely loyal, determined to do the right think and unbelievably brave.

  25. Could the Creeveys have chosen to hide in the Room of Requirement due to it being safer from the DEs than outside Hogwarts?

  26. I almost started crying all over again here.
    I have always wondered who the little girl was, the one with Ginny. Did she sneak back in and get hurt, or was she lost in the evacuation and get caught in the crossfire? I have always been very emotional about children being hurt, so this part in particular made me cry, though it is often read over quickly by others.
    I think Harry seeing Lupin and Tonks’s bodies made me cry too, and I just wanted to scream “WHY?!” Similar to Fred, there’s no theatrical, heroic death for them, at least not that we see, which is disappointing but realistic.

  27. This is a great site, which i recently discovered. The artwork on every post is beautiful and the comments are filled with insight and makes me wonder as well. Thanks for posting this!

  28. I agree with Marco. Colin’s presence in the battle is very strange. He could not attend Hogwarts, being Muggle born. He should be on the run like Dean Thomas was. He was too young to have learn how to Apparate, and had no wizard relatives to take him with them. He could not have used Floo powder. Flying with a broom also appears to be a long shot. The only way he could be there was contacting some older friend from the DA who could give him a ride to the Hog’s Head.

  29. Colin’s presence (and death) in the Battle would be unlikely if it was anyone but Colin. His huge enthusiasm for Hogwarts and for Harry, and his remarkable persistence, tell me that if there was a possible way back, he’d find it for sure. I’m sorry that we don’t know how he did it, but I’d be more surprised if he hadn’t.

  30. This doesn’t really answer the questions as to Colin’s appearance, but it was addressed in the July 30, 2007 live chat:

    “Colin wasn’t a student. He sneaked back with the rest of the DA, along with Fred, George and the rest. He ought not to have stayed behind when McGonagall told him to leave, but alas – he did.”

  31. @Jennifer- I love picturing you reading this to your daughter! My dad read stuff to us when we were kids and those are some of my best childhood memories.
    Once again- the pix are great!!! Esp love the one of Lily pushing her hair back looking at Harry. I cried looking down through the pix, too.
    One thing I love about this chapter is Harry finally accepting and doing what he doesn’t really completely understand- but finally just trusting DD on it, trusting his initial feelings for DD and just doing it. Life is just like that sometimes.
    @Marco- hadn’t thought that all through. I wonder if Colin had been in the RoR? Liked your thoughts on it, Deborah. And thanks for the input RalphW- it seems he was on the run. Is that from JKR?

  32. I’ve took another look at Ch.29, where the DA members arrived at the RoR. There were mentioned Fred, George und Lee Jordan, who were all capable of apparation, and Ginny, who most likely had apparated side-along with her brothers. But there is no word of Colin.

    Knight bus was also no option, since this would have required Colin to put feet on Hogsmade ground, and this would have resulted in raising the Cauterwauling Charm and immidiate capture by DE.

    And another point:

    Luna Lovegood must have been otherwise than Colin and Ginny already in age at the Battle of Hogwarts, since Flitwick had obviously not forbidden her to participate.

  33. @Marco: Good spot. Given that this takes place (apparently) on May 1st, the chances that Luna, as a Y12 (11th grade?) student, is already seventeen and thus of age are very close to 66% (that her birthday is betweeen September-April (8 months) rather than May-August (4)). So this makes sense.

  34. I’ve been reluctant to state the very, very obvious… but I did intend to draw out the Christian imagery in every chapter. (I’ve lent out my copy of DH, so it’s from memory.)

    Harry must die in order to save the world.

    Harry goes to die willingly.

    According to JKR, this journey to death is the centre-point of the whole story, the drama to which everything has been leading.

    Harry lays aside his wand so that he will be vulnerable. (“I could call down twelve armies of angels if I wanted to…”)

    No living ally accompanies him.

    He is, however, attended by some kind of spirit-comforters.

    The evil one slays him.

    Both are defeated in the same instant.

  35. Jena- Glad I’m not the only one who finds it irritating how old Harry’s parents look in the movies. That is not what 21 years looks like. (Strange how badly that bothers me as well.)

  36. I was already crying when I reached this chapter, but it made me cry harder I couldn’t breathe. I was also 17 when I read the last book, but I couldn’t imagine myself being in Harry’s shoes and doing what he did. How many 17 year olds would readily sacrifice his life to save others and willingly walk to his death? I wanted to shout to Harry to go back, but I understood why he was doing it. This was one of the chapters that I had difficulty reading because of the emotional torture.

  37. An emotional chapter that defines Harry’s character. It makes me think though, what was it that the centaurs had read from the stars before Harry’s first visit into the forest in PS? Had they read that Lord Voldemort will kill Harry Potter in the forbidden forest? Is that why they were so angry with Firenze in PS chapter 15, because they thought Voldemort was to kill Harry then? Is the long walk and murder what Firenze referenced in PS when he says he hopes the stars have been misread? Is that why the centaurs don’t join the battle until after this point, following the stars instructions to allow Harry to die at Voldemort’s hands within the forbidden forest.

  38. If this is ok, Josie, I would like to ask you and all the lovely readers here their opinions on this part of the movie, in particular the scene they added in which Harry says goodbye to Ron and Hermione. I could see the logic for such a scene, needing to externalize Harry’s emotions snd hsve some dialogue about this, but i thought it wasnt taken far enough with Ron. He shouLd have tried to stop Harry…

  39. I am often confused by people who are contemptuous of Dumbledore for sending Harry to his own death, for he did no such thing. As other’s have pointed out, Albus knew immediately the significance of Voldemort using Harry’s blood in his resurrection. The look of triumph on his face when Harry revealed it said it all; Albus had already realized that Harry was a horcrux, and had likely desperately hoped for a solution to the conflict that did not end with Harry dead. He couldn’t have been 100% certain of his theory, but it was the only real hope that Harry had. Dumbledore knows Harry very well by this point, and knows that he would sacrifice his own life for the people he loves. He has no choice but to reveal this information in most advantageous way.
    This chapter only gives further credence to this theory. Harry summons his beloved dead, and all know what he has to do, and not a one of them tries to stop him. I don’t care how wonderful the afterlife is, their prerogative should have been that Harry live a long and productive life before joining them. And it was. Albus Dumbledore had already joined them in the afterlife, and knowing his own plan that Harry summon at least Lilly, James, and Sirius, he fills them in on his plan: that Harry sacrifice his life and not die. The horcrux is destroyed, Harry protects his loved ones from Voldemort’s curses, and miraculously Harry is kept alive by his mother’s protection, which lives on in Voldemort’s blood. All the specters have to do is not talk him out of it, and not reveal that he’ll be just fine. Of course, Dumbledore would have told them.

  40. I distinctly remember, after I finished this chapter for the first time, telling myself that if this was how the story ended, I would never pick up this series again. I just…I guess I couldn’t handle the idea of rereading these books, knowing that The Boy Who Lived was going to die. Yes, it was noble and necessary and all those other things, but I still had this hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    Thankfully, there were still a few chapters to go. :)

  41. Tears aside, I had to smile when I got to the part about how Harry had finally solved the riddle of the Snitch. You see, I got the answer right all along, not that I knew Harry would die at my first read, of course. “I open at the close”… I just had the gut feeling that the Snitch would only open at the appropriate time, at the approach of a certain MAJOR event.

  42. One of the most moving parts for me: James, Lily, Sirius, and Remus driving off the dementors as if they had been Patronuses.

    Harry’s treatment of all three Hallows shows how much wiser his approach towards them was than that of those who had coveted them (including Dumbledore):

    All that he does with the Elder Wand (apart from it being the key of Voldemort’s downfall) is to repair his old wand, and then he returns it to Dumbledore’s tomb, hoping it will never be recovered again. He has no interest in keeping it as a weapon.

    He uses the Stone, not to recall the dead ones he’d loved, but to let them know he’d soon be joining them.

    He keeps the Cloak alone, and that was because it was his father’s, and had been useful to him before, not because it was a Hallow.

  43. Every time I read this chapter I have that feeling, that this is what it all comes down to, where the series has led. It’s beautiful, sad and powerful. That’s really all I can say for it.

  44. Apologies if this goes through twice, my internet is messed up.

    But I just noticed that issue with Colin. My new theory is that he sent a message with his coin asking an older student to Side-Along Apparate him from the London Diagon Alley entrance.

  45. I completely agree with althor42.
    I remember when I was reading this. This chapter was the only time I stopped voluntarily when reading the whole book.
    I remember my eyes streaming. In the weeks leading up to the release, I’d been convinced that Jo *wouldn’t* kill off Harry… She couldn’t!
    So I read this chapter and I was stunned. I had to put the book down, take a massive breath, then dive back in. Because she wouldn’t have killed off Harry permanently, surely…. She couldn’t have….

  46. On the question of why Fred, Lupin and Tonks had to die. Of course some major characters would die in a battle like this one was. It would not have made any sense for the main families and trio to not feel loss while others were dying around them (I am writing this from the point of view of the writer/narrator).

    *Spoiler alert!*
    And another thing, the deaths of Lupin and Tonks give Harry something longer term to live for than killing the Dark Lord, when he discovers he can choose to live, rather than “go on.” He is now a godfather for Teddy Lupin. He will have to be responsible for Teddy as a surrogate father, now, from the very start of that young boys life to his adult wizardhood. Teddy’s grandmother, Andromeda, and Harry are the only ones he now has left.

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