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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Chapter Seventeen:
Bathilda's Secret

Notes by Michele L. Worley
Page editor Belinda Hobbs

U.S. hardcover edition: pages 330 - 349
U.K. hardcover edition: pages 270 - 285
Timeframe: 24 - 25 December, 1997 [Y17]

Leaving the cemetery, Harry and Hermione see the Potters' old house, then encounter someone who appears to be Bathilda Bagshot but does not speak until she gets Harry alone. Too late, Harry discovers that they've been led into a trap, and that Bathilda's corpse is being used as a disguise for Nagini. He and Hermione manage to escape, at the cost of Harry's wand being broken accidentally by Hermione.

illustration by Mary Grandpré

Interesting facts andnotes about the text of this chapter:

"Come!" called Bathilda from the next room.
Hermione jumped and clutched Harry's arm.

This must have been in Parseltongue, but Hermione doesn't seem to have noticed anything particularly peculiar about the language.

and he saw at once that half a dozen were missing from the largest and most ornate frames
That's low. Rita (assuming Harry has identified the thief correctly) took care to take the photographs that were most important to Bathilda. It's interesting that she would keep photographs of Grindelwald in a prominent position in her sitting room, given the depth of his subsequent disgrace.

Characters introduced in this chapter:

  • Bagshot, Bathilda (sort of)

Characters returning in this chapter:

  • Granger, Hermione
  • Nagini
  • Potter, Harry
  • unseen carolers in the pub

Characters mentioned in this chapter:

  • Abbott (given name unknown)
  • Gregorovitch
  • Grindelwald, Gellert
  • Hagrid, Rubeus
  • Lupin, Remus
  • Ollivander
  • Potter, James
  • Potter, Lily Evans
  • Riddle, Tom (as Voldemort)
  • Skeeter, Rita
  • Weasley, Ron
  • (surname unknown), Muriel
  • (names unknown) two children dressed as pumpkins
  • (name unknown) Muggle boy who spoke to Voldemort

Settings and locations introduced or returning in this chapter:

  • Godric's Hollow

Settings and locations mentioned in this chapter:

  • Muggle orphanage

Exceptional character moments:

  • The most detailed replay of the events of 31 October, 1981, this time from Voldemort's point of view.


  • Accio
  • Avada Kedavra (as the Killing Curse)
  • Blasting Curse
  • Confringo
  • Expelliarmus
  • Fidelius Charm
  • Hover Charm
  • Lumos
  • Reparo
  • Severing Charm
  • Tergeo
  • wand effects (smoke)

Links and Resources:

  • Bestiary (snakes, thestrals)
  • books
    • History of Magic, A
    • Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, The
  • Dark Magic
  • Death Eaters
  • dittany
  • Horcrux
  • items and devices
    • broomsticks
    • car, flying
    • Cloak, Invisibility
    • Ink, Everlasting
    • photographs
    • sword of Gryffindor
    • wands
  • Parseltongue

Memorable lines:

  • "Nice costume, mister!"

Strictly British:

  • cottage
  • gaga
  • pub
  • sitting room
  • wardrobe


Begins immediately after the previous chapter and extends into the next day, which is Christmas Day.


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