The Deathly Hallows
Chapter 22 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Deathly Hallows
Hermione sets up the protective spells. She wanted the Death Eaters to see Harry so they would know that Xenophilius Lovegood had not lied, while Ron was hidden because he is supposed to be confined at home with Spattergroit; if Luna is a captive due to Xeno's actions, then the Weasley family would be in peril if Death Eaters knew Ron was with Harry. Her own parents are safe in Australia, their memories modified.
Hermione complains that visiting Xeno Lovegood was a waste and discounts the Three Brothers fairy tale. But Harry is drawn to it—being able to conquer death and not be killed by Voldemort fuels his imagination, giving him hope. Ron agrees with Harry that Xeno fabricating such a story while under intense pressure, trying to detain Harry, would be difficult. Ron also recaps Hermione's significant evidence supporting the Elder Wand's existence. Harry counters Hermione's claim that the dead can never be resurrected; his father and mother, and Cedric emerged from Voldemort's wand. Seeing Hermione's and Ron's wary expressions when he mentions resurrecting the dead, he changes the subject to the Peverells. They are among the oldest Wizarding families recorded, and though the male line bearing the name died out long ago, Hermione says there could be female descendants. Harry suddenly recalls Marvolo Gaunt, You-know-who's grandfather, showing the Ministry representative a ring bearing the Peverell symbol to prove their ancestry. Harry believes the ring, having the Deathly Hallows symbol scratched on it, contains the Resurrection Stone. He also remembers that Dumbledore had borrowed his father James' Invisibility Cloak, and deduces that Dumbledore believed it was a Hallow. Recalling the Three Brothers' tale, Harry wonders if the person who holds the three Hallows' can master Death, and will it come down to him against Voldemort? Hallows against Horcruxes? He also guesses that Dumbledore left him the Snitch because the Resurrection Stone is inside.
Harry is convinced that Voldemort is seeking the Elder Wand to defeat Harry and destroy Harry's wand. Hermione, however, thinks Ron and Harry are making a fairy tale into reality; Harry should only follow Dumbledore's clear instructions to destroy Horcruxes. Over the next week, however, Harry becomes obsessed with the Deathly Hallows. He is certain the Resurrection Stone is somehow hidden inside the Snitch, but he is still unable to open it or understand its cryptic inscription, "I open at the close." Ron and Hermione urge Harry to instead concentrate on the Horcruxes rather than the Deathly Hallows.
Ron gradually takes charge of the mission, suggesting new places to search. One night in March, he is finally able to tune in the wireless to "Potterwatch", the radio show he has been looking for since Christmas. Produced by Lee Jordan, "Potterwatch" is the only wireless program that reports the truth; everyone else toes the new Ministry line. Tonight, Lee reports that Ted Tonks, Dirk Cresswell, and the Goblin, Gornuk, have been killed. Dean Thomas and a second Goblin are believed to have escaped. Lee also mentions that Bathilda Bagshot is dead. Following Lee's report, Kingsley Shacklebolt speaks about Muggle casualties, and issues a plea to assist them against Death Eater depredations. Lupin then explains why he is certain Harry is alive. Following this, there is an opinion piece by either Fred or George about how "You-know-who" cannot be everywhere he is reported, as there would have to be about nineteen of him. Finally, Lee Jordan closes with a plea for calm.
After the show, Harry accidentally speaks Voldemort’s name, collapsing the protective enchantments around the tent. Snatchers immediately surround them.
Harry's reactions to the Deathly Hallows are seen here. The possibility that his parents could be resurrected tantalizes Harry, as well as the protection the Hallows might afford him against death. Harry's focus on the Hallows forms the backdrop to Ron's largely taking charge. Harry has been left confused and rudderless, first by Dumbledore's leaving him without guidance, and second by his distraction over the Hallows; Ron steps into this leadership void, undergoing a significant change as he does. No longer a passive and insecure follower, his guilt over his brief desertion, as well as Hermione's severe chastisement, have propelled him into a becoming a more mature, confident, and proactive young man who assumes responsibility in guiding the others, relieving Harry and Hermione from many day-to-day burdens. Though Harry will once again assume the mission's leadership role, from here on, Ron never again dwells contentedly in others' shadows, and begins charting his own life's course.
The wireless (radio) once again comes into focus after Ron successfully tunes in Potterwatch, the one program reporting the truth about Harry, Voldemort, and the ongoing war. During conflicts, communication like this becomes extremely important in disseminating truthful information amidst overwhelming propaganda that is usually being spread, while it also helps rally and unify allies. Although Harry only hears the program once before capture, he is comforted and feels reconnected to old friends, uniting them in the fight against Voldemort. It also bolsters Harry's morale, allowing him to fully realize that this is not his battle alone.
Another interesting plot point is highlighted. The Trio agrees that Harry's Invisibility Cloak could actually be the one from The Tale of the Three Brothers, which Xenophilius claims may have been the Peverells. The youngest brother bequeathed the Cloak to his son. Considering Harry received the Cloak from his father, it is possible that it was handed down to him through the generations, making him a direct Peverell descendant. Harry and Voldemort could share a common Peverell ancestor, not that blood ties account for much anymore as Wizarding families are ripped apart by Voldemort's war. As seen in Sirius Black's family, close relatives, divided by their blood-purity beliefs and loyalties to Voldemort, will readily disown and even kill one another.
- Why is Harry so interested in the Deathly Hallows? Why do Ron and Hermione think he should only concentrate on hunting Horcruxes?
- How and why does Ron take charge of the mission?
- Was the visit to the Lovegoods a waste as Hermione claims? If not, why?
- How does listening to Potterwatch affect the Trio?
- Knowing that Ghosts exist, why would Hermione be so skeptical about the Resurrection Stone?
- What might the inscription on the Snitch that Harry still carries, "I open at the close", mean?
- Why might Dumbledore have wanted Harry to know about the three Hallows?
Although Hermione believes the Lovegood visit revealed nothing important and she discounts The Three Brothers tale, like the trip to Godric's Hollow, information has been provided that the Trio has yet to realize is important to their mission. The Deathly Hallows will be tied to defeating Voldemort, although Harry's initial interest in them is unrelated. To someone who has lost many loved ones, a Resurrection Stone is a particularly desirable and seductive object to possess, and Harry reconsiders that magic could reunite him with his parents. And while Hermione wants to stick with Dumbledore's plan to only search for Horcruxes, Harry's continuing fascination with the Hallows and his hope to be reunited with his parents will eventually help him work out their significance. Meanwhile, the revelations about Dumbledore's past still trouble Harry, and his faith and trust in his Headmaster continues to waver. Harry also doubts whether Dumbledore ever really cared for him and wonders if he is merely a pawn in Dumbledore's scheme to defeat Voldemort. These doubts will linger, to a greater or lesser extent, until Harry speaks with Dumbledore's shade in a later chapter.
As Dumbledore's shade admits later to having expected, Harry becomes infatuated, as did the youthful Dumbledore, with the Hallows. Like Dumbledore, Harry sees them as a means to regain his lost family; additionally, he believes them to be a safeguard against Voldemort's expected murderous attack. The Hallows' attraction remains strong until after Harry escapes Malfoy Manor. Following that, Harry will choose to only seek and destroy Horcruxes, though that decision will torment him, particularly after he learns that Voldemort has claimed the Elder Wand.
As noted, Ron is now leading the mission, as Harry, infatuated with the Hallows, endlessly debates whether to search for the remaining one, or to continue hunting Horcruxes. When Harry overcomes his fixation and returns to himself in Malfoy Manor, Ron once again drops to the sidelines. However, we will see that he has gained a certain capacity for independent action that was previously lacking. This will be evident particularly after the Trio return to Hogwarts, where Ron, accompanied by Hermione, takes it upon himself to re-enter the Chamber of Secrets to retrieve Basilisk fangs to destroy the Cup Horcrux.