**DON'T READ ON IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW THE SERIES ENDS AND DON'T WANT ME TO SPOIL IT FOR YOU**
The chapter I'm talking about is number 34, "The Forest Again." I remember reading it before leaving for work (which was only five minutes away) and actually thinking I'd be late but not being able to stop. I bawled throughout this entire chapter. This wasn't attractive, "oh look how sweet it is that she's crying over a book" weeping. This was swollen face, snot running down, ink-smearing sobbing. I rarely cry like this even over real-life things, but Harry Potter managed to do it to me (and made waitressing awkward, what with tear-streaked cheeks [not the only time I waitressed with tear-streaked cheeks there, though usually the manager, not fictional wizards, was to blame]).
Since then, I've probably reread and listened to that chapter on audiobook about five times, and though I've never quite reached that pathetic state, those familiar words still have the ability to elicit a reaction more powerful than most books could hope for. Today, listening to that chapter while driving from work to Target, I found myself tearing up yet again at one particular line. The bit in question was just after Harry has conjured those he has loved and lost, while they accompany him on his death-march into the forest:
A chilly breeze that seemed to emanate from the heart of the forest lifted the hair at Harry's brow. He knew that they would not tell him to go, that it would have to be his decision.
"You'll stay with me?"
"Until the very end," said James.
"They won't be able to see you?" asked Harry.
"We are part of you," said Sirius. "Invisible to anyone else."
Harry looked at his mother.
"Stay close to me," he said quietly. (700)Musing on this while I pushed my cart up and down the aisles, I realized that it's not the heart-wrenching sadness of Harry giving himself up to stop the war and save the others, or the presence of those whose loss has hit him the hardest that makes the scene so moving. What really did it to me was the word "quietly." No matter how tragic the moment is, how much inner strength it requires of Harry, he can't escape his own humanness. He lowers his voice when he begs his mother to stay at his side so that, presumably, only she can hear, shielding this moment of weakness and desperation from the men accompanying him. It is the fact that he needs his Mummy but even at the point of no return has trouble admitting it. He is not just a hero here - he is a person as well, which makes his decision all the more real and all the more heart-breaking.
What about you? Do you cry over books? What sets you off? Did you smear the pages of this chapter too?
PS. Is it weird that I hope that they will do this scene well enough in Part Two of the movie to elicit the same reaction?