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Harry Potter Lexicon Minute

He Did Not Look Back

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With a huge effort Harry forced himself on. He thought he saw Ginny look around as he passed, and wondered whether she had sensed someone walking nearby, but he did not speak, and he did not look back.

He Did Not Look Back

Chapter 34 of Deathly Hallows is one of the most poignant, if not the most poignant chapter in the Harry Potter series. Harry realizes that he must die in order to kill the part of Voldemort that resides in him, so he leaves the castle to confront Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest.

On his way there, hidden beneath his Invisibility Cloak, he witnesses a moment between Ginny and an injured girl, who is asking for her mother.

“It’s all right,” Ginny was saying. “It’s okay. We’re going to get you inside.”

“But I want to go home,” whispered the girl. “I don’t want to fight anymore!”

“I know,” said Ginny, and her voice broke. “It’s going to be all right.”

Ripples of cold undulated over Harry’s skin. He wanted to shout out to the night, he wanted Ginny to know that he was there, he wanted her to know where he was going. He wanted to be stopped, to be dragged back, to be sent back home….

But he was home. Hogwarts was the first and best home he had known. He and Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here….

Ginny was kneeling beside the injured girl now, holding her hand. With a huge effort Harry forced himself on. He thought he saw Ginny look around as he passed, and wondered whether she had sensed someone walking nearby, but he did not speak, and he did not look back.

Harry remembers the Snitch, with its cryptic message, as a result of a well-timed Quidditch analogy in his inner monologue—“The long game was ended, the Snitch had been caught, it was time to leave the air….” But perhaps it is also his witnessing of this moment between Ginny, with her red hair like his mother’s, and the girl, who just wants to go home and be with her own mother, that makes Harry realize that “the close” to which the inscription on the Snitch refers must be the close of his own life.

When he kisses the Snitch and whispers that he is about to die, the Resurrection Stone emerges from the golden ball, and his parents, Sirius, and Remus appear. In a sense, with these “memory made solid” apparitions of the parental figures he has lost, on the grounds of the castle that he has called his home, he is more at home than he has been since the night he lost his parents and his first home to Voldemort.

The four “resurrected” figures accompany Harry and offer him comfort, courage, and closure on the remainder of his walk to the clearing where Voldemort has just concluded that Harry will not come to find him, after all.

Harry’s final thought, before Voldemort’s killing curse hits him, is of Ginny, “…and her blazing look, and the feel of her lips on his.” On top of the already unspeakable bravery and love Harry shows as he walks to sacrifice his life, he refrains from saying goodbye to the people he will leave behind, whom he loves the most—Ron, Hermione, and Ginny—because he knows that they will not want to let him succeed, and he does not know if he could make himself leave them.

Commentary

Notes

In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.

Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo, which was created by Kim B.

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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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