Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by: J. K. Rowling

Chapters Sixteen–Seventeen

As soon as they touch the gate, a commemorative wooden sign rises up, with golden letters explaining that the house, which is invisible to Muggles, has been kept in its destroyed state “as a monument to the Potters and as a reminder of the violence that tore apart their family.”

An old woman, heavily muffled and stooping, walks up the street and approaches them, beckoning them to follow, despite the fact that they are under the Invisibility Cloak and presumably unrecognizable in their disguises. Harry asks the woman if she’s Bathilda. The woman nods silently and beckons again, turning to lead them into another house.

Inside, Bathilda’s house is extremely dirty and full of unpleasant odors. Harry notes that a number of picture frames are missing their photographs. He sees a photograph of the young man who stole the wand from Gregorovitch, and realizes that he saw that young man in a picture in Rita Skeeter’s book, in which he was arm in arm with a teenage Dumbledore. He guesses that Rita Skeeter must have taken the missing pictures to reproduce in her book.

Harry asks Bathilda who the young man in the picture is, but she does not respond, instead beckoning Harry to accompany her upstairs while Hermione remains below. In the foul-smelling room upstairs, Harry asks Bathilda if she has something for him, hoping she will give him the sword of Gryffindor, but instead he experiences yet another vision through Voldemort’s mind, with Voldemort telling someone to “hold him there” and then flying through the night sky. Back in the room, Harry is horrified to see Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, emerge from within Bathilda’s dead body to attack him. Apparently Bathilda had been dead long before, and the snake was somehow animating her body. Hermione rushes into the room, and Harry and Hermione struggle against the snake both physically and with magic. Hermione manages to fend it off with a violent blasting curse, then Disapparates with Harry in tow.

At the moment they disappear, Harry sees through Voldemort’s eyes as Voldemort arrives on the scene and sees Harry and Hermione (in their disguised form) disappearing and escaping. Harry can feel Voldemort’s rage and frustration, and then he has a flashback, still from Voldemort’s perspective, of the night Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and tried to murder Harry. In the flashback, Voldemort stalks through Godric’s Hollow on Halloween night, frightening a child. He approaches the Potters’ house and sees the Potters through the window. Neither James nor Lily Potter is holding a wand, and the defenseless James goes down quickly before Voldemort’s Killing Curse. Voldemort expects Lily to stand aside while he kills Harry, but she does not, trying to shield Harry with her body and begging to be killed in his place. Voldemort kills her, then aims his wand carefully at Harry’s face. When he delivers the curse, instead of killing Harry, he feels himself ripped from his body, his own self now consisting of nothing but pain and terror.

After the flashback into Voldemort’s memory is over, Harry sees through Voldemort’s eyes as Voldemort picks up off the floor of Bathilda’s house the photograph of the thief who stole from Gregorovitch—the thief that Voldemort has been looking for all along. Harry curses himself for dropping the photograph, then realizes he is back in his own body again, no longer in Voldemort’s mind. Hermione tells him that he has been unconscious for hours, and that the Horcrux had been stuck to his flesh, necessitating her use of a severing charm to remove it.