Harry Potter, meanwhile, is rummaging through his school trunk, sorting what he will need to take with him from what will be left behind. While taking a break, he reads some articles about Albus Dumbledore. One is sympathetic, the other is critical of him. In those obituaries, it is revealed that his father, Percival, supposedly hated Muggles and had attacked several of them. Percival died in Azkaban for his crimes. It is also suggested that Dumbledore was responsible for the death of his younger sister Ariana, and that he was, at one time, a Blood purity supremacist in league with Gellert Grindelwald.
Harry regrets not having asked Dumbledore more about his past, but this is soon forgotten as he leaves his home that night. He convinces his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and cousin Dudley that they need to leave as well to avoid being captured by the Death Eaters. Eventually Order of the Phoenix members and Ministry of Magic Aurors, Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones, arrive to escort them to an undisclosed location. Before leaving, Dudley admits that he cares about Harry and thanks him for saving his soul during the Dementor attack of 1995, and they shake hands.
Soon after, the Order of the Phoenix arrives with a plan to sneak Harry away from his house and avoid being captured by Voldemort. After initially being against the plan, Harry acquiesces, seeing that he has no choice, and Ron, Fred, and George Weasley, along with Hermione Granger, Fleur Delacour, and Mundungus Fletcher, take Polyjuice Potion to make themselves look like Harry, in order to act as decoys for Voldemort. Each depart with a different Order member to protect them while riding on broomsticks or Thestrals, while Harry leaves with Hagrid in a sidecar attached to Sirius's motorcycle. However, the plan goes badly wrong as the group is attacked by Death Eaters almost immediately after taking off, during which Hedwig is killed. Harry fights off Death Eaters by firing curses and hexes at them, while Hagrid uses a number of gadgets the motorcycle is now equipped with: a deployable solid brick wall, a net, and a dragon fire booster.
The Death Eaters discover the real Harry after he attempts to disarm an imperiused Stan Shunpike. Moments later, Voldemort joins in the pursuit. Hagrid leaps off the bike at another Death Eater, and as Voldemort is about to kill Harry, Harry's wand acts on its own accord and shoots a curse at Voldemort and breaks Lucius's wand. Voldemort attempts to strike again, but at that moment, Harry enters the protective charms of the Tonks' home, and Voldemort and the Death Eaters are unable to follow him.
Harry finds Hagrid, who had survived his fall, and meets Tonks' parents, Ted and Andromeda. The couple show the two a Portkey, which transports them straight to the Burrow. There, the casualties are counted: Hedwig was struck by a killing curse; George's ear was slashed off by Severus Snape; Mad-Eye Moody was killed by Voldemort himself. Harry later has a vision regarding his escape, as a result of a connection between his and Voldemort's minds, in which Voldemort questions Ollivander, who crafted the wands, about why Harry's wand acted as it did. Ollivander is unable to explain.
During their time at the Burrow, Harry, Hermione, and Ron are kept busy with preparations for Bill and Fleur's wedding, which Harry suspects is an attempt by Mrs. Weasley, Ron's mother, to stop them planning and delay them from leaving. Nevertheless, they manage to get together and discuss their plans for completing the quest Dumbledore left them; to find and destroy Voldemort's Horcruxes.
The day before the wedding, Harry's 17th birthday, Harry has a vision of Voldemort searching for someone known as Gregorovitch. For his birthday, he receives a number of gifts, the most useful being a new sneakoscope from Hermione. He also shares a short romantic embrace with his ex-girlfriend, Ginny Weasley in her bedroom when she kisses him as something to remember her by, which Ron "accidentally" interrupts. Later in the day, Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, arrives at The Burrow to give Harry, Ron, and Hermione the personal effects of Albus Dumbledore, which had been bequeathed to them in his will: To Ron, the Deluminator (known as a "Put-Outer" in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone), with the power to douse all lights in the surrounding area; to Hermione, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a book of wizard-culture fairy tales written in Runes; and to Harry, Godric Gryffindor's Sword, and the first Golden Snitch Harry had ever caught in a Hogwarts Quidditch match. The sword was withheld because, Scrimgeour claimed, it was not Dumbledore's to give. The three try to discover the purpose of the objects given to them, but are forced to give their attention to other matters: Fleur and Bill's wedding the following day.
Harry disguises himself as "Ron's cousin" Barny Weasley for the wedding to avoid causing an uproar. After the ceremony, while Ron and Hermione are dancing Harry speaks with Elphias Doge and Ron's great aunt Muriel where he learns more not so savory details from Dumbledore's past; Dumbledore had had a sister, Ariana, who's existence had been hushed up by the family. Muriel believes the reason for this is that Ariana was a squib. During the wedding celebration, Kingsley Shacklebolt's Patronus arrives to warn the attendants: Voldemort has taken over the Ministry of Magic and Rufus Scrimgeour has been killed. Harry, Ron, and Hermione flee the wedding, first arriving in a Muggle café in Tottenham court road.
Though they think themselves safe for the moment, two Death Eaters suddenly locate them, almost immediately upon their arrival, and attack them. Harry, Ron, and Hermione manage to defeat the Death Eaters, but thinking themselves in danger in public, flee to 12 Grimmauld Place, former Order headquarters, where they hide. Although there was some debate whether Severus Snape could get in, with reinforcement Death Eaters, but their fears were soon realised to be untrue as they reached the dilapidated house.
The first morning there, Harry finds Regulus Arcturus Black, the deceased younger brother of his also deceased godfather Sirius, and a former Death Eater. Harry realises that Regulus was the R.A.B. from the fake Horcrux locket Harry found with Dumbledore and began searching the house for the real one. They soon surmise that the locket had indeed been in the house. Unable to find it, they call upon Kreacher, the Black family's house elf. Kreacher tells the trio that he had helped Voldemort place the real Horcrux in the cave. After Regulus learned of this, however, he had ordered Kreacher to return with him to the cave in order to substitute a fake locket for the real one, as the Black family would have been safer not involved in Voldemort's affairs. Regulus was killed in the process while Kreacher escaped with the Horcrux locket. Kreacher also tells them that Mundungus Fletcher stole the locket, and they send him to find Fletcher.
While waiting for Kreacher, the trio are visited by Order member Remus Lupin. He explains more of the situation: the Voldemort-controlled Ministry and Death Eaters are searching for Harry, claiming that he had a part in Dumbledore's death, and the Ministry is now openly persecuting Muggle-born wizards and witches. He then offers to join the trio in their quest, not wanting to remain with his wife Nymphadora Tonks, who is pregnant with their child, because he fears the child will be a werewolf like him. Harry calls him a coward for abandoning his son, and Lupin angrily storms off. Later, Kreacher brings Fletcher back to Number 12 Grimmauld Place, but he has already given away the locket to Dolores Umbridge as a bribe.
After a month of spying on the Ministry of Magic, the trio infiltrate it in order to retrieve the Horcrux from Umbridge. They ambush three employees and use Polyjuice Potion to impersonate them with Hermione taking on the appearance of Mafalda Hopkirk, Ron looking like Reginald Cattermole, and Harry impersonating Albert Runcorn. After being separated, Harry discovers Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody’s magical eye has been taken by Umbridge. Thinking it a disgrace to Moody's memory to keep it stuck in Umbridge's door, he steals the eye, so as to give it a proper burial and the respect it deserves. Once Harry reunites with Hermione, he witnesses the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, set up to convict Muggle-borns of "stealing" magic, at work. Enraged by what he sees, Harry stuns Umbridge and the Death Eater Yaxley. Hermione takes the Horcrux, which Umbridge had falsely used to bolster her credentials, from Umbridge. By the time Harry and Hermione begin freeing the Muggle-borns, the Ministry knows that there are intruders having discovered Moody's eye missing. Once they reunite with Ron, they encourage the Muggle-borns to flee the country. They make for the exit, and as they escape, their hiding place is discovered, Ron is injured, and they are forced to flee to the countryside. They move from place to place, never staying anywhere for more than a night or two.
After several weeks of travelling in which they accomplish nothing, they overhear a conversation between Ted Tonks, Dirk Cresswell, Dean Thomas, Griphook, and Gornuk, wherein it is revealed that Godric Gryffindor’s sword, which was in Dumbledore's possession, then sent to the Lestrange Vault for protection, is actually a copy, and someone took away the real sword. They also overhear that some students attempted to steal the sword. Upon hearing that the perpetrators were their friends, they worry about the punishment but are relieved to hear that they only served detention with Hagrid. Harry and Hermione hear all this and are heartened, and after questioning the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black, they discover that the sword had last been used by Dumbledore to destroy another Horcrux, Marvolo Gaunt's Ring. Hermione realises that it must be impregnated with Basilisk venom. Ron is discouraged, feeling that with the sword now necessary as well, and out of reach, their quest is becoming hopeless. Ron argues with Harry and angrily departs claiming that Hermione had chosen Harry over himself when she decides to stay, leaving Harry and Hermione together; Initially distraught (particularly Hermione) over Ron's departure, the two of them realise they will have to continue without him.
After many more listless weeks, they make their way to Godric's Hollow on the off-chance Dumbledore left the sword there for them, with Bathilda Bagshot, author of 'A History Of Magic'. Arriving in Godric's Hollow, the two first visit the graveyard where both Harry and Dumbledore’s families are buried. After sharing an emotional moment and laying a wreath on Harry’s parents’ grave, they visit the memorial to Harry’s family, and then encounter the historian Bathilda Bagshot, an old family friend of Dumbledore’s who authored A History of Magic. Thinking she may have been entrusted with the sword, they follow her to her house, where they find a picture of the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald. He was Bagshot’s relative and, long ago, Dumbledore’s childhood friend. However, it is actually a trap; “Bathilda” is actually Nagini, Voldemort’s snake familiar, and Harry and Hermione only narrowly escape from Voldemort. Harry's wand is accidentally destroyed by Hermione's Blasting Charm in the chaos.
Harry was briefly incapacitated following the incident in Godric's Hollow. They spend Harry's day or two convalescence in the Forest of Dean where Harry sits down to vindictively read Rita Skeeter's book The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore. He discovers that the boy he saw in Lord Voldemort's mind is none other than Grindelwald. He discovers that Dumbledore and Grindelward had been good friends, and had shared the idea that wizards should rule over the Muggles. Harry reaches a new level of disillusionment with his former mentor. The following evening, a Patronus in the shape of a silvery doe appears on the edge of their camp and leads Harry to Godric Gryffindor's Sword, hidden in a frozen forest pool. Harry strips down to his underwear and dives down after the sword, but the locket Horcrux on his neck tries to keep Harry under the water long enough for him to drown.
Ron returns in time to save Harry from drowning and pulls the sword out of the pool, as Harry puts his many layers of clothes back on. Then Harry suggests that it is Ron who must destroy the Horcrux with the sword. Inside the Horcrux are Tom Riddle's eyes from which distorted versions of Harry and Hermione appear, the pair then speak to Ron with Voldemort's cruel voice, claiming to love each other, and not caring about Ron, who manages to stab the locket. Afterward, Harry tells Ron he has absolutely no romantic feelings for Hermione because he loved her as a sister and that she was very upset when Ron left. The two then return to camp. Ron reveals that he was able to find Harry with the aid of Dumbledore's gift, the Deluminator, which has more powers than they originally thought. He reveals that Voldemort's name has been "made Taboo": anybody saying it can be traced and located, which is how they were found in the café.
She realises their next necessary step: to speak to Xenophilius Lovegood and ask him about Grindelwald's mark, a symbol which has shown up time and again during their journey. Only days after escaping from Voldemort in Godric's Hollow, the trio begin searching the hills surrounding Ottery St. Catchpole for the Lovegood residence. At Lovegood’s home, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are told that the symbol actually represents the Deathly Hallows. He then introduces them to The Tale of the Three Brothers, a fairy tale about three men who bested Death and each received a magical item for it: An unbeatable wand (called the Elder Wand), a stone which could bring back the dead (the Resurrection Stone), and an Invisibility Cloak that can hide the wearer from Death itself and never failed with age, unlike most cloaks of that nature. Lovegood tells them that the three items are collectively represented by the symbol, and whoever owns all three sacred items is the "Master of Death." Harry believes his own cloak to be the legendary Invisibility Cloak and is very excited. They discover that Lovegood has betrayed them to the Ministry; Luna, his daughter, was taken captive earlier in the year because he was encouraging support for Harry, and he believes that giving them Harry will win her freedom. The trio barely escape from the Death Eaters sent to fetch them. In an ingenious plan to ensure escape, but also protect Ron's alibi, Hermione throws Harry's cloak over Ron and blasts away the floor. When they are sighted by the Death Eaters, she guides Harry and Ron as they Dissapparate.
After hearing the story of the Deathly Hallows, Harry becomes obsessed with finding them, he begins to neglect his duties as the group's leader as he sits in reverie. With Harry not performing, Ron steps up to lead them as they venture up and down the island checking in many places for any sign of another Horcrux. After listless weeks, Ron finally manages to tune into a rogue wizard radio broadcast called "Potterwatch", run by Lee Jordan, which reports on what is really happening. The broadcast is quite entertaining, and Harry laughs for the first time in months. However, after the programme, Harry accidentally says Voldemort’s name and a group of Snatchers find Harry, Ron, and Hermione and capture them, taking them to Malfoy Manor.
There, they are taken into the drawing room to have their identities confirmed. The Malfoys' son Draco is home for the Easter holidays. He is reluctant to identify the trio, but when Lucius Malfoy is satisfied that the prisoners are indeed Harry Potter and his accomplices, he reaches for his Dark Mark. At that instant Bellatrix Lestrange, who was with the Malfoys, stops Lucius. She has seen a sword being carried by one of the Snatchers and believes it to be Godric Gryffindor's Sword which is supposed to be in her vault. She singles out Hermione for torture and interrogation to find how the trio acquired the sword, while Ron and Harry are locked in a cellar with Dean, Griphook, Ollivander, and Luna. Harry locates his broken shard of mirror, sees a flash of blue in it resembling Dumbledore's eye, and in desperation begs for help. Upstairs, Hermione lies to Bellatrix, saying that the sword is a copy. Bellatrix sends Draco to fetch Griphook who Harry convinces to corroborate Hermione's story. As Draco slams the door, Dobby apparates into the cellar. Harry orders him to take Dean, Luna, and Ollivander first and then return for everyone else. When Dobby dissapparates, the noise is heard upstairs and Wormtail is sent to investigate.
Harry and Ron attack him, and Wormtail resists, losing his wand to Ron, but grabbing Harry's neck with his artificial hand. Harry calls upon the Life debt that Wormtail owes him, and Wormtail momentarily hesitates. Wormtail’s artificial hand, made by Voldemort three years previous, immediately strangles Wormtail to death instead for the mercy he has shown. Ron and Harry, helpless to aid him, rush upstairs to save Hermione. They peek through the door to find Hermione passed out on the floor, and Bellatrix questioning Griphook. When they crash through the door, Ron disarms Bellatrix, and he and Harry begin a fierce exchange of spells with the others in the room. They are forced to stop, when Bellatrix threatens to cut Hermione's throat. As Voldemort approaches, Dobby returns and drops the chandelier onto Bellatrix. Ron sprints to pull Hermione from the wreckage as Harry wrests three wands from Draco; his wand and the wands Ron and Harry had taken during the earlier skirmish. Harry picks up Griphook, seizes Dobby and dissapparates as Ron does the same with Hermione. They escape as Voldemort is close to arriving, but Dobby is slain by Bellatrix Lestrange as they flee.
They arrive at Bill and Fleur's home, Shell Cottage. Upon coming to his senses Harry realises that Dobby is dying. He digs Dobby's grave by hand as Hermione and Griphook are tended to in the house. The group holds a little funeral for the brave elf who saved their lives. While digging the grave, Harry does some thinking. He realises that Dumbledore had been right about Dobby and Ron and Pettigrew. He comes to a reaffirmation of faith in his old mentor and loses his burning obsession with the Deathly Hallows. Harry questions Griphook about how to break into Gringotts Wizarding Bank, believing that a Horcrux is hidden in Bellatrix's vault based on her reaction when she saw that the trio had Gryffindor's Sword. Harry then questions Ollivander about the Elder Wand, revealing his deep insight into Lord Voldemort's way of thinking. Ollivander also gives him a lesson on wand mechanics; when a wizard disarms, kills, or otherwise defeats another wizard, they can use that wizard's wand as well as their own. Harry tells Ron and Hermione that Voldemort is seeking the Elder Wand as the way to defeat him. While telling them this, he gets confirmation as he has a vision in which Voldemort successfully steals the Elder Wand from the tomb of Dumbledore.
Griphook eventually agrees to help the trio, in return for Gryffindor's sword. Harry reluctantly agrees, planning to give him the sword after all the Horcruxes have been destroyed. He tells Griphook he can have the sword after they have broken in to the Bank, but he is very careful not to mention when, as Goblins are notoriously known for going back on their word. The trio spend nearly a month planning, only seeing daylight or the other occupants of the house at mealtimes. Harry, as well as the other two, comes to strongly dislike Griphook, because he seems to relish causing pain. Later, Remus Lupin visits them again. He had returned to Tonks by Chistmas and tells everyone that she has given birth to a son who does not have his werewolf tendencies, instead possessing Tonks's Metamorphmagus abilities. Lupin also gives Harry the honour of being Teddy Lupin's godfather. After many rounds of wine, he departs, and as they are cleaning up, Bill corners Harry and tells him to be wary of Griphook.
After extensive planning, on May 1st the group sets out for Gringotts to obtain the Horcrux. Hermione poses by way of Polyjuice Potion as Bellatrix using some hair that had been left on her after the Battle of Malfoy Manor. Ron is disguised as a foreign wizard, and Griphook and Harry go in under the Invisibility cloak. Through the use of disguises and Harry's repeated use of the Imperius Curse, they manage to gain access to the bank. As they are travelling down the tunnel to the Lestrange Vault, their cover is blown, and the defences are set against them. With Griphook's help, they gain access to the vault and find the Horcrux, Helga Hufflepuff's Cup. Harry grabs it, but Griphook betrays their presence and flees with the sword. Harry, Ron, and Hermione narrowly escape the many guards on the back of a captive half-blind dragon. Gryffindor's sword is kept by Griphook.
Harry has a vision shortly after the escape in which Lord Voldemort lists off all the locations of the Horcruxes, realising now they are being sought after and destroyed. Voldemort inadvertently reveals that the unknown Horcrux, which Harry suspects to be a relic of Rowena Ravenclaw, founder of Ravenclaw house, is safe within Hogwarts Castle, confirming a belief he had shared with the others to much derision. Harry realises that if they want to get the Horcrux within Hogwarts, they need to do so immediately, before Voldemort finds his other Horcruxes missing. They immediately Apparate to Hogsmeade to find a way to sneak into the school.
When they arrive in Hogsmeade, they immediately trigger the Caterwauling Charm placed on the village alerting the Death Eaters to their presence. Harry and friends are cornered by Death Eaters, but are saved by Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus's brother. Harry also discovers that Aberforth was the one he saw in the mirror at Malfoy Manor. Aberforth urges the trio to flee, but they refuse to give up. Aberforth then tells them the truth about Ariana; She had been a witch, but an attack on her by muggle boys had left her unable to control her abilities. Percival attacked the muggles in retaliation. The family kept Ariana and her condition secret, to protect her, with Kendra and Aberforth the ones caring for her the most. However, one of Ariana's outbursts killed Kendra. With Aberforth about to return to school, Albus took over care of Ariana, and ran into Grindlewald at this time. He began to neglect his duties as he was planning his uprising with Grindlewald, for which he was confronted by Aberforth. The three wizards got into a fight, in which Ariana was killed. Aberforth opens a secret passageway to Hogwarts, where Neville Longbottom greets them. The trio learn that Neville, Ginny, and Luna have restarted Dumbledore's Army to resist the regime of Severus Snape, who was made headmaster following Voldemort's takeover of the ministry.
Neville summons members of the D.A. who have been forced to leave the school, including Ginny, Luna, and Dean, or those who had graduated previously, such as Fred and George Weasley, Harry's old Quidditch team, and his first girlfriend, Cho Chang. Harry asks them what they know about an object of Ravenclaw's, which Dumbledore believed to be a Horcrux. However, the only known relic is Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem, which has been lost for centuries. Wishing to see what the diadem looks like, Harry and Luna venture under Harry's Invisibility cloak to Ravenclaw Tower. He reveals himself to get a closer look at the diadem but is seen by Alecto Carrow who had been stationed to watch the room. She immediately summons Voldemort, but she is stunned by Luna. Soon, both Amycus Carrow and Minerva McGonagall arrive to see what the disturbance is about. When Carrow suggests that they push the blame off onto the students, McGonagall protests, and he spits in her face. In a rage, Harry Cruciates him until he passes out. Harry asks McGonagall for time to search the castle, but they come across Severus Snape in the corridor, and Snape is run out of the building.
Shortly after Harry's arrival, Voldemort discovers that two more of his Horcruxes have disappeared, and gathers an army of Death Eaters, Dementors, Acromantula, and Giants, in order to assault the school and kill Harry once and for all. After Hogwarts sent Snape fleeing, they raise their own army consisting of teachers, students, the D.A., the Order of the Phoenix, and enchanted statues and suits of armour. At midnight, the Battle of Hogwarts begins. All the while Harry tries to locate the diadem and Ron and Hermione who had gone missing. When he speaks with the Grey Lady he surmises that Tom Riddle had learned of the diadem's location from her. Shortly after the battle begins, Harry recalls seeing the diadem in the Room of Requirement and meets up with Ron and Hermione, who had disappeared in order to retrieve Basilisk fangs from the Chamber of Secrets to destroy the next two Horcruxes. The trio reenter the Room of Requirement, and Ron remembers all about the house-elves in the kitchens. He does not feel that it is right to order them to die for them, so he makes his thoughts known. At this Hermione drops all the basilisk fangs she is holding and she and Ron share a deep, meaningful kiss, completely forgetting that Harry is there (and that there is a war going on). After being reminded they search the Room of Hidden Things, a version of the Room of Requirement that students have used to hide things over the centuries. Once they are in there and are looking for 'The Lost Diadem' they are confronted by Malfoy and his cronies Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle. After a short duel in which Crabbe aims to kill, Crabbe mishandles the Fiendfyre spell, causing a huge inferno. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Malfoy, and Goyle escape on two old brooms, and the diadem is destroyed by the fire, along with Crabbe. After that, Fred and Percy Weasley are seen duelling with two Death Eaters one of whom is Minister for Magic Pius Thicknesse. After they defeat them, there is an explosion in the corridor, and Fred is killed, deeply affecting his brothers.
ackground to the series Edit
The series of books was originally published as a children's book by UK publishers Bloomsbury, and US publishers Scholastic. However, it rapidly became a phenomenal success both amongst children and amongst adults. The books each chronicle one year at school for the characters concerned and follows a long tradition of children serial books about life in schools. Perhaps unlike some of the traditional series of this format, each book has matured and expanded in complexity and scope compared to the last, approximately developing with the age of the principal characters. Although it is reported that the author had comprehensively plotted the entire series of books before the first was published, and that this plot remains unchanged, she has also stated that it has undergone a number of revisions as it has progressed. This may in part reflect the extraordinary success of the book and a need to direct its content more towards the adult market. The books started as relatively slim volumes of 300 pages, but have grown towards 700 pages as the series progressed.
Choice of title and symbolism Edit
Rowling first announced that she had a particular title in mind in the latter part of 2006. However, she also announced that she had a final choice of three possible titles, before choosing this one. She has declined to explain the meaning of the title, or say what the other two possibilities were, on the grounds that doing so would reveal information about the book. The other titles she had in mind were Harry Potter and the Elder Wand, which became a chapter title, Harry Potter and the Peverell Quest, and Harry Potter and the Hallows of Hogwarts. There were also fan rumours of titles such as "Harry Potter and the Green Flame Torch," "The New Beginning," the "Pyramids of Furmat," "The Forest of Shadows," the "Fortress of Shadows," and others.
Hallows is a word which has fallen into disuse in modern English except as part of some names. It is popular to name churches after saints, and there are a number of 'Church of all Hallows' in Britain, as well as some schools. Similarly the holiday of Halloween is derived from "All Hallows' Eve." This usage of the word refers to saints, relics of saints, or the places where saints have lived or their remains have rested (making those places holy). Part of the mythology of hallows is that the spirit of the saint remains in his relics, and may come to the aid of those who seek it. Thus pilgrims venture to see holy relics or visit shrines hallowed by the saints.
Rowling has chosen to use the word 'deathly' in the title, rather than deadly. These two are similar in sound, and sometimes confused in meaning, but are different. A 'deathly hallow' need not be dangerous, but rather in some way is related to death.
The word 'hallows' has been used in a number of legends to represent important and powerful objects. The Tuatha de Danaan in Ireland possessed six hallows: Manannan's house, Goibniu's shirt and tools, Lochlan's helmet, Alba's shears, a fishskin belt and Asal's pig bones. These were guarded by four Guardians of the Hallows: Manannan, Lugh, Cumhal and Fionn. As the legend changed, the hallows became four objects: The spear of Lugh, Stone of Fal, Sword of Nuada and Dagda's Cauldron. These became the four suits in a pack of Tarot cards and took on the representation of the four magical elements, earth, air, fire and water.
The symbolism of four hallowed objects extends into the suits which now appear on tarot cards. These are wands, coins, cups, and swords. In particular the picture card, the Magician, shows a man waving a wand, with a sword, cup, and engraved metal disc on a table in front of him. Sources suggest that the figure depicted may represent Hermes, the same ancient god as the bust which Rowling used to announce completion of the book. Hermes is also considered a messenger in older legends.