|"Well, I think we should put it back in order for them, don't you?"|
- "I know that you are preparing to fight. Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood. Give me Harry Potter, and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight."
- —Lord Voldemort's ultimatum, leading to the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
The Battle of Hogwarts was a conflict that ended the Second Wizarding War. It took place in the early hours of 2 May, 1998, within the castle and on the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
When Lord Voldemort learned that Harry Potter was in the castle to locate and destroy one of his final Horcruxes, he ordered every Death Eater and creature that had pledged loyalty to him to attack the school. Dumbledore's Army communicated the need to fight to the Order of the Phoenix and their other allies, leading to a large-scale battle. Voldemort led his forces from the Shrieking Shack while Kingsley Shacklebolt and Minerva McGonagall led the defenders of Hogwarts. Voldemort announced that he wanted Harry Potter to surrender himself by midnight.
The battle ended with a decisive victory for the Order and the D.A., with many Death Eaters and Voldemort himself dead. It was the most devastating battle of the war, with casualties including: Lord Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Severus Snape, Fred Weasley, Colin Creevey, Lavender Brown, and at least fifty more who fought against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. It is also assumed to be the final conflict in which the Elder Wand took part, due to it being resealed in Albus Dumbledore's tomb after the battle.
Snape's reign at Hogwarts
- "Well, it's not really like Hogwarts any more."
- —Neville about the situation in to Harry[src]
On August 1, 1997, Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, was captured by Voldemort and interrogated for the whereabouts of Harry Potter. However, in one last brave act for Harry, Rufus Scrimgeour told Voldemort nothing, and was murdered. This placed the Ministry of Magic under the control of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Hogwarts also fell under Voldemort's influence, and he appointed Severus Snape as new headmaster (interestingly, Snape had killed the previous headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, just a month before). The Carrow siblings were also appointed as teachers.
Many school subjects were revised at Voldemort's will; Defence Against the Dark Arts was more or less taught as Dark Arts, and Muggle Studies became a compulsory class for indoctrinating hatred against Muggles and Muggle-borns. Snape and the Carrows enforced Voldemort's agenda brutally at Hogwarts. Students given detention were subjected to the Cruciatus Curse — sometimes by other students. As a result of this, a band of students began to fight back very early on in the 1997-1998 school year, led by seventh year Neville Longbottom and sixth years Ginny Weasley and Luna Lovegood. This group stood as the successor to the original Dumbledore's Army, founded by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger in 1995.
Search for Horcruxes
At the climax of the Battle of the Astronomy Tower the previous year, Albus Dumbledore was killed by then-Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Snape. Dumbledore, however, had left Harry Potter with a final task; to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes that Voldemort created at different points in his life. Over several months, Harry, Ron, and Hermione tried to locate the Horcruxes; their efforts included infiltrating the Ministry to acquire Salazar Slytherin's locket (which was later destroyed by Ron Weasley in December of 1997).
Furthermore, the day before the battle, the trio succeeded in breaking into the vault belonging to Bellatrix Lestrange within Gringotts to obtain Hufflepuff's Cup, another Horcrux. Two other Horcruxes had also been destroyed prior to Dumbledore's death: Voldemort's old diary from his school years at Hogwarts was destroyed in 1993 by Harry Potter, and a ring which had belonged to Voldemort's grandfather, Marvolo Gaunt, was destroyed by Dumbledore sometime in July,1996. Harry returned to Hogwarts Castle to search for another of Voldemort's Horcruxes, an object he believed had something to do with Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, both which are Hogwarts Houses.
Arrival in Hogsmeade
Harry, Ron, and Hermione, all wearing Harry's Cloak of Invisibility, apparated into the main street of Hogsmeade. However, they immediately triggered a Caterwauling Charm, and a dozen cloaked and hooded Death Eaters dashed into the street from the Three Broomsticks. One of the Death Eaters tried to Summon the Cloak, but the Summoning Charm did not work on it because it was the Cloak of Legend, one of the fabled Deathly Hallows.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione backed quickly down the nearest side street. Harry informed the others that the Death Eaters must have set up the Caterwauling Charm to alert them to the trio's presence, and they likely had done something to trap them there. At that moment, one Death Eater suggested releasing the Dementors, pointing out that the Dementors wouldn't kill Harry. Voldemort wanted Harry's life, not his soul, and he would be easier to kill if he had been subjected by the Dementor's Kiss first.
Hermione suggested that they Disapparate, but as they tried, the air through which they needed to move seemed to become solid. They could not Disapparate due to an Anti-Disapparation Jinx placed by the Death Eaters. Ten or more Dementors closed in on them, and Harry raised his wand to cast a Patronus, causing the silver stag to burst from his wand and charge. The Dementors scattered and there was a triumphant yell from the Death Eaters.
Suddenly, a door near the trio opened and the three of them were hustled inside the Hog's Head Inn. They ran up the stairs into a room with single large oil painting of a blonde girl. Outside, the inn's proprietor pulled out his wand and cast a goat Patronus; he insisted that the Death Eaters had mistaken his Patronus for a stag and that he had set off the alarm when he let out his cat. Reluctantly convinced, the Death Eaters strode back toward the High Street. Hermione came out from under the Cloak, and sat down on a chair. Harry drew the curtains shut, then pulled the Cloak off himself and Ron. They could hear the barman down below, rebolting the door of the bar, then climbing the stairs.
The Hog's Head Inn
Harry's attention was caught by Sirius Black's half of his two-way mirror on the mantelpiece. He realised it was the barman's eye he had been seeing in the mirror, and that this must meant that the barman had sent Dobby to rescue them during the Skirmish at Malfoy Manor. From his resemblance to his late brother, Harry deduced that the man was Aberforth Dumbledore.
Realising that the trio were hungry, Aberforth went out of the room and reappeared with a bread, cheese, and a pewter jug of mead. Aberforth told them to wait for daybreak, when the curfew would lift. Then they could get out of Hogsmeade, up into the mountains, and Disapparate. Harry argued that they needed to get into Hogwarts to complete the task Albus Dumbledore set them. Aberforth said that people had a habit of getting hurt when he was carrying out his grand plans.
Aberforth told the young wizards to get away from the school, out of the country if they could; forget Dumbledore and his clever schemes. Harry pointed out that Aberforth was fighting as well, he was part of the Order of the Phoenix, but Aberforth retorted that the Order of the Phoenix was finished. Aberforth then said that Dumbledore was a natural at secrets and lies, a trait he learned from their mother. Hermione timidly asked if the picture on the mantelpiece was of his sister, Ariana, and Aberforth confirmed this.
Hermione said that Professor Dumbledore cared about Harry, very much, but Aberforth said that many of the people his brother cared about very much ended up in a worse state than if he had left them alone. When Hermione asked if Aberforth was talking about his sister, he burst into speech. He told them that when Ariana was six years old, she was attacked by three Muggle boys, and that afterwards her magic turned inward and drove her mad, exploding out of her because she couldn't control it. Aberforth revealed that his father, Percival Dumbledore, went after the boys that harmed his daughter and was locked up in Azkaban for it.
The rest of the family moved house, and because Albus was often too busy for Ariana, she liked Aberforth best. Aberforth could get her to eat when she refused, and he could calm her down when she was in one of her rages. Then, when Ariana was fourteen, she accidentally killed her mother. Kendra's death resulted in Albus having to put aside his dreams and settle down as head of the family.
Aberforth said Albus did all right for a few weeks- until Gellert Grindelwald arrived. Here was someone as bright and talented as Albus was; and so Ariana was neglected as the two of them planned a new wizarding order. After a few weeks of this, Aberforth confronted the two of them about their treatment of his sister, which made Grindelwald angry. There was an argument, and Grindelwald subjected Aberforth to the Cruciatus Curse. Albus tried to stop Grindelwald, and the three boys began to duel. When the curses stopped, Ariana lay dead by an unknown hand.
Aberforth then again told Harry to hide, but Harry knew that in war, sometimes you have to think about the greater good. Harry told Aberforth that Albus had taught him how to finish You-Know-Who, and he was going to keep going until he succeeded, or died. Relenting, Aberforth approached the portrait of Ariana and said "You know what to do." She smiled and walked along what seemed to be a long tunnel painted behind her. Aberforth said that there was only one way in to Hogwarts left.
A tiny white dot reappeared at the end of the painted tunnel, and now Ariana was walking back toward them, growing bigger and bigger as she came, with somebody else limping along beside her. The two figures grew larger until the painting swung forward on the wall like a door, and the entrance to a real tunnel was revealed. Out of the tunnel and onto the mantelpiece came a badly bruised and beaten Neville Longbottom, who gave a roar of enthusiasm upon seeing Harry and stated that he knew Harry would come that it was only a matter of time. Neville proceeded to tell the trio that Hogwarts has changed greatly under the new regime.
Entering the castle
Neville led Harry, Hermione and Ron around a corner and up a steep flight of stairs that led to a door. As Harry followed, he heard Neville call out to unseen people, announcing Harry's arrival, and he, Ron, and Hermione were soon engulfed, hugged, pounded on the back, by what seemed to be more than twenty people.
Neville told everyone to calm down, and Harry saw that they were in an enormous room with many multicoloured hammocks strung from the ceiling. The walls were covered with bright tapestry hangings: the gold Gryffindor lion, emblazoned on scarlet; the black badger of Hufflepuff, set against yellow; and the bronze eagle of Ravenclaw, on blue. There were bulging bookcases, a few broomsticks propped against the walls, and in the corner, a large wooden-cased wireless. Neville revealed that they were in the Room of Requirement, which had expanded as more of Dumbledore's Army arrived. Seamus Finnigan told the trio that the DA had been hiding out there for nearly two weeks, as neither Headmaster Snape nor the Carrows could get in. The passage to the pub had appeared as the students got hungry, as food was one of the few things the room could not provide. The room just kept making more hammocks as they were needed. Harry recognised Lavender Brown, both Patil twins, Terry Boot, Ernie Macmillan, Anthony Goldstein, and Michael Corner.
Neville, who had become the leader of the group, said that he had used the Galleons that Hermione had bewitched in their fifth year to recall all of the D.A., and sure enough, past D.A. members such as the Weasley twins started arriving through the tunnel from the Hog's Head.
Neville had informed a number of them that it was time to return to Hogwarts to fight and help Harry find whatever it was that he needed. When Harry realised how loyal they were being to him, he accepted help, telling them that Voldemort was on his way to Hogwarts and that he, Harry, needed to find something in the castle. When he asked about artefacts associated with Rowena Ravenclaw, Harry was told about her lost diadem, and he decided that it was almost certainly what Voldemort would have used for his Horcrux.
Luna Lovegood took Harry to the Ravenclaw Common Room to see a statue of Rowena wearing the diadem so that he would know what to look for. They were caught there by Alecto Carrow, who summoned Voldemort by way of the Dark Mark on her arm before being stunned by Luna. Amycus Carrow and Professor McGonagall then arrived in the room. Amycus decided that he would blame Alecto's (seemingly unnecessary) summoning of Voldemort on the students. McGonagall refused to allow him to put her students in danger, causing him to spit in her face in anger. Harry, outraged, used the Cruciatus Curse on him, revealing himself to McGonagall.
Ousting of Severus Snape
McGonagall sent three cat Patronus messengers to summon the other Heads of House, and started for the Great Hall with Harry and Luna following closely behind her. As they walked down from Ravenclaw Tower, they encountered Headmaster Snape in the hall. He continually darted his eyes about, perhaps suspecting that Harry was nearby. When asked what she was doing there, McGonagall claimed she heard a disturbance. She was evasive when asked about Harry, then slashed her wand through the air. Snape, faster, deflected her charm. She then waved her wand at a torch on the wall, making it fly off its bracket.
The flames became a ring of fire that filled the corridor and flew like a lasso at Snape. Snape turned the descending flames into a great black snake that McGonagall blasted to smoke and turned into a swarm of daggers, which she directed towards him. The Headmaster pulled a suit of armour in front of him, which the daggers sank into with echoing clangs.
Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout came running to McGonagall's aid with a huffing Slughorn lagging behind. Flitwick raised his wand, bewitching the suit of armour to attack Snape by crushing him. Outnumbered, Snape sent the suit of armour flying back against his attackers and dashed into a deserted classroom, where a loud crash was heard. Pursuing, McGonagall screamed, "Coward!" Uncloaked, Harry and Luna rushed inside to find that Snape had fled by leaping out the window in the form of a jet black stream of smoke.
Harry thought that Snape was surely dead, but McGonagall bitterly commented that, unlike Dumbledore, Snape had a wand and had learned a few tricks from his master, Voldemort. Harry saw a large, bat-like figure soaring across the school grounds. Harry slid into Voldemort's mind again and saw an Inferi-filled lake. Voldemort leapt from the boat in a murderous rage, headed for Hogwarts.
Preparations for battle
McGonagall then ordered the students to be brought to the Great Hall. The students old enough to fight could stay if they wanted, while younger students would be evacuated by Poppy Pomfrey and Argus Filch by way of the passage through the Hog's Head Inn. The professors set defensive charms and spells around Hogwarts to fend off Voldemort, although they all knew that no matter what protection they gave, Voldemort would eventually penetrate it. As Hogwarts Castle was being fortified, Harry asked Flitwick about Ravenclaw's diadem, but Flitwick informed him that it had not been seen "in living memory." Meanwhile, McGonagall enchanted the school's statues and suits of armour to help defend the castle and ordered Filch to summon Peeves the Poltergeist to aid in the defence.
When Harry and Luna returned to the Room of Requirement, they found that even more people had arrived, including: Kingsley Shacklebolt, Remus Lupin, Oliver Wood, Katie Bell, Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, Bill Weasley, Fleur Delacour, Arthur Weasley, and Molly Weasley. Fred Weasley had alerted Dumbledore's Army, and they in turn summoned the Order of the Phoenix. As younger students were being evacuated, an argument broke out about underage Ginny Weasley, who wanted to help fight. Her mother eventually relented to the point of allowing Ginny to stay at Hogwarts if she stayed in the Room of Requirement. The Weasleys' estranged son Percy suddenly arrived, and loudly apologised to his family for not supporting them; the Weasleys immediately forgave him. Looking around, Harry wondered where Ron and Hermione were. Ginny told him they were attending to something having to do with a bathroom, leaving Harry puzzled.
Inside the Great Hall, Professor McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt announced that students would be evacuated before the battle began, though the older students could remain and fight if they wished. The Order of the Phoenix and the professors have agreed upon a battle plan and begin dividing into groups. As tension mounts over the approaching battle, Harry anxiously searches the room for Ron and Hermione, who were still missing.
- "I know that you are preparing to fight. Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood. Give me Harry Potter, and they shall not be harmed. Give me Harry Potter and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight."
- —Lord Voldemort's ultimatum, leading to the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
Suddenly, Voldemort's magically amplified voice rang through the hall and heard throughout all of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. Voldemort informed the school that if they surrendered Harry to him by midnight, nobody in the school would be hurt. Pansy Parkinson, spotting Harry, stood and shrieked for someone to grab him; all of Gryffindor House rose in a mass, pointing wands at the Slytherins, almost immediately followed by all of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Professor McGonagall announced that all of Slytherin house would be evacuated, followed by the other Houses, through the passage through the Hog's Head Inn, though those of age were welcome to stay if they wished. Prompted by Professor McGonagall, Harry set out again in search of the Horcrux. Heading down an empty corridor, he began to panic — he has no idea where to search for the Horcrux or where Ron and Hermione were.
As the defenders of Hogwarts prepared to hold off Voldemort so that Harry could finish his search for the object of Ravenclaw's, the Death Eaters launched attacks on the castle but were kept from entering. The Hogwarts defenders were able to fend off the Death Eaters using an array of tactics: Professor Sprout and Neville planned to use dangerous plants from the greenhouses against the Death Eaters, such as lobbing mandrakes over the walls, as well as the bewitched suits of armour and wand duels. The whole castle shook with the force of the Death Eaters' sinister enchantments, and Harry met up with Aberforth Dumbledore and Rubeus Hagrid, his boarhound Fang, and his giant half-brother, Grawp, as they joined in defending the castle against Death Eaters. During the duels, portraits on the walls, including that of Sir Cadogan, rushed between their canvases screaming news from other parts of the castle or giving encouragments to the fighters.
Skirmish at the wooden bridge
After Scabior tested if it was safe to cross the now-broken protections, the Snatchers charged into the Wooden Bridge. As Neville ran for the Clock Tower Courtyard, he briefly duelled Scabior before casting a spell that rebounded into the wooden beams producing a large explosion on the Sundial Garden-side of the Wooden Bridge.
As the Snatchers fell into the ravine below, Neville threw himself onto the un-exploded part of the bridge, holding to the intact wooden beams, as Ginny Weasley, Seamus Finnigan, Cho Chang, Ernie Macmillan, Leanne, Padma Patil, and Nigel Wolpert managed to help him up.
Onslaught at the Viaduct
- " GET INSIDE! Take cover! TAKE COVER!"
- —The protection surrounding the castle is broken[src]
As the giants made their way into the Viaduct the Viaduct Courtyard came under fire of the Death Eaters' curses, exploding much of the cloister. The suits of armour struggled against the giants on the Viaduct, managing to floor one, but they too came under Death Eater fire.
Two giants died during this onslaught.
Skirmish at the quad battlements
As part of the battlements shattered, a Death Eater managed to Apparate into the set of catwalks on which Order of the Phoenix members aimed spells. The Death Eater shot a Killing Curse, killing a wizard, and then started duelling with Arthur Weasley.
Search for the diadem
- "I stole the diadem. I sought to make myself cleverer, more important than my mother. I ran away with it. My mother, they say, never admitted that the diadem was gone, but pretended that she had it still. She concealed her loss, my dreadful betrayal, even from the other founders of Hogwarts."
- —Helena Ravenclaw recounting her past[src]
While the battle raged on, Harry thought about possible locations of the Ravenclaw-related Horcrux. All anyone seemed to associate with Ravenclaw was the Lost Diadem, but no one had seen the diadem in living memory. At this thought, Harry decided to ask a ghost, as they had been around much longer than anyone else. Harry found Nearly Headless Nick, and asked him where he might find the Ravenclaw house ghost. Somewhat miffed that Harry did not want his help, Nick pointed out the Grey Lady, and Harry eventually chased her down and asked if she knew anything about the diadem. After gaining her trust, she revealed that, during her life, she was Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter, Helena, and she stole the diadem from her mother to make herself cleverer.
She revealed that she hid the diadem in a hollow tree in a forest in Albania, and she also ashamedly admitted to having told one other student about it, many years before. Harry privately thought that the Grey Lady was only one of many who had been hoodwinked by Tom Riddle's charms. Harry put together that Voldemort found the diadem in Albania, and brought it back to Hogwarts to hide it the night he asked Dumbledore for the Defence Against the Dark Arts job. Harry then remembered that Voldemort operated alone and may have been arrogant enough to think that he alone discovered Hogwarts secret of the Room of Requirement. Harry knew immediately that Voldemort had hidden the Lost Diadem there.
Returning to the Room of Requirement, Harry found Ron and Hermione there. They informed him that Ron had opened the Chamber of Secrets by mimicking the Parseltongue language Harry had made to open the Locket Horcrux, and Hermione had recovered several Basilisk fangs, using one of them to destroy Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, one of the Horcruxes and recovering the others to destroy any future Horcruxes that they found. Reunited, the trio went to the Room of Requirement to search for the Horcrux.
Ginny was inside, along with Tonks, and Mrs Longbottom (Neville's grandmother) who had sealed off the tunnel to the Hog's Head inn. The three women soon left to join the battle, on order for the trio to change the setting of the Room of Requirement. When Ron said that he wanted to warn the house-elves, an overjoyed Hermione flung herself into Ron's arms, kissing him. He kissed her back, their unspoken feelings finally shared. The trio then entered the Room of Requirement, which Harry had re-opened as the junk storage warehouse where Voldemort had placed the diadem.
Room of Requirement
- "It was not normal fire; Crabbe had used a curse of which Harry had no knowledge: As they turned a corner the flames chased them as though they were alive, sentient, intent upon killing them. Now the fire was mutating, forming a gigantic pack of fiery beasts: Flaming serpents, chimaeras, and dragons rose and fell and rose again, and the detritus of centuries on which they were feeding was thrown up in the air into their fanged mouths, tossed high on clawed feet, before being consumed by the inferno."
- —Description of the Fiendfyre conjured by Vincent Crabbe[src]
Harry, Ron, and Hermione split up to search for the diadem within the mounds of hidden objects. As Harry found it, however, he was cornered by Draco Malfoy and his sidekicks, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. A fierce duel erupted; Crabbe tried to kill Ron and Hermione with Killing Curses, while Goyle was Disarmed by Harry and Stunned by Hermione. In the confusion, Malfoy dropped his borrowed wand and Crabbe unleashed Fiendfyre, setting the room ablaze. The flames began to burn the multiple objects in the room.
As the cursed fire consumed the whole room, Crabbe was lost amongst the flames. Harry spotted some old broomsticks and in order to escape from the conflagration, mounted them to escape. As they left, though, Harry saw Malfoy and the still unconscious Goyle and rescued them. He then saw the diadem being thrown about by the Fiendfyre and grabbed it as well, then he made for the door. They narrowly missed being killed by the inferno, and upon getting out of the room they collapsed on the hallway floor. As they flew out into the corridor, the door slammed shut behind them and vanished. Now landed, Harry watched as the diadem emitted a thin shriek and then fell apart in his hand. Hermione then mentioned that Fiendfyre was one of the few things capable of destroying Horcruxes.
Harry realised that it was midnight, and Voldemort's forces had penetrated the castle's boundaries. Death Eaters, based in the Forbidden Forest, came streaming out in great numbers. Curses and jinxes flew in every direction, lighting up the sky in green and red. Draco and Goyle disappeared into the battle, and the trio is encountered by multiple duelling witches and wizards.
The trio were joined by Fred Weasley and Percy Weasley, each of them duelling a separate Death Eater. The hood of the Death Eater duelled by Percy slipped, revealing the opponent to be Pius Thicknesse, the Minister for Magic under the Imperius Curse by the Death Eaters, and Percy hit him with a sea urchin jinx, telling him to consider it his resignation, while Fred hit his opponent with a Stunning Spell. The moment when danger seemed at bay, however, ended when a massive explosion shattered the wall, blowing apart a side of the castle. As Harry and Hermione struggled through the rubble to see what happened, they realised with horror that Fred was dead. Harry and Percy stuffed his body inside a crevice, and Percy left them into the battle, chasing after the Death Eater Augustus Rookwood.
Reaching the Shrieking Shack
- Hermione Granger: "Listen to me — LISTEN RON!'"
- Ron Weasley: "I wanna help — I wanna kill Death Eaters —"
- Hermione Granger: "Ron, we're the only ones who can end it! Please — Ron — we need the snake, we've got to kill the snake! [...] We will fight! We'll have to, to reach the snake! But let's not lose sight now of what we're supposed to be d-doing! We're the only ones who can end it!"
- — Hermione urging Ron not to forget the trio's mission[src]
As the trio and Percy stood in horror at the prospect of Fred being killed, more curses flew in at them from the darkness after a body fell past the hole blown into the side of the school. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione tried to get Percy to stop clutching to his dead brother so they could get out of danger, an Acromantula (one of Aragog's descendants) was trying to climb through the huge hole in the wall, but Ron and Harry blasted it backwards with a combined spell. However, more spiders were climbing the side of the building, driven out of the Forbidden Forest by the Death Eaters, who decided to use it as a base.
Harry looked inside Voldemort's mind on Hermione's instruction to see where he and Nagini were. Harry subsequently discovered that he was in the Shrieking Shack, not even fighting, and had ordered Lucius Malfoy to find Severus Snape and bring him to the shack.
Pulling back out of Voldemort's mind, Harry informed the other two what he saw and the two decided who should go to the Shack to kill Nagini. Before they came to an arrangement, the tapestry on the top of the staircase on which they stood was ripped open by two masked Death Eaters. Hermione shouted Glisseo, causing the stairs to flatten into a chute. Harry, Ron, and Hermione hurtled down it, went through the tapestry at the bottom, and hit the opposite wall. As the Death Eaters sped down the slide after them, Hermione cast Duro, causing the tapestry to turn to stone and the Death Eaters crumpled as they hit it. They turned and saw Professor McGonagall leading a group of enchanted desks to gallop past them into the fray. The three of them put on the Invisibility Cloak and ran down the next staircase.
The trio, invisible, found themselves in a corridor full of duelers, masked and unmasked Death Eaters fighting students and teachers. Dean Thomas was face-to-face with Antonin Dolohov, while Parvati Patil was fighting Travers. As Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood braced, ready to help, Peeves zoomed over them dropping Snargaluff pods on the Death Eaters, whose heads were engulfed in wriggling green tubers. However, some of the slimy green roots hit the Cloak over Ron's head, and seeing the tubers suspended in midair, a Death Eater informed his fellows that there was an invisible person. Using the temporary distraction, Dean shot a Stunning Spell at the Death Eater and Dolohov had a Body-Bind Curse shot at him by Parvati before he could react.
Pelting through the fighters, Harry, Ron, and Hermione viewed Draco Malfoy on the upper landing pleading with a Death Eater that he was on their side. Harry Stunned the Death Eater and Ron punched Draco from under the Cloak, commenting that it was the second time they saved him that evening. There were more duelers all over the stairs and in the entrance hall: Yaxley was close to the front doors in combat with Filius Flitwick, and a masked Death Eater duelling Kingsley Shacklebolt right beside them. Harry directed a Stunning Spell at the masked Death Eater, but it missed and almost hit Neville Longbottom, who emerged with armfuls of Venomous Tentacula, which reeled in the nearest Death Eater.
As Harry, Ron, and Hermione ran down the marble staircase, the hourglass used to record Slytherin's house points was shattered and spilled its emeralds everywhere. At this moment, two bodies fell from the balcony overhead, and Fenrir Greyback sped toward one of the fallen to sink his teeth in. Hermione threw him backwards from Lavender Brown, and as he struggled to get up he was hit on the head with a crystal ball thrown by Professor Trelawney, who threw another through a window with a tennis serve-like movement.
At that moment, the front doors burst open and the gigantic spiders forced their way in. Hagrid went to the spiders shouting for people not to hurt them, and he vanished into their midst as the spiders swarmed away from the onslaught of spells being fired at them. As Harry ran after him, a monumental foot almost crushed Harry. Looking up, he saw it belonged to a twenty-foot high giant, which proceeded to smash a fist through an upper window. Grawp came lurching around the corner, and the two giants launched themselves at each other savagely.
The trio ran away from the giants, and as they were halfway toward the forest, A hundred Dementors glided toward them, sucking the happiness from Harry as they advanced; Hermione and Ron's Patronuses flickered and died. Filled with despair the last nine months had brought them along with the loss of Fred, Harry almost welcomed an oblivion that would come with a Dementor's Kiss, but a silver hare, a boar, and fox soared past and impeded the Dementors' approach. Luna Lovegood, Ernie Macmillan, and Seamus Finnigan had arrived to save them. With the greatest effort it had ever cost him, Harry managed to conjure his stag Patronus, and the Dementors scattered in earnest.
The trio sprinted to the Whomping Willow, the entrance to the Shack, knowing that destroying the snake and defeating Voldemort was the only way to end it. Panting and gasping over their sprint, the trio reached the tree and tried to find the single knot in the back that would paralyse the branches. Ron wondered where Crookshanks was when they could have used his help but Hermione reminded him that he is a wizard. So he used a Levitation Charm to cause a twig to fly up and jab the place near the roots, stopping the writhing branches instantly. Though Harry had second thoughts about leading Ron and Hermione exactly where Voldemort expected him to go, he realised that the only way forward was to kill the snake, the trio crawled along underground secret passage that led to the Shrieking Shack.
Before reaching the end of the tunnel, Harry put on the Invisibility Cloak, and extinguished his lit wand. He then heard voices coming from the room directly ahead of him, muffled by a crate blocking the tunnel. Harry saw through the tiny gap between crate and wall Nagini, swirling and coiling in her protective, floating enchanted sphere, and a long-fingered white hand toying with a wand.
Snape, inches away from where Harry crouched, hidden, told Voldemort that the castle's resistance was crumbling, and Voldemort told Snape that there was no need for Snape to return to the fray. Snape offered to bring Potter to Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack, but Voldemort declined, changing the subject by saying that the Elder Wand has only performed his usual magic, that it had not revealed the legendary and extraordinary powers it was said to possess. Snape then begged Voldemort to let him return to the battle and find Potter, but Voldemort declined again, saying that the boy would come to him, as he would hate watching his friends die for him when handing himself over was the only way to stop it. Voldemort said his instructions to his Death Eaters had been perfectly clear: capture Potter alive. While they could kill as many of his friends as they wanted, they must not kill the boy.
Snape protested, wishing to return and bring Voldemort the boy, but Voldemort angrily declined once again and asked Snape why both wands he used, his own wand and Lucius Malfoy's wand, failed when ordered to kill Harry. Voldemort told Snape that after both of the wands failed he sought the Elder Wand, the Deathstick, Wand of Destiny; he took it from the grave of Albus Dumbledore. Snape pleaded again to go to the boy, but Voldemort ignored him and told Snape that he had been wondering why the Elder Wand refused to be what it ought to be, and that believed he now had the answer.
Voldemort told Snape that he had been a valuable and faithful servant and that he regretted what he had to do. Voldemort told Snape that the Elder Wand could not serve him properly because he was not the wand's true master, that the wand belonged to the wizard who killed its last owner. Incorrectly believing Snape to have won the wand's allegiance upon killing Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort believed that while Snape lived, the Elder Wand would never truly belong to him. Thus, Voldemort believed that Snape had to die so that Voldemort could become the Elder Wand's true master.
Snape tried to explain the situation, but Voldemort swiped the air with the Elder Wand before he could finish, and Nagini's cage began to roll through the air. Snape yelled as the protective sphere encased his head and shoulders. With no remorse, Voldemort ordered Nagini to kill Snape in Parseltongue. Snape screamed while Nagini's fangs pierced his neck. Believing that the wand would now truly do his full bidding, he pointed it at the starry cage holding the snake and caused it to drift upward, off Snape, who fell sideways onto the floor with blood gushing from the wounds in his neck. Without a backward glance, Voldemort swept from the room with the great serpent floating after him in its large protective sphere.
After Voldemort left the shack with Nagini, Harry pointed his wand at the crate blocking his view, making it lift an inch into the air and drift sideways. Harry entered the room, not knowing why he was approaching the dying man, not knowing what to feel as he saw Snape's white face and as Snape tried to staunch the bloody wound at his neck. Harry took off the Invisibility Cloak and looked at the man who he hated, and Snape's black eyes widened upon seeing Harry and tried to speak. As Harry bent over him, Snape seized the front of Harry's robes and pulled him close.
Snape, barely alive, told Harry to "Take it", and as he did so, silvery-blue wisps, neither gas nor liquid, were gushing from his mouth, ears, and eyes. Hermione conjured a crystal flask out of thin air, and Harry lifted the silvery substance into the flask with his wand. When the flask was full, Snape's grip on Harry's robes slackened and he asked to look into Harry's green eyes. Harry's green eyes looked into Snape's black eyes for a moment, before something in Snape's eyes vanished, the hand holding Harry's robes fell to the floor, and Snape's life ebbed away.
- "You have one hour. Dispose of your dead with dignity. Treat your injured. "
- —Voldemort calls an armistice[src]
After witnessing Snape's death, Harry heard Lord Voldemort's magically amplified voice, speaking to everyone at Hogwarts, in Hogsmeade village, and specifically to Harry, giving him one hour to surrender and threatening to kill everyone if he fails to comply. Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Hogwarts through the tunnel, and Ron and Hermione enter the Great Hall, where the defenders are regrouping and the many wounded and dead lie. Harry sees Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks among the deceased. Unable to bear the sight and ashamed at the damage he had caused, Harry runs to the Headmaster's office, where all the portraits stand empty, and finds Dumbledore's Pensieve.
- "To escape into someone else's head would be a blessed relief. Nothing that even Snape had left him could be worse than his own thoughts."
- —Moments before Harry sees flashbacks of Snape's past.[src]
- "Finally, the truth. Lying with his face pressed into the dusty carpet of the office where he had once thought he was learning the secrets of victory, Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death's welcoming arms. Along the way, he was to dispose of Voldemort's remaining links to life, so that when at last he flung himself across Voldemort's path, and did not raise a wand to defend himself, the end would be clean, and the job that out to have been done in Godric's Hollow would be finished: Neither would live, neither could survive."
- —Harry coming to terms with the realisation that he must die[src]
Harry watched Snape's memories, and hoping to briefly escape his own mind, but after seeing them, finally knew the truth; he was not meant to survive. His job had been to dispose of Voldemort's Horcruxes and then walk calmly to his death. As he lay on the floor of the Headmaster's office, Harry felt terror and fear at the knowledge that he had to die, and sat up slowly, more aware of his living body than ever before. He understood that Dumbledore had always planned for him to die as one step close to defeating Voldemort. It was clear that Harry's life span had always been determined by how long it took to get rid of the Horcruxes, and that it was an elegant plan not to waste any more lives but to give the tasks to the boy who had already been marked for death, and whose death would not be tragic but simply another blow against Voldemort.
However, Harry realised that Dumbledore had overestimated him, and that Nagini, the last Horcrux, remained to bind Voldemort to the earth even after Harry had been killed. He knew that Ron and Hermione would have to carry out killing the snake after Harry was killed, and Harry knew that good-byes and explanations, and Ron and Hermione's attempts to stop him, would waste valuable time. Thus, in order not to meet anyone, Harry put on the Invisibility Cloak and went down the floors and saw Neville carrying a body in from the grounds with Oliver Wood, Harry recognised the body as Colin Creevey — he had sneaked back into the castle to fight despite being underage.
Harry took one glance back at the entrance of the Great Hall, where people were kneeling beside the dead and comforting another, but he could not see Hermione, Ron, Ginny, the other Weasleys, or Luna. To make absolutely sure that Nagini was killed, he spoke to Neville, saying that just in case Neville got the chance, he must kill the snake. Now, like Dumbledore, Harry made sure that there were backups to carry on when he was dead, and that there would still be three people in on the Horcrux secret. Neville would take Harry's place.
Harry swung the Cloak over himself and continued walking, but he stopped when he saw Ginny comforting a girl who was whispering for her mother. Harry wanted to shout out to Ginny, but he passed Ginny kneeling beside the injured girl without speaking. As he saw Hagrid's hut, he emotionally remembered all his trips there, particularly the rock cakes, Ron vomiting slugs, and Norbert. When he reached the edge of the forest, he felt the chill of a swarm of dementors. He had no strength left for a Patronus. He felt like he could not go on, but he knew that he must, the game was over, the Snitch had been caught. At this, he pulled out of the Snitch he had inherited from Dumbledore, the first Snitch he had ever caught, and understanding was coming to him quickly.
The inscription on the Snitch, I open at the close, finally made sense to him; this was the close. Harry pressed the golden metal to his lips and whispered, "I am about to die". The metal shell broke open, and Harry lit Draco's wand beneath the Cloak. He saw the black stone with the jagged crack running down the centre sitting in the two halves of the Snitch. The Resurrection Stone had cracked down the vertical line representing the Elder Wand. Knowing that it was not really like bringing them back for he was going to join them, Harry closed his eyes and turned the stone over in his hand three times.
Harry opened his eyes and saw figures less substantial than living bodies but much more than ghosts moving toward him with loving smiles on their faces: the shades of James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and — with the widest smile of all — Lily Evans. Lily told Harry how brave he had been, and Sirius told him that dying does not hurt at all. Harry, mostly addressing Lupin, told them all that he had not wanted any of them to die, especially because Lupin will never know his son, but Lupin said that he hoped his son would understand that he died to have the boy live a happier life. James told Harry that they would stay with him until the very end, and Sirius informed him that the others would not be able to see them, as they were a part of Harry and invisible to everyone else.
They set off, and the Dementor's chill did not overcome him; his companions acted like Patronuses, and Harry continued deeper in the forest to find Voldemort. The presence of James, Sirius, Lupin, and Lily gave him courage, and his mind and body felt oddly disconnected. Suddenly, he heard a thud and a whisper, and Yaxley and Dolohov emerged from behind a nearby tree, with Yaxley saying he heard something and suggested that Harry was under his Invisibility Cloak. Deciding it must have been an animal, the two decided Harry's time to come was over and that they would return to the other Death Eaters to await orders.
Harry followed them, knowing that they would lead him to Voldemort, and his mother smiled and his father smiled in encouragement. In mere minutes, Harry saw Yaxley and Dolohov step into the clearing that once belonged to the monstrous Aragog. A fire burned in the middle of the clearing, and there was a crowd of watchful, silent Death Eaters around it. Two giants sat on the outskirts of the group, and Harry saw Fenrir chewing his long nails, Rowle dabbing at a bleeding lip, and Lucius Malfoy looking defeated and terrified, while Narcissa had sunken eyes full of apprehension.
Voldemort stood with his head bowed, his white hands folded over the Elder Wand in front of him as if in prayer or counting silently in his mind. Behind his head, Nagini floated in her glittering, enchanted cage. Voldemort looked up at Dolohov and Yaxley's approach, and they informed him that there was no sign of the boy. Voldemort told the Death Eaters that he expected Harry to come, and that it appeared he was mistaken. Harry contradicted Voldemort as loudly as he could, while the Resurrection Stone slipped between his fingers. His parents, Sirius, and Lupin vanished.
As he stepped into the clearing, with nothing but the fire between him and Voldemort, the giants roared and the Death Eaters rose together. Voldemort had frozen, and his red eyes stared as Harry moved toward him with nothing but the fire between them. At that moment, a voice yelled "HARRY! NO!", and Harry saw that Hagrid was bound and tied to a nearby tree. As Hagrid shouted, Rowle caused Hagrid to be silent with a flick of his wand. Bellatrix leapt to her feet, looking eagerly from Voldemort to Harry, and the only things that moved were the flames and snake, coiling and uncoiling in midair in the glittering cage.
Harry made no attempt to draw his wand, he knew that the snake was too well protected, and even if he managed to point the wand at Nagini, fifty curses would hit him first. Voldemort looked Harry with his head tilted a little to the side, and a mirthless smile curled his lipless mouth. Softy, Voldemort said, "Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived". None of the waiting Death Eaters moved, Hagrid was struggling, Bellatrix was panting, and Harry thought of Ginny, and the feel of her lips on his. Voldemort raised his wand, with his head still tilted to one side, and Harry looked into the red eyes and wanted it to happen quickly, before he displayed any fear; he saw Voldemort's mouth move and the flash of green light of the Killing Curse before everything was gone.
Limbo with Albus Dumbledore
- Harry Potter: "But you're dead."
- Albus Dumbledore: "Oh yes."
- Harry Potter: "Then...I'm dead too?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "Ah. That is the question, isn't it? Oh the whole, dear boy, I think not."
- — Harry meeting Dumbledore[src]
Harry found himself laying face-down in silence, completely alone. He soon realised that he must exist, because he had a sense of touch, leading him to find out that he was lying on a surface. Soon after this conclusion, he discovered he was naked. He was intrigued at this, but not concerned because he was sure of his solitude. He wondered whether he would be able to see as well as touch, and discovered that he could. He was in a bright mist, but rather than his surroundings being hidden by a cloudy vapour, it was the cloudy vapour that had not yet formed into surroundings. The floor on which he lay seemed white and flat, neither warm nor cold. As he sat up, he realised he was not wearing glasses anymore. At that moment, Harry heard a noise; the small soft thumpings of something that was flailing and struggling. The noise was pitiful, but also slightly indecent, and Harry felt he was eavesdropping on something furtive and shameful. He wished he were clothed, and at that moment robes appeared a short distance away.
Looking more closely at his surroundings, Harry saw a great domed glass roof glittering high above him, and he thought perhaps he was in a palace. Turning slowly on the spot, his surroundings invented themselves before his eyes; a wide-open space, a hall much larger than the Great Hall. Harry recoiled as he spotted the thing making the noises. It had the form of a small, naked child curled on the ground, with raw and rough skin, flayed looking and shuddering under a seat where it had been left unwanted, struggling for breath. Harry was afraid of it, it repulsed him, and did not want to approach it even though it was small, fragile, and wounded. At that moment, a voice told Harry he could not help it, and he turned to see Albus Dumbledore striding towards him in sweeping robes of midnight blue; both his hands were white and undamaged.
Dumbledore led Harry away from where the flayed child lay whimpering to two seats set some distance away. The two sat down, and Harry looked at Dumbledore and saw everything he remembered about him. But, knowing Dumbledore was dead, Harry asked if he was dead as well. Dumbledore says this was not the case, and the fact that Harry willingly sacrificed himself would have made all the difference. With Dumbledore prompting him, Harry put together that, because Harry let himself be killed by Voldemort, the part of Voldemort's soul that was in Harry had now gone. Harry's soul was whole and completely his own. Asking Dumbledore what the small, maimed creature trembling under the chair was, Dumbledore replied that it was something beyond either of their help. Harry asked how he could be alive when Voldemort used the Killing Curse and no one died for him this time, and Dumbledore explained that it was because Voldemort, in his ignorance, in his greed and his cruelty, used Harry's blood to rebuild his living body in 1995 in the graveyard of Little Hangleton. Thus, Harry's blood being in Voldemort's veins, Lily's protection was inside both of them, making it so Voldemort tethered Harry to life while he lived.
Explaining further, Dumbledore revealed that Harry was the seventh Horcrux, a Horcrux that Voldemort did not mean to make. When Voldemort committed the unspeakable acts of murdering Harry's parents and the attempted murder of the child, his soul broke apart, and Voldemort left more than his body behind: he left part of himself latched to Harry, his would-be victim. But Voldemort remained ignorant of some forms of magic, and he thus took Harry's blood in an attempt to strengthen himself by taking into his body a tiny part of the enchantment that Lily laid upon Harry upon her death. Voldemort's body kept her sacrifice alive, and while that enchantment survived, so did Harry and so did Voldemort's one last hope for himself.
Harry then asked why his wand broke the wand that Voldemort borrowed. Dumbledore told him that Voldemort, having doubled the bond between them when he returned to human form (a part of his soul was latched to Harry, and then, thinking to strengthen himself, he took part of Harry's mother's sacrifice into himself) proceeded to attack Harry with a wand that shared Harry's wand's core. The cores reacted in Priori Incantatem, something Voldemort, who never knew that his wand and Harry's shared the same core, had never expected. That night, when Harry accepted, even embraced the possibility of death, Harry's wand overpowered Voldemort's, and something happened between the wands that echoed the relationship between their masters. Dumbledore believed that Harry's wand imbibed some of the power and qualities of Voldemort's wand that night, that it contained a little of Voldemort himself.
During the Battle of the Seven Potters, Harry's wand recognised Voldemort when the Dark Lord pursued Harry, and it regurgitated some of Voldemort's own magic against him, magic much more powerful than anything Lucius's wand had ever performed; Lucius's wand had no chance against the combined power of Harry's enormous courage against Voldemort's own deadly skill. Dumbledore explains that Harry's wand's remarkable effects were directed only at Voldemort, who had tampered with the deepest laws of magic, and otherwise it was a wand like any other and so Hermione was able to break it.
Dumbledore told Harry that they could agree that Harry was not dead, and then Harry asked Dumbledore where they were. Dumbledore asked Harry the same question, to which Harry replied that it looked somewhat like King's Cross Station except cleaner and empty, and without any trains. Dumbledore chuckled at this suggestion, and when Harry asked what Dumbledore thought it looked like, Dumbledore replied with an infuriatingly unhelpful response. Harry then brought up the subject of the Deathly Hallows, which wiped the smile from Dumbledore's face. Dumbledore asked Harry to forgive him for not telling Harry, that Dumbledore feared that Harry would failed as he had failed, and make Dumbledore's mistakes. Dumbledore says that Harry is the better man, and with tears in his eyes he says that the Hallows are a desperate man's dream and lure for fools, and that Dumbledore was one such fool. Dumbledore tells Harry that he, too, sought a way to conquer death, and so he was not better, ultimately, than Voldemort, to which Harry protests, saying that Dumbledore tried to master death using the Hallows, whereas Voldemort tried to conquer death with the use of Horcruxes, by murdering.
Dumbledore tells Harry that above all, the Deathly Hallows were the objects that drew him and Grindelwald together; two clever, arrogant boys with a shared obsession. The Hallows were the reason Grindelwald wanted to come to Godric's Hollow to explore the place where Ignotus Peverell, the third brother, had died. Dumbledore reveals that the Peverell brothers were in fact the three brothers of the tale, but that it is more likely that they were simply gifted, dangerous wizards who succeeded in creating the powerful objects rather than them being Death's own Hallows, that this was the sort of legend that would have sprung up around the creations. The Cloak of Invisibility travelled down through the ages to Ignotus's last living descendant, who was born, like Ignotus, in Godric's Hollow: Harry. Dumbledore revealed that the Cloak was in his possession the night Harry's parents died because James had shown it to him a few days previously, and while Dumbledore had long since given up his dream of uniting the Hallows, he still wished to examine it, as it was a Cloak that matched the description of the tale perfectly.
Dumbledore told Harry that he gave up on his search for the Hallows because of what happened, and that Harry cannot despise him as much as he despised himself. He told Harry that he resented the responsibility of his sister's poor health, and that his father died in Azkaban and his mother giving up her own life to care for Ariana. He revealed that he was gifted, brilliant, he wanted to escape, to shine, to have glory, and while he loved his brother and sister and parents, he disliked having the responsibility of a damaged sister and a wayward brother; he felt like his talent was trapped and wasted. Then Grindelwald came, with his ideas of Muggles forced into subservience and wizards triumphant, Grindelwald and Dumbledore being the leaders of the revolution. Dumbledore revealed that he had scruples, but he assuaged his conscience with empty words about it being for the greater good and any harm done would be repaid in benefits for wizards. Dumbledore closed his eyes to what Grindewald truly was, because if their plans came to fruition all of Dumbledore's dreams would come true.
At the heart of Dumbledore and Grindewald's schemes were the Deathly Hallows. Dumbledore told Harry how interested they were in the fascinating objects: the unbeatable wand that would lead them to power, the Resurrection Stone—to Grindewald it meant an army of Inferi and to Dumbledore it meant the resurrection of his parents and the lifting of all responsibility from his shoulders. Dumbledore told Harry that he and Grindelwald never discussed the Cloak much. Both of them could conceal themselves perfectly fine without the Cloak, and Dumbledore thought it might be useful in hiding Ariana, but mostly they were interested in the Cloak because it completed the trio, which would make them master of death, which they took to mean "invincible". After the two months of scheming and neglect of the two family members left to him, Dumbledore was forced to face reality with his brother, Aberforth, telling him the truth that he could not seek the Hallows with an unstable sister. The argument became a fight, and Ariana lay dead on the floor. At this, Dumbledore began to cry in earnest, and then said that Grindelwald fled while Dumbledore was left to bury his sister and live with his guilt and grief, the price of his shame.
Dumbledore then said that he was offered the post of Minister for Magic while rumours about Grindewald procuring a wand of immense power flew about. Harry told Dumbledore that he would have been a much better Minister than Fudge or Scrimgeour, but Dumbledore said that he had learned at a young age that he was not to be trusted with power, that it was his weakness and his temptation, and that those who are best suited to power are perhaps those who have leadership thrust upon them and have never sought it.
While Dumbledore was at Hogwarts as a teacher, where he believed he was safer, Grindewald was raising an army, and that some said he feared Dumbledore, but not as much as Dumbledore feared him. It was not what Grindelwald could do to him magically (as Dumbledore knew that they were about evenly matched) that Dumbledore feared, rather Dumbledore was afraid of truth; which one of them had cast the curse that killed Ariana during that last horrific fight. Dumbledore dreaded beyond all things the knowledge that it had been him who had brought about Ariana's death, not just through his arrogance and stupidity but that he actually struck the blow that killed her. Dumbledore delayed facing Grindelwald until it became shameful. People were dying, and Dumbledore did what he had to do. He won the duel and won the Elder Wand's allegiance.
Harry did not ask whether Dumbledore had ever found out who struck Ariana dead, and at last he knew what Dumbledore would have seen when he look in the Mirror of Erised. After a long silence, during which the whimperings of the creature behind them barely disturbed Harry anymore, Harry told Dumbledore that Grindelwald had tried to stop Voldemort from going after the wand by lying and pretending he never had it. Dumbledore nodded, and said that Grindelwald was said to have shown remorse in later years, alone in his cell at Nurmengard, and that perhaps that lie to Voldemort was his attempt to make amends, to stop Voldemort from taking the Hallow, or (as Harry suggested) to stop Voldemort from breaking into Dumbledore's tomb.
After another short pause, Harry brought up that Dumbledore had tried to used the Resurrection Stone, to which Dumbledore nodded. He said that when he discovered it, after all those years buried in the abandoned home of the Gaunts, he lost his head and quite forgot that it was now a Horcrux and that the ring was sure to carry a curse. He picked it up, put it on, and for a second Dumbledore imagined that he was able to see Ariana and his parents again, and to apologise, but instead he suffered from the curse placed on the Horcrux ring. Dumbledore said that this was final proof that he was unworthy to unite the Hallows, that after all those years he had learned nothing. Harry defended him, saying that it was only natural for him to want to see his family again, but Dumbledore said that he was only fit to possess the Elder Wand, and only to use it to protect others from it. The Cloak, Dumbledore said, he had taken out of a vain curiosity, and so it would never have worked for him like it worked for Harry, its true master. Dumbledore said that he would have used the stone to drag back those who are at peace, rather than to enable his self-sacrifice, as Harry did. At this, Dumbledore said that Harry was the worthy possessor of the Hallows.
Harry asked Dumbledore why he had to make it all so difficult, and Dumbledore smiled as he admitted he counted on Hermione Granger to slow Harry up. Dumbledore said he was afraid that Harry's hot head might dominate his good heart, and that Dumbledore feared that, if presented outright with the facts about the tempting objects, Harry might have tried to seize the Hallows like Dumbledore did, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons. If Harry laid hands on them, Dumbledore wanted him to possess them safely. Dumbledore said that Harry was the true master of death because the true master does not seek to run away from death, but instead accepts that he must die and understands that there are worse things in the living world than dying.
When Harry asked if Voldemort ever knew about the existence of the Hallows, Dumbledore said that he did not believe so. He did not recognise the Resurrection Stone he turned into a Horcrux, but even if he had known about them, Dumbledore doubted that Voldemort would have been interested in any except the Elder Wand, as Voldemort would not think he needed the Cloak, and whom would be want to bring back from the dead with the stone, as he fears the dead and does not love. Despite this, Dumbledore did believe that Voldemort would go after the wand ever since Harry's beat Voldemort's own during the duel in Little Hangleton. At first, Voldemort was afraid that Harry had conquered him by superior skill. However, after kidnapping Ollivander, he discovered the existence of the twin cores, and he thought that a borrowed wand would solve the issue. Yet the borrowed wand did no better against Harry's, and so Voldemort went after the Elder Wand, a wand that was said to beat any other. Dumbledore said that he did indeed intend for Severus Snape to end up with the Elder Wand by planning Snape to kill him, but Harry and Dumbledore both agree that that particular plan did not work out in the end.
Harry and Dumbledore sat without talking for the longest time yet, while the creature behind them jerked and moaned. The realisation of what would happen next gradually settled on Harry, and he asked Dumbledore if he had to go back. Dumbledore replied that Harry had a choice, and that if they were in King's Cross Harry had the decision to go back, or to board a train and go "on". Harry mentioned that Voldemort has the Elder Wand, and while Dumbledore confirmed this, he said that if Harry chose to return there was a strong chance that Voldemort would be finished for good.
Dumbledore said he could not promise this, but that Harry had less to fear from returning where they were than Voldemort did. Harry glanced at the raw-looking thing that trembled and choked in the shadow beneath the distant chair, but Dumbledore told Harry not to pity the dead, but instead to pity the living, especially those who live without love. He told Harry that by returning, Harry could ensure that fewer souls were injured and fewer families torn apart, as Harry had a strong possibility of being able to defeat Voldemort once and for all.
Dumbledore said that if that seemed like a worthy goal, they would part for the time being. Harry nodded and sighed, knowing that leaving this place would not be as difficult as walking into the forest, but it was warm and light and peaceful and he knew that he would be going back to pain and the fear of more loss. Harry stood up, as did Dumbledore, and they looked at each other. Harry then asked if this was all real, or whether it had simply been happening inside his head. Dumbledore smiled, and as the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure, his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears as he told Harry that it was definitely happening inside Harry's head, but by no means should that mean it was not real.
Second half of the battle
Procession from the forest
Harry found himself lying facedown on the hard ground again, with the smell of the forest in his nostrils and the hinge of his glasses, which were knocked sideways when he fell, cutting into his temple. He was aching, and the place where the Killing Curse hit him felt like the bruise of a painful punch, but he feigned death by remaining exactly where he had fallen with his left arm bent out at an awkward angle and his mouth open. Harry expected to hear cheers of triumph and jubilation at his death, but instead he heard hurried footsteps, whispers, and solicitous murmurs filling the air.
He then heard Bellatrix's voice, speaking as if to a lover as she addressed Voldemort. Harry, not daring to open his eyes, allowed his other senses to explore his situation, and he found that his wand was stowed beneath his robes and due to a slight cushioning effect around his stomach, he knew that the Invisibility Cloak was also there. Bellatrix addressed Voldemort again, but he cut her off. Harry heard more footsteps, and several people backed away from the same spot. Opening his eyes a millimetre, Harry saw that Voldemort seemed to be getting to his feet with various Death Eaters hurrying away from him, with only Bellatrix remaining kneeled beside him.
Harry closed his eyes and considered what he saw. The Death Eaters had been huddled around Voldemort, who seemed to have fallen to the ground; perhaps Voldemort had also collapsed when he hit Harry with the Killing Curse. Both of them had fallen briefly unconscious and both of them had now returned. Voldemort declined Bellatrix's offer of assistance coldly, and asked if the boy was dead. There was complete silence in the clearing as no one approached Harry, and with a bang and a small shriek of pain Voldemort ordered someone to examine Harry and then tell him whether the boy was dead.
Not knowing who had been sent to verify, Harry lay with his heart thumping inside his chest waiting to be examined, but at the same time noted that Voldemort was wary of approaching him, that Voldemort suspected not everything had gone according to plan. Harry felt hands, softer than he expected, touch his face, pull back an eyelid, creep beneath his shirt, down to his chest, and feel his heart.
Harry could hear the woman's fast breathing, and her long hair tickled his face and he knew that she could feel the steady pounding of his heartbeat against his ribs. In a barely audible whisper, with her lips an inch from Harry's ear and her long hair shielding his face from the onlookers, the woman asked if Draco was alive and in the castle. Harry breathed back a "yes", and he felt the hand on his chest contract, her nails piercing him, and then felt it withdrawn. She had sat up, and Narcissa Malfoy announced to the watchers that the boy was indeed dead.
Now the Death Eaters shouted, yelling in triumph and stamping their feet, and Harry saw through his eyelids bursts of red and silver light shoot into the air in celebration. Still feigning death on the ground, Harry understood that Narcissa no longer cared whether Voldemort won, and so she lied to the Dark Lord knowing that the only way she would be permitted to enter Hogwarts, and find her son, was as part of the conquering army. Screeching over the tumult, Voldemort announced that now, with Harry Potter dead by his hand, no man could ever threaten him. Voldemort then cast the Cruciatus Curse on Harry's body, which Harry expected; he knew that his body would not be allowed to remain unsullied upon the floor but must be subjected to humiliation to prove Voldemort's victory. Harry was lifted into the air, and he tried as hard as he could to remain limp, yet the pain he expected from the Torture Curse did not come. He was thrown three times into the air, and his glasses fell off while his wand slid a little beneath his robes, and he kept himself floppy and lifeless. When he fell to the ground for the last time, the clearing was still echoing with jeers and shrieks of laughter.
Voldemort then announced that they would go to the castle to display the defenders of Hogwarts what had become of Harry. Voldemort decided that Hagrid should carry Harry's body, as the boy would be nice and visible in Hagrid's arms, and Harry felt his glasses slammed onto his face with deliberate force when Voldemort ordered that he wear the glasses to be recognisable. The enormous hands that lifted Harry up were exceedingly gentle, and Harry could feel Hagrid's arms trembling with the force of his sobs; great tears splashed down upon him as Hagrid cradled Harry in his arms, but Harry did not dare to tell Hagrid that all was not, yet, lost. Voldemort commanded Hagrid to move, and Hagrid stumbled forward as he forced his way through the close-growing trees back through the forest. Branches caught at Harry's hair and robes, but he continued to feign death with his mouth lolling open and his eyes shut and in the darkness, with the Death Eaters crowing all around them and Hagrid still sobbing, no one looked to see if a pulse beat in Harry's exposed neck.
Two giants crashed along behind the Death Eaters, and Harry could hear trees creaking and falling as they passed. The giants made so much noise that the birds rose shrieking into the sky, and even the jeers of the Death Eaters were drowned. The victorious procession continued to march on toward the open ground, and Harry could tell, after a while, by the lightening of the darkness through his closed eyelids, that the trees were beginning to thin. Then, Hagrid unexpectedly bellowed at Bane and the other centaurs for not fighting, asking them if they were happy that Harry was dead, but he broke down in fresh tears and couldn't finish. Harry could not tell how many centaurs watched their procession pass, and he heard of some Death Eaters calling insults at the centaurs as they left them behind. A little later, Harry sensed, by a freshening of the air, that they had reached the edge of the forest, and Voldemort commanded Hagrid to stop and due to Hagrid's lurch, Harry suspected that the gamekeeper had been forced to obey. A chill began to settle over them, and Harry heard the rasping breath of dementors that patrolled the outer trees. However, the fact of his own survival burned inside of him, acting like a Patronus in his heart.
Announcing Harry Potter's alleged death
- "Harry Potter is dead. He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him. We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone. The battle is won. You have lost half of your fighters. My Death Eaters outnumber you, and the Boy Who Lived is finished. There must be no more war. Anyone who continues to resist, man, woman or child, will be slaughtered, as well every member of their family. Come out of the castle now, kneel before him, and you shall be spared. Your parents and children, your brothers and sisters will live and be forgiven, and you will join me in the new world we shall build together."
- —Voldemort announcing Harry's supposed death to the inhabitants of Hogwarts[src]
Voldemort, his voice magically magnified, announced that Harry was dead and that he was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself. He told the defenders of Hogwarts that his Death Eaters outnumbered them and the Boy Who Lived was finished. Calling for no more war, Voldemort threatened that anyone who continued to resist would be killed, but that those who came out and knelt before him would be spared. Voldemort strode in front of the procession, followed by a weeping Hagrid carrying Harry's supposed dead body, and wearing Nagini, now free of her enchanted cage, around his shoulders. Hagrid continued to sob, and Harry strained his ears to distinguish above the gleeful voice of the Death Eaters and their footsteps any sign of life from those within the castle.
The Death Eaters came to a halt, and Harry could see through his closed lids light streaming upon him from the Entrance Hall. Harry waited for the moment when the people for whom he had tried to die would see him, lying apparently dead, in Hagrid's arms. Professor McGonagall screamed, another woman laughing nearby, and he knew it was Bellatrix glorying in McGonagall's despair. Harry squinted again for a single second and saw the open doorway filling with people, as the survivors of the battle came out onto the front steps to face the Death Eaters and see the truth of Harry's death for himself.
Harry saw Voldemort standing a little in front of him, stroking Nagini's head with a single white finger. He then heard Ron, Hermione and Ginny's shouts of horror, even worse than McGonagall's, but Harry forced himself to remain lying silent. Their cries acted like a trigger, and the rest of the survivors began screaming and yelling abuse at the Death Eaters until Voldemort cried for silence and with a bang and flash of bright light, silence was forced upon them all.
Voldemort ordered Harry to be lowered down and set at his feet, and he proclaimed to the survivors that Harry Potter was nothing but a boy who relied on others to sacrifice themselves for him. Ron yelled at Voldemort, and the charm broke and the defenders of Hogwarts were shouting and screaming again until another bang extinguished their voices once more. Voldemort lied once more that Harry was killed when trying to sneak out of the castle grounds, but he was interrupted by a scuffle and a shout, then a bang, a flash of light, and a grunt of pain. Opening his eyes slightly, Harry saw that someone had broken free of the crowd and charged at Voldemort, but hit the ground, disarmed, and Voldemort laughed as he threw the challenger's wand aside.
Voldemort asked the crowd who had stepped forth to show what happened to people who continued to fight when the battle was lost. Laughing delightedly, Bellatrix answered that it was Neville Longbottom, the boy who had been giving the Carrows so much trouble, and son of the Aurors, Frank and Alice Longbottom. Voldemort turned back to Neville, who was disarmed and unprotected and standing between the survivors and Death Eaters. When Voldemort offered Neville, who was pure-blood and showed courage, a place in the ranks of the Death Eaters, Neville bravely refused and showed his allegiance to Dumbledore's Army, and there was an answering cheer from the crowd, whom Voldemort's Silencing Charms seemed unable to hold. Voldemort answered in a dangerous, silky voice that, if that was Neville's choice, they would revert to the original plan.
Still watching through his lashes, Harry saw Voldemort wave his wand, and out of one of the castle's windows came the ragged Sorting Hat. Voldemort announced that there would be no more Sorting at Hogwarts, no more Houses, and that colours of Salazar Slytherin would suffice for everyone. He pointed his wand at Neville, who grew rigid and still as Voldemort cast a Full Body-Bind Curse on him, then Voldemort forced the hat onto Neville's head. There were movements from the watching crowd, but the Death Eaters raised their wands as one and held the fighters of Hogwarts at bay. With a flick of his wand, Voldemort caused the Sorting Hat on Neville's head to burst into flames.
Inside the Great Hall
- "The slash of the silver blade could not be heard over the roar of the oncoming crowd or the sounds of the clashing giants or of the stampeding centaurs, and yet it seemed to draw every eye. With a single stroke Neville sliced off the great snake's head, which spun high into the air, gleaming in the light flooding from the entrance hall, and Voldemort's mouth as open in a scream of fury that nobody could hear, and the snake's body thudded to the ground at his feet —"
- —Neville beheading Nagini[src]
There was screaming as Neville, aflame, stood rooted to the spot and unable to move, and just as Harry planned to act, several things happened simultaneously. There was an uproar from the distant boundary of the school as what sounded like hundreds of people came swarming over the out-of-sight walls and pelted toward the castle with loud war cries. At the same time, Grawp came around the side of the castle yelling "HAGGER!", and Voldemort's giants roared in return and ran at Grawp like bull elephants, making the ground tremble. There was then the sound of hooves and the twangs of bows as the centaurs, ending their neutrality, joined the fray. Arrows began falling amongst the Death Eaters, who broke ranks shouting in surprise.
Harry pulled the Invisibility Cloak from inside his robes, swung it over himself, and sprang to his feet while Neville moved at the same time. In one swift, fluid motion, Neville broke free of the Body-Bind curse placed upon him, and the flaming hat fell from his head and he drew from inside it something silver, with a glittering, rubied handle: the Sword of Godric Gryffindor. The slash of the silver blade could not be heard over sounds of battle; the clashing giants and the stampeding centaurs, though it seemed to draw every eye. With a single stroke Neville sliced off Nagini's head, which flew spinning into the air and as Voldemort let out of a scream of fury that no one could hear, the snake's body thudded to the ground.
Still hidden beneath the Invisibility Cloak, Harry cast a Shield Charm between Neville and Voldemort before the latter could try to attack the boy. Then, over the screams and the roars and the thunderous stamps of the battling giants, Hagrid yelled for Harry, asking where Harry was. There was chaos as the charging centaurs scattered the Death Eaters and everyone fled from the giants' stamping feet, and nearer and nearer thundered the reinforcements. Harry saw great winged creatures soaring around the heads of Voldemort's giants, thestrals and Buckbeak the hippogriff scratching at their eyes while Grawp punched and pummelled them. Both defenders of Hogwarts and Death Eaters were being forced back into the castle, and Harry was shooting jinxes and curses at any Death Eater he could see, and they crumped without knowing who or what had hit them, while their bodies were trampled by the retreating crowd. Hidden beneath the Cloak, Harry was buffeted into the entrance hall. He saw Voldemort across the room firing spells from his wand as he backed into the Great Hall while screaming instructions to his followers as he sent curses everywhere, while Harry cast more Shield Charms while Voldemort's would-be victims, Seamus Finnigan and Hannah Abbott, ran past him into the Great Hall and joined the fight inside.
There were even more people storming up the front steps, and Harry saw Charlie Weasley overtaking Horace Slughorn, who was still wearing his emerald pyjamas, leading what looked like the families and friends of every Hogwarts student who remained to fight, along with the shopkeepers and homewoners of Hogsmeade. The centaurs Bane, Ronan, and Magorian burst into the hall with clattering hooves, as behind Harry the door that led to the kitchens was blasted off its hinges; the house-elves of Hogwarts swarmed into the entrance hall screaming and waving carving knives and cleavers. At their head, with locket of Regulus Black bouncing on his chest, was Kreacher, yelling at the top of his lungs, "Fight! Fight! Fight for my master, defender of the house-elves! Fight the Dark Lord in the name of brave Regulus! Fight!" The house-elves hacked and stabbed at the ankles and shins of Death Eaters with their tiny faces alive with malice, and everywhere Harry looked the Death Eaters were folding under sheer weight of numbers, overcome by spells, dragging arrows from wounds, stabbed in the leg by elves, or else simply attempted to escape but swallowed by the charging army.
Harry sped between duellers, past struggling prisoners, and into the Great Hall, where he saw Voldemort in the centre of the battle striking and smiting all within reach. Harry could not get a clear shot of him, but he fought his way closer, still invisibile, and the Great Hall became more and more crowded as everyone who could walk forced their way inside. Harry watched as the Death Eaters, outnumbered by the defenders and allies of Hogwarts, were taken down one by one: Harry saw Yaxley slammed to the floor by George Weasley and Lee Jordan, Dolohov fall with a scream at Flitwick's hands, Walden Macnair thrown across the room by Hagrid, hit the stone wall oppposite, and slide unconscious to the ground. He saw Ron and Neville bringing down Fenrir Greyback, Aberforth hitting Rookwood with a Stunning Spell, Arthur and Percy flooring Thicknesse, and Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy running through the crowd, not even attempting to fight, screaming for their son.
Eventually, all the death eaters were either killed or defeated with only Voldemort and Bellatrix left standing. Voldemort was now duelling McGonagall, Slughorn, and Kingsley simultaneously, and there was cold hatred in his face as they wove and ducked around him, unable to finish him. Bellatrix was still fighting as well, fifty yards away from Voldemort, and like her master she duelled three at once: Hermione, Ginny, and Luna, each of the three girls' battling their hardest but Bellatrix, battling fiercely, was equal in power to the three of them. Harry's attention was diverted as a Killing Curse shot so close to Ginny that she missed death by an inch, and he changed course, running after Bellatrix rather than Voldemort. Before he had gone a few steps, he was knocked sideways as an enraged Molly Weasley, throwing off her cloak to free her arms, ran at Bellatrix, furious at the Death Eater's attempted murder of her daughter.
Bellatrix roared with laughter at the sight of her new challenger, and Molly ordered the girls to step aside. With a swipe of her wand she began to duel. Harry watched as Molly Weasley's wand slashed and twirled, and Bellatrix Lestrange's smile faltered and became a snarl. Jets of light flew from both wands, the floor around their feet became hot and cracked, both witches were fighting to kill. As a few students ran forward, trying to come to her aid, Mrs Weasley shouted for them to get back and leave Bellatrix to her. Hundreds of people now lined the walls, watching the two fights: Voldemort and his three opponents, Bellatrix and Molly, while Harry stood invisible, torn between both, wanting to attack and yet to protect, unable to be sure that he would not hit the innocent.
As Bellatrix, as mad as her master, taunted Molly about the death of Fred Weasley, Molly screamed that Bellatrix would never touch her children again. Bellatrix laughed, the same exhilarated laugh that her cousin Sirius had given as he toppled backward through the veil, and Harry suddenly knew what was going to happen before it did. Molly's well-aimed curse soared beneath Bellatrix's outscretched arm and hit her squarely in the chest, directly over her heart. Bellatrix's gloating smile froze, her eyes seemed to bulge; for a split second she knew what had happened, and then she toppled, the watching crowd roared, and Voldemort screamed.
Harry felt as though he turned in slow motion. He saw McGoangall, Kingsley, and Slughorn blasted backward, flailing and writhing through the air, as Voldemort's fury at the fall of his last, best lieutenant exploded with the force of a bomb. Voldemort raised his wand and directed it at Molly Weasley, but Harry roared Protego and the Shield Charm expanded in the middle of the Hall, and Voldemort stared around for the source as Harry pulled off the Invisibility Cloak at last.
- Harry Potter: "I don't want anyone else to try to help. It's got to be like this. It's got to be me."
- Lord Voldemort: "Potter doesn't mean that. That isn't how he works, is it? Who are you going to use as a shield today, Potter?"
- Harry Potter: "Nobody. There are no more Horcruxes. It's just you and me. Neither can live while the other survives, and one of us is about to leave for good [...] "
- — Harry talking to Voldemort before their final duel[src]
The yells of shock, cheers, and screams of delight at Harry's appearance were stifled, and silence fell abruptly and completely as Voldemort and Harry stared at each other and began to circle each other. Harry called to the crowd that he didn't want anyone else to help, that it had to just be him and Voldemort, though Voldemort hissed that Harry truly wanted someone to use a shield, to sacrifice themselves for him. Harry replied that there were no more Horcruxes, that it was just him and Voldemort: neither could live while the other survived, and one of them was going to leave for good. Voldemort jeered at the proposal that Harry would survive, the boy who survived by accident and because Dumbledore was pulling the strings.
Harry then asked if it was accident when his mother died to save him, accident when he decided to fight in the graveyard, if it was an accident when he didn't defend himself that night, still survived, and returned to fight again. Voldemort screamed that these were accidents, but he still did not strike, will the hundreds watching in the Hall were frozen as if Petrified. Voldemort proclaimed that it was accident and chance, and that Harry crouched and snivelled behind the skirts of greater men and women and permitted Voldemort to kill them for Harry to save himself. Harry replied that Voldemort wouldn't be killing anyone else, as they stared into each other's eyes, green into red. Harry said that Voldemort wouldn't be able to kill any of them ever again, because Harry was ready to die to stop him from hurting them, and that thus he did what his mother did to him. He gave the defenders of Hogwarts sacrificial protection, and which was why none of the spells Voldemort put on them were binding: Voldemort couldn't torture them, or touch them, and Harry ended by calling Voldemort "Riddle" and telling him he never learnt from his mistakes.
Harry told Voldemort that he knew lots of important things that 'Riddle' didn't, and offered to tell him some of them before he made another big mistake. Voldemort did not speak but continued prowling in a circle, and Harry knew that he had kept him temporarily at bay and mesmerised, held back by the possibility that Harry might indeed know a final secret. His snake's face jeering, Voldemort suggested that the secret was love, Dumbledore's favourite solution that he claimed conquered death, but Voldemort said that love did not stop him from killing Harry's mother, or Dumbledore falling from the top of the Astronomy Tower, and that nobody seemed to love Harry enough to run forward and take Voldemort's curse. Voldemort then asked, if nobody sacrificed themself for Harry, what would stop Harry from dying when he struck.
As they circled each other, wrapped in each other, held apart by nothing but the last secret, Voldemort suggested that, if it wasn't love that would save Harry, Harry must believe he possessed magic that Voldemort didn't, or a weapon more powerful than Voldemort's. When Harry said he believed both, shock flitted across the snakelike face, but it was instantly dispelled as Voldemort began to laugh at the possibility that Harry knew more magic than he did, than Lord Voldemort, the wizard who performed magic Dumbledore himself never dreamed of. The laugh was humourless and insane, a sound more frightening than his screams, which echoed around the silent Hall. Harry contradicted this, saying that Dumbledore did indeed dream of it, but that he knew more than Voldemort, he knew enough not to do what Voldemort had done. Voldemort screamed that this meant Dumbledore was weak, too weak to dare, to weak to take what might have been his, and what would soon be Voldemort's. Harry again disagreed, saying that Dumbledore was cleverer than Voldemort; a better wizard and a better man.
Voldemort said that he brought about the death of Albus Dumbledore, but Harry told Voldemort that he was wrong. At this, for the first time, the watching crowd stirred as the hundreds of people around the walls drew breath as one. Voldemort hurled the words that Dumbledore was dead at Harry as though they would cause him unendurable pain, and added that his body was decaying in the marble tomb on the Hogwarts grounds, never to return. Harry calmy agreed that Dumbledore was dead, but that Voldemort didn't have him killed. Harry told him that Dumbledore chose his own manner of dying, chose it months before he died, that he arranged the whole thing with the man Voldemort thought was his servant. Voldemort said that this was a childish dream, but he still did not strike, and his red eyes did not waver from Harry's.
Harry said that Severus Snape was never Voldemort's, that he was Dumbledore's from the moment Voldemort had started hunting down Lily Evans. Harry added that Voldemort never realised this because of the thing he can't understand. Harry asked Voldemort if he had ever seen Snape cast a Patronus, and Voldemort did not answer as they continued to circle each other like wolves about to tear each other apart. Harry revealed that Snape's Patronus was a doe, the same as Lily's, because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time when they were children. When Harry asked Voldemort if Snape asked him to spare Lily's life, Voldemort sneered that Snape had only desired her, and that when she had gone he agreed that there were other women, and of purer blood, worthier of him. Harry said that of course Snape would have told Voldemort that, but that in reality Snape was Dumbledore's spy from the moment Lily was threatened, he had been working against Voldemort ever since, and that Dumbledore was already dying when Snape finished him.
Voldemort had followed every word with rapt attention, but now let out a cackle of mad laughter as he said that none of this mattered. It didn't matter whether Snape was his or Dumbledore's, or what petty obstacles they had tired to put in his path. Voldemort said that he crushed them, crushed them as he had crushed Harry's mother, Snape's supposed great love. Voldemort then said that it all made sense, in ways that Harry didn't understand. Voldemort then mentioned that Dumbledore was trying to keep the Elder Wand from him, that Dumbledore had intended for Snape to be the true master of the wand. Voldemort then said that he had gotten there ahead of Harry, that he had reached the wand before Harry could get his hands on it, understood the truth before Harry had caught up. Voldemort then said that he had killed Snape three hours ago, and the Elder Wand, the Deathstick, the Wand of Destiny, was truly his.
Voldemort said that Dumbledore's last plan went wrong, which Harry agreed with, but he advised Voldemort to think about what Voldemort had done. Harry told him to try for some remorse, and of all the things Harry had said to him, beyond any revelation or taunt, nothing had shocked Voldemort more than this. Voldemort's pupils contracted to thin slits, and the skin around his eyes whitened. Harry said that trying for remorse was Voldemort's last chance, that he had seen what Voldemort would be otherwise, that trying to feel remorse was all Voldemort had left. Voldemort was furious at this, and Harry revealed that Dumbledore's last plan hadn't backfired on him at all, that it had backfired on Voldemort, whose hand was trembling on the Elder Wand. Harry gripped Draco's wand very tightly, knowing the moment was seconds away. Harry told Voldemort that the wand was still not working properly for Voldemort because Voldemort murdered the wrong person; Snape was never the true master of the Elder Wand, that he had never defeated Dumbledore.
Voldemort began to disagree, but Harry once again said that Snape didn't defeat Dumbledore because their death was planned between them. Dumbledore had intended to die undefeated, the wand's last true master, and that if all had gone as planned, the wand's power would have died with him, because it had never been won from him. Voldemort said that this meant Dumbledore as good as gave him the wand, because Voldemort stole it from its last master's tomb, removed it against its last master's wishes, and that the wand's power was his. Harry contradicted this, saying that Riddle still didn't understand that possessing the wand wasn't enough, that holding and using it didn't really make it yours. Harry revealed that the Elder Wand recognised a new master before Dumbledore had died, someone who never even laid a hand on it. The new master removed the wand from Dumbledore against his will, never realising exactly what he had done, or that he had attained the allegiance of the world's most dangerous wand. Voldemort chest rose and fell rapidly, and Harry could feel the curse coming, building inside the wand Voldemort had in his hand.
Harry then said that the true master of the Elder Wand was, in fact, Draco Malfoy, who had Disarmed Dumbledore and won the wand's allegiance shortly before Snape killed him. Black showed on Voldemort's face for a moment at this news, but then it was gone as Voldemort said that this didn't matter, that even if Harry was right it made no different to them. Harry no longer had the phoenix wand, and so they would duel on skill alone, and Voldemort said that after he had killed Harry he would attend to Draco Malfoy. Harry then said that Voldemort was too late, that he had missed his chance, because Harry had overpowered Draco weeks ago and took the hawthorn wand from him. Harry twitched this wand, and he felt the eyes of everyone in the Hall upon it. Harry then whispered that it all came down to this, whether or not the Elder Wand knew its last master was Disarmed, because if it did, then that meant that Harry was the Elder Wand's true master.
A red-gold glow burst suddenly across the enchanted sky above as the sun appeared over the sill of the nearest window, and the light hit both of their faces at the same time so that Voldemort's was a flaming blur. Harry heard the high voice shriek "Avada Kedavra" as he simultaneously yelled "Expelliarmus", as he pointed Draco's wand. There was a bang like a cannon blast, and golden flames erupted between them at the dead centre of the circle they had been treading, marking the point where the spells collided.
Voldemort's green jet of light met Harry's spell, and Harry saw the Elder Wand wrenched from Voldemort's hand and fly high, spinning across the ceiling like Nagini's head toward the master it refused to kill. Harry, with the skill of a Seeker, caught the wand in his free hand as Voldemort fell backward, arms splayed and the slit pupils of the scarlet eyes rolling upward. Voldemort hit the ground, his body feeble and shrunken, his white hands empty and his snakelike face vacant and unknowing. Voldemort was dead by his own rebounding curse, and Harry looked down at his enemy's shell with the two wands in his hand.
There was one shivering second of silence, the shock of the moment suspended, and then tumult broke around the Great Hall as the screams and cheers and roars of the watchers rent the air. The fierce new sun dazzled the windows as they thundered toward Harry, and the first to reach him were Ron and Hermione, whose arms wrapped around him, their incomprehensible shouts that deafened him. Ginny, Neville, and Luna soon came to him, as they were followed by the Weasleys, Hagrid, Kingsley, McGonagall, Flitwick, and Sprout, and Harry could not hear a word that anyone was shouting nor tell whose hands were seizing and pulling him, trying to hug some part of him. Hundreds of people pressed in on him, all of them determined to touch the Boy Who Lived, the reason it was over at last.
As the sun rose over Hogwarts, the Great Hall blazed with life and light, and Harry was an indispensable part of the grief and celebration. Everyone wanted him there with them, their leader and their symbol. He must speak to the bereaved and witness their sadness, and hear the news that the Imperiused all over the nation had come back to normal, the Death Eaters were fleeing or else captured, the innocent in Azkaban were being released, and Kingsley Shacklebolt had been named temporary Minister of Magic.
Voldemort's body was laid in a chamber off the Hall, away from the bodies of Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Colin Creevey, and fifty others who had died fighting him. McGonagall had replaced the House tables, though nobody was sitting according to House anymore, as everyone was jumbled together: teachers and pupils, ghosts and parents, centaurs and house-elves, Firenze lay recovering in the corner, and Grawp peered in through a smashed window while people threw food into his laughing mouth.
Exhausted and drained, Harry found himself sitting on a bench next to Luna, who distracted everyone by calling their attention to a Blibbering Humdinger so Harry could escape underneath the Cloak. Now invisible, he spotted Ginny two tables away with her head on her mother's shoulders, and he knew that there would be maybe years in which to talk to her. He saw Neville with the sword of Gryffindor lying beside his plate as he ate, surrounded by fervent admirers, and he also spotted the three Malfoys, huddled together as though unsure whether or not they were supposed to be there, but nobody paid them any attention.
Everywhere he looked he saw families reunited, and then he found the two whose company he craved most: Ron and Hermione. The three of them left the Great Hall to see great chunks missing from the marble staircase, part of the balustrade gone, and rubble and bloodstains every few steps. In the distance they could her Peeves singing a victory song of his own composition, the irreverent lyrics of which, Ron said, really gave a feeling for the scope and tragedy of the event.
Harry was exhausted, the pain of losing Fred and Lupin and Tonks pierced him like a physical wound every few steps, and most of all he felt stupendous relief and a longing for sleep. He knew he owed an explanation to Ron and Hermione, who had stuck with him for so long, and who deserved the truth. Painstakingly he recounted what he had seen in the Pensieve and what had happened in the forest, and they had not even begun to express all their shock and amazement when at last they arrived at the place to which they had been walking, though none of them had mentioned their destination: the headmaster's office. Since they had last seen it, the gargoyle guarding the entrance to the study had been knocked aside, it stood lopsided looking a little punch drunk, and Harry didn't know if it would be able to distinguish passwords anymore. When they asked it if they could go up, the gargoyle groaned in assent.
They walked over him and onto the spiral stone staircase that moved slowly upward like an escalator, and Harry pushed open the door at the top. Harry had one brief glimpse of the stone Pensieve on the desk where he had left it, and then there was an earsplitting noise that made him cry out, thinking of curses and returning Death Eaters and the rebirth of Lord Voldemort, but it was applause from the headmasters and headmistresses of Hogwarts in their portraits, giving him a standing ovation. They waved their hats and in some cases their wigs, they reached through their frames to grip each other's hands, they danced up and down on the chairs in which they had been painted; Dilys Derwent sobbed unashamedly; Dexter Fortescue was waving his ear-trumpet; and Phineas Nigellus called that Slytherin House's contribution to the battle should not be forgetten.
Harry, however, only had eyes for the man who stood in the largest portrait directly behind the headmaster's chair. Tears were sliding down from behind Dumbledore's half-moon spectacles into his long silver beard, and the pride and the gratitude emanating from him filled Harry with the same balm as phoenix song. At last, Harry held up his hands, and the portraits fell respectfully silent, beaming and mopping their eyes and waiting for him to speak. He directed his words at Dumbledore and chose them with enormous care. Exhausted and bleary-eyed though he was, Harry decided to make one last effort and ask for one last piece of advice. Harry told Dumbledore that he had dropped the "thing that was hidden in the Snitch" in the forest, and that he didn't know exactly where, or that he was going to go looking for it again. Dumbledore told him that he agreed with this decision, while his fellow pictures looked confused and curious, and was satisfied when Harry said that no one else knew where it fell. Harry told Dumbledore that he was going to keep Ignotus's present, and Dumbledore said that it was Harry's forever until he passed it on.
Harry then held up the Elder Wand, and Ron and Hermione looked at it with a reverence that, even in his sleep-deprived and befuddled state, he did not like to see. Harry said that he didn't want it, and despite Ron's protests, he said he was happier with his old wand. Harry rummaged in the pouch hung around his neck, and pulled out the two halves of holly still just connected by the finest thread of phoenix feather. Hermione had said that the damage was too severe and the wand could not be repaired, and so Harry knew that if this didn't work, nothing would. Harry laid the broken wand upon the headmaster's desk, touched it with the very tip of the Elder Wand, and said "Reparo". His wand resealed itself, and as it did so, red sparks flew out of its end. Harry picked up the holly and phoenix wand and felt a sudden warmth in his fingers, as though wand and hand were rejoicing at their reunion.
Harry told Dumbledore, who was watching him with enormous affection and admiration, that he was putting the Elder Wand back where it came from, in the White Tomb, and that it could stay there. Harry asked if he died a natural death like Ignotus, its power would be broken, that its previous master will never have been defeated and it will be the end of it. Dumbledore nodded, and the two of them smiled at each other. Ron asked if Harry was sure of this decision, with the faintest trace of longing in his voice as he looked at the Elder Wand, but Hermione quietly agreed with Harry's choice. Harry said that the wand was more trouble than it was worth, and as he turned away from the painted portraits, thinking now only of the four-poster bed lying waiting for him in Gryffindor Tower, and wondering whether Kreacher might bring him a sandwich there, Harry mentioned that he had honestly had "enough trouble for a lifetime."
Impact of the Battle
- "They stood up at once, and together he, Ron, and Hermione left the Great Hall. Great chunks were missing from the marble staircase, part of the balustrade gone, and rubble and bloodstains occurred every few steps as they climbed."
- —The damage inflicted on the castle from the Battle of Hogwarts[src]
The death of Voldemort and many of his followers brought the Second Wizarding War to an end. Wizarding Britain, which had been living in fear for the previous two years, suddenly found itself again free from the grasp of the Death Eaters and their leader, Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter, without a doubt one of the people most affected by the war, having lost parents, godfather, mentor, and many friends, now finds himself free of the burden that was placed on him before his birth, when the Prophecy named him as the only one that could defeat the Dark Lord.
This also give him freedom to pursue what he has always wished: a family of his own, which he hopes to find next to Ginny Weasley. In addition, Ron's suddenly thinking about the welfare of the House-elves in the kitchens, and telling Hermione that they ought to warn them, is a turning point in their relationship. Hermione recognised it as a sign of maturity, that Ron was now thinking of others, and it deepens her love for him.
- " [...] Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Colin Creevey and fifty others who had died fighting him."
- —After the battle[src]
The first casualties were three Snatchers who inadvertently crossed the protective enchantments around the Castle moments before midnight on 1 May. Arguably, these deaths may not be considered battle casualties per se, although it is known that the first deaths were indeed those of Scabior and some of his Snatcher gang, who fell to their deaths when the Wooden Bridge collapsed.
Lavender Brown was killed by Fenrir Greyback when he savaged her. Vincent Crabbe tried to use the Fiendfyre curse on Harry Potter, only to have it backfire and kill him. Fred Weasley was killed in an explosion caused by an unknown spell. Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks were killed by Antonin Dolohov and Bellatrix Lestrange, respectively. Colin Creevey was found dead during a lull in the fighting by Neville Longbottom and Oliver Wood, though it is unknown how he died or who killed him. Severus Snape was killed by Nagini on Voldemort's command.
When the battle erupted into its final stage, more people died on Voldemort's side, since Harry's sacrifice protected everybody who was protecting Hogwarts. Neville Longbottom beheaded Nagini with Godric Gryffindor's Sword. Bellatrix Lestrange died at the hands of Molly Weasley after the latter nearly killed Ginny. The final duel saw Harry battle with Lord Voldemort and kill him. There were at least fifty lives mentioned to have been lost on both sides.
List of known deaths
Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's army casualties
|Person||Killed by||Cause of death|
|Unidentified man killed in the courtyard explosion||Unknown, possibly a Death Eater||Explosion|
|Unidentified wizard killed at the Quad battlements||Unidentified Death Eater that duelled with Arthur Weasley||Killing Curse|
|Fred Weasley||Unknown||Explosion caused by unknown spell (possibly Expulso or Confringo)|
|Remus Lupin||Antonin Dolohov||Duel|
|Nymphadora Tonks||Bellatrix Lestrange||Duel (Possibly)|
|Lavender Brown||Fenrir Greyback||Savaged|
|Severus Snape||Nagini (ordered by Voldemort)||Snakebite|
|Colin Creevey||Death Eaters||Unknown|
|Unidentified Hogwarts students killed on the Seventh Floor||Unknown||Unknown|
|Unidentified female Hogwarts teacher||Unknown||Killing Curse (possibly)|
|Fifty others||Random Death Eaters and other combatants||Various|
Death Eater casualties
Behind the scenes
- In the second film adaption of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, there are several differences between novel and film. One of the more major differences is the fact that Gregory Goyle died in the Room of Requirement instead of Vincent Crabbe. Unlike the novel in which he either survived or his fate was left ambiguous, Pius Thicknesse died before the battle in the film. The book makes no references to the death of Scabior. Bellatrix Lestrange's death is also changed, with her being blasted apart by Molly's curse, instead of being struck by a similar spell and her corpse toppling over. In the book, her death is also witnessed by Voldemort.
- Both book and film state that there were werewolf participants of the battle. However, the 2nd May 1998 wasn't a full moon, so this attack would have been futile seen as both Lupin and Greyback where in human form, rendering an army of werewolves void.
- In the film, the final battle between Harry and Voldemort rages all over the school, with their final duel being in the Entrance Courtyard rather than the Great Hall. Nagini is also killed by Neville much later, after an extended sequence where Ron and Hermione fail to kill her first. When Voldemort finally dies, his body turns to ash and scatters into the air; in the book, his body is moved from the Great Hall and placed in an antechamber.
- The Battle of Hogwarts was nominated for the Fight Scene' of the Year Award at the 2011 Scream Awards The Room of Requirement fight was also nominated for the Holy Sh!t Scene of the Year Award.
- In the book, Grawp, Buckbeak, thestrals, and centaurs are among the defenders of Hogwarts in the battle; whereas in the film, they were all omitted.
- In the film adaption, Severus Snape is merely bitten through the neck for his death scene, after being knocked over by a spell from Voldemort. Whereas in the film, Voldemort uses a non-verbal Sectumsempra curse to do away with the latter, and on his command Nagini does away with Snape by performing numerous body slams and bites, smashing him against a wall, and he dies the same way.
- It is found in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in a alternative universe which was created by Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy in 2020 caused a different outtake of the battle's events and aftermath. Therefore, Neville Longbottom is killed by Cedric Diggory and thus preventing Neville from killing the last Horcrux, Nagini, and through these actions allowed Voldemort to finally defeat and kill Harry Potter during the battle. However, these events were discarded after Scorpius corrected the events during the Triwizard Tournament which had been divergence by himself and Albus Potter through a Time-Turner.
- It is cited in the Cursed Child, that those who died in the battle where called the Fallen Fifty and were memorialise in the aftermath of the war.
- Beginning in 2015, Rowling has taken to Twitter on May 2nd each year to apologise for one of the significant character deaths in the Battle. So far:-
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ Video clip of J.K. Rowling from the documentary J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 "A transcript of a web chat with J.K. Rowling" from The Leaky Cauldron
- ↑ She showed no signs of external injury when Sybill Trelawney and Padma Patil brought her corpse into the Great Hall.