Chapter 19: The Silver Doe

The Silver Doe by Lilyhbp. Click for original link.

In medieval symbolism, in the Arthur stories, and even in Narnia, we get the pursuit of the White Stag as a symbol of the human pursuit of the Christ. In Harry Potter, we’ve seen a white stag, but there’s not much pursuit of it. On the contrary, Harry himself produces the stag, and it’s an internal echo of his father.

But in chapter 19 of Deathly Hallows, in Harry’s darkest moment to date – wand broken, having survived the Bagshot-Snake attack, Dumbledore denounced, and his parents’ graves visited – he pursues not a White Stag, but a “Silver-white Doe” into the forest. The reason for this is simple enough: Harry’s pursuit in this story is not of his father. It’s of his mother. At the end, he tells Voldemort, “I’ve done what my mother did.” In order to defeat Voldemort, he has to go through the way of Lily, which is the way of the Christ. So J.K. Rowling gives us a feminine version of the Christ symbolism. This is Christ, the Sophia of God, as St. Paul says.The pursuit leaves him to “a silver cross,” the Sword of Gryffindor, lying in the frozen pool. We learn later from Dumbledore that it had to be taken under conditions of bravery, underscoring my assertion that the Sword is a Hallow (just not a Deathly one). As we saw with the hat in Book 2, one has to be worthy to possess the sword. This is our second clear Arthurian moment in the chapter – especially as the sword is then retrieved from a pool by the “kingly” Ron Weasley.

Here is where Ron must face his fears and overcome them. After raising Harry to life after he “dies” at the silver cross in the pool of baptism, Ron is tested, mid-story, in the same way he was tested before the Mirror of Erised midway through Book 1. Only this time, the stakes are much higher. In Book 1, he didn’t know what the Mirror was, and he hoped it showed the future. There were no serious consequences at the time for his looking into it and seeing himself with glory and fame – the consequences of being overshadowed by his talented brothers. In Book 7, we find – next to a pool, no less (think Narcissus, and you’ve got the Mirror imagery present) – that Ron is still wrestling with the same fears, only they’re about Harry and Hermione as well. Voldemort tells him out of the two-eyed Horcrux that all his fears may come true, that he really is least-loved, and that Harry and Hermione hate him.

But Ron triumphs, showing himself to be a “true Gryffindor” and a worthy participant in the quest to defeat Voldemort.

This is easily one of my top 5 favorite chapters of the entire 7-book saga. There’s more to say about it, and I leave the discussion on the hands of the Pub and look forward to your comments!

40 thoughts on “Chapter 19: The Silver Doe

  1. You didn’t speak about the one who created the silver-white doe.

    This is also the one time we get a clear look into the soul of one Severus Snape – although we know it not at the time. Is he not pursuing the female-Christ in Lily as well? Does he not lay down in his life for love as well?

    Thinking of Arthurian legend, Snape reminds me of Lancelot, who was doomed not to find the Holy Grail (one assumes because of his impure love for Guinevere):

    The Grail a vision of God that can been seen only if the viewer has led a pure life. Lancelot, because of his adultery with Queen Guinevere, can only see the Grail a a fuzzy outline in a dream. Perceval, who committed only one sin, is permitted only to see it in visions. Galahad (the son of Lancelot) alone is able to look into the Grail itself and to see what no other man can.

    After his vision Galahad dies, and the other knights return to Camelot.

    http://www.sir-lancelot.co.uk/holy-grail-quest.htm

  2. What a chapter! Thanks for your insight that the doe is “sophia”: wisdom. After the horrific encounter with Bathilda it takes such courage, and discernment, for Harry to follow the doe.

    I think one of the several reasons why this chapter is so affecting is that it lifts Harry (and us) out of such a darkness!

    As John Granger has pointed out in “Deathly Hallows Lectures,” the Silver Doe marks the point when Harry finishes the nigredo part of his transformation and enters the albedo phase. In fact, upon rereading (for the 40th? time) I noticed a couple of sentences toward the beginning of this chapter which I think show that the nigredo has successfully “dissolved” Harry:
    “the night reached such a depth of velvety blackness that he might have been suspended in limbo between Disapparition and Apparition. He had just held up a hand in front of his face to see whether he could make out his fingers when it happened.”

    Of course, “it happened” is the doe. Harry is reduced to a feeling of nothingness before he is ready to follow wisdom.

  3. Great analysis, Travis. I hadn’t ever thought about the waters of baptism. And yeah, like Christ, after baptism, Ron is tested in the wilderness. I also like your point about the mirrors Ron encounters.

    I find it interesting that when the locket opens, we see Riddle’s eyes, not Voldemort’s. Can the horcruxes be seen as the human parts Voldemort has left behind? Voldemort has inhuman eyes, and though it doesn’t sound like he lost his human eyes in the process of making the horcrux, at the same time, it’s representative of what he lost as he cut himself up.

    I tried figuring out if other horcruxes might represent other parts Voldemort lost. But the other physical characteristics would be his nose and his hair. The diary might represent his charm and the ability he used to have to get people to do what he wanted to; an ability he doesn’t have anymore. But the other horcruxes by and large don’t really have much personality, so my theory might not work out so well.

  4. Thanks for the link to that lovely scene from the Holy Grail. Ah, the 1970s! It was exactly like that!

    I remember wincing on first encountering this chapter – ‘Oh no, not a sword in a lake!’ – but smiling when Harry had a not dissimilar feeling, and laughing when the story went to pieces and Ron leapt in to pull out both sword and hero.

    Isn’t Snape rather an anti-Lancelot? His love for Lily is his redeeming feature, while Lancelot’s for Guinevere is his flaw. What they have in common, maybe, is that neither acted honestly on his love when he should have.

    Also, did Snape have to make it so difficult? Hatred for Harry trumps love for Lily every time.

    It’s a great chapter, from the alchemical darkness to the foul Harry/Hermione apparition.

  5. red rocker — I love your pointing out that we don’t think at first about where the doe came from. Ron tells Harry he assumed he cast it, Harry reminds Ron that his Patronus is a stag, not a doe. And that’s pretty much it. As I recall, they never dig much into any discussion of where did it come from. And as a result, neither do we.

    A lovely reminder that salvation can come from most unlikely sources….

  6. When I finished the book the first time – I went back to reread this chapter again. I wondered why Snape chose to reveal his patronus at that time. Surely – there were other ways Snape could have lured Harry to the sword. But Snape chose an act that was at once somewhat comforting to Harry, and very painful for himself. I wondered what he thought about when he conjured up his patronus. I wondered how he felt – to see this patronus after so many years – and through this pain, to be able to maintain a strong silver doe patronus through some happy memory. It gives me hope, in a way.

    The Lancelot references with Severus Snape are numerous and abound throughout the series. This chapter involves the sword in the lake. Lancelot of the Lake. If one takes a look at how T.H. White describes Lancelot in The Once and Future King – you see Snape immediately. White’s Lancelot (unlike many of the adaptations of the Athurian Legends) is not attractive at all. In fact, he’s downright unattractive physically. A wikipedia article on the subject –

    Lancelot is no longer the handsome knight typical in the romantic legends but is instead portrayed as the ugliest of that lot. He is also a sadist, a trait he represses, but which leads to bouts of self-loathing. He seeks to overcome his flaws through full devotion towards becoming Arthur’s greatest knight.

    Snape and Lancelot pursue unavailable women. They both die rejected by that woman. They both live out the rest of their lives in solitary penitence. Both were the sinners of the tale.

    Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) Collected Poems

    VI. Lancelot
    III
    Lancelot looked about him, but he saw
    No Guinevere. The place where she had sat
    Was now an empty chair that might have been
    The shadowy throne of an abandoned world,
    But for the living fragrance of a kiss
    That he remembered, and a living voice
    That hovered when he saw that she was gone.
    There was too much remembering while he felt
    Upon his cheek the warm sound of her words;
    There was too much regret; there was too much
    Remorse. Regret was there for what had gone,
    Remorse for what had come. Yet there was time,
    That had not wholly come. There was time enough
    Between him and the night – as there were shoals
    Enough, no doubt, that in the sea somewhere
    Were not yet hidden by the drowning tide.
    “So there is here between me and the dark
    Some twilight left,” he said. He sighed, and said
    Again, “Time, tide, and twilight – and the dark;
    And then, for me, the Light. But what for her?

    Snape and Lancelot are kin.

  7. And then of course, there’s Ron, who looks in his heart and finds there, after all, the strength to overcome his fears. So human, so flawed, but with a solid core of decency which makes him deserving of the title of best friend.

  8. Ron is deserving of that title. So is Harry. For some reason when I was reading the book the first time – I never doubted that Ron would return to the trio – just didn’t know when. For all the lack of set up of the Hallows – Ms. Rowling set up this friendship like a skyscraper. Harry and Ron have, and always had, that gift.

    I had/have a best friend I grew up with. Elizabeth and I were as different as different could get yet we were/are the perfect best friends. As with all friends, we would have a squabble now and then – sometimes a blowout. But one thing she taught me which was priceless – was the friendship was more important. I would get oversensitively hurt after a squabble – and worried that our friendship was over. Elizabeth always came back the next day or so. Totally over it. Ready to play again. No grudges. I admired that about her. I loved that about her. And though now, all grown up, we never squabble – I know that no matter what – we will always be best friends. That’s a gift we have.

    Ron and Harry have that gift. Elizabeth now lives across the country from me – I think I’ll call her today.

  9. Great synopsis, Travis. The more I think about DH, the more I realize how it is, in face, analogous to the mystic travail of the soul’s approach to G-d. Or, to put it another way, it is Harry’s own act of co-suffering with Christ. The Dark Night of the Soul, indeed. This chapter, then, is the vision of hope, of light, that Lewis talks about at the end of A Grief Observed, and MacDonald put in, oh, just about everything he wrote. Again, the untold connections between fantasy literature and the Christian mystics! The beauty and power of it, of course, is that you don’t think about that while your reading, you’re just caught up in the story.

    Particularly keen in Harry’s pursuit of his mother. The Freudian critics will have a heyday with that, and I dread the mounds of academic papers that will simply think ‘Oedipus!’ and misread all seven books! I see it as being much more like MacDonald’s mother figures–yes, Lady Wisdom, the revelation of Christ, of G-d the mothering Father. Think of Irene’s grandmother in the Curdie books, or the old woman with young eyes in Phantastes–one of MacDonald’s main archetypes, really.

    Also, is there perhaps (though this might be a stretch for a book by a Church of Scotland author) Marian imagery here, too? Thus is the White Stag is Christ, the Silver Doe is Mary? And so we’re brought to the place of baptism, and self-crucifixion, and reunion and forgiveness, through the intercessions of the Theotokos? Just a thought.

    woman_ironing, yes, absolutely spot on. Snape is an anti-Lancelot, or perhaps Lancelot as he should have been. Perhaps his destructive love, his Guinevere if you will, is his artist’s love for the Dark Arts? The unholy fascination that ultimately thwarts him in his desire both for greatness and for Lily. In which case Lily might his Holy Grail, glimpsed, longed for, but never attained.

    Joivre, I like your comparison with Snape and White’s Lancelot, too. I don’t think I’d go all the way, though. I’ve never seen that same sort of self-hatred and sadism, in Snape that White put in Lancelot. His Lancelot was good and kind and noble because he knew he wasn’t any of those things, so he had to make a special effort. I think Snape lacks that inner torment. He’s struggling to be himself, not to escape himself. Snape is the artist who will not be false to himself, even if he does hate himself, or even if painting his reflection is a sort of self-torture. What he has, that Lancelot ultimately lacks, is fidelity to his Grail–his love for Lily giving him an awareness of Christ in him, the hope of glory, the promise that if we co-suffer with Him we will also be co-glorified with him. So his search for identity, self-expression, ultimately leads him outside of himself to grace and redemption. Lancelot, tragically, is pulled into himself into failure and despair.

  10. There really is so much in this chapter, and like most here, I agree this is the best chapter of the series. I think I actually cheered on my first read-through when Ron came back. The Aurthurian references escaped me, for the most part, though I did think “sword in the stone” upon first reading. But the reason I love this chapter is of course, Ron’s redemption. The imagery is so profound in slaying one’s own demons. And then the conversation the two boys have after its over- Ron has finally received the light, quite literally, and realizes the truth about who he is and his worth as a friend. I feel like, out of all the confrontations with the Horcruxes, this one is the most personal. All of the other objects do not quite have the same personality. No mistake that the locket is a heart, I guess. Above all the others- well, the diary is another discussion- this object embodies what makes Voldemort tick- his manipulation, his persuasion, even his occlumency. And Ron stares it down and emerges victorious.

  11. I like the idea of Lily as a female Christ figure. That interpretation really fits, Travis.

    Both the stag in the Grail legends and the Silver Doe in Harry Potter served as guides for the heroes who were questing for the Hallows. Sir Galahad (the perfect knight) was accompanied by the all-too-human (that is, imperfect) Sir Perceval and the wise Sir Bors on a quest for the Grail, one of the Hallows of Arthurian legend. The three knights were led to the Grail chapel by a stag which later transformed into a vision of Christ the King. Pure Sir Galahad (who also serves as a Christ-figure in this story) was bodily assumed into Heaven after his encounter with the Grail. He is the spiritual member of the “soul triptych” of knights, with Perceval representing the body and Bors championing the intellect. Does this seem familiar? 😉

    Likewise, the Silver Doe served as a guide for Christ-figure Harry Potter, who was also on a quest for Hallows accompanied by two brave companions– the flawed but heroic Ron Weasley and the brilliant Hermione Granger. I know most of the folks here have read John Granger’s books and will immediately get the spirit/body/mind “soul triptych” parallel here.

    I wrote about the symbolism of the stag in Narnia, in Christian artwork, in the Arthurian legends, and in Rowling’s fiction in my book, The Lord of the Hallows: Christian Symbolism and Themes in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. The book was primarily based on my Portus 2008 and Azkatraz 2009 presentations, and was published in July. Travis, you have read my book, haven’t you?

  12. Mr Pond, when I suggested Snape to be an anti-Lancelot I was not intending it as a good thing. I find identifying Snape with Lancelot troubling. Yes, each had a way of life – a path he had decided on – that was undermined by his love for a woman, but Lancelot’s path was admirable, Snape’s not. To put it baldly, Lancelot was striving to be a good man and Snape was striving to be an evil man.

    Of course, it depends on one’s view of Snape and of Lancelot. I’m not fond of Snape. He’s not a character I find myelf wanting to admire, and I’m wary of your transposing Lily and the Dark Arts – making Lily Snape’s noble path and the Dark Arts his unsuitable love – in order to make him admirable. I don’t think it tallies with what I read on the page. I’m not really sure where my idea of Lancelot comes from, probably from versions of the Arthurian legends I read as a child. The Arthurian legends have developed over many centuries, like an enormous collection of fanfic on a long forgotten original idea. If T. H. White can remake Lancelot so can any of us, and we can remake him in Snape’s image if that’s our fancy, but we can’t then use Lancelot to support our interpretation of Snape.

    When we meet a sword in a lake we can hardly help but think of the Arthurian legend, but in HP it’s not a lake Harry steps into, it’s a ‘small, frozen pool’, and what happens there bears no resemblance to Arthur’s experience at his lake. Not all versions have Excalibur originating in a lake, but where they do Arthur is handed the sword as of right. Harry had to struggle for his sword and, in fact, failed to retrieve it. Some versions of the Arthurian legend hinge on the love triangle of Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot. The triangle of James, Lily and Snape was a catalyst to the HP story but this triangle had a different dynamic from the Arthurian one, even if James and Lily were a king and queen – as head boy and head girl of Hogwarts, and alchemically as parents of Harry. Snape owed no loyalty to James, Lily did not love Snape, James did not send Lily to her execution. I think it’s fair to say that we can see in HP a reworking of elements of the Arthurian legend but it’s a drastic reworking to create very different characters in a very different story, and Arthur is not, I think, a guide to James’s character, nor Guinevere to Lily’s, nor Lancelot to Snape’s.

  13. Anyone want to give their take as to why JKR included the sentence:

    “An owl hooted somewhere as he stripped off, and he thought with a pang of Hedwig.

    Why, out of nowhere, are we all of a sudden reminded of Hedwig? I have a thought, but am more interested in hearing YOUR comments….

  14. jensenly, my first thought is alchemical. We’re entering the white stage at this point, hence the white owl, the remembering of grief right before the plunge into the pool.

    But I’m more interested in hearing YOUR comments 😉

  15. Travis, I’m going to lower the tone, I’m afraid. I was reading this bit with my children last night and we laughed at the picture of Harry stripping off while a ‘Woo-hoo!’ echoed through the forest. But at the same time I suppose it does express the loneliness Harry was feeling at this point: the call reminded him of his own owl, but the reminder only re-emphasised that he was alone.

  16. It can’t be an accident that this chapter, surely one of the most significant in the series, is set in the Forest of Dean, one of the most significant places in JKR’s own life.

  17. Great post, Travis. I like the idea of a female Christ-figure, and the debate about a Snape/Lancelot comparison. I think the comparison is interesting, though I’m not well-versed enough in Arthurian Legends to offer an opinion. The only version I’ve read is Mists of Avalon and another cheesy series of books with Guinevere as the focus. woman_ironing makes a good point though, that like all legends, there are so many different versions, and little to know verifiable facts or original source material, that comparing one character to another becomes difficult as there are several different versions of a character. It’s clear though that Rowling is well-versed in Arthurian legend, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she had T.H. White’s work in mind while writing.
    Regarding the sword in the lake/pond and Harry’s failure to obtain the sword, that’s true, but I think Rowling chose to write it as she did because it was Ron’s turn to be an Arthurian hero, though he learns, as Harry has always said, that “stuff like that always sounds way cooler than it is”. I also never doubted Ron would return, and was so glad that he came back now, when he was most needed.

  18. One of my favorite quotes comes from this chapter and diva_alix just cited it, except it ends: ” Stuff like that always sounds cooler than it really was,” said Harry. “I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”

  19. Speaking of female Messiahs, I once wrote a kind of feminist fairytale about a female Messianic character. Wasn’t too bad as a story.

  20. A question – we know that Ron found Harry and Hermione through the use of the deluminator. How did Professor Snape find them? Do we find out? I though Phineas Nigellus was involved but now I can’t find the reference.

  21. EStrunk

    This one I know from writing my fan fiction screenplay, without even looking it up!

    At the beginning of “The Silver Doe,” when Harry asks where they are, Hermione has her beaded evening bag open when she tells him they’re in the Forest of Dean, where she used to come camping with her parents.

    Then after Snape dies, when Harry is living through Snape’s memories in the Pensieve, there’s a brief moment where we see Phineas Nigellus racing into his portrait in the headmaster’s office telling Snape, “They’re in the Forest of Dean.”

  22. If you like stories in the Arthurian vein as I do,

    more at forum. http://thehogshead.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=135

    The Lady of Shalott – Alfred Lord Tennyson Source: http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/shalott.htm
    THE Elder Knight By Dorothy L. Sayers
    source: http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/sayerselderknight.htm
    THE ELDER KNIGHT
    by
    DOROTHY L. SAYERS
    (Speaking of Lord Lancelot)

    I.

    I have met you foot to foot, I have fought you face to face,
    I have held my own against you and lost no inch of place,
    And you shall never see
    How you have broken me.

    You sheathed your sword in the dawn, and you smiled with careless eyes,
    Saying “Merrily struck, my son, I think you may have your prize.”
    Nor saw how each hard breath
    Was painfully snatched from death.

    I held my head like a rock; I offered to joust again,
    Though I shook, and my palsied hand could hardly cling to the rein;
    Did you curse my insolence
    And over-confidence?

    You have ridden, lusty and fresh, to the morrow’s tournament;
    I am buffeted, beaten, sick at the heart and spent.—
    Yet, as God my speed be
    I will fight you again if need be.

    II.

    A white cloud running under the moon
    And three stars over the poplar-trees,
    Night deepens into her lambent noon;
    God holds the world between His knees;
    Yesterday it was washed with the rain,
    But now it is clean and clear again.

    Your hands were strong to buffet me,
    But, when my plume was in the dust,
    Most kind for comfort verily;
    Success rides blown with restless lust;
    Herein is all the peace of heaven:
    To know we have failed and are forgiven.

    The brown, rain-scented garden beds
    Are waiting for the next year’s roses;
    The poplars wag mysterious heads,
    For the pleasant secret each discloses
    To his neighbour, makes them nod, and nod—
    So safe is the world on the knees of God.

    III.

    I have the road before me; never again
    Will I be angry at the practised thrust
    That flicked my fingers from the lordly rein
    To scratch and scrabble among the rolling dust.

    I never will be angry — though your spear
    Bit through the pauldron, shattered the camail,
    Before I crossed a steed, through many a year
    Battle on battle taught you how to fail.

    Can you remember how the morning star
    Winked through the chapel window, when the day
    Called you from vigil to delights of war
    With such loud jollity, you could not pray?

    Pray now, Lord Lancelot; your hands are hard
    With the rough hilts; great power is in your eyes,
    Great confidence; you are not newly scarred,
    And conquer gravely now without surprise.

    Pray now, my master; you have still the joy
    Of work done perfectly; remember not
    The dizzying bliss that smote you when, a boy,
    You faced some better man, Lord Lancelot.

    Pray now — and look not on my radiant face,
    Breaking victorious from the bloody grips—
    Too young to speak in quiet prayer or praise
    For the strong laughter bubbling to my lips.

    Angry? because I scarce know how to stand,
    Gasping and reeling against the gates of death,
    While, with the shaft yet whole within your hand,
    You smile at me with undisordered breath?

    Not I — not I that have the dawn and dew,
    Wind, and the golden shore, and silver foam —
    I that here pass and bid good-bye to you —
    For I ride forward — you are going home.

    Truly I am your debtor for this hour
    Of rough and tumble — debtor for some good tricks
    Of tourney-craft; — yet see how, flower on flower,
    The hedgerows blossom! How the perfumes mix

    Of field and forest! — I must hasten on —
    The clover scent blows like a flag unfurled;
    When you are dead, or aged and alone,
    I shall be foremost knight in all the world —

    My world, not yours, beneath the morning’s gold,
    My hazardous world, where skies and seas are blue;
    Here is my hand. Maybe, when I am old,
    I shall remember you, and pray for you.

  23. So to ask an in-universe nit-picker’s question, how did the silver doe see Harry? He’s guarding the entrance to a presumably well-protected campsite that should keep people away through various enchantments.

    I mean, first off, did Snape send off the Patronus to wander the entire Forest of Dean (which wikipedia lists as 110 sq km or 42.5 sq mi) trolling for Harry? And how did the Patronus and Harry look at each other for so long if the Patronus couldn’t see Harry because of the protective spells? I know you can send a Patronus directly to a person (Mr. Weasley’s patronus to the trio in the House of Black), but I assume that means you don’t get to know where that person is (seeing as Snape could’ve sent the silver doe to ascertain a location months ago).

    Like I said, nitpicky questions, not nearly on the level of the deep Arthurian/Christian themes discussed, but something I wondered about and this thread seems like the place.

    Also, woman_ironing, I’m going to laugh every time I read that owl hooting now. Thanks!

  24. A Collection of thoughts on the White Stag or Hart / Doe Legend symbolism stuff

    • White stags have long been associated with mythology and legend, an elusive yet magnificent beast. King Arthur was left frustrated by his attempts to capture one, as were the Kings and Queens of Narnia, who chased the creature through the woods and found themselves tumbling out of a wardrobe. The majestic wild animal – long associated with mystery and good luck –
    • The Celts considered white stags to be messengers from the “other world” and their appearance was said to herald some profound change in the lives of those who encountered them.
    • In the Chronicles of Narnia, the White Stag is fabled to grant wishes to whoever catches him. And in the Arthurian legend, the white stag is the creature that can never be caught. King Arthur’s repeatedly unsuccessful pursuit of the white stag represents mankind’s quest for spiritual knowledge.
    • In Christianity a white stag was said to be instrumental in the conversion of the martyr Saint Eustace after he saw a vision of the animal that told him he would suffer for Christ.
    • White deer, closely identified with unicorns, have been potent figures in the mythology of many cultures. It is said to be bad luck to kill one. According to the Scots legend, in 1128, David I, King of Scotland decided to go hunting on the Feast Day of the Holy Rood, against the wishes of his priest. While hunting he saw a huge white stag, or “hart”, and while giving chase he was thrown from his horse.
    The white hart charged forward to kill him, so David – son of Malcolm Canmore and St Margaret – called on God to save him. As the king grasped the hart’s antlers, they miraculously turned in to a large cross, and the beast raised its head and vanished. Inspired by his vision, King David built a shrine to the Holy Rood – meaning Holy Cross – on the spot where the miracle occurred.
    The ruin of Holyrood Abbey can still be seen today, at the foot of the Royal Mile next to Holyrood Palace. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holyrood_Abbey “Rood” is an old word for “cross”, usually meaning the crucifixion cross.

    Photos: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Holyrood_Abbey

    • According to a local tradition, a white stag is said to appear near Brodick Castle when one of the Hamilton Clan chiefs dies, to herald him to the other side. On a more ghostly note the Brodrick Castle is said to have two spectres: A man is said to have been seen in the vicinity of the library, sitting on one of the seats. The other spirit is said to be that of a Grey Lady, she has been identified with a woman who died from the plague while incarcerated in the castle dungeons. (From what I hear, that is, there are a lot of “Grey Lady” sprits floating around the U. K. these days)

  25. Derek D, Your question is a very good question? All I can come up with is that Headmaster Spade and Master Phineas Nigellus Black have yes, they have been keeping track of the wandering Harry and Hermione for some time now possibly to help and protect them if they really get into “deep”, ‘owl Woo-hoo!’ pardon me. Me too! Every time now also LAUGH OUT Loud. Professor Snape was I guess waiting for just the right time to give the sword. I think that Snape could not see them but knew where they were because we have learned that known magic leaves traces or a magical residue or signature. Snape made his silver doe Patronus appear out side the tent’s charmed protections and just let Harry come to him.
    The sword in the frozen pool was a cruel joke of Snape (a person’s true nature does not change).
    Thanks woman ironing, for the new Woo-hoo effect Boxers or briefs.

  26. R.Ross said, “The sword in the frozen pool was a cruel joke of Snape (a person’s true nature does not change).”

    Gonna have to disagree with you there, R.Ross. Remember Dumbledore told Snape that the sword had to be recovered under conditions of bravery & risk.

  27. RevGeorge, You are correct and I did forget all about that. These conditions would come under the Hero’s quest, Harry’s journey and his trials.
    Could it be said that the prophecy must be fulfilled.
    Please, what chapter is that in? I wish to look it up and read again. Thanks

  28. “Good. Very good!” cried the portrait of Dumbledore behind the headmaster’s chair. “Now, Severus, the sword! Do not forget that it must be taken under conditions of need and valor — and he must not know that you give it! If Voldemort should read Harry’s mind and see you acting for him —”
    “I know,” said Snape curtly. He approached the portrait of Dumbledore and pulled at its side. It swung forward, revealing a hidden cavity behind it from which he took the sword of Gryffindor.
    “And you still aren’t going to tell me why it’s so important to give Potter the sword?” said Snape as he swung a traveling cloak over his robes.
    “No, I don’t think so,” said Dumbledore’s portrait. “He will know what to do with it. And Severus, be very careful, they may not take kindly to your appearance after George Weasley’s mishap —”
    Snape turned at the door.
    “Don’t worry, Dumbledore,” he said coolly. “I have a plan. …” — end of chapter

    Dumbledore didn’t want Voldemort to be able to read either Snape’s or Harry’s minds or thoughts.
    thanks,

  29. I’m not informed enough to appreciate all the Arthurian references and meanings in this chapter. I love it because of hope, Snape’s doe, Harry’s courage, and Ron at his most vulnerable. All those seething feelings and perceptions over the years revealed to be healed. I loved the twist of Ron and Hermione’s reunion–not at all what I expected. Ron vulnerable; Hermione losing control in an unheard-of way. Great character evolution.

    And the curious capabilities of the Deluminator. Voice and Portkey-like light, with it’s going “inside” Ron near his heart, so that he knows what to do. A most valuable gift.

  30. This chapter has kind of been swamped by the many great succeeding posts.

    We get a lengthy look at Dumbldore’s Deluminator, the first such look we’ve had since the beginning of SS/PS, when Dumbledore uses it at Privet Drive.

    I thought it was quite intriguing, in particular, it’s vocal and Portkey-like properties and ability to penetrate or speak to the heart. I wonder if the Ministry understood what this magical device could do. Would it do this for others? What did it do for Dumbledore? And it’s properties demonstrated here have symbolic meaning, as well.

    Anybody else have wonder about it, beyond a plot point?

  31. Arabella Figg, I agree that this conversation has slowed down I feel it is only an hiatus people seem to have gotten LOST and one other item such as the Olympics, or perhaps the foul weather / the snow storm in the eastern U.S. I am sure that commentators will come back we have so many topics in this chapter to discuse.

    I even had time to go read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins this week.

    You made me think about the symbolic aspects of Dumbledore’s Deluminator, you write; “properties and ability to penetrate or speak to the heart.” This helped Ron to act and move on his heart’s feelings, back to Hermione and Harry. In addition, I also see a correlation to the person seeing one’s heart acting or moving on ones desires referring to The Mirror of Erised in SS showed one’s visions of their heart’s desire speaking to the heart at the time they view the mirror. Dumbledore did give us cues to the effect he said; that all one had to do concerning the “within and without darkness” is to turn on the light. And another time talked about if someone needed help all they needed to do is call out and ask for help. Hermione had to first call out so to speak. Call out or vocalize Ron by name to get the Deluminator to respond and activate that part of the devise. Ron then could begin to search and find them.

    The Ministry MOM could not find anything in Dumbledore’s Deluminator because they were looking for covert weapons or ways to use the devise as a way to communicate. They were looking in the wrong place, which is only externally not looking inside into the inner workings of the heart the (soul).

  32. A bit of background of the Deluminator (Put-Outer) ,
    The Deluminator is a device invented by Dumbledore that looks like a standard cigarette lighter. It is used to remove or absorb and later return the light from a light source to provide secrecy to the user. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Dumbledore uses the Deluminator to darken Privet Drive, where the Dursley family household is located. It was next seen in Order of the Phoenix where Dumbledore loans the Deluminator to Moody, who uses it when transporting Harry from the Dursleys’ home to Number 12, Grimmauld Place. In Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore uses the Deluminator again to darken Privet Drive before collecting Harry.

    Finally in Deathly Hallows, it is first referred to as the Deluminator. It is bequeathed to Ron by Dumbledore. After Ron had left his friends in anger, the Deluminator demonstrated the additional capability of a homing device. Ron hears the voice of Hermione through the device when she says his name and, when he clicks it, the emitted light enters his body and allows him to locate and Apparate to the vicinity of Harry and Hermione’s camp. Rowling stated that Dumbledore left it to Ron because he believed he might have needed a little more guidance than Harry and Hermione.[3]

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_objects_in_Harry_Potter#Deluminator_.28Put-Outer.29
    [3] “J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript”. The Leaky Cauldron. 2007-07-30

    Sampotterish: Why did Dumbledore want Ron to keep his deluminator
    J.K. Rowling: Because he knew, that Ron might need a little more guidance than the other two.
    J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore understood Ron’s importance in the trio. He wasn’t the most skilled, or the most intelligent, but he held them together; his humour and his good heart were essential.

    Source: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/7/30/j-k-rowling-web-chat-transcript.

  33. As usual, I’m way late to this party, but for me the grabber in this chapter comes with Harry and Ron’s conversation after the destruction of the locket–one of the most beautiful and intense passages in all of Potter [I’d add that one of my biggest disappointments with DH1, the movie, is that this scene was cut out–I hope it wasn’t because Kloves couldn’t bring himself to admit that Harry and Hermione’s mutual devotion is brotherly/sisterly]. Harry has just seen his best friend stripped emotionally naked, all his fears, his sense of inadequacy, and his jealous resentment of Harry hanging out. And Harry knows just what to say. To Ron’s abject apology for his betrayal, Harry points not only to Ron’s retrieval of the sword and his destruction of the horcrux, but to the fact that Ron has just saved his life. To Ron, Harry has always been a bit unreal–a friend, yes, but a paragon of heroism, who had saved Ron’s life and that of his sister and his father. He is almost too good to be a friend, and also a bit too good to be trusted, especially with the girl Ron loves. But now Ron has saved Harry, and from Harry’s own foolishness to boot. Harry is now in Ron’s debt–and Harry’s response is to be overjoyed that the moral balance has been righted, freeing them to be true friends. Ron doesn’t quite realize the enormity of what’s happened, saying that Harry “makes me sound a lot cooler than I was”–to which Harry, always embarrassed by adulation and aware of the repeated role of luck and providence in his alleged derring-do, responds, “Stuff like that always sounds cooler than it really was. I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.” I’ve heard complaints that this chapter raises the issue of Ron’s insecurities and then drops them. But what’s clear to me is that they aren’t dropped, but resolved. Ron is different from here on out, a thorough part of the team, even filling the space left by Harry when he gets distracted by the Hallows. He has a lot of making up to do with Hermione, of course–his moment of clarity with her comes with the horrific events at Malfoy Manor [and, likely, an unseen aftermath at Shell Cottage]. But as for Harry and Ron–I’ve never read anything like this conversation for its depiction of the generosity and openness of a true, deep and intense friendship.

  34. David, I love, love, love what you wrote! You get to the heart of the matter. Something I love about Ron is that we get to see a sidekick struggling with being a sidekick, having his pain over that role being revealed so brutally, and having the revelation that while he is not the Chosen One, he is chosen. He finally understands how much he matters to Harry and how important he is. As you say, from that point on he’s a different person.

  35. David As a fellow late comer all I can say after reading your post is thank goodness you made the party. The Ron story in this chapter was for me as important as the trio obtaining the Sword. I can’t add anything to your perspective and the comment of Arabella is spot on – you did get to the heart of it.
    Something else I really enjoyed in this chapter is how JKR relaxed the tension of those scenes with what is in many ways a wonderfully comic scene…the reaction of Hermione to the return of Ron. The language use, indeed the dashes and italics – is a perfectly imagined Hermione in fury: and no she “will not calm down”. Hermione shouting at both, Hermione dripping with sarcasm, Hermione being physical. Its all so big, so visual, full of energy and heat after the coldness of the forest and pond. Following so soon after the image that emerged from the Horcrux of a spiteful, cold disdaining Hermione this is wonderful stuff – full of real life, real feeling, real passion. The real versus the imagined. And Harry is not central to it: stepping back into the shadows to allow his two best friends to really have a hammer and tongs ding-dong. While we have lived with them for so long having niggly irritations with each other this is the first time we really see a full flight stoush. I loved it for that – and am in awe of JKR for placing it exactly where she did – as an immediate counterpoint to the imagined fears of Ron.
    Ice and Fire.
    And by golly hasn’t Hermione developed a somewhat Minerva McG use of cutting remarks – “Imagine losing fingernails, Harry. That really puts our suffering into perspective, doesn’t it?” I remember laughing out loud at that, with such affection for Hermione, and thinking it was the kind of thing Minerva would have said to Dolores.
    So we really get two major character shifts here: not only do we get Ron’s great courageous moment and his subsequent understandings; we also get the real passionate furious uncontrolled uncontained PHYSICAL Hermione…the lids blown of the steaming kettle and she’s away. We’ve not seen this of her before.
    I loved it.

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