Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by

J. K. Rowling

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Chapter One Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Snape and Yaxley appear out of nowhere and walk together up a long driveway. Both men say they've been successful and shake their heads at Lucius Malfoy's white peacocks. They enter the manor house and hesitate at a huge door that enters onto a drawing room, where a fire casts light on a dining table and a person hanging upside-down over it. Voldemort greets them and asks Snape to sit next to him. Snape tells the table that Harry Potter will be moved next Saturday, though Yaxley challenges this and insists that Harry will move a week later. They argue and Snape says that Yaxley's source—Dawlish, an Auror at the Ministry—isn't reliable.
That the topic of conversation of the evening is information sets the tone for the rest of the novel. Rather than focusing on magnificent, exciting events, both Voldemort and Harry are now far more interested in gathering information that will hopefully inform the actions they do take, suggesting that these passages of information, keeping information quiet, and acquiring sources is far more important than the big events themselves.
Themes
Knowledge and Power Theme Icon
One man snickers that the Order of the Phoenix is correct in believing that the Death Eaters have infiltrated the Ministry. Voldemort ignores this and asks Snape where Harry will go next. Snape explains he'll go to the home of an Order member, and they won't be able to get to him there unless the Ministry has fallen by the time Harry moves. Voldemort turns to Yaxley, who proudly says that he put an Imperius Curse on Pius Thicknesse. Many seem impressed, but Voldemort says he needs Scrimgeour. Yaxley explains that they have people planted in the transportation office, so they'll know if Harry Apparates or uses Floo Powder. Snape says that the Order is going to move him in the open.
The ways in which the Death Eaters have infiltrated the Ministry of Magic means that all of the people on Harry's side, especially those who aren't members of the Order of the Phoenix, have no real way to know what exactly what's going on (recall that the Ministry and the Daily Prophet are closely entwined, and the Prophet mostly prints or doesn't print what the Ministry tells it to). This indicates that, though Harry may be on the lookout for new information, he's going to have to look to other sources to find it.
Themes
Knowledge and Power Theme Icon
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
Voldemort looks at the hanging body and says that he's going to deal with Harry himself as to not let anyone else make mistakes. Everyone seems afraid that they'll be punished, but Voldemort says that he needs to be the one to kill Harry. A scream comes from somewhere in the manor, and Voldemort sends Wormtail to deal with it. Voldemort asks Lucius Malfoy to borrow his wand. Malfoy hesitates and glances at Narcissa Malfoy before passing his wand over. He makes a small movement as though to take Voldemort's wand, which Voldemort laughs at.
Wands in general are a symbol of power, as possessing one allows a person to perform magic in the first place. Taking Lucius's wand allows Voldemort to further emasculate and disempower Lucius and the Malfoy family in general, and as Voldemort knows this, it suggests that he places a higher value on possessing these symbols of power and performing his power for others than in acquiring information.
Themes
Knowledge and Power Theme Icon
Voldemort's snake, Nagini, climbs his chair and settles across his shoulders. Voldemort maliciously asks if the Malfoys are unhappy that he's back in power, to which BellatrixNarcissa's sister—says that having Voldemort in their home is an honor. Voldemort asks if it's as much of an honor as the fact that Bellatrix's niece, Tonks, just married Remus Lupin, a werewolf. Everyone laughs, and Bellatrix insists that Tonks isn't family. Voldemort reminds Bellatrix that she needs to "prune" her family tree.
Voldemort's suggestion that Bellatrix kill Tonks to "save" her bloodline reminds the reader that Voldemort only values familial relationships as long as they support his worldview of blood purity. Familial relationships built on love, trust, or anything else don't matter to him, something that sets him apart from Harry, whose important familial relationships are all chosen, not blood relations.
Themes
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
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Voldemort points his wand at the hanging figure, who wakes up. The woman, Charity Burbage, asks Snape for help as Voldemort explains that she was the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts. Voldemort gags her and says that she "polluted" students' minds, and she wants pureblooded wizards to reproduce with Muggles and werewolves. Voldemort kills her and lets Nagini eat her.
By killing Charity, Voldemort fundamentally alters the way that Muggle Studies will be taught at Hogwarts—he's certainly not going to replace her with someone just as tolerant. This shows how controlling education will allow him to control how wizards think of Muggles.
Themes
Knowledge and Power Theme Icon
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon