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Summary: Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Final Hiding Place

The dragon flies far off into the countryside, finally flying lower over a mountainous lake. Harry and friends decide to jump off into the lake, and make their way, bruised, burned, and battered, to the shore, the cup safely in their grasp.

Harry has a vision in which he not only sees out of Voldemort’s eyes but reads his thoughts. Voldemort is questioning a goblin about the break-in, and when told that Harry Potter was the thief and that the cup was the item stolen, he flies into a rage and kills the goblin and all the wizards who don’t flee fast enough, using the Elder Wand. Voldemort is not yet aware that Harry knows about his Horcruxes and is destroying them, because he does not feel anything when they are destroyed. Now that his cup Horcrux has been stolen, it finally occurs to him that Harry might be after his Horcruxes, and that Dumbledore might have given Harry the means to find them out. He resolves to check on his ring and his locket to see that they’re safe, and to keep Nagini the snake (which is itself a Horcrux) beside him at all times. Finally, he will check on the last and safest Horcrux, which is at Hogwarts.

Harry relays this information to his friends. They know they have very limited time, because Voldemort will discover that his ring and locket are gone within a matter of hours, and may move the final Horcrux to a new hiding place. On a more positive note, they now know the final Horcrux is at Hogwarts, so they set off for the village of Hogsmeade.

Analysis: Chapters Twenty-Five–Twenty-Seven

Now that Harry has made his decision and committed himself to finishing the quest, the novel starts to move more quickly to its conclusion, and in three chapters the trio pulls off their most audacious mission yet, breaking into and out of the famously well-protected Gringotts bank. When Harry was introduced to Gringotts in the first novel, something as foolhardy as breaking into a vault was probably the furthest thing from his, or the reader’s mind.

Harry’s qualms about lying to the goblin, and Bill’s warning about playing fast and loose in deals with goblins, are both examples of foreshadowing. We know that the implicit conflict between Griphook and Harry over the sword will eventually break out into the open, and Harry will have to find a new way to destroy Horcruxes.

In the heist sequence, we see the results of the Ministry’s activities, as wandless witches and wizards are reduced to begging in the gutter. The suspense of the break-in is heightened by its being narrated from Harry’s point of view, even though it is Hermione who is under the most pressure to perform.

The image of Voldemort killing his followers brings our attention back to Voldemort as the central threat. Now that the conflicts in the middle of the book, between Harry and his friends and between Harry and himself, have either been resolved or receded into the background, the novel moves into its final phase. Voldemort discovers the true nature of Harry’s quest, and the quest brings Harry and his friends directly into confrontation with Voldemort.