The Potterwatch broadcast from this chapter is quoted directly form Chapter 22 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Percy awoke with a crick in his neck. He wondered why he was sleeping sitting up on the sofa in his own flat, and then it all came back to him and he was wide awake. He looked around but did not see Aunt Gussie, so jumped up and hurried to go check on Neville. As he came to the door of his bedroom he heard Aunt Gussie’s voice.
“I just can’t lose you, too, Nevvie.”
“You’re not going to lose me, Gran, but someone has to be there to protect the younger students.”
Percy was glad Neville was awake, but knew he should not listen to this conversation, so he went to the kitchen to make breakfast for the three of them.
Neville was well enough to leave Percy’s flat only twenty-four hours after he had been injured, although the spell was still on him, and he would still need to rest. Percy was relieved his friend was going to be all right, but he was exhausted from the worry and from helping Aunt Gussie care for Neville, so collapsed into bed shortly after they had left and slept quite late the next morning.
He was awakened by Aunt Gussie’s vulture patronus glaring at him. Percy thought it a miracle he managed not to scream at seeing that. The vulture spoke, “Spell’s worn off. Could you please bring by some food later?” And the vulture vanished.
Percy rubbed his eyes to get fully awake. He had asked Aunt Gussie to tell him when the spell had worn off of Neville, and offered to do anything he could to help. He could certainly pick up some food. He got out of bed and began to get ready.
Percy had decided to risk going to his favorite Muggle place, Wodehouse’s, for fish and chips. He apparated to the Longbottom’s carrying several large bags of food. As soon as he had arrived, Aunt Gussie bustled in, took the bags from him, set them on the table, and gave Percy a big hug. Percy was a bit startled, but hugged her back.
“Thank you, Percy, for everything. I was able to heal Neville since the spell wore off, but it took all morning, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook . . .”
“Hey Percy!” Neville entered the kitchen. He was still pale, but much improved from the last time Percy had seen him, and he was no longer wincing in pain. “That smells great! I’m starving!”
Percy chuckled. “Glad to hear you’re feeling better.”
They all dug in to the bags of food as Percy explained he had gone to a Muggle restaurant that he and Audrey had frequented. They kept the dinner conversation light and pleasant. They had just finished eating when the wireless crackled into life. All three of them hurried to sit near it, not wanting to miss a second of Potterwatch.
“Good Evening, Listeners! We here at Potterwatch would like to apologize for our temporary absence from the airwaves, which was due to a number of house calls in our area by those charming Death Eaters. We have now found ourselves another secure location, and I’m pleased to tell you that two of our regular contributors have joined me here this evening. Evening, boys!”
“But before we hear from Royal and Romulus let’s take a moment to report those deaths that the Wizarding Wireless Network News and Daily Prophet don’t think important enough to mention. It is with great regret that we inform our listeners of the murders of Ted Tonks and Dirk Cresswell. A goblin by the name of Gornuk was also killed. It is believed that Muggle-born Dean Thomas and a second goblin, both believed to have been travelling with Tonks, Cresswell, and Gornuk, may have escaped. If Dean is listening, or if anyone has any knowledge of his whereabouts, his parents and sisters are desperate for news. Meanwhile, in Gadley, a Muggle family of five has been found dead in their home. Muggle authorities are attributing the deaths to a gas leak, but members of the Order of the Phoenix inform me that it was the Killing Curse—more evidence, as if it were needed, of the fact that Muggle slaughter is becoming little more than a recreational sport under the new regime. Finally, we regret to inform our listeners that the remains of Bathilda Bagshot have been discovered in Godric’s Hollow. The evidence is that she died several months ago. The Order of the Phoenix informs us that her body showed unmistakable signs of injuries inflicted by Dark Magic. Listeners, I’d like to invite you now to join us in a minute’s silence in memory of Ted Tonks, Dirk Cresswell, Bathilda Bagshot, Gornuk, and the unnamed, but no less regretted, Muggles murdered by the Death Eaters.”
Percy felt awful. Dirk was Dad’s friend. He looked at Neville who appeared even paler than when Percy had first arrived. Aunt Gussie sniffled quietly into her handkerchief.
“Thank you. And now we turn to regular contributor Royal, for an update on how the new Wizarding order is affecting the Muggle world.”
“Thanks, River. Muggles remain ignorant of the source of their suffering as they continue to sustain heavy casualties. However, we continue to hear truly inspirational stories of wizards and witches risking their own safety to protect Muggle friends and neighbors, often without the Muggles’ knowledge. I’d like to appeal to all our listeners to emulate their example, perhaps by casting a protective charm over any Muggle dwellings in your street. Many lives could be saved if such simple measures are taken.”
“And what would you say, Royal, to those listeners who reply that in these dangerous times, it should be ‘Wizards first’?”
“I’d say that it’s one short step from ‘Wizards first’ to ‘Purebloods first’, and then to ‘Death Eaters’. We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”
“Excellently put, Royal, and you’ve got my vote for Minister of Magic if ever we get out of this mess. And now, over to Romulus for our popular feature ‘Pals of Potter’.”
“Romulus, do you maintain, as you have every time you’ve appeared on our program, that Harry Potter is still alive?”
“I do. There is no doubt at all in my mind that his death would be proclaimed as widely as possible by the Death Eaters if it had happened, because it would strike a deadly blow at the morale of those resisting the new regime. ‘The Boy Who Lived’ remains a symbol of everything for which we are fighting: the triumph of good, the power of innocence, the need to keep resisting.”
“And what would you say to Harry if you knew he was listening, Romulus?”
“I’d tell him we’re all with him in spirit. And I’d tell him to follow his instincts, which are good and nearly always right.”
Neville burst out, “That’s really high praise from Professor Lupin. I hope he’s right. I hope Harry’s OK and is going to bring down the Death Eaters." Percy nodded frantically in agreement while motioning for Neville to be quiet so he could hear what Lee was saying.
“ . . .and our usual update on those friends of Harry Potter’s who are suffering for their allegiance.”
“Well, as regular listeners will know, several of the more outspoken supporters of Harry Potter have now been imprisoned, including Xenophilius Lovegood, erstwhile editor of The Quibbler. We have also heard within the last few hours that Rubeus Hagrid, well-known gamekeeper at Hogwarts School, has narrowly escaped arrest within the grounds of Hogwarts, where he is rumored to have hosted a ‘Support Harry Potter’ party in his house. However, Hagrid was not taken into custody, and is, we believe, on the run.”
“I suppose it helps, when escaping from Death Eaters, if you’ve got a sixteen-foot-high half brother?”
“It would tend to give you an edge. May I just add that while we here at Potterwatch applaud Hagrid’s spirit, we would urge even the most devoted of Harry’s supporters against following Hagrid’s lead. ‘Support Harry Potter’ parties are unwise in the present climate.”
“Indeed they are, Romulus, so we suggest that you continue to show your devotion to the man with the lightning scar by listening to Potterwatch! And now let’s move to news concerning the wizard who is proving just as elusive as Harry Potter. We like to refer to him as the Chief Death Eater, and here to give his views on some of the more insane rumors circulating about him, I’d like to introduce a new correspondent: Rodent.”
“’Rodent’? I’m not being ‘Rodent,’ no way, I told you I wanted to be ‘Rapier’!”
Percy couldn’t help but laugh at Fred’s outrage over his nickname.
“Oh, all right then. ‘Rapier,’ could you please give us your take on the various stories we’ve been hearing about the Chief Death Eater?”
“Yes, River, I can. As our listeners will know, unless they’ve taken refuge at the bottom of a garden pond or somewhere similar, You-Know-Who’s strategy of remaining in the shadows is creating a nice little climate of panic. Mind you, if all the alleged sightings of him are genuine, we must have a good nineteen You-Know-Whos running around the place.”
“Which suits him, of course. The air of mystery is creating more terror than actually showing himself.”
“Agreed. So, people, let’s try to calm down a bit. Things are bad enough without inventing stuff as well. For instance, this new idea that You-Know-Who can kill with a single glance from his eyes. That’s a basilisk, listeners. One simple test: Check whether the thing that’s glaring at you has got legs. If it has, it’s safe to look into it’s eyes, although if it really is You-Know-Who, that’s still likely to be the last thing you ever do.”
“And the rumors that he keeps being sighted abroad?”
“Well, who wouldn’t want a nice little holiday after all the hard work he’s been putting in? Point is, people, don’t get lulled into a false sense of security, thinking he’s out of the country. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but the fact remains he can move faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo when he wants to, so don’t count on him being a long way away if you’re planning on taking any risks. I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but safety first!”
“Thank you very much for those wise words, Rapier. Listeners, that brings us to the end of another Potterwatch. We don’t know when it will be possible to broadcast again, but you can be sure we shall be back. Keep twiddling those dials: The next password will be ‘Mad-Eye.’ Keep each other safe: Keep faith. Good night.”
Percy continued to chuckle at Fred’s words. His little brothers really had a gift for seeing the bright side of bad situations. Percy had always thought Fred and George couldn’t be serious, but he was realizing that they looked at the world differently than most and tried to diffuse bad situations through humor. Apparently, it worked, because Percy felt happier than he had in weeks. Potterwatch was still resisting Voldemort, Neville was thankfully fine, and Percy was full of the best fish and chips in the world, Muggle or Wizard.