CHAPTER 22: THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
Meanwhile, at the ‘Support Harry Potter’ Party…
Hagrid’s hut stood stoic, with less footprints treading down the path these days. But this night was different. In staggered bursts, students snuck out of their four-post beds and made their way down the path under the cover of darkness. Ginny had suggested the night of the new moon, so there’d be less chance of wandering professors spotting students in the shadows.
Ginny waited in a puffy chair near the entrance to the common room. She was moments away from dozing off, but Neville finally arrived.
“Are you ready to go?” he half-whispered. Neville wasn’t very good at whispering.
“Yes. Shh!” They snuck out the portrait door and quickly made their way to the castle doors. Ginny hadn’t wanted Neville to have to leave by himself. His sneaking skills were about on par with his whispering skills. She didn’t mind, really. Ginny had grown rather grateful for Neville’s friendship over the past few months. Hogwarts was different these days and it was nice to have someone around who understood how she was feeling.
“I wish Luna were here,” said Neville.
“Me, too,” said Ginny.
“I wonder what she’s doing right this moment?” pondered Neville.
“I bet we’ll find out someday, don’t you think?”
They were almost to the hut, which Ginny had bewitched to look like the lights were off, even though she knew there was a party going on inside. Figuring out the exact dynamics of that spell had taken a while, but she had more time on her hands without Quidditch. Ginny sighed. She missed Quidditch. She thought about how Harry probably missed it as well, which just made her miss the sport—and Harry—even more.
Neville knocked on the door five times. “Who’s there? I’m half-asleep!” came the gruff voice of someone who’d clearly been angry about being woken up.
“It’s Norberta! I’ve come to visit!” replied Neville. Party invitations had gone out via owl post earlier in the week with detailed instructions about timing and codes and the like. (Invitations were bewitched to burn up after being read.) Again, Ginny’d done most of the planning, but she had to feel like she was doing something. A party was something. Hagrid had suggested the idea and Ginny ran with it.
The door cracked open and Ginny and Neville were shuffled inside by a pair of enormous hands. Inside the hut, the fire crackled to match the red and gold streamers that adorned the ceiling. Hagrid grinned widely and pulled the two into a bear hug. A few party guests were already in place—the Creevey brothers, Ernie Macmillan, and the Patil sisters. She walked over to them and picked up a treat from the table. The dessert looked almost like a snitch, covered in yellow frosting with little white frosted wings. She took a bite. There was definitely one of Hagrid’s rock cakes underneath the frosting. Ginny ate the frosting and snuck the rock cake into her robe pocket. She reached for a butterbeer instead. (The butterbeer had been procured and sent by Fred and George. The package arrived under the guise of a shipment of gamekeeper gloves for Hagrid. Ginny knew if anyone would support a secret party, it would be her twin brothers.)
Michael Corner followed through the front door shortly thereafter. She gave him a perfunctory smile and wave and made a note to avoid him as much as possible. She knew his intentions for rejoining the DA were likely sincere, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that his intentions were also rooted in the purpose of trying to impress her.
Ginny made her way over to Hagrid and Fang.
“Hi, Hagrid! Ripping good party, don’t you say?” Ginny struck up the conversation.
“Yeah. I jus’ wish our boy could be here to see this, don’t you?” Hagrid looked halfway between pleased and utterly depressed. Fang put his head on Hagrid’s knee and sniffed, as if in agreement.
“Of course. Harry loved a good party in his honor,” she said with a hint of facetiousness. “So…I saw Madame Maxime at the wedding. How’s she doing these days?”
“Er, fine, although we don’t keep in touch much. I might know more after all this blows over.” Hagrid looked more of the verge of sobbing at the moment, although Ginny had been hoping to cheer him up. She decided on another tactic.
“So the last I heard from Charlie, Norberta’s doing really great! He says she might even have babies soon, if the mating season goes according to plan.”
“Really?” Hagrid perked up. “Maybe I could…”
Ginny laughed. “Let’s not count our dragon eggs before they’re hatched, eh, Hagrid?”
A knock on the door revealed Seamus Finnegan. That was the last of the RSVPs. The party continued on for another hour with butterbeer consumed and snitch-cakes avoided. Neville told the story of being struck with the full body-bind curse from trying to stand up to Harry in his first year. Everyone chuckled in the appropriate spots and Ginny marveled at how much Neville had come into his own over the past couple of years.
After it was well past midnight, there was yet another knock at the door. Everybody froze. Ginny counted through the invites in her head—Anthony, Terry, and Lavender had all politely declined.
Hagrid glanced around at the remains of the party. “Alright, you lot. Go out the back door and head straight for the castle. I’ll take care of this.”
“But…” Ginny objected.
“Go…NOW.” Hagrid growled the last part. Ginny figured he was furious at himself for letting this happen. He gripped his pink umbrella in his hand and pointed it through the kitchen window. The knock sounded again. “No one will notice. Now get!”
The sibilant sounds of Headmaster Snape’s voice trailed through the hut. Ginny went out the door last and snuck one last glance at Hagrid. She hated the feeling of not knowing if she was going to see someone ever again.
-Hermione, for all her many attributes, is lacking one great thing. She is not a lover of fiction. This is amusing to me because most of the people that relate to Hermione are straight-up obsessed with fiction. She reads a TON, but mostly non-fiction. I love some good non-fic, but Hermione could do with a bit of novel reading. There’s a certain amount of wonder embedded in a person that only comes from loving stories. Homegirl’s missing out.
-I don’t know if the people that run the Potterwatch program TRY to make their names obvious on purpose. I mean, Lee Jordan -> The River Jordan -> River. Remus Lupin -> Remus and Romulus -> Romulus. Duh. So what would YOUR fake radio name be? Mine would be Gretchen Alice -> Alice in Wonderland -> The Cheshire Cat.
-I really do love the radio interviews, though. There’s so much hope regained in those pages.
-Lupin and Tonks are back together yaaaaaaay.
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: MALFOY MANOR
Even though Hermione should read more fiction, she certainly does know how to think on her feet. She disguises Harry and comes up with a convincing alibi for herself under enormous pressure. The Snatchers, one of whom is the famed Fenrir Greyback, aren’t exactly willing to compromise. The chapter is rough, y’all. The trio gets sent to Malfoy Manor, where they are subsequently interrogated, jailed, and tortured.
A few bright spots in the darkness…
-Draco refuses to identify any of his schoolmates. I like to think that Draco goes through a major reform period post-Battle and seeks out a new path for his life. Look at your life, Draco. Look at your choices.
-Luna! There she is, keeping her cool in the middle of a dungeon. She’s the best.
-They also have a chance to save Ollivander and Dean Thomas….and Griphook, too, I guess.
-Harry’s mercy to Peter Pettigrew all those years ago finally bears its karmic reward. When faced with the chance to offer mercy back to Harry, Wormtail suffers an ignominious death literally by his own hand.
-Ron screaming for Hermione while she’s being tortured might not be a total bright spot, although it does break my heart apart every single time.
-The mirror with the bright blue eye sends help in the most reliable way possible. Through a lowly house-elf, also freed by mercy when Harry was just a boy, Harry and his friends are able to escape to the seaside.
All is not well quite yet, though. A silver knife slices through the air and finds a way into Dobby’s chest. Is it weird to relate Dobby and Jesus? Whatever, I’m going for it. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. So many have sacrificed so much in order for Harry Potter, the boy who lived, to defeat the Dark Lord. Love is an amazing thing.
Post Script: That’s it for my series posts! I’ll be back with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at some point, though.