Flesh, Blood and Bone

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Chapter 32 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Flesh, Blood and Bone← Chapter 31 | Chapter 33 →

Synopsis[edit]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

The Triwizard Cup is a Portkey and deposits Harry and Cedric in a graveyard (which readers may suspect is in Little Hangleton). As they look around, wondering where they are, a figure approaches, apparently carrying a baby. Harry's scar is searing; he drops his wand and falls to the ground. A high voice orders, "Kill the spare." Cedric is instantly murdered by the approaching man. Harry, through his pain, dimly realizes he is being tied to a grave marker inscribed with the name Tom Riddle. He recognizes his assailant—Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew).

Wormtail checks Harry's bonds and gags him roughly, then departs. Looking at the bundle next to the graveside, Harry is appalled by the half-infant, half-snake creature. His scar burns again as the thing glares back through red, slitted eyes. Wormtail returns with a huge stone cauldron containing a clear potion, placing it beside the bundle and lighting a fire beneath. Wormtail picks up the creature and drops it into the cauldron; Harry hopes it drowns.

Wormtail causes the grave under Harry's feet to disgorge something that looks like dust; he chants, "Bone of the father, unknowingly given. You will renew your son!" Wormtail sends it into the cauldron. Slicing off his right hand and dropping it into the cauldron, he continues haltingly, "Flesh — of the servant — w-willingly given — you will revive — your master." In pain and weeping, he slits Harry's arm with the knife and collects blood in a vial. As it drips into the cauldron, he chants, "B-blood of the enemy... forcibly taken... you will... resurrect your foe."

The cauldron emits huge vaporous clouds from which a tall, skeletal man ascends then alights on the ground. He orders Wormtail to robe him. Lord Voldemort has arisen.

Analysis[edit]

As Cedric dies, Voldemort is reborn. Cedric's death is a tragedy, but all the more so as he is killed only for being an unexpected impediment to Voldemort's evil plot. After his hard-fought and well-deserved victory, Cedric's life is flicked away in an instant as if he was nothing more than an annoying insect. Not only does Harry see Cedric die, but he also witnesses Voldemort's horrific resurrection, in which Harry is forced to participate, his blood being added to the monstrous mixture that restores the Dark Lord's body. In addition to being tied by their brother wands and Harry's scar, through which Harry imbibed some of Voldemort's powers, they are now bound even closer by their blood; just how this bond will affect future events is unknown.

When Harry comes face-to-face with the completely restored and fully powerful Voldemort, he sees him for the first time as an actual human. Previously, he was only a grotesque face attached to Professor Quirrell's head (in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) and as the young Tom Riddle's memory in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, first in the Diary, and later in the Chamber. Now he is a flesh and blood being, poised to kill Harry before inflicting more evil on the unsuspecting Wizarding world that he intends to conquer.

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

Review[edit]

  1. Why was Cedric Diggory killed?
  2. Was Harry transported to this particular cemetery for a reason? If so, why?
  3. Why does Voldemort use Harry's blood in the ritual?

Further Study[edit]

  1. Why would Wormtail sacrifice his hand? Could his flesh being used in the ritual change his relationship with either Harry or Voldemort? Explain.
  2. For the first time, Harry sees Voldemort as a fully restored human. How does this change Harry's perspective about Voldemort, and how will this affect their ongoing conflict?

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Voldemort, by using Harry's blood for his resurrection, has unintentionally strengthened the existing connection between them. Both Harry and Voldemort are unaware that this previous connection, forged by Voldemort's attempt to kill the one-year-old Harry, exists. Professor Dumbledore, upon hearing that Voldemort used Harry's blood, displays a "gleam of something like triumph". In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Voldemort again casts the killing curse on Harry, this blood tie between Harry and Voldemort is all that tethers Harry to life, enabling him to survive the Avada Kedavra curse a second and third time, and ultimately causing Voldemort's downfall.

Wormtail's flesh is also used in the ritual, though it is never revealed if this also gives him any significant tie to either Harry or Voldemort. Wormtail already owes Harry a life debt. Could their intermingled blood and flesh strengthen that obligation? While interesting to consider, this is only speculation.

One of the things elided in the books, as they are nominally for children, is the origin of the "baby" Wormtail is carrying. An adult reader may pause to question where it had come from, as Voldemort, disembodied, would be too weak to cast spells, and Pettigrew does not seem to be the strongest wizard. We note that many events, similarly passed over, seem to have more resonance for adult readers; we note, in particular, the episode with Professor Umbridge and the Centaurs in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Adults, knowing more about the supposed habits of centaurs, understand why Umbridge is in the Hospital Wing after her rescue by Dumbledore. No hints are given as to the origin of what fans have dubbed "baby Voldy," but we can speculate.

Going deep into speculation, then, we consider Bertha Jorkins. Bertha, who was in Hogwarts at the same time as the Marauders, would have been about 34 years old when, we are told, she went on vacation and did not return. Apparently she went to Albania, a curious destination for a single woman going on vacation. It is possible that given her memory problems, she had managed to get herself pregnant, had forgotten to do anything about it until after the cutoff for pregnancy termination under UK law, and was taking a "medical holiday" to a country where she could get the pregnancy terminated despite it being relatively advanced. In the next chapter we will discover that she had been entrapped by Wormtail and brought to Voldemort, who interrogated and then killed her. It is possible that Voldemort appropriated her unborn child to house his own soul. We do hear that Wormtail is feeding the infant with something, probably venom, that is milked from Nagini, presumably with some magical modification. How this is keeping the pseudo-infant alive is never even hinted at, but we suspect that Voldemort rankles at this dependency on another.

Witnessing Cedric's murder will adversely affect Harry, giving him nightmares through the coming summer. It will also alter his relationship with Cho Chang, as she first looks to Harry for information about Cedric's death, then clings to him for consolation that he is unable to provide, and finally leaves him when she is unable to cope with her loss. Cedric's demise will also enable Harry to see creatures called Thestrals that are visible only to those who have seen death first-hand, and are a constant reminder of those who have died. The Thestrals play a role in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Though Dumbledore accepts them immediately, Harry's claims that Voldemort has returned will be disputed by the Ministry of Magic, who will continue to deny this "inconvenient truth" while subjecting both Harry and Dumbledore to public damnation and ridicule, painting Harry as a delusional, attention-seeking liar. This must be particularly troubling to Harry because of Fudge's stated position, barely a year earlier, that Sirius Black was preparing for Voldemort's return. Adding more insult, the Ministry will also claim that Cedric died from injuries resulting from his own carelessness during the Tournament. The Ministry's refusal to accept Voldemort's return will cause a year-long conflict between Dumbledore and the Ministry, with Hogwarts students, especially Harry, becoming victims trapped between these two opposing forces.

Connections[edit]

  • Cedric's death will be the direct cause of several events in later books.
    • Harry will experience nightmares centering on this event early in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
    • The relationship between Harry and Cho Chang will be a direct result, as Cho needs details around Cedric's death to reach closure.
    • Harry will be able to perceive the Thestrals which pull the apparently horseless carriages to the school, and will be left wondering whether these creatures, that Ron cannot see, are perhaps some Dark manifestation.
  • The return of Voldemort is of course a central plot element and has effects through the entire story arc.
  • Voldemort's use of Harry's blood in his reanimation will extend the protection initially afforded by his mother's sacrifice, and maintained by Harry's staying with the Dursleys. Because of this, Voldemort will be unable to kill Harry. This is also a major plot point, though hidden at this time.