So there’s been some buzz over Harry Potter spoilers getting leaked via photos of open books being posted online. At least two of these sets of photos show books with contradicting plots, and I’ve read bits of a “spoiler” PDF which was obviously an awkward R-rated fanfic. Perhaps Bloomsbury picked up some cues from LOST and put out “foilers.”
All the controversy means that my own old “Darth Voldemort” spoilers have been getting hundreds of frantic inbound Google clicks, and so I’m happy to reveal that I hold in my hands an early-shipped copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, from which I’ve transcribed a couple of pages near the end: the climax after a surprisingly comical chase scene at Gringott’s. Look away if you don’t want to be completely spoiled!
But the chase was over. Harry lifted his wand and pointed it at Voldemort’s stumbling form. He whispered the simple jinx with a rush of triumph: “Stupefy.”
A shout, and Voldemort fell with a great clatter of barrels and gold, robes flailing, and then he was still.
“Good one, Harry!” came Ron’s yell from above. “And Hermione’s okay!” He heard their footsteps coming down the stairs behind him, but did not take his eyes off the Dark Lord.
Wand at ready, Harry approached Voldemort’s now stirring form. Magic-less though Voldemort had now been rendered, he could still throw a punch if he wished, and Harry was taking no chances. Ron and Hermione hurried to his side, their wands raised as well.
“Give it up, Riddle.”
“Do not call me that!” Voldemort hissed, eyes fixed with hatred on Harry, his snake-like nostrils flaring with rage.
“I don’t think I’ll need to,” said Harry with a smile. “I’ve figured it out.” And with his free, wand-less hand, Harry grasped the top of Voldemort’s head, and, before Ron and Hermione’s unbelieving eyes, pulled it off. There was a collective gasp, joined by that of two more new arrivals from the stairs. Harry needed not look to know that Hagrid and Professor McGonagall had finally arrived.
“Professor Flitwick!” Professor McGonagall exclaimed, stopping short, a hand hovering over her heart as though it would leap out of her chest. Hagrid appeared stunned into wide-eyed silence.
“Jinkies!” exclaimed Hermione. Ron looked askance at her, but only for a moment, keeping his wand trained on Voldemort.
But it was not Voldemort. Before everyone’s eyes were Flitwick’s unmistakable goblin ears and fuzzy white hair, a strange sight to see atop what still seemed to be Voldemort’s body.
“Yes, it was I!” Flitwick cried, his eyes blazing defiantly at each of them. “I was Lord Voldemort all this time!” He began to get to his feet, a hand slipping on a rolling goblet, but four wands — and a shaking umbrella — quickly raised gave him pause. Even now, the body that had been Voldemort’s was growing shorter, the robes shrinking back to the familiar form of the Charms teacher.
“But Filius,” Hagrid said with an incredulous whisper, “Ye’re not, ye’re not…” he trailed off for a moment, seeming to lose himself in thought, but raised his, and growled, almost griffin-like, “Zoinks! Filius, why’d ye do it?!”
“For the gold, of course!” Flitwick cried. By now he had gotten to his feet, but it made little difference now that he had reverted to his true form. He turned to look at the rest of the vault, at the gleaming mounds of gold and silver and jewels. “James and Lily Potter’s gold, sitting here, galleons and galleons of it,” he sneered, “and ickle Harry never doing more than spending a bit of it at Diagon Alley and giving a bit of it to that- that Weasley joke shop!”
He whirled around again, and four wands and an umbrella which had begun to lower, drew up once more.
“You know how little I was paid by Dumbledore!” he wailed, eyes wide with something bordering on insanity. “Years and years of that pittance; I needed more! If I wanted to level Hogwarts and build my retirement castle, I would have needed… gold!” He stopped suddenly and glared at Harry and Ron and Hermione. “And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”
* * *
“Nice work, Potter,” said Moody, clapping him on the shoulder heavily as they stood outside Gringott’s. The sun was rising, and Flitwick, looking sullen as the goblins slapped chains on to his wrists, refused to meet the eyes of any of those gawking and pointing at him all over Diagon Alley. Moody’s magic eye fixed on Flitwick like a hawk.
“Mad-Eye,” Harry began haltingly, “What about- what about Sirius?”
“He’ll live,” came Lupin’s voice behind him. Harry and Moody turned to face Lupin, and Harry saw with relief that Ginny and Luna were beside him, Tonks standing behind. Their faces were tired, and…sad? Lupin’s face was crestfallen, his voice was anything but reassuring. “He’ll live, but, well, Harry…”
Only then did Harry begin to notice the familiar bedraggled black dog at Tonks’ side. “He’s…stuck, Harry,” Lupin whispered. “We can’t get him out of dog form. We’ve tried every Animagus-specific spell known, but the best he can do is talk a bit.”
Harry knelt by his godfather’s canine form. Sirius lifted his head, recognition filling his eyes. “Ra-ree?”
Update: This “spoiler” has gotten a copyright infringement notice from the U.S. publisher of the book. A veritable trophy of notorious infamy!