Hallows or Horcruxes
Chapters 24: The Wandmaker and Chapter 25: Shell Cottage
I have a hard time discerning the two chapters, which I feel blend together into one “post-Malfoy Manor / pre-Gringotts” section, so let’s handle them as a unit.
In light of Bill’s warning a chapter later, it seems vastly inadvisable to pull a fast one on Griphook, but that seems to be where this is going. I’m pretty sure I can predict how this will play out: the trio will get into Gringotts and they will find the Horcrux, but Griphook will demand the Gryffindor Sword before they can destroy it and things will go horribly awry. At least that’s settled, though. They’ll get into Gringotts and try to trick the goblin that got in. Godspeed!
The conversation with Ollivander is seemingly more important, considering it pertains to the Elder Wand, Harry’s lost twin core wand, and the wands stolen from Malfoy Manor. However, Harry’s decision to speak with Griphook about the Horcrux first shows a shift in priorities – Horcruxes over Hallows.
While I’m not saying that the conversations with Griphook and Ollivander aren’t the main points of Chapter 24, I was far more drawn to the fleeting images of Voldemort with the Malfoys, and Voldemort advancing on Hogwarts. I want to know what he did to Draco and his family. What was their punishment? Since Harry doesn’t let his mind go there, I’m positive the book isn’t going to go there, yet I feel like we’re missing out on a compelling aspect of the story. We’re only left to assume, and as someone who is truly interested, that’s frustrating. What, you want me to use my imagination or something? What do you think this is?
Even more distracting was Voldemort’s journey to Hogwarts. This scene reminded me of a screenwriting class I took in college, where our professor challenged us to make our scenes as tense and exciting as possible through the use of a dire time constraint. For example, he presented a scene with two people talking over a table. Could this scene be tense or exciting? It’s possible. However, he then revealed that a ticking time bomb was strapped below the table. Changed the scene completely.
You get the idea.
Voldemort was the ticking time bomb of this scene. To be honest, I didn’t realize he was going after the Elder Wand. I hadn’t put together that Harry was favoring the Horcruxes over the Hallows quite yet. I assumed he was going after the students and faculty. I foresaw a Hogwarts bloodbath. The justification for such an onslaught was pretty distant from my mind. I just figured if Voldemort was advancing on the school, and this advancement made Harry nervous, so there had to be something horrible that was about to happen.
The horrible that actually did happen was far less horrible by comparison. I’m noticing a pattern of me predicting terrible things and then actually being relieved when lesser terrible things unfold. It’s a bad habit and I’ll try to break it before we finish this book.
So while Harry is interrogating Griphook and Ollivander, Voldemort (accompanied by Snape) gets the Elder Wand, which Dumbledore had all along. Ugh!
Right, okay. First thing’s first: Dumbledore had the Elder Wand.
Harry keeps thinking he sees Dumbledore’s eye in the mirror shard he’s been carting around. Do I think Dumbledore planned this all out? Yes, to an extent. A lot of it still seems to be the result of good luck, but Dumbledore definitely had some sort of master plan going. If he had the wand, the stone, and the cloak, why not make use of them? Why not give them to Harry?
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
My theory is that these Hallows, while clearly powerful, are nothing but trouble when used together toward a purpose. Harry uses the Invisibility Cloak with the best intentions (or at least he does now that he’s older and the cloak isn’t just a means to sneak out of the dorms). There doesn’t seem to be a good intention for the stone, which disturbs what should not be disturbed. And the Elder Wand has a bloody past so expansive, it’s hard to see the good in it. One person, even a well-intentioned person, to have the wand, the stone, and the cloak, would be like handing the power of life and death to a single individual. It’s not Harry’s job to be the master of death. It’s his job to kill Voldemort and Voldemort alone. To do that, he must destroy the Horcruxes. Concerning oneself with death and obtaining power over it is a distraction - it leads to evil. Just look at Voldemort. Even if Dumbledore had given Harry the Hallows, he would have still needed to destroy the Horcruxes. Death is not the enemy Harry is facing. His focus should be elsewhere.
Could he have used the leg up? I thought so, but looking at it this way, it would have gone poorly.
So let Voldemort have the Elder Wand, let Harry go after the Horcruxes, and we’ll see how this pans out. I’m not saying Dumbledore is infallible, but I think he was right in making this harder for Harry. After a bit of rumination in Chapter 25, Harry seems to think so, too.
Wait! We aren’t done yet. We still have to discuss Snape.
For a character I’m trying to defend, Snape is noticeably absent from a lot of this story. We only see him walking Voldemort to Dumbledore’s grave.
Oh, Snape. You are making this INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT!
This is becoming the most challenging prediction to maintain. I still think Snape is a good guy. Maybe he knew about the Hallows. It seems like those interested in the Dark Arts are pretty aware of their existence. Perhaps Dumbledore told Snape about the wand and his plan to keep it from Harry. Perhaps Snape was following Dumbledore’s orders.
Perhaps I’m stretching.
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know! How do I justify this one? There has to be a good reason why Snape lead Voldemort to the wand. Hogwarts isn’t exactly the safest place anymore. Bill even says that if Ginny wasn’t home on holiday, the Death Eaters would have gotten to her before they could hide her at Aunt Muriel’s. If Snape was to refuse Voldemort, it could mean bad things for Hogwarts and the students therein. Plus, isn’t Snape undercover as a Death Eater?
Shhhh! That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
The Reader’s Poll is still up, if you haven’t had a chance to cast your vote. Would you go with Harry or would you rather stay behind?