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Summary: Chapter Ten: Kreacher’s Tale

Harry wakes up early and explores the house. He goes into Sirius’s room, with its Gryffindor banners and photographs of Muggle women in bikinis, demonstrating his rebelliousness toward his own family. In the room, Harry finds the first page of a letter to Sirius from Harry’s mother, Lily Potter. The letter reveals that Sirius had given Harry his first broomstick, for his first birthday; that Harry’s parents had known Bathilda Bagshot; and that Dumbledore had, for some unmentioned reason, borrowed James Potter’s Invisibility Cloak around the time the letter was written (soon after Harry had turned one and thus very near the time of James and Lily Potter’s murder).

Harry searches further and finds a torn piece of a photograph referred to in the letter, showing himself at one year old, riding a broomstick near his father’s legs. The other parts of the letter, and of the photograph, are missing.

Harry makes up his mind that he wants to go to Godric’s Hollow to meet Bathilda Bagshot and visit his parents’ graves, hoping to find information about his own parents and about Dumbledore’s past. When he tells this to Hermione, however, she tells him it’s a waste of valuable time, and that he knew Dumbledore better than Aunt Muriel or Rita Skeeter, and thus shouldn’t be bothered by the rumors. Hermione reminds him that their urgent task is to find the Horcruxes, the destruction of which will enable them to defeat Voldemort.

Harry and Hermione notice the room belonging to Sirius’s deceased younger brother, Regulus Arcturus Black, who had been a Death Eater. Seeing his name on the door, they realize he may be the R.A.B. who signed his name to the false locket that Harry and Dumbledore recovered from the cave in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince—the R.A.B. who must have stolen the real locket Horcrux, which they need to find.

Hermione remembers with a shock that there had been a locket in the cabinet in the drawing room of the house the last time she’d been there—a locket that everyone had passed around and no one could open. Unfortunately, the locket is no longer there.

The only hope Harry and his friends have is that Kreacher, the bilious house-elf he inherited with the house, may have stolen the locket, as he used to steal back trinkets associated with the house whenever Sirius would try to throw them out, out of a sense of loyalty to his former masters and a desire to preserve the house as it was. Accordingly, they summon Kreacher.