CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: OUTSIDE THE NOT-SO-SECRET-ANYMORE TENT
FENRIR: Who are you?
FENRIR: Who are you really?
FENRIR: Now that I look closely, you appear to be Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and hey, Harry Potter!
They get taken to Malfoy Manor.
NARCISSA: Draco, is this Harry, Ron, and Hermione?
DRACO: (and I quote) I...maybe...yeah.
READERS: Draco's wavering! He's going to bust out and join the good side! It'll be awesome!
BELLATRIX: Rock on! I'll call our Big Daddy, and torture the girl in the meantime. Throw the other two in the dungeon.
In the dungeon, RON and HARRY are somewhat surprised to find LUNA, OLLIVANDER, DEAN, and GRIPHOOK.
HARRY: Wow. Who'd have thought the Malfoys only had one dungeon cell? And that they'd be so stupid as to put us all together in it?
DOBBY appears out of nowhere.
DOBBY: Shall Dobby Apparate the captives out of here and help you escape, Harry Potter?
HARRY: Yeah! Deus-Ex-House-Elf. That sure was lucky.
They break out, rescue HERMIONE, do some juggling of wands with the Malfoy crowd, and wind up at Shell Cottage, where DOBBY falls over dead, having taken a bullet for HARRY. Well, a knife, actually.
READERS: Aw. He was always seriously annoying, but I feel sorry for the little guy.
By the way, READERS can also check off WORMTAIL, who succumbed to not-so-erotic auto-asphyxiation.
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR: SHELL COTTAGE (B & B, 4 ROOMS, ONLY 120 QUID PER NIGHT MAY-OCT!)
HARRY: Yo, Griphook. Think you can break us into Gringotts?
GRIPHOOK: I'll think it over.
HARRY: Swell. Now, Ollivander. Tell me a little about how my wand measures up, in precise inches, with that of You-Know-Who and the Malfoy men.
HERMIONE: Harry, don't worry about that. It's the wizard behind the wand who counts. And you're a huge wizard.
HERMIONE: (quickly) So are you of course, Ron. I imagine. Not that I spend a lot of time imagining--um, anyway...
OLLIVANDER: You kids aren't thinking You-Know-Who's trying to get the Elder Wand, are you? Because it would probably only work if he won it by force.
HARRY: I won Draco's wand by force. (flexes)
HARRY/DRACO SHIPPERS: (swoon)
VOLDEMORT: (via sudden mind-meld moment) Time to play Indiana Jones!
VOLDEMORT knocks open DUMBLEDORE's tomb and takes the Elder Wand out from his dead, rotting hands.
VOLDEMORT: And later I'll come back and make an ashtray from his skull!
HARRY: Okay, so, I know where the Elder Wand is now.
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: SHELL COTTAGE
GRIPHOOK: I agree to help you rob the bank, but only if you give me the sword of Gryffindor, which isn't yours by right anyway, filthy wizard boy.
HARRY: Sure. I definitely will. *cough*AfterI'mdonewithit*cough*
LUPIN: Hey everyone! I'm no longer a prat! I'm a daddy! And Harry, we want you to be little Teddy's godfather.
HARRY: Wow, I'd be honored! I feel no foreboding at all at this partial assignment of child custody right before a large battle.
READERS: Sadly, neither did we on the first read.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX: GRINGOTTS
HARRY, RON, and HERMIONE pack up again and get into disguise, which in HERMIONE's case means turning into Bellatrix. This undoubtedly sends certain TWISTED FEMSLASH FANS into ecstasies.
HERMIONE-AS-BELLATRIX: Ahem, I'm very rude and mean! Take me to the family vault! Pay no attention to these companions under an Invisibility Cloak.
GRINGOTTS EMPLOYEES: Okay, go on in!
HARRY: Sweet, we got away with it!
GRINGOTTS EMPLOYEES: (blink) Hey, waaait a second.
HARRY: Oops. Let's grab that Horcrux, folks.
GRIPHOOK: I'll be keeping the sword. So long, suckers!
HARRY, RON, HERMIONE, with the HUFFLEPUFF HORCRUX, jump on a mad half-blind dragon, and smash a hole in the roof on their exit.
READERS: I think Rowling is out to vandalize every major landmark of the series before this book ends.
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN: SOME PRETTY LAKE
To their credit, RON, HARRY, and HERMIONE laugh their butts off at how totally ungraceful their escape was.
HARRY: Ah well. If only we had an accurate list of where the Horcruxes were and whether You-Know-Who knows about our progress in finding them.
VOLDEMORT: (via mind-meld moment) Here you go.
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: HOGSMEADE
ABERFORTH: I'm more than just a surly barman. I'm Dumbledore's brother and the means for saving your stupid backsides this chapter and a couple others. You really could not do this alone, could you, Potter?
HARRY: Evidently not. So is it all true about your brother? Was he a git?
ABERFORTH: Yeah, kind of, but he meant well. I grudgingly stick around and help his former students, which in this case means telling you to get the hell out of the country.
HARRY: No can do. Help us get into Hogwarts.
ABERFORTH: If you must.
ABERFORTH futzes with a picture frame, and out steps NEVILLE.
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE: HOGWARTS, ROOM OF REQUIREMENT
NEVILLE: Don't worry, Harry, we've kept hope alive. We're all absolute commandos now. Check out my shiv scars!
DUMBLEDORE'S ARMY MEMBERS: Harry! Squeee!
HARRY: Look, I'm only here to pick up a mysterious Thing and then skedaddle. By no means are you people allowed to help.
DUMBLEDORE'S ARMY MEMBERS: Harry, have you been listening through the last seven books? By yourself you're a hopeless case. You must lean heavily on others or perish.
HARRY: Yeah, I guess that's true. Okay--Luna, lead me to the nearest facsimile of the Dusty Tiara of Ravenclaw.
They slip into the Ravenclaw Common Room after playing Say The Type Of Deep Things Pot Smokers Might Say with the portrait outside.
HARRY: (examining a statue) All right, so that's what the diadem looks li--
ALECTO CARROW: You dumb-ass. (pages VOLDEMORT)
CHAPTER THIRTY: RAVENCLAW LOUNGE
LUNA stuns ALECTO. AMYCUS rushes in, and so does MCGONAGALL in her tartan jammies.
AMYCUS: Crap, someone paged the Dark Lord. Let's blame the kids!
MCGONAGALL: I think not.
AMYCUS spits at her. HARRY leaps into view.
MCGONAGALL: My goodness. Does this mean you'll be using Unforgivable spells in the final battle?
HARRY: Actually, no. Think you can rustle up a small army and hold the castle while I rummage around in the closets for an old headpiece?
SNAPE: What's going on?
MCGONAGALL, FLITWICK, LUNA, and SPROUT: Back off! (magical smackdown)
SNAPE performs his Gothiest move yet by leaping from a window and flying bat-like out into the night. MCGONAGALL wakes up the castle and starts rallying the forces. EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG is showing up to fight the good fight, including LUPIN and TONKS fresh from the maternity ward, and even PERCY THE PRODIGAL WEASLEY.
HARRY: I'm really touched, folks. I hope at least some of you don't die.
READERS: Me too, but on the other hand, I need a couple more before I get Bingo.
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: BATTLEFIELD HOGWARTS
VOICE OF VOLDEMORT: Good evening, everyone! How do you like this magical P.A. system I got going? Anyhow--as you may have heard, I'm invading with my posse. Hand over Harry Potter and nobody will get hurt. Well, except him, of course.
HOGWARTS KIDS AND TEACHERS: Eat me, Dork Lord!
HARRY: (sprinting around aimlessly in the corridors) Well, Miss Ravenclaw Ghost's story only helped a little with my search for the dusty tiara, but luckily I remembered that I've already seen it and stuck it on top of a statue!
ROWLING: Good thing I came up with a use for that previously pointless little detail.
RON: Hey, Harry! I found a new way to smash Horcruxes--the basilisk fangs from the dead one in the basement! Remember, when we were like twelve?
ROWLING: Ditto my last line.
RON: By the way, I now think house elves should be freed.
HERMIONE drops everything and snogs him rotten.
READERS: That's how the kiss finally happens? Well, I suppose if he can accept her absolutely most annoying quality, they're definitely meant to be.
HARRY: Stop it this instant. Till I'm getting some, no one's getting any. Hah. How's it feel now, Ronnykins?
HARRY, RON, and HERMIONE get into the Room of Requirement in search of the diadem Horcrux. They encounter DRACO, CRABBE, and GOYLE.
DRACO: So, Potter, we catch you at last. Won't the Dork Lord be pleased. Dark. I mean Dark. Argh. Gad, I'm so confused.
HARRY: Sure...(inching over and taking down the diadem casually)...uh, just after I do this one thing...
CRABBE: Rawr fire yarr!
A really nasty magical fire sweeps through the room. Our heroes round up broomsticks and save GOYLE and DRACO, but CRABBE burns up. (Check him off. Thank you.)
HARRY/DRACO SHIPPERS: OMG that was a totally romantic rescue! Draco's gonna thank him and they'll hug and--
HARRY: Well, bye. (runs off)
HERMIONE: Wow! Crabbe's spell destroyed the Horcrux! Vegas odds of that happening were at about 7000-to-1.
SOMEONE IN VEGAS: Yippeeee!!
FRED: Heehee, dueling Death Eaters with my brothers is fun! I-- (dies)
READERS: No. No no no. Not a twin. You would not dare. That's too horrible.
ROWLING: Oh, wouldn't I? (cackles)
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO: HOGWARTS UNDER SIEGE
WEASLEYS, HARRY, HERMIONE, and READERS are in a state of panic and shock. Making matters worse, GIANT FREAKING SPIDERS have also joined the battle. ROWLING is probably still cackling.
HARRY: Suppose I'll check in on Voldemort's mind. Ah-ha. Hey, guys? He's in the Shrieking Shack, waiting to rendezvous with Snape.
They run through the chaos of the castle. NEVILLE streaks by, throwing poisonous plants and animals at Death Eaters. MCGONAGALL sends furniture flying. TRELAWNEY does the same with crystal balls and empty vodka bottles. Everyone's shooting to injure and kill--except of course HARRY, who flings spells like Remembering You Had A Dentist Appointment Just Now, Developing An Itch On Your Left Butt Cheek, and Feeling Like You Just Walked Through A Spiderweb At Face Level.
HAGRID: Oh now, 'ey folks, don't hurt the poor little spiders!
SPIDERS engulf HAGRID and carry him off.
READERS: Ordinarily I wouldn't worry, but after the Fred thing I don't trust you anymore, Miz Author Lady. (thumb ahead to check that HAGRID lives)
HARRY, RON, and HERMIONE creep through the tunnel to the Shrieking Shack and peer through a hole in the wall.
VOLDEMORT: Hi Snape, what's happening? Yeeeah. Say listen, I'm gonna need you to go ahead and die for me.
SNAPE: Er, how come?
VOLDEMORT: Thing is, you killed the Elder Wand's last master--Dumbledore--so in order for the Wand to work right for me, I'll have to kill you. So if you'd just go ahead and let the snake do that, that would be great.
SNAPE: But--but--you never even took me sailing on your yacht like you promised!
VOLDEMORT: Yeeeah, got to go. Later.
NAGINI gives SNAPE the bite o' death. She and VOLDEMORT traipse out. HARRY goes in and looks down at SNAPE.
HARRY: I hate you, but...ouch. That had to hurt in a lot of ways.
SNAPE whisks his memories out and bequeaths them to HARRY in a little jar.
READERS: Major character. That one I'm sure of. Jeez, how many more must die before your bloodlust is satisfied, woman?
ROWLING: (cackles even louder)
READERS: I wish I hadn't asked.
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: HOGWARTS, STILL ON FIRE
VOICE OF VOLDEMORT: Hi again, Hogwartsians! All right, there's already been a lot of killing and nobody wants that. But look on the bright side: if you surrender and survive, you'll be able to see thestrals from now on. Anyhow, the offer still stands: turn in Harry and you can live. I'll be in the Forbidden Forest. Cheers!
HARRY: Jerk. Well, let's go see how things are going.
They walk back into the castle and find, as a sort of footnote, that LUPIN and TONKS are now dead too.
READERS: Good God, madam!!
ROWLING: Heheh. Hear me roar.
HARRY: I just cannot deal with that right now. Into the Pensieve I go.
TEEN SNAPE: I showed you your special powers and I heart you big time!
TEEN LILY: I know, and you're nice and all, Sev, but the Death Eater thing's a big "ick" factor, 'kay?
TWENTY-SOMETHING SNAPE: Dumbledore--the prophecy--please don't let the Dark Lord kill my Lilycrushywuv, please please please!
DUMBLEDORE: You're pathetic slime. Well, be my double agent for life and I'll see what I can do.
DUMBLEDORE, LATER: So, yeah, she died. But her son's got her eyes. Surely that gives you a reason to live?
TWENTY-SOMETHING SNAPE: You are a sick, sick puppy.
PROFESSOR SNAPE AS WE KNEW HIM: Harry's as annoying as his father. Being your double agent sucks.
DUMBLEDORE: Then maybe you'll find it easier to kill me as we planned, since I'm dying of this Horcrux curse anyway.
READERS: I knew it!
SNAPE: It will be my pleasure. Or it would be, if I were capable of pleasure.
DUMBLEDORE: We've been over the hiding of the sword, and how you'll guide Harry to it with your girly Patronus?
SNAPE: That's her girly Patronus which I use for reasons of deep true stalkerific love, thank you very much. And yes, we've been over that.
DUMBLEDORE: Great. Also, right before everything falls apart--like, say, when Hogwarts is on fire and under attack--tell Harry he has to die in order for Voldemort to live. There's a piece of Voldemort lodged in him, like an evil, evil splinter.
HARRY: Oh holy hell. I'm a Horcrux?
READERS: Yeah, we kind of guessed that too. Rowling, you're not actually going to...are you? Never mind. Don't answer.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR: FORBIDDEN FOREST
HARRY walks into the Forest in a daze. He remembers the Snitch, takes it out, kisses it, and behold, gets the Resurrection Stone. Pretty soon the kinda-sorta ghosts of JAMES, LILY, LUPIN, and SIRIUS walk up to join him.
READERS: So I guess this is one way of telling us that Sirius is really, truly dead.
READERS sigh and finally, after holding out hope all these years, check off SIRIUS BLACK on the Death list.
HARRY: Hi, mum. Guys.
LILY: Almost done, sweetie! Shall we walk you to the gallows?
HARRY: Please. If you're not too busy.
They do so. Then he drops the stone, they disappear, and HARRY steps out into the firelight at VOLDEMORT's s'mores-roasting party. HAGRID is there too, tied up. How many people had to die to successfully tie up HAGRID is not mentioned.
HARRY: Okay, Voldy. Kill me.
HAGRID: Harry, no!!
VOLDEMORT: Surprisingly, I'm just going to do this without giving a speech.
VOLDEMORT kills HARRY. Or so it kind of appears, but READERS have not entirely given up hope despite ROWLING's recent massacre.
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE: THE SWIRLY LIMBO STATE BETWEEN LIVING AND DEAD, SOON TO BE A STOP ON THE TUBE'S VICTORIA LINE
HARRY: Professor Dumbledore! It's you! So am I dead too?
DUMBLEDORE: Nope. Voldemort took your blood into his veins, which keeps your mum's sacrifice active, which actually keeps you alive!
HARRY: That makes no sense.
DUMBLEDORE: It's magic. Be quiet.
HARRY: So I just had to be willing to die?
HARRY: What about all that stuff regarding you being a git when you were younger?
DUMBLEDORE: It's true. And I'm so sorry! (bawls for a second)
HARRY: Hey, um, cheer up. I liked you and stuff.
DUMBLEDORE: (collects himself) Thank you. Well, you better go back and keep fighting.
HARRY: Will I win?
DUMBLEDORE: Hell if I know. Good luck!
CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX: FORBIDDEN FOREST
VOLDEMORT: Ooof. No, it's okay, everyone; I just had a sudden cramp. It's a hernia from way back. You--go check that Potter's dead. I'm just going to stand over here for a second. At a distance.
NARCISSA: (whispers to HARRY) Is Draco alive?
HARRY: (whispering back) Yes.
NARCISSA: Success, o Dark Lord! This kid's dead!
READERS: There, Draco's mom is doing a good turn. It's only a matter of time before Draco does too.
VOLDEMORT: Yay! Here, this'll be funny. You, Hagrimibob. Carry his body back to the castle!
HAGRID does so, sobbing, and yells at the cowardly centaurs on his way past, which is actually touching.
VOLDEMORT: Let's turn the P.A. system back on for a second. Ahem. There. Hey-ho, Hogwarts! Harry's dead now, so no need to fight further. Just come forward and surrender, or get tortured and killed. Also, a little announcement. We've got a green Porsche blocking the main gates. Could the owner please move it to let us out more easily? It's got a Slytherin bumper sticker and it's a really sweet little machine and we'd rather not hurt it, so please just come out and repark. Thanks a bundle!
They bring HARRY to the front steps of Hogwarts, where all his friends rush out and start wailing and tearing their hair.
HARRY: (in his head) Aww, listen to that. I am so going to get some resurrection sex from Ginny later on.
VOLDEMORT: See, folks? Your little hero's just a limp piece of meat now.
NEVILLE: Oi, you! Bite me!
VOLDEMORT flicks the Sorting Hat onto NEVILLE's head with a few nasty curses attached. Big mistake. NEVILLE pulls the Sword of Gryffindor out of it.
READERS: Hey, how did it end up in there?
OTHER READERS: True Gryffindor, time of dire need, goblin rules of ownership null and void, blah blah blah.
READERS: All right, all right. Onward.
NEVILLE: Enough is enough! I have had it with this m-----f---ing snake!
NEVILLE chops off NAGINI's head, and gets himself a few million new fangirls and fanboys. Chaos erupts again. HARRY jumps up and gets into the fray.
BELLATRIX: Ooh, I think I'll kill the little Weasley wench!
MOLLY WEASLEY: Nuh-uh, bitch.
MOLLY kills BELLATRIX. And, yes, absolutely earns herself a few million new fans.
HARRY: Down to you and me, boy-o.
VOLDEMORT: You're alive? Huh. Merely another weird coincidence. I'm just having an "off" couple decades.
HARRY: You sure are. Guess what? The Elder Wand isn't going to work for you, because Dumbledore instructed Snape to kill him, because Snape was our double agent! And a few other strange details involving Draco, which apparently some people can actually follow, but--
VOLDEMORT: Avada Kedavra!
The spell bounces back on him. VOLDEMORT dies.
HARRY: There. Accidental suicide. Neat, I never had to kill anyone!
DUMBLEDORE'S ARMY: Yeah, thanks for leaving that to the rest of us.
EPILOGUE: NINETEEN YEARS LATER
They've all intermarried, named their kids after dead people, still stick out their tongues at Slytherins, and still use the word "snog." That's about all.
READERS: So were Snape and Voldemort the two "major" characters? Are the others just minor in your classification?
ROWLING: Well, I did get a little carried away and killed more than I expected to.
READERS: So Moody is really dead?
READERS: Don't we get heart-rending funerals for him, Fred, Tonks, and Lupin? And don't we get to hear what happens to everyone else?
ROWLING: No. And no.
READERS grumble and finish filling out their Character Death cards.
SOME READER: Oh! Oooh! Bingo! I got Bingo!!