Charity Burbage: It’s What’s For Dinner
Let’s make a deal. If this book is going to destroy me, allow me the sarcasm while it’s still vaguely appropriate. I promise I won’t poke fun of the devastating parts.
Listen, I don’t want to start this thing out on a sour note, but Charity Burbage being the first victim of Deathly Hallows was a bit of a let down. To have a body suspended over a table for an entire chapter without acknowledging his or her identity is brilliant. The suspense generated was palpable. I guess I was just expecting a character I actually remembered existing. The Muggle Studies professor, while definitely an important member of the Hogwarts community, is a sub-sub character. Her death is only significant by way of being a death in the first chapter, in the Malfoy’s home, by Lord Voldemort.
A few talking points:
Way to make me feel bad for the Malfoys, J.K.! I never thought I’d actually have the slightest stirrings of sympathy for Lucius. Narcissa tugged at the heart strings back in the beginning of Half-Blood Prince, and you all know my feelings toward Draco, but Lucius? I don’t think he expected things to turn out this way when the Dark Lord came back. In fact, I’d venture a guess that he was much happier with Voldemort incapacitated. Being a former Death Eater grants him a great deal of power. Being an active one only leaves him browbeaten and terrified for his life. Voldemort even took his wand. Harsh! That’s like taking a man’s…let’s just say it’s wrong. But hey, looks like the Death Eaters are controlling the Dementours, because he was supposed to be doing time in Azkaban. Chalk one up for the Last Muggle: I said he’d be getting out of jail (it’s not exactly an amazing prediction, but let me bask in my little glories – they’re so few and far between).
Voldemort setting up shop in the Malfoy’s mansion is badass. Poor Malfoys. Yaxley and Snape imply that the Malfoys are far better off than the rest of the Death Eaters, so I suppose it’s only natural Voldemort would want to keep a firm grip on them. But other than Bellatrix, who is more than happy to have her crush sleeping over (pillow fight!), it doesn’t seem like the Malfoys are too pleased with the arrangement. Maybe Azkaban was a little more comfortable, considering.
By the way, who the hell is Yaxley? Just saying.
Poor Draco. He didn’t have the strength to cut his family off, like Sirius and Tonks, and now look where he finds himself. He didn’t want to join the Death Eaters – not really. He didn’t want to face down Dumbledore. He didn’t want to sit there as Charity Burbage was Avada Kedavrad. All he ever wanted was to have an ounce of Harry Potter’s prestige. He’s like a neglected middle child. Somebody look at me! Somebody look at me! Hey guys, I’m over here! Love me!
It’s sad. Look where it lead him.
He can’t even look Voldemort in the eye.
Now, evidently Wormtail has a prisoner in the basement. That could be anybody. Seriously, ANYBODY! I didn’t even remember Charity Burbage existed, so I’m not going to attempt to guess who is trapped in the Malfoy’s basement. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.
But on a more positive note, looks like we found Nagini. She was right where I said she’d be – next to Voldemort. Two points for yours truly. Am I making up for all my disastrous predictions so many books back? Eh? Eh? Maybe? Yes? No? Okay, no. Fine. Whatever. I thought it was clever.
So boys and girls, what have we learned so far?
The Death Eaters have Pius Thicknesse, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, under their control. There will be a move made on Scrimgeour and the Ministry of Magic, but not until more Death Eaters are in place. This doesn’t help all that much in Voldemort’s pursuit of Harry, however. The Order of the Phoenix will be moving Harry Potter to a secure location and will be doing so outside the realm of the Ministry, which they do not trust (wonder why? I mean, they’re such a trustworthy government…). The exact time of this move is undetermined. Snape is saying Saturday, Yaxley is saying the thirtieth. Question mark?
That brings me to Snape.
Snape! Buddy! You aren’t making this easy, you know? But I have to say, I’m still on your side, even though you’re giving me so little to work with here.
Could Snape be telling Voldemort the wrong date on purpose? He just killed Dumbledore, so it’s unlikely he’ll fall from grace that quickly just from one little “mistake”. And if Voldemort misses the opportunity to kill Harry en route to his hiding place, it will be infinitely more difficult to kill him later. For the purpose of storytelling, I don’t think Voldemort’s going to catch up with Harry while he’s traveling, so something foils the plans.
Is that foil Snape?
Come on! I’m pulling for you!
In the end, it’s a dark opening, which means things are only going to get worse. Kind of nervous, not going to lie. But I liked it.
And now you can all laugh.
I’m going to read just one more chapter. Just one.
Take it as you will.