After burying Dobby the Elf, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) asks the Goblin Griphook (Warwick Davis) to help him, Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) to break into Gringott’s Bank, where they believe a horcrux is in Bellatrix Lestrange’s (Helena Bonham Carter) vault. Griphook agrees, but he wants the Sword of Griffindor. Wand-maker Ollivander (John Hurt) tells Harry that two wands taken from Malfoy Manor belong to Bellatrix and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton). It seems that Draco’s wand has changed its allegiance to Harry.
In the vault, they find Helga Hufflepuff’s cup, another Horcrux that may contain part of Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) soul. Griphook snatches Gryffindor’s sword and abandons the others. Surrounded by security forces, they release the guardian dragon and escape on its back. Harry realises there must be a Horcrux connected to Rowena Ravenclaw, probably at Hogwarts. They apparate into Hogsmeade, where Aberforth Dumbledore (Ciaran Hinds) reveals a secret passageway into the school.
Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) hears of Harry’s return and warns staff and students that they face punishment for helping Harry. Harry confronts Snape, but Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith) challenges Snape and he flees. She gathers the Hogwarts community for battle. Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) insists that Harry consult Helena Ravenclaw’s ghost (Kelly Macdonald), who reveals that Voldemort possessed her mother’s diadem, now in the Room of Requirement. Down in the Chamber of Secrets, Hermione destroys the Horcrux cup with a Basilisk fang.
In the Room of Requirement, Draco and others attack Harry, but Ron and Hermione intervene. Goyle (Josh Herdman) accidentally destroys himself with a Fiendfyre Curse and sets the room on fire. Harry and his friends save Draco and Zabini (Louis Cordice). Harry stabs the diadem with the basilisk fang and Ron kicks it into the fire. Voldemort’s army attacks and Harry sees in Voldemort’s mind that the serpent Nagini is the last horcrux. Voldemort orders Nagini to kill Snape. Dying, Snape asks Harry to take his tears to the Penseive. Fred Weasley (James Phelps), Remis Lupin (David Thewlis), and Nymphadora Tonks (Natalia Tena) are killed.
Harry sees Snape’s memory in the Penseive. He hated Harry’s father but loved his mother. This is why he hated but often protected Harry. Dumbledore asked Snape to kill him. Harry is the last horcrux and must die to destroy Voldemort. Harry uses the Resurrection Stone to summon his dead loved ones for courage, before surrendering to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. Voldemort casts the Killing Curse and Harry finds himself in Limbo, where he meets Dumbledore, who explains that Harry is now free of Voldemort and can return to his body if he wishes.
Voldemort announces Harry’s death and demands everyone to surrender. Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) draws the Sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat. Harry reveals he is still alive. The Malfoys and other Death Eaters abandon Voldemort. As Harry and Voldemort duel, Molly Weasley (Julie Walter) kills Bellatrix and Neville decapitates Nagini. Voldemort is now mortal, and Harry destroys him. Nineteen years later, Harry is married to Ginny, and Ron to Hermione, and with Draco they watch their children leave for Hogwarts.
Director David Yates wanted all the characters who had not appeared since earlier films to come back and join the battle for Hogwarts. Some of the actors were aged with makeup. He described the film as big and operatic and colourful. Major scenes constructed included the Gringotts Bank and the post-battle Hogwarts. It took two years to do but garnered 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated for Art Direction, Makeup, and Visual Effects at the Oscars. It won Best Fantasy Film at the Saturn Awards.
Voldemort hugging Draco was an improvisation by Ralph Fiennes, but Tom Felton’s awkward reaction was genuine. When Hermione disguised herself as Bellatrix to sneak into Gringotts Bank, Emma Watson worked with Helena Bonham Carter so the latter could act like Hermione acting like Bellatrix. No two wands were alike in the entire series. Little People to play the Gringotts Goblins were hired from Warwick Davis’s company, Willow Personal Management. Kate Winslet was offered the role of Helena Ravenclaw, but her agent rejected it on her behalf. What happened to the agent is unknown.
Alan Rickman was told the whole of Snape’s life early on in the series—the only actor who knew his character’s whole story. He felt awkward battling Dame Maggie Smith, as he had grown up idolising her. “She can arch an eyebrow like nobody.” Every time a horcrux is destroyed, Voldemort looks a little worse. The story is that Voldemort tried out for Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher, and when he didn’t get the job, he cursed it. That explains why no-one lasted more than a year in that job. Dobby’s grave became a pilgrimage site for Potter fans until the influx of visitors created a negative environmental impact on the beach.