|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Major Event|
|Visit to Xenophilius Lovegood|
|Location||Ottery St. Catchpole, near The Burrow|
|Time Period||Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, shortly after Christmas|
|Important Characters||Harry, Hermione, Ron, Xenophilius Lovegood, Death Eaters|
Ron, returning to Harry and Hermione's campsite, reports that Xenophilius Lovegood is using The Quibbler to print pro-Harry stories. They decide to visit him; though taken aback by the Trio appearing on his doorstep, Xenophilius invites them in. While there, they discuss the Tale of the Three Brothers and the Deathly Hallows. Death Eaters arrive, and it appears that Xenophilius has betrayed the Trio in hopes of getting his daughter Luna released from captivity. The Trio escape, largely through Hermione's efforts.
The visit to Godric's Hollow and the subsequent reading of The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore has raised more questions: the symbol used by Grindelwald appears also in a letter by Albus Dumbledore reprinted in that book, in the book that Dumbledore had bequeathed to Hermione, and on Ignotus Peverell's gravestone in the cemetery at Godric's Hollow. Clearly, Dumbledore thought it was significant, but we have no information as yet as to why. Recalling that Xenophilius Lovegood had been wearing that symbol also at Bill and Fleur's wedding, Hermione and Harry debate visiting him to try to find the meaning of the symbol. Ron, freshly returned to the group, reports that Xenophilius has turned the Quibbler into a pro-Harry propaganda paper, and would be likely to welcome a visit. Harry suspects that Ron's taking Hermione's side in the argument is an attempt to get back into Hermione's good graces, and believes that this will continue.
When they arrive at Xenophilius' house, he seems disconcerted, but asks them in, saying that Luna is down at the bridge catching plimpies. He sends an owl off, then brings an almost undrinkable tea. While they wait for Luna's return, the Trio ask about the symbol he was wearing at the wedding. He explains that it is the symbol of the Deathly Hallows, and is worn by those actively seeking the Hallows. When the Trio say they don't know about the Hallows, Xenophilius has Hermione read the Tale of the Three Brothers from The Tales of Beedle the Bard, the book Dumbledore had left her and the story marked with the Deathly Hallows sign.
The Tale of the Three Brothers tells of three brothers who, on crossing a supposedly uncrossable river, meet Death and bargain with him. The first brother demands a wand that cannot be defeated in a duel. Death creates this wand for him from an elder branch, and the brother goes on to win duels in the next town he visits. However, that night, when he is asleep, he is murdered and the wand stolen. The second brother asks for a way to call back the dead; given a Resurrection Stone, the brother returns home, and uses the stone to bring back his beloved fiancée. Her soul, though, has been changed by death and is no longer at home in the world of the living, so he shortly kills himself to be with her. The third demands Death's own Invisibility Cloak, one that is good enough to allow the wearer even to hide from Death. In due time, when he was ready to meet Death himself, he passed the Cloak to his son, and the cloak has thenceforth passed from father to son.
Xenophilius says that the three items mentioned, the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak, are the three Deathly Hallows. The belief is that the wizard (or, presumably, witch) who holds all three Hallows will have defeated Death.
As Xenophilius goes off to prepare lunch, the Trio discuss this story. Hermione holds that it is clearly all myth, but is taken aback to realize that the Elder Wand or Deathstick has left a very clear and bloody track through history, and that the characteristics of the Invisibility Cloak as laid out by Xenophilius precisely match the cloak Harry holds. The one sticking point for Hermione is the Resurrection Stone, which she flatly says is impossible; it must be a misinterpretation of the Philosopher's Stone, which they already know about.
While Ron and Hermione continue the debate, Harry visits Luna's bedroom, attracted by a mural Luna has painted which includes portrayals of himself, Hermione, and Ron. He finds the room is slightly dusty, as if it hasn't been used for a while. When Xenophilius returns with lunch, Harry asks where Luna's plate is, and why her bedroom is unused. At this moment, the printing press that has been working quietly all this time under a cover, suddenly spills copies of the next issue of the Quibbler all over the floor, showing Harry's face with the "Undesirable Number 1" notation that Harry had already seen at the Ministry. Xenophilius, breaking down, replies that Luna was taken off the Hogwarts Express on her way home from Hogwarts at Christmas, and is being held by Death Eaters because of Xenophilius' printing pro-Harry stories. Further, in an attempt to get Luna released, he has sent an owl to the Ministry reporting Harry's presence. As he says this, two Death Eaters arrive, and he goes down to meet them, locking the Trio in.
After convincing the Death Eaters that he has someone there, Xenophilius returns with wand drawn to where the Trio are; but his spell, missing the Trio, hits an Erumpent horn mounted on the wall. The horn explodes, damaging the house and burying Xenophilius under rubble. As Xenophilius digs himself out, Hermione throws the Invisibility Cloak over Ron, casts a memory charm on Xenophilius to make him forget they were there, and blows a hole in the floor under them. As they fall, once the Death Eaters have seen them, Hermione Disapparates all three of them to safety.
- The Trio learn of the Deathly Hallows and that they are, by reputation, a way of defeating Death. It is possible that Harry may seek the Hallows, as a way of preventing Voldemort from murdering him.
- We learn that one of the few remaining centres of resistance against Voldemort, the Quibbler, has fallen. We also learn that Death Eaters are now kidnapping people to put pressure on their family members.
- We already believe that Voldemort has made Horcruxes out of two artifacts of the Founders, Hufflepuff's cup and Slytherin's locket. Xenophilius reports that he is working to reconstruct Ravenclaw's lost diadem; though we pass over it at the time, we should note that this potentially is another artifact of the Founders and, if it has been found, it is possible that Voldemort may have made it into another Horcrux.
- We further learn that the "radishes" that Luna has been wearing as earrings are, in fact, "dirigible plums", and that Xenophilius Lovegood believes them to have beneficial effects on the hearing, when suspended near the ears.
Once again, the Trio are saved by Hermione's quick thinking. She will shortly explain that the Death Eaters should not see Ron, because he is meant to be at the Burrow, suffering from Spattergroit, and if the Death Eaters learn otherwise, Ron's family will be endangered. Presumably the memory charm on Xenophilius is meant to serve the same purpose, but perhaps made deliberately over-broad: if Xenophilius doesn't remember anything from that day, it could be because the house fell on him. However, the Death Eaters should see Harry, so they know that Xenophilius was not lying when he said Harry was in his house; this may keep them from cursing Xenophilius for having brought them out to no purpose. It is simplest to nearly drop in on the Death Eaters so they can see what they expect to see, rather than trying to craft a more precise memory charm and simply Disapparating all of them before Xenophilius recovers.
As mentioned, Harry will become obsessed with the idea of the Deathly Hallows, seeing it as one way to avoid his fate. Having been similarly obsessed as a youth, Dumbledore had expected this obsession; it seems that his way of dealing with this was to leave clues so that it would be a gradual process of discovery. Dumbledore reasons that if the discovery is more abrupt, the infatuation with the idea of cheating Death will be greater. The reason that this understanding is necessary is that Harry will have to understand at least one of the Hallows, the Elder Wand, in order to complete his mission to destroy Voldemort. While this must remain speculative, the author has made it reasonably clear that Dumbledore will have guessed, as early as the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, that Voldemort will have doubts in the ability of his wand to have any effect on Harry, given the events in the cemetery. Further, Dumbledore knows that he is the current holder of the Elder Wand, having taken it away from Grindelwald in their duel some fifty years earlier. Some time during the two years covered in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore determines that eventually Voldemort will start hunting the Elder Wand, and Harry must be prepared to deal with it when that happens. Dumbledore's having found the Resurrection Stone in the summer between those two books, and his earlier awareness that James Potter's Invisibility Cloak was the third Hallow, would be less important to Harry.
Harry's awareness of the myth will actually allow him to recognize the Resurrection Stone for what it is, when he retrieves it from within the Snitch that Dumbledore had bequeathed him. It is in the memories of Bob Ogden, as he visits the House of Gaunt, that we first see the Peverell ring. Reviewing Ogden's memories, and remembering that it was Ignotus Peverell who was supposed to be one of the three brothers of the tale, Harry will decide that the "coat of arms" on the Ring is actually the sigil of the Hallows, and so the ring contains the Resurrection Stone. Despite Hermione's disbelief that any such thing could exist, Harry will hold to this idea, and guess that the Ring is within the Snitch; and the Resurrection Stone will act to bring Harry's loved ones back from the dead to support him in what he believes to be his final hour.
It should be mentioned also that one side episode, Xenophilius' attempt to recreate Rowena Ravenclaw's lost diadem, is also important here. Harry will need to find Voldemort's final Horcrux, and knowing that two Horcruxes have been secreted within artifacts of the Founders, he will be hunting for a third. This is the first point where he becomes aware that there is an artifact that has not been accounted for, that may have survived to the present. It is worth noting how the author allows Harry to be aware of its existence, but at the same time decreases its apparent value to the story line by making it humorous; if anyone other than Xenophilius Lovegood had been trying to reconstruct the Lost Diadem, Harry, and we, would have taken it a lot more seriously.