It's been harder than I had hoped to keep up with this - but since everyone but a few who might interested in this are off at DiaCon Alley for fannish fun, I doubt I've disappointed anyone. :-D If any of you are still along for the ride, let's go find out how our heroes fared after the ambush.
It looked pretty grim for Hagrid at the end of The Seven Potters: he's lying face down on the ground and not responding to Harry's calls. I will confess that I had feared when I first read this that the title of the chapter referred to Hagrid and that he'd be the first casualty. I was glad to be wrong. I'm not sure why, but I'm kind of attached to the big guy ::g::, so I was very relieved when, after Ted Tonks rescues Harry from garden and heals him, the first thing he tells Harry is that Hagrid's OK. Mr. Tonks, however, is very surprised to hear Harry's news that the Order had been betrayed and pursued right to their very door. It doesn't help Harry's state of mind when Andromeda Tonks, who looks very much like her sister Bellatrix, walks in. He feels pretty awful about the mistaken identity, and even worse when he can't tell Tonks' parents what has become of her (you will notice that they do not mention Remus). Harry and Hagrid have only a few moments before they must take the Portkey to The Burrow, but Harry promises to have Tonks send word as soon as she arrives at the Weasley's.
Harry arrives at The Burrow to the bad news that they are the only ones to yet arrive. Ron with Tonks and Mr. Weasley with Fred should have arrived before Harry and Hagrid. A minute later Remus Lupin arrives cradling George, who is bleeding profusely. The first thing Lupin does after turning George over to his mother is drag Harry off at wand-point to question him to make certain he is the 'real' Harry. Harry then tells the story of how the Death Eaters following him seemed to know it was him and Lupin jumps all over him, telling him that Expelliarmus is considered his 'signature' defensive spell and that it's 'suicidal' for him to use it. Harry is horrified by Lupin's words, knowing that had he used any other spell on Stan Shunpike in his condition, he would have killed him, and he will not kill innocents - that's how Voldemort operates. Lupin's reply to this is lost when Hagrid asks after George. Then Kingsley and Hermione arrive safely. They asked to be filled in after Shacklebolt and Lupin confirm each other's identities. Lupin tells everyone that it was Snape who cursed George, using Sectumsempra to cut off George's ear, and says that he wishes he could say that he'd 'paid him back in kind.'
Does anyone else find JKR's attempt to make Lupin a BAMF as out of character as I do? Going back and looking at Remus Lupin in the previous books, he seems almost *too* passive. He was always portrayed before as the gentle, understanding soul, counseling restraint, offering comfort, sadder and wiser for all he's learned in his suffering. In DH, it's like the author is trying to turn that characterization on its head, and it just doesn't ring true to me. I have to confess, too, that before I started reading Snupin, I didn't much like Lupin because of his passivity and his cowardly behavior. The better Snupin writers never denied these flaws, but allowed him to grow out of them and atone for them, in large part because of love. I have the awkward feeling that JKR was trying to portray that as well, trying to show that Lupin has changed because of his love for Tonks. So why does he seem so very peculiar when, a few minutes later, Tonks and Ron arrive? He is stiff and nearly silent, - and when he does speak, sounds angry at Tonks. Contrast this with Ron's welcome by Hermione. Though I don't believe for a second that Ron and Hermione are a good fit for each other, I have no difficulty believing that they do love each other. I can easily believe that Tonks loves Lupin, too. I'm just having difficulty swallowing the opposite.
Kingsley must head back to Downing Street, and just after he leaves, Bill and Fleur arrive with very bad news: Mad-Eye Moody is dead. It seems that Voldemort went after Mad-Eye and Dung first. Mundungus panicked and Disapparated, leaving Moody vulnerable as he tried to stop him. Voldemort cursed him and he fell backward off of his broom, presumably already dead before he hit the ground. This did not hit me as hard, I think, as it was supposed to. Is it wrong of me to have liked Barty Crouch as Mad-Eye better than I liked the real Mad-Eye?
In GoF, his character was exactly what he should have been: eccentric, yes, but not mean; rather, gruff/crusty with the proverbial heart of gold. At least until we discover that this isn't Mad-Eye at all. We meet the real Mad-Eye when the Order comes to take Harry to 12 Grimmauld Place in OotP. He spends a lot of that time yelling and displaying an astounding paranoia. In his defense, however, if I had just spent 3/4 of a year stuffed in a trunk under the Imperius curse, I'm sure I'd be a little paranoid, too. (As an aside - this is another instance of an epic Dumbledore!Fail that seems to have no impact on him whatsoever. He lives under the same roof for nine months, and presumably has several conversations with, someone who is impersonating an old, close friend. And he does not detect this impostor until it is almost too late, did not find anything suspicious about the faux Moody in all of that time, yet no one - least of all Moody, it seems - blames him for that. Albus Dumbledore - Teflon wizard. Amazing.) He doesn't, however, improve with time. The real Moody is a pretty unpleasant person, and though I respected him, I didn't like him much. This rather blunted the impact his death had on me. Sad though it was, I wasn't deeply emotionally invested in Alastor Moody and was able to raise my mental glass to him (along with the Order) without undue distress.
After the toasts are done, the topic of conversation turns to the betrayal and to the Disapparation of Mundungus Fletcher, and it is here, in passing, that we learn that the Order believes that it's Dung who has come up with the idea of multiple Harrys. Based on the fact that this was not known to the Death Eaters who ambushed them, the group decides that it isn't he who is the betrayer. After the others begin looking askance at Hagrid, Harry declares his trust in them all. Lupin gets all BAMFy again and derides him for thinking, like his father before him, that his friends would not betray him. Considering the level of his bitterness, one wonders just whose betrayal is eating at Lupin right then.
Suddenly, Lupin decides that now is the time to go retrieve Moody's body and Bill agrees to accompany him. Harry wants to go with them and is quickly argued down. Already he is feeling like a burden and a danger to his friends, and worries that it won't be long before Voldemort discovers where he is, to everyone else's detriment. During the argument, he discloses that he feels as if his wand acted of its own accord during the fight, which the others dismiss as Harry acting without realizing it, due to stress. His scar is really hurting him now, and he's angry that the rest of them don't believe what he says about his wand, and have browbeat him into staying despite his better judgement, so he leaves the house and goes out into the garden. While he is mourning Dumbledore afresh and wishing desperately for his guidance, the pain in his scar suddenly flares and he has a vision of Voldemort torturing Mr. Olivander. Voldemort demands to know why, in spite of what Olivander told him, Lucius' wand was destroyed attempting to do what he cannot with his own, as his wand shares a core with Harry's. When Olivander cannot explain, Voldemort Crucios him again and again, assuming that he is lying.
The vision ceases abruptly, and Harry returns to himself to discover Hermione and Ron standing with him by the garden gate. They are afraid he might be leaving in spite of the earlier attempts to persuade him to stay and try to draw him back into the house. It is Hermione who first notices Harry's shellshocked demeanor, and he tells them what he saw. The chapter closes as Hermione just about flips out over the renewed connection to Voldemort and begs him to kill the connection now, before the Dark Lord takes him over as he has everything else.
So, what is you opinion about this chapter? As a continuation of the story, I thought it pretty good. It has a good deal of tension and suspense as we wait to find out who the chapter title refers to (how did the news that it was Moody affect you?), and inches forward the motivation for Voldemort to seek the Elder Wand. In terms of character development, perhaps just so -so. We get to meet Tonks' parents, and get a small sense of them - Ted, especially. We see Harry's 'good guy cred' get more firmly established as he worries over the danger in which he's placed the people he cares about and as he refuses to succumb to the notion that he should do others harm for his own sake. The Twins act exactly as we'd expect them to over George's injury. Ginny's something of a non-entity here, for all that JKR is trying to forward the romance between her and Harry, and Lupin . . . well, you've already had an eyeful over what I feel about that. :-) How do you see it?
I started this on Thursday evening. It is now Saturday morning. :-P I guess this is going to take me a bit longer than I thought! Thanks for hanging in there. I know I am in arrears on comments and such, and I'll try to get caught up today.