"Wow - we're identical!"
-- Fred and George Weasley
Mad-Eye arrives with Ron, Hermione, and various Order members in tow, announcing a change in plans. Six of them are to use Polyjuice Potion to act as decoy Harry Potters while seven act as protectors. Each protector/Potter pair would head to a different safe-house. Upon getting airborne and splitting up, all of them are attacked, and Hedwig is killed. Harry gives himself away by using the Disarming Charm. Voldemort appears and nearly succeeds in killing Harry, but Harry’s wand acts of its own accord. It sends golden fire at Voldemort, causing Lucius’s wand to break. This gives Harry the time he needs to escape, crashing the motorbike through the Protection Charms and into the Tonks’ back garden.
Calendar and Dates
Same day as the previous chapter, so it is 27 July. Note that Tonks and Lupin are already married, which helps confirm that chapter 1's action has already taken place.
Interesting facts and notes
Hermione and Mundungus were shooting upwards
So both of them are shorter than Harry.
Ron, Fred, and George were shrinking
All three of them, therefore, are taller than Harry.
and rammed Hedwig's cage between his knees
Having Harry carry Hedwig (and being further marked out by being the only Harry Potter travelling like this) seems like a bad plan to me if the ide is to confuse the Death Eaters as to which Harry Potter stands out as the real one. I concede that having the others carry stuffed owls helps cover this up, though, provided the Death Eaters don't notice that one owl is alive and the rest are stuffed.
As it develops later, the plan depended on the Death Eaters assuming that the heaviest protection and most formidable protectors would be on the real Harry Potter rather than any of the fakes, which is why Mad-Eye drew a particularly heavy attack (DH5).
Harry turned his back on the front door. “And under here, Hedwig”—Harry pulled open a door under the stairs—“is where I used to sleep; You never knew me then—Blimey, it’s small, I’d forgotten. . . . ” Harry looked around at the stacked shoes and umbrellas, remembering how he used to wake every morning looking up at the underside of the staircase, which was more often than not adorned with a spider or two.
... Harry could still remember the dreams that had dogged him, even in those days: confused dreams involving flashes of green light and once— Uncle Vernon had nearly crashed the car when Harry had recounted it—a flying motorbike . . .
Dominating the scene was Hagrid, wearing a helmet and goggles and sitting astride an enormous motorbike with a black sidecar attached.
Harry arrived in Privet Drive on this motorbike and now he leaves the same way.
“Harry, guess what?” said Tonks from her perch on top of the washing machine, and she wiggled her left hand at him; a ring glittered there. “You got married?” Harry yelped, looking from her to Lupin. “I’m sorry you couldn’t be there, Harry, it was very quiet.”
Harry knew that Hermione too lacked confidence on a broomstick.
Aside from the very first flying lesson in their first year, Hermione is only depicted riding a broomstick twice in the series. The first time is later in book one when the three chase flying keys around a chamber as they went after the Philosopher's Stone deep under the castle. The other time is when she plays a pick-up game of Quidditch with Harry, Ron, and Ginny while they are all hanging out at the Burrow during the summer of 1996.
Hagrid was standing ready beside the motorbike, goggles on. “Is this it? Is this Sirius’s bike?” “The very same,” said Hagrid, beaming down at Harry. “An’ the last time yeh was on it, Harry, I could fit yeh in one hand!”
Harry could not help but feel a little humiliated as he got into the sidecar. It placed him several feet below everybody else:
“No—HEDWIG!” The broomstick spun to earth, but he just managed to seize the strap of his rucksack and the top of the cage as the motorbike swung the right way up again.
And we say goodbye to Harry's beloved Firebolt. I wonder what a Muggle would make of a racing broom?
A second’s relief, and then another burst of green light. The owl screeched and fell to the floor of the cage. “No—NO!” The motorbike zoomed forward; Harry glimpsed hooded Death Eaters scattering as Hagrid blasted through their circle. “Hedwig—Hedwig—” But the owl lay motionless and pathetic as a toy on the floor of her cage.
The death of Hedwig, early in the book, make a clear statement to the reader the all bets are off, anyone can die in this last book. Her death signifies, in a way, the death of Harry's identity as a schoolboy. His childhood is gone.
He could not take it in in, and his terror for the others was paramount. He glanced over his shoulder and saw a mass of people moving, flares of green light, two pairs of people on brooms soaring off into the distance, but he could not tell who they were—
With an unmistakable bellowing roar, dragon fire burst from the exhaust, white-hot and blue, and the motorbike shot forward like a bullet with a sound of wrenching metal. Harry saw the Death Eaters swerve out of sight to avoid the deadly trail of flame,
And then Harry saw him. Voldemort was flying like smoke on the wind,
without broomstick or thestral to hold him, his snake-like face gleaming out of the blackness, his white fingers raising his wand again—
As the pain from Harry’s scar forced his eyes shut, his wand acted of its own accord. He felt it drag his hand around like some great magnet, saw a spurt of golden fire through his half-closed eyelids, heard a crack and a scream of fury.
He pulled hard at the handlebars to avoid hitting him, groped for the brake, but with an earsplitting, ground trembling crash, he smashed into a muddy pond.
Exceptional character moments
Hagrid jumps off the motorbike onto a Death Eater in order to protect Harry.
"If you think I'm going to let six people risk their lives -!"
"- because it's the first time for all of us," said Ron.
"Yeah, thirteen of us against one bloke who's not allowed to use magic; we've got no chance," said Fred.
"Even You-Know Who can't split himself into seven."
"Wow - we're identical!"
"I dunno, though, I think I'm still better looking," said Fred, examining his reflection in the kettle.
"Bah," said Fleur, checking herself in the microwave door. "Bill, don't look at me - I'm 'ideous."
"I knew Ginny was lying about that tattoo."
"Why'm I with you?" grunted the Harry nearest the back door.
"Because you're the one that needs watching," growled Moody, and sure enough, his magical eye did not waver from Mundungus...