A visit to the Lovegoods

Ron, Harry and Hermione visit Xenophilius Lovegood in search of answers about the Deathly Hallows

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

‘That’s got to be Luna’s house, who else would live in a place like that? It looks like a giant rook!’

‘It’s nothing like a bird,’ said Hermione, frowning at the tower.

‘I was talking about a chess rook,’ said Ron. ‘A castle to you.’

Ron’s legs were the longest and he reached the top of the hill first. When Harry and Hermione caught up with him, panting and clutching stitches in their sides, they found him grinning broadly.

‘It’s theirs,’ said Ron. ‘Look.’

Three hand-painted signs had been tacked to a broken-down gate. The first read ‘The Quibbler. Editor: X. Lovegood’, the second, ‘Pick Your Own Mistletoe’, the third, ‘Keep Off the Dirigible Plums’.

The gate creaked as they opened it. The zigzagging path leading to the front door was overgrown with a variety of odd plants, including a bush covered in the orange, radish-like fruit Luna sometimes wore as earrings. Harry thought he recognised a Snargaluff, and gave the wizened stump a wide berth. Two aged crab-apple trees, bent with the wind, stripped of leaves but still heavy with berry-sized red fruits and bushy crowns of white-beaded mistletoe, stood sentinel on either side of the front door. A little owl with a slightly flattened, hawk-like head, peered down at them from one of the branches. ‘You’d better take off the Invisibility Cloak, Harry,’ said Hermione, ‘it’s you Mr Lovegood wants to help, not us.’

He did as she suggested, handing her the Cloak to stow in the beaded bag. She then rapped three times on the thick, black door, which was studded with iron nails and bore a knocker shaped like an eagle.

Barely ten seconds passed, then the door was flung open and there stood Xenophilius Lovegood, barefooted and wearing what appeared to be a stained nightshirt. His long, white, candyfloss hair was dirty and unkempt. Xenophilius had been positively dapper at Bill and Fleur’s wedding by comparison.

‘What? What is it? Who are you? What do you want?’ he cried, in a high-pitched, querulous voice, looking first at Hermione, then at Ron, and finally at Harry, upon which his mouth fell open in a perfect, comical ‘O’.

‘Hello, Mr Lovegood,’ said Harry, holding out his hand. ‘I’m Harry, Harry Potter.’

Xenophilius did not take Harry’s hand, although the eye that was not pointing inwards at his nose slid straight to the scar on Harry’s forehead.

‘Would it be OK if we came in?’ asked Harry. ‘There’s something we’d like to ask you.’

‘I … I’m not sure that’s advisable,’ whispered Xenophilius. He swallowed and cast a quick look around the garden. ‘Rather a shock … my word … I … I’m afraid I don’t really think I ought to –’

‘It won’t take long,’ said Harry, slightly disappointed by this less-than-warm welcome.

‘I – oh, all right then. Come in, quickly. Quickly!’

They were barely over the threshold when Xenophilius slammed the door shut behind them. They were standing in the most peculiar kitchen Harry had ever seen. The room was perfectly circular, so that it felt like being inside a giant pepper pot. Everything was curved to fit the walls: the stove, the sink and the cupboards, and all of it had been painted with flowers, insects and birds in bright primary colours. Harry thought he recognised Luna’s style: the effect, in such an enclosed space, was slightly overwhelming. In the middle of the floor, a wrought-iron spiral staircase led to the upper levels. There was a great deal of clattering and banging coming from overhead: Harry wondered what Luna could be doing.

‘You’d better come up,’ said Xenophilius, still looking extremely uncomfortable, and he led the way.

The room above seemed to be a combination of living room and workplace, and as such, was even more cluttered than the kitchen. Though much smaller, and entirely round, the room somewhat resembled the Room of Requirement on the unforgettable occasion that it had transformed itself into a gigantic labyrinth comprised of centuries of hidden objects. There were piles upon piles of books and papers on every surface. Delicately made models of creatures Harry did not recognise, all flapping wings or snapping jaws, hung from the ceiling.

Luna was not there: the thing that was making such a racket was a wooden object covered in magically turning cogs and wheels. It looked like the bizarre offspring of a workbench and a set of old shelves, but after a moment Harry deduced that it was an old-fashioned printing press due to the fact that it was churning out Quibblers.

‘Excuse me,’ said Xenophilius, and he strode over to the machine, seized a grubby tablecloth from beneath an immense number of books and papers, which all tumbled on to the floor, and threw it over the press, somewhat muffling the loud bangs and clatters. He then faced Harry.

‘Why have you come here?’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

By J.K. Rowling