Many apologies for the late post. The last month has been a challenge with multiple colds and agreeing to do too many things all at once. And here it is : THE chapter where everything falls to pieces and for whatever reason it’s been assigned to me and I have a small panic attack when I think about writing about his death. How the hell am I going to do justice for the greatest wizard of all time? The biggest twist in the series? It’s slightly overwhelming and doing research and studying were far easier to handle while I was sick.
But here it is. I invite you all to share your own personal experiences. This does not come close to giving Dumbledore the love he deserves, but I think the snot is still stuck in my brain.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN: THE LIGHTNING STRUCK TOWER
Harry and a very ill Dumbledore Apparate back to the middle of Hogsmeade. He looks like hell warmed over, but all Dumbledore wants is to see Snape. The Dark Mark is hovering above Howart’s. Harry Accios a few brooms over to fly to the tower and dons his Invisibility Cloak. A suddenly spry Dumbledore orders Madame Rosmerta to send for the Ministry, and he and Harry fly toward the Astronomy Tower. Dumbledore sends Harry to find Snape, not something he truly enjoys, but you do not disobey the dude who just drank all that nasty potion. Except Malfoy bursts through the door, yells “Expelliarmus,” and Dumbledore silently freezes Harry under his cloak.
And here’s the moment Malfoy has been waiting the entire book: it’s time to fulfill his promise to kill Dumbledore. The Death Eaters are in the school, a fact Malfoy is incredibly proud of, sneaking them through the Room of Requirement. But Dumbledore tells Draco that he is not a killer. And we all know this is true. He attempted to kill Katie Bell and Ron. Failed. Tried to kill Dumbledore. Failed. Was his heart really in it? Yes, yes, of course it was! He really really wanted to kill them all! He’s been working SO hard.
Good thing Malfoy disarmed Dumbledore. A fact that may come in handy to remember, say, at the very end of the final book. Just saying.
Except Malfoy doesn’t want to act unless he’s got his back-up, and they’re a little busy with the Order. He’s too afraid. And let’s be honest here, he couldn’t pull off a Killing Curse- he doesn’t want it enough. Dumbledore continues to praise Malfoy on a job well done, allowing the Death Eaters into the school, but knew all along that he was trying to kill him.
But Snape stopped Dumbledore from doing anything about it. He trusts him. But Malfoy insists that he’s been helping him. We find out that Rosmerta has been under the Imperious Curse, helping Malfoy with his evil, half-assed plans- the wine, the necklace. Things are not looking so good. But Malfoy still hasn’t killed him. It’s all getting a little bit silly. Dumbledore continues to manipulate Draco into quitting, insisting that he’d take care of him. I wonder if he truly believes he ever will, but my thoughts are almost always interrupted by Death Eaters.
A group of them appear, surrounding him, using this last moment to taunt the wandless wizard, unaware that this was exactly how Dumbledore had planned it. Despite knowing this is all on purpose, it’s a pretty nasty scene. Even the second time around, even when I know why it had to happen this way, it’s incredibly difficult to read. They cheer Malfoy on, but Snape arrives to bail him out.
My heart starts to break a little. Dumbledore begs him for his life. “Severus…please.”
And then he kills him. He fucking Avada Kedavra’s him out of existence. The Greatest Wizard of All Time. What. The. Fuck.
My Harry Potter Stages of Grief (circa 2005):
This is not happening. This isn’t real. Harry’s godfather just died, and now this? This has to be some kind of joke. Just watch, he’ll be fine in the next chapter, you’ll see. Why would JK Rowling kill off Dumbledore, that’s just stupid. There’s really no point to it. Snape could NEVER be so evil. An asshole, sure, but a killer, never.
How could Rowling do this to Harry AGAIN. His Godfather just died and now Harry has to deal with THIS? The death of an even bigger father figure? The only man Voldemort was afraid of? I AM SO PISSED OFF AT JO RIGHT NOW I HATE THIS BOOK I HATE THIS SERIES I HATE SNAPE FOR KILLING HIM.
Maybe if I hope and pray hard enough, Dumbledore will rise from the dead like Gandalf and he and Harry can live happily ever after.
(Does not occur until “Kings Cross” in the following book. The previous four stages are relived over and over again until finally finding out why it all went down like this.)
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: THE FLIGHT OF THE PRINCE
Harry is going through his own grief process, as he chases Snape through the mass of fighting. He throws of Greyback, jixes Amycus off Ginny, and scrambles his way through the school in hot pursuit of Snape. But he is too late.
Harry launches every spell he can think of at Snape, but each are blocked. No spells are sent back. He calls him a coward, giving Snape the chance to bring up James, AGAIN. Is this REALLY an APPROPRIATE TIME SNAPE? Really? Bringing up JAMES after you just killed DUMBLEDORE? Give it UP! But a spell hits Harry from a Death Eater, Snape gets pissed, and says that Harry belongs to the Dark Lord. Mmhmm, sure.
“Sectum-“ Harry begins, but Snape throws him off. They are HIS spells. How dare he use his own spells against him! Just like his father!
So kill me, just like you killed Dumbledore, Harry tells him. Kill me, you coward.
“DON’T CALL ME COWARD!” He screams, as Buckbeak bolts at him. And then he Diapparates. He is gone. And so is my happiness.
Harry tells Hagrid what happened, and that Dumbledore was killed. He doesn’t believe him either. Denial is a happy place, where everything’s made up and nothing is real. But then they get up to the Astronomy Tower again, and there he is. It is real.
Death is a funny thing: the great equalizer. I’ve seen a lot of them in my job. Some are ready for it, others go out violently. Some are alone, some are surrounded by twenty family members howling around them. They are smart, brain-dead, rich, homeless, educated, not. But, it’s always the same. Whether it is planned, the blow softened by pain medications, the light slowly going out, or following an hour of chest pounding, shocking, their blood losing the ability to even hold onto life-sustaining oxygen to keep their body going. It’s always the same. The heart just stops. And it will happen to us all. Even centuries-old wizards. All of our hearts will eventually stop beating and our body will be that sad, small, lump that used to house our souls. We will all eventually leave everyone and everything we love behind.
At least they’ve got the Horcrux, right? Well, actually it looks like they’ve got a fake one left by RAB, whoever that is. They are no closer to defeating Voldemort and Dumbledore is dead and all just seems so completely hopeless.
Is everyone now sufficiently depressed?