martes, 27 de septiembre de 2016

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter Three

Si J.K Rowling hubiese escrito una despedida cursi entre Harry, sus tíos y primo, yo, sencillamente, habría vomitado todo lo que comí durante tres años. 
Pero no, bendita sea, ella es la reina. Nos dio el toque justo: nada de hipocresía entre ellos.
Quizá quedaron cosas sin decir... Salvo que Dudley nos hizo pensar que podría haber una posibilidad de que, al menos, ellos dos pudiesen haberse llevado mejor, o que el hijo único de los Dursley sería el primero de su familia en aceptar a los magos, why not?


Fue un día raro, Mar, ¿no? Todo se está enderezando, los dementores de nuestra vida ya entendieron que nuestro Patronus es algo para huir sí o sí hahaha 



Comprad el libro original, o serán atacados por la maldición de la Orcografía.
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Comprar t-shirt para ayudar a Lumos: 'Be the Light.'
¡Quedan pocos días!
Pd: Me está tomando el espíritu de mi bisabuela mitad española, Yisus. 



THE DURSLEYS DEPARTING

The sound of the front door slamming echoed up the stairs and a voice yelled, “Oi! You!”
Sixteen years of being addressed thus left Harry in no doubt whom his uncle was calling; nevertheless, he did not immediately respond.
He was still gazing at the mirror fragment in which, for a split second, he had thought he saw Dumbledore’s eye. It was not until his uncle bellowed, “BOY!” that Harry got slowly to his feet and headed for the bedroom door, pausing to add the piece of broken mirror to the rucksack filled with things he would be taking with him.
“You took your time!” roared Vernon Dursley when Harry appeared at the top of the stairs. “Get down here, I want a word!”
Harry strolled downstairs, his hands deep in his jeans pockets.
When he reached the living room he found all three Dursleys. They were dressed for traveling: Uncle Vernon in a fawn zip-up jacket, Aunt Petunia in a neat salmon-colored coat, and Dudley, Harry’s large, blond, muscular cousin, in his leather jacket.
“Yes?” asked Harry.
“Sit down!” said Uncle Vernon. Harry raised his eyebrows. “Please!” added Uncle Vernon, wincing slightly as though the word was sharp in his throat.
Harry sat. He thought he knew what was coming. His uncle began to pace up and down, Aunt Petunia and Dudley following his movements with anxious expressions. Finally, his large purple face crumpled with concentration, Uncle Vernon stopped in front of Harry and spoke.
“I’ve changed my mind,” he said.
“What a surprise,” said Harry.
“Don’t you take that tone –“began Aunt Petunia in a shrill voice, but Vernon Dursley waved her down.
“It’s all a lot of claptrap,” said Uncle Vernon, glaring at Harry with piggy little eyes. “I’ve decided I don’t believe a word of it. We’re staying put, we’re not going anywhere.”
Harry looked up at his uncle and felt a mixture of exasperation and amusement. Vernon Dursley had been changing his mind every twenty-four fours for the past four weeks, packing and unpacking and repacking the car with every change of heart. Harry’s favorite
Moment had been the one when Uncle Vernon, unaware that Dudley had added his dumbbells to his case since the last time it had been unpacked, had attempted to hoist it back into the boot and collapsed with roars of pain and much swearing.
“According to you,” Vernon Dursley said now, resuming his packing up and down the living room, “we – Petunia, Dudley, and I – are in danger. From…from…”
“Some of ‘my lot’, right,” said Harry.
“Well, I don’t believe it,” repeated Uncle Vernon, coming to a halt in front of Harry again. “I was awake half the night thinking it all over, and I believe it’s a plot to get the house.”
“The house?” repeated Harry. “What house?”


This house!” shrieked Uncle Vernon, the vein in his forehead starting to pulse. “Our house!” House prices are skyrocketing around here! You want us out of the way and then you’re going to do a bit of hocus-pocus and before we know it the deeds will be in your name and…”
“Are you out of your mind?” demanded Harry. “A plot to get this house? Are you actually as stupid as you look?”
“Don’t you dare!” squealed Aunt Petunia, but again, Vernon waved her down: Slights on his personal appearance were, it seemed, as nothing to the danger he had spotted.
“Just in case you’ve forgotten,” said Harry, “I’ve already got a house, my godfather left me one. So why would I want this one? All the happy memories?”
There was silence. Harry thought he had rather impressed his uncle with this argument.
“You claim,” said Uncle Vernon, starting to pace yet again, “that this Lord thing…”
“… Voldemort,” said Harry impatiently,” and we’ve been through this about hundred times already. This isn't a claim, it’s fact, Dumbledore told you last year, and Kingsley and Mr. Weasley…”
Vernon Dursley hunched his shoulders angrily, and Harry guessed that his uncle was attempting to ward off recollections of the unannounced visit, a few days into Harry’s summer holidays, of two fully grown wizards. The arrival on the doorstep of Kingsley Shacklebolt and Arthur Weasley has come as a most unpleasant shock to the Dursleys. Harry had to admit, however, that as Mr. Weasley had once demolished half of the living room, his reappearance could not have been expected to delight Uncle Vernon.
“…Kingsley and Mr. Weasley explained it all as well, “Harry pressed on remorselessly. “Once I’m seventeen, the protective charm that keeps me safe will break, and that exposes you as well as me.
The Order is sure Voldemort will target you, whether to torture you to try and find out where I am, or because he thinks by holding you hostage I’d come and try to rescue you.”
Uncle Vernon’s and Harry’s eyes met. Harry was sure that in that instant they were both wondering the same thing. Then Uncle Vernon walked on and Harry resumed, “You’ve got to go into hiding and the Order wants to help. You’re being offered serious protection, the best there is.”
Uncle Vernon said nothing, but continued to pace up and down. Outside the sun hung low over the privet hedges. The next-door neighbor’s lawn mower stalled again.
“I thought there was a Ministry of Magic?” asked Vernon Dursley abruptly.
“There is,” said Harry, surprised.
“Well, then, why can’t they protect us? It seems to me that, as innocent victims, guilty of nothing more than harbouring a marked man, we ought to qualify for government protection!”
Harry laughed; he could not help himself. It was so very typical of his uncle to put his hopes in the establishment, even within this world that he despised and mistrusted.
“You heard what Mr. Weasley and Kingsley said,” Harry replied. “We think the Ministry has been infiltrated.”
Uncle Vernon strode to the fireplace and back, breathing so heavily that his great black mustache rippled his face still purple with concentration.
“All right,” he said, stopping in front of Harry yet again. “All right, let’s say, for the sake of argument, we accept this protection. I still don’t see why we can’t have that Kingsley bloke.”
Harry managed not to roll his eyes, but with difficulty. This question had also been addressed half a dozen times.
“As I’ve told you,” he said through gritted teeth, “Kingsley is protecting the Mug – I mean, your Prime Minister.”
“Exactly… he’s the best!” said Uncle Vernon, pointing at the blank television screen. The Dursleys had spotted Kingsley on the news, walking along discreetly behind the Muggle Prime Minister as he visited a hospital. This, and the fact that that Kingsley had mastered the knack of dressing like a Muggle, not to mention a certain reassuring something in his slow, deep voice, had caused the Dursleys to take to Kingsley in a way that they had certainly not done with any other wizard, although it was true that they had never seen him with his earring in.
“Well, he’s taken,” said Harry. “But Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle are more than up to the job…”
“If we’d even seen CVs…” began Uncle Vernon, but Harry lost patience. Getting to his feet, he advanced on his uncle, now pointing at the TV set himself.
“These accidents aren’t accidents – the crashes and explosions and derailments and whatever else has happened since we last watched the news. People are disappearing and dying and he’s behind it – Voldemort. I’ve told you this over and over again, he kills Muggles for fun. Even the fogs – they’re caused by dementores, and if you can’t remember what they are, ask your son!
Dudley’s hands jerked upward to cover his mouth. With his parent’s and Harry’s eyes upon him, he slowly lowered them again and asked, “There are… more of them?”
“More?” laughed Harry. “More, than the two that attacked us, you mean? Of course there are, there are hundreds, maybe thousands by this time, seeing as they feed off fear and despair…”
“All right, all right,” blustered Vernon Dursley. “You’ve made your point…”
“I hope so,” said Harry, “because once I’m seventeen, all of them – Death Eaters, dementores, maybe even Inferi – which means dead bodies enchanted by a Dark wizard – will be able to find you and will certainly attack you. And if you remember the last time you tried to outrun wizards, I think you’ll agree you need help.”
There was a brief silence in which the distant echo of Hagrid smashing down a wooden front door seemed to reverberate through the intervening years. Aunt Petunia was looking at Uncle Vernon; Dudley was staring at Harry. Finally Uncle Vernon blurted out, “But what about my work? What about Dudley’s school? I don’t suppose those things matter to a bunch of layabout wizards…
“Don’t you understand?” shouted Harry. “They will torture and kill you like they did my parents!”
“Dad,” said Dudley in a loud voice, “Dad – I’m going with these Order people.”
“Dudley,” said Harry, “for the first time in your life, you’re talking sense.”
He knew that the battle was won. If Dudley was frightened enough to accept the Order’s help, his parents would accompany him: They could be no question of being separated from their Diddykins. Harry glanced at the carriage clock on the mantelpiece.
“They’ll be here in about five minutes,” he said, and when none of the Dursleys replied, he left the room. The prospect of parting – probably forever – from his aunt, uncle, and cousin was one that he was able to contemplate quiet cheerfully, but there was nevertheless a certain awkwardness in the air. What did you say to one another at the end of sixteen year’s solid dislike?
Back in his bedroom, Harry fiddled aimlessly with his rucksack, then poked a couple of owl nuts through the bars of Hedwig’s cage.
They fell with dull thuds to the bottom, where she ignored them.
“We’re leaving soon, really soon,” Harry told her. “And then you’ll be able to fly again.”
The doorbell rang. Harry hesitated, then headed back out of his room and downstairs. It was too much to expect Hestia and Dedalus to cope with the Dursleys on their own.
“Harry Potter!” squeaked an excited voice, the moment Harry had opened the door; a small man in a mauve top hat was sweeping him a deep bow. “An honor, as ever!”
“Thanks, Dedalus.” said Harry, bestowing a small and embarrassed smile upon the dark-haired Hestia. “It’s really good of you to do this… They’re through here, my aunt and uncle and cousin…”
“Good day to you, Harry Potter’s relatives!” said Dedalus happily, striding into the living room. The Dursleys did not look at all happy to be addressed thus; Harry half expected another change of mind. Dudley shrank nearer to his mother at the sight of the witch and wizard.
“I see you are packed and ready. Excellent! The plan, as Harry has told you, is a simple one,” said Dedalus, pulling an immense pocket watch out of his waistcoat and examining it. “We shall be leaving before Harry does. Due to the danger of using magic in your house – Harry being still underage, it could provide the Ministry with an excuse to arrest him – we shall be driving, say, ten miles or so, before Disapparating to the safe location we have picked out for you. You know how to drive. I take it?” he asked Uncle Vernon politely.
“Know how to…? Of course I ruddy well know how to drive!” spluttered Uncle Vernon.
“Very clever of you, sir, very clever, I personally would be utterly bamboozled by all those buttons and knobs,” said Dedalus.
He was clearly under the impression that he was flattering Vernon Dursley, who was visibly losing confidence in the plan with every word Dedalus spoke.
“Can’t even drive,” he muttered under his breath, his mustache rippling indignantly, but fortunately neither Dedalus nor Hestia seemed to hear him.
“You, Harry,” Dedalus continued, “will wait here for your guard. There has been a little change in the arrangements…”
“What d’you mean?” said Harry at once. “I thought Mad-Eye was going to come and take me by Side-Along-Apparition?”
“Can’t do it,” said Hestia tersely. “Mad-Eye will explain.”
The Dursleys, who had listened to all of this with looks of utter incomprehension on their faces, jumped as a loud voice screeched, “Hurry up!” Harry looked all around the room before realizing that the voice had issued from Dedalus’s pocket watch.
“Quite right, we’re operating to a very tight schedule,” said Dedalus, nodding at his watch and tucking it back into his waistcoat. “We are attempting to time your departure from the house with your family’s Disapparition, Harry; thus, the charm breaks at the moment you all head for safety.” He turned to the Dursleys. “Well, are we all packed and ready to go?”
None of them answered him. Uncle Vernon was still staring, appalled, at the bulge in Dedalus’s waistcoat pocket.
“Perhaps we should wait outside in the hall, Dedalus’s, “murmured Hestia. She clearly felt that it would be tactless for them to remain in the room while Harry and the Dursleys exchanged loving, possibly tearful farewells.
“There’s no need,” Harry muttered, but Uncle Vernon made any further explanation unnecessary by saying loudly,
“Well, this is good-bye, then, boy.”
He swung his right arm upward to shake Harry’s hand, but at the last moment seemed unable to face it, and merely closed his fist and began swinging it backward and forward like a metronome.
“Ready, Diddy?” asked Aunt Petunia, fussily checking the clasp of her handbag so as to avoid looking at Harry altogether.
Dudley did not answer, but stood there with his mouth slightly ajar, reminding Harry a little of the giant, Grawp.
“Come along, then,” said Uncle Vernon.
He had already reached the living room door when Dudley mumbled, “I don’t understand.”
“What don’t you understand, popkin?” asked Aunt Petunia, looking up at her son.
Dudley raised a large, hamlike hand to point at Harry.
“Why isn’t he coming with us?”
Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia froze where they stood; staring at Dudley as though he had just expressed a desire to become a ballerina.
“What?” said Uncle Vernon loudly.
“Why isn’t he coming too?” asked Dudley.
“Well, he – he doesn’t want to, “said Uncle Vernon, turning to glare at Harry and adding, “You don’t want to, do you?”
“Not in the slightest,” said Harry.
“There you are, “Uncle Vernon told Dudley. “Now come on, we’re off.”
He marched out of the room. They heard the front door open, but Dudley did not move and after a few faltering steps Aunt Petunia stopped too.
“What now?” barked Uncle Vernon, reappearing in the doorway.
It seemed that Dudley was struggling with concepts too difficult to put into words. After several moments of apparently painful internal struggle he said, “But where’s he going to go?”
Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon looked at each other. It was clear that Dudley was frightening them. Hestia Jones broke the silence.
“But… surely you know where your nephew is going?” she asked, looking bewildered.
“Certainly we know,” said Vernon Dursley. “He’s off with some of your lot, isn’t he? Right, Dudley, let’s get in the car, you heard the man, we’re in a hurry.”
Again, Vernon Dursley marched as far as the front door, but Dudley did not follow.
“Off with some of our lot?”
Hestia looked outraged. Harry had met this attitude before: Witches and wizards seemed stunned that his closest living relatives took so little interest in the famous Harry Potter.
“It’s fine,” Harry assured her. “It doesn’t matter, honestly.”
“Doesn’t matter?” repeated Hestia, her voice rising ominously. “Don’t these people realize what you’ve been through? What danger you are in? The unique position you hold in the hearts of the anti-Voldemort movement?”
“Er – no, they don’t, “said Harry. “They think I’m a waste of space, actually, but I’m used to…”
“I don’t think you’re a waste of space.”
If Harry had not seen Dudley’s lips move, he might not have believed it. As it was, he stared at Dudley for several seconds before accepting that it must have been his cousin who had spoken; for one thing, Dudley had turned red. Harry was embarrassed and astonished himself.
“Well… er… thanks, Dudley.”
Again, Dudley appeared to grapple with thoughts too unwieldy for expression before mumbling, “You saved my life.”
“Not really,” said Harry. “It was your soul the dementor would have taken…”
He looked curiously at his cousin. They had had virtually no contact during this summer or last, as Harry had come back to Privet Drive so briefly and kept to his room so much. It now dawned on Harry, however, that the cup of cold tea on which he had trodden that morning might not have been a booby trap at all. Although rather touched, he was nevertheless quite relieved that Dudley appeared to have exhausted his ability to express his feelings. After opening his mouth once or twice more, Dudley subsided into scarlet-faced silence.
Aunt Petunia burst into tears. Hestia Jones gave her an approving look that changed to outrage as Aunt Petunia ran forward and embraced Dudley rather than Harry.
“S-so sweet, Dudders…” she sobbed into his massive chest. “S-such a lovely b-boy… s-saying than you…”
“But he hasn’t said thank you at all!” said Hestia indignantly. “He only said he didn’t think Harry was a waste of space!”
“Yeah, but coming from Dudley that’s like ‘I love you,’,” said Harry, torn between annoyance and a desire to laugh as Aunt Petunia continued to clutch at Dudley as if he had just saved Harry from a burning building.
“Are we going or not?” roared Uncle Vernon, reappearing yet again at the living room door. “I thought we were on a tight schedule!”
“Yes – yes, we are,” dais Dedalus Diggle, who had been watching these exchanges with an air of bemusement and now, seemed to pull himself together. “We really must be off. Harry…”
He tripped forward and wrung Harry’s hand with both of his own.
“Good luck. I hope we meet again. The hopes of the Wizarding world rest upon your shoulders.”
“Oh, “said Harry, “right. Thanks.”
“Farewell, Harry,” said Hestia, also clasping his hand. “Our thoughts go with you.”
“I hope everything’s okay,” said Harry with a glance toward Aunt Petunia and Dudley.
“Oh, I’m sure we shall end up the best of chums,” said Diggle brightly, waving his hat as he left the room. Hestia followed him.
Dudley gently released himself from his mother’s clutches and walked toward Harry, who had to repress an urge to threaten him with magic. Then Dudley held out his large, pink hand.
“Blimey, Dudley,” said Harry over Aunt Petunia’s renewed sobs, “did the dementors blow a different personality into you?”
“Dunno,” muttered Dudley. “See you, Harry.”
“Yeah…” said Harry, taking Dudley’s hand and shaking it. “Maybe. Take care, Big D.”
Dudley nearly smiled, then lumbered from the room. Harry heard his heavy footfalls on the gravelled drive, and then a car door slammed.
Aunt Petunia, whose face had been buried in her handkerchief, looked around at the sound. She did not seem to have expected to find herself alone with Harry. Hastily stowing her wet handkerchief into her pocket, she said, “Well – good-bye,” and marched toward the door without looking at him.
“Good-bye, “said Harry.
She stopped and looked back. For a moment Harry had the strangest feeling that she wanted to say something to him: She gave him an odd, tremulous look and seemed to teeter on the edge of speech, but then, with a little jerk of her head, she bustled out of the room after her husband and son.

domingo, 25 de septiembre de 2016

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Chapter Two

Al menos, una vez al año leo el libro (preferentemente, en Diciembre, que fue el primer día, hace muchísimo tiempo, que empecé con "La Piedra Filosofal". Desde los dieciséis años :o ), pero a pesar de la prisa con que ahora transcribo estoy disfrutando de igual manera o quizá más.

Espero que lo disfrutes también, Mar y bueno, el día de hoy me despido de las tóxicas que nublaron mi juicio. 

Enjoy it!


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IN MEMORIAM

Harry was bleeding. Clutching his right hand in his left and swearing under his breath, he shouldered open his bedroom door. There was a crunch of breaking china: He had trodden on a cup of cold tea that had been sitting on the floor outside his bedroom door.
“What the…?
He looked around; the landing of number four, Privet Drive, was deserted. Possibly the cup of tea was Dudley’s idea of a clever booby trap. Keeping his bleeding hand elevated, Harry scraped the fragments of cup together with the other hand and threw them into the already crammed bin just visible inside his bedroom door. Then he tramped across to the bathroom to run his finger under the tap.
It was stupid, pointless, irritating beyond belief that he still had four days left of being unable to perform magic… but he had to admit to himself that his jagged cut in his finger would have defeated him. He had never learned how to repair wounds, and now he came to think of it – particularly in light of his immediate plan – this seemed a serious flaw in his magical education. Making a mental note to ask Hermione how it was done, he used a large wad of toilet paper to mop up as much of the tea as he could, before returning to his bedroom and slamming the door behind him.
Harry had spent the morning completely emptying his school trunk for the first time since he had packed it six years ago. At the start of the intervening school years, he had merely skimmed off the topmost three quarters of the contents and replaced or update them, leaving a layer of general debris at the bottom – old quills, desiccated beetle eyes, single socks that no longer fit. Minutes previously, Harry had plunged his hand into this mulch, experienced a stabbing pain in the fourth finger of his right hand, and withdrawn it to see a lot of blood.
He now proceeded a little more cautiously. Kneeling down beside the trunk again, he groped around in the bottom and, after retrieving an old badge that flickered feebly between Support CEDRIC DIGGORY and POTTER STINKS, a cracked and worn-out Sneakoscope, and a gold locket inside which a note signet R.A.B had been hidden, he finally discovered the sharp edge that had done the damage. He recognized it at once. It was a two-inch-long fragment of the enchanted mirror that his dead godfather, Sirius, had given him. Harry laid it aside and felt cautiously around the trunk for the rest, but nothing more remained of his godfather’s last gift except powdered glass, which clung to the deepest layer of debris like glittering grit.
Harry sat up and examined the jagged piece on which he had cut himself, seeing nothing but his own bright green eye reflected back at him. Then he placed the fragment on top of that morning’s Daily Prophet, which lay unread on the bed, and attempted to stem the sudden upsurge of bitter memories, the stabs of regret and of longing the discovery of the broken mirror had occasioned, by attacking the rest of the rubbish in the trunk.

 It took another hour to empty it completely, throw away the useless items, and sort the remainder in piles according to whether or not he would need them from now on. His school and Quidditch robes, cauldron, parchment, quills, and most of his textbooks were piled in a corner, to be left behind. He wondered what his aunt and uncle would do with them; burn them in the dead of night, probably, as if they were the evidence of some dreadful crime. His Muggle clothing, Invisibility Cloak, potion-making kit, certain books; the photograph album Hagrid had once given him, a stack of letters, and his wand had been repacked into an old rucksack. In a front pocket were the Marauder’s Map and the locket with the note signed R.A.B inside it. The locket was accorded this place of honor not because it was valuable – in all usual senses it was worthless – but because of what it had cost to attain it.
This left a sizable stack of newspaper sitting on his desk beside his snowy owl, Hedwig: one for each of the hays Harry had spent at Privet Drive this summer.
He got up off the floor, stretched, and moved across to his desk.
Hedwig made no movement as he began to flick through the newspapers, throwing them onto the rubbish pile one by one. The owl was asleep, or else faking; she was angry with Harry about the limited amount of time she was allowed out of her cage at the moment.
As he neared the bottom of the pile of newspapers, Harry slowed down, searching for one particular issue that he knew had arrived shortly after he had returned to Privet Drive for the summer; he remembered that there had been a small mention on the front about the resignation of Charity Burbage, the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts. At last he found it. Turning to page ten, he sank into his desk chair and reread the article he had been looking for.


ALBUS DUMBLEDORE REMEMBERED
By Elphias Doge

I met Albus Dumbledore at the age of eleven, on our first day at Hogwarts.
Our mutual attraction was undoubtedly due to the fact that we both felt ourselves to be outsiders. I had contracted dragon pox shortly before arriving at school, and while I was no longer contagious, my pockmarked visage and greenish hue did not encourage many to approach to me. For his part, Albus had arrived at Hogwarts under the burden of unwanted notoriety. Scarcely a year previously, his father, Percival, had been convicted of a savage and well-publicized attack upon three young Muggles.
Albus never attempted to deny that his father (who was to die in Azkaban) has committed this crime; on the contrary, when I plucked up courage to ask him, he assured me that he knew his father to be guilty. Beyond that, Dumbledore refused to speak of the sad business, though many attempted to make him do so. Some, indeed, were disposed to praise his father’s action and assumed that Albus too was a Muggle-hater. They could not have been more mistaken: As anybody who knew Albus would attest, he never revealed the remotest anti-Muggle tendency. Indeed, his determined support for Muggle rights gained him many enemies in subsequent years.
In a matter of months, however, Albus’s own fame had begun to eclipse that of his father. By the end of his first year he would never again be known as the son of a Muggle-hater, but as nothing more or less than the most brilliant student ever seen at the school. Those of us who were privileged to be his friends benefited from his example, not to mention his help and encouragement, with which he was always generous. He confessed to me in later life that he knew even then that his greatest pleasure lay in teaching.
He not only won every prize of note that the school offered, he was soon in regular correspondence with the most notable magical names of the day, including Nicholas Flamel, the celebrated alchemist; Bathilda Bagshot, the noted historian; and Adalbert Waffling, the magical theoretician. Several of his papers found their way into learned publications such as Transfiguration Today, Challenges in Charming, and The Practical Potioneer. Dumbledore’s future career seemed likely to be meteoric, and the only question that remained was when he would become Minister of Magic. Though it was often predicted in later years that he was on the point of taking the job, however, he never had Ministerial ambitions.
Three years after we had started at Hogwarts, Albus’s brother, Aberforth, arrived at school. They were not alike; Aberforth was never bookish and, unlike Albus, preferred to settle arguments by duelling rather than through reasoned discussion. However, it is quite wrong to suggest, as some have, that the brothers were not friends. They rubbed along as comfortably as two such different boys could do.
In fairness to Aberforth, it must be admitted that living in Albus’s shadow cannot have been an altogether comfortable experience. Being continually outshone was an occupational hazard of being his friend and cannot have been any more pleasurable as a brother.
When Albus and I left Hogwarts we intended to take the then-traditional tour of the world together, visiting and observing foreign wizards, before pursuing our separate careers. However, tragedy intervened. On the very eve of our trip, Albus’s mother, Kendra, died; leaving Albus the head, and sole breadwinner, of the family. I postponed my departure long enough to pay my respects at Kendra’s funeral, then left for what was now to be a solitary journey. With a younger brother and sister to care for, and little gold left to them, there could no longer be any question of Albus accompanying me.
That was the period of our lives when we had least contact. I wrote to Albus, describing, perhaps insensitively, the wonders of my journey, from narrow escapes from chimaeras in Greece to be experiments of the Egyptian alchemists. His letters told me little of his day-to-day life, which I guessed to be frustratingly dull for such a brilliant wizard. Immersed in my own experiences, it was with horror that I heard, toward the end of my year’s travels, that yet another tragedy had struck the Dumbledores: the death of his sister, Ariana.
Though Ariana had been in poor health for a long time, the blow, coming so soon after the loss of their mother, had a profound effect on both of her brothers. All those closest to Albus – and I count myself one of that lucky number- agree that Ariana’s death, and Albus’s feeling of personal responsibility for it (though, of course, he was guiltless), left their mark upon him forevermore.
I returned home to find a young man who had experienced a much older person’s suffering. Albus was more reserved than before, and much less light-hearted. To add to his misery, the loss of Ariana had led, not to a renewed closeness between Albus and Aberforth, but to an estrangement. (In time this would lift – in later years they re-established, if not a close relationship, then certainly a cordial one.) However, he rarely spoke of his parents or of Ariana from then on, and his friends learned not to mention them.
Other quills will describe the triumphs of the following years. Dumbledore’s innumerable contributions to the store of Wizarding knowledge, including his discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, will benefit generations to come, as will the wisdom he displayed in the many judgments he made while Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. They say, still, that no Wizarding duel ever matched that between Dumbledore and Grindelwald in 1945.
Those who witnessed it haven written of the terror and the awe they felt as they watched these two extraordinary wizards do battle. Dumbledore’s triumphs, and its consequences for the Wizarding world, are considered a turning point in magical history to match the introduction of the International Statute of Secrecy or the downfall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Albus Dumbledore was never proud or vain; he could find something to value in anyone, however apparently insignificant or wretched, and I believe that his early losses endowed him with great humanity and sympathy. I shall miss his friendship more than I can say, but my loss is as nothing compared to the Wizarding world is. That he was the most inspiring and the best loved of all Hogwarts headmasters cannot be in question. He died as he lived: working always for the greater good, to his last hour, as willing to stretch out a hand to a small boy with dragon pox as he was on the day that I met him.

Harry finished reading but continued to gaze at the picture accompanying the obituary. Dumbledore was wearing his familiar, kindly smile, but as he peered over the top of his half-moon spectacles, he gave the impression, even in newsprint, of X-raying Harry, whose sadness mingled with a sense of humiliation.
He had thought he knew Dumbledore quite well, but ever since reading this obituary he had been forced to recognize that he had barely known him at all. Never once had he imagined Dumbledore’s childhood or youth; it was as though he had sprung into being as Harry had known him, venerable and silver-haired and old. The idea of a teenage Dumbledore was simply odd, like trying to imagine a stupid Hermione or a friendly Blast-Ended Skrewt.
He had never thought to ask Dumbledore about his past. No doubt it would have felt strange, impertinent even, but after all, it had been common knowledge that Dumbledore had taken part in that legendary duel with Grindelwald, and Harry had no thought to ask Dumbledore what that had been like, nor about any of his other famous achievements. No, they had always discussed Harry, Harry’s past, Harry’s future, Harry’s plans… and it seemed to Harry now, despite the fact that his future was so dangerous and so uncertain, that he had missed irreplaceable opportunities when he had failed to ask Dumbledore more about himself, even though the only person question he had ever asked his headmaster was also the only one he suspected that Dumbledore had not answered honestly:

“What do you see when you look in the mirror?”
“I? I see myself holding a pair of thick, woollen socks.”

After several minute’s thought, Harry tore the obituary out of the Prophet, folded it carefully, and tucked it inside the first volume of Practical Defensive Magic and Its Use against the Darks Arts. Then he threw the rest of the newspaper onto the rubbish pile and turned to face the room. It was much tidier. The only things left out of place were today’s Daily Prophet, still lying on the bed, and on top of it, the piece of broken mirror.

Harry moved across the room, slid the mirror fragment off today’s Prophet and unfolded the newspaper. He had merely glanced at the headline when he had taken the rolled-up paper from the delivery owl early that morning and thrown it aside. After noting, that it said nothing about Voldemort. Harry was sure the Ministry was leaning on the Prophet to suppress news about Voldemort. It was only now, therefore, that he saw what he had missed.
Across the bottom half of the front page a smaller headline was set over a picture of Dumbledore striding along looking harried:

DUMBLEDORE: THE TRUTH AT LAST?

Coming next week, the shocking story of .he flawed genius considered, by many to be, the greatest wizard of his generation. Stripping away the popular image of serene, silver-bearded wisdom, Rita Skeeter reveals the disturbed childhood, the lawless youth, the lifelong feuds, and the guilty secrets that Dumbledore carried to his grave. WHY was the man tipped to be Minister of Magic content to remain a mere headmaster? WHAT was the real purpose of the secret organization known as the Order of the Phoenix? HOW did Dumbledore really meet his end?

The answers to these and many more questions are explored in the explosive new biography, The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore, by Rita Skeeter, exclusively interviewed by Betty Braithwaite, page 13, inside.

Harry ripped open the paper and found page thirteen. The article was topped with a picture showing another familiar face: a woman wearing jewelled glasses with elaborately curled blonde hair, her teeth bared in what was clearly supposed to be a winning smile, wiggling her fingers up at him. Doing his best to ignore this nauseating image, Harry read on.

In person, Rita Skeeter is much warmer and softer than her famously ferocious quill-portraits might suggest; greeting me in the hallway of her cozy home. She leads me straight into the kitchen for a cup of tea, a slice of pound cake and, it goes without saying, a steaming vat of freshest gossip.

“Well, of course, Dumbledore is a biographer’s dream, says Skeeter. “Such a long, full life; I’m sure my book will be the first of very, very many.”

Skeeter was certainly quick off the mark. Here nine-hundred-page book was completed a mere four weeks after Dumbledore’s mysterious death in June. I ask her how she managed this superfast feat.

“Oh, when you’ve been a journalist as long as I have, working to a deadline is second nature. I knew that the Wizarding world was clamouring for the full story and I wanted to be the first to meet that need.”
I mention the recent, widely publicized remark of Elphias Doge, Special Advisor to the Wizengamot and longstanding friend of Albus Dumbledore’s that “Skeeter’s book contains less fact than a Chocolate Frog card.”

Skeeter throws back her head and laughs.

“Darling Dodgy! I remember interviewing him a few years back about merpeople rights, bless him.
Completely gaga, seemed to think we were sitting at the bottom of Lake Windermere, kept telling me to watch out for trout.”

And yet Elphias Doge’s accusations of inaccuracy have been echoed in many places. Does Skeeter really feel that four short weeks have been enough to gain a full picture of Dumbledore’s long and extraordinary life?

“Oh, my dear,” beams Skeeter, rapping me affectionately across the knuckles, “you know as well as I do how much information can be generated by a far bag of Galleons, a refusal to hear the world ‘no’, and a nice sharp Quick-Quotes Quill! People were queuing to dish the dirt on Dumbledore anyway.
Not everyone thought he was so wonderful, you know – he trod on an awful lot of important toes.
But old Dodgy Doge can get off his high hippogriff, because I’ve had access to a source most journalists would swap their wands for, one who has never spoken in public before and who was never spoken in public before and who was close to Dumbledore during the most turbulent and disturbing phase of his youth.”

The advance publicity for Skeeter’s biography has certainly suggested that there will be shocks in store for those who believe Dumbledore to have led a blameless life. What were the biggest surprises she uncovered, I ask?

“Now, come off it, Betty, I’m not giving away all the highlights before anybody’s bought the book!” laughs Skeeter. “But I can promise that anybody who still thinks Dumbledore was white as his beard is in for a rude awakening! Let’s just say that nobody hearing him rage against You-Know-Who would have dreamed that he dabbled in the Darks Arts himself in his youth! And for a wizard who spent his later years pleading for tolerance, he wasn’t exactly broad-minded when he was younger! Yes, Albus Dumbledore had an extremely murky past, not to mention that very fishy family, which he worked so hard to keep, hushed up.”

I ask whether Skeeter is referring to Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, whose conviction by the Wizengamot for misuse of magic caused a minor scandal fifteen years ago.

“Oh, Aberforth is just the tip of the dung heap,” laughs Skeeter. “No, no, I’m talking about much worse than a brother with a fondness for fiddling about with goats, worse even than the Muggle – maiming father – Dumbledore couldn’t keep either of them quiet anyway, they were both charged by the Wizengamot. No, it’s the mother and the sister that intrigued me, and a little digging uncovered a positive nest of nastiness – but, as I say, you’ll have to wait for chapters nine to twelve for full details. All I can say now is, it’s no wonder Dumbledore never talked about how his nose got broken.”

Family skeletons notwithstanding, does Skeeter deny the brilliance that led to Dumbledore’s many magical discoveries?

“He had brains, “she concedes, “Although many now question whether he could really take full credit for all of his supposed achievements. As I reveal in chapter sixteen, Ivor Dillonsby claims he had already discovered eight uses of dragon’s blood when Dumbledore ‘borrowed’ his papers.”

But the importance of some of Dumbledore’s achievements cannot, I venture, be denied. What of his famous defeat of Grindelwald?

“Oh, now, I’m glad you mentioned Grindelwald,” says Skeeter with a tantalizing smile. “I’m afraid those who dewy-eyed over Dumbledore’s spectacular victory must brace themselves for a bombshell – or perhaps a Dungbomb. Very dirty business indeed.
All I’ll say is, don’t be so sure that there really was the spectacular duel of legend. After they’ve read my book, people may be forced to conclude that Grindelwald simply conjured a white handkerchief from the end of his wand and came quietly!”

Skeeter refuses to give any more away on this intriguing subject, so we turn instead to the relationship that will undoubtedly fascinate her readers more than any other.

“Oh yes,” says Skeeter, nodding briskly, “I devote an entire chapter to the whole Potter-Dumbledore relationship. It’s been called unhealthy, even sinister.
Again, your readers will have to buy my book for the whole story, but there is no question that Dumbledore took an unnatural interest in Potter from the word go. Whether that was really in the boy’s best interests – well, we’ll see. It’s certainly an open secret that Potter has had a most troubled adolescence.”

I ask whether Skeeter is still in touch with Harry Potter, whom she so famously interviewed last year: a breakthrough piece in which Potter spoke exclusively of his conviction that You-Know-Who had returned.

“Oh, yes, we’ve developed a close bond,” says Skeeter. “Poor Potter has few real friends, and we met at one of the most testing moments of his life – the Triwizard Tournament. I am probably one of the only people alive who can say that they know the real Harry Potter.”

Which leads us neatly to the many rumors still circulating about Dumbledore’s final hours. Does Skeeter believe that Potter was there when Dumbledore died?

“Well, I don’t want to say too much – it’s still in the book – but eyewitness inside Hogwarts castle saw Potter running away from the scene moments after Dumbledore fell, jumped, or was pushed. Potter later gave evidence against Severus Snape, a man against whom he has a notorious grudge. Is everything as it seems? That is for the Wizarding community to decide – once they’ve read my book.”

On that intriguing note, I take my leave. There can be no doubt that Skeeter has quilled an instant bestseller. Dumbledore’s legions of admirers, meanwhile, may well be trembling at what is soon to emerge about their hero.

Harry reached the bottom of the article, but continued to stare blankly at the page. Revulsion and fury rose in him like vomit; he balled up the newspaper and threw it, with all his force, at the wall, where it joined the rest of the rubbish heaped around his overflowing bin.

He began to stride blindly around the room, opening empty drawers and picking up books only to replace them on the same piles, barely conscious of what he was doing, as random phrases from Rita’s article echoed in his head: An entire chapter to the whole Potter-Dumbledore relationship… It’s been called unhealthy, even sinister… He dabbled in the Dark Arts himself in his youth… I’ve had access to a source most journalists would swap their wands for…

“Lies!” Harry bellowed, and through the window he saw the next-door neighbour, who had paused to restart his lawn mower, look up nervously.
Harry sat down hard on the bed. The broken bit of mirror danced away from him; he picked it up and turned it over in his fingers, thinking of Dumbledore and the lies with which Rita Skeeter was defaming him…

A flash of brightest blue. Harry froze, his cut finger slipping on the jagged edge of the mirror again. He had imagined it, he must have done. He glanced over his shoulder, but the wall was a sickly peach color of Aunt Petunia’s choosing: There was nothing blue there for the mirror to reflect. He peered into the mirror fragment again, and saw nothing but his own bright green eye looking back at him.

He had imagined it, there was no other explanation; imagined it, because he had been thinking of his dead headmaster. If anything was certain, it was that the bright blue eyes of Albus Dumbledore would never pierce him again.