Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Major Events/Voldemort's Death

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Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Major Event
Voldemort's Death
Location Hogwarts
Time Period Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, May 2, 1998 (aged 71)
Important Characters Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort

Overview[edit]

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

At the great Battle of Hogwarts, Lord Voldemort is killed in a final duel against Harry Potter.

Event Details[edit]

After killing Snape, Voldemort announces that the battle will be stopped for one hour, to give Harry Potter time to surrender to him in the Forbidden Forest, and says that if Harry comes to him, everyone at Hogwarts will be spared. Harry, having learned from Snape's memories that the only way to destroy the soul fragment that he bears within him is for Voldemort to kill him, enters the Forest and seeks Voldemort, only stopping on the way to tell Neville that Voldemort's snake must be killed in order to finally defeat Voldemort. Finding Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, Harry announces his presence and Voldemort kills him.

Harry finds himself in a strange place, apparently a cleaner version of King's Cross Station, where he meets the shade of Dumbledore. They talk, and Dumbledore explains some of the events of the past seven years to Harry. Dumbledore explains, in particular, that the soul shard that was attached to Harry has now been destroyed, and that Harry now has the choice: if he wishes, he can go back, and complete the destruction of Voldemort, or he can go to the platforms, where he will likely find a train that will take him Onwards. Harry elects to return.

Finding himself back in his own body, Harry feigns death, and hears Voldemort also regaining consciousness. Voldemort orders Narcissa Malfoy to check Harry and see if he is dead. Narcissa quite clearly sees that Harry is alive, but she quietly asks if her son Draco is still alive in Hogwarts. Harry says Draco is still alive, and Narcissa, apparently aware that it is the only way she can get into Hogwarts without a battle to rejoin her son, tells Voldemort that Harry is dead. Voldemort forces Hagrid to carry Harry's apparently lifeless body back to Hogwarts, where he taunts the defenders with the death of their champion. When he forces the Sorting Hat onto Neville's head and sets it afire, Neville produces the Sword of Gryffindor from the hat and cuts off Nagini's head.

Battle is now rejoined, with the defenders of Hogwarts being reinforced by the parents of the students who had been evacuated earlier and the denizens of the Forbidden Forest. Harry, under his Invisibility Cloak, works his way into the Great Hall, where he watches as Bellatrix Lestrange is defeated by Molly Weasley. Harry Shields Molly from Voldemort's retaliatory strike, then reveals himself. Harry and Voldemort now circle, preparing to duel; Harry, calling his opponent by his real name, Tom Riddle, offers him the chance to live by repenting of his murders. Voldemort dismisses this out of hand, and casts the Killing Curse at Harry as Harry casts the Disarmament jinx at Voldemort. The Elder Wand flies from Voldemort's hand and is caught by Harry, as Voldemort's curse rebounds upon him, killing him.

Notable Consequences[edit]

The final death of Voldemort spells an end to the Death Eaters and their depredations both on the Wizarding and the Muggle population. With Voldemort finally gone, the Wizarding world can now embark on a path leading to prosperity, rather than having to be constantly on guard against pieces of itself.

With the Elder Wand in his possession, Harry has control over possibly the most powerful wand in the Wizarding world. Knowing that owning this wand will also make him a target, he uses it to mend his own wand (which was destroyed by Hermione unintentionally at Godric's Hollow) and places it back in Dumbledore's tomb, in the belief that at his own eventual death, the wand will lose the major part of its power.

Analysis[edit]

One interesting point, one that the shade of Dumbledore also comments on, is the place that Harry finds himself in after his encounter in the Forbidden Forest. It is quite clearly modeling itself to Harry's wishes, and has taken the shape of Kings Cross Station. It is noted in the article on Platform 9 3/4 that Kings Cross has come to mark something of a transition for Harry, it being the threshold of the Wizarding World. Given this, what could be more appropriate than, in the transition between life and death, his mental imagery should revert to Kings Cross? Harry himself does not seem to understand Dumbledore's amusement at Harry's unconscious choice of venue, but we readers certainly do.

The series closes, as it must, with the destruction of the villain, most appropriately at his own hand. Yes, Harry had the strength to kill him, but offered him a chance to recover; right up until his very last, fatal spell, Voldemort was given the choice of continuing towards his own destruction, or of recanting and repenting. Offered this choice, Voldemort chose the doomed fight. The parallel with many religious belief structures is unmistakeable, and will not be belabored here.

One key fact is that Harry did not actually kill Voldemort. He was dueling with Voldemort at the time, and he was in a way responsible, but it was the spell that Voldemort cast that actually killed him. While Harry does make free use of the other Unforgivable Curses, he never uses the Killing Curse. Harry's hands remain unbloodied and his soul remains intact.

One thing that is touched on also is that by allowing Voldemort to kill him, Harry is protecting the fighters at Hogwarts. Voldemort has said that Hogwarts will be spared if Harry comes to him, and so in a manner similar to Harry being protected by his mother's sacrifice, Harry's sacrifice protects the occupants of Hogwarts. Despite the fact that Harry does not actually die, it seems that magic does not require that. It is because of this sacrifice that Voldemort's spells seem largely ineffective on the population of Hogwarts following the episode in the Forbidden Forest.

Despite our understanding, following the events in the Forbidden Forest, that Harry may not be vulnerable to Voldemort, we are as yet unsure of the fates of anyone else, or of the school. Despite our confidence that Harry will prevail, suspense is still retained, and even heightened, as we launch into the final battle. So many of Harry's friends have already died or been injured; will Ginny, seen fighting Bellatrix, survive? Will Molly Weasley prevail? Will the school be able to open again? It is to the author's credit that she is able to bring satisfactory closure to the many tangled threads of the plot, even as the tangles multiply in the final battles.

Questions[edit]

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

Greater Picture[edit]

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

With the defeat of Voldemort, our story comes to its effective end. There are only a very few issues remaining to be addressed.

One of the remaining issues, of course, is the Deathly Hallows, introduced in this book; an extremely powerful set of magical artifacts. One of them is Voldemort's wand.

By defeating Voldemort, Harry has completely gained mastery of his wand, the Elder Wand. Though he has what may be the strongest wand in the Wizarding world, Harry recognizes that not only does this wand carry great power, it also represents great danger. According to legend, the first bearer of the wand was killed on the night that his ownership of the wand became known, and the wand was stolen from him; this marked the beginning of a trail of murders that has followed the wand through history. Harry is aware that, though legend says the wand cannot be defeated in a duel, there are many other risks that it cannot protect against. Unlike Ron, who covets the wand simply for its power, and is apparently largely uncaring of the associated danger, Harry recognizes that as long as the wand exists, there will be people willing to kill for its power. Harry can clearly see that this wand is too powerful to be allowed to remain in the world. While he owns it, he only casts one spell with it, to repair his own wand; he then places it back in Dumbledore's tomb, in the expectation that, with his own unchallenged death in the future, the wand will lose its power.

Of the remaining Hallows, Harry chooses to retain one, the Invisibility Cloak, passing it on to his own children in turn as has been done for generations. The other, the Resurrection Stone, Harry deliberately loses in the Forbidden Forest, knowing that the ability to call people back from death will ultimately destroy anyone with that power.

It should be noted that with the destruction of the soul fragment within Harry, there is no longer any psychic link between Harry and Voldemort. If, by some mischance, Voldemort had secreted an additional Horcrux, Harry's scar would no longer give Harry any warning of his presence or return. Whether this leaves the door open for a sequel, we have no way of knowing.