You guys, I did so great on this reread. I didn’t even cry at all while I was reading Chapter 29. I got a little misty, but that’s it! I mentally prepared myself for the moment and stayed strong throughout.
It was these last two chapters that got me. Because the thing is, death isn’t sad. Death is natural, death is inevitable. It’s the loss that’s sad. The knowledge that you’ll never create new experiences with this person. One of the most real, most accurate portrayals of grief I’ve ever seen was in the Buffy episode “The Body” when Anya says, “I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.”
One personal story before we jump into the reason we’re all here: When I was five, my Grammie died. Her and my Papa lived around the corner, so we went there every weekend, I was very close to her. I remember hours and hours of playing with her while my parents and grandfather had “grown-up time” in the kitchen. She was more interested (or pretended to be) in playing doctor to stuffed animals, and it meant the world to me. My mom says that when my parents sat me down to tell me Grammie died, I asked two questions: “Why are your eyes leaking?” and “Can I go play now?” I didn’t understand what death meant, the word “dead” was just another word. I must have had a general understanding of the definition, because they say that the next time we went over to visit my Papa, I calmly wandered around the house, checked every room, then came up to them, shrugged, and said, “You’re right, Grammie must be dead, I can’t find her anywhere.” It wasn’t until a few weeks later that it hit me. My mom said we were walking up the front stairs, and I stopped and looked at the flowers Grammie had planted in the front yard and just lost it. I was crying hysterically. I was inconsolable. I guess it had finally hit me that she would never get to see those flowers again, and that “dead” didn’t mean “not here right now,” but “gone forever.”
And that’s sort of what these chapters are for Harry. He’s coming to terms with the fact that Dumbledore, one of the only constants in his life so far, is gone. Forever.