The Wedding

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Chapter 8 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Wedding← Chapter 7 | Chapter 9 →

Synopsis[edit]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's long-awaited wedding takes place at The Burrow. Polyjuice Potion disguises Harry as the Weasleys' "Cousin Barny". Many guests arrive, including Luna Lovegood (who annoyingly sees through Harry's Polyjuice Potion disguise) and her father, Xenophilius, a few part-Veela cousins of the Delacours, the Weasleys' Auntie Muriel, and most famously, Viktor Krum. Viktor, of course, is delighted to see Hermione, which annoys Ron. Hermione, flustered, drops her little beaded handbag, which falls with a suspiciously heavy "clunk".

During the reception, Viktor asks the disguised Harry who Xenophilius is, because if he was not Fleur's guest, he would duel him immediately for wearing "that filthy symbol on his chest". Krum says the medallion, which has a circle with a slash within a triangle on it, represents Grindelwald, a Dark Wizard who terrorized Europe, killing many, including Krum's grandfather. Grindelwald was finally defeated many years before by Albus Dumbledore. Many Durmstrang students once copied the sign, but Viktor despises it. Harry remembers that during the Triwizard Wand Weighing Ceremony in his fourth year, Mr. Ollivander recognized Krum's wand as a "Gregorovitch creation". That is who Voldemort was seeking in Harry's dream. Harry concludes that Voldemort may be seeking a more powerful wand than Harry's, and Gregorovitch might be a more skillful wandmaker than Ollivander.

Harry leaves Viktor after the latter makes admiring comments about Ginny Weasley, inciting Harry's jealousy. He then meets and reveals his identity to Elphias Doge, who wrote about Albus Dumbledore's life in the Daily Prophet obituary. When Harry asks about Rita Skeeter's biography of Dumbledore, and if Dumbledore was involved in the Dark Arts, Elphias becomes furious, denying Skeeter's account. He is further enraged when Auntie Muriel interrupts, saying she supports Skeeter's claims and feels that Doge's obituary glossed over Dumbledore's murky past. Muriel's allegations are shocking: she claims that Albus' ailing sister Ariana was a Squib, a disgrace that their mother, Kendra, kept hidden by keeping Ariana locked in the cellar. Muriel speculates that Ariana murdered Kendra in an unsuccessful escape attempt, all while Albus was at Hogwarts achieving fame and gaining accolades. After Kendra's mysterious death, Albus was forced to head the family, but had done a darned poor job of it; shortly after, Ariana also died, possibly, Muriel implies, murdered by Albus. Muriel also claims that, according to her friend, Bathilda Bagshot, who knew the Dumbledores well, Aberforth blamed Albus for Ariana's death and punched him during the funeral, breaking Albus' nose. Auntie Muriel denies that Ariana was ever sickly; she says her cousin was a Healer at St. Mungo's at the time, and Kendra never brought Ariana there. However, what most surprises Harry is that the Dumbledores lived in Godric's Hollow, Harry's former home, and where his parents are buried.

Suddenly, Kingsley Shacklebolt's Patronus arrives announcing that Rufus Scrimgeour is dead and Voldemort has seized control of the Ministry. He warns, "They are coming" - Death Eaters are hunting the wedding guests, particularly Harry.

Analysis[edit]

Dumbledore's past is far more secretive, complex, and intriguing than Harry ever imagined, and his faith in his mentor, already shaken by Rita Skeeter's "revelations" in her Daily Prophet interview, and only slightly repaired by talk with Elphias Doge, here takes another blow from Auntie Muriel. Gradually, Harry is realizing just how little he actually knew or understood Dumbledore. As with his father and godfather, the man Harry so admired and trusted had a hidden dark side. Youth, however, tend only to see their heroes' sterling characteristics, unable to realize that every person is a multidimensional composite containing faults as well as qualities, and that while these traits can clash, they also create balance. Harry has also yet to learn that it is one's past mistakes and transgressions that often makes them into the better person they eventually become. Nor will anyone ever be totally flawless, though Harry still largely sees the world as black or white, ignoring the multi-hued and sometimes muddied tones that blend, shade, and contrast life. Years before, Dumbledore told Harry, "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." Harry, relieved he can apply that to himself, so as to distinguish himself from Tom Riddle, still fails to consistently apply that to others, notably Dumbledore.

Harry also is quick to believe questionable sources like Auntie Muriel and Rita Skeeter, while somewhat dismissing Elphias Doge's more sympathetic memories. Harry wants to believe Doge and had sought his reassurance about Dumbledore, but he doubts Doge's words. Muriel is assertive and specific, making her appear more credible to Harry than Doge, who seems vague and deferential. Nor should it be assumed that Doge's recollections are any more accurate than Muriel's memories or Skeeter's research, simply because they are favorable. And Skeeter, despite her spurious journalistic methods, often uncovers accurate facts, though they usually have been sensationalized or skewed beyond recognition when they reach her readers. Regardless, Harry, already troubled by these multiple "truths", is becoming more conflicted by his growing confusion and concerns about Dumbledore, including those regarding his dark past, what his actual intentions were, and whether or not he truly loved Harry or had merely groomed him as an instrument to execute his cryptic plan.

Although Harry is dedicated to completing his mission, he will be distracted by these allegations about Dumbledore's past and his motivations, and by his confusion and frustration with the meager and perplexing information he was provided. Harry will become consumed with uncovering Dumbledore's past, so much so that it affects his mission.

Knowing that Gregorovitch is, or was, a wand-maker, we can surmise that Voldemort has determined Harry's Phoenix-feather wand to be his greatest threat. This certainly tallies with Harry's belief: having felt the wand cast a spell on its own during the escape from Privet Drive, Harry's faith in his wand is incredible. In this book's first chapter, we learned that Voldemort considers Harry's wand as a threat. It is unclear if Voldemort has learned about the connection between his wand and Harry's; while he does have Ollivander captive, it has not been revealed if he has interrogated Ollivander regarding this. Whether he intends for Gregorovitch to craft him a more powerful wand that can defeat Harry, or if he simply believes that a wand from a different maker would not suffer the same fate as Malfoy's, also an Ollivander wand, or he is merely after other information on wand lore, is still unknown.

Several characters are also highlighted here. Although it is never explained just how Luna Lovegood was able to peer through Harry's Polyjuice Potion disguise, it may indicate that despite, or even possibly because of, her unusual personality, she possesses some uncommon magical ability that may have been inherited from her late mother, rather than her father. This may also be another example of Luna's normal, non-magical perception. It is a very human characteristic to see only what we expect to see, so that Draco, when he saw Harry disguised as Goyle, would overlook any Harry-like mannerisms because he only expects him to act like Goyle. In this case, nobody knows what "Cousin Barny" looks or acts like, and Luna may recognize the mannerisms as belonging to Harry. Whether this ability is due to her magical powers, an enhanced perception, or a combination of both, it could make her an even more powerful ally for Harry.

Meanwhile, Viktor Krum's unexpected reappearance has a detrimental effect on Ron, who immediately feels jealous and threatened by Viktor's rekindled interest in Hermione, though Ron has yet to fully recognize just what his own feelings for her truly are. Harry similarly feels threatened by Krum when he also expresses an interest in Ginny, though Harry is acutely aware what his feelings are.

A small side plot briefly focuses on Harry and Ginny. During the wedding ceremony, Ginny glances at Harry and winks at him, which prompts Harry to remember the wonderful times they spent together in the previous book, rather than pay attention to the actual wedding. Later, when Viktor Krum inquires about Ginny, Harry immediately responds that she is already seeing someone who is "big" and "a jealous type." Despite the impending war with Voldemort and the Death Eaters, and Harry's decision to formally end their relationship, the bond between Harry and Ginny remains as strong as ever.

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

Review[edit]

  1. What is the symbol that Mr. Lovegood is wearing? Why does it provoke such a strong reaction from Viktor Krum?
  2. Who is Gregorovitch and why does Voldemort seek him?
  3. Why would Voldemort seek a new wand?

Further Study[edit]

  1. Who is telling the truth about Dumbledore's past and his family?
  2. Why does Harry seem to give more credence to Auntie Muriel's and Rita Skeeter's recollections about Dumbledore than he does to Elphias Doge's memories? Whose memories are the most credible? Why?
  3. How could Luna Lovegood see through Harry's Polyjuice Potion disguise? What does this say about her abilities?
  4. Why does Hermione's small handbag land with such a loud thunk?
  5. Why would Albus Dumbledore's sister be treated as a "squib" by her mother?
  6. Are there symbols in the real world which provoke as strong a reaction as the one expressed by Krum? Give at least one specific example, and explain how it does so.

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Harry is correct in surmising that Voldemort is searching for a new wand. Although Harry and Voldemort's wands are "brothers", it will be learned that, during their confrontation in the cemetery in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry's wand not only overpowered Voldemort's, it forged a deeper connection and withdrew some of that wand's powers into itself, making it the superior weapon. Voldemort, though unaware this happened, is apparently seeking a more powerful wand that can defeat Harry's, specifically one that was associated with the legendary wandmaker, Gregorovitch.

Ollivander, who was tortured by Voldemort for information, will admit to having revealed to the Dark Lord that Harry and Voldemort's wands are "brothers."

Hermione has charmed her little beaded bag so that it is larger inside than outside. She has also packed everything she thinks they will need into it, and carries it with her, so she is ready to leave with Harry at any time. This will be very useful at this chapter's end and the beginning of the next, as the Death Eaters sudden arrival at the wedding requires Harry, Ron, and Hermione to rapidly escape.

It is mentioned that the symbol that Xeno Lovegood is wearing is the symbol of Grindelwald, and that this infuriates Krum, who has been fighting Durmstrang students' tendency to idolize Grindelwald, an alumnus of that school. We will find out that Xeno is a believer in the myth of the Deathly Hallows, and that the symbol had been used by believers in the Hallows for centuries before Grindelwald, also a believer, co-opted the symbol for his own movement. This of course is extremely similar to the use of the swastika, a symbol of Buddhism for millennia, before it was turned into the symbol for the National Socialist party in Germany. It is a safe assumption that this parallel is deliberate on the part of the author, as she has previously stated that many aspects of the series, notably the actions of the Ministry of Magic throughout Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are consciously modeled on events leading up to the Second World War, and that there is some connection between that war and the actions of Grindelwald.