The Battle of Hogwarts – looking past the great losses

Who can forget the agony and ecstasy of the final scenes at Hogwarts, the climactic conclusion to seven years of adventures that started with a small boy living under the stairs? 

It was the greatest showdown since Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald in 1945. Harry versus Voldemort and, as the prophecy foretold, only one may live. 

Whether you watched the films or read the books, while the Battle of Hogwarts played out, food and drink breaks were forgotten and, even if you were busting, a toilet break was completely out of the question. 

As we witnessed our magical friends fight it out with evil in a contest that would save or destroy the wizarding world, we genuinely feared for their lives, hoped they would prevail, cried as many fell along the way, celebrated when our heroes overcame the villains (go Neville and Molly!), rejoiced when Harry defeated Voldemort and then quietly reflected on a victory that had come at such a heavy cost (oh Fred…). 

Yes, we remember the climactic end to The Deathly Hallows for some devastating losses. But there were also some spectacular fights, a couple of heart-wrenching betrayals and newfound love. Let’s take a moment to savour some of the best moments of the final chapters.

Spectacular fights

Molly v Bellatrix

Bellatrix tries to kill Ginny and Molly steps in. I don’t think any of us really thought Molly could kill Bellatrix but kill her she did. It was a short but fierce battle and it gave us the fabulous line “Not my daughter you bitch!”

Neville v Nagini

Menacing and intent on killing Ron and Hermione, we are on the edge of our seats waiting for Nagini to strike when Neville Longbottom, much-aligned as an accident-prone dork at the beginning of the series, bursts onto the scene wielding the Sword of Gryffindor, and slays Nagini in one triumphant, powerful and heroic blow. We cheered. We all cheered.

Harry v Voldemort

Debate still rages about Voldemort’s demise and how different it is in the film compared to the book. Either way, this ultimate duel is incredibly intense as the pair trades powerful spells and even go a few rounds in a physical tussle. The advantage switches back and forth until the two finally meet in the courtyard in a final showdown that will decide the fate of the wizarding world. Did we ever doubt Harry would win? On the edge of our seats and holding our collective breath, we watched as the two were locked in an epic tug-of-wand-war to the death.

Heart-wrenching betrayals

Xenophilius Lovegood seems like such a loveable and harmless eccentric and it’s hard to imagine him betraying anyone. However, when Luna is taken by Death Eaters and Harry turns up on his doorstep, Xenophilius seizes his chance to save his daughter. He betrays Harry to Voldemort, revealing his location to the Death Eaters. The trio escapes but our hearts are broken for the father who loves his daughter so much he will risk everything to save her.

Draco Malfoy’s mother Narcissa is cruel, distant and happy for her family to support the Dark Lord. But she is also a mother and she will do anything to keep her son safe and alive. When Bellatrix asks Narcissa if Harry is dead, she realises he is, in fact, still breathing and she conceals the truth in the hopes of saving Draco. In this way, she is no different to Molly and Lily: love and family come first. 

Newfound love

Finally… Ron and Hermione get together! As the Battle of Hogwarts looms, we all know it must happen before the end and so it comes as no surprise when the pair finally kiss during the battle. It’s a fabulously dramatic scene, invoking the full range of emotions from fans, especially those who were gunning for Hermione and Harry and even Hermione and Draco. Big time kudos to the two actors – Emma Watson and Rupert Grint – who, after hanging out together as friends for ten years, must have been seriously cringing on the inside while shooting this scene.

All other love trysts pale in comparison to Ron and Hermione but notable mentions go to Lupin and Tonks who had a short-lived romance that ended when they both died during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving behind their son Teddy; and Neville and Luna (just kidding!). Many fans felt that Neville and Luna were a perfect match and were disappointed they didn’t end up together. A lost opportunity? 

May 2nd 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. What memories do you have from your first encounter with the last book or film in the series?

Author: Professor Penelope Presto
Professor Presto is Headmaster at the esteemed Quizzical Academy of Sorcery and also Chief Wrangler of wizards large and small. She loves to bake toad cake and swaps recipes with like-minded wizards all over the world. On Tuesdays she joins the local Goblins and Gouls swimming club for a few laps before a lunch of wiggle-root salad.

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