Chapter 16 Summary
Both Harry and Hermione are upset by Ron’s decision to leave the group. After recovering a bit from that devastation, they take out the headmaster’s portrait and question Phineas Nigellus one more time. Another thing the former headmaster has learned is that some of their more faithful Hogwarts students (such as Luna, Ginny, and Neville) have tried to continue with the D.A. (Dumbledore’s Army) that was begun a couple of years ago and through which Harry taught the group Defense Against the Dark Arts.
Hermione also notices something curious about the book, Tales of Beedle the Bard, that Dumbledore left her in his will. Even though it seems to be a simple children’s book full of magical tales, Hermione notices an interesting symbol sketched in one of the margins: a triangular symbol that looks a bit like an eye. This is the same symbol they saw Luna’s father wearing at the Weasley wedding. Hermione is amazed that Scrimgeour (who checked the book thoroughly for dark magic) would have missed this symbol and is confused about what it could mean.
Harry finally tells Hermione that the next place they should look for Horcruxes and for the Sword of Gryffindor is Godric’s Hollow. It is the place where Godric Gryffindor was born, where Harry lived, where Voldemort killed Harry’s parents, and where Bathilda Bagshot, the person who wrote A History of Magic and knows more about Gryffindor than anyone else, lives.
Even though Harry can’t wait to visit his old home, Hermione takes every possible precaution with regard to disguise and makes preparations for a full week. Turned into Muggles via the use of Polyjuice Potion and with the Invisibility Cloak in tow, the two set off.
They arrive on Christmas Eve (a little bit sad for both of them because they’ve lost track of time) and Hermione immediately begins erasing their tracks in the snow. Harry is amazed at how much he remembers about this place, even though he couldn’t have been more than a year old when he left here.
They visit the graveyard in Godric’s Hollow first. They find the graves of Dumbledore’s mother and sister. Harry feels a deep connection to Dumbledore at this realization. Hermione finds a gravestone for an “Ignotus” that has the same triangular symbol, while Harry desperately searches for his parents’ graves. Finally, they find the graves of James Potter and Lily Potter, side by side. On the gravestone is an interesting inscription: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
Harry is overwhelmed with emotion and tries to regain control as Hermione magically creates a wreath of Christmas roses. Harry places the wreath gently on his parents’ graves and then they depart.