Chapter 26 Gringotts
Their plans were made, their preparations complete; in the smallest bedroom a single long, coarse black hair (plucked from the sweater Hermione had been wearing at Malfoy Manor) lay curled in a small glass phial on the mantelpiece.
“And you’ll be using her actual wand,” said Harry, nodding toward the walnut wand, “so I reckon you’ll be pretty convincing.”
Hermione looked frightened that the wand might sting or bit her as she picked it up.
“I hate that thing,” she said in a low voice. “I really hate it. It feels all wrong, it doesn’t work properly for me… It’s like a bit of her.”
Harry could not help but remember how Hermione has dismissed his loathing of the blackthorn wand, insisting that he was imagining things when it did not work as well as his own, telling him to simply practice. He chose not to repeat her own advice back to her, however, the eve of their attempted assault on Gringotts felt like the wrong moment to antagonize her.
“It’ll probably help you get in character, though,” said Ron. “think what that wand’s done!”
“But that’s my point!” said Hermione. “This is the wand that tortured Neville’s mum and dad, and who knows how many other people? This is the wand that killed Sirius!”
Harry had not thought of that: He looked down at the wand and was visited by a brutal urge to snap it, to slice it in half with Gryffindor’s sword, which was propped against the wall beside him.
“I miss my wand,” Hermione said miserably. “I wish Mr. Ollivander could have made me another one too.”
Mr. Ollivander had sent Luna a new wand that morning. She was out on the back lawn at that moment, testing its capabilities in the late afternoon sun. Dean, who had lost his wand to the Snatchers, was watching rather gloomily.
Harry looked down at the hawthorn wand that had once belonged to Draco Malfoy. He had been surprised, but pleased to discover that it worked for him at least as well as Hermione’s had done. Remembering what Ollivander had told them of the secret workings of wands, Harry thought he knew what Hermione’s problem was: She had not won the walnut wand’s allegiance by taking it personally from Bellatrix.
The door of the bedroom opened and Griphook entered. Harry reached instinctively for the hilt of the sword and drew it close to him, but regretted his action at once. He could tell that the goblin had noticed. Seeking to gloss over the sticky moment, he said, “We’ve just been checking the last-minute stuff, Griphook. We’ve told Bill and Fleur we’re leaving tomorrow, and we’ve told them not to get up to see us off.”
They had been firm on this point, because Hermione would need to transform in Bellatrix before they left, and the less that Bill and Fleur knew or suspected about what they were about to do, the better. They had also explained that they would not be returning. As they had lost Perkin’s old tent on the night that the Snatcher’s caught them, Bill had lent them another one. It was now packed inside the beaded bag, which, Harry was impressed to learn, Hermione had protected from the Snatchers by the simple expedient of stuffing it down her sock.