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 Twenty Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Hermione refuses to talk to Ron, but both Ron and Harry are thrilled to have a secret helper and to have destroyed a Horcrux. Ron tells Harry in the afternoon about the Taboo: using Voldemort's name alerts the Ministry. Kingsley was almost captured this way. Ron asks if Dumbledore might've sent the doe. Harry wants to think that Dumbledore is still alive, but he shakes his head. Ron suggests that Dumbledore didn't just hand Harry the sword for no reason, as he gave Harry the Snitch and Hermione the book of stories for a reason. Ron says that Dumbledore must've known that he was going to bail, which is why he left him the Deluminator.
The Deluminator allows Ron to believe that Dumbledore is truly looking out for them and that they're on the right path. The joy that Ron and Harry feel about their "secret helper" shows that both of them are desperate to widen their community and draw on others for help. Ron's return begins to do this in some important ways: he has information about the outside world, such as about the Snatchers and about the Taboo, that helps Harry and Hermione make sense of what's going on.
Themes
Choices, Redemption, and Morality Theme Icon
Grief and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
Related Quotes
They briefly discuss Rita Skeeter's biography of Dumbledore and Ron attempts to defend Dumbledore's friendship with Grindelwald. Harry spits that Dumbledore was their age, as he practices enlarging a spider with his new wand. It works poorly, but Hermione comes up behind him and insists he needs practice. He doesn't believe her, but he practices levitating stones while he keeps watch later. Ron pulls out a small radio and explains that there's a resistance program that's password-protected, but he missed the last password. He attempts to tune it until Hermione gets up and announces that she wants to visit Xenophilius Lovegood. She shoves Dumbledore's biography at Harry and shows him a copy of Dumbledore's letter, which includes the strange symbol.
The draw of a resistance radio program would allow the trio to connect even better with their outside community, as well as learn important information about simply what's going on out there. Hermione's desire to visit Xenophilius acts in much the same way, as it shows that she knows she can't figure out this symbol on her own, and she knows where she can draw from her community to get the information she needs. This also suggests that she's willing to believe, to a degree, that Dumbledore is leaving clues for them, thereby reaffirming her faith in their mission.
Themes
Knowledge and Power Theme Icon
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
Hermione insists that the symbol must be important and suggests that Dumbledore wanted them to figure out what it means. Ron supports this, but Harry glares at both of them. He agrees to go and they Apparate near the Burrow. Hermione coolly points out that Ron was just here, but Ron explains that he stayed with Bill and Fleur so that the rest of his family wouldn't make his life miserable for abandoning Harry. They finally find the Lovegoods' house on the top of a hill. Hermione knocks on the door and Xenophilius answers quickly. He's in a stained nightshirt and looks scared and unkempt, but he agrees to let them in. They go upstairs to a room where a printing press is printing copies of the Quibbler, and Xenophilius puts a tablecloth over it.
That Ron didn't stay with his parents while he was home drives home how guilty he felt about abandoning Harry and Hermione, and how isolating his bad decision was for him. Returning, in other words, doesn't just return him to his friends and to the mission. It also allows Ron to step back into a hero-like role and stay in his family's good graces. Xenophilius's state, like the state of Bathilda Bagshot's home, should read as a warning to the trio—it suggests that Xenophilius isn't doing well, and possibly, that he's under pressure from the Death Eaters.
Themes
Choices, Redemption, and Morality Theme Icon
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
Hermione points to a horn mounted on the wall in shock. Xenophilius insists it's from a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, but Hermione cries that it's an explosive Erumpent horn. Harry changes the subject and asks for help, but Xenophilius says that this is dangerous. Ron points out that Xenophilius has been printing that it's important to help Harry and Hermione suggests they ask Luna. Xenophilius gulps, says that Luna is at the stream, and agrees to help. He goes downstairs and steps outside as Harry and Ron inspect a strange headdress on a bust. Xenophilius returns and says that Luna will be back soon. Harry asks about the symbol and Xenophilius says it's the symbol of the Deathly Hallows.
Keep in mind that Xenophilius is being blackmailed by the Death Eaters. Knowing this, a generous reading of his actions might suggest that trying to refuse to help Harry is actually an attempt to protect Harry and himself and make it seem as though this meeting never happened. Ron's pep talk to Xenophilius shows that he's taking his return to the group very seriously and now he wants to take what he learned and pay it forward, thereby allowing others to redeem themselves too.
Themes
Choices, Redemption, and Morality Theme Icon
Knowledge and Power Theme Icon
Mortality and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
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