All Saints Day Scene from Harry Potter

The ‘All Saints Day Scene’ from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7 of 7), by J.K. Rowling, from Chapter 34, “The Forest Again,” pages 698-700.

The scene: As the battle to defeat Lord Voldemort has taken a short ‘cease-fire,’ Harry has just learned that the last step to defeating Voldemort is to destroy the piece of Voldemort’s soul attached to the scar on his forehead — accidently left there when Voldemort tried to murder Harry as an infant. The only way to do this is for Harry to allow Voldemort to strike him with a killing curse. He must purposely walk into his own death, sacrificing himself for the sake of his friends.

As he walks into the Forbidden Forest to meet Voldemort, and his own death, he remembers the Resurrection Stone which Dumbledore left him. It will not literally resurrect his loved ones, but they will come to him in some sort of spiritual presence. In Harry’s case, his closest departed loved ones are four who gave their lives trying to protect Harry: his father and mother, James and Lily Potter; his godfather, Sirius Black; and his parents’ other best friend, Remus Lupin, who had died only moments ago in the battle. And now the scene:

[Harry] closed his eyes and turned the [Resurrection] stone over in his hand three times.

He knew it had happened, because he heard slight movements around him that suggested frail bodies shifting their footing on the earthy, twig-strewn ground that marked the outer edge of the forest. He opened his eyes and looked around.

They were neither ghost nor truly flesh, he could see that. … Less substantial than living bodies, but much more than ghosts, they moved toward him, and on each face, there was the same loving smile.

James [Potter] was exactly the same height as Harry. He was wearing the clothes in which he had died, and his hair was untidy and ruffled, and his glasses were a little lopsided, like Mr. Weasley’s.

Sirius [Black] was tall and handsome, and younger by far than Harry had seen him in life. He loped with an easy grace, his hands in his pockets and a grin on his face.

[Remus] Lupin was younger too, and much less shabby, and his hair was thicker and darker. He looked happy to be back in this familiar place, scene of so many adolescent wanderings.

Lily’s smile was widest of all. She pushed her long hair back as she drew close to him, and her green eyes, so like his, searched his face hungrily, as though she would never be able to look at him enough. “You’ve been so brave.”

He could not speak. His eyes feasted on her, and he thought that he would like to stand and look at her forever, and that would be enough.

“You are nearly there,” said James. “Very close. We are . . . so proud of you.”

“Does it hurt?” The childish question had fallen from Harry’s lips before he could stop it.

“Dying? Not at all,” said Sirius. “Quicker and easier than falling asleep.”

“And [Voldemort] will want it to be quick. He wants it over,” said Lupin.

“I didn’t want you to die,” Harry said. These words came without his volition. “Any of you. I’m sorry —” He addressed Lupin more than any of them, beseeching him. “— right after you’d had your son . . . Remus, I’m sorry —“

“I am sorry too,” said Lupin. “Sorry I will never know [my son] . . . but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand. I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.”

A chilly breeze that seemed to emanate from the heart of the forest lifted the hair at Harry’s brow. He knew that they would not tell him to go, that it would have to be his decision. “You’ll stay with me?”

“Until the very end,” said James.

“They won’t be able to see you?” asked Harry.

“We are part of you,” said Sirius. “Invisible to anyone else.”

Harry looked at his mother. “Stay close to me,” he said quietly.

And he set off. … [T]ogether they marched through the old trees that grew closely together, their branches tangled, their roots gnarled and twisted underfoot. Harry clutched the [Invisibility] Cloak tightly around him in the darkness, traveling deeper and deeper into the forest, with no idea where exactly Voldemort was, but sure that he would find him. Beside him, making scarcely a sound, walked James, Sirius, Lupin, and Lily, and their presence was his courage . . . .

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