The Elder Wand. The Resurrection Stone. The Cloak of Invisibility.
Being a fictional tale that is used to amuse little wizard children, The Tale of the Three Brothers is a story about how three brothers greeted Death. It became famous as it somehow crept into our minds that the story actually reflected the lives of Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, and of course, Harry Potter as those who met the Grim Reaper at the flesh. This was revealed when Hermione, during the shadow of the Wizarding War, read the said text which is part of her copy of the The Tales of Beedle The Bard.
The story started when Peverell brothers were traveling along an eery road which ended in a river that was rumored to be deadly. Being the wise wizards they are, they conjured a bridge and proceeded to cross. As they were about halfway through the bridge, they met the pretentious Death who felt cheated on. So, he decided to play tricks on them and congratulated the brothers, rewarding them with gifts of their own choice for winning his ‘game’.
The first brother who asked for something that would give him ultimate power, was given the Elder Wand while the second one, who wished for a tool to bring people back from the grave, was given the Resurrection Stone. Lastly, the youngest brother being the wisest among them, wished for something that would cheat death again in his own game, so reluctantly, Death handed over his own Invisibility Cloak. Then, they separated their ways to meet their respective fates.
That very night, Death transfigured to a murderous wizard. The unknown murderous wizard crept to the inn as the eldest brother slept, drunk from wine. The wizard slit the oldest brother’s throat for good measure and stole the wand. That was when Death took the first brother.
Drunk with power and blinding himself with the luxury of control to almost everything, the eldest brother was the first one who fell in Death’s trap. If we come to think of it, his death shows us how the want for power is of least importance when living a mortal life. Nothing should ever be a matter of whether or not you are more capable than others. Life has evolved enough to assume that it is not the ‘survival of the fittest’ anymore.
And even though Dumbledore was not exactly greedy with power, conflicting with the idea that he is the symbol of the first brother, he still managed to teach us this valuable life lesson through his own ways. Teaching Harry how to move about the world of darkness and evil, he made us all realize that one must always remember to turn on the light.
The second brother returned to his home where he lived alone. Turning the stone thrice in his hand the figure of the girl he had once hoped to marry, before her untimely death, appeared at once before him, much to his delight. Yet she was sad and cold, separated from him as by a veil. Though she had returned to the mortal world, she did not truly belong there and suffered. Finally the second brother, driven mad with hopeless longing, committed suicide by hanging from his house’ balcony so as truly to join her. That was when Death took the second brother for his own.
Existing as a broken-hearted mortal who unconditionally loves someone who passed away, the second brother was eaten by his own depression. This kind of death actually portrays the lives of those who feels hopeless that they do not wish to be in this reality anymore. But on the other hand, the second brother’s fall is just a reminder that some things just can’t be brought back to the way they were before. This is why we should carefully live our lives and do things that we will not regret in the future.
Personally, Snape was a fair representation of this idea. Him loving Lily Potter so much that he let her go with another wizard who equally loved her as he did, was the most heart-breaking sacrifice that we’ve witnessed. He taught us that love knows no limits, but no matter how much we love another person, we must always remember that we should also love ourselves. Let us not forget that there is no good in consuming yourself fully for the built of another one, even if they are the ones that we love the most.
Death searched for the youngest brother as years passed but never succeeded. It was only when the third brother reached a great age, he took off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. Greeting Death as an old friend, they departed this life as equals.
As the one who lived his life in a manner that he is invisible to Death, seemingly immortal, the third brother died a dignified death. Passing the gift of concealment to his child was an act of selfless love that emanated throughout the son’s life. The youngest brother was the epitome of courage, wit, and humility. His passing make us realize that facing death should not be feared because greeting Death will just be like reuniting with an old friend.
Although Harry is technically not the third brother himself, because his dad James Potter was the one who died, he is still the one who kept the gift of Death that practically put him in a state wherein he is in the middle of living and dying. Thus, this reflected the stories description of meeting death as an ‘old friend’ justifiable in a sense that he cheated death for the second time around in place of his father. Harry’s life became our symbol for hope and strength for he experienced the darkest of times with the light of love shining with him.
And in the end, this story of the three brothers just makes us all realize that not all fairy tales fool us with happy endings.