Chapter 34 Summary
The Forest Again
Harry knows that the only way to kill Voldemort is for Harry himself to die; he must offer himself willingly to Voldemort. The prospect frightens Harry, and he runs through different ways he could be killed. Harry thinks about how Hedwig was killed in the attack within the Muggle world and about how his parents died, saving their one and only son.
None of these deaths seems similar to his own fate: having to walk to meet Voldemort alone. Further, Harry realizes that Nagini, as another Horcrux, still needs to be killed. With Hermione and Ron in on the plan, they can kill Nagini if Harry is killed first.
Harry hides under the Invisibility Cloak and morosely walks out to meet his doom. Harry wishes more than anything to see his friends one last time, but the only person he sees is Neville Longbottom. To ensure that the job is done, Harry tells Neville to kill the snake if no one else does. He thanks Neville and continues on to the forest.
As Harry enters the Forbidden Forest, he realizes something about the Golden Snitch that Dumbledore left Harry in the will. “I open at the close” finally becomes clear to Harry. He puts the Snitch to his lips, opens it to find the broken ring with the Resurrection Stone, and turns “the stone over in his hand three times.”
Suddenly, his father, his mother, Sirius, and Lupin all appear: “They were neither ghost nor truly flesh.” They are there to comfort Harry through his fear of death. When Harry asks if death hurts at all, they reply that it will be “quicker and easier than falling asleep.” Their love surrounds Harry, and they promise to stay with him as he faces this task. They do not, however, force Harry to go and meet Voldemort. Lily, James, Lupin, and Sirius all know that the decision to meet death must be Harry’s decision alone.
Harry finds Voldemort in the middle of a forest clearing surrounded by all of those who follow him. With Harry still under the Invisibility Cloak, Voldemort expresses his disgust at Harry for not coming to meet him. Suddenly, Harry appears from under the Invisibility Cloak and drops the Resurrection Stone. Harry stands to face Voldemort but doesn’t bother to retrieve his wand. Harry sees “the mouth move and a flash of green light, and everything was gone.”