Chapter 20 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Xenophilius Lovegood
The next morning, Hermione and Ron remain distant, though Ron is quite cheery when he and Harry are alone. Their recent upswing in luck, with Ron's return, recovering the Sword of Gryffindor, and destroying the Locket Horcrux, has created a more optimistic mood. Each updates the other about recent events, and Ron reveals that Voldemort's name is jinxed to trace anyone speaking it and to break protective spells. That is how Death Eaters found them so quickly in Tottenham Court Road. They speculate about who conjured the doe Patronus, and discuss Dumbledore and Grindelwald's close friendship.
Ron mentions a radio program, Potterwatch, that reports accurate news. A password is needed to tune it in, and Ron missed the last show. Hermione suggests visiting Xenophilius Lovegood. Dumbledore's letter to Grindelwald, reproduced in Rita Skeeter's book, contains the same symbol that Mr. Lovegood was wearing, that is inked in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and is engraved on the Peverell tombstone. Harry is reluctant after their recent Godric's Hollow misadventure, but Hermione insists these connections are important. Ron sides with Hermione, noting that Xenophilius has lately been publishing pro-Harry articles in the Quibbler, though Harry suspects Ron is only trying to regain Hermione's favor.
The next morning the Trio Disapparate to Ottery St. Catchpole, a village near The Burrow and close to the Lovegoods (who were first mentioned in book 4). After walking a bit, a strange-looking cylindrical house appears, and three hand-painted signs indicate that the editor of The Quibbler resides there. Odd plants and creatures that Luna has either worn or mentioned line the path. An unkempt-looking Xenophilius Lovegood answers the door and only reluctantly invites the Trio in. Inside, Xeno, appearing anxious, quickly covers his printing press and resists Ron's and Hermione's requests to help Harry, despite having urged his readers to do so. Asked about Luna, Xeno claims she is fishing at the stream. Harry notices a stone statue of a woman wearing a bizarre-looking headdress. Xeno explains that the statue is modeled after Rowena Ravenclaw wearing her now-lost Diadem. Harry asks about the symbol Xeno wore to Bill and Fleur's wedding. Xenophilius indicates that it is the sign of the Deathly Hallows.
Several non-human elements play a critical role in this chapter in addition to human ones. This is the first time an identifiable Ravenclaw artifact has been mentioned. While some fans speculated that the wand in Ollivander's shop window may have been Ravenclaw's, this is the first time that any specific object has been positively connected with her. Knowing that we are looking for artifacts the four Hogwarts Founders once owned, attention should probably be paid to Ravenclaw having had a diadem that people have been searching for. (A diadem is a jeweled ornament in the shape of a half crown, worn by women and placed over the forehead, also called a tiara.)
Also, the radio, or wireless as it is also known, is important because it demonstrates that there are ongoing underground channels to provide truthful information about Harry Potter, Voldemort, and the war. Like Xenophilius Lovegood's stories in The Quibbler, the Potterwatch wireless program helps to inform and rally the wizarding community by airing accurate news and updates. By acting as a unified voice, it creates solidarity among wizards and encourages its listeners, who have either been too fearful or uninformed, to resist the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters. These broadcasts are similar to how radio maintained communication with populations suppressed by war and, later, communism in the mid-20th century. It also shows the powerful effect the media can exert over the masses; whether this power is used for good or evil depends on who controls it and how and what is disseminated. If Ron can tune in the "Potterwatch" program, it should become an essential tool, not only for providing the Trio current information about Voldemort, their allies, and the war, but to help Harry reconnect ties to old friends and align himself with others who are fighting a common cause. Radio reports about who has been killed or captured can also act as a reminder to Harry that Voldemort's reign of terror affects many others, not only him.
Most importantly, the strange symbol the Trio has repeatedly encountered is identified by Xenophilius as the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, though their significance is still a mystery. Also, Xeno's disheveled appearance and odd behavior are certainly suspect, especially considering his staunch pro-Harry Potter support in his newspaper. Xeno Lovegood's strange demeanor strongly indicates something may be amiss here, especially when he agrees to assist the Trio only after they pressure him. Luna's absence seems peculiar, too, and Xeno's claim that she is catching fish for their supper also seems suspicious; the Trio soon become wary.
- Why does the trio seek out Xenophilius Lovegood? How can he help them?
- Where is Luna?
- Why did Viktor Krum and others believe the Deathly Hallows symbol represented Dark Magic, when apparently it did not?
- What is the sign of the Deathly Hallows?
- Why would Xenophilius have a statue modeled after Rowena Ravenclaw wearing her headdress? Could this be significant to Harry's mission? If so, why?
- How is the radio used in the fight against Voldemort? How could it be used against Harry?
- Why does Xenophilius, an ardent Harry Potter supporter, seem reluctant to help the Trio?
- Why would Xeno suddenly cover the printing press?
The Trio will learn, at last, that the symbol refers to the Deathly Hallows, and it is not a Dark mark as Viktor Krum mistakenly claimed, though it was co-opted by Grindelwald much as the swastika was by Hitler in the Muggle world during the same time period. However, it will take Harry some time to work out just what the Hallows are, whether or not they relate directly to his mission, or whether Dumbledore intended for him to pursue them separately. Eventually it will be learned that Dumbledore did intend for Harry and the Trio to discover the Hallows, especially the Elder Wand, but rather than revealing their existence, he instead chose for the Trio to discover the Hallows gradually to avoid them falling into the same trap he had. Dumbledore feared that, on learning the Hallows myth and their supposed power over death, Harry would abandon his search for Horcruxes, and instead become obsessed with the idea of resurrecting his lost parents. In fact that very nearly happens.
Harry seeing the model of Rowena Ravenclaw's lost Diadem is crucial because this is the first time that a known Ravenclaw artifact that may have survived to the present is mentioned. Later, Harry discovers that Voldemort made the true Ravenclaw Diadem into a Horcrux. Harry has unknowingly come into contact with the Diadem. While searching for a place to hide his Potions book inside the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, he used the Diadem as a marker to remember the book's location. However, Harry obviously was unaware that he was handling one of Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Xenophilius' odd behavior is also important to note, for in the next chapter we learn that when the Trio arrived at his house, he immediately dispatched an owl to the Ministry alerting them. The careful reader will note the owl in the garden as the Trio approach the house, and it flying up past the window as Harry looks out when Xeno says he is going to fetch Luna; those who recognize this later may assume, as Harry apparently did, that the owl was being sent to fetch Luna. We soon learn that Xeno informs the Ministry only because Luna has been taken captive by Death Eaters, and Xeno is hoping that by informing on Harry, he can secure her release.