With Dumbledore dead, Voldemort continues to gain ground in the magical world. Voldemort is obsessed with finding and killing Harry. His favourite Death-Eater, Snape, who killed Dumbledore the previous year, tells him the date they plan to move Harry from the Dursleys – thereby breaking the protective spell Dumbedore had cast on Harry until he was of age.
The Order of the Phoenix’s plan to get Harry to safety is by giving 6 other people Polyjuice Potion – a potion that causes you to take on the appearance of someone else. With 7 Potters flying through the sky in different directions, the Order is confident Voldemort won’t know who to attack. Harry is not happy with the plan, but ultimately gives up some of his hair to complete the potion.
As soon as Harry and the Order enter the skies on thestrals, brooms and Hagrid’s old motorbike, they are surrounded by Death-Eaters. A blast kills Harry’s faithful owl, Hedwig, and when Harry tries to disarm a Death-Eater, they realise the real Harry. Now chased by Voldemort, Harry and Hagrid crash into the home of Tonk’s parents only saved from him by the protective enchantments around the house previously cast by the Order.
Harry and Hagrid return to the Borrow via portkey, and they join Mrs Weasley and Ginny while waiting for the others. Lupin and George return, with George seriously injured by Snape. Eventually everyone gets to the Burrow, except Mad-Eye Moody, killed by Voldemort. Everyone mourns the death of the ex-Auror, and immediately start to wonder who could have leaked the exact date of Harry’s departure. Harry tells them that he trusts all of them, refusing to believe any of his friends would betray him.
At the Burrow, the entire Weasley family is preparing for the wedding of Bill and Fleur. On the day of the wedding, Harry is disguised once again via polyjuice potion, so that he can attend it safely. During the reception, Ron’s ghastly aunt tells Harry about the numerous secrets Dumbledore had kept hidden from Harry, like the fact that Dumbledore had a Squib sister and had always kept her hidden. While Harry is still reeling from shock, Kingsley Shacklebolt’s Patronus appears, telling them that the ministry has fallen, which means the protective enchantments around the Burrow has been broken. Harry, Ron and Hermione flee just in time as the Death-Eaters turn up and start searching for Harry.
Hermione, Ron and Harry apparate to Tottenham rode and go into a coffee shop to discuss their next plan of action. As they discuss this, they are attacked by Death Eaters and narrowly escape. Shaken by their close shaves with death, they flee to number 12 Grimmauld place, the house Sirius had left Harry. There they realise that the house had been searched, presumably by Severus Snape, and Harry finds a torn letter written to Sirius before her death. Hinting at another secret of Dumbledore, the letter’s last few words are missing. Harry finds a picture of himself as a toddler, but also here the other half off the photo is missing.
Leaving Sirius’ room, Harry passes the room of Sirius’ dead younger brother, Regulus. Harry realizes that Regulus’ full name is Regulus Arcturus Black – RAB, the thief who took the original Horcrux from the lake that Harry and Dumbledore had visited the year before. Summoning his houself, Kreacher, harry demands the truth of the whereabouts of the locket. The hysterically distraught elf shares the tale of how Regulus discovered the truth about Voldemort, and he and Kreacher set out to the lake to retrieve and destroy the locket. Regulus, defying what Sirius had believed of him, chose to save the elf instead of him and died in the lake. Kreacher tells them that Mundungus Fletcher took the locket from the house, and Harry requests that Kreacher find the Mundungus so that they can fulfil Regulus’ dying wish.
When Kreacher returns with Dung, they are horrified to hear who has possession of the locket – Dolores Umbridge, the Ministry witch who was responsible for the disaster of Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts. They group devise a plan to break into the Ministry to get the locket, and although they succeed, they are detected, and upon returning to Grimmauld Place, they bring Yaxley along with them into the protective enchantments, forcing them to leave the place for good. Luckily for Hermione and her great spell work, they have a tent and necessary camping equipment stocked in her handy little bag, enchanted by the Undetectable Extension Charm to enlarge it.
Harry, Ron and Hermione all take turns in keeping the locket around their necks, as they all are affected by its evil. One night, they hear a discussion between Goblins and fleeing wizards, and realising that the sword of Godric Gryffindor can destroy the Horcrux, Harry and Hermione is jubilant at a new lead in their dismal search for destruction of Horcruxes. Ron, who is affected the strongest by the Horcrux, leaves Harry and Hermione in a rage, and after he leaves they realize he won’t come back – their protective enchantments shields them too well.
Now, Harry and Hermione are all alone, and together they continue their search. They find out more about Dumbledore’s youth, which just makes Harry more miserable. They read the autobiography Rita Skeeter wrote on Dumbledore, and in it is revealed that Dumbledore was once friends with Gellert Grindelwald, an evil wizard who was overthrown by Dumbledore. Harry and Hermione travel to Gordric’s Hollow, Harry and Dumbledore’s birthplace, to visit Bathilda Bagshot and Harry’s parents grave. They follow Bathilda into her house, and are attacked by Voldemort’s snake, which comes out of the dead Bathilda with Dark Magic. The snake summons Voldemort, and they escape just as Voldemort arrives, and Harry relives his parents’ death. During their escape, Harry’s wand gets broken, and now the pair only has one wand between them.
Harry and Hermione, now camping in the Forest of Dean, takes turns keeping watch. One night, there is a Patronus in the form of a Silver Doe, and Harry, sensing that it brings no evil, follows the doe to a lake, where the sword of Gryffindor awaits him in the ice. Harry tries to retrieve the sword, nearly drowns, and is saved by Ron. Stunned at the return of his best friend, Ron asks for forgiveness, and destroys the locket. Overjoyed, they return to the tent to tell Hermione, but she freaks out, and yells at Ron. Ron quickly shares how he came to find them – by the Diluminator Dumbledore had left him. Better yet, he is able to provide Harry with a wand, which Ron got by escaping from Snatchers (people who catch fleeing muggle borns and take them to the now anti-muggle born wizards)
Hermione, reading the books that Dumbledore had left her, Tales of Beedle the Bard, realises the symbol in the tale is the symbol Xenophilius Lovegood had worn to Bill and Fleur’s wedding. Xenophilius tells them the tale of the three brothers is about the Deathly Hallows, a cloak of Invisibility, the Elder Wand, and the Resurrection Stone. He also tells them that the possessor of all three would make him the master of death. Hermione discards this as rubbish, and argues that it would be impossible. Mr. Lovegood leaves them to prepare some food for them, but actually summons the Death Eaters because they took his daughter Luna hostage, and would return her to him if he gave information on Harry Potter. Once again, they escape by Hermione’s brilliance.
Now obsessed that Dumbledore had wanted him, Harry to find the Hallows, he largely ignores their quest for the Horcruxes, much to Hermione’s annoyance. One night, they manage to tune into a anti-Voldemort radio station. This puts them in a great mood, and Harry accidentally says Voldemort’s name, now a Taboo, breaking their protective enchantments. They are captured, and taken to Malfoy manor. When Bellatrix Lestrange realise that they have the sword of Gryffindor, she freaks out, and tortures Hermione to find out how they got it. Hermione tells Bellatrix that it is a fake, and she is backed up by a Goblin, Griphook. In the cellar of the mansion, where Ron and Harry are now imprisoned, they are saved by Dobby the Houself, who apparatus out with Luna, Dean and MR. Ollivander, and returns for Harry, Ron, Hermione and Griphook. Harry disarms Draco Malfoy, taking his wand, and they apparate to shell cottage, the house of Bill and Fleur. As they apparate, Bellatrix throws a knife at k\Dobby, and it kills the brave little elf.
After they buried Dobby, they talk to Griphook. Harry, who realised that Bellatrix’s fear meant that Voldemort had given her something to store in her vault at Gringotts, where the fake sword of Gryffindor lies, now realises that the next Horcrux waits there for them. Together with Griphook they stage a break in, with Hermione disguised as Bellatrix, once again from the trusty Polyjuice Potion. They break into the vault, and escape by setting the Dragon of Gringotts free.
Now, with the Horcrux in their possession, Voldemort knows Harry is hunting his Horcruxes. Harry sees into Voldemort’s mind, and realise another Horcrux is waiting for them at Hogwarts. They apparate into the village of Hogsmeade, setting off the caterwauling charm set on the village, and they are rushed to safety by the barman of the Hog’s Head, who turns out to be Aberforth Dumbledore – brother of Albus Dumbledore. He tells them more of the sad story of his sister Ariana, who wasn’t a Squib, but whose powers had destroyed her eventually from when she was attacked by Muggles. They enter the school in a secret tunnel, leading into the Room of Requirement, which now hosts all the students defying Snape’s new regime on the school.
Harry sets out to find the last Horcrux, the Diadem of Ravenclaw, as the school prepares to battle Voldemort’s death eaters. Ron and Hermione destroy the cup with a basilisk fang, and Harry finds the Diadem in the Room of Requirement, where everything is hidden. They are attacked by Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle, and Crabbe casts Fiendfyre to try to capture them. This result in the destruction of the Diadem and Harry knows that only one Horcrux, the Snake Nagini, now stands between him and a mortal Voldemort.
The first wave of attack on Hogwarts results in the deaths of Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks and Fred Weasley. Harry searches for Voldemort, finding him in the Shrieking Shack, and witnesses the murder of Severus Snape. Snape gives Harry a vial of his memories, and harry returns to the castle to see them in the Pensieve. Harry sees the love of Snape’s life in these memories, Harry’s own mother, Lilly Potter, finally explaining why Snape had always hated Harry, whose father married the woman Snape had loved. He witnesses Dumbledore asking Snape to kill him, Dumbledore, to save Draco from doing it. He also sees Dumbledore telling Snape that Harry was one of the Horcruxes, and that Harry had to die to kill Voldemort.
Accepting his fate, Harry leaves the castle to go find death. On his way, he tells Neville Longbottom that Voldemort’s snake needs to be killed, not telling him that it is a horcrux. He enters the forest, and Harry opens the resurrection stone, hidden in the snitch Dumbelore had given him. His parents, Lupin and Sirius walks with him as beings slightly more substantial than ghosts on his way to death, where Voldemort casts the killing curse, Avada Kedavra, on Harry.
While in a lifeless state, Dumbledore’s spirit returns to harry, telling him what happened in Dumbledore’s life. Harry returns to life, is carried to Hogwarts by a sobbing Hagrid, and while Harry pretends to be dead, Neville kills the snake. Now, with all Horcruxes destroyed, Voldemort is mortal once again.
A ferocious battle ensues, where Molly Weasley kills Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry and Voldemort engage in a duel, where harry tells Voldemort the tale of how Snape always defied Voldemort, and that he, Harry had become the master of the Elder wand, which Voldemort stole from Dumbledore’s tomb. Harry and Voldemort simultaneously cast spells, harry his favourite disarming spell, and Voldemort his Avada Kedavra. Voldemort’s spell rebounds on him, killing him. Celebrations ensue, with the most evil wizard finally overthrown, and when Harry visits Dumbledore’s portrait in the headmasters’ office, he visits the celebration of all the headmasters, telling Dumbledore his decision to keep the Stone in the forest. Harry repairs his old wand with the Elder Wand, and promises to return the Elder wand to Dumbledore’s tomb.
Finally, years later, we witness married couples Ron and Hermione and Ginny and Harry taking their children onto the Hogwarts Express. Harry’s one, James Sirius teases his younger brother Albus Severus that he will be placed into Slytherin. Harry tells Albus that he was named after two headmasters, one who was a Slytherin, and that the sorting hat would give Albus a chance to choose if he desperately wanted to be in Gryffindor. Together with his and Ginny’s daughter, Lily Luna, and Ron, Hermione sees off the train which their children can safely on without the fear of Voldemort.
Yes, the highest rating. In a series of spectacular books, the last one managed to become the most spectacular. Every single page in this read is action packed, emotional and heart wrenching. I cannot say which event caused me the most tears, Tonks and Lupin Dying, Fred Dying, dobby dying, Hedwig dying, Snape’s tragic love story… “Always”
Well, it was probably Snape’s sad life story. What a brilliant shocker. The most thoroughly hated character through the entire series turning to be the greatest hero of them all. I was bawling my eyes out due to his heroics. “Sometimes we sort too soon” Albus Dumbledore to Severus Snape.
My favourite moments in the book? Maybe where Peeves sings his victory song, but most likely where Molly Weasley yells:
“Not my daughter, you bitch!”
Mrs Weasley threw of her cloak as she ran, freeing her arms. Bellatrix spun on the spot, roaring at the sight of her new challenger.…
Harry watched with terror and elation as Mrs. Weasley’s wand slashed and twirled, and Bellatrix Lestrange’s smile faltered, and became a snarl. Jets of light flew from both wands, the floor around the witches’ feet became hot and cracked, both women were fighting to kill.”
And all was well.