Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J. K. Rowling

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Chapter 21 Summary

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The Tale of the Three Brothers

Xenophilius Lovegood readily admits that “there is nothing Dark about the Hallows. . . . One simply uses the symbol to reveal oneself to other believers, in the hope that they might help one with the Quest” in finding them.

Most wizards do not believe in the Deathly Hallows, it seems. Still confused, Xenophilius Lovegood tells Harry, Ron, and Hermione “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” which happens to be one of the tales in Hermione’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Hermione begins to read the story, which tells of three brothers who cheat Death. Death plans to obtain at least one of the brothers when they cross a dangerous, raging river. Because the three men are wizards, they simply cross by magic.

Death feigns excitement that the brothers are able to remain alive; therefore, Death offers each brother a special gift. One brother asks for the most powerful wand, one that could never lose any duel. Death makes the wand himself from an elder tree and gives it to the first brother: the Elder Wand. The second brother asks for the power to bring other people back from the dead, thereby cheating Death out of other souls. Death hands the second brother a stone that has that power: the Resurrection Stone. The last brother does not trust Death and, therefore, asks for something to hide him from Death as long as he wishes. Death gives the third brother his own Invisibility Cloak.

Death allows the three brothers to go on their way. After winning his first duel with the Elder Wand, the first brother boasts about it; another wizard who wants the wand slits his throat. The second brother calls his deceased love back from the dead with his Resurrection Stone, but she is magically separated from him and remains cold and sad. The second brother kills himself so that he can be with her.

The third and wisest brother evades Death for his entire life until he gives the Invisibility Cloak to his own son. When the third brother dies, he is considered Death’s equal and goes with Death like an old friend. Xenophilius Lovegood admits that the three items in the story are the Deathly Hallows: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak. Any believer in the Deathly Hallows tries to seek all three to cheat Death.

The symbol that Harry, Ron, and Hermione have been wondering about is simply a representation of these three items. The triangle is the symbol for the Invisibility Cloak. The circle is the symbol for the Resurrection Stone. The line is a simple representation of the Elder Wand.

Hermione is skeptical of the whole thing, but Xenophilius Lovegood admits that the Elder Wand can be traced and must be stolen from the previous owner to retain its power, so it has caused many murders. Xenophilius Lovegood also reveals that the “Ignotus” from the mysterious gravestone in Godric’s Hollow was one of the three brothers.

When Xenophilius Lovegood begins fixing dinner for his guests, Harry wanders into Luna’s room, where he finds a large picture with the label “friends” with pictures of Harry and his other friends from Hogwarts. Harry also notices that Luna’s room has not been lived in for quite a while.

Harry demands to know what has happened to Luna. Xenophilius Lovegood admits that Death Eaters stole her away in punishment for the truths he has told in The Quibbler. Xenophilius Lovegood hopes that he will win Luna back by turning Harry over to Voldemort.

When Xenophilius Lovegood tries to stun Harry to give him to the appearing Death Eaters, the three friends escape, but not before Hermione develops a plan, places the Invisibility Cloak over Ron, and makes sure the Death Eaters see Harry and Hermione before she erases Xenophilius Lovegood’s memory and the three disapparate.

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Chapter 20 Summary


Chapter 22 Summary