The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a children’s tale Ron grew up with, tell the story of three Deathly Hallows, a mere legend which, when combined, could cheat Death. Yet Dumbledore suspiciously left a copy of the story to Hermione in his will. Most believe it to be a fairy tale, but there are some in the wizarding world who not only believe, and others who will kill to obtain the three hallows and become immortal. Voldemort is one such believer, and on the cusp of a much-anticipated wedding in the Weasley family, Ron, Hermione, and Harry must leave to destroy his horcruxes, and piece together the clues left by Dumbledore, beginning with the strange objects he left for each of them. Even enemies to the trio are not who they seem, and every person has a history that explains their last decisions. Many heroes will rise in this last installment of the magnificent Harry Potter series, and prejudgments will be shattered, when “I open at the close” and beloved characters greet death like an old friend.
- Despite Harry and Dudley’s rivalry, Dudley admitted he didn’t think of Harry as a waste of space, and was even concerned for Harry’s welfare before he left Privet Drive. What changed him?
- How is a horcrux the opposite of a human being or a soul, and why, if the thing a horcrux lived in was destroyed, couldn’t the horcrux just go live in another object?
- What were the objects that Dumbledore left to Ron, Hermione, and Harry, and how did they prove useful, despite the initial confusion?
- What does it mean that “Snitches have flesh memories”? And what did the cryptic message mean: “I open at the close”?
- Krum was very offended that Xenophilius wore the deathly hallows, which he called Grindelwald’s symbol. How could two such different reactions be created from one symbol? What did it represent?
- What was Kreacher’s tragic past, and why did he serve Mrs. Black and Regulus so faithfully, refusing to ever speak ill of them? How did he misunderstand Regulus, and even Harry, and how did his respect for Harry change later?
- How did carrying a horcrux affect the wearer? Why did Ron and Hermione each get to destroy one horcrux, and why was that important, especially for Ron?
- Why couldn’t Harry just produce food out of thin air when he was on the run, and how was that related to one of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration?
- How did the deluminator prove useful for Ron, not just with lights, but with finding Hermione and Harry again?
- How did Harry’s fearlessness in using Voldemort’s name cause a major problem for the trio in hiding?
- Voldemort couldn’t penetrate Harry’s thoughts when his mind was consumed with grief (though Dumbledore, of course, would have said it was love). Whose death caused Harry such sorrow in this book that he was able to shut off his mind to all but burying his friend? Why did this death have such an impact on him? Did anyone else observe this burial and it affected how they viewed Harry as well?
- When a wand has been won, its allegiance will change. Whose wands were won throughout this book, and how did that affect the final outcome of the story?
- Why did Harry choose not to pursue the wand that Voldemort was after? Where was it?
- Under what terms did Griphook agree to help Harry and his friends? Did he fulfill his vow?
- Who was Aberforth and what role did he play in assisting Harry and those opposed to Voldemort and the death eaters?
- What was Ariana’s tragedy? How did the death of their mother and the responsibility of caring for her affect young Dumbledore, and what changed him from someone who agreed with Grindelwald to someone who opposed him?
- How did Neville inspire hope in others and prove himself to be a hero?
- Under what circumstances was Harry finally able to produce the unforgivable curse, Crucio?
- What was Snape willing to trade for Lily’s life? Why? What was his patronus?
- Hogwarts was the first and best home Harry, Snape, and Voldemort, the abandoned boys, had known. Why?
- When Harry was carried back through the trees to Hogwarts, past the dementors, they couldn’t affect him. Why was that?
- What did Harry do with the deathly hallows? Why do you think so?
Firewhiskey is drunk at the demise of a beloved character in the beginning chapters. This drink is a cinnamon-flavored whisky. Mrs. Weasley serves the family an apple tart at the arrival of the future in-laws before the wedding, and, for Harry’s birthday, she makes him a special golden snitch cake. Finally, canned pears is one of the foods Hermione and Harry mention surviving on when they are on the run. To combine all of these flavors, I created a “golden snitch” cupcake that combines flavors of golden syrup, cinnamon, pear, and apple, and a frosting of cinnamon, apple, and pear.
- 3 sticks salted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 2 tsps pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/8 tsp apple flavoring oil
- 1/2 tsp pear flavoring oil
- 1 tbsp Golden syrup
- 1 Bosc pear, peeled and diced very tiny
- 24 tsps canned apple preserves or apple pie filling
- 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon for frosting, 1 tsp for cake
- 1 tsp pear oil
- 1/2 tsp apple oil
- 4 cups powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-low speed, combine one stick (one half cup) of salted butter at room temperature with the cup of granulated sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and baking soda. To the mixer, add the eggs, one at a time, and the milk, stopping to scrape down the insides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts to the mixer while it is on the lowest speed.
Scoop out the centers of each cooled cupcake using a melon baller or apple corer, being careful not to go through the bottom, and set aside the centers (or eat them now). Using a teaspoon, scoop one full teaspoon of apple preserves or apple pie filling into the center of each cupcake.
To make frosting, cream together 2 sticks (one cup) of salted butter on medium speed for 2 minutes, then stop the mixer and add one teaspoon of apple flavoring, one half teaspoon of pear flavoring, two and a half teaspoons of cinnamon, and two cups of the powdered sugar. Combine on low speed, and gradually add the remaining powdered sugar until all of it is in the bowl. Stop the mixer to scrape down the insides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed. Add the peeled, diced pear by hand stirring with a spatula. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag and a large or extra-large round tip to allow the pieces of pear to pass through.
Similar Recommended Readings:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the latest screenplay written by JKR. She also created a small volume called Tales of Beedle the Bard with the other stories Ron mentions.
The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis is the final novel in the Chronicles of Narnia series, about a group of four siblings who save a magical world from evil.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is about a girl surviving a new world order, made of games where the chosen are the hunted. Katniss Everdeen shatters all expectations to bring justice to a world dominated by evil and greed.
In the Forests of Serre or The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia McKillip are wonderful fantasy novels filled with deceptive evils disguised as good, a phoenix, witches, and three trials whose reward is three treasures.