by Molly Ringle
August 7, 2005
MUGGLE PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE
CORNELIUS FUDGE leaps out of the fireplace.
PRIME MINISTER: Oh, good God, no.
FUDGE: You remember me, right? Magic, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, Triwizard Tournament, Sirius Black, don't know why I'm still talking since the readers know all this, bringing us to the recent murders and mayhem, which are really Voldemort's fault.
PRIME MINISTER: Right. So...you'll take care of that?
FUDGE: Can't, sorry! Been sacked. I sell sticky buns at Victoria Station now. Talk to this bloke instead.
FUDGE leaves. RUFUS SCRIMGEOUR leaps out of the fireplace.
SCRIMGEOUR: Hallo. Like he said, we've got it all under control. Only, we don't, really. Toodleloo!
SCRIMGEOUR vanishes. PRIME MINISTER collapses into his chair.
PRIME MINISTER: They said to me in the '60s, "Tony, you oughtn't drop acid if you want a future in politics," but did I listen? Oh, no...
Also, "sight" is misspelled "site" on page 10, causing glee among NITPICKERS everywhere.
SOME GRIMY NEIGHBORHOOD IN ENGLAND
BELLATRIX laser-zaps a fox, just to be evil, then continues chasing NARCISSA MALFOY down the street, the two of them keeping up a steady stream of "Should so!", "Should not!", "Should so!", "Should not!", while READERS wonder what the hell they are thinking of doing or not doing. They knock on a door. SNAPE opens it.
BELLATRIX: Trick or treat!
SNAPE: I hate you both. Come in.
NARCISSA: I have a favor to ask.
BELLATRIX: But since we're here, Snape, tell us how come you've managed not to kill Harry Potter, or find out anything useful about Dumbledore, or really do anything evil except sneer at everybody for the last five years. Are you truly Dark, or are you just an outgrown Goth kid?
SNAPE: Me and the Dark Lord, we're like *this*. (doing the two-fingers-close-together thing) That's all you need to know. So, your favor, Narcissa?
NARCISSA: My poor, sweet, innocent son Draco needs help completing The Plan. Do you know about The Plan?
SNAPE: Of course I know about The Plan.
READERS: You could fill us in on The Plan.
NARCISSA: Promise me you'll help.
BELLATRIX: I dare you to make the Unbreakable Vow over it.
BELLATRIX sets an Unbreakable Vow around their wrists while SNAPE vows to carry out The Plan if DRACO fails.
READERS: Hm. Well, I'm sure he'll find a way to wriggle out of that.
DUMBLEDORE knocks on the front door.
UNCLE VERNON: What the--
DUMBLEDORE: Hello. Ready to go, Harry? By the way, you inherited Sirius's house and all his things, including Kreacher. Give it a whirl.
HARRY: I summon Kreacher.
KREACHER appears, freaks out the DURSLEYS, and throws a hissy fit. HARRY dismisses him.
DUMBLEDORE: Excellent. Oh, by the way, Dursleys, you have to let Harry come back here at least one more time for complicated enchantment reasons, or else he might get murdered, and then I'll be just the teensiest bit angry. Understood?
The DURSLEYS splutter.
DUMBLEDORE: Capital. Let's go, Harry.
VILLAGE OF BUDLEIGH BABBERTON
DUMBLEDORE: I prefer raspberry jam.
HARRY: Is that going to be relevant later?
DUMBLEDORE: Not really. Also, Inferi are dead bodies brought back to life by dark magic.
HARRY: Okay. And will that be relevant later?
DUMBLEDORE: It might be.
They knock on SLUGHORN's door.
SLUGHORN: Dumbledore, you skinny-assed piece of--oh, hello! You bring celebrity! Do come in.
DUMBLEDORE: Please come back and teach at Hogwarts, Slughorn.
SLUGHORN: No way.
DUMBLEDORE: Oh, fine. I'll leave you two to talk for a minute.
SLUGHORN: Well, my boy, I tell you, it's fascinating: not only did I know Sirius Black, your parents, and everyone else from that generation, but I'm also a Slytherin who isn't completely loathsome.
HARRY: I admit, that is remarkable.
DUMBLEDORE: Time to leave. Too bad you won't work for me, Slughorn.
SLUGHORN: I can't stand it when you beg! I cave. I'll come back.
DUMBLEDORE: Cheers, old friend. Come, Harry: time to take you to Ron's house. By the way, it's totally okay if you tell Ron and Hermione about the prophecy and everything.
HARRY: It is?
DUMBLEDORE: Yes. You'd be lost without their help. We all know that.
DUMBLEDORE: Oops, did I say that out loud?
MRS. WEASLEY: Harry! Eat, for the love of God, eat!
HARRY eats. There is a knock at the door.
MRS. WEASLEY: Come in, Arthur.
MR. WEASLEY: (through the door) No, you have to ask the security question.
MRS. WEASLEY: Well, all right... What is your dearest ambition?
MR. WEASLEY: To find out why sticking a fork in a toaster is a bad idea. My turn: what do I call you in bed?
HARRY chokes, and quickly stuffs bread in his ears.
MRS. WEASLEY: Mollywollykins? Hotmuffin? Jezebel? Dear, I'm sorry, I forget which one was the password...
HARRY: Right, I'm going upstairs.
NEXT MORNING. RON and HERMIONE have climbed onto HARRY's bed to wake him up.
HARRY: Gosh. Hello...
HERMIONE: Morning. Just making sure you're all right. Hey, Ginny, join in!
GINNY crawls onto the bed too. Before HARRY gets a chance to appreciate this, FLEUR glides into the room. She knocks the other three off the bed and plants a kiss on HARRY.
FLEUR: *mwah!* Oh Arry, eet eez so long seence I 'ave caressed your ears wiz my outrageous French ac-cent! And I would get eento bed wiz you right now, as your friends all do, but I am marrying Bill! Eezn't it wonderfool?
MRS. WEASLEY: Over my dead body, you are! Er...I mean...yes, she is, isn't that nice?
MRS. WEASLEY, FLEUR, and GINNY leave.
HARRY: Wow, I need a smoke after that.
RON: Me too.
HARRY: Sorry--um, as I was saying...Dumbledore's giving me private lessons this year.
HERMIONE: How nice.
HARRY: And there's this prophecy saying either Voldemort has to kill me or vice-versa.
HERMIONE: Yeah, kinda figured.
HARRY: Oh, and I think we're getting our O.W.L. results today.
HERMIONE: OH MY GOD WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME??
HERMIONE runs flailing out of the room.
HARRY: Neat, I'm the Quidditch captain.
HERMIONE: (and I quote) That gives you equal status with prefects! You can use our special bathroom now and everything!
STEAMY FANFIC WRITERS OF MANY VARIETIES: (taking notes) How handy.
DRACO is fussing with fabrics in the dress shop.
DRACO: Mummy, I don't WANT these robes; they're not posh enough!
RON, HERMIONE, and HARRY come strutting down the aisle, wands out, snapping their fingers in unison.
DRACO and NARCISSA: Sharks!
RON, HERMIONE, and HARRY: Jets!
DRACO and NARCISSA snarl, do a couple of pirouettes, and leap out of the shop. The GRYFFINDORS turn up their collars and do a few smooth spins, then skip off to FRED and GEORGE's Game Shop/Casino/Strip Club.
FRED: Whatever you do, don't mess with our love potions. They work dangerously well.
SHIPPERS OF EVEN MORE VARIETIES: (scribbling notes) Sweet!
DRACO walks by. RON, HERMIONE, and HARRY start stalking him. He goes into Borgin's Dark Side R Us.
DRACO: (to BORGIN) I'm here about the Thing. You know, like the other Thing we talked about. And you better fix the Thing, you hear? Or a really dark Thing is going to happen to you! By which I mean a different Thing, other than the two Things I came here about! Which are bigger than a breadbox and too shocking for me to carry down the street!
HARRY: Oh, I get it--Charades. I want to play! Hey, Draco, how many syllables?
KING'S CROSS STATION
HARRY: I think Draco Malfoy's a Death Eater.
HERMIONE and RON: Pfft. Whatever.
HARRY: Mr. Weasley? I think Draco Malfoy's a Death Eater.
MR. WEASLEY: Nah, I doubt it. Don't miss the train!
The kids get on the Hogwarts Express. HARRY ends up sitting with NEVILLE and LUNA.
HARRY: Hi Luna. Still crazy?
HARRY: Neville? Still nebbishy?
HARRY: Good good.
HARRY gets handed a note from SLUGHORN.
HARRY: Tea party in Slughorn's compartment. Huh.
He goes to the tea party.
SLUGHORN: This is pretty much a tea party for those students likeliest to be rich and famous in the future. Why? Because I excel at sucking up.
HARRY: (yawn) I'd rather stalk Draco again.
He does so, under the Invisibility Cloak, and slips into DRACO's Compartment o' Fawning Slytherins.
SLYTHERINS: Whatcha gonna do this year, Draco?
DRACO: Whatever I *feel* like doing. God. ...And it might involve serving the Dark Lord, just a teensy bit.
SLYTHERINS: Ooooh! Cool!
Train arrives at Hogwarts. SLYTHERINS exit. DRACO whips around and freezes HARRY, who falls off the luggage rack and loses his cloak. DRACO steps on HARRY's face, hard.
DRACO leaves HARRY on the floor to choke on his own blood.
HARRY/DRACO SHIPPERS: OMG they're so in love!!!!
DEPRESSED!TONKS: Wotcher, Harry.
DEPRESSED!TONKS gets HARRY off the train and fixes his nose.
DEPRESSED!TONKS: (heavy sigh) Yeah, no problem. Well, bye.
SNAPE lets HARRY into the castle.
SNAPE: White shoes after Labor Day, Potter? Fifty points from Gryffindor.
HARRY stomps over to the Gryffindor table.
HERMIONE: Harry, you've missed so much! There was dinner and the Sorting Hat and Dumbledore's hand is all burnt and--
HARRY: Shut up and give me chocolate.
DUMBLEDORE: Everyone, this is Professor Slughorn, the new Potions master! And Defense Against the Dark Arts this year will be taught by Professor Snape.
GRYFFINDORS: Holy good goddamn.
READERS grin and start exchanging wager money.
DUMBLEDORE: Also, remember Voldemort is back, so there's danger. Danger danger danger. Don't go outside if possible. In fact, stay in bed all the time if you can.
SHIPPERS grin even wider.
The GRYFFINDORS get their class schedules from MCGONAGALL. LAVENDER giggles in RON's direction. SNAPE demonstrates a spell against HARRY in Defense Against the Dark Arts, and HARRY knocks SNAPE on his ass, earning himself detention. In Potions, HARRY notices he really likes some flowery smell he associates with the WEASLEYS' house. (One of the WEASLEYS, like FANFIC!FRODO, must use lavender bath oil.)
SLUGHORN: Everyone get out your Potions book.
HARRY: I don't have one.
SLUGHORN: Here, take this one from the cupboard.
HARRY: Sweet. It has the answers written in the margins.
HERMIONE: No fair! I looked all over eBay and couldn't find a teacher's edition!
HARRY: It isn't a teacher's edition. Says, "Property of the Half-Blood Prince." Hmm.
SOME READERS: OMG it's Voldemort!!!
ALL OTHER READERS: OMG that would be too obvious, you halfwits!!!
SLUGHORN: Also, this gold potion is Felix Felicis, which is Lucky Drink. And Harry wins it for making the best potion in the room!
HERMIONE: (to HARRY) I hate you. Cheat cheat cheat.
GINNY wanders up. HARRY's nose twitches at the bewitching flowery smell.
HARRY: Hi, cutie. Did I tell you I won some Get Lucky potion? Er, I mean "Lucky." Just "Lucky." I'm a perfect gentleman. Really.
DUMBLEDORE: Harry, it's time you learned why Voldemort tried to kill you when you were a baby.
HARRY: Because he thought I would grow up to kill him. Because of the prophecy. Right?
DUMBLEDORE: Well...yes...that's pretty much it. But this is interesting, so stick your head in the Pensieve with me.
WOODS NEAR LITTLE HANGLETON
Some old-tyme Ministry of Magic bloke named OGDEN is trudging up to a shack in the woods. There is a dead snake nailed to the door, which we must admit is pretty gross. MORFIN slouches out.
MORFIN: You sure do got a purdy mouth.
OGDEN: Yes, er, see here: you're under arrest. Ow! No using wands! Look, you--
GAUNT slouches out too.
GAUNT: That thar's Morfin, my son.
A girl wearing rags peeps out.
GAUNT: And this here's Merope, my daughter.
MORFIN: She loooovvves a Muggle. She loooovvves Tom Riddle.
OGDEN: Yes, that's all very well, but you're under arrest, see, for torturing a Muggle.
GAUNT: Well, were it the Muggle my filthy daughter's lusting after?
OGDEN: Yup Dad, it sure were.
GAUNT: Then we ain't got no problem, do we? 'Cept as I may have to strangle my daughter.
OGDEN runs off as the family settles their disputes.
BACK IN DUMBLEDORE'S OFFICE
HARRY: Okay, so, long story short: filthy backwoods witch Merope used a love potion on Tom Riddle senior, and ended up getting pregnant and having Voldemort, a.k.a. Tom Riddle junior?
HARRY: And...am I supposed to feel sorry for Voldemort now or something?
DUMBLEDORE: Nope, just thought it was interesting.
HARRY: By the way, this ring over here...wasn't Gaunt wearing it in that memory?
DUMBLEDORE: Sure was.
HARRY: So how come you have it?
DUMBLEDORE: Can't stick around chatting; bye now.
HARRY: As 813 people have shown up to try out for Gryffindor's Quidditch team this year, let's get started. By the way, you have to actually *be* in Gryffindor.
A few hundred APPLICANTS grumble and sit down.
HARRY: Let's see, need a few pretty girls on the team, so we'll take Katie, Demelza, and naturally you, Ginny sweets. Okay, suppose some boys would be good too. Jimmy, Ritchie, and...
CORMAC MCLAGGEN: Me! Me! I'm so bloody awesome you can't stand it!
HARRY: You're right; I can't stand it. Ron, you're Keeper.
HARRY: (pulling HERMIONE aside) Um, you totally jinxed McLaggen so he would suck, didn't you.
HERMIONE: Oh, fine, I did, but Ron needed it! Don't tell him. He's insecure enough, what with me giving Victor Krum a helping hand the other year.
HERMIONE: I helped Victor with his English. Remember? What did you think I meant?
HARRY, like all normal 16-year-olds, is reading his Potions book in bed. He finds a handwritten spell, and decides to try it on RON.
HARRY: (nonverbally, since he's special that way now) Levicorpus!
RON flies up into the air upside-down, yelling.
HARRY, RON, and HERMIONE go to Hogsmeade. They find MUNDUNGUS FLETCHER selling SIRIUS's stuff, and they get mad at him. On their way home they see KATIE BELL grab a necklace from her friend and then rise up into the air, screaming.
HARRY: Okay, who just pulled a "Levicorpus"? Come on, admit it. ...No one? Oh, crap.
They end up in MCGONAGALL'S office explaining what happened.
HARRY: It was Malfoy who gave her the necklace! I know it! Malfoy's a Death Eater, I tell you!
MCGONAGALL: Get over it, Mr. Potter. He was here in detention with me.
HARRY: Then Crabbe! Or Goyle! Or someone!
MCGONAGALL: Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, take Harry out and find him a new hobby, would you, please?
RON and HERMIONE: Yes, Professor.
As usual, the real action doesn't take place till five or six pages into the chapter, so jumping to that...
BACK IN THE PENSIEVE
YOUNG DUMBLEDORE is strolling down a street, in a plum velvet suit, which HARRY, to his credit, pokes fun at. YOUNG DUMBLEDORE knocks on the door of a very Dickensian orphanage, and gets shown into the office of MRS. COLE--who, like all good Dickensian orphanage keepers, hits the gin pretty heavy.
YOUNG DUMBLEDORE: Hallo! I'm here to fetch Tom Riddle.
MRS. COLE: (hiccup) You're welcome to him. Tad odd, that one.
YOUNG DUMBLEDORE: Oh? How so?
MRS. COLE: Hung someone's rabbit from the rafters...lured two kids into a cave and they were insane when they came out...has a "666" birthmark on his scalp...made a website about how he's going to kill us all...the usual stuff for boys his age.
YOUNG DUMBLEDORE: Yes. Er. How about I chat with him a bit?
He gets shown into TOM's room.
YOUNG DUMBLEDORE: Hi Tom. I want you to come to wizarding school. Did you know you're magic?
TOM: Ah. That would explain why I can make squirrels attack people.
YOUNG DUMBLEDORE: Check out what you'll be able to do when we give you one of these.
YOUNG DUMBLEDORE points his wand at TOM's wardrobe. It bursts into flames.
TOM: Awesome. Sign me up.
HARRY: Gee, that was a good idea. Train Lord Voldemort to use magic *even better*.
DUMBLEDORE: At the time, I thought he was just misunderstood. Hoped he might start a shoegazer band or something. I'm a little tired of having no magic rock groups except the Weird Sisters, aren't you?
HARRY, RON, and HERMIONE snap on their protection, which involves gloves and gum shields.
HARRY: See this long, pulsating pod? Think we're supposed to squeeze.
HERMIONE: Here. I'll try it.
RON: Ow! Not so hard!
HERMIONE: Well, if you weren't such a wimp--
RON: Oh, would you rather be doing this with McLaggen? Is that it?
HERMIONE: No, you git, I want you! Hold still so I can squeeze!
RON: Me? Really, you want me?...yeah, like that...squeeze like that...that's good; you're always so good at...classes...Hermione...
HARRY: Ugh. Professor Sprout, can I get some new partners before I throw up?
HARRY and RON round a corner to find DEAN and GINNY with their tongues enmeshed. A sticking spell seems to have nothing to do with it. HARRY's vision turns red, and he punches a hole in the nearest wall. RON is too overpowered by his own fury to notice.
RON: You filthy whore of Babylon! You centerfold hussy! You--you--I'll tell Mom!!
GINNY: Oh, get over it! We all do it except you! Harry and Cho did that thing with custard last year, and everyone knows Hermione gave Viktor a helping hand, and I won't even tell you what I've seen Trelawney and Flitwick doing because I know you'd only faint.
RON: (to HARRY) Hermione...Viktor...really?
HARRY: (staring at GINNY's cleavage) Yeah...yeah, I think so...whatever you say.
RON: Wooo! We won at Quidditch!
HERMIONE: Only because Harry spiked your drink with Felix Felicis.
HARRY: Actually, I didn't.
RON: Thanks anyway for believing in me, you two-timing slut.
RON flips his hair (which will be entirely possible, at the rate his hair is growing), stalks across the room, and starts making out with LAVENDER.
HERMIONE: Well! In that case I--I'm just going to--conjure up some magical canaries, and chuck them at his head!
HARRY: Good choice. Hey, have you seen Ginny around?
HARRY wanders out of Transfiguration with a bright yellow eyebrow.
HARRY: Damn, Ginny's still seeing Dean. Who should I ask to Slughorn's Christmas party?
ROMILDA VANE: Me! Me! Me! Here, have some chocolates. I swear they're not laced with love potions.
HARRY: Yeah...thanks. Hey, Luna! How about you?
LUNA: Sure, I'll come. Is that why you dyed your eyebrow? Should I do mine too? [That was too funny; I couldn't improve on it.]
Much merriment occurs. For instance:
MCLAGGEN: C'mere, Hermione, let me lick you under the mistletoe.
HERMIONE: Ew! No way, not unless Ron's watching.
TRELAWNEY: (hiccup) Can't believe I hafta...share Divination...with a *horse*.
SNAPE: Doing well at Potions, Potter? How very suspicious.
LUNA: Aurors are conspiring with werewolves, you know, to bring down the Ministry through gingivitis and soft-rock ballads.
FILCH: (holding DRACO by the ear) Arr! I caught this boy gate-crashing!
SNAPE: I'll take care of it.
SNAPE hauls DRACO off. HARRY throws on the old Invisibility Cloak and follows them.
SNAPE: You're not doing very well with The Plan, boy.
DRACO: Stay out of it! You get in the way of all my bonding with the Dark Lord!
SNAPE: Let me help. I'm slightly smarter than Crabbe and Goyle.
DRACO: No! Don't wanna! It's my Plan, my glory, mine, my own!
SNAPE: Can't you hear yourself? Don't you know who you sound like?
DRACO storms off.
HARRY: I was right, I was right, I was right, I was sooooo right.
RON: Shut it already.
HARRY: I was right about Snape too.
RON: Not necessarily.
DEPRESSED!LUPIN: Dumbledore trusts him. Good enough.
HARRY: By the way, why are you depressed?
DEPRESSED!LUPIN: Been hanging out with other werewolves. The kind who want to kill normal people.
HARRY: You're normal; you just have a ...problem.
DEPRESSED!LUPIN: (and I quote) Sometimes you remind me a lot of James. He called it my "furry little problem" in company. Many people were under the impression that I owned a badly behaved rabbit.
HARRY: Uh...yeah. I'm sure that's what they thought. Rather than anything extremely kinky or weird.
PERCY: Merry Christmas, Mother. No no, don't get excited. I only came because the Prime Minister wants to see Harry.
SCRIMGEOUR: You want to boost morale, don't you, Harry?
SCRIMGEOUR: Want to live up to this "Chosen One" stuff? Get wined, dined, stand by the Ministry, meet pretty girls?
HARRY: What was that bit about standing by the Ministry?
SCRIMGEOUR: Knew you would! Great!
HARRY: Um, nope. In fact, I'd rather kiss Aragog. Bye bye, now.
RON and LAVENDER are making out again. HARRY and HERMIONE are pretending not to watch.
HARRY: Aren't you going to forgive Ron?
HERMIONE: Not as long as he's trying to start a campfire by rubbing against Wavender that way.
HARRY: Okay, well, aren't you at least going to believe me now about Draco and Snape being evil?
HERMIONE: Nah; you're pretty much always wrong.
HARRY: How about you? Will you believe Snape's evil?
DUMBLEDORE: Nah. I still trust him.
DUMBLEDORE: Hush. Into the Pensieve.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Eck. Does nobody dust in this part of England?
MORFIN: You look like that thar Muggle.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Take it back, filthy peasant! I'm here to seek my wizarding ancestry.
MORFIN: You ain't but half-blood. You's the son of them Riddle folk.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Oh, really? (does the Jedi mind-trick thing with his hand) When the Muggles turn up dead tomorrow, you'll say you killed them.
MORFIN: I'll say I killed them.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: And you'll send me any pretty artifacts you have lying around.
MORFIN: Send you artifacts.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: And dancing girls that pop out of a cake, every year on my birthday. Chocolate cake. Cherry filling. Gold bikinis, on the girls.
MORFIN: Cake. Bikinis.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Jolly good. My work here's done.
YOUNGER SLUGHORN is petting the head of YOUNG VOLDEMORT, who leans on his chair and smiles up at YOUNGER SLUGHORN.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Here, sir, have some more pineapple, and tell me about the teachers who are retiring and what exactly goes on behind the scenes at this school.
YOUNGER SLUGHORN: Ah, Tom, you're the cutest thing, with your pineapple and your long eyelashes. I'd be happy to tell you that (in new and obviously dubbed-over voice) *you'll come to great evil someday! I can sense it! Don't ask me any more questions; I won't answer them!*
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Sir, just one little question: tell me about Horcruxes.
YOUNGER SLUGHORN: Aww, Tommy honey, here's the thing about Horcruxes: (dubbed-over voice) *I won't speak of them! They're definitely bad! Won't tell you!*
DUMBLEDORE'S OFFICE, MODERN DAY
DUMBLEDORE: So, did that seem at all artificial to you?
HARRY: Uhhh, yeah. I can do a better dub-and-remix job with iTunes. So what did Slughorn really say?
DUMBLEDORE: That's your new job, Harry. Find out. No point talking to me again till you do; out you go; nighty night.
HARRY: Making this antidote is too complicated. What does the Half-Blood Prince say? (looks it up)...Shove a *what* down their throat?
SLUGHORN: Time's up! Harry?
HARRY: Um...here. (hands SLUGHORN a bezoar, which apparently is some kind of goat kidney stone)
SLUGHORN: Hah! Very good!
HERMIONE: (to HARRY) I hate you.
HARRY: Hey, Professor...what do you know about Horcruxes?
SLUGHORN: Nothing! It's just a rumor!
I was innocent! Leave me
SLUGHORN sprints out of the room.
WILKIE TWYCROSS: Hello. I am your Ministry Apparition instructor, and I quite possibly have the snappiest British name of anyone in the book. Now--attempt to Apparate yourselves into the hula hoops in front of you.
STUDENT 4: Aaagghhhh! My leg!!
STUDENT 91: I think I just left my cuticle in another dimension!!
STUDENT 52: Where is my spleen?? I'm dying! The agony!!
STUDENT 84: My eye! Oh my God oh my God oh my God!
WILKIE TWYCROSS: Lovely. Good work, everyone. We'll pick up here, same time next week.
RON: Mmm. Chocolates.
HARRY: You know, it's odd; Malfoy keeps disappearing off the Marauder's Map. Can't figure it out.
RON falls on the floor clutching his heart.
RON: I can't take it! I'm so in love! Oh, Romilda, Romilda!
HARRY: What? Oh, you stupid git, you ate the love potions.
HARRY drags RON to SLUGHORN's office.
SLUGHORN: He'll be fine. Drink this.
RON drinks some antidote, and suddenly looks horrified.
RON: I didn't say the "L" word to
you, did I, Harry?
HARRY: Yeah, you did. That is--not *to* me, exactly, but--why? What are you getting at?
RON: Nothing. Got any booze, Professor?
SLUGHORN: Of course! Always happy to liquor up the 16-year-olds.
SLUGHORN pours them some mead. RON takes a swig and pretty much dies. HARRY grabs the nearest goat stone and shoves it down RON's throat. The book says RON's body goes limp and still, but somehow the READERS are not actually worried that ROWLING would have killed off RON just now.
CONSCIOUS WEASLEYS: So Ron will be okay?
MADAM POMFREY: Yes.
PROFESSORS: Who would do such a thing?
HARRY: Death Eaters. Helloooo.
PROFESSORS: Aw, come off it, Harry.
HOSPITAL WING, LATER ON
HARRY wakes up with a bandaged head.
HARRY: What happened?
MADAM POMFREY: Cracked skull. Remember how you let McLaggen play on your Quidditch team, since Ron was indisposed? Yeah, well, he kind of clobbered you. Accidentally, of course.
RON: (from his bed) Haha. Guess I'm not the suckiest Keeper ever.
HARRY: Course not. Say, your sister didn't happen to come in here and hug me and kiss me and cry over me while I was unconscious, did she?
HARRY: Nothing. You know, I was thinking about Malfoy...
RON: Jeez, marry him already.
HOSPITAL WING, LATER STILL
RON is asleep.
HARRY: By Jove, I've got it! Yo, Kreacher! Dobby!
KREACHER and DOBBY appear.
KREACHER: Words can't express how I hate you.
DOBBY: Shut up, ugly nasty house-elf! Dobby will stick his socks up your nose! Harry Potter is the most wonderfulest person ever!
HARRY: What I need you two to do is follow Draco Malfoy. Figure out where he goes. Ask him if he'd be interested in catching a movie with me sometime. No no, cancel that last part. Damn slashers; putting thoughts in my head.
DUMBLEDORE: Have you found out what Slughorn really said to Voldemort about Horcruxes?
HARRY: Well...no...there was this thing I had to do...and then this other thing...and...okay fine I suck.
DUMBLEDORE: As long as you know it. Right, it's time for Guess That Memory!
PENSIEVE: SOME FRILLY DRAWING ROOM
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Oh, Lady Hepzibah, what *lovely* knickknacks you have! I do so wish I could "borrow" them from you. A cup with the Hufflepuff badger...a locket with the Slytherin snake...my my, how lucky you are. Here, let me stir your cocoa for you. With my back turned.
HARRY: So, he was collecting tacky Hogwarts artifacts.
HARRY: Maybe he could take one of those god-awful paintings we have in the hall. Nobody would miss them.
DUMBLEDORE: Er...yes. Anyway, one more memory: in you go!
DUMBLEDORE'S OFFICE, IN THE PAST
VOLDEMORT: Hello, Dumbledore. Please ignore my skin condition and my red eyes. I have allergies. I was wondering...might you need a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher?
DUMBLEDORE: If it's you, hell no.
VOLDEMORT: Then you have elected the way of pain. (flounces out)
DUMBLEDORE'S OFFICE, PRESENT
HARRY: Huh. I would have thought, with his temperament, he'd want to be a dentist. Why did he want to teach?
DUMBLEDORE: Oh my, look at the time! Talk to you later.
HARRY: Sweet! Dobby and Kreacher found out where Malfoy's been going: the Room of Requirement! Which I totally should have guessed, since that's where the rest of us went when we didn't want to get found.
HERMIONE: That's nice. How's that memory from Slughorn going?
HARRY: Shut up.
HARRY spends a long time trying to get into the Room of Requirement and failing utterly, but does cause a few giggles by whispering "You're very pretty, aren't you?" to GOYLE, who is outside the room disguised as a girl. Also, MOANING MYRTLE talks about some boy who's sensitive and sweet and spends a lot of time crying in the bathroom. This will matter later, mostly to FANFIC WRITERS. In addition, DEPRESSED!TONKS shows up again. It goes about like this:
HARRY: Wotcher, Tonks.
DEPRESSED!TONKS: Hi. Came to see Dumbledore.
HARRY: Oh. How's the Order going? I mean, no one writes to me anymore, since Sirius...
HARRY: (to HERMIONE, later) She was in love with Sirius! It's obvious!
HERMIONE: Whatever. How's that memory of Slughorn's coming along?
HARRY: Shut up.
HARRY is reading a note from HAGRID.
HARRY: Ewww. Aragog died, and Hagrid wants us to come to the funeral. Heading out at night to stare at the world's hugest dead spider--you know, in a book full of gross things, this is actually one of the grossest.
RON: Not going.
HERMIONE: Me neither.
HARRY: F*@%$# cowards, leave me to do everything.
That night, HARRY takes a swallow of Lucky Drink, and begins to see the world as a brighter place.
HARRY: I think I'll go to a rave! Or, okay, a funeral will do.
On his Invisible way out the door, he shimmies against GINNY.
GINNY: Damn it, Dean, stop that! That's it! We're through!
HARRY grins, and continues on. He encounters SLUGHORN outside, and removes the Invisibility Cloak.
HARRY: Hi, Prof! Ain't it the loveliest evening? Want to come with me and pet a dead acromantula?
SLUGHORN: Heck yeah!
I cannot comment in too much detail about ARAGOG's funeral. As stated, the notion of a gigantic dead spider is too incredibly revolting. Suffice it to say that SLUGHORN takes some venom from ARAGOG that's worth so much he'll probably be sending out spam emails to advertise it (subject line: "Spider Venom Cheapest Ever!! emasculate bangkok fermentation"), and SOBBING!HAGRID ends up pouring copious amounts of wine for everyone.
HARRY: Another drink, Professor?
SLUGHORN: Absurtutely! Thankoo.
HARRY: Oh Professor, you're so smart and so understanding, I...(pretends to wipe away a tear)...I hoped I could talk to you about Voldemort killing my mom and dad...
SLUGHORN: Oh, my poor boy. Your mother was my hottest student. I mean, brightest. Of course you can talk to me.
HARRY: Then...you'd help me?
SLUGHORN: In any way I can, any way at all.
HARRY: Give me the rest of the Horcrux memory?
SLUGHORN: Oh, well, screw that.
HARRY: Please, please, please? In honor of my hot mother?
SLUGHORN starts blubbering, pats HARRY on the head, and extracts the memory for him.
HARRY: Booyah! (kisses the Felix Felicis vial) I love you. Now maybe I ought to sneak into the girls' dormitory before it wears off. Nah, being a virgin is too much fun. I'll visit Dumbledore instead.
HARRY: Sorry to show up in the middle of the night, but--
DUMBLEDORE: Had another saucy dream about Miss Weasley? Wanted to discuss it with a grown man? I assure you, it's perfectly normal, and in fact--
HARRY: Whoa hey! No fair doing Legilimens! Anyway, um, no; I got Slughorn's memory...
DUMBLEDORE: Ah. Thank God. If I had to lecture one more teenager on magical birth control this week, I would have gone insane.
PENSIEVE: SLUGHORN'S OFFICE, PAST
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Sir, just one little question: tell me about Horcruxes.
YOUNGER SLUGHORN: Aww, Tommy honey, here's the thing about Horcruxes: they're real dangerous, but if you want to know...
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Oh yes, sir, ever so much.
YOUNGER SLUGHORN: Well, you know The One Ring? How Sauron contained some of his power or soul or something in it, so he couldn't totally be destroyed as long as the Ring was out there?
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: Only nerds read that book, but yeah, I've heard of it.
YOUNGER SLUGHORN: Similar deal. Except here, you have to kill someone in order to split your soul and stuff a piece of it into a ring, or a ceiling fan, or a tea cozy, or what have you.
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: (eager) What if you've already killed, like, three or four people? Could you get started right away?
YOUNGER SLUGHORN: Uh...why do you ask?
YOUNG VOLDEMORT: No reason. More pineapple?
HARRY: Oh. I begin to see the problem.
DUMBLEDORE: Yep. So, there was the diary, that was one Horcrux. But chances are he made seven, so we're nowhere near finished.
HARRY: Well, crap. Where are they?
DUMBLEDORE: Been wondering why my hand's all burned?
HARRY: Yes. Have we finally reached the point in the plot where you tell me?
DUMBLEDORE: Marvolo's ring. Bit of a curse when I de-Horcruxed it. Oops. And the other Horcruxes: there's probably the locket, the cup, maybe the snake, something Ravenclaw-ish, something Gryffindory, something borrowed, something blue...hell, I don't know.
HARRY: Well, if you find one, I'll help you smash it to bits.
DUMBLEDORE and HARRY then go on for five or six pages about the prophecy and whether HARRY is really meant to do this, or obligated to do that, or what exactly; and the whole thing is a little too much like the duller conversations about Fate in the 'Matrix' movies; and anyway the upshot is, yeah, HARRY will help DUMBLEDORE destroy the Horcruxes.
HERMIONE: Neato! So you'll be out to destroy Voldemort!
HARRY: Well, I have been trying to do that for years, but yes. So, what's new around here?
RON: Lavender and I broke up. No biggie. Ginny and Dean too. ...Harry? You still with us?
HARRY: I wasn't thinking about your sister! Don't hit me!
HARRY obsesses about his romantic dilemma for a while. The book says, and I quote, "The battle still raged inside his head: Ginny or Ron?" As a consequence, several dirty-minded READERS snicker. Then he swings into the 7th-floor boys' bathroom and finds DRACO sobbing at one of the sinks while MOANING MYRTLE tries to console him.
HARRY/DRACO SHIPPERS: (nearly fainting) Oh my God, it's the best hurt/comfort setup ever!!! Hug him!! Hug him!!!
DRACO sees HARRY, wheels around, and tries to send the Cruciatus curse at him.
HARRY/DRACO SHIPPERS: Okay, well, close enough!
HARRY: Sectumsempra! Whatever that does!
What it does is knock DRACO to the floor with blood pouring from half his body.
HARRY: Yikes. Er...I, uh...
SNAPE bursts in and does some magical first-aid on DRACO, then turns to HARRY.
SNAPE: You have detention in the worst way. Don't you dare move.
SNAPE takes DRACO to the hospital wing.
HARRY: 'Kay, the Half-Blood Prince should put a warning on that one.
HARRY/DRACO SHIPPERS: Did you see how in love they were?? They were on the floor in the water and the blood and the tears, and Harry felt bad, and oh my God it was beautiful!!
OTHER READERS: Yeah, um, maybe if Harry really cared, he would have actually apologized. Or sent some flowers to the hospital wing. In fact, he still should; I mean, just as a matter of etiquette.
SNAPE: Your detention task is to organize Salazar Slytherin's Rolodex files. He knew thousands of people but, sadly, could not alphabetize to save his life.
HARRY: (smirk) Compared to Detention with Dolores, this ain't nothin'.
READERS: So at Hogwarts, if you nearly kill someone, all you get is detention rather than, say, expulsion or *prison*? Man, why didn't I go to this school?
HARRY wanders in after detention to find the place exploding with confetti.
RON: We won the Quidditch Cup! Isn't that awesome?
HARRY grabs GINNY from the crowd, and dips her halfway to the floor in a kiss like the soldier and the nurse in that famous WWII V-J-Day picture. REST OF GRYFFINDORS freeze in shock.
HARRY: Oh, uh...is this OK, Ron?
RON: Eh, whatever.
HARRY: Shall we go for a stroll, then, m'dear?
GINNY: Aye aye, Captain.
NORMAL READERS: Awww.
READERS WHO ARE HELL-BENT ON SEEING HARRY WITH HERMIONE, DRACO, RON, LUNA, OR ANYONE ELSE: No! No!! *No*!!! You're ruining it, Rowling!! I hate you!!! I'll never read your books again!!!!
NORMAL READERS: Think maybe you're overreacting *just* a tad?
HERMIONE: We should really find out who the Half-Blood Prince was, don't you think?
HARRY: (on the carpet, with his tongue in GINNY's mouth) Uh-huh.
HERMIONE: I mean, clearly he or she was someone rather dangerous.
RON: I don't know; the bezoar thingy saved my life, so-- oy!! Harry, get your hands where I can see them!!
READERS: Or, here's an idea, Ron: grab Hermione and start doing the same thing.
HOGWARTS, SEVENTH FLOOR (ACCESSORIES, WOMEN'S SHOES, AND ROOMS OF REQUIREMENT)
TRELAWNEY tumbles across the hallway in front of HARRY.
HARRY: Need some help, Professor?
TRELAWNEY: Gracious! I was only trying to hide my empties in the Room of Requirement...
HARRY: That is incredibly sad.
TRELAWNEY: But some git was in there, yelling "I'm the man"!
HARRY: It's Malfoy! Come on, let's go tell Dumbledore.
TRELAWNEY: Nice guy, Dumbledore. I remember when he hired me, we were having the loveliest chat, and then Severus Snape fell on the floor from out of the broom closet...
HARRY: Snape heard the prophecy?? Uh-oh.
HARRY: Nothing! Got to run and see Dumbledore alone now; take care. Oh--and slingshot your empties into the Forbidden Forest; that's what all the students do.
HARRY: Now you listen to me. I...where are you going?
DUMBLEDORE: To destroy a Horcrux. Coming?
HARRY: Oh. Well...I guess...
DUMBLEDORE: Something wrong?
DUMBLEDORE: Aw, come on. Spill it. Fight with your girlfriend?
HARRY: No, dammit! Snape's evil, like I've been saying all along! He totally--wait, hang on, I need to turn on the caps lock of rage--HE TOTALLY TOLD VOLDEMORT TO KILL MY PARENTS! HE KNOWS THE PROPHECY! AND YOU HIRED HIM ANYWAY, YOU DIMWIT! WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO, RUIN MY LIFE?
DUMBLEDORE: Okay, so he did tell Voldemort. He's really sorry, though.
HARRY: How can you trust him?
DUMBLEDORE: I just do. Coming?
HARRY: (sulky) Yes.
DUMBLEDORE: Going to do whatever I tell you?
DUMBLEDORE: Even if it's "Squeal like a piglet and run away"?
DUMBLEDORE: Good. Go get your cloak.
HARRY bolts into the room.
HERMIONE: Wow, where's the fire, dude?
HARRY: Take the map! And the lucky potion! Watch Malfoy and Snape! Call the Coast Guard! Raise the terror alert level to orange! Grope Ginny goodbye for me!
HARRY dashes off.
RON and HERMIONE glance at each other.
RON: Which of us is supposed to do that last bit, I wonder?
CAVE AT THE OCEAN
DUMBLEDORE and HARRY Apparate onto the cliff.
DUMBLEDORE: This is the cave where Voldemort caused those two kids to lose their minds. Want to go in?
DUMBLEDORE: Let's see...the entrance is concealed with magic...how do we open it?
HARRY: Tried the Elvish word for "friend"?
DUMBLEDORE splashes some of his own blood on the wall instead. That does the trick. They enter the cave, which has a big underground lake.
DUMBLEDORE: Don't disturb the water.
HARRY: Big thing with tentacles going to reach out and grab me?
DUMBLEDORE: We'll find out when we take this boat into the water to get the Horcrux.
They start gliding out into the lake in the world's dinkiest lifeboat.
HARRY: Professor! There are dead things, dead faces, in the water!
DUMBLEDORE: I swear to Godric Gryffindor, Harry, if you don't stop quoting 'Lord of the Rings', I'm going to throw you in.
They get to a small rock in the middle of the lake, and find a basin full of glowing green liquid.
DUMBLEDORE: Interesting. Can't scoop it away, splash it, Vanish it, or do anything else. Seems I'll have to drink it. Harry: I order you to make me drink this.
HARRY: What, are we in a fraternity now?
DUMBLEDORE: Bottoms up.
DUMBLEDORE starts drinking goblets full of the green stuff. In what actually is an effective and painful scene, HARRY makes him keep drinking it. Finally DUMBLEDORE is on the ground and HARRY is freaking out, and at this moment the INFERI (a.k.a. Dead People in the Water) choose to climb out and advance upon them. Nearly-Unconscious DUMBLEDORE uses a Burning Ring of Fire to chase them away, and he and HARRY, with the Horcrux locket from the basin, make their escape.
READERS: Too cool. Can I just say, I can't believe it took this long for zombies to show up in this series.
HARRY and DUMBLEDORE Apparate back into Hogsmeade.
HARRY: Eeek! There's a Dark Mark over the school!
They grab some brooms and fly to the top of the Astronomy Tower. HARRY is about to run inside for help, when DUMBLEDORE silently immobilizes him. HARRY falls into a dark corner where he can conveniently still see everything without being seen. DRACO rushes out onto the roof.
DRACO: So I have you alone at last, Dumbledore. Your days are over! The day of the Death Eater is here! And now, you shall die.
DUMBLEDORE: Okay. Let's get on with it.
DRACO: Right...yes...but...first I need to
brag! We've been plotting to kill
you all year, right here under your nose!
DUMBLEDORE: I know. And now you've got me. Go ahead.
DRACO: Not without telling you how I did it! Do you think I studied all those James Bond villains for nothing?
DUMBLEDORE: All right, how'd you do it?
DRACO: In the Room of Requirement, there's a Vanishing Cabinet. I had it mended! And found another one, in Dark Side R Us, which leads to the first one! So we had a secret passage into the school! Ha, ha, ha!
DUMBLEDORE: Very clever. Need to work on your evil laugh, by the way.
DRACO: Shut up! I'll kill you!
DUMBLEDORE: So you said. Didn't work too well when you tried to get the evil necklace and the poisoned wine to me. Not that you minded nearly snuffing a couple Gryffindors, of course.
DRACO: That was clever of me too! Let me tell you about it. Madam Rosmerta has been under the Imperius Curse. She gave Katie the necklace. And sent in the wine.
DUMBLEDORE: (yawn) Fascinating. So, Dark Mark up there: your work?
DRACO: One of us, yeah. Someone is actually dead, too. Big fight going on down there, our people against yours.
DUMBLEDORE: I imagine so. Now, have you thought about what Voldemort will do to you if you fail to bump me off?
DRACO: Well...he told me, actually. At first I thought he would chain me to his side and make me wear a demeaning skimpy outfit, but as it turns out he'll just kill me. (sighs and lowers his wand) I admit I've been a little disturbed about that. Been taking a lot of long walks by myself, doing some crying; tried my hand at poetry...
DUMBLEDORE: Come to our side. We can help you. We have a witness protection program kind of thing; you'll dye your hair, take a new name, write an obituary for your old self, forget the poetry...
Just then, a bunch of DEATH EATERS burst onto the roof. With them is SNAPE. There's a little bit of snarling about who gets to kill DUMBLEDORE and everybody else in Hogwarts, since DRACO is wimping out, but the important thing is this:
After the discussion, SNAPE walks up to DUMBLEDORE, and points his wand at him.
SNAPE: Avada Kedavra!
DUMBLEDORE takes the death ray in the chest and plummets off the Astronomy Tower. FROZEN!HARRY would scream "Nooooo!" just like FRODO at the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, but he's frozen, so he can't.
READERS: That did *not* just happen.
READERS all flip back a page and re-read that passage, then continue onward with their mouths hanging open.
HARRY gets unfrozen. He chases the DEATH EATERS down into the Tower and finds himself in the middle of an all-out wizard brawl, Good v. Evil. HARRY, like the READERS, kind of just races through all this, only pausing to see if anyone we know is dead, because he (like us) is more interested in whether DUMBLEDORE really got killed by SNAPE or not. There was a safety net down there, right? He had an Avada-Kedavra-proof vest on, right? Out on the lawn HARRY catches up with SNAPE.
HARRY: Ow! Impedi--
HARRY: Ow! Sectum--
SNAPE: Nope, not that either. I *am* the Half-Blood Prince, by the way; I can totally block anything you try to do.
HARRY: Nooo! It's not possible!
HAGRID and BUCKBEAK swoop out and join in the fight. SNAPE and the other DEATH EATERS run away.
HAGRID: Whew, good thing I got out here before anyone really got hurt, eh, Harry? Say...what's that at the base of the Astronomy Tower?
They push through the crowd staring at DEAD!DUMBLEDORE. HARRY kneels and picks up the Horcrux locket. There's a note inside: "Dear Voldemort: I took the real Horcrux. This one's a fake. Ha ha ha. You suck and I hope you die. Love, R.A.B."
HARRY: Well, damn it all.
READERS: Regulus Black! Regulus Black! I was the first to say it! W00t!
GINNY guides HARRY into the hospital wing, where BILL is all bandaged up and unconscious, and other GOOD GUYS are scraped and bruised.
HARRY: So what's up with Bill?
GINNY: Got bit by the bad kind of werewolf. He might be kinda wolfy from now on. We're not sure.
RON: Dumbledore would know. Where is that lazy sod, anyhow?
GINNY: He's dead.
HARRY: Snape killed him.
EVEN-MORE-DEPRESSED!LUPIN starts weeping in a corner. So do MADAM POMFREY and MCGONAGALL. Just when READERS think they can hold it together, FAWKES THE PHOENIX starts singing mournfully outside somewhere. READERS grumble and look for a tissue.
MCGONAGALL: Snape? No...surely not...
HARRY: Is it rude to say "I told you so"?
HERMIONE: We're so sorry, Harry! We screwed it all up! We let him get away!
HARRY: Yeah, well, as long as you know that.
FLEUR and MR. and MRS. WEASLEY rush in.
MRS. WEASLEY: Oh, our poor rabid Bill! And he was going to get married, too. Shame he can't now.
FLEUR: Excusez-moi? He eez brave! I love heem all ze more! And you theenk his scars will not be sexy?
READERS: Damn it, now even Fleur is making me cry. How does that work?
DEPRESSED!TONKS: See, Remus? *She* doesn't mind marrying a part-wolf.
DEPRESSED!LUPIN: I'm too old for you...too furry...
DEPRESSED!TONKS: No you aren't, you bloody fool.
REMUS/SIRIUS SHIPPERS: He's not interested. You can tell. It won't happen.
MCGONAGALL: Well, I guess I'm headmistress now. I'd like a word with Harry and all the remaining non-traitorous heads of houses, please.
In the headmistress's office, there is now a portrait of DUMBLEDORE, sleeping. MCGONAGALL turns away from it.
READERS: Dude. Wake him up!
He's dead, he doesn't need to sleep! Wake him up and talk to him!!
MCGONAGALL: So, everybody. Think we should even bother opening Hogwarts next year? The place is kind of a death trap.
FLITWICK: Let's let the governors decide.
MCGONAGALL: Yeah, okay. On another note, etiquette question: if we all wear black at the funeral, it isn't going to look like we worship the Dark Lord, is it?
TONKS and LUPIN, no longer entirely depressed, are holding hands.
REMUS/SIRIUS SHIPPERS: Argh. Damn it, Rowling, it was funny when you did it to the Harry/AnyoneButGinny shippers, but it isn't funny now!
REST OF READERS: It is, actually.
MERPEOPLE rise up out of the lake to sing a lament. HAGRID is bawling. GINNY is crying. RON and HERMIONE are weeping into each other's long flowing tresses. Finally HARRY is crying too. READERS grumble again, and go fetch the entire box of tissues, realizing this is not going to be a single-Kleenex chapter.
HARRY: Ginny...I'm going to say what Spiderman and Superman and all the other superheroes always have to say to their girlfriends...
GINNY: Putting yourself in pretty high company there, aren't you?
HARRY: You're in danger if you're with me. I can't let that happen. I'll come fetch you when the world's totally safe, okay?
GINNY: Yeah. Figured.
HARRY: (chucks her under the chin) Here's looking at you, kid. If you ever need me, just whistle.
HARRY turns and bumps into SCRIMGEOUR.
SCRIMGEOUR: Harry, my boy! The time has never been better to join the Ministry, so--
HARRY: Screw you.
HARRY, RON, and HERMIONE start walking across the grounds.
RON: Think we ought to come back to Hogwarts next year?
HARRY: Don't see the point. I'd rather hunt down the Horcruxes.
HERMIONE: Then we're coming too.
HARRY: Suit yourselves. Hey, have you guys kissed yet?
RON: Nah. Saving that for Book Seven.
SEVERAL READERS: Damn it.
They shell out cash and hand it off to other READERS.