The sword in the lake

Harry encounters the Sword of Gryffindor once again

Extract from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J.K. Rowling

Something gleamed in the light of the wand and Harry spun about, but all that was there was a small, frozen pool, its cracked, black surface glittering as he raised the wand higher to examine it.

He moved forwards rather cautiously and looked down. The ice reflected his distorted shadow, and the beam of wandlight, but deep below the thick, misty grey carapace, something else glinted. A great silver cross ...

His heart skipped into his mouth: he dropped to his knees at the pool’s edge and angled the wand so as to flood the bottom of the pool with as much light as possible. A glint of deep red ... it was a sword with glittering rubies in its hilt ... the sword of Gryffindor was lying at the bottom of the forest pool.

Barely breathing, he stared down at it. How was this possible? How could it have come to be lying in a forest pool, this close to the place where they were camping? Had some unknown magic drawn Hermione to this spot, or was the doe, which he had taken to be a Patronus, some kind of guardian of the pool? Or had the sword been put into the pool after they had arrived, precisely because they were here? In which case, where was the person who had wanted to pass it to Harry? Again he directed the wand at the surrounding trees and bushes, searching for a human outline, for the glint of an eye, but he could not see anyone there. All the same, a little more fear leavened his exhilaration as he returned his attention to the sword reposing upon the bottom of the frozen pool.

He pointed the wand at the silvery shape and murmured, ‘Accio sword.’

It did not stir. He had not expected it to. If it had been that easy, the sword would have lain on the ground for him to pick up, not in the depths of a frozen pool. He set off around the circle of ice, thinking hard about the last time the sword had delivered itself to him. He had been in terrible danger, then, and had asked for help.

‘Help,’ he murmured, but the sword remained upon the pool bottom, indifferent, motionless.

What was it, Harry asked himself (walking again), that Dumbledore had told him the last time he had retrieved the sword? Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the Hat. And what were the qualities that defined a Gryffindor? A small voice inside Harry’s head answered him: their daring, nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart.

Harry stopped walking and let out a long sigh, his smoky breath dispersing rapidly upon the frozen air. He knew what he had to do. If he was honest with himself, he had thought it might come to this from the moment he had spotted the sword through the ice.

He glanced around at the surrounding trees again, but was convinced, now, that nobody was going to attack him. They had had their chance as he walked alone through the forest, had had plenty of opportunity as he examined the pool. The only reason to delay at this point was because the immediate prospect was so deeply uninviting.

With fumbling fingers Harry started to remove his many layers of clothing. Where ‘chivalry’ entered into this, he thought ruefully, he was not entirely sure, unless it counted as chivalrous that he was not calling for Hermione to do it in his stead.

An owl hooted somewhere as he stripped off, and he thought with a pang of Hedwig. He was shivering now, his teeth chattering horribly, and yet he continued to strip off until at last he stood there in his underwear, barefooted in the snow. He placed the pouch containing his wand, his mother’s letter, the shard of Sirius’s mirror and the old Snitch on top of his clothes, then he pointed Hermione’s wand at the ice.

‘Diffindo.’


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J.K. Rowling