"The Dark Lord forgives those who have served him most faithfully in the past." -- Hermione Granger (as Bellatrix Lestrange)
Plans and preparations being complete, Griphook accompanies HRH to Gringotts, hiding with Harry under the Cloak while Hermione poses as Bellatrix and Ron assumes a false identity. By using the impervious curse to control the Gringotts staff members, they manage to reach the level of the Lestranges’ vault before various defences are set off against them. They manage to obtain the cup from the vault, then escape by releasing the dragon guarding the most secure vaults and helping it break out.
Calendar and Dates
Sometime after the previous chapter, so it is at least March of 1998 at the beginning of the chapter. The raid on Gringotts takes place on a day in May.
Interesting facts and notes
This is the wand that tortured Neville's mum and dad
That was before Bellatrix was sent to Azkaban. Sirius' wand was taken away from him when he was sent to Azkaban, so hers also must have been taken away from her. Perhaps it was given to her family, in which case Narcissa may have returned it to Bellatrix upon the latter's escape. We don't really know, however.
the planned double-cross
I can't help thinking that they might have been better off if they'd let Griphook into their confidence just a little, and attempted to negotiate a delayed handover of the sword. However, on reflection I suspect that they'd still have wound up in more or less the same position - Griphook would not have trusted them to keep their end of the bargain. They're lucky that he trusted them as far as he did.
when six o'clock arrived...semi-darkness...The dawn was chilly, but there was little wind now that it was May.
So it's been over a month since the incident at Malfoy Manor.
She was taller than he was
As we learned in "The Seven Potters" (DH4), Hermione is ordinarily shorter than Harry, which is why her robes are too big for her once the Polyjuice Potion wears off on this occasion.
the dragon's thrashing, spiked tail
The dragon sounds like a Hungarian Horntail to me.
it staggered into Diagon Alley and launched itself into the sky.
I'd hate to be the poor devil at the Ministry in charge of covering up this little incident.
Exceptional character moments
The way the dragon has been treated and conditioned to respond to the goblins says a lot about them.
"Well, he's not my type, but he'll do."
"He realised now that they could hardly have laid Dobby to rest in a more beautiful place, but Harry ached with sadness to think of leaving him behind."