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The Forest Again

- Chapter 34
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The Harry Potter Canon

"Stay close to me"
-- Harry Potter

DH34

Having learned that he must die, Harry heads towards in the Forbidden Forest to meet Voldemort. Along the way, he makes sure that Neville knows that Nagini has to be killed, in case Hermione and Ron are unable to kill her. When he reaches the Forest, Harry retrieves the Resurrection Stone from the Snitch and he sees his mother, his father, Sirius and Lupin, who prepare him for death. Upon reaching Aragog’s hollow, where the Death Eaters are camped, Harry permits Voldemort to kill him without attempting to defend himself.

Calendar and Dates

Still later on the same day, May 2nd, but still during the small hours of the morning.

Exceptional character moments

Harry's choice.

Neville's determination.

Lily's love.

Memorable lines

"the end would be clean, and the job that ought to have been done in Godric's Hollow would be finished: neither would live, neither could survive."

"Dumbledore's betrayal was almost nothing. Of course there had been a bigger plan; Harry had simply been too foolish to see it, he realised that now."

"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..."

"The long game was ended, the Snitch had been caught, it was time to leave the air..."

"'Harry!' Neville looked suddenly scared. 'Harry, you're not thinking of handing yourself over?'"

"We're all going to keep fighting, Harry. You know that?"

"It did not matter about bringing them back, for he was about to join them. He was not really fetching them: they were fetching him."

"'I didn't want you to die,' Harry said. These words came without his volition. 'Any of you. I'm sorry -' He addressed Lupin more than any of them, beseeching him. '-right after you'd had your son... Remus, I'm sorry-' 'I am sorry too,' said Lupin. 'Sorry I will never know him... but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.'"

"'You'll stay with me?' 'Until the very end,' said James."

Words and phrases

Other Canon Notes

J.K. Rowling said on twitter that "The Forest Again" is her favourite chapter from the Harry Potter series:

J.K. Rowling Retweeted Rob McCarter

Chapter 34 Deathly Hallows 'The Forest Again'

J.K. Rowling added,

So did I, but it was the culmination of 17 years' work and the most cathartic piece of writing of my life.

J.K. Rowling added,

DH 34 — The Forest Again
Author
Publication
Abbreviation DH34
Canonicity Primary Canon

Commentary

J.K. Rowling said that "The Forest Again" was her favourite chapter in the entire Harry Potter series. I think most fans would agree that this chapter has a profound effect on each of us as we read it for the first time. I read the Deathly Hallows the day it was released on July 21, 2007. I remember crying through most of the book, but after finding out that Harry was a Horcrux, I completely bawled. (This is one chapter that I still cannot read without crying; There is something about Harry's reunion with his parents, Sirius and Lupin that is just perfect.) I was one of those Harry Potter fans who heard all of the theories after HBP came out about Harry being a Horcrux, but I refused to believe it. I was in denial and I could not believe that Harry would die. But this chapter is about coming to terms with death; understanding that death is a part of life and accepting death rather than running from it. So, like all readers, I walked with Harry into the Forest and watched him die protecting the ones he loved. - C.M.

Jo's thoughts on The Forest Again
An article in the the Guardian contains an introduction by Jo to an extract of The Forest Again chapter of Deathly Hallows from The Birthday Book, published to mark the 60th birthday of Prince Charles, and in aid of The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts. In the extract Jo says

I admit that, at first glance, the extract I've chosen for The Birthday Book might not seem particularly celebratory, given that it has for its subject my hero walking to what he believes will be certain death. But when Harry takes his last, long walk into the heart of the Dark Forest, he is choosing to accept a burden that fell on him when still a tiny child, in spite of the fact that he never sought the role for which he has been cast, never wanted the scar with which he has been marked. As his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, has tried to make clear to Harry, he could have refused to follow the path marked out for him. In spite of the weight of opinion and expectation that singles him out as the "Chosen One", it is Harry's own will that takes him into the Forest to meet Voldemort, prepared to suffer the fate that he escaped sixteen years before.

The destinies of wizards and princes might seem more certain than those carved out for the rest of us, yet we all have to choose the manner in which we meet life: whether to live up (or down) to the expectations placed upon us; whether to act selfishly, or for the common good; whether to steer the course of our lives ourselves, or to allow ourselves to be buffeted around by chance and circumstance. Birthdays are often moments for reflection, moments when we pause, look around, and take stock of where we are; children gleefully contemplate how far they have come, whereas adults look forwards into the trees, wondering how much further they have to go. This extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is my favourite part of the seventh book; it might even be my favourite part of the entire series, and in it, Harry demonstrates his truly heroic nature, because he overcomes his own terror to protect the people he loves from death, and the whole of his society from tyranny.

"You'll stay with me?"

This whole sequence puts me in mind of Aslan's walk through the woods with Lucy and Susan to the Stone Table in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, down to the point where his companions are never seen by those he is to meet at journey's end.

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Tags: betrayal brave bravery cloaks courage dark death end fear forest life love memories motherly love regret revelations stone terror understanding wands

The Harry Potter Canon