The Hogwarts Memorial Feast
This poem is a memorial to those who died in the final year of the battle to defeat Voldemort, from Dumbledore onwards. It therefore seemed specially appropriate to post it here on 2nd May 2012, the 14th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts.
THE HOGWARTS MEMORIAL FEAST
When Voldemort at last had met his end
And Hogwarts Castle was at peace once more
They held a feast there, honouring every friend
Who’d laid their life down in the recent war.
With all the students gathered in the Hall,
And families and friends who’d come besides,
The new Headmistress, Professor McGonagall,
Rose and approached the lectern with brisk strides;
She looked around at all the grave young faces,
The draperies, red, yellow, blue and green;
Saw friends’ and former colleagues’ empty places;
Thought of the wounds some bore, seen and unseen;
Nodded to Kingsley Shacklebolt, and then,
Starting with a polite address to each—
‘Minister of Magic, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Students all’—the Head began her speech.
‘There’s a man who worked hard for us all
For he played the long game in this war,
He planned and he schemed to bring us to peace,
My esteemed, dear old friend, Dumbledore—
‘From the moment he placed Harry Potter
In the home of his mother’s near kin
To give him the chance to survive,
To be here, when we all needed him.
‘Through the years he made sure that Harry
Would learn all the skills he would need,
He showed him the way to make certain
That the fight for our world would succeed,
‘And when mortally injured he knew
He could not be here at the end:
So to save a young man, made a pact
With a man whom he valued, a friend.
‘In his manner of dying he chose
That the young man, a pupil, remain
Innocent of committing a murder
So his soul would not bear the stain.
‘So remember the man, our Headmaster,
Who was always so kind and so wise,
Remember his humorous speeches,
Remember his sparkling blue eyes.’
* * *
‘We remember Colin Creevey, a friendly, cheerful boy
Sent away before the battle, but this order he defied,
A true Gryffindor, determined that he would join the fight,
A loving son and brother, he was sixteen when he died.’
* * *
‘My friend, Charity Burbage
Was decent, true and wise—
The qualities that Voldemort
Would always most despise.
‘She didn’t, as they told you,
Resign or disappear:
She loved her students, never would
Leave you, abandoned, here.
‘No, I am certain she was seized
For her tolerant opinions,
And killed, when she refused to change,
By him, or by his minions.
‘The eminent historian, too—
Her mind with age now dim—
Bathilda Bagshot, was, we think,
Killed for some plan or whim.
‘Our fellow Beings were not spared
The “pureblood” hate and madness—
Gornuk was one we know who died—
Remembered now with sadness.
‘So many more there were like them—
Elf, Goblin, Mage or Muggle—
They were no different in their deaths,
All victims in the struggle.
‘Some of their names we’ll never know,
Others we’re but now learning.
They tried to keep our hope alive,
The flame of truth still burning.’
* * *
‘Perhaps, too, something should be said
Of those on the other side.
For everyone, I hope, someone
Will weep when they have died.
‘It’s hard for a son to break away,
To a Death Eater born.
Remember then young Vincent Crabbe
With pity as we mourn.’
* * *
Then Kingsley Shacklebolt, in robes of gold,
Took to the platform, our new Minister.
‘I’d like to speak about a friend of mine.
Some of you thought him strange and sinister.
‘“Mad-Eye!”, they called him, mocked the way he looked,
His strange precautions, and the way he spoke.
But ask yourself—to lose both limb and eye
Defending justice—was that such a joke?
‘“Alastor” Moody, ancient name of Fate
Or Nemesis, suited him rather better.
He made sure that the cells of Azkaban
Became the fate of many a Death Eater!
‘Kindly to friends, as Tonks and I both knew,
The night he fell, he died the warrior’s way.
His body was not found, no funeral held.
I’d like us to remember him today.’
* * *
‘And remember Scrimgeour, who was killed
When, with Death Eaters gathering round
As the Ministry fell, he just would not tell
Where Harry Potter was to be found;
‘Gregorovitch, the famous wandmaker,
Killed for a wand he’d owned in time long past;
And Gellert Grindelwald, once a name of dread,
Who died defying Voldemort at last.’
* * *
‘My dear friend Remus, how can I begin to say?
You battled bravely beside your new wife
And now here is a young son in your place,
Inquisitive, joyful and full of life.
‘The wife lies here, too, Nymphadora Tonks
A faithful soul once in Hufflepuff.
With the heart of a lion hidden deep inside,
She did not back away when things got rough.
‘“To save our son I have to fight,” she told her mother,
“Side by side with my husband, any wand may decide—
This war against the dark was always tough.”
Our thoughts of you are filled with pride.
‘Your skills were sharp and ranged so wide
But most importantly you didn’t bother
What the public opinion was about the man next to you.
I will return to him now, but Tonks loved him like no other.
‘Every full moon Remus could overcome
Certain (ahem) frightening qualities
With which you stayed true and did the right thing
And kept with your good activities.
‘So Lupin we honour the cry of the wolf
And how Tonks unashamedly fought
And we promise to take care of your young son Ted
And teach him everything that needs to be taught.’
* * *
‘Let me speak of someone thrice bereft,
Losing her daughter and son-in-law too,
When just a few months before, her husband was killed.
Andromeda Tonks, may our thoughts be with you.
‘Ted Tonks had to go on the run
From prejudice, hatred and scorn,
Then he and Dirk Cresswell were murdered,
Just because they were both muggleborn.’
* * *
Harry stood up with a tear in his eye
And sniffled in spite of himself.
Before he could speak, though the tributes all hurt,
He had trouble discussing the elf.
‘Dobby,’ he said, ‘was a brave little guy.
He was gifted and true to the end.
And though I once thought he was horribly cruel
He turned out my very best friend.
‘He saved all our lives with a snap of his thumb
He was brave—his death has the makings of lore.
If he’d have been sorted I’m sure he’d have been
In my house—a true Gryffindor.
‘That evil old witch—by name Bellatrix—
Had aim that was truer than she
And so in the end, he achieved his main goal
He was finally freer than free.
‘So Dobby we mourn you, we’ll never forget
Just how much you did for us all.
And now please remember what I say today
I was scarred more than death by your fall.’
* * *
‘And before I sit down I must mention
Hedwig, a dearly loved friend,
She was killed by a curse meant for me,
So my beautiful owl met her end.’
* * *
As George told about his other half,
His twin brother’s past,
A tear fell down his face
‘Why him?’ he asked,
‘Fred was a funny guy
With a sensitive side,
He could make everyone laugh,
He did everything he could before he died.
‘He followed his dreams
With his best friend behind,
Never did he look on the bad side
He continues to remind,
‘While he is not here anymore
It doesn’t mean to forget,
All he’d want you to do
Is not be upset.
‘As you light his fireworks tonight
Remember him within,
The lost twin.’
* * *
Then up stands Parvati Patil
And through her tears she starts to tell
Of Lavender Brown, her very best friend
And the fate, which upon her befell.
‘We got on, from the very first day
And we knew we would be friends for life,
She was funny and kind and it’s hard to accept
That she’s gone, it cuts me like a knife.
‘In the battle, so bravely she fought,
And she should still be with us today,
If she hadn’t met Fenrir Greyback
Who attacked in his bloodthirsty way.
‘Though Hermione did what she could,
And she blasted the werewolf aside,
It was too late, the damage was done,
And tragic’lly Lavender died.
‘I salute my dear friend, so courageous,
I will mourn her and miss her like mad,
But she will always be here in my heart,
And I’ll remember the good times we had.’
* * *
When all these tributes had been paid,
Again Minerva took the floor.
‘Before we start our feast tonight,
It falls to me to speak once more.
‘There’s one more hero I must name,
My predecessor in this post.
Of those who fought to save our world,
He gave and suffered more than most…
‘What can I say of Severus Snape?—
A colleague, friend, and then a foe.
He kept his faith right to the end—
But, Severus, we couldn’t know.
‘I wish you’d thought you could confide,
But I’m no Occlumens, it’s true.
Your burden I could not have borne.
I’m not as brave or tough as you.
‘There’re things I wish I hadn’t said—
Names that I wish I could take back.
I fear they must have hurt sometimes—
Or driven you to that dreadful shack.
‘We’ve buried you near Dumbledore,
The proper place, as now we know;
Scattered the memories from your phial
There where the summer lilies blow.
‘We placed your black wand in your hand,
And a white lily on your breast.
We thought, despite the serpent’s wounds,
Your face, half-smiling, seemed at rest.
‘My friend, I hope you’ll guard our school
Just as you served it while alive,
Showing us all what courage means,
Helping our Hogwarts to survive.
‘Remind us not to judge by looks,
Dismiss before we can learn all.
I’ll say no more—I have to face
His arguing portrait on my wall.’
* * *
A tartan handkerchief clutched to her eyes,
Minerva sat, and Kingsley took the floor.
Then in a voice so calming, deep and wise,
He spoke: ‘It is befitting to say more
‘Of those who brought such sorrow to our times
And took the lives of many we held dear.
They must be made to answer for their crimes.
But those compelled through sorcery or fear
‘Who show sincere remorse for evil deeds
And freely undertake to make amends,
We must no longer call them enemies
But give them means to prove themselves true friends.
‘We know that there are some at large who still
Are proud to add “Death Eater” to their name;
And if allowed to exercise their will,
Some new Dark Lord would surely soon proclaim
‘And seek his reign of terror to renew
Against all those of mixed or Muggle birth.
These, I now swear, my Aurors shall pursue
Unto the farthest corners of the Earth.
‘When loved ones die so cruelly, some will cry
For vengeance to appease the victim’s mind.
But when an eye is taken for an eye—
A wise man said—it makes the whole world blind.
‘You who have lost the most know best of all
To end one life, another won’t restore.
A lesson from the past we may recall
To fill this void with love, like Dumbledore.
‘I speak of times almost as dark as these,
When Grindelwald wrought bigotry and strife:
Dumbledore jailed him, took away the keys,
His wand, his power—but wisely spared his life.’
Their golden goblets magically were filled
As all sat listening, right up to the brim;
But not a drop of sparkling liquor spilled
As Kingsley raised his glass in front of him:
‘As Minister I pledge that from this hour,
Healing, not vengeance, shall inspire my days.
Those who do harm shall be deprived of power;
Those who repair receive my thanks and praise.
‘And while you choose to place your trust in me
Your servant I remain, and humbly ask
That henceforth all of us united be,
To heal the wounded world our common task.
‘Stand with me now, dear friends, and raise your glass,
And hail the ones who fought, the ones who fell,
And to our children let their memory pass,
Their sacrifice forever to retell.
‘Never again succumb to bigotry!
And never let us turn on one another!’
All drank the toast, and vowed as one to see
Each wizard, witch or Muggle as a brother.
They hugged and clapped and sang; tears freely flowed;
Even the Slytherins were on their feet—
Until the feast appeared, and Shacklebolt
Grinned happily, sat down and cried, ‘Let’s eat!’
* * *
And so they gathered there to remember and honour the dead,
And those that stood and fought until the end,
Recalled with pride, though many painful tears were shed,
And in time they hoped their hearts would start to mend.
The Leaky Cauldron Poetry Corner Group
This poem was originally created over 2 weeks or so in February 2011. Lavender Brown’s tribute was added in November 2011, after viewings of the film Deathly Hallows Part 2 had confirmed that she needed one.
Contributors, in order of first appearance:
Valeria-Johanna: Introduction, Charity Burbage, Bathilda Bagshot, Gornuk the Goblin, the Unknown Dead, Vincent Crabbe, Alastor Moody, Gregorovitch, Gellert Grindelwald and Severus Snape.
Moglet: Albus Dumbledore, Colin Creevey, Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell (including the verse about Andromeda’s loss), Rufus Scrimgeour, Hedwig, Lavender Brown and the Concluding Verse. Moglet also had the original idea for the poem, and made the artwork.
Raeraelefay: Dobby; and, with Caia, the verses on Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks. (Caia, aka Loony Lorna, wrote verses 2-4.)
Siriuslover117: Fred Weasley.
WeenyOwl: Closing Speech by Kingsley Shacklebolt.