Meanwhile, the Order of the Phoenix (organisation)|Order of the Phoenix arrive at Privet Drive and escort Harry to safety using Polyjuice Potion to create six decoy Harrys. During their flight to the Burrow they are ambushed by Death Eater|Death Eaters, resulting in the deaths of Mad-Eye Moody and Hedwig (Harry Potter)|Hedwig. Voldemort attempts to kill Harry with Malfoy's wand, but Harry overpowers him. They arrive at the Burrow where Harry has a vision of Ollivander being tormented by Voldemort, who claims that the wand-maker had lied to him by informing him of the only way to kill Harry: obtaining another's wand.
Scrimgeour arrives at the Burrow and distributes items from Albus Dumbledore's will to Ron, Hermione and Harry. Ron receives Dumbledore's Deluminator, Hermione, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Harry the first Golden Snitch that he ever caught. Scrimgeour reveals that Harry was willed the Sword of Godric Gryffindor, but explains that the sword is missing and not to be given away.
Later, the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour is disrupted by Death Eaters, who have infiltrated the Ministry and are using its authority to persecute Muggle-born witches and wizards. The trio Disapparation|disapparate to London and find sanctuary at 12 Grimmauld Place|No. 12 Grimmauld Place. There they discover that the "R.A.B." from the false Horcrux locket is Regulus Arcturus Black, the younger brother of Sirius Black. From Kreacher, the Black's house-elf, they learn that Mundungus Fletcher stole the real locket. Kreacher and Dobby the house elf|Dobby apprehend Fletcher, who reveals that the locket is in the possession of Dolores Umbridge. Under the disguise of Polyjuice Potion, the trio infiltrate the Ministry and successfully retrieve the locket. The trio escape into the Forest of Dean after accidentally revealing the location of 12 Grimmauld Place|No. 12 Grimmauld Place to Yaxley.
Unable to destroy the Horcrux, they take turns wearing it in order to dilute its negative psychological effects. Harry sees a vision of Voldemort interrogating Gregorovitch, a renowned wand-maker who claims that a teenage boy had once stolen the legendary Elder Wand from his shop. While Ron wears the locket, he is overcome with the suspicion that Harry and Hermione are forming a romantic relationship, and abandons the two in the wilderness. Harry and Hermione visit Godric's Hollow where they visit Harry's parent's graves. They visit the home of Bathilda Bagshot, who may have the Sword of Gryffindor which they believe can destroy Horcruxes. However, they are instead cornered by Voldemort's snake, Nagini (Harry Potter)|Nagini. Harry's wand is broken. They escape Godric's Hollow and into the wilderness, where Hermione identifies the mysterious thief seen in Harry's vision as Gellert Grindelwald.
When evening falls, Harry sees a doe ExpectoPatronus|patronus which leads him to a frozen pond. Gryffindor's sword is beneath the ice. Harry enters the pool through the ice to reach the sword. The locket around his neck attempts to strangle him, but Ron arrives to rescue Harry. Ron eventually overcomes the locket's power, smashing it with the sword.
The trio then visit Xenophilius Lovegood to learn about a symbol seen several times on their journey. They learn that the symbol represents the quest for the Deathly Hallows (objects)|Deathly Hallows: the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone and the Magical objects in Harry Potter#Cloak of Invisibility|Cloak of Invisibility. Lovegood betrays them to the Death Eaters in an effort to have his kidnapped daughter returned. Harry envisions Voldemort learning from Grindelwald that the Elder Wand lies with Dumbledore.
The trio escape into the wilderness once more, where they are captured by Snatchers and taken to Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix imprisons Harry and Ron in a cellar in which they discover Luna Lovegood|Luna, Ollivander, and Griphook the goblin. She tortures Hermione for information on how they got the sword, which Bellatrix believed to be in her vault at Gringotts. After Dobby apparates to save them, a short battle ensues, and Harry duels and disarms Draco. Dobby is killed by Bellatrix as the protagonists escape. Voldemort breaks into Dumbledore's tomb and takes the Elder Wand.