Harry watches as Voldemort examines his new body, and presses a red tattoo-the Dark Mark-on the weeping Wormtail's upper arm. Voldemort paces the graveyard, musing aloud to Harry about how he killed his Muggle father, who left his witch mother before he was born, leaving him in an orphanage when his mother died giving birth. As he speaks, wizards begin Apparating in a circle around him, each of them hooded and masked. Voldemort welcomes his Death Eaters and notes that they seem, as a group, guilty for having betrayed him when he needed them. One of the men throws himself at Voldemort's feet, begging forgiveness, and Voldemort laughs mirthlessly and performs the Cruciatus curse on him. Voldemort then publicly rewards Wormtail for returning by giving him a new right hand. One of the Death Eaters, Harry notes, is Lucius Malfoy, Draco's father. Voldemort promises the group that he soon will call Azkaban's dementors, his natural allies, into his confidence, as well as the prisoners in Azkaban who once loyally followed him. Voldemort notes that many Death Eaters are missing, either dead, imprisoned, or having fled out of fear. He says that one of the missing people, his most faithful servant, is at Hogwarts, and through that servant's efforts, Harry Potter has been brought here tonight.
Voldemort then discloses his history since he last encountered his Death Eaters. He attempted to kill Harry and he failed, due to the old magic of sacrifice. Harry's mother died to protect Harry, causing the curse to rebound. This ripped Voldemort from his body, and forced him to flee to a faraway forest where he inhabited the bodies of snakes to stay alive. Then, four years ago a foolish future Hogwarts teacher (Quirrell) wandered across his path. Voldemort inhabited his body in order to come to Hogwarts pursue the Sorcerer's Stone, where he was thwarted by Harry Potter. Voldemort was alone and weak when his servant Wormtail returned to him, bringing with him Bertha Jorkins, who informed him of a faithful Death Eater who would be able to help him. He killed her, and with Wormtail's help he used her information to find the faithful servant, and ultimately to bring Harry Potter to him to ensure his rebirth-he adds that Harry's blood was more potent than any blood, since Harry's mother's protection could now reside in Voldemort's veins. He turns to Harry and says "Crucio!" placing Harry in more pain than he has ever felt before. Then he commands Wormtail to untie Harry and give him back his wand.
Harry feels his injured leg crumple under him as he stands up, wand in hand. Voldemort challenges Harry to a duel, and Harry thinks fretfully that the only dueling spell he knows how to do is "Expelliarmus," which disarms the opponent. Voldemort places Harry again under the Cruciatus curse, hurting him terribly. When he stops and asks whether Harry wants him to do that again, Harry refuses to appease him by answering "No." Voldemort places Harry under the Imperius curse, and commands Harry to say no. Harry has learned to fight this curse, and still refuses. Voldemort is furious. Harry, after ducking behind a gravestone to dodge the Cruciatus curse again, stands up straight and tall to die fighting, like his parents and Cedric did. As Voldemort cries "Avada Kedavra," Harry cries "Expelliarmus," and the light from the two wands meet in midair, lifting both Harry and Voldemort into a golden, dome-shaped web of light. Harry hears the beautiful sound of phoenix music whispering to him not to break the connection. Harry's hands are weak and shaky from holding his wand. He watches a bead of light traveling across the thread connecting him to Voldemort. He concentrates to force the bead toward Voldemort's wand and away from his.
When the bead touches the tip of Voldemort's wand, an incredible thing happens. A shadow of a hand blossoms out of the tip of the wand, followed by a shade of Cedric, then an old Muggle (Frank Bryce), then Bertha Jorkins, then Harry's parents. They crowd around him, each of them telling him to hold on, and finally his mother tells him quietly that once he lets go, they will linger long enough to give him time to touch the portkey and return to Hogwarts. Cedric asks that Harry take his body back to his parents, and Harry nods, pulls his wand away from the connection, causing the light dome and phoenix song to disappear. The shadows of the victims remain and close in upon Voldemort while Harry runs to grab Cedric. Just as Voldemort is approaching him ready to strike, Harry summons the Triwizard Cup to him, with the "Accio!" charm he learned for the first task. He grips Cedric's body and feels himself spinning away, and in the distance he can hear Voldemort's cry of fury.
Voldemort gives Harry information regarding his history and secrets, believing that Harry will die at his hands that night and that all of this information would die with him. Hearing about what happened to Voldemort after his curse backfired, how he used and killed Bertha Jorkins, how he finally managed to return to his body and summon his followers, and what he would do next, places Harry in an insider position that no other person has. Only Harry, upon returning to Hogwarts, is in a position of authority to explain exactly what occurred with Cedric's death and Voldemort's rebirth.
In Rowling's books, characters who are dead continue to influence the course of the plot. Voldemort extinguished each of the people who return as shades to protect Harry, and each of them have a certain power of invincibility that Voldemort does not have-they cannot die again; he can. Their lives have been decided, prematurely, by his killing curse; yet they are not gone from this world, and they can still make marks on the lives of others. Furthermore, both the ghosts from Priori Incantatem and the information Voldemort mistakenly sends back to Hogwarts with Harry belie the notion that the dead are non-entities. Harry has teetered many times on the edge of death, preparing to die bravely like his parents and Cedric, and so far each time he has come back. The knowledge that comes with this brink is of incomparable emotional importance; not only does it grant Harry unearthly bits of wisdom, but also it provides him with an added bravery, due to an added trust in the forces, dead and alive, that are determined to keep him living.