Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by: J. K. Rowling

Chapters Four–Five

Summary Chapters Four–Five

His scar throbbing, Harry goes outside to get some air, and as the pain in his scar reaches its peak, he can hear Voldemort berating and torturing his prisoner, the famous wand maker Ollivander, who had told Voldemort that the connection between Harry’s wand and Voldemort’s could be circumvented by Voldemort’s attacking Harry with a borrowed wand. Ollivander’s proposed scheme did not work, and the wand Voldemort borrowed from Lucius Malfoy is now shattered and useless. Harry tells Ron and Hermione about his vision, and Hermione angrily urges him to keep the dangerous mental connection between himself and Voldemort closed.

Analysis: Chapters Four–Five

The arrival of the Order of the Phoenix in Chapter Three sets aside for the moment Harry’s internal conflicts and doubts and sets up a fast-paced action sequence: the flight from the Dursleys’ house. This sequence establishes that the danger from Voldemort is very real. Voldemort has become powerful and unafraid to attack Harry openly and in force, and he and his followers will continue pursuing Harry, keeping him on the run for the rest of the novel.

Moody’s comments about the Ministry recall the Death Eaters’ meeting that we witnessed in the first chapter, demonstrating that the Order is well aware of the betrayals of Pius Thicknesse and the corruption of the Ministry that Yaxley had reported to Voldemort. More troubling is the fact that we can now see how good Snape’s intelligence was—Snape knew the true date of Harry’s departure and saw through the false trails the Order had laid. In other words, Snape’s (and thus Voldemort’s) intelligence is better than the Order’s. And indeed, from the moment they leave, it’s clear that the Death Eaters have the advantage, and things do not go according to plan.

As the extent of the deaths and injuries sustained in the chase are revealed in Chapter Six, a conflict simmers between Harry and the other members of the Order over their right to risk dying for him, and his right to fight the battle on his own terms—without killing people like Stan Shunpike. Nominally, Harry (and Ron and Hermione) are now supposed to be joining forces with the Order of the Phoenix and fighting Voldemort as adults, without being protected and shepherded like students or children. However, even though nobody in the Order openly calls him a child, the transition is not a smooth one. Harry is younger, weaker, and less experienced than characters like Lupin, and yet Harry is at the center, in a sense is even the leader, of the struggle now. Lupin, a powerful adult, visibly chafes at what he perceives to be Harry’s timidity. The dynamic here is not unlike that in Tolkien’s The Lord of Rings, in which the relatively weak and inexperienced hobbits shoulder the destiny of completing the quest and banishing the Dark Lord, while more typically heroic and formidable characters like Aragorn are forced to restrain themselves and get out of the hobbits’ way.