Fortunately, Dumbledore arrived moments later. The babble died away.

Another year gone! Dumbledore said cheerfully. And I must trouble you with an old mans wheezing waffle before we sink our teeth into our delicious feast. What a year it has been! Hopefully your heads are all a little fuller than they were you have the whole summer ahead to get them nice and empty before next year starts

Now, as I understand it, the house cup here needs awarding, and the points stand thus: In fourth place, Gryffindor, with three hundred and twelve points; in third, Hufflepuff, with three hundred and fifty two; Ravenclaw has four hundred and twenty six and Slytherin, four hundred and seventy-two.

A storm of cheering and stamping broke out from the Slytherin table. Harry could see Draco Malfoy banging his goblet on the table. It was a sickening sight.

Yes, yes, well done, Slytherin, said Dumbledore. However, recent events must be taken into account.

The room went very still. The Slytherins smiles faded a little.

Ahem, said Dumbledore. I have a few last minute points to dish out. Let me see. Yes

Firstto Mr. Ronald Weasley

Ron went purple in the face; he looked like a radish with a bad sunburn.

for the best played game of chess Hogwarts has seen in many years, I award Gryffindor house fifty points.

Gryffindor cheers nearly raised the bewitched ceiling; the stars overhead seemed to quiver. Percy could be heard telling the other prefects, My brother, you know! My youngest brother! Got past McGonagalls giant chess set!

At last there was silence again.

Secondto Miss Hermione Granger for the use of cool logic in the face of fire, I award Gryffindor house fifty points.

Hermione buried her face in her arms; Harry strongly suspected she had burst into tears. Gryffindors up and down the table were beside themselvesthey were a hundred points up.

Thirdto Mr. Harry Potter said Dumbledore. The room went deadly quiet for pure nerve and outstanding courage, I award Gryffindor house sixty points.

The din was deafening. Those who could add up while yelling themselves hoarse knew that Gryffindor now had four hundred and seventy two pointsexactly the same as Slytherin. They had tied for the house cupif only Dumbledore had given Harry just one more point.

Dumbledore raised his hand. The room gradually fell silent.

There are all kinds of courage, said Dumbledore, smiling. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom.

Someone standing outside the Great Hall might well have thought some sort of explosion had taken place, so loud was the noise that erupted from the Gryffindor table. Harry, Ron, and Hermione stood up to yell and cheer as Neville, white with shock, disappeared under a pile of people hugging him. He had never won so much as a point for Gryffindor before. Harry, still cheering, nudged Ron in the ribs and pointed at Malfoy, who couldnt have looked more stunned and horrified if hed just had the Body Bind Curse put on him.

Which means, Dumbledore called over the storm of applause, for even Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were celebrating the downfall of Slytherin, we need a little change of decoration.

He clapped his hands. In an instant, the green hangings became scarlet and the silver became gold; the huge Slytherin serpent vanished and a towering Gryffindor lion took its place. Snape was shaking Professor McGonagalls hand, with a horrible, forced smile. He caught Harrys eye and Harry knew at once that Snapes feelings toward him hadnt changed one jot. This didnt worry Harry. It seemed as though life would be back to normal next year, or as normal as it ever was at Hogwarts.

It was the best evening of Harrys life, better than winning at Quidditch, or Christmas, or knocking out mountain trolls he would never, ever forget tonight.

Harry had almost forgotten that the exam results were still to come, but come they did. To their great surprise, both he and Ron passed with good marks; Hermione, of course, had the best grades of the first years. Even Neville scraped through, his good Herbology mark making up for his abysmal Potions one. They had hoped that Goyle, who was almost as stupid as he was mean, might be thrown out, but he had passed, too. It was a shame, but as Ron said, you couldnt have everything in life.

And suddenly, their wardrobes were empty, their trunks were packed, Nevilles toad was found lurking in a corner of the toilets; notes were handed out to all students, warning them not to use magic over the holidays (I always hope theyll forget to give us these, said Fred Weasley sadly); Hagrid was there to take them down to the fleet of boats that sailed across the lake; they were boarding the Hogwarts Express; talking and laughing as the countryside became greener and tidier; eating Bettie Botts Every Flavor Beans as they sped past Muggle towns; pulling off their wizard robes and putting on jackets and coats; pulling into platform nine and three-quarters at Kings Cross Station.

It took quite a while for them all to get off the platform. A wizened old guard was up by the ticket barrier, letting them go through the gate in twos and threes so they didnt attract attention by all bursting out of a solid wall at once and alarming the Muggles.

You must come and stay this summer, said Ron, both of youIll send you an owl.

Thanks, said Harry, Ill need something to look forward to. People jostled them as they moved forward toward the gateway back to the Muggle world. Some of them called:

Bye, Harry!

See you, Potter!

Still famous, said Ron, grinning at him.

Not where Im going, I promise you, said Harry.

He, Ron, and Hermione passed through the gateway together. There he is, Mom, there he is, look!


  1. A few moments later, Mr. Weasley came into the warm living room carrying his dinner on a tray. He looked completely exhausted.
  2. Aberforth Dumbledore stood blocking the corridor ahead, his wand held ready.
  3. After an hour or so, Hagrid and Slughorn began making extravagant toasts: to Hogwarts, to Dumbledore, to elf-made wine, and to
  4. An aged witch stood in front of him, holding a tray of what looked horribly like whole human fingernails. She leered at him, showing mossy teeth. Harry backed away.
  5. And Harrys feet left the floor to fall, seconds later, back onto the rug in front of Dumbledores desk.
  6. And pulling Dumbledores uninjured arm around his shoulders, Harry guided his headmaster back around the lake, bearing most of his weight.
  7. And then the tunnel began to rise; moments later it twisted, and Crookshanks had gone. Instead, Harry could see a patch of dim light through a small opening.
  8. And then, as his feeling of frustration peaked, his certainty leaked away.
  9. At last, the desserts too disappeared, and Professor Dumbledore got to his feet again. The hall fell silent.
  11. But Dumbledore held up his hand to stem the flood of explanations.
  12. But Dumbledore was having difficulty pulling out the stopper of the crystal bottle: His injured hand seemed stiff and painful.

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After a good nights sleep, Harry felt nearly back to normal. | It was Ginny Weasley, Rons younger sister, but she wasnt pointing at Ron.

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