Here we deal with Harry’s flight from Privet Drive and narrow escape from the Death Eaters. There are several head scratchers here: Why not sneak Harry out with the invisibility cloak? Why not have Hedwig fly to Burrow? Why not cast protego on the back of Hagrid’s motorbike? That said, if you can suspend disbelief, it’s a pretty riveting action sequence regardless.
The most heart wrenching outcome is the death of Hedwig. It had never occurred to me until my book club leader, Becca, pointed it out but Hedwig’s recently deceased body was still in the sidecar when Harry cast confringo upon it. That makes the subsequent explosion Hedwig’s version of a Viking funeral – I love it!
And I especially love it, given that this takes place in a universe that prominently features birds that rise from the ashes. And I especially especially love it, given that a feather from one of those rising-from-the-ashes-birds is the core of the very wand that casts the confringo spell on Hedwig!
Yes, I’m sure of it. If this were a Dungeons and Dragons item description, the small print next to “Phoenix Core Wand” would read “When casting fire spells, any affected birds in the area of effect gain vitality from the magical fire and gain phoenix powers.” New head canon established!