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The Cave

- Chapter 26
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The Harry Potter Canon

"It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more." -- Albus Dumbledore

HBP26

Harry and Dumbledore enter the cave where Voldemort has hidden a Horcrux. After swimming to the entrance, Dumbledore splatters it with his blood to gain entry and they take a hidden boat across a lake. Protecting the Horcrux there is a potion that must be drunk. Dumbledore insists that he is the one who will drink it; He tells Harry to force him to drink it if necessary. After they obtain the locket, Inferi erupt out of the water, and a weakened Dumbledore casts a fire spell to repel them as the pair flees the cave.

Calendar and Dates

The entire chapter takes place the same evening as the previous one, an evening in June.

Interesting facts and notes

You will not object to getting a little wet?

Questions that arise:

  • Why not Apparate directly to the cave?
    Perhaps there were anti-Apparition wards. However, since Harry and Dumbledore could Apparate directly from the cave's entrance to Hogsmeade, this line of reasoning appears to have difficulties. Perhaps Dumbledore feared that Apparition would trigger some form of sophisticated defense, which was no longer an issue once he and Harry had left the cave and sprung the trap. We don't know, really.
  • Why not bring a broomstick under the Invisibility Cloak rather than swimming through icy water?
    Perhaps magical protections are present that operate to make an airborne approach difficult. We don't know.

He had never seen a wizard work things out like this, simply by looking and touching; but Harry had long since learned that bangs and smoke were more often the marks of ineptitude than expertise.

Snape made this very point during Harry's first Potions class (PS8).

"There is nothing to be feared from a body, Harry, any more than there is anything to be feared from the darkness. Lord Voldemort, who of course secretly fears both, disagrees."

I don't think this is common knowledge about Voldemort, so it is somewhat surprising that Dumbledore would use the words "of course".  After finding out that Voldemort is searching for immortality, it could be guessed that he is afraid for death. The fact that he is afraid of the dark was never suggested before this. If other characters knew Voldemort's fears, I would think that they would be less afraid of him.

 

Memorable lines

He had never seen a wizard work things out like this, simply by looking and touching; but Harry had long since learned that bangs and smoke were more often the marks of ineptitude than expertise.

"I said it was crude," said Dumbledore, who sounded disdainful, even disappointed, as though Voldemort had fallen short of the standards Dumbledore expected.

"There is nothing to be feared from a body, Harry, any more than there is anything to be feared from the darkness. Lord Voldemort, who of course secretly fears both, disagrees. But once again he reveals his own lack of wisdom. It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more."

"I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you."

Words and phrases

Commentary

Tags: anguish attacks blood bravery crude danger darkness death destroy drinks emerald green fear fire green knife lake panic protection scarlet swimming trust water worry

The Harry Potter Canon