The Parting of the Ways

chapter thirty-six of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry describes everything that happened to him to Dumbledore and Sirius. Then, in the hospital wing, Fudge arrives but refuses to accept Dumbledore’s explanation of Voldemort’s return. With Fudge gone, Dumbledore then springs into action, and Harry falls asleep for the night.

Harry, by glockgal

“I need to know what happened after you touched the Portkey in the maze, Harry,” said Dumbledore.


Cornelius Fudge, by salamandersoup

Once again, [Fudge] glanced at Harry before answering. “You are prepared to believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, on the word of a lunatic murderer, and a boy who… well…”


The Mark, by Wacca

“There,” said Snape harshly. “There. The Dark Mark. It is not as clear as it was an hour or so ago, when it burned black, but you can still see it. Every Death Eater had the sign burned into him by the Dark Lord.”

(by Wacca)


You Understand, Don't You? by Wacca

“You’ll see me very soon, Harry,” said Sirius, turning to him. “I promise you. But I must do what I can, you understand, don’t you?”

(by Wacca)


The Guardian, by Vizen

“Severus,” said Dumbledore, turning to Snape, “you know what I must ask you to do. If you are ready… if you are prepared…”
“I am,” said Snape. He looked slightly paler than usual, and his cold, black eyes glittered strangely.

(by Vizen)


A Mother's Embrace, by Cambryn

Mrs. Weasley set the potion down on the bedside cabinet, bent down, and put her arms around Harry. He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother. The full weight of everything he had seen that night seemed to fall in upon him as Mrs. Weasley held him to her.

(by Cambryn)


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

It’s interesting that Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, didn’t seem to know about the Dark Marks that Voldemort branded into his Death Eaters. Did the Ministry know about them at all? Fudge certainly wouldn’t have been on a “need-to-know” list during the first war against Voldemort; he’s told us he was working in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes at the time. But it still seems to me like a critical piece of information that, if previous Ministers of Magic had known about it, would have been passed down.

The question is made all the more interesting by the fact that the fake Moody taunted Snape about his Dark Mark in the middle of the school year. Would Moody have known about the Dark Mark? He certainly would have been more likely to during the war, as a top Auror, but if nobody knew, then this was quite a potential slip-up on the part of Barty Crouch, Jr. I would love to know what was going through Snape’s head during that conversation.

The Wizarding World

Rita Skeeter will one day give her jounalistic philosophy as something along the lines of, “The Prophet exists to sell itself.” This is certainly true to an extent, but journalistic standards exist for a reason, and in Fudge’s reaction to Harry, we see a shining example of how dangerous it can be when they are ignored. We’ll never know how Fudge would have reacted to Harry’s news if Rita hadn’t published a story about Harry’s insanity, but it certainly cost Harry an awful lot of credibility. Rita probably wouldn’t have wished for Voldemort’s return to power, but by ignoring the moral code of journalism (and simultaneously being trusted by the establishment to follow it), she’s done quite as much to enable it as many Death Eaters.

Something to Remember

Yes, Dumbledore’s “look of triumph” is both meaningful and important. And it’s a fascinating clue into what’s to come. But Harry would never guess what it could signify, and it will be a while yet before he figures it out.

The Final Word

“My model of the world after Voldemort’s return was, directly, the government of Neville Chamberlain in Great Britain during the Second World War, when he tried to minimize the menace of the Nazi regime for political convenience.”–J.K. Rowling, January 2008

33 Responses to “The Parting of the Ways”

  1. It says a lot about the muggle world where she got her inspiration.

  2. Another “Something You May Not Have Noticed” I hadn’t caught (especially the second part).

    And I remember the “Something To Remember” being wildly discussed before DH. JKR is sooo good!

  3. I love politics, so chapters like this one are among my favorites. On a re-read of this chapter, and indeed many others, the book becomes like a Greek Tragedy. We all know what happens, and the horrors to come, but yet I still find myself thinking “Come on Fudge! Just do the right thing!” But he won’t, and we are forced to watch as the Wizarding World descends into chaos. Quite powerful actually.

  4. Along with the ‘something you might not have noticed’ here–Sirius didn’t know about the Dark Marks either. In the cave, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione talk to him about how Karkaroff showed Snape something on his arm, Sirius was just as lost for an explanation as they were and dismissed it as not that important. If Sirius knew nothing, the Order probably knew nothing… it was probably how Peter was able to keep so hush-hush about being the traitor. If they knew they just had to find a tattoo…

    I’m betting that bit of information didn’t get to the good guys until Snape joined up with Dumbledore.

  5. Wow, great something you may not have noticed! But I think the real Moody would have known about the sign…
    What I wondered about is if the sign would fade once Voldemort dissapeared the first time. Maybe that’s why Fudge looked so surprised: he didn’t remember it anmore… is that a possibility?

  6. Seems to me it’s obvious Moody would have known about the Dark Mark (from the conversation he may have even had a hand in prosecuting Snape), and that it’s likely Fudge DID know about it — he just didn’t want to think about it, or believe in what it meant. Same goes for Chamberlain; all the signs were there and his government simply hoped they didn’t mean what they obviously meant.

  7. There’s no reason Fudge wouldn’t know about the Dark Mark; he’s just in denial, and even Snape waving one in his face doesn’t get him to change his mind. He doesn’t want Voldemort back, so he avoids accepting it. Chamberlain did the same thing; he knew perfectly well Germany was rearming and trying to take over Europe, he just didn’t want to acknowledge it and put off war as long as possible.

  8. I wonder how Dumbledore feels about his pets feather being inside Voldemorts wand. And was Fawks his back when the feather was used by Ollivander?

  9. Oops, sorry again for a double post.

    I was also wondering if there are many brother wands around. I mean, since they effect a duel, it’s something to be considered. Josie, how about a wand essay?

    Something Josie has already said when posting her Mafalda essay: Arabella Figg is mentioned as being part of the old gang. Of course I totally missed that for the first couple of read throughs.

  10. The first time I read this chapter I started looking the name of Arabella Fig in the other books, I knew we’ve heard about her! But when I found her I thought it was a coincidence, how wrong was I!
    This chapter is amazing, it gives you so much: Dumbledore’s smile, Sirius come back, “the old gang”, Snape’s mission… And you go from sorrow to anger between Harry retelling the story and Fudge’s attitude and Molly’s hug. Incredible.

  11. The best moments in this chapter in my opinion…

    First, when Molly hugs Harry and he breaks down in tears, finally crying for the first time after the events of this evening. I sometimes forget, but at this point in the story Harry is a 14-year-old child who has just seen his classmate murdered, witnessed the return to power of the Muggle equivalent of a mass murderer, watched this mass murderer regroup his forces, made a conscious decision to fight to the death… Most grown-ups would have collapsed and broken down long before this. And also, while Harry has several ‘father figures’ (the most obvious being Sirius, but also Lupin and, in a very different manner, Dumbledore), the only warm and nurturing adult female in his life is Molly. “He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother.”
    My second favorite is Dumbledore asking Snape to rejoin Voldemort. Regardless of what you think of him, Snape must be scared out of his mind. I believe he is the Death Eater ‘too cowardly to return’ and who will be made to ‘pay’. Snape knows that not showing up immediately after being summoned means that he will be punished, but does it all the same. It’s interesting to read what Snape tells Bellatrix about this at the beinning of HBP. Apparently Voldemort was eventually satisfied with Snape’s reasons but it can’t have been easy for him.

  12. Few characters dare to say Voldemort’s name aloud, but did you noticed that Fudge in his denial forgot to say “You-Know-Who”, or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” (or “Lord Thingy” :) when he was confronting Dumbledore?
    “You are prepared to believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, on the word of a lunatic murderer, and a boy who… well…”

  13. Since Snape is a double agent from the end of the first war, wouldn’t he have already alerted the MoM about the dark mark tattoos? It also seemed to me that though they are always in the same place on the arm, they don’t seem to show up unless the death eaters are being summoned.

  14. Valeria-
    Snape would of course be terrified, at having to explain himself to Voldy, but my understanding was that Karkaroff was the one who was too cowardly to return, given that he fled when he felt the Dark Mark burn, having given too many names to the MoM, and that Snape was the one that he believes had left him forever, considering that he spent the last 14 years living ‘in Dumbledore’s pocket’.

  15. I always wondered, why DUmbledore had not simply asked harry for his memory in this chapter. First I thought that being Dumbledore’s pensieve it could not hold any thoughts and memories that were not his. but after HBP its obvious it can. So even if he were doing it for Harry’s own good (because acceptance and what not) why not ask for the memory to whitness Voldemort’s speach. we know Dumbledore is investigating the Horcrux business, this speach would have proven helpful.
    It just makes sense to me.

  16. Marta, a very interesting idea. I can think of a couple of possibilities as to why Dumbledore didn’t ask, though:

    First is that Harry doesn’t know the magic necessary to separate out one of his memories, so even if he wanted to do so, he wouldn’t have the ability to give Dumbledore the memory.

    Another possibility is that Dumbledore knows he isn’t the one who will need the memory – Harry is. He’s been collecting the memories for Harry, so why take this one from him? A side note to this would be that he’s relatively certain Harry will be safe from Voldemort for a couple more years, thanks to the protections he’s given him, so there’s no urgency, either.

    It also might just seem obvious to Dumbledore that Voldemort didn’t say anything useful (aside from what Harry already reported about going farther down the road to immortality than anyone before). With Death Eaters around, he’s not going to be giving anything away.

    My final thought is just that Dumbledore might not have wanted to see it, and could have used any of the above reasons to justify what really was just a lack of desire on his part. After all, Harry only went to that scene because of a failure of intelligence on Dumbledore’s part; he hadn’t figured out Moody was behind everything. Watching Harry’s encounter with Voldemort (and Cedric’s death) which he knows are partially a result of his own failure would have to be torture for him.

    Just my thoughts, but I’m open to others ;)

  17. I also think that Dumbledore thought that Harry needed to tell what he saw and went through, in a psychological approach that he so often uses… like a way of venting.

  18. Josie. I think those are very good reasons as to why Dumbledore did not ask to see the memory. I Personally like the last one. (Dombledore not wanting to)
    by the way, great website, It’s a new experience, reading the books over again and then reading your site chapter by chapter, confirming theories and dircovering new ones. keep it up!!

  19. In something you may not have noticed, why would the previous minister pass on information about the Dark Mark? (That’s assuming he knew about it, and I think there were some pretty strong arguments that hardly anyone on the light side knew.) Voldemort was believed to be dead and gone, And they thought they had rounded up all the Death Eaters. So why would Cornelius or anyone feel it was necessary for him to know how to identify Death Eaters?

  20. Magdilen-
    I assumed that everybody who had a substantial position in the Ministry of Magic while Voldemort was in power knew enough about the dark side to know that His inner circle was branded with the Dark Mark

  21. I love Cambryn’s picture of Molly hugging Harry. I always found that passage so bittersweet– Harry’s being comforted, and it’s his first memory of being held like that, and finally breaking down. I can’t say it right– but Valeria, above, hit the nail on the head for me. Poor Harry.

  22. I agree that Snape is the “Death Eater” who Voldemort believes has left him forever. I think it’s been said already here, but I also agree with the idea that Fudge knew about the Dark Marks but was so deep in denial that he didn’t pay attention to it. Also, something you don’t appear to have noticed, is Mrs. Weasley’s reaction “Sirius Black!” Clearly, the trio didn’t tell Mrs. Weasley about what happened to them at the end of PoA, so what, prior to this scene, is her understanding of that? Does she know nothing, and think that Scabbers just died during an otherwise personally uneventful year for the trio?

  23. Also, in Order of the Phoenix, when Mrs. Weasley is suggesting presents for Ron for becoming a Prefect, she says “how about a new rat, you always liked Scabbers”. So she knows Voldy’s back, she knows Sirius is innocent, but no-one bothered to fill her in on the fact that the real perpetrator of the 12 murders lived in her house for over a decade and slept in at least one of her sons’ beds?

  24. Of course, she could be thinking “right, well, he was a murderer, but my son did like him, and he didn’t know that”… Kinda like “he turned out to be a maniac, but we still learned loads”?

  25. Did anyone notice this bit? Fudge: “You’ll forgive me, Dumbledore, but I’ve heard of a curse scar acting as an alarm bell before…” What other curse scar has he heard of? This is another quote that I picked up on as potentially important ages ago but that I had forgotten about until now, and I don’t think it was ever answered.

  26. The scene where Mrs Weasley hugs Harry gets me every time. It really brings into perspective how much Harry really needs parental figures in his life. And in the books he has many father figures (eg. Sirius, Hagrid, ect.) but only Mrs Weasley seems to be there to give him a maternal bond, something I sometimes think he needs more than a father figure.

  27. elizabethauthor, I think curse scars in general are common (think of George’s ear in DH), but Harry’s *particular* scar is one-of-a-kind, just because of what curse caused it, and what we know it signifies in the end.

    I don’t think Fudge knew about the Dark Mark at all. I think, at this point, only Dumbledore, Snape, possibly McGonagall, and the Trio, and obviously Voldemort and Death Eaters knew about the Mark. It was kept a secret within Voldemort’s ranks all through the first war, and Dumbledore learned of it because of Snape turning to the Light. My thoughts are that the Dark Mark faded away the night Voldemort lost his body and powers, and that’s when Death Eaters started to be arrested and turned in to Azakaban. Therefore, no one would know about it. And even with the Order, we all know Dumbledore likes to keep everything close to the chest. I think the only ones he trusts implicitly are Harry (and in turn, Ron and Hermione) and Snape. They’re the only ones he told everything to, including Horcruxes. And Snape is the only one he told about his plan for Harry. I think we’re all dead set on wanting to believe Fudge is so ignorant and short-sighted, that it’s all his fault, where some of it isn’t. I think we have to remember that Fudge is a product of how he grew up (blood purity, half-breeds, and all of those wizarding prejudices), and that’s what makes him so terrible. He grew up with ignorance, so that’s how he lives.

    I like all of Josie’s reasons for why Dumbledore didn’t ask for a memory, as they make total sense, but I also am quite partial to Paula’s added reason. He wanted Harry to have the feeling of catharsis that reliving it all had for him. As we read, it was like Harry was extracting a venom (or did he say poison) from himself as he told the story. And Dumbledore, having lived through tragedy, would understand that very well.

    I never really quite understood Dumbledore’s look of triumph. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read DH as many times as the other books, so I think that understanding hasn’t been driven into my brain as fact yet. Is it because Dumbledore knows of the new protection Voldemort created by taking Harry’s blood? I vaguely remember this, but not word-for-word like I do the earlier books.

  28. Casey, here’s my understanding of the look of triumph: Dumbledore has long known that Harry is a Horcrux, and thus that Harry will have to die in order for Voldemort to be defeated. But now, when Voldemort takes Harry’s blood, he “tethers [Harry] to life while he lives.” Voldemort can now *attempt* to kill Harry – and destroy the soul fragment – without Harry actually dying. So the “look of triumph” is a celebration, of sorts – it’s now possible, for the first time, that Harry may live! That’s a pretty big deal, considering how much Dumbledore cares for Harry. And even that’s not to mention the fact that Voldemort has, essentially, just unwittingly handed Harry an incredible weapon to use against him.

  29. Ah, okay, thank you for clarifying, Josie. I’ll be sure to remember this when I read the book next time around!

  30. I agree with your reasoning for Dumbledore not taking the memory from Harry, so, while I’m making a counter-argument, it’s really against Dumbledore and not you.

    It would have made their lives so much easier if Dumbledore had taken Harry’s memory of the event, for one reason: they could have taken Fudge into the Pensieve to view the events for himself. After all, modifications to memories are slightly obvious if A Sluggish Memory is anything to judge by, so this would have provided the greatest evidence to Fudge that Voldemort was indeed back. Now, whether or not they could actually convince Fudge to view the memory is another matter entirely (Something along the lines of “I won’t let you waste any more of my time with this useless nonsense”).

    So, another reason to add to your list could be that, as Harry’s word is good enough for Dumbledore, and he could watch the thoughts in Harry’s mind while he recounted it, Dumbledore may have simply believed that taking the memory from Harry would be a wasted effort anyway.

  31. The scene with Mrs Weasley in this chapter is heart wrenching, really… I also love Dumbledore’s authority, he’s in a whole other action here than we’ve ever seen him in before, and I quite enjoy him flattening Fudge ;)

  32. If no spell can reawaken the dead, then how were Inferi created?

  33. Jeremy- inferi aren’t reawakened in the sense that that line means. They’re able to move around and take orders from the person that raised them but they’re not the ‘person’ that they were. No personality, no soul, just a shell. Hope that helps :)

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