"I'm going to keep going until I succeed - or I die. Don't think I don't know how this might end. I've known for years." -- Harry Potter
HRH return to Hogsmeade, are pursued by Death Eaters, but are rescued by Aberforth Dumbledore. Harry discovers that Aberforth has Sirius’s other mirror and it was he who sent Dobby to them at Malfoy Manor. Aberforth advises HRH to give up their quest. He explains why he doesn’t blindly trust his late brother’s judgement by telling them the true story of the life and death of Ariana Dumbledore.
Calendar and Dates
Begins immediately after the previous chapter, on the same evening in May.
Aberforth gives Ariana's age at the time she was attacked, which when put together with the information from Albus's obituary (DH2) gives us enough information to figure out Albus', Aberforth's, and Ariana's relative ages.
Interesting facts and notes
Bought it from Dung about a year ago
Harry saw Mundungus skulking around Hogsmeade with items stolen from Grimmauld Place a little over eighteen months before (HBP12).
When my sister was six years old, she was attacked, set upon, by three Muggle boys.
These would be the three Muggles whom Percival Dumbledore was sentenced to life in Azkaban for attacking. That happened when Albus was ten years old, which gives us his age relative to Ariana's, and thus Aberforth's age relative to hers (DH2).
if the Ministry had known what Ariana had become, she'd have been locked up in St. Mungo's for good.
All this explains why Kendra Dumbledore was so standoffish with the neighbours - the Dumbledores couldn't afford to have anyone find out about Ariana's condition.
We moved house
From Mould-on-the-Wold to Godric's Hollow.
Then, when she was fourteen
At which point Albus was seventeen, not eighteen, because he still had not reached his eighteenth birthday at the time of his mother's death (DH18). Again, this seems consistent with Albus' birthday being very late in the summer. Knowing that, it would seem that Ariana's birthday was rather earlier in the year, since she had already turned fourteen when he had not yet reached eighteen, although we know that they were about four years apart in age from putting the information in his obituary (DH2) together with this chapter.
See, I wasn't there.
Given the timing, this was almost immediately after the close of the Hogwarts school year - Albus and Elphias had left school and were preparing for their trip but had not yet left (DH2). So Aberforth was not still in school when this happened.
I didn't care about school, I'd have stayed home and done it.
But since Aberforth would only have been about fifteen at the time, it's not surprising that Albus turned this offer down - Aberforth would only have been around O.W.L. age.
but he did all right for a few weeks
This would have begun after the end of Albus' seventh year, so it was early in the summer.
But after a few weeks of it
Eight weeks, since according to Rita Skeeter, this was "barely two months" into Albus' friendship with Gellert (DH18).
It was nearly time for me to go back to Hogwarts
This puts the final blowup in August, probably late August, so Gellert and Albus would have met in late June or very early July. Since at the time of their meeting Albus had been doing all right "for a few weeks", it sounds to me as though the school year must have ended pretty early in June that year to allow enough time for all this to happen.
He had a bit of a track record already
At sixteen, Gellert had been expelled from Durmstrang - that was how he came to be spending the summer with his great-aunt in the first place (DH18).
dementors all around the boundary walls, regular patrols inside the school from what my sources tell me. The place has never been so heavily guarded.
In fact, this sounds like a combination of the security precautions that were in place late in Harry's second year and those in place throughout his third year, combined with better information about the secret passageways and much greater all-around nastiness.
Exceptional character moments
Aberforth, covering for the kids - and pointing out to the Death Eaters that without his pub, they won't have a place to run their shady sidelines (and of course they have some).
Aberforth revealing the history of his family and Ariana's death(Harry believes it's the first time he has spoken of these events). He also reveals his opinions of his brother.
"Brains like that, you could be a Death Eater, son."
"Nice job, I hope? Pleasant? Easy? Sort of thing you'd expect an unqualified wizard kid to be able to do without overstretching themselves?"
"Thought the sun shone out of my brother's every orifice, he did. Well, so did plenty of people, you three included, by the looks of it."
"Funny thing, how many of the people my brother cared about very much ended up in a worse state than if he'd left 'em well alone."
"He thought he was watching Grindelwald hurting you and Ariana ... it was torture to him, if you'd seen him then, you wouldn't say he was free."
"I knew you'd come! I knew it, Harry!"