Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
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- Chapter 1: The Riddle House
- Chapter 2: The Scar
- Chapter 3: The Invitation
- Chapter 4: Back to the Burrow
- Chapter 5: Weasley's Wizard Wheezes
- Chapter 6: The Portkey
- Chapter 7: Bagman and Crouch
- Chapter 8: The Quidditch World Cup
- Chapter 9: The Dark Mark
- Chapter 10: Mayhem at the Ministry
- Chapter 11: Aboard the Hogwarts Express
- Chapter 12: The Triwizard Tournament
- Chapter 13: Mad-Eye Moody
- Chapter 14: The Unforgivable Curses
- Chapter 15: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
- Chapter 16: The Goblet of Fire
- Chapter 17: The Four Champions
- Chapter 18: The Weighing of the Wands
- Chapter 19: The Hungarian Horntail
- Chapter 20: The First Task
- Chapter 21: The House-Elf Liberation Front
- Chapter 22: The Unexpected Task
- Chapter 23: The Yule Ball
- Chapter 24: Rita Skeeter's Scoop
- Chapter 25: The Egg and the Eye
- Chapter 26: The Second Task
- Chapter 27: Padfoot Returns
- Chapter 28: The Madness of Mr. Crouch
- Chapter 29: The Dream
- Chapter 30: The Pensieve
- Chapter 31: The Third Task
- Chapter 32: Flesh, Blood, and Bone
- Chapter 33: The Death Eaters
- Chapter 34: Priori Incantatem
- Chapter 35: Veritaserum
- Chapter 36: The Parting of the Ways
- Chapter 37: The Beginning
The fourth book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is told from the viewpoint of the now 14-year-old Harry. Apart from the usual magic, events at Hogwarts School, and frustration of the Dursleys, it includes a visit to the Quidditch World Cup, and an ancient tournament that, after a hiatus of over a century, is being restarted at Hogwarts School. Darker and more mature than the preceding entries in the series, this book again shows us Harry maturing and gaining strength in preparation to fight the gathering darkness.
While this book is rather daunting in appearance at 636 pages (Bloomsbury / Raincoast edition), it is set in larger type than the previous three volumes. If set in the same type as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, it would be 487 pages (approximately) to 223 for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
- New places visited: Quidditch World Cup Stadium, Little Hangleton, Hogwarts' kitchen, Prefects' bathroom
- Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher: Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody
- Title refers to: The Goblet of Fire
Chapter 1: The Riddle House
The story opens in the small village of Little Hangleton at "The Riddle House." Many villagers still call it that, even though many years have passed since the Riddle family actually lived there. Atop a hill overlooking the village, the former manor is the largest building in the area.
The house has a bad reputation. Half a century ago, the Riddle family, including the son, then about thirty years old, and his parents, were found dead in the living room. Frank Bryce, the Riddles' gardener, was arrested on suspicion of homicide but was released when it was determined the victims were not murdered; they simply died, apparently of fear. But the villagers remain suspicious that Frank was responsible.
Bryce now lives alone on the Riddle property, caring for the house and grounds for its absent owners as best he can despite his advancing age. Late one night, Bryce investigates a light in one of the house's windows. Inside, he overhears Lord Voldemort and Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew) planning to take action after the Quidditch World Cup, though Bryce has no idea what that is. Lord Voldemort apparently distrusts Wormtail to act alone, and talks about his "faithful servant". It appears they have already killed someone named Bertha Jorkins.
Bryce is discovered by Nagini, Voldemort's giant pet snake, and Wormtail forces him into the room. Bryce threatens them with the police; Voldemort, calling him a Muggle, completely disdains Bryce's threat and slays him with a Killing curse.
Two hundred miles away, Harry Potter suddenly awakens with a sharp pain in his scar.
This marks the second time in the series that a book has opened somewhere other than with Harry Potter at the Dursleys. The first was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Readers are also witness to a murder first-hand, whereas before, murdered victims were mentioned after-the-fact. Arguably, Harry is viewing the events in a dream, although given the detail he sees and his strong reaction to it, it is likely much more than that. Harry's recollection seems to be as a detached third party, as he later recalls seeing Frank fall and the armchair swivel from Frank's viewpoint.
This chapter is somewhat confusing initially. We are not given any cues to indicate that the death of the Riddle family, announced to the town by a screaming maidservant, is occurring 50 years before the main story. We only recognize the time-frame of the initial events when the story shifts to Frank Bryce's current point-of-view.
It should be mentioned that Voldemort, discussing his "faithful servant," is clearly referring to someone other than Wormtail. This third person's identity is left unclear, and it leaves Wormtail quite frightened, as it implies that Voldemort does not entirely trust Wormtail, and he is therefore subject to punishment and perhaps death. This again illuminates Voldemort's character: he rules his associates through fear, intimidation, and pain, rather than commanding their respect or fidelity.
Voldemort's snake, Nagini, makes its first appearance. Wormtail is apparently milking Nagini for some substance, possibly venom, to keep Lord Voldemort alive. Milking venomous snakes is not unique to the Wizarding world; it is by this technique that we are able to produce antivenom. The fact that Voldemort uses this process himself is perhaps unusual, but considerably less dangerous for Voldemort and Wormtail than it is for Muggle harvesters, because of the control Voldemort has over the snake.
As noted, we actually see Frank Bryce being murdered here, apparently by something speaking with Voldemort's voice, though we don't see what it is. If this is truly Voldemort, and not just a nightmare for Harry, then even in his disembodied state, Voldemort's power is already strong and likely growing.
- Why does the Riddle manor have a "creepy" reputation? Why has no one lived in it for so many years?
- Why was Frank Bryce accused and later exonerated of the Riddle family's murders? What could have killed them?
- Why was Bertha Jorkins recently killed?
- Can anyone else talk to snakes like Voldemort does with Nagini? How is that possible?
- Who might the "rich" owner of the Riddle house be? Is Voldemort concerned about the house's ownership? Why or why not?
- Why does Harry awaken in pain, 200 miles away, just as Frank Bryce is murdered?
- Who might the "faithful servant" that is mentioned be? Give supporting reasons.
- How and why does Nagini seem to act differently than other snakes?
Events in this chapter lead us to believe that the Riddle family that we find murdered in this chapter are Voldemort's Muggle father and grandparents; this is alluded to later in this book, and confirmed in the sixth book.
Later in this book, and also in a subsequent one, Harry will have "dreams" that appear to reflect actual events occurring as Voldemort is seeing them; internal evidence in the book suggests that events in this chapter may well be such a "dream". Professor Dumbledore, as we have seen, has already connected Harry's scar paining him with the residual effects from Voldemort's curse when he tried to kill baby Harry. On hearing about this dream, Dumbledore further suspects that the murder attempt may have sheared off a portion of Voldemort's soul, transferring it to Harry, thus unintentionally making Harry one of Voldemort's Horcruxes. Much later, Dumbledore informs Harry that he believes this may constitute a true link between their minds. Voldemort initially seems unaware that this connection exists, but he later becomes aware of it, and exploits it in an attempt to entrap Harry; this happens throughout the fifth book.
Nagini seems more biddable and intelligent than a snake ought to be. Finding a Muggle standing in the hall, as Nagini does, a normal snake would attack, hide, or otherwise react; instead, Nagini slithers past unconcernedly and promptly reports Frank Bryce's presence to her master. And though readers saw Harry talking to the boa constrictor at the zoo in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort's connection to Nagini seems deeper and darker than this. Nagini, we discover later, is also a Horcrux, and perhaps some human-like intelligence was passed to the snake when Voldemort moved his soul shard to her.
The viewpoints mentioned in this chapter also do not tally completely with what we believe now, and what is discovered later, that Harry is likely to be able to see. This chapter's vital events are seen from Frank Bryce's viewpoint, but Harry, we believe at this point, is actually sharing Voldemort's mind, and so may be able to perceive things either from Voldemort's or Nagini's point of view. (That Nagini may be a Horcrux, also sharing a fragment of Voldemort's soul, is not suggested until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, though the evidence for this is revealed a year earlier, at Christmas in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.) Examining Harry's thoughts about this dream, and combining this with what we know about the communication channel between Harry and Voldemort as revealed in later books, would indicate that Harry is largely experiencing the events through Nagini's eyes. Because of this, and because Harry will only have started experiencing this dream when Bryce was discovered and Voldemort became angry, we must assume that all Harry knows of what preceded Bryce's discovery comes from Bryce's comments to Voldemort.
While the "faithful servant" Voldemort mentions is never explicitly identified, we are meant to suspect Professor Snape, given Harry's relationship with him. However, by closely inspecting Wormtail's and Snape's careers, we can see that each reacted similarly at Voldemort's downfall: Wormtail went into hiding, while Snape continued working for Dumbledore, using Dumbledore's snow-white reputation as a shield. Neither, during Voldemort's absence, professed loyalty to his ideals; each, in his own way, repudiated Voldemort's scheme for Wizardkind. In fact, as Snape seemed to have been hindering Voldemort's attempts to regain the Philosopher's Stone in the first book of the series, it is likely that Voldemort believes Snape has turned against him, an assumption which may be echoed in a later chapter of this book. Even given what we know now, if we consider things from Voldemort's viewpoint, it would seem Snape is no more trustworthy than Pettigrew. This lack of trustworthiness in Voldemort's eyes is not (apparently) repudiated in detail until the sixth book. We only learn the truth of Snape's loyalty in the final book.
While it is never explicitly stated who Voldemort's faithful servant is, it is likely that Voldemort is referring to Barty Crouch Jr., whose existence he had discovered by questioning Bertha Jorkins. The "one more curse" that Voldemort refers to is likely the Imperius curse which Wormtail will cast on Bartemius Crouch. Other curses will be necessary, of course, but the curse that disables Mad-Eye Moody does not have to be cast by Voldemort or Pettigrew; instead, it, and any other curses required, may be cast by Barty Crouch Jr. once he is restored to Voldemort's service.
- While we have been made aware of a link between Harry and Voldemort that manifests as pain in Harry's scar, this is the first time that we have been allowed to see that actual impressions and events can be transferred via that channel. We will see this again in this book, and Voldemort, learning of this channel, will use it to set a trap for Harry in the next book. Harry will reverse the channel, receiving useful information from Voldemort, in the final book.
- Harry will also visit Little Hangleton and the environs of the Riddle House again, later in this book, when captured by Voldemort; and again via the memories of Bob Ogden, two years from now. We will also learn that Voldemort had concealed a Horcrux in Little Hangleton; Harry will perceive Voldemort's rage at finding that hiding place empty, and knows that Dumbledore had retrieved that Horcrux from there.
Chapter 2: The Scar
Harry awakes with a start, his scar burning painfully. He goes over the dream he just had and remembers seeing Wormtail and Voldemort in a dark room, killing an old man. Concentrating, he recalls that they were also plotting to kill someone else—him. Focusing on his current whereabouts, Privet Drive, Harry deliberates over what to do about this—his burning scar usually has something to do with Voldemort. Should he tell his friends? Hermione comes to mind, and he imagines her advice; he should just tell Professor Dumbledore. Ron would want to ask his Dad about the usual behaviour of scars made by Curses.
Much familiar ground is revisited – reintroducing Harry, his friends, his school, and the Wizarding world in general. This is a common pattern in the series, and the author may feel it is necessary to reestablish ground rules and bring new readers up to speed on the plot, or at least the characters and situation in between each book. It may also be intended to make each book stand more or less on its own.
Ron and Hermione re-enter the story by Harry's imagined reactions to him telling them his latest news. The Dursley family is also mentioned in this way, as is Professor Dumbledore, through Harry's thoughts about what the consequences might be if he were to reveal what has happened. Harry's relationship with Sirius Black is also revisited, and Harry believes his godfather is the one person he can confide in about his dream without any concern over how he will react. This may indicate that Harry now fully considers Sirius as his real family.
Harry's dream leads us to believe that he has experienced a real event, judging by the previous chapter. Its narration travels seamlessly from past episodes of which Harry would have no knowledge, through current events as seen by Frank Bryce, finally returning us into the story with Frank's fatal encounter with Voldemort and Wormtail. Harry doubts its reality, and there is no actual proof yet, but the pain in Harry's scar indicates that he may have perceived real events occurring in Voldemort's life.
- When was the last time Harry's scar was burning?
- In the dream, Wormtail attempts to discourage Voldemort from using Harry in Voldemort's scheme. Why would Wormtail do this?
- Why does Harry choose to write to his godfather rather than Ron or Hermione about his scar hurting?
- Why doesn't Voldemort experience the same mental connection with Harry that Harry has with him?
Harry's scar has taken on a significant new role. While it has always been a focal point in the story, until now it has mostly served as a visible symbol of Harry's near-fatal encounter with Voldemort, and also has acted as a warning beacon, alerting Harry to Voldemort's presence by causing pain. Now it seems somehow related to a mental connection between Harry and Voldemort, allowing Harry glimpses into Voldemort's thoughts. Voldemort is still apparently unaware that this connection exists, but that will change. And while Harry remembers few details about his dream, which was not a dream at all, we have learned that Wormtail (Pettigrew) seemed unwilling to involve Harry in whatever scheme Voldemort is planning. This may be tied to the life debt Wormtail now owes Harry. Voldemort may be unaware that his servant has such an obligation to his greatest enemy, and will likely be extremely displeased when he discovers this.
Harry perceiving Voldemort's mind only when he is asleep is important to the storyline. Voldemort reveals things to us that Harry would likely pursue if he recalled them. In particular, Bertha Jorkins is mentioned in the "dream," and will be mentioned repeatedly in the next months. If Harry could recall that name, he likely would tell someone, most likely Arthur Weasley or Professor Dumbledore, and our story probably would develop differently.
No real reason is ever given as to why Harry can sense Voldemort's thoughts, but Voldemort is unable to detect Harry's until over a year later. We can only speculate why: Harry is able to perceive Voldemort's thoughts only when Voldemort is experiencing extremely strong emotions. During this sequence, for instance, Voldemort is first plotting his most hated enemy's demise, and he is likely inflamed with rage against Harry for daring to exist; and then, he is murdering Frank Bryce, casting a spell which requires feeling deep hatred for the target. In this book, and the subsequent one, Harry only senses Voldemort's thoughts when he is asleep or nearly so. One can assume that the reverse transmission of thoughts can only occur when Harry is feeling strong emotions, and when Voldemort is in a similarly relaxed state. It is likely accidental timing that Voldemort is never in a receptive mind set when Harry is experiencing his strongest emotions. It may be that Voldemort is also affected because he is still physically weak, and not yet completely human again. It is only after his body is fully resurrected and has regained his strength that he later detects Harry's thoughts.
There is a small inconsistency regarding when Harry actually learns Sirius is his godfather. It says in this chapter that "he had only found out that Sirius was his godfather two months ago." In fact, it was around the previous Christmas when he overheard, in a conversation in the Three Broomsticks, that Sirius was James Potter's best friend and Harry's godfather. However, at that time, he still believed Sirius was a mass murderer and responsible for his parents' deaths, so he could have disavowed the connection. It may have only been after the revelations in the Shrieking Shack, which happened just two months before this chapter, that Harry finally accepted that Sirius was truly his godfather.
Chapter 3: The Invitation
Harry enters the kitchen where Aunt Petunia is serving Dudley a grapefruit quarter. Dudley has been on a diet since his school wrote a letter saying they did not have any knickerbockers large enough to fit him. To make it easier for Dudley, Aunt Petunia has put the entire family on a diet. A hungry Harry had requested help by owl post and has received snacks from Hagrid, Hermione, and Ron that he stashed under the floorboard upstairs. They and Sirius Black had also each sent him cakes for his birthday, now two weeks past, and he still has two left.
A letter arrives from Molly Weasley, which was surprisingly sent through Muggle mail rather than by owl post. To Uncle Vernon's dismay, the envelope is nearly completely covered in stamps, and the postman has rung because this is unusual. Mrs. Weasley invites Harry to attend the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasley family, and suggests he stay with them until school starts. This creates a quandary for Uncle Vernon: if he lets Harry go, it will be something fun for him, which he always tries to prevent; however, it also means Harry would be gone a good two weeks earlier than Vernon and Petunia could have hoped for.
After a long discussion, Uncle Vernon is about to forbid Harry to go the Weasleys when Harry deliberately mentions that he has to finish his letter to Sirius Black. He says his godfather has not heard from him in a while and might be getting worried. Suddenly afraid, Uncle Vernon grants Harry permission to go to the Weasleys. When Harry returns to his room, he finds owls waiting. Ron sent a letter via his tiny owl, saying that they will come and get him whether the Dursleys like it or not. Harry sends a reply saying that he has permission. Hedwig, his own owl, has returned from hunting, so Harry finishes his message to Sirius, explaining where he is going, and gives it to Hedwig.
While the story is advanced somewhat, it is cousin Dudley and Uncle Vernon that are highlighted here. In addition to his increasingly abusive and bullying personality, Dudley, who rarely exhibits restraint in anything, has grown so fat that he is unable to fit into his school clothes. (For US readers, we note that knickerbockers are a particular type of short trousers, evidently forming part of the school uniform and possibly only available through the school.) Mortified, Petunia not only puts Dudley on a diet, but the entire family as well, feeling that Dudley should not have to suffer alone, even though Harry is perpetually under-nourished. Without his friends' assistance, Harry might literally starve. Additionally, there are some visible changes in Uncle Vernon's behavior; as Harry grows older, Vernon, knowing what wizards are capable of, begins showing fear, if not necessarily respect, towards Harry. His underlying motivation continues to be to make Harry's life as miserable as possible, but now he does so with more passive-aggressive behavior. Aware that his status in the household has begun to increase, Harry is not averse to using his new-found power judiciously to obtain what he wants, though from what we see here, he does so sparingly and apparently not in a malicious or harmful manner.
- Why does Aunt Petunia insist on putting the entire family on a diet when it is Dudley who is overweight?
- Why is Uncle Vernon conflicted over giving Harry permission to visit the Weasleys?
- Why does Harry mention that he is writing to his godfather? What is Uncle Vernon's reaction?
- How and why has the relationship between Harry and Uncle Vernon changed?
- Why did Molly Weasley send the Dursleys a letter using Muggle mail service rather than Owl Post? Does it make a difference?
There is surprisingly little in this chapter that has any bearing on what will happen in the future of this book or of the series. It is true that Harry's letter, when it reaches Sirius, will cause him to try to return to England to confer directly with Harry; and similarly, and as we now expect, Harry will attend the Quidditch World Cup. Apart from that, the only change that might be signaled by events in this chapter is in Dudley: over the next year, his diet will prove effective in causing him to lose weight, but true to his nature as a bully, he will take up boxing and become an urban tough.
Chapter 4: Back to The Burrow
Harry finishes packing his belongings by noon the next day and eagerly awaits the Weasleys' arrival. Uncle Vernon is, of course, worried about the neighbors noticing anything strange happening and starts asking how the Weasleys will be dressed—will it be those odd Wizard's robes or "normal" peoples' clothes? Uncle Vernon also wonders by what means they arrive.
The hour comes and passes. Finally, the Weasleys arrive by the Floo Network, which was specially connected to the Dursleys' fireplace. However, the Dursleys' hearth has been blocked up, and Mr. Weasley has to blast his way through. After this rocky start, Mr. Weasley has no luck in engaging the Dursleys in a conversation, while Fred and George fetch Harry's trunk. Fred drops a bag of toffees, collecting all but one before he, George, and Ron depart for the Burrow. Harry and Mr. Weasley are still there when cousin Dudley finds and eats the toffee. His tongue promptly expands to several feet in length. Uncle Vernon starts attacking Mr. Weasley, who he blames for this outrage, while Aunt Petunia tries to pull the supposed foreign object out of Dudley's mouth. Harry exits for the Burrow as Uncle Vernon starts throwing china figurines at Mr. Weasley.
Although the Dursleys meeting with the Weasley clan is humorously depicted, Vernon and Petunia's steadfast refusal to acknowledge Mr. Weasley and the others' presence symbolizes the deep division that exists between the Wizarding and Muggle realms; it likely represents how many Muggles might react if they knew such a world existed. Vernon and Petunia are particularly resistant to any interaction with magic, and, fearing and loathing what they are unable to understand, they simply choose to ignore its existence as much as possible. Being forced to raise a young wizard in their home only exacerbates their intolerance to anything or anyone different from themselves, which is why Harry is forbidden to acknowledge his own magical abilities while under their roof. The Twins, with their usual mischief, only make matters worse, though they are generally unconcerned whether it is wizard or Muggle who falls prey to their unique pranks. For Harry, any opportunity to escape from this restrictive and unhappy household is a welcome respite, and he is grateful to the Weasleys for arranging his early departure, regardless of how much it angers or offends his aunt and uncle.
This is the second time that we have seen Floo powder used since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (where it was introduced). Professor Snape may have used Floo powder or something similar to summon Professor Lupin to his study in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The fireplace was certainly not walled up in the first book, because letters were delivered through it at that time. This may be an error on the part of the author, but it is equally likely that during Harry's absence at school, Vernon had all the fireplaces walled up to prevent that sort of thing happening again, and the author simply didn't choose to mention the fact.
- Why do the Dursleys refuse to talk with Arthur Weasley, despite his friendly attempts to make conversation?
- Why is Uncle Vernon so concerned about how the Weasleys will be dressed and how they will arrive?
- There is definitely magic happening here—the Floo powder, the wall being blown apart, figurines being destroyed, and Ton-Tongue Toffees, at the very least. The Ministry chastised Harry two years ago because of a simple Hover Charm performed by Dobby the House-elf. Why are there no such missives this time?
This is the first time Fred and George Weasley have been seen deliberately tormenting other people; granted, Dudley may have deserved it, and the damage inflicted was only temporary. While their pranks will largely remain harmless, there will be occasional episodes that could be described as viciousness in this book, and in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, though in every case seemingly directed at a deserving victim.
Eventually, the Twins' magical abilities are such that the joke products they invent will evolve into defensive weapons that are used by the Ministry in the fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
Although Uncle Vernon despises anything different from what he knows or is unable to understand, he also truly fears the Wizarding world, though probably not for the same reasons as Petunia. Her feelings are deeper and more complex. As seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, her hatred of the Magical world mostly seems rooted in jealousy over her sister Lily, Harry's mother, being magical while Petunia was not. It is only in the final book in the series that we learn the deepest roots of that jealousy. And while Petunia is mostly motivated by spite that she directs at Harry, her fear is somewhat justified. She knows most wizards are benign and never harm Muggles, but she is also aware that Dark wizards exist, and that Harry, and by extension herself and her family, have been specifically targeted either by Voldemort or his agents. Her hatred and resentment may partially stem from what her sister's unique abilities has left Petunia to cope with.
A few more details about the Floo Network are revealed in this chapter. Not all fireplaces are automatically linked to the Network, and it is a department within the Ministry of Magic that regulates the Floo system. In the next book, we learn that the Ministry can monitor, as well as control, how fireplaces are used on the Network. This plays a role in the fifth book, as Harry must find an unmonitored fireplace to safely contact Grimmauld Place, Sirius Black's ancestral home. And in the seventh book this again becomes a plot point, as Harry is unable to leave Privet Drive via the Floo Network because it is being monitored.
- This is the first time we see original magical artifacts created by the Twins. We will shortly find out that these are to be the basis of their chosen career, innovators in the magical jokes field. The process of financing the start-up of their joke shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, will be a subplot throughout this book, and testing of products for that shop will be a subplot in the next book, as well as something of a bone of contention between the Twins and Hermione. The shop itself will be launched, and we will see it in the following book, at which time we will learn that some of the Weasley products are in use by the Ministry in the battle against Dark wizards.
- The Floo network being regulated by the Ministry is mentioned here. It will become a factor again in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, where a discussion with Sirius is nearly intercepted. The interception is explained when Umbridge says that all the fireplaces are now monitored, resulting in Harry breaking into her office twice to try to communicate with Sirius. It also is the reason that Harry cannot use the Floo network to leave the Dursleys' in the final book.
Chapter 5: Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
Harry arrives at the Weasleys' home and is introduced to Bill and Charlie, the two oldest Weasley brothers. Charlie works with dragons in Romania, while Bill, a one-time Head Boy at Hogwarts who now works for Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Egypt, is a surprise: he sports a pony tail, an earring (with what looks like a fang), and Dragon-hide boots.
Fred and George are having a row with their father over them dropping a Ton-Tongue Toffee, apparently deliberately, and causing Harry's cousin Dudley's tongue to grow several feet long. Mrs. Weasley enters the argument, demanding to know if it had anything to do with Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Hermione and Ginny enter the room behind Mrs. Weasley; Hermione, to avoid the family argument, suggests they show Harry where he is sleeping.
On the way to Ron's bedroom, Ron and Hermione explain to Harry about "Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes", which are magical tricks and jokes the Twins have invented. What they just escaped was an ongoing battle: Mrs. Weasley wants the Twins to work for the Ministry of Magic, but they want to open their own joke shop.
Ron's room is much the same as it was two years ago, except for his new owl, given to him by Sirius Black, which is bouncing excitedly in its cage. Ginny named it Pigwidgeon, which Ron often shortens to "Pig."
When the fight between Mrs. Weasley and the Twins has apparently ended, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny return to the kitchen, where they catch a small rant about Fred and George from Mrs. Weasley while she prepares dinner. Outside, Charlie and Bill are jousting with the picnic tables and Crookshanks is chasing Gnomes. As evening falls, the Weasleys, Harry, and Hermione enjoy a lovely dinner in the garden, with home-made strawberry ice cream for dessert. Conversation at the table ranges widely, covering the upcoming Quidditch World Cup, Bill's personal appearance, Sirius Black's whereabouts, a missing Ministry Witch named Bertha Jorkins, and a top secret event that Percy mentions in apparent hopes that someone will ask him about it, so he can enhance his own importance by refusing to tell them about it.
The story is only advanced slightly in this chapter. Much time is devoted to reintroducing the Burrow's atmosphere, the Weasley family home, and contrasting its somewhat grubby friendliness with the Dursley household's overly antiseptic aloofness. This is also the first time the entire Weasley clan has been seen together, and the differences between the seven siblings are evident. The more Bohemian and unconventional Bill and Charlie, displaying an irreverent sense of humor similar to the Twins when they are seen dueling each other with the picnic tables, are a stark contrast to the authoritarian Percy, whose starchy and bossy personality irritates his siblings. Ron is neither rowdy nor sedate and usually feels overwhelmed and intimidated by his talented older brothers. Ginny, being the youngest and the only girl, is able to develop her own magical abilities and strong-willed persona despite from her doting and protective family, though she may feel slightly isolated being the only female child.
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes is introduced. The Twins are planning to open their own joke shop after leaving Hogwarts, although Mrs. Weasley, who constantly chastises them for wasting time with their incessant pranks, strongly disapproves. Failing to recognize their unique magical talents and entrepreneurial abilities, she instead wants them to pursue more conventional and secure occupations. For American and international readers, it should be noted that a "wheeze" in England can be a joke; the idea is that you laugh so hard it leaves you wheezing.
There is independent confirmation regarding some events in Harry's "dream" from Chapter 1 as well: specifically, that Bertha Jorkins, a Witch who works for the Ministry of Magic, has unexpectedly not yet returned from a vacation in Albania. Bertha appeared in Harry's dream, even if Harry is unable to remember it; and Albania has been mentioned before in conjunction with Voldemort. This is an indication that Voldemort is alive as a separate entity, and that, as predicted, Wormtail has returned to his service.
- Why does Ron feel overwhelmed by his brothers, while Ginny apparently does not?
- What secret might Percy be hinting at? Why does no one want to ask him about it?
- Why is Mr. Weasley so angry about the Twin's prank?
- Why might Bertha Jorkins be missing? Is anyone actually concerned? Explain.
- It is only two days since Harry's "dream", and Bertha Jorkins' name, mentioned in that dream, has just come up in a conversation that she was in Albania and is now missing. Recalling the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Professor Dumbledore's sources say that Voldemort is hiding in Albania. Why might Harry not have recalled his "dream", with so much prompting?
- Why is Mrs. Weasley so strongly opposed to the Twins opening their own joke shop? Would working for the Ministry of Magic, as she wants them to, be a good career option for them? Explain.
- Why does Mrs. Weasley object to Bill's appearance?
- Compare and contrast the Weasley children's personalities. How does Ron compare to his siblings?
The dinner table conversation is intriguing in that it foreshadows events in this book, and, to a certain extent, later books.
Mrs. Weasley's ongoing battle with Bill over his long hair will continue until he cuts it for his wedding in book 7. Harry suspects at that time, though, that once Bill is safely out of Mrs. Weasley's range, his hair will be long again.
Percy, meanwhile, is apparently "hiding" some secret, though he seems to be hoping that someone will ask about what he is hinting at, only so he can inflate his own status by refusing to answer. It is revealed later that several characters at the table already know the secret, specifically, Mrs. Weasley, Charlie, and Bill. We can safely assume that it was Mr. Weasley who provided them this information, as we find out later it came from the Ministry. It is interesting to contrast how Percy handles this confidential information with how his family members do. The secret in question is the Triwizard Tournament, a dangerous competition that is being revived after many years. It will form the axis on which the entire book turns, ensnaring Harry in a dangerous plot.
The conversation about Bertha Jorkins, as mentioned, somewhat confirms to us that Harry's dream actually reflected real events. Pettigrew, we will learn, brought Bertha to Albania, where she was then murdered by Voldemort. Before being killed, she revealed information about the Tournament to Voldemort, while also revealing that Barty Crouch Jr., a fanatically devout Death Eater had escaped Azkaban. Bertha further revealed that authorities believed Barty was dead, where he was hiding, and what would be necessary to make him available to execute Voldemort's plan to capture Harry.
Sirius is some distance away. As mentioned, his last few messages were delivered by tropical birds. Harry has sent him a note about his scar hurting, and as soon as he receives it, Sirius will return to England, much against Harry's wishes. Sirius' actual location, though, remains unknown until he arranges to meet with the Trio outside Hogsmeade village.
The Twins' joke shop will be in full operation by Harry's sixth year. It has been mentioned that each twin earns only a handful of OWLs (later revealed to be three apiece), but throughout this book and the next, we will see that the Twins are extremely deft practical Wizards, creating and selling magical materials of amazing quality. In fact, some of their magical wares are so good that the Ministry buys them to protect their less-able Wizards. Harry, Ron, and Hermione will also make significant use of their wares throughout the later part of the series.
- Bill's hair will be the despair of Mrs. Weasley, as it has been for so many other mothers of long-haired boys, throughout this visit. She will not comment on it during her visit to Hogwarts with Bill later in this book, possibly because she is present to see Harry compete in the Third Task, but she will convince Bill to cut his hair for his wedding in the seventh book.
- While we first saw original magical artifacts created by the Twins in the previous chapter, we now find out that these are to be the basis of their chosen career, innovators in the magical jokes field. The process of financing the start-up of their joke shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, will be a subplot throughout this book, and testing of products for that shop will be a subplot in the next book, as well as something of a bone of contention between the Twins and Hermione. The shop itself will be launched, and we will see it in the following book, at which time we will learn that some of the Weasley products are in use by the Ministry in the battle against Dark wizards.
Chapter 6: The Portkey
It is far too early the next morning when Harry is awakened by Mrs. Weasley. He, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, and the Twins are traveling with Mr. Weasley, while Percy, Bill, and Charlie will meet them there. Fred and George wanted to Apparate like the older boys, but they are not licensed yet, and without training, they would probably get splinched—leaving parts of themselves behind. Ginny and Hermione complain about the early hour, but Mr. Weasley explains they have a bit of a walk ahead. Harry wonders if they are walking to the Quidditch World Cup. Mr. Weasley starts to explain, but Mrs. Weasley, who has discovered Ton-Tongue Toffees hidden in George's pockets, interrupts. She confiscates all the hidden toffees in the Twins' pockets and cuffs with the "Accio" charm.
Mrs. Weasley, who is staying behind, remains in a bad humour, and neither she not the twins speak to each other before the twins shoulder their bags and stride off.
During the chilly morning walk, Mr. Weasley explains the huge logistical problem in locating a site for approximately one hundred thousand wizards to gather. The Ministry of Magic created a stadium in the backwoods, charming it to look unappealing to Muggles. Transporting so many people without being noticed was also a problem, so the Ministry has arranged for wizards to arrive at camp sites around the stadium over several weeks, with those getting cheaper tickets arriving earlier and staying longer. Additionally, two hundred Portkeys have been located around Britain for those who cannot or will not Apparate. They are using the one at Stoatshead Hill.
At Stoatshead Hill, they meet Cedric Diggory, and his father, Amos. Mr. Diggory makes a big fuss over his son being the Seeker in the only Quidditch match in which Harry's team was beaten the previous year, though Cedric is more modest. Mr. Diggory mentions that the Lovegoods have already left, and the Fawcetts were unable to get tickets. Mr. Weasley checks his watch and has everyone hold onto an old boot. As the countdown reaches zero, Harry feels himself being yanked rapidly through the air, landing hard on the ground. A voice says "Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill."
While the Quidditch World Cup may seem more like an interesting and fun diversion to open the story, its importance in introducing a critical and ongoing theme, mutual cooperation, cannot be overemphasized. The World Cup is far more than a mere sporting event—it is a means to unite wizards from many countries. Organizing such a huge international event is a massive venture, requiring extensive planning, collaboration, and coordination among the world's magical populations. It is probably the most difficult wizard undertaking to be kept hidden from Muggles, though, as will be seen, there are occasional security leaks. And while there are the usual rivalries among the teams and fans, it is the commonly shared passion for the sport that bonds the magical community together in a peaceful setting that helps build lasting global recognition, understanding, and harmony. Harry relishes this experience, yet he still fails to realize that if Voldemort is to be defeated, it must be accomplished through a similarly united effort, rather than by one person alone.
More is learned here about Cedric Diggory, who was introduced in the previous book and will play a significant role in this one. Cedric, a Hufflepuff, strongly believes in honesty and fairness, to such an extent that he offered to replay the Quidditch match against Gryffindor (in the previous book); he felt Hufflepuff's win was invalid because the Dementors interfered. His strong ethical sense will play a strong role throughout the story. We can already see differences between Cedric and his father, Amos, and it may be interesting to compare their personalities. It is possible that Cedric and Amos are intended as a contrast to Harry's feelings about his own father, James. Cedric and Amos are quite different people; though both are competitive, Cedric steadfastly believes that virtue and fair competition are paramount, while Amos shades more towards the Slytherin view that advantages are to be taken. Harry should be able to observe here that fathers and sons can be quite different from one another, but, very soon, he will fail to apply this lesson to himself.
We are also shown the Accio spell, which is used for summoning items. Harry may find this particularly useful later on, and it is likely to be used repeatedly throughout the series.
It is Rowling's attention to detail that helps make the Harry Potter books such an intriguing adventure. One hundred thousand wizards are expected to attend the World Cup. Exactly how do so many people travel to such an event without alarming Muggles or revealing the Wizarding world's existence? Harry's introduction to the Portkey demonstrates one way wizards are transported, though, as readers have seen, there are other methods, each with its own limitations. The author's explanation as to how this particular logistical puzzle is managed, while not critical to the storyline here, shows she understands her characters' needs and makes the story more complex, textured, and believable.
We will note that the number of wizards expected for this event can lead us to some conclusions about the wizard population of the world. There is some speculation in the article on Hogwarts about the population of the school and what this means about the number of wizards in the world. In that article, we speculate that the number of wizards worldwide could be either about three hundred thousand, or one million, based on the assumptions we choose. If we are expecting a hundred thousand wizards at this event, a world total population of only three times that seems an unreasonably large attendance rate at any single event; that a solid one third of all the wizards in the entire world would attend seems unlikely in the extreme, particularly given that approximately half of them would be arriving a week or more early, and staying a week or more after the end of the event, based on what Mr. Weasley tells us. The commerce of the Wizarding world would be severely upset by such a mass exodus. Attendance by one tenth of a world Wizarding population of one million is still alarmingly high, but seems less likely to cause an economic failure.
We will further note that in the Muggle world, as of 2012, there are only eleven stadiums capable of holding 100,000 spectators, six of which are in the United States.
Readers should, perhaps, make a mental note regarding how Portkeys work, as they are also quite likely to be seen again.
The Lovegood and Fawcett families are mentioned here, though not actually seen. The author often introduces characters, objects, or places by name prior to their actual appearance, often several books before. Sirius Black was merely mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone before appearing in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, playing a crucial role. Rowling may want readers to have an early indication that some seemingly insignificant characters may become important later in the storyline.
- Why is Mrs. Weasley angry at finding a toffee in George's pocket?
- How does the Ministry keep the arrival of over one hundred thousand wizards secret from Muggles?
- Why does Mr. Diggory make such a big fuss about Cedric?
- Why would Mrs. Weasley stay behind?
- Considering the logistical difficulties, why does the Wizarding community choose to undertake such a huge international event?
The Portkey, which Wizards use to travel from one location to another, becomes a device that will unexpectedly transport Harry and Cedric Diggory into a deadly situation. Creating Portkeys is apparently regulated by the Ministry. Perhaps this is why Portkeys are only used seven times in the entire series: four times in this book (to the World Cup and back, and to the cemetery and back), twice in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (from Dumbledore's office to Headquarters, and from the Ministry to Dumbledore's office), and once in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (from the Tonks' house to The Burrow – though apparently there are five or six other unseen Portkeys in use in that last episode). The Floo Network and Disapparating seem to be more common transportation methods, though, as Mr. Weasley points out, many Wizards avoid Disapparating because Splinching is an inherent risk.
Based on nothing more than the name, we assume that "the Lovegoods" mentioned in this chapter refer to characters which we will see in future books. Luna Lovegood, the Trio's rather odd schoolmate and future fellow Dumbledore's Army member, will be introduced in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The family also includes Luna's widowed father, Xenophilius, who appears in the final book. The Lovegoods will be invited to Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding, which will play a significant part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Both characters play important roles in that book. Mention in this chapter is apparently intended to indicate that the Lovegood household is within walking distance of Stoatshead Hill, and thus within range of the Burrow; this point will prove important in the final book, as it will mean that Ron knows where to find his home.
- Mention of the Lovegoods here establishes that their home, like the Fawcetts' and the Diggorys', is within walking distance of The Burrow. When discussion with Xeno Lovegood becomes necessary in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is only because of this physical closeness that Ron is able to find the Lovegood home. This careful mention of the Lovegood family at this point indicates that the plot was at least well enough developed to require the existence of the Quibbler, and its anti-Ministry stance, in future books. It also suggests that the author had already determined that this would result in Harry's needing to visit Xeno in the final book.
Chapter 7: Bagman and Crouch
Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, the Twins, Mr. Weasley, Cedric Diggory, and Amos Diggory have arrived at a deserted, misty moor, where they are met by two wizards. Mr. Weasley hands one the Portkey, which is tossed into a large box. The group then heads to their campsite; the Diggorys are at a different site. When the Muggle camp ground owner mentions that the campers seem odd, a harassed-looking wizard pops in and modifies his memory. He comments that Mr. Roberts needs to be charmed ten times a day, and that Ludo Bagman, who heads Magical Games and Sports, is hardly helping by talking about Bludgers and Quaffles.
Heading to the campsite, Ginny mentions that Bagman should be more discreet around Muggles. Bagman's indiscretion seems to be a common failing, as nearly everyone at the site seems to have made use of magic in decorating or creating their tents. At their campsite, Mr. Weasley asks Harry's advice on how to proceed. Harry has never been camping, but figures things out, eventually setting up two small shabby tents. He wonders how they will all fit, but when he enters their tent, it opens into a large, three-room apartment, complete with a kitchen, and furnished like Mrs. Figg's house, right down to the smell.
While fetching water, Ron, Harry, and Hermione meet some fellow Hogwarts students, and also Oliver Wood, who has just been signed to the Puddlemere United Quidditch team. Ernie Macmillan and Cho Chang are also there. Harry notices some unknown teens that Ron thinks are from another Wizarding school. There are several in Europe. Back at the campsite, Percy, Charlie, and Bill walk in from the woods where they just Apparated.
Mr. Weasley flags down Ludo Bagman, a blond, fat wizard wearing brightly colored (and over-tight) Quidditch robes. Bagman offers a little wager on the game's outcome, and Mr. Weasley puts a Galleon on Ireland. Fred and George bet all their savings (thirty-seven Galleons, fifteen Sickles, and three Knuts) on Ireland to win, but Viktor Krum (the Seeker for Bulgaria) will get the Snitch. Over Mr. Weasley's protests, Bagman accepts the bet. Ludo tells Mr. Weasley there has been no word about Bertha Jorkins yet, but expects she will probably appear in October. Mr. Crouch arrives, looking for Bagman, and much to the amusement of the Twins, he has forgotten Percy's name. Shortly, Crouch and Bagman depart to attend to a crisis, but before leaving, Bagman mentions that something will be happening at Hogwarts. Fred asks what, but Mr. Weasley and Percy only say that they will find out when the time is right.
Evening brings the souvenir vendors, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione wander out. Harry purchases Omnioculars for himself, Ron, and Hermione, at ten Galleons each. Ron, upset because Harry has money and he is always poor, protests, but when Harry says it will be his Christmas present for the next ten years, Ron accepts. Finally, as dusk falls, a deep, booming gong sounds in the nearby wood; it is time to enter the stadium.
To date, Harry's interaction with the Wizarding community has been rather limited, mostly confined to Hogwarts and short trips to Hogsmeade Village and Diagon Alley. Now Harry meets foreign wizards in an international setting for the first time, though it seems he has given little consideration to magical realms outside Britain. Indeed, Harry seems surprised to encounter teen-aged wizards unknown to him, or that other Wizarding schools even exist. Harry lacking knowledge about other magical communities beyond Britain may seem surprising to us and make it appear he is disinterested in events beyond his own limited sphere, but it is in character for a child that age, coming from a difficult upbringing, and having limited exposure to this world. Harry is on another threshold here, about to step outside a still-new existence that has only just grown familiar and comfortable to him and into an even larger and as-yet unknown universe. Also, although the Quidditch World Cup is a global competition among rival teams, we can also see here that it is meant to serve another function: to help build solidarity and cooperation among the world's wizards. Mentioning the existence of other Wizarding schools here may also foreshadow events to occur later in this book.
The rather flamboyant Ludo Bagman and the bureaucratic Barty Crouch, Sr. are highlighted and contrasted here. Their personalities, personal interactions, and mannerisms could not be more dissimilar, though both work for the Ministry of Magic and are heavily involved in running the Quidditch World Cup. Bagman is not averse to what the English call "having a little flutter," and he is apparently engaging in a sideline (and presumably illegal) gambling racket. Readers probably know that a "bagman" is a dishonest official, someone who collects racketeering money. It is also a traveling salesman who makes calls to his customers. The name certainly fits, though Bagman appears to be a small-time operator when it comes to his sideline activities. From his reaction when the Twins place their bet, it can be seen that Ludo is perhaps not making as good odds as he expected and may even have doubts regarding his own abilities. It is possible that this will get him into trouble shortly. And where Bagman is overly open and friendly, though it is mostly a façade for his clients' benefit, Crouch remains tense, aloof, and guarded, always interacting with others in a professional but brusque and detached manner. Crouch is so lacking in interpersonal skills that he repeatedly addresses his own employee, Percy Weasley, as "Weatherby." Crouch appears to be concealing much about his personal self, while Bagman seems to hide little, though perhaps he should. Even Ginny Weasley notices that Bagman freely dispenses too much information to too many people.
In the interaction between Arthur Weasley and the campground owner, we see plainly that despite the adjuration from the Ministry for wizards to behave like Muggles, much magic is leaking through the seams. The Ministry's need to frequently modify the poor man's memory, even in the match's early stages, might lead one to wonder as to just how he will remember this episode and what the long-term affects might be. Also, Mr. Weasley's difficulty using Muggle camping gear is played largely for entertainment value; however, it also contrasts the differences between Ron's purely magical family and Harry's entirely Muggle home. Interestingly, when Mr. Weasley has a question about how to do Muggle things, he asks Harry, rather than Hermione. Perhaps he fails to realize that Harry's home life could possibly be as constricted as the Dursleys have made it. On the other hand, there is a common Muggle bias that girls are less interested or capable in recreational activities like camping. If this same belief is present in the Wizarding world, this may explain why Mr. Weasley assumes Harry to be the outdoors expert, rather than Hermione, who may have camping experience.
Meanwhile, Ron's reaction to Harry buying the Omnioculars seems minor but is actually revealing. Even though Harry is his closest friend, Ron struggles with occasional jealousy and resentment towards him. The constant attention and celebrity surrounding Harry often pushes Ron into the shadows, though Harry has never relished or sought the spotlight, and his fame has also caused Harry anguish. The Weasleys' financial difficulties also take a toll on Ron's psyche, causing him to feel menial and an object of scorn among some Wizarding families, particularly the Malfoys. He resents his brothers' hand-me-downs, having to buy everything second-hand, or going without altogether—Harry's wealth only reinforces how deprived and socially inferior he feels.
Bertha Jorkins' continued absence supports the suspicion that Harry's "dream" in Chapter 1 was a true vision. It also establishes her association with the Department of Magical Games and Sports, and this could be a means that Voldemort uses to tune in to upcoming events throughout the book.
Bagman's mentioning upcoming events at Hogwarts finally provides Percy an opportunity to show off his own self-perceived importance by withholding the secret he so obviously knows. It is safe to assume that the secret will not remain concealed for long, and that it probably is related to this book's main plot line, and its title.
As an interesting side note unrelated to this book's storyline, among the magical attendees at the World Cup are American wizards from Salem, Massachusetts, the site of the infamous 1692 Witch trials in which nineteen men and women were condemned and hanged for witchcraft.
- Why does Mr. Weasley ask Harry for advice about Muggle camping, but not Hermione?
- Why can't Mr. Crouch ever remember Percy's name?
- Why does Mr. Weasley permit the Twins to bet all their savings on the World Cup, even though he disapproves of what they're doing?
- Why does Ron object to Harry buying him the Omnioculars as a gift?
- Why might the tent smell like Mrs. Figg's house?
- Harry has heard Bertha Jorkins' name before—she was mentioned by Voldemort in what Harry thought was a dream as someone who had been killed, and again in a conversation at the Weasley's house as being missing. Ludo Bagman also mentions that Bertha Jorkins is still missing. Why didn't Harry draw an obvious connection?
- Ludo Bagman mentions something that might be happening at Hogwarts. What might that be?
- Why does Ludo Bagman openly talk about Wizarding matters when Muggles can overhear, especially when he knows he should not? What results from his carelessness?
- Why is Harry so surprised to learn that there are students from other Wizarding schools?
- Compare and contrast Mr. Crouch and Ludo Bagman's personalities and how they each handle their World Cup duties.
Harry noticing that the tent's interior looks and smells much like Mrs. Figg's house may or may not be incidental. There is a peculiar odour that seems common to some older peoples' homes, particularly those owning cats, so despite the similarity in furnishing, it is unlikely that the author is dropping hints that Mrs. Figg was the tent's former owner. We are told that it previously belonged to a Ministry wizard who gave up camping due to his lumbago. Mrs. Figg, however, is later revealed to be a Squib, a non-magical offspring born to wizards. In a later book, we will find that in Professor Dumbledore's youth, Squibs were shunned, hidden from the Wizarding world as being a shameful reflection on their families. Mrs. Figg, being of Dumbledore's generation, and a Squib, is unlikely to have been able to marry a wizard with Ministry ambitions. However, being that Mrs. Figg was raised among wizards, she will know their ways and likely uses the same goods, merchandise, and decorations in her own home that are common in many Wizarding households, but not in Muggles. Harry had previously noticed that odd smell while inside Mrs. Figg's house, and the familiar scent in the tent may be a subtle clue to readers that Mrs. Figg is somehow tied to the magical community and could play a more significant role later in the series. In fact, readers should take note, though Harry will not, when Dumbledore later mentions someone named Arabella Figg.
Mr. Crouch's continual failure to recognize Percy Weasley, his nominal assistant, while seemingly odd, is probably simple absent-mindedness coupled with arrogance and a total disregard for subordinates; Crouch simply fails to notice his underlings, in this case "Weatherby". Though this may be his usual behavior, Crouch may also be affected by his preoccupation with guarding a family secret that would result in his being arrested should it be exposed. Crouch's usual crotchety absent-mindedness will prevent, to a large extent, notice of any change in his behaviour when he falls to the Imperius curse.
Ludo's "little flutter" will, indeed, turn out to be ill-advised. Ludo will end up owing more than he has, and later tries to recoup his losses by making more bets with the Goblins, who are his major creditors. That bet will be on Harry to win the Triwizard Tournament, and throughout the book, Ludo, a Tournament judge, unethically attempts to better his chances of winning by secretly offering Harry hints. Harry, believing that accepting assistance from a Tournament judge is cheating, steadfastly refuses Ludo's proffered advice, though he does accept help from others.
Mr. Weasley's asking Harry, rather than Hermione, for help with the camping gear will be even less well-advised than we had previously expected. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione mentions that the places she takes the Trio to are actually camping sites she and her parents visited. Of course, Harry has never been camping, as the Dursleys would dislike the untidiness of an unmanicured outdoors, nor would Harry likely have been included, even if they did engage in such activities. Due to Hermione's previous outdoor experience, it is she who packs the gear they will need while hunting Voldemort's Horcruxes and chooses suitable campsites, notably the Forest of Dean.
The Quidditch World Cup is a means for wizards from multiple countries to gather together, establishing communication and cooperation among the various nations' magical communities. This same opportunity is soon brought to Hogwarts on a much smaller scale with the Triwizard Tournament, though we, Harry, and most other students, are as yet unaware. The secret that Percy so archly refuses to reveal will be this tournament, of course. We will discover shortly that the Weasley elders know about the Tournament plans. It is interesting how Mr. Weasley handles this knowledge compared to Percy. Likely the secret will have reached Bill, Charlie, and Molly Weasley through Mr. Weasley; Percy may have learned it through Mr. Weasley as well, or through Mr. Crouch. Whatever its source, Percy continually alludes to the secret, apparently hoping he will be able to refuse to divulge it. Mr. Weasley, though privy to the secret, never mentions it, nor does he respond when Percy does. Mrs. Weasley, Charlie, and Bill do eventually mention it, but only when it is too late for questions; we must assume that this is a deliberate revelation by the author, intended to heighten anticipation for the events.
Chapter 8: The Quidditch World Cup
Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, the Twins, Percy, Charlie, Bill, and Mr. Weasley head to the stadium. Their seats are in the highest box, which is empty except for Winky, a House-elf belonging to the Crouch family. Winky knows Dobby, and says he is having difficulty finding paid work. Winky is holding a seat for Mr. Crouch, though she is plainly afraid of heights.
People are filing into the Top Box: the Bulgarian dignitaries, the Minister for Magic, and finally Lucius Malfoy, his wife Narcissa, and their son Draco. Mr. Malfoy, who has recently made a large donation to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, is Cornelius Fudge's guest.
The team mascots perform. First up are the Bulgarians. Beautiful Veela, infinitely alluring women, dance on the pitch. Nearly every male is seized by a temptation to show off. Harry wants to do a swan dive from the Top Box. Luckily, Hermione and Mr. Weasley restrain him and Ron, who presumably has been inspired to an equivalent feat. Irish Leprechauns fly in next, showering the stands with gold coins. Ron grabs a fistful and gives them to Harry to pay for the Omnioculars.
The Irish and Bulgarian teams play. Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker, is one of Ron's heroes. The game's action is so fast that the announcer, Ludo Bagman, can barely keep up. Even Harry finds it difficult to follow the action with his Omnioculars. Krum beats the Irish Seeker to grab the Snitch, making the final score Ireland 170, Bulgaria 160. After the win, the Twins brace Ludo Bagman for their winnings.
Harry and Ron's budding sexuality is hinted at here when both become deeply affected by the beautiful and alluring Veela women. The two boys' initial interest in the opposite sex, as well as that of their Hogwarts peers, continually develops throughout the series with both humorous and poignant outcomes. Though both are now interested in girls, Harry and Ron have yet to learn the difference between true love and mere infatuation, or how jealousy and sexual politics further complicate relationships. And while Harry, Ron, and virtually every other male in the stands are deeply intoxicated by the seductive Veela, Harry is shocked when he later sees their true, unattractive appearance, as they reveal angular bird-like facial features and scaly wings when angered. Gradually, Harry is learning that outer beauty can mask an uglier reality.
Ron's insistence on paying Harry for the Omnioculars, even though Harry gave them as a gift, is a matter of deep pride to Ron, whose family can barely afford minimal necessities. Ron must often do without even the smallest luxuries or extras that most take for granted. Now he feels somewhat vindicated that, for once, he is able to pay his own way with the gold the Leprechauns tossed into the stands. But even though Ron is often resentful that he must frequently go without, it has shaped his character in a positive way. As Ron matures, he will never feel that life owes him anything; instead, he will accept that what he wants must be earned. This is a stark contrast to many Slytherins whose belief that they are entitled to whatever they desire is based solely on what they consider is their superior lineage, social rank, and wealth, rather than talent, ability, and hard work. Readers will recall that Draco Malfoy became the Slytherin Seeker (in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) only after his father, Lucius Malfoy, bought the team new broomsticks, and apparently not because Draco earned the position by his own abilities. And even though Draco is likely talented enough to have achieved this on his own, he opted for the easiest method to obtain what he wanted.
Readers might note Mr. Crouch's empty seat during the game, and should perhaps wonder where he is, what is keeping him away, and, if his absence was planned, why he had sent Winky to hold a seat for him.
- Why does Ron insist on paying Harry for the Omnioculars, even though Harry gave them as a gift?
- How did Harry's freeing Dobby from the Malfoys' service (in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) change Dobby's life, and is he better or worse off than before?
- Why are Harry, Ron, and many other males so affected by the Veela women?
- How are Fred and George able to correctly (and so precisely) predict the World Cup's final outcome?
- Being that Mr. Crouch is a Ministry official who is helping present the World Cup, why does his saved seat in the grandstand remain empty?
- What is Harry's reaction when he sees the Veelas' true appearance? What does that indicate about how beauty is so highly valued in most societies?
The gold Ron pays Harry for the Omnioculars with is actually Leprechaun gold, which, unnoticed by either Ron and Harry, soon vanishes. In Chapter 28, Ron becomes upset when he learns it disappeared, and angry that Harry never even noticed it was gone, showing, from Ron's perspective at least, how few concerns Harry seems to have regarding money while Ron has many. The Weasley family's strained financial situation is an ongoing embarrassment and hardship to Ron, especially when compared to Harry's affluence, though Harry spends relatively little on himself and collects few material possessions. Ron's comparisons are rather faulty, albeit all too human. While Harry has money, which he cares little about, he lacks the loving, supportive family life Ron takes for granted, and which Harry would probably gladly give up his fortune in exchange for.
Quidditch champion Viktor Krum is introduced here. Krum will take part in the upcoming Triwizard Tournament, and though Krum is Ron's "hero", Ron will feel quite differently about him in upcoming chapters, for reasons that he possibly doesn't completely understand himself.
Winky plays a large role in the next few chapters. Mr. Crouch has been hiding a secret, with Winky's active help, for some years, and that secret nearly escaped; the empty seat Winky had been saving had not been entirely empty. That near-getaway will result in Crouch dismissing Winky from his service. Winky's dismissal will actually prove instrumental in that secret's final and complete flight. Much of the book's remainder involves the aftermath of that escape.
Shortly Harry will realize that his wand is missing, stolen from him during the events of this chapter. Exactly when the theft occurred is unknown, but it may have happened during the Veela song; Harry would have been preoccupied then and would not have noticed his wand going missing. This relates to the secret Winky is hiding, mentioned in the previous paragraph.
The Veela episodes in this and the following chapters highlight Harry's and Ron's budding sexuality, as noted above. Ron will be more susceptible to the Veela's charms than Harry; this will also result in his becoming infatuated with Fleur Delacour, a character who is later revealed to be one-quarter Veela.
The series' strong writing is reflected in the realistic romantic entanglements our heroes experience. Ron, clearly less emotionally mature than either Harry or Hermione, has difficulty distinguishing love from infatuation, even after the effects of Fleur's close proximity are shaken off. Harry shows almost equal immaturity after a crush that ignites in this book blossoms into romance in the next; he becomes infatuated with Cho Chang, a relationship that will ultimately be doomed by Harry's youthful inexperience and his inability to comprehend Cho's fragile emotional state. Most readers have either undergone similar toils, or know someone who has. In a book or series that emphasizes adventure and conflict, it is easy to expect that romance and the characters' similar maturation will be secondary to the plot and only hinted at, rather than written about. To the author's great credit, she realizes just how central romance is to a young man's life, whether wizard or Muggle. By showing Harry's romantic life, along with Ron's and Hermione's, the author brings the characters properly alive, causing us to care about and relate to them even more.
Ludo Bagman's wagers have gone disastrously wrong, though like any good bookmaker he puts on a good face to placate his clients. He comments that the game's outcome was totally unexpected and one that will be talked about for years. That outcome seems to have been less surprising to the Twins, however, who precisely predict the game's winner and Krum's catching the Snitch. Finding himself deeply in the red, Ludo uses extreme measures to pay off the winning bettors. It is revealed in Chapter 37 that he pays the Twins with Leprechaun gold, which, as noted above, soon vanishes. He also owes a large sum to high-ranking Goblins. In the next chapter, as Harry wanders through the forest, he passes Goblins who are counting their gold and chuckling; this is presumably their winnings from Bagman. It turns out that Bagman's debt to the Goblins was also at least partially paid off in Leprechaun gold. Throughout the book, Bagman can often be seen negotiating with Goblins about this debt while also avoiding Fred and George, who are attempting to collect their winnings.
Chapter 9: The Dark Mark
Money in hand, the Twins return to the campsite with Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, Percy, Charlie, Bill, and Mr. Weasley (who, upon reflection, prefers not knowing why the Twins want the money). Everyone discusses Quidditch until Ginny falls asleep at the table. Mr. Weasley sends everyone to bed amid the ongoing celebratory noise. Soon after, Mr. Weasley shakes Harry awake. Harry hears screams and running feet, and immediately knows something is wrong. Outside, hooded wizards are shouting, blasting random tents, and suspending four Muggles high in the air. Fred, George, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny are sent to hide in the woods, as Mr. Weasley, Bill, Charlie, and Percy go to help the Ministry wizards break up the mob.
In the woods, Draco Malfoy is casually leaning against a tree, unperturbed by the surrounding chaos. He implies that the mob is Death Eaters hunting Muggles, and they will also attack Mudbloods. Heading further into the forest, the Trio becomes separated from Ginny and the Twins. Students from Beauxbatons Academy, another Wizarding school, are arguing in French. Harry reaches for his wand, only to discover it missing. As the Trio search for it, Winky the House-elf darts across their path in an odd manner, looking as if something invisible is holding her back. Harry surmises no one gave her permission to run away. Hermione starts complaining about House-elves' basically being slaves, but Ron claims they insist they are happier that way.
Running deeper into the woods, they pass Goblins counting gold coins. Further on, Veelas are surrounded by young men attempting to attract their attention. Ron has to be pulled away. A worried-looking Ludo Bagman suddenly appears, seemingly unaware a riot is underway. He immediately Disapparates upon being told, though Hermione suggests he is not quite on top of matters.
The Trio thinks the riot may be over, but behind them, a deep voice booms out, "Morsmordre!". A large green skull with a snake protruding from its mouth appears in the sky as screams erupt. Hermione recognizes it as Voldemort's Dark Mark and wants to leave, but about twenty Ministry wizards suddenly Apparate around them. Harry, Hermione, and Ron hit the ground as Stunning spells criss-cross overhead. Mr. Weasley calls a halt, and the Stunners stop. Bartemius Crouch demands to know who conjured the Dark Mark. Hermione points to where the shout was heard. Amos Diggory says that the conjurer may not have Disapparated before he was Stunned. A few Wizards investigate and return carrying an unconscious Winky, shocking Crouch. Diggory notes that Winky has a wand. Ludo Bagman Apparates in, and is shocked to hear of the Dark Mark and see the Stunned Winky. Crouch, who has been searching in the area where Winky was found, returns empty-handed; wanting to interrogate Winky, Diggory revives her. Winky denies conjuring the mark, she does not know how. When Harry recognizes his wand, Diggory accuses him of conjuring the Dark Mark, but Mr. Weasley reminds him who he is speaking to. Diggory accuses Winky, but Hermione says it was a much deeper and definitely human voice. Ron and Harry concur. Using the Prior Incantato spell, it is determined that Harry's wand conjured the Dark Mark. Claiming Winky disobeyed him, Crouch tells her, "This means clothes!" (Presenting clothes to House-elves releases them from servitude.) Nobody else considers this as a dismissal-level offense, but Crouch is adamant; Winky is being discharged.
Mr. Weasley and the Trio head back to their tent where Fred, George, and Ginny have safely returned. Everyone tries get some sleep before catching an early-morning Portkey back to the Burrow, but it is a long while before Harry dozes off. Voldemort's mark reappearing after thirteen years is nearly as terrifying as the Dark Lord. Harry has learned that it was usually left floating over a house where Death Eaters had killed all within. Three days ago Harry's scar was hurting, and tonight, the Dark Mark. Is there a connection to all these events? The rioters were likely Death Eaters who eluded capture, and they probably Disapparated when the Mark appeared because they had avoided Azkaban by disavowing any connection to Voldemort. If he is still around, they would be in the Dark Lord's bad graces for having denied him.
While most wizards believe that Voldemort is long dead, the havoc and mayhem caused by his surviving Death Eaters shows how deeply his evil remains embedded within the Wizarding world, and how quickly and easily it can incite terror and panic, particularly when accompanied by a visible symbol such as the malevolent Dark Mark. And though it appears the hooded rampagers randomly attacked anyone in the campground, Draco's pointed comment suggests the intent may have been to target Muggle-borns like Hermione. As a reminder, Voldemort's earlier ascendancy to power was built upon some "pure-blood" wizards' belief that they were somehow, by birth, superior to Muggles and Muggles' magical offspring. Draco Malfoy's smug amusement over Muggles and Muggle-borns being attacked also suggests he has some insider knowledge about the riot, and that his father, Lucius, may be involved. The elitist Malfoys and their many contemporaries have a long connection to the Dark Arts and support a pure-blood ethos advocating bigotry and violence to suppress (and even eliminate) those considered inferior; Draco's dispassionate reaction reflects his personal feelings, and also shows his social class' belief that Muggle-borns pose a threat by competing for important and influential positions within the magical community, positions to which only Pure-blooded wizards should be entitled by birth rather than ability.
Mr. Crouch's accusation that one of the Trio conjured the Dark Mark is not only a rush to judgment, but suspicious, as he immediately fingers Harry as the prime suspect, despite flimsy circumstantial evidence. A "mob mentality" quickly overtakes the group, and when Harry's stolen wand is determined to have cast the Dark Mark, Amos Diggory immediately accuses Harry, then Winky, who obviously had no part in conjuring it. Only Mr. Weasley's timely intervention restores reason among the nearly irrational Ministry officials. Crouch firing his House-elf, Winky, for a seemingly minor offense, may indicate he knows something about the attacks and is attempting to deflect suspicion. Readers should pay careful attention to the events surrounding Winky's dismissal in this chapter; they are sufficiently out-of-the-ordinary that we can expect them to play a possibly significant role later in the story.
Ludo Bagman's sudden arrival and odd behaviour seems peculiar as well, and he clearly failed to attend to his proper duties—likely instead tending to his gambling clients. His apparent unawareness of the campground events may be related to his gambling on the World Cup; he seems shocked by the contest's outcome, which suggests that his gambling may have gone poorly. Bagman will likely reappear in this story, given the work the author has invested into creating his character; the reader may want to watch his development.
Readers should note Hermione's response here, as in the previous chapter, to Winky's servile manner. As this has been highlighted in two successive chapters, it is likely that the House-elves' plight will be an ongoing element in this book's unfolding story, and it may be a recurring issue later in the series.
- How are House-elves fired?
- Who were the hooded figures, and why were they rioting?
- What was left floating in the night sky? Who is responsible for it and what does it represent?
- The Trio hear someone in the bushes shouting. What do they hear? What happens immediately after? Who recognizes it?
- How is Mr. Weasley able to convince the others that Harry is innocent?
- If most wizards believe Lord Voldemort is long-dead, why does seeing his Dark Mark cause such terror?
- Why is Draco Malfoy so calm and unconcerned during the riot? What does he tell the Trio?
- Why does Mr. Crouch fire his House-elf, Winky? Was this justified, or does Crouch have some other reason for dismissing her?
- Why was Harry so immediately accused of casting the Dark Mark? What evidence, other than his stolen wand, would support this?
- Why was Winky also suspected of having cast the Dark Mark? Is there any evidence that she did? If so, why might she have done this?
- Why would Ludo Bagman, a Ministry official, be unaware that an attack was underway? Where might he have been and why was he there?
- Was Ludo Bagman's worried look about the riot, or something else? What might that be?
Winky's unjust firing forms a large part of Hermione's resolve to champion House-elf rights, though few, including House-elves, will initially support her cause. Once the seed is sown, however, Hermione remains passionately committed to fighting oppression and bigotry, a recurring theme throughout the series. And while many creatures suffer from disdain to outright racial hatred and discrimination, House-elves are perhaps the most mistreated and maligned among all magical folk, being virtual slaves without rights, representation, or purpose other than serving the wizard families they are indentured to. Ironically, House-elves are magically powerful creatures, as seen when Dobby protected Harry by threatening Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Dobby's threat alone was enough for Malfoy to immediately reconsider his actions. It is therefore curious as to just how House-elves became enslaved by wizards, though suppressing an intelligent and potentially magically superior race may have partially been behind wizards' motivation. While this is never explained, it is possible Elves were subjected to centuries-long and magically-induced behavioral conditioning (brainwashing), resulting in them willingly accepting slavery and basing their status and identity on the wizard Houses they happily and loyally serve, even those Elves who are mistreated. Hermione must overcome this huge obstacle if she is ever to realize her goal to liberate such a contentedly enslaved group.
When Amos Diggory retrieves the Stunned Winky from the woods behind the clearing, Bartemius Crouch immediately recognizes her as his own House-elf. When he goes into the same woods afterwards, he is looking for someone Winky had been charged with guarding. Winky is unable to explain what happened or tell anyone who cast the Dark Mark because she is magically bound to conceal any secrets she knows about the family she serves. Winky's offense was not that she was in the woods without permission, or even holding a wand, but that she failed to protect a family secret. This is a far more serious offense and the real reason she is sacked, though readers should consider why Crouch would dismiss such a valuable servant, or why he had been so quick to accuse Harry.
There are several clues that Winky is guarding someone. Harry's wand vanishes, later turning up in Winky's possession. This could only have happened if Harry had dropped it in the forest and Winky, or the person she was guarding, had picked it up, or if Winky or her associate had lifted it from Harry's pocket in the Top Box. When Winky runs across the forest path, she is apparently talking to herself and acting as if she is being restrained. In fact, someone hidden under an Invisibility Cloak, unseen to Harry, is restraining her. It is this person who casts the Morsmordre spell, and though he is Stunned by Ministry Wizards, he falls under the cloak and remains hidden from Amos Diggory. Crouch, knowing what he is looking for, finds and sends him home.
It is to the author's credit that, despite giving strong clues in this single chapter, we are unable to conclude that Winky was guarding someone until later in the story when that person, Barty Crouch Jr., explains what had happened during the riot.
Crouch dismissing Winky is, ironically, very likely what leads to his secret's final revelation, as Winky is Crouch's most powerful assistant in keeping Barty concealed. Considering what Winky knows about Crouch's activities, it is surprising that he would dismiss the House-elf from his household under any circumstances, thus allowing her to take that information with her. Though Winky feels compelled to remain loyal to the Crouch family, despite Bartemius' cruel treatment of her, not all dismissed Elves would act similarly; Dobby, for instance, reveals some Malfoy family secrets to Harry even before he is freed from their service. Just why Crouch is confident Winky will continue to protect his secrets is never explained, nor why he believes he can single-handedly guard this secret without Winky, his major ally. He may simply be reacting to feeling betrayed, and he then must follow through on his stated threats, even knowing that his life will be far more complicated without Winky's help.
The Goblins seen in the woods are probably counting their winnings from Ludo Bagman. Bagman's worries, we will learn, are likely because his "little flutter" has gone rather badly wrong, and it seems that he now owes more money than he has. Bagman was almost certainly aware that the Leprechaun gold was transient when he used it to pay off the Goblins. Though it has bought him some time, his current preoccupation is probably because he is now worried over how to deal with the inevitable fallout when that gold vanishes. Bagman has also paid off the Twins with Leprechaun gold, but as they pose less of a threat than the Goblins, Ludo will find them easy to ignore.
Ron's susceptibility to the Veela's alluring charms is seen again. Among the males surrounding the Veela, Harry recognizes Stan Shunpike, a character who later is put under the Imperius curse. We will learn shortly that Ron is affected by the Imperius curse to a greater extent than Harry, which could indicate that the Veelas' natural "charms" are somehow related to that curse's magic. Another character, Fleur Delacour, who is one-quarter Veela, will soon be introduced. The brief meeting with the Veela in the woods likely also is meant to explain why Ron will become so infatuated with Fleur, an infatuation which is also used to highlight aspects of Hermione's character.
- The charm used in this chapter to reveal the last spell cast by a wand is a variant of an effect seen later in this book. When Hermione's and Ron's wands are captured in the final book, Harry believes that this same effect will reveal that Hermione's wand was used to try and repair Harry's wand.
- Hermione's efforts to release the house-elves from slavery will result, in this book, in her discovery that Dobby and Winky have been employed by Professor Dumbledore and are working in the Hogwarts kitchens. She will, in the next book, resort to attempting to free the elves by arranging for them to receive clothing; this will result in the other elves shunning Gryffindor Tower and leaving Dobby to do all the cleaning and maintenance of that area. Dobby will, as a result, be able to give Harry the secret of entering the Room of Requirement.
Chapter 10: Mayhem at the Ministry
The Twins, Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, Percy, Charlie, Bill, and Mr. Weasley catch an early Portkey back home. At The Burrow, Mrs. Weasley is overjoyed they are safe. After reading about the riot in the Daily Prophet, she is relieved that her cross parting words to Twins were not the last thing she ever said to them.
The Daily Prophet's main story is slanted to put the Ministry in the worst possible light; Percy says the reporter, Rita Skeeter, has it in for the Ministry. And while Mr. Weasley has been quoted more or less accurately, his words were deliberately skewed. He feels it is his responsibility to help patch things up. Percy offers to go to the Ministry with him, claiming Mr. Crouch will need him. Harry, meanwhile, tells Ron and Hermione about his scar hurting three days ago and his dream. He says that he is expecting a response from Sirius about what he should do.
Over the next two weeks, Percy and Mr. Weasley deal with riot fallout. Percy laments the many Howlers that have scorched his desk. All demand compensation for losses at Quidditch World Cup. One Mundungus Fletcher demands compensation for a twelve-bedroom tent, even though he was actually sleeping under a cloak. Spying Fred and George hunched over a piece of parchment. Mrs. Weasley demands to know if they are working on Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, but Fred dodges the question. Mr. Weasley mentions that Rita Skeeter has learned about Bertha Jorkins' disappearance. Mr. Weasley mentions that if Skeeter knew that Mr. Crouch's House-elf had been found with the wand that cast the Dark Mark, it would be headlines for a week. This sets Hermione off about House-elves being slaves, but her rant is interrupted by Mrs. Weasley sending everyone off to finish packing.
Among some parcels, Ron finds an ancient dress robe, edged with lace. Mrs. Weasley says it is for formal school occasions. She also says she bought one for Harry; Harry is greatly relieved to find that his robe is new and quite nice. Mrs. Weasley explains that they can only afford second-hand for Ron, causing him to furiously lament later, "Why is everything I own rubbish!"
The Weasley family is spotlighted here, including Ron, who is continually embarrassed and anguished over being poor and having to buy used textbooks and other lower-quality chattels. This time, he is humiliated and demoralized when Mrs. Weasley buys him hideous, ancient dress robes for formal school occasions; Mrs. Weasley's well-meaning, but misguided, attempt to provide for her youngest son's material requirements goes awry when she utterly fails to comprehend Ron's emotional needs, and that teenagers, even wizard ones, desperately desire to fit in with their peers, not be different from them. She has unintentionally made Ron a more tempting target to his detractors. Ron becomes more upset when he sees that Mrs. Weasley selected presentable dress robes for Harry because he can afford them. This contrast between Ron's relative poverty and Harry's inherited wealth has appeared several times in this book, and is likely to continue through this and subsequent books, and could strain their friendship. Though Ron is sometimes jealous over Harry's affluence, he has yet to realize that Harry lacks and desperately desires what Ron takes for granted: a loving, supportive, and stable family. And while Ron will always have an opportunity to improve his lot in life if he so chooses, Harry can never hope to regain his lost parents.
Meanwhile, Mr. Weasley finds himself in a difficult position at work after Rita Skeeter deliberately misconstrued him in her skewed article; now he must protect himself by attempting to repair damage inflicted on the Ministry of Magic. Percy's growing pompousness only makes matters worse. Even though his boss, Mr. Crouch, continually forgets his name, Percy convinces himself that he is needed at work to help handle the fallout following the World Cup riot. Adding to the Ministry's woes is Skeeter's discovery that Bertha Jorkins is missing, though, incredibly, Ministry officials have taken no action regarding this.
The author often introduces new characters in passing, then expands their roles in subsequent books. We have noted this before with Sirius Black, briefly mentioned in the first book, before being introduced in the third book, where his role grew significantly. It is possible that Rita Skeeter, introduced in this chapter, may also have a larger role in events than expected. The reader should compare Black being mentioned at the start of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with Skeeter being talked about in this chapter, to see if there are similarities in the portrayal that hints at the character being groomed for a larger role.
- Why did Harry wait until now to tell Ron and Hermione about his dream?
- How are the Twins able to manipulate Mrs. Weasley's relief over their safety to their own advantage?
- Why is Ron upset with Mrs. Weasley? Why does Mrs. Weasley fail to understand why he is upset?
- Why is Ron and Harry's friendship strained even further after Harry receives his dress robes?
- Why has no one been searching for the missing Bertha Jorkins?
- Is Percy's claim that the Daily Prophet and Rita Skeeter have it in for the Ministry correct? If so, why, and what evidence supports this?
The Twins manipulate Mrs. Weasley's relief that they are safely home to help defuse further questions about Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. The letter the Twins are writing is likely to Ludo Bagman, informing him that his payment (in Leprechaun gold) has vanished, and demanding non-vanishing payment. Even though they were not working on another Weasley's Wizard Wheezes order form as Mrs. Weasley suspected, it would have been equally precarious for them to admit to their mother what it actually was. Not only was it connected with the Wheezes enterprise, it also involved gambling, which the Twins are forbidden to do. By invoking her earlier relief for their safety, Fred is able to deflect Mrs. Weasley's inquiry about the parchment, without admitting what it is.
Mr. Crouch continually forgetting Percy's name and his other odd behavior, as described here in passing, may stem from something other than him being an eccentric and inattentive boss. At the end of the book, it will be revealed that Peter Pettigrew, using the Imperius curse, had been controlling Mr. Crouch in order to assist Barty Crouch Jr. in his attempts to force the Triwizard Tournament's outcome in Voldemort's chosen direction. However, it is unclear exactly when this curse is applied. It is certain it was done before the start of the school year, as we are later shown that Crouch was under control before Moody was subdued, and it must have happened after Harry's dream as Pettigrew and Voldemort were then in Little Hangleton, while Crouch was still in London; so while it is safe to assume that Crouch was taken over sometime during this fortnight, we are unable to see exactly when his behaviour changed. While it may be suggested that Barty's increased freedom, which allowed him to attend the Quidditch World Cup, could have been the result of Mr. Crouch being under the Imperius curse, on examination this seems less likely; Winky, defending her master's secrets, almost certainly would prevent any attack on Mr. Crouch. Voldemort's repeated dismissal of the magical powers of what he deems "inferior races" such as house elves would cause him to dismiss Winky as a factor in Crouch's defence, with possibly fatal effects on his agents. Clearly Winky must be eliminated from the Crouch household, and not through Voldemort's efforts, before the Imperius curse can be applied to Mr. Crouch. Thus, Winky's dismissal in this chapter actually is a plot requirement, and must be completed before Mr. Crouch can be placed under the Imperius curse. Almost certainly, Crouch's failure to correctly identify Percy in this chapter is due entirely to his own nature.
As she has done with other characters, Rowling introduces the Daily Prophet journalist, Rita Skeeter, only by name, hinting that Skeeter will later play an important role. In fact, Skeeter will have a large role in this book, writing embarrassing and false stories about Harry and Hermione in particular. An unethical and ruthless reporter, Skeeter employs any means to uncover a story that she then pads with juicy lies, exaggerated facts, and fabricated sensationalism to enthrall her readers and boost her paper's circulation. Skeeter's slanted articles have further inflamed the already wide-spread fallout following the suspected Death Eater attacks at the World Cup, though it remains unclear if she actually is biased against the Ministry of Magic, as Percy claims, or merely seeking notoriety any way she can. Regardless, she shows little interest in reporting the truth, and even less consideration for those victimized by her falsehoods. And while Skeeter freely abuses veracity, her character also reflects just how prevalently the truth is skewered and manipulated by other characters in the series, often to malign Harry and Dumbledore, or to benefit and protect themselves, even if it is at others' expense. At the end of this book, Hermione manages to nullify the acid in her quill for a year, though Skeeter still plays a role in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. With her nasty writing style fully restored, she indirectly, through interviews and her own writing, plays a fairly major part in the series' final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In that book, Skeeter's acid quill poses questions that Harry will need to answer, primarily about Dumbledore.
Chapter 11: Aboard the Hogwarts Express
The next morning, Harry and Ron dress in Muggle clothing to avoid attracting attention at the train station. Mr. Weasley has an urgent message from Amos Diggory at the Ministry. Diggory's floating head is in the fireplace, and he and Mr. Weasley discuss someone named "Mad-Eye" who thought he heard intruders creeping around his house. Mad Eye had booby-trapped his garbage bins to attack trespassers. Apparently Mr. Weasley and Diggory want to prevent this being reported in the news. This person is starting a new job, and the Ministry wants to keep his reputation relatively clean. Bill, Fred, and George evidently recognize Mad Eye's name, as does Charlie, who tells Harry that Mad-Eye Moody was a well-known Auror but is now retired. He still has many enemies, mostly families of those he put into Azkaban; he has apparently become paranoid in his old age.
Mrs. Weasley has arranged for three Muggle taxis to take them to London. Bill and Charlie are also going. They arrive at King's Cross Station and head to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. As everyone says goodbye, Bill and Charlie hint that something interesting will be happening at Hogwarts this year, but Ron, Harry, Fred, and George are unable to get any additional information from them or Mrs. Weasley, who apparently knows the secret.
As the train departs London, Draco Malfoy is overheard in the next compartment saying that he almost went to Durmstrang, another Wizarding school. Hermione comments that it probably would have suited him, there is more emphasis on the Dark Arts there. No one knows Durmstrang's location, as both it and another school, Beauxbatons Academy, conceal themselves, much as Hogwarts does. This surprises Ron, who was unaware that Hogwarts is hidden. Hermione explains various ways it can be done and says it is impossible to Apparate or Disapparate within it.
On the train, the Trio greet old friends like Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnigan, and Neville Longbottom, and the conversation turns to the Quidditch World Cup until Draco enters the compartment. Spotting Ron's embarrassing dress robes, Draco mocks him, then asks if he is entering. Ron has no idea what Draco is talking about. Draco sneers that Ron's father and brother are probably not high enough Ministry employees to know what is going on.
They arrive at Hogsmeade station in pouring rain and head to the horseless carriages that carry students to the castle. Hermione does not envy the first-years their trip across the lake.
Two main plot lines are advanced or initiated. Early on, the character, "Mad-Eye" Moody, a former Auror, is introduced when the Ministry is forced to cover up actions resulting from his paranoia. Moody reputedly sets traps to safeguard his property, and he is likely to attack anyone he considers a threat, though it is unclear who would attack him or why. The Ministry's concern that the public might learn about the incident at Moody's home indicates that his new job is probably a high-profile and closely scrutinized position. Although it is unknown yet just what Moody has been hired for, readers may be able to surmise what it is, based on his previous career and events in the preceding three books.
Hints are being dropped that something mysterious and exciting may be happening at Hogwarts. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, and Charlie clearly know about it, and likely that is what Percy was begging questions about at the Burrow. On the Hogwarts Express, Draco, as obnoxious as ever, indicates that the Malfoy family knows the secret and seizes this as an opportunity to further undermine Ron and his family. The astute reader may be wondering if this is what Ludo Bagman was alluding to in an earlier chapter.
It was mentioned in Chapter 9 that there are other Wizarding schools in Europe, including Beauxbatons, which is apparently in France. Readers should note Draco's comment about almost attending Durmstrang, another magic school. Hermione suggests that it has a slightly unsavory reputation for favoring the Dark Arts. Its actual location is kept secret, but it is likely located in the cold northern regions of East Europe, judging by its students' uniforms that includes fur-lined capes.
It should be noted here that Hermione is, as usual, providing factual data to advance the plot. Hermione's excellent memory and substantial knowledge are used as a way to introduce information into the story line unobtrusively. While the information may not be, strictly speaking, necessary, such as the Durmstrang uniform including fur-lined capes, it does humanize the story by showing interesting facts, thus avoiding the dry recitation or exposition as one or another character went to the library to research this.
- Why does Mrs. Weasley use Muggle taxis to transport the children to King's Cross Station?
- Why doesn't Ron know that Hogwarts Castle is magically hidden, and what does that say about his character in general?
- What might Malfoy mean when he asks Ron if he is "entering"? What other hints have been dropped that something special is happening at Hogwarts this year?
- It is mentioned that Mad-Eye Moody is a one=time Auror. What does this term mean? What does an Auror do?
- Based on his former occupation, what new job might "Mad Eye" Moody be starting?
- Why is it so important that Mr. Weasley and Mr. Diggory get the charges against Moody minimized?
- What might the nickname, "Mad Eye," refer to?
- Would Draco Malfoy's character be different if he had attended Durmstrang instead of Hogwarts? If so, how? What are some possible reasons why he did not attend that school?
It will be learned later that the incident with Moody and his trash cans is actually when Wormtail and Barty Crouch Jr. overpower and kidnap him. It is Barty who animates the garbage bins so there will be something to report as having caused the commotion when Ministry Wizards arrive. Evidently Moody's paranoia was well-founded. It is not known if there actually were traps on Moody's property; it is only important that Wizarding officials believe there were, and given Amos Diggory's and Arthur Weasley's reactions to the story given by the impostor Moody, they believe this.
It will shortly be revealed that the Bulgarian Quidditch team's Seeker, Viktor Krum, is a student at Durmstrang. This could indicate the school is located in Bulgaria, or at least draws some of its students from there as well as other near-by countries, although that is only speculation. Krum will have a larger role to play in this book, as he is a potential Champion for Durmstrang in the upcoming Triwizard Tournament. Another Wizard school, Beauxbatons, has also been mentioned, and will provide the third Champion in that tournament. The tournament, in fact, is the pending event at Hogwarts which Bill, Charlie, Percy, Mrs. Weasley, and Draco Malfoy have all alluded to.
Krum will also become romantically interested in Hermione, causing Ron to become jealous. Krum is sporadically seen throughout the series, triggering jealousy attacks in Ron at each appearance. Hermione, knowing her own heart better than Ron knows his, will retain Krum as a friend, but never seriously reciprocates his romantic interest.
- This is the first mention of the Durmstrang Institute. Durmstrang will play a large part in this book, as one of the three schools participating in the Triwizard Tournament. In this book, we will learn of its somewhat unsavoury reputation, and that its current Headmaster, Professor Karkaroff, is a one-time Death Eater. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we will learn that Gellert Grindelwald, the worst Dark wizard to afflict the world until Voldemort came to power, attended, and was expelled from, Durmstrang, and that some students there still openly venerate him.
- This is the second time that we have seen the horseless carriages, the first being the previous year. It will be learned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that these chariots are not, in fact, horseless, but are pulled by Thestrals, animals that are only visible to those who have seen death. Harry will be able to see them following his witnessing Cedric's death.
Chapter 12: The Triwizard Tournament
Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the other returning students are greeted at the Entrance Hall with water balloons courtesy of Peeves, until he is sent away by Professor McGonagall. As they enter the Great Hall, they are met by Colin Creevey, who excitedly tells Harry that his brother Dennis is starting his first year at Hogwarts. Harry wonders if brothers and sisters are always sorted into the same House, like the Weasleys, but Hermione points out that Parvati Patil is a Gryffindor, while her twin sister, Padma, was sorted into Ravenclaw.
Harry notices empty chairs at the head table while Hermione wonders who is teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, as it seems there is no teacher for that subject. Harry notices Hagrid taking his place at Head Table as the First Years enter and the Sorting ceremony commences. Nearly Headless Nick informs Harry and Ron that Peeves, upset he was not invited to the feast, was wreaking havoc in the kitchens, disrupting the House-elves. Hermione, distraught that over one hundred Hogwarts House-elves provide for the residents' needs, refuses to eat, claiming slave labour produced the feast.
After the feast, Professor Dumbledore has several announcements. First, the inter-house Quidditch championship is canceled. He is interrupted by the arrival of a man with a prosthetic leg, a magical false eye, and a badly damaged face. Professor Dumbledore introduces him as Professor Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry guesses this may be the same "Mad-Eye" Moody that Mr. Weasley bailed out that morning. Harry and Ron notice that he only drinks from a hip flask. Dumbledore now announces that Hogwarts is hosting the inter-school Triwizard Tournament. A one thousand Galleon prize will be awarded to the winner. Dumbledore's warning that only students 17 years and older can enter causes Fred and George to protest; they do not turn 17 until April and want to enter. Dumbledore goes on to say that representatives from the competing Beauxbatons and Durmstrang schools are arriving shortly and will stay at Hogwarts during the Tournament.
Heading to their dormitory, Fred and George are already plotting ways to bypass the age rule and enter the competition, assuming the judges will fail to notice if they take an Aging Potion. Harry, dreaming about the Tournament, imagines himself as the champion, admired by Cho Chang.
Ever since entering the Wizarding world, Harry has been subject to unexpected events. When he was prematurely extricated from the unpleasant Dursley household this summer, he anticipated an enjoyable time with the Weasleys and Hermione at the Quidditch World Cup before returning to Hogwarts' familiar and comfortable routine. Since departing Privet Drive, however, life has been anything but peaceful, starting with the rioting at the World Cup. Even returning to Hogwarts will be different this year, with the Triwizard Tournament and foreign students spending the academic year at the school. The Tournament is creating much excitement and anticipation, however, and it is an opportunity for one student to win glory and a substantial prize. And though Harry is underage, usually prefers to avoid putting additional attention on himself, and does not need the prize money, he is, nonetheless, intrigued by the prospect of competing in such a difficult challenge and being proclaimed a hero. Even though Harry is already famous and considered a "hero" in the Wizarding world, he seems to feel that this title was bestowed by fate, rather than by his own deliberate actions or design; Harry was a mere infant when Voldemort met his demise, and Harry remembers little about that night's events. And though he has since confronted Voldemort, the general Wizarding community is either unaware or simply refuses to believe that the Dark Lord is still present, in some sense. The Tournament would provide an opportunity to achieve glory and renown on his own terms, and there would be no lingering doubts or unanswered questions after its conclusion. Harry also considers the Tournament as an opportunity to impress Cho Chang, his first major crush. Adding to this, not only is Harry barred from entering the Tournament, he must also cope with Quidditch being canceled. Quidditch is an activity Harry dearly loves and one that provides a means to reduce his stress and excess energy, as well as earning him recognition; it is also an interest he shares with Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw Seeker.
We can guess that Dumbledore was probably instrumental in reviving the long-suspended (and very dangerous) Triwizard Tournament, as he probably has a specific purpose in mind. Hagrid had earlier expressed a belief that Voldemort was "too mean to die", and we suspect that Dumbledore shares this opinion, particularly as he had accepted Harry's description of Voldemort riding the back of Professor Quirrell in the first book. With Voldemort apparently regaining strength and possibly re-organizing his Death Eaters, Dumbledore knows it is imperative that the differing Wizarding populations unite in order to fight the Dark Lord. Like the Quidditch World Cup, bringing students together in a long-term competition is an opportunity to create lasting ties and friendships, as well as build strong international cooperation.
Hermione's determination to free House-elves is spurred sharply by the revelation that there are so many of them at Hogwarts. Though her intention is noble, refusing to eat meals prepared at Hogwarts seems a childish and ineffective way to achieve her objective. Hermione will need a more concrete and organized method to promote her cause.
Harry and Hermione's conversation regarding how siblings are sorted into their Houses, while unimportant to the overall plot, is interesting. The Patil sisters are identical twins, but the Sorting Hat obviously detected enough differences to sort them into different Houses. The same could be said about Fred and George who, despite their closeness, have many contrasts to their personalities. Fred is more aggressive and outgoing than George, who tends to be quieter and more cerebral, making him a possible candidate for Ravenclaw (if he were able to discipline himself academically). However, the Sorting Hat takes many factors into consideration when sorting new students, including, as we saw in Harry's case, an individual's own preference. It was Harry's strong desire to not be sorted into Slytherin that prompted the Sorting Hat to place him in Gryffindor. This could also be why Fred and George were both sorted into Gryffindor and the Patil twins were not. And while it would seem that, given her intellect, Hermione should have been placed in Ravenclaw, we have to assume that the Sorting Hat determined her to be better suited to Gryffindor in ways that readers may only now be beginning to see.
A point has been made that Moody drinks only from his hip flask. Readers should probably take note of this point; the author has chosen to draw our attention to it, and most unusually for her, has not succeeded in masking it with immediate indirection.
- Why might the Triwizard Tournament have been revived after so many years? Why was it disbanded, and has it changed?
- Can Hermione boycotting food prepared by Hogwarts House-elves help free them? Why or why not? Suggest an alternative approach.
- Why might Harry, already considered a "hero" in the Wizarding world, want to compete in the Triwizard Tournament? What reasons might he have for not wanting to enter, other than being underaged?
- Why might the Sorting Hat have placed the identical Patil twins into separate Houses, while Fred and George were both sorted into Gryffindor?
- What might Mad Eye Moody be drinking from his hip flask? Why does no one investigate or seem suspicious?
Once again, we touch on the Sorting Hat and the criteria for being sorted into the various Houses. Despite the Weasleys being traditionally sorted into Gryffindor, we learn that there is no intent to keep families together in the sorting, so Ron in particular must have entered Gryffindor on his own merits. However Ron, and also Neville Longbottom, both certainly noble, initially seem ill-suited to a House also known for bravery. The reader might believe that both would likely do better in Hufflepuff House. Each boy is generally more timid than courageous, and neither has yet demonstrated any outstanding magical ability; Neville, in fact, seems nearly incompetent in magic. Why then were they placed in Gryffindor? It is likely the Sorting Hat can detect deeply hidden and untapped qualities within students, even if they are not yet visible to the individual or to others. Neville has shown he was brave enough to object to and confront the Trio in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, while Ron has become increasingly courageous in each book, bravely following Harry into dangerous situations he would never have entered on his own. By the series end, each boy will prove himself a true Gryffindor and show that bravery comes in many forms. By overcoming their fears and inabilities, they help battle Voldemort, and both, mostly under Harry's tutelage, develop into strong, capable, and brave wizards.
One reason Harry wants to compete in the Triwizard Tournament is, if victorious, he will be proclaimed a hero as a result of his own efforts, without anyone doubting the outcome. Harry will get his wish to compete, but his "triumph" will be disputed and create even more doubts, controversy, and unanswered questions regarding Voldemort, Harry's unproven claims of the Dark Lord's return, and Dumbledore's support of that claim. Even Harry will deny he was victorious, though, despite public ridicule, he and Dumbledore both remain steadfast that Voldemort has returned.
We know that Dumbledore, by the end of the first book, was aware of the possibility that Voldemort could return; by the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he also knew the mechanism. While we can safely assume that Dumbledore knows that Voldemort has multiple Horcruxes hidden, he doesn't yet know how many, and is not yet certain enough of his ground to start searching; it is only just possible that the now-destroyed Diary was the only Horcrux, and Voldemort is now no more, but Dumbledore is aware of the disappearances of Frank Bryce and Bertha Jorkins, and sees in those disappearances the return of a pattern that preceded Voldemort's earlier ascension. It is possible that it was this belief that Voldemort was gaining power that spurred Dumbledore's championing of the return of the Triwizard Tournament. However, Dumbledore may, at this point, have been feeling uncertain of the timing of Voldemort's return and so may have postponed his planned attempts to recover and destroy Horcruxes. Using the Triwizard Tournament to improve the relationship among the three schools, though, would be beneficial even if Voldemort was not returning, and so is useful for Dumbledore to promote even with his doubts.
Winky's mistreatment at the World Cup has so stirred Hermione's outrage over the injustice meted out to House-elves that she will forever champion rights and ethical treatment for non-human magical creatures. It also becomes the foundation for S.P.E.W., the organization she will start.
Within this book: The author has stated in an interview that chapter 13 was one of the more difficult chapters to write, and it had to be rewritten several times in order to properly hide the necessary clues. As the only mystery introduced so far would seem to be Moody, and as his name adorns that chapter, we believe the clues the author refers to are hidden in his actions. However, we find that he has a relatively small role in that chapter. We do note the following clue in this chapter:
- We see that Moody drinks only from his hip flask. It will turn out that this is an essential part of his disguise, as it contains Polyjuice potion.
- Harry's thoughts of Cho Chang in this chapter are obviously signs of a potential romantic relationship. The first signs were actually seen the previous year, though Harry did not recognize it then. The romance will make several false starts during this book, reach its peak in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and then promptly collapse.
- Hermione's efforts to release the house-elves from slavery, triggered largely by events in this and an earlier chapter, will result, in this book, in her discovery that Dobby and Winky have been employed by Professor Dumbledore and are working in the Hogwarts kitchens. She will, in the next book, resort to attempting to free the elves by arranging for them to receive clothing; this will result in the other elves shunning Gryffindor Tower and leaving Dobby to do all the cleaning and maintenance of that area. Dobby will, as a result, be able to give Harry the secret of entering the Room of Requirement.
Chapter 13: Mad-Eye Moody
At breakfast, we see Fred, George, and Lee Jordan plotting ways to bypass the Tournament age limit. Hermione decides to eat breakfast, saying there are better ways to promote Elf rights. Harry looks for, but does not receive, a message from Sirius Black in the morning post. In their first class, Herbology, with the Hufflepuffs, they are squeezing pus from Bubotubers. Their second class is Care of Magical Creatures, with the Slytherins. Hagrid is teaching them to care for Blast-Ended Skrewts. The Skrewts scare the entire class, and one burns Dean Thomas, while Lavender Brown discovers some have stingers.
Hermione bolts down her lunch, then heads for the library, while Harry and Ron proceed to Divination. Professor Trelawney, with her by-now familiar mystical air, predicts her usual doom for Harry and then announces they will be studying the stars. She says that Harry's appearance clearly indicates that he was born in midwinter, under the influence of Saturn; Harry replies that he was born in July. Professor Trelawney, somewhat disgruntled, assigns massive amounts of astrology homework.
While queuing for dinner, Draco Malfoy reads aloud from the Daily Prophet. Ron's father is mentioned in an extremely scurrilous article by Rita Skeeter. The article criticizes the Ministry and, in particular, Mr. Weasley, though Skeeter gets his name wrong. Insults are exchanged, and when Draco attempts to curse Harry behind his back, Professor Moody Transfigures Draco into a white ferret. Professor McGonagall sternly warns Moody that students are never transfigured as punishment, then transforms Draco back. Moody tells Draco to warn his father that he will be watching his son, and comments that he and Mr. Malfoy are "old acquaintances." He escorts Draco to Professor Snape, another "old friend." Fred, George, and Lee Jordan tell Ron and Harry that, even apart from the Malfoy episode, Moody is quite extraordinary, and his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes are incredible. Mad Eye has actually fought Dark wizards. Ron laments having to wait until Thursday for Moody's class.
Professor Moody is proving to be an eccentric and unconventional teacher, even more than others that students have seen at Hogwarts. His gruff, rebellious nature is a bit frightening, although he demonstrates a strong sense of fair play when he punishes Malfoy for attempting to curse Harry when his back was turned. Events in this chapter hint that his teaching methods may be controversial and exciting. The Twins' enthusiasm only increases Ron and Harry's eagerness to attend their first session.
It is unlikely that Hermione has abandoned her mission to liberate House-elves, despite deciding against boycotting Hogwarts' meals. Based on her behavior here, she probably realizes she needs a more practical approach for promoting her cause and has dashed off to the library to research a more effective way. For Hermione, an idea that was born in a fit of childish emotion is gradually giving way to a more logical, methodical, and mature reasoning process to achieve her goals. This may be why Hermione was sorted into Gryffindor House rather than Ravenclaw—she actively applies her great intellect to achieve specific goals, combining her intelligence with bravery, initiative, persistence, and occasional rule-breaking, even when others strongly disapprove, are indifferent, or mock her. This is unlike the cerebral Ravenclaws, who, though they are known for their high intelligence, appear, to us at least, to be more introspective and less proactive. If Hermione had been sorted into Ravenclaw, frequent conflicts with her housemates would likely have occurred.
We don't yet know, any more than the Twins do, how the age limit is going to be enforced. We expect, though, that as they seem to be setting themselves up against Professor Dumbledore, they are not likely to succeed.
- Why does Rita Skeeter particularly criticize Arthur Weasley in her articles about the World Cup riots?
- Why does Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class often feature animals that are mildly dangerous and that frighten (and occasionally injure) students?
- What does Moody mean when he refers to Snape and Lucius Malfoy as "old acquaintances"?
- Why does Hermione decide against boycotting meals prepared by House-elves? Is she giving up on her plan to liberate House-elves or might she be planning something else? If she is developing other plans, what might they be?
- Has Hermione given much thought to how House-elves would fare if they were freed? What obstacles would they face?
We again see Rita Skeeter's poisonous brand of writing in this chapter. As mentioned previously, Rita and her journalistic methods will play a role in this and future books in the series.
Hermione's concerns for the House-elves' well-being will shortly result in her creating an organization, the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, a relatively minor plot point in this book. Hermione's investigations into the House-elves's status at Hogwarts will lead her to Dobby and Winky, who are both working in the Hogwarts kitchens as Free Elves. While it will play a smaller role in future books, championing rights for the non-human magical races will always be among Hermione's concerns throughout the series.
Within this book: The author has stated in an interview that this was one of the more difficult chapters to write, and it had to be rewritten several times in order to properly hide the necessary clues. As the only mystery introduced so far would seem to be Moody, and as his name adorns the chapter, we believe the clues the author refers to are hidden in his actions. However, we find that he has a relatively small role in the chapter proper; we suspect the clues are actually in chapters 12, where Moody is introduced, or 14, where we attend his class.
- Eloise Midgeon is mentioned here in passing as being a student with apparently bad acne and poor judgement, as she charms her nose off while trying to cure her acne. Her facial blemishes will be mentioned again in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
- Professor Trelawney claims that Harry was born in midwinter. While this appears to be intended as an illustration of how poor her "fortune telling" abilities are, there is, all the same, a connection: She may be picking up on the fragment of Voldemort's soul that was unintentionally imparted on the night he tried to kill Harry, as Tom Riddle's birthday was on the 31st of December. We learn Voldemort's birth date in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and are told of this lost soul shard in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, though many readers will have suspected its existence earlier.
Chapter 14: The Unforgivable Curses
Professor Snape, as usual, is in a bad mood. His confrontation with Professor Moody must have been galling. Additionally, it is common belief that Snape has long sought the Defence Against The Dark Arts position. Snape also seems to fear Moody, resulting in him retaliating against the students. The students eagerly await Professor Moody's class, except Hermione, who arrives from the library just in time. Moody says the class has studied Dark creatures, but they are deficient in curses. Ministry guidelines only allow counter-curses to be taught until sixth year. Professor Dumbledore wants the fourth years to understand what they may be up against. Professor Moody will demonstrate the three Unforgivable Curses. All are illegal to use against humans under any circumstance. First, the Imperius curse. Moody casts it on a spider, forcing it to dance. This curse, Moody says, makes it difficult to tell who is truly Dark and who is being controlled by magic.
Moody then demonstrates the Cruciatus curse. He enlarges another spider and casts Crucio on it. The spider is obviously in extreme pain, and Neville becomes distressed watching it. Moody releases it. Hermione mentions the Killing Curse. In a jet of green light, another spider simply dies. Only one person is known to have survived that particular curse: Harry Potter. For Harry, who remembers the green flash and the rushing noise, this curse is a revelation.
After class, Moody pulls the still-shaken Neville aside, then tells Harry, he needs to know (the implication being that he should know about the curse that killed his parents). Moody then takes Neville to his office for a cup of tea. When the Trio return to the common room later, Neville is reading a book Professor Moody gave him, titled Magical Mediterranean Water-Plants and Their Properties. Professor Sprout apparently had told Moody that Neville is adept at Herbology.
Harry and Ron tackle their difficult Divination homework, finally reverting to inventing their own outlandish predictions. Harry notices the Twins huddled over a parchment. George cautions Fred, "No, that sounds like we're accusing him. Got to be careful." Hermione returns from the library intending to start an organization she calls S.P.E.W.: the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. She coerces Harry and Ron into being officers. Hedwig delivers a message from Sirius Black. Harry's painful scar and other events concerns him - he is returning to England. Harry frets, fearing he has put Sirius in danger by complaining about his scar. If Sirius is captured, Harry would never forgive himself.
The plot advances in various ways. First, Professor Moody further demonstrates his idiosyncratic teaching style and a willingness to flout Ministry regulations, as well as an awareness and sensitivity towards students. His decision to teach the three "Unforgivable Curses" has a particularly profound effect on two students: Harry and Neville. Realizing that the Cruciatus Curse demonstration has visibly upset Neville, Moody takes him aside after class and calms him down. Moody also checks on Harry, whose parents he knows were killed with the Avada Kedavra curse that nearly took Harry's life, branding him with a scar, though Harry seems less shaken than Neville. Readers will note that Moody describes the Avada Kedavra curse as killing its victim without leaving any mark. However, Harry's scar was caused by the lethal curse. This is most likely the after effect of the curse rebounding off Harry's forehead, deflected by the protection Harry's mother's death had created.
Also, Neville, who is rarely, if ever, singled out for being good at anything, is extremely flattered and grateful when Moody gives him the Herbology book after being told by Professor Sprout that Neville has an aptitude for this subject. Harry thinks that Moody's gesture is similar to what Professor Lupin would have done.
Snape's behavior here is revealing. Rather than the contempt and disrespect he usually heaps on the current Defensive Arts teacher, a position Snape has long coveted but is routinely denied, he appears to show cautious fear and maintains a respectful distance from the crusty, former Auror. Moody's earlier sarcastic remark regarding Snape being an "old friend" hints at an unresolved history between them, most likely relating to Snape's Death Eater past. Typically, Snape vents his frustration on his hapless students.
Also, Sirius, concerned about Harry's safety, is returning to England with Buckbeak, though Harry rightly fears he may have endangered his godfather by writing to him about his scar hurting. And though Sirius' concern and devotion for his godson is commendable and shows how much he loves Harry, his decision seems rather reckless; just how Sirius can help Harry while remaining a hunted fugitive is uncertain, and it only causes Harry even more stress and turmoil.
Finally, Hermione's crusade to advocate House-elf rights (that they actually have never wanted) formally begins in this chapter. And rather than childishly protesting with a hunger strike, she instead adopts a more mature and realistic approach by forming a society as an instrument for change. We can expect to see S.P.E.W. (or the House-Elf Liberation Front as Ron later refers to it) appear in subsequent books. And though it will become a smaller subplot, Hermione continues to believe, quite rightly, that House-elves are a slave caste and should be freed. She fails to consider, however, that freedom must be carefully orchestrated if Elves are to survive and thrive without discrimination or retribution within the Wizarding world. Simply turning loose what most wizards consider an inferior race would almost certainly create extreme hardship for that race. It will take a huge effort to realign both the general Wizarding population's attitude and the House-elves' thinking to accept House-elves as equal and free agents.
Hermione should perhaps study how emancipated slaves fared following the American Civil War in the mid-1860s. Although former slaves were now free U.S. citizens, they struggled against severe discrimination, hatred, violence, and poverty while attempting to assimilate into a white, patriarchal-dominated society, all while lacking (and being denied) adequate education, jobs, basic civil rights, and other opportunities. As in the Wizarding world, many other racial groups were also discriminated against. However, much like other non-human magical folk in wizard society, these particular ethnic groups were never enslaved and most had some rudimentary education. Immigrants also tended to establish protective communities while gradually integrating themselves into American culture, unlike freed slaves who created a sudden, chaotic influx into a new social order in which there was little oversight, resulting in extensive corruption, abuse, and exploitation. Over a century later, these struggles are still existent in the Muggle world. We can surmise that this would be similar to what House-elves would experience; additionally, as the Wizarding world seems to change more slowly than the Muggle world in a number of ways, this untenable situation could drag on for many centuries.
- Why were Unforgivable Curses made illegal?
- Why was Neville so affected by Moody demonstrating the Cruciatus curse? Does Moody know the reason? If so, how would he know?
- Why is the Avada Kedavra curse of such interest to Harry?
- What does Harry think about Sirius returning to England?
- Why does Moody demonstrate the Unforgivable Curses to the class, despite Ministry policy against teaching them?
- Why would the Ministry want to prevent students from seeing the Unforgivable Curses demonstrated until their sixth year? Remember that OWL exams, equivalent to the Muggle GCSEs, occur at the end of the fifth year.
- Why was Harry less affected by Moody's in-class demonstration than Neville, even though one of the curses killed Harry's parents?
- How does Snape treat Moody differently than previous Defensive Arts teachers? What would account for this?
- Who might the Twins be writing to, and why do they want to contact this person?
- Why would George tell Fred they have to be, "careful"?
- Why does Sirius want to return to England? Is it only because of his concern about Harry, or are there other reasons? Is his decision to return a wise one and how might this affect Harry?
- Why would Moody give Neville a Herbology book about water plants?
- What would life be like for House-elves if they were all suddenly freed?
Harry and the other students are unaware that Neville Longbottom's parents, Frank and Alice, are permanently committed to St. Mungo's Hospital. When we and Harry learn this later, it is also revealed that Moody was present at the Death Eaters' trial, and thus knows that they tortured the Longbottoms into insanity using the Cruciatus curse. This sheds some light on these occurrences, as it is meant to; we suddenly understand why Neville became so upset while watching the curse demonstration and why Moody apparently took such pains to console him. In the final chapter, however, it is revealed that Barty Crouch, Jr. has been impersonating the real Professor Moody by using Polyjuice Potion. He was among the four Death Eaters sentenced to Azkaban for torturing the Longbottoms to insanity using the Cruciatus Curse. It may seem that Crouch (as Moody) is showing compassion to one whose parents he drove insane, though that is actually keeping in character with what the real Moody probably would have done under the same circumstances. And while Crouch giving Neville the Herbology book seems like yet another magnanimous gesture to help boost Neville's low self-esteem, it is actually because the book contains information that Crouch wants passed on to Harry to help him win the Tournament, thus leading Harry into Voldemort's trap. Crouch likely orchestrated the Cruciatus demonstration hoping it would upset the sensitive Neville, solely to give Crouch an opportunity to present him the Herbology book without his motives appearing suspicious. This extreme deviousness illustrates, upon reflection, something unsavory about Crouch's character in particular, and perhaps Death Eaters in general. Also, Barty's comment that Snape and Karkaroff are "old acquaintances," may not only be truthful, implying that he knew them as fellow Death Eaters, but it also demonstrates a rather perverse sense of humor. Considering that Snape and Karkaroff betrayed Voldemort, Barty's sarcastic comment could have the same double-entendre implication as what the real Alastor Moody would mean had he said it.
We note in particular that Moody's character is being very carefully displayed here. The author must strike a very careful balance in Moody's actions, here displayed before Harry's class, so that his actions remain ambiguous. If Moody is who he seems, his actions show a Dark wizard hunter, rendered almost paranoid because of the large number of wizards who believe he has harmed them, and who cares little for the rules of the Ministry because he feels they prevent him doing his job. If Moody is actually a Dark wizard in disguise, as we find later that he is, his actions are those of someone who actively opposes the Ministry, providing the facade of a Dark-wizard hunter, but reveling in his chance to practice Unforgivable Curses with impunity. When we do eventually see Barty Crouch, he appears somewhat unbalanced mentally, and can see that his behaviour in this chapter could equally well fit the persona he reveals then.
The Twins are writing to Ludo Bagman. This subplot runs throughout the year, as Ludo reneges on paying the Twins their winnings. Ludo clearly fears his other debtors, the Goblins, far more than the Twins, knowing the Goblins can inflict serious injury if they are unpaid; when Ludo's debts finally go completely sour at the book's end, he goes into hiding, leaving the Twins and the Goblins without being paid.
Within this book: The author has stated in an interview that the previous chapter was one of the more difficult chapters to write, and it had to be rewritten several times in order to properly hide the necessary clues. It would appear that the author in fact meant this chapter, where we see more of Moody. We note the following items:
- Moody gives Neville a book that includes details of Gillyweed. He clearly already knows of the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament, and expects Harry to consult with Neville for help.
- Neville's reaction to the Cruciatus Curse is explained later in this book when Harry sees the trial of Barty Crouch in Dumbledore's Pensieve. His reaction being greater than Harry's is meant to suggest that his exposure to Cruciatus was more affecting than Harry's exposure to the killing curse.
- Moody's character is very carefully crafted here so that his character remains ambiguous. Details in the Greater Picture section above.
- We are here first introduced to the three Unforgivable Curses; while the intent is to teach avoidance and, perhaps, resistance of the curses, an unavoidable side effect is instruction in casting the curses. We will see many more uses of the Imperius Curse in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; the Cruciatus curse will be used in this book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; and the Killing Curse in this book and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We also see that it was the Killing Curse that Harry remembers from his parent's last night alive. This is our first exposure to curses which are so evil that their use is forbidden under pain of life-long imprisonment; we will see later how little attention Dark wizards pay to the supposed penalties.
- Despite the character we see in this chapter not being the true Alastor Moody, his paranoia is true to character. We will see that character trait pretty much every time he re-enters our story.
Chapter 15: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
Early in the morning, Harry writes to Sirius saying that he is perfectly alright and not to worry about him. He goes to the Owlery and persuades a still-aloof Hedwig to carry the message to Sirius. Harry is certain Sirius' reply will make things better. Hermione remonstrates with him later, claiming that what he wrote to Sirius is a lie. Harry says he does not care; he will not do anything to increase the risk of Sirius going to Azkaban again.
Classes are harder than ever, particularly Defence Against the Dark Arts. Professor Moody is going to use the Imperius curse on each student to teach them how to resist it. Hermione objects, saying it is illegal. Moody responds that Dumbledore wants them to know what this curse feels like and offers to excuse her from class; she decides to stay. Moody puts each student under the curse. Harry feels euphoric while he is cursed. When a little voice breaks in telling him to jump on Moody's desk, Harry thinks, "But why?" As the command gets more forceful, Harry both jumps and tries to prevent himself from jumping and smashes into Moody's desk. Moody is overjoyed and repeats the process four times, until Harry is able to cast off the curse perfectly.
As they leave class, Ron comments that Moody seems to believe everyone is about to be attacked and mentions a few events that have caused considerable concern in the Ministry. Harry and Ron wonder how they will cope with Moody's extra homework plus all the other homework teachers are piling on to prepare students for their Fifth-year OWLs.
Luckily, Professor Trelawney approves their Divination homework, even reading sections to the class. Harry and Ron are amused, but less so when she asks them to repeat this the month after next; they are running out of catastrophes to predict. Meanwhile, Professor Binns is having students write weekly essays on the Goblin Rebellions. Professor Snape has them researching antidotes, and Professor Flitwick assigns three books in preparation for Summoning Charms. Even Hagrid gives extra work. The Blast-Ended Skrewts are growing apace, even though they don't seem to be eating anything. Hagrid has the class record their behaviour on alternate evenings.
Returning to the Castle after Care of Magical Creatures, the Trio sees a notice that Durmstrang and Beauxbatons delegations are arriving the following Friday. Ernie Macmillan runs off to tell Cedric Diggory. Ron expresses dismay that Cedric could be the Hogwarts' champion, but Hermione says he is a good student and a Hufflepuff Prefect. Ron claims she likes him because he is handsome.
The Castle is cleaned the next week, and on the day the visitors are to arrive, the Great Hall is decorated with silk banners representing the four Houses. The teachers are tense that some Hogwarts students are not quite up to standard. At breakfast, Ron and Harry interrupt the Twins, who are discussing someone who has not answered their letters. Hermione mentions that the champions will be judged on how well they perform the set tasks and that the three School Heads, among others, will be the judges. She then notes indignantly that Hogwarts, A History fails to mention that the school enslaves over a hundred House-elves. Hermione was badgering Ron and Harry to recruit more people for S.P.E.W.; George said that the house-elves thought they had the best job in the world. Hermione countered that was because they were uneducated and brainwashed. The arriving post owls, including Hedwig bearing Sirius' reply, interrupt Hermione's diatribe. Sirius writes that he is back in the country and well hidden. He sees through Harry's recent claim that everything is fine now ("Nice try, Harry!") and advises Harry to use different owls for future messages. Hermione agrees that Hedwig, a snowy owl, is too easily noticed.
Classes end early, and the students are marshaled outside the Entrance Hall. At dusk, Beauxbatons arrives in a giant flying carriage pulled by enormous winged horses. Emerging from the carriage, the headmistress, Madam Maxime, is revealed to be as large as Hagrid. Professor Dumbledore greets her, and assures her Hagrid is quite capable of tending to the horses, although Madame Maxime expresses some concern.
Durmstrang arrives in an apparently derelict sailing ship, surfacing from beneath the lake. Headmaster Igor Karkaroff warmly greets Dumbledore, then asks to proceed immediately into the castle, saying Viktor has a slight cold. Ron recognizes "Viktor" as the Bulgarian Quidditch Seeker, Victor Krum.
Harry retains a rather juvenile belief that writing to Sirius will always solve his problems; it does not, but finally having a father-figure he can reach out to for help provides the comfort and security as well as family that has been lacking in his life. Harry realizes that any communication with Sirius, a hunted fugitive, is risky.
Hermione chastising Harry for "lying" in his letter, even though Harry only wants to protect Sirius, shows her persistent and two-dimensional, child-like thinking. Hermione strictly follows rules without ever questioning them, and it hardly occurs to her that the truth could actually be harmful. To her thinking, rules provide a safe, predictable outcome—breaking them leads to disorder and consequences. However, Hermione has broken rules and bent the truth in the past when she strongly believed it served a greater purpose, indicating that she is developing a more independent and analytical personality. Her emerging independence has created an inner conflict between her need for conformity and acceptance and doing what she believes is right, though her developing maturity is gradually overcoming this; it has led to her taking her first steps in challenging the entire Wizarding world against enslaving House-elves.
These ongoing conflicts within Hermione are also seen when she strongly protests Moody's demonstrating the Unforgivable Curses. Dumbledore has granted permission because he believes the impending conflict with Voldemort and his Death Eaters warrants the students understanding exactly what these curses are and how to counter them. Hermione objects because the Ministry forbids it; to Hermione's thinking, Ministry rules should outweigh Dumbledore's authority (and good judgment). This stance seems at odds with her opposition to the Ministry allowing House-elves to be enslaved. However, when Moody excuses her from the demonstration, Hermione, despite having the courage to openly express her opinion, chooses to remain, perhaps unwilling to be the only student to leave, and possibly fearing her peers' disdain more than the Ministry's might. She will need to reconcile these conflicts if she is to continue her campaign to free House-elves.
Ron, meanwhile, is unknowingly developing a romantic attachment to Hermione, and appears to become jealous when he suspects she is attracted to the handsome Cedric Diggory. Ron fails to recognize what his feelings actually are, resulting in him sometimes acting inappropriately toward Hermione. At this point, of course, we also are not entirely aware of Ron's feelings; we recall Hermione's having been somewhat besotted with Professor Lockhart some two years earlier, and suspect Ron may simply be referring back to that episode.
Also, Sirius returning to England shows his deep devotion to his godson, though Harry is now terrified that he has endangered his godfather. But Sirius willingly risks his own freedom to ensure Harry's safety. And though Sirius will sometimes be an imperfect role model to Harry, his actions here show he is a protective and loving guardian who willingly and responsibly assumed his parenting responsibilities. We note that Harry seems to be blaming himself for bringing Sirius back to a country where he is being hunted as a fugitive from justice. Sirius' response may lead the astute reader to guess that Sirius may be corresponding with other wizards around Harry, and his decision, while triggered in this instance by Harry's missive, could well have happened in response to a note from someone else. We have seen, as early as the first book, that Harry tends to accept responsibility for events that are not wholly, or even largely, his fault. We suspect this trait may continue throughout the series.
Hogwarts, meanwhile, is in an uproar as preparations are underway for the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons arrivals. The three schools are quite different from one another, with Durmstrang already visibly representing a darker masculine personality, while the Beauxbatons appear to have a more serene, feminine persona (though there are male students); Hogwarts embodies all these traits. Whether their interactions can build harmony or instead create discord will be tested. And though Dumbledore helped revive the Triwizard Tournament to build alliances among the three schools, it also places him under immense pressure to present Hogwarts, and its teachers and students, in the best possible fashion. Being the host institution has disadvantages, however. The Beauxbatons and Durmstrang schools remain unseen, and they can showcase only their brightest and most accomplished pupils, while Hogwarts and all its staff and students are on full display, even those less adept than others. Enhancing Durmstrang's image is Viktor Krum, the famed Bulgarian Seeker who played in the Quidditch World Cup Final, though Harry is at least equally famous. Krum, an international sports star, is an unexpected surprise, particularly to many excited female students who we expect will be vying for his attention, and to Ron, who idolizes him as a hero. We may suspect, from the preferential treatment he seems to be receiving, that Krum is the favored candidate to become the Durmstrang Triwizard Champion.
It should be noted that the action in the book apparently takes place in 1994 and 1995; but the other schools' arrival date, October 30, 1994, is not a Friday but a Sunday. This does not affect the story in any way; the discrepancy is noted only as a curiosity rather than as something the scholar should be concerned with. It may be worth mentioning, however, that the book is internally consistent; every date for which a day of the week is mentioned is off by two days.
- Why does Harry write to Sirius again?
- Is Hermione correct that Harry is lying to Sirius in his letter? What does Harry say?
- Why does Hermione object to Professor Moody teaching the Unforgivable Curses, even though Dumbledore gave his approval to do so? What is Moody's response?
- Why do the teachers fear that some Hogwarts students will fail to impress the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons visitors? Do Durmstrang and Beauxbatons have an advantage over Hogwarts in this regard? If so, how?
- Why does Ron consider Hufflepuff student, Cedric Diggory, an unsuitable competitor for the Triwizard Tournament? Is he correct?
- What does Hermione have to say regarding Ron's objection to Cedric as a Champion, and why does Ron disagree with her opinion?
- How can Sirius, a hunted fugitive, help Harry by returning to England? Is his decision to return wise or reckless, or even both?
- Why does Hermione choose to remain in class, even though Moody gives her permission to be excused during the Unforgivable Curses demonstration?
- Why does Professor Trelawney continually praise Ron and Harry for their increasingly outlandish predictions, even though none come true? What does this say about Trelawney's abilities as the Divination teacher?
- Why did no one know that the World Cup Quidditch champion, Viktor Krum, is still a student?
While nothing has been stated anywhere in the books so far, we have an informal belief that there is something odd about Hagrid; he is too large and hairy to be believed to be fully human, and his size seems, so far, unique in the Wizarding world. It is a partial relief to discover, with Madam Maxime's arrival, that he is not the only one so oversized. It is hardly surprising that Hagrid, upon seeing Madam Maxime for the first time, is instantly smitten, and it seems appropriate that they eventually spend time together. This will cause some difficulty, however; while Hagrid confesses, privately, to Madame Maxime that he is half-Giant, she denies having any such heritage, and is insulted when Hagrid suggests there is some Giant in her background. This also causes further difficulty as Hagrid is overheard by Rita Skeeter, who publishes his confession in the Daily Prophet. As Giants are still large, fierce, and destructive, this creates a certain backlash against Hagrid's employment and causes him to tender his resignation as Care of Magical Creatures teacher. Dumbledore, of course, refuses to accept Hagrid's resignation, and many other students and staff rally to his support.
Readers should probably note that Snape is emphasizing antidotes in his Potions class this year. While they only play a small part in this book, some of what Harry learns here will be useful in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Ron is accidentally poisoned. It is true that Harry fears being deliberately poisoned by Snape, as Snape proposes to use that technique to test the students' antidotes, but he escapes that possibility due to the Weighing of the Wands ceremony.
The Skrewts will remain puzzling to Harry; in the end, there are only two left, and in the final Task maze, Harry will encounter and disable one. It is never determined what they eat, and it is suggested that these are a new hybrid of two existing species. Apart from the ongoing travails regarding their care, however, they play a minor role in the story. Interestingly, Draco challenges Hagrid over how he expects the students to handle the Skrewts, which causes Hagrid to stand up to him. Harry seems to think Hagrid is showing an uncharacteristic amount of backbone in this instance.
- Harry's having learned to resist the Imperius curse will be revisited later in this book, when Voldemort attempts to cast it on him. Voldemort's failure, in front of the entire group of Death Eaters, to place Harry under this curse may be the reason the curse is never again attempted on him.
- Snape's teaching antidotes will once again result in mention of a bezoar, just before Christmas. Antidotes, and bezoars, will appear again in our story in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the information about bezoars will then save Ron's life.
- Viktor Krum, who as mentioned entered our story in the Quidditch World Cup at the start of this book, will continue to be a small part of Hermione's life throughout the series, inspiring Ron's (initially unwitting) jealousy.
Chapter 16: The Goblet of Fire
Ron is stunned that the greatest Quidditch Seeker in the world, Victor Krum, is still in school. Many Hogwarts students struggle to get into the Great Hall to get his autograph. Inside, the Beauxbatons representatives seat themselves at the Ravenclaw table, and, despite Ron's hopes, the Durmstrang students prefer to sit with Slytherin. Harry wonders why Filch is setting out four extra chairs, as there are only the two visiting Headmasters. Professor Dumbledore welcomes the guest schools, and the feast begins.
The House-elves have produced more dishes than usual, including some French ones which Hermione recognizes and recommends. Ron refuses to try any, preferring English cooking instead. A Beauxbatons girl asks if they are finished with the bouillabaisse. Ron is unable to answer, but Harry tells her to go ahead. As she leaves, Ron remarks that she must be part Veela. Hermione, somewhat nettled, disagrees, but Harry notes that many Hogwarts boys seem similarly affected by her. Hermione notices that the two additional chairs at head Table are now occupied by Ludo Bagman and Bartemius Crouch.
After dinner, Professor Dumbledore rises to explain the Triwizard Tournament rules, then introduces Bagman and Crouch as two of the judges. Filch brings in an ornate wooden chest containing the Goblet of Fire, a large, roughly-hewn wooden cup, "full to the brim with dancing, blue-white flames." Anyone wishing to enter the competition should submit their name to the Goblet within twenty-four hours. At the Hallowe'en Feast, the three champions will be selected. An Age Line surrounding the Goblet will prevent anyone under 17-years-old from entering. Before dismissing them, Dumbledoore warns the students to be absolutely sure they are prepared to compete in such a challenging and dangerous tournament, as the rules state that anyone chosen cannot change his or her mind.
As he is leaving, Professor Karkaroff spots Harry and stares in amazement. Professor Moody approaches Karkaroff from behind, telling him he is blocking the doorway. Karkaroff, shocked and apparently frightened at seeing Moody, quickly leaves.
The next morning, the Durmstrang students have already entered their names into the Goblet, but no one from Hogwarts has yet. Fred, George, and Lee Jordan appear and try to fool the age line, but fail; the age line throws Fred and George across the hall and gives them long white beards. Throughout the day, many eligible students enter their names, including Angelina Johnson, all the Beauxbatons students, and Cedric Diggory.
Hermione gathers her box of badges, and, accompanied by Harry and Ron, heads to Hagrid's hut to ask him to join S.P.E.W.. Along the way, they notice that the Beauxbatons students are lodging inside their giant carriage. Hagrid is quite the sight. In an apparent attempt to tame his wild hair, he has applied massive quantities of grease, and is wearing his best, horribly hairy suit. Stunned by Hagrid's finery, Hermione, nearly speechless, asks about the Skrewts. They have begun killing each other, but Hagrid has saved about twenty and is keeping them in separate boxes. They discuss the Tournament. Hagrid knows something about the tasks but is unable to say anything. He gently declines Hermione's offer to join S.P.E.W., explaining that it is House-elves' nature to serve wizards, and they are happy as they are; it would be a disservice to free them. Hagrid glimpses Madame Maxime heading to the castle and hurries off to join her, leaving Harry, Ron, and Hermione to speculate that he must be sweet on her.
Following the feast, the Goblet of Fire selects the three Triwizard Champions. Viktor Krum is chosen for Durmstrang. The Beauxbatons champion is Fleur Delacour, the girl Ron suspects is part Veela. The Hogwarts' champion is Cedric Diggory, a Hufflepuff. A few moments later, the Goblet unexpectedly ejects a fourth name—Harry Potter.
Dumbledore's intent in championing the return of the Triwizard Tournament would seem to be integration of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang with Hogwarts students to foster lasting friendships and alliances. The plan, however, may not be going exactly as planned: divisions are already forming as Durmstrang, which has an affinity for the Dark Arts, mostly fraternizes with Slytherins, while the rather snobbish Beauxbatons align themselves with the intellectual (and presumably more cultured and aloof) Ravenclaws. The visitors appear to take little interest in either the Hufflepuff or Gryffindor Houses, despite Ron's overtures to Durmstrang to join their table, and the famous Harry Potter being a Gryffindor. Considering that Voldemort supporters are mostly former Slytherins and Karkaroff may have Death Eater ties, Durmstrang's affiliation with Slytherin House seems inevitable and could potentially benefit Voldemort by recruiting new followers rather than opponents. With this possible connection, it is curious why Durmstrang was invited to compete in the Triwizard competition, though it may not entirely have been Dumbledore's decision. The Ministry, firmly convinced Voldemort is dead, would believe that this particular school poses no threat. Dumbledore must also have a particularly strong faith that Karkaroff has fully renounced any Death Eater ties he may have had, in order to include Durmstrang, which reportedly still teaches the Dark Arts, into his school. We don't yet know if Dumbledore's hopes for some measure of cooperation between the schools will be fulfilled.
While most everyone is surprised that Viktor Krum is a Durmstrang student, readers should perhaps note that Karkaroff seems equally amazed that Harry attends Hogwarts. While this has never been kept secret, it may not be general knowledge outside Great Britain, and Durmstrang is far more isolated and clandestine than other schools. Karkaroff is also stunned to discover "Mad Eye" Moody is at Hogwarts, and, judging from his fearful reaction, it can be assumed that Moody, a former Auror, may be an old nemesis and that Karkaroff may have a Death Eater past.
Even as tension mounts over the Tournament and a possible plot against Harry, it appears that love, or at least infatuation, is running rampant at Hogwarts. While little is known about the Hogwarts teachers' personal lives, and all have apparently remained unattached, it seems that the lonely Hagrid may have found love when he becomes smitten with Madame Maxime. And though Madame Maxime is similarly sized to Hagrid, her refined elegance may be at odds with Hagrid's rather uncouth nature, though it appears he is attempting to make a good impression. We are also seeing budding romantic feelings in Harry, Ron, and Hermione, among others.
Hagrid's refusal to join S.P.E.W. is interesting for two reasons. First, Hagrid shows that many wizards believe House-elves are treated well and generally are happy with their station in life. And secondly, Hagrid says that it is in House-elves nature to serve wizards. This could imply that House-elves may have freely entered into servitude, but at some point in history, wizards somehow gained an advantage that allowed them to gradually transform elves into slaves. This may have been achieved through selective breeding and/or magical mind manipulation. Elves may also have became domesticated naturally over time. It would seem that if House-elves are so naturally inclined to serve wizards and are steadfastly loyal to one family, then it would be unnecessary to enslave them. However, as wizards closely guard their private business, enslaving elves would help ensure that those secrets remain within the family. And as elves are only viewed as "property", they can also be freely abused by cruel masters. Despite how this relationship evolved, we will see in later chapters that House-elves seem genuinely happiest when they have masters to serve, which apparently confirms what Hagrid is saying here. It is debatable then as to how well House-elves could, or would, adapt to sudden and unexpected freedom that they apparently do not desire.
Fred and George's attempts to by-pass the Tournament's age limit are futile, but their continual attempts to experiment with and create new magic shows just how talented, powerful, and resourceful these clever young wizards actually are, despite their poor academic record. They have already invented many new and innovative spells, charms, and jinxes, and they are well on their way to opening their own unique joke shop, if they can secure the financing. The Twins are a stark contrast to Harry and Ron, who, to date, have tended only to study the required O.W.L.-level curriculum and have not yet shown the initiative or ability to create new magic. This does not mean they are incapable or lack talent, however. Harry, being a latecomer to the Wizarding world, still has much general knowledge to learn that most wizard children have been exposed to since birth. He has also had to cope with many calamities in his life, particularly since he started at Hogwarts. However, his natural ability in Defensive Arts is already apparent and will likely inspire him to experiment once he becomes more proficient in general magic; we are told he has already learned more defensive spells than most students know when they leave Hogwarts. Hermione, a latecomer like Harry, also shows little inclination to experiment; instead, she concentrates on mastering traditional spells that are within prescribed academic boundaries while nurturing her inquisitive mind with books, although this will likely change as she matures. Ron, meanwhile, still feels too intimidated and overshadowed by his magically accomplished family, even Ginny, who is already developing into a powerful witch.
- What might account for Ron's attraction to Fleur Delacour?
- Why has Hagrid suddenly changed his appearance?
- Why would Karkaroff have such a strong reaction to seeing "Mad Eye" Moody at Hogwarts?
- It is no secret that Harry is a Hogwarts student. Why does Karkaroff seem so surprised to see him there?
- How could Harry's name have been placed into the Goblet of Fire? Why would this have happened?
- Why does Hagrid decline Hermione's request to join S.P.E.W.?
- Why do Beauxbatons students prefer to sit at Ravenclaw's table while Durmstrang students seat themselves with Slytherin in the Great Hall? What does this say about the foreign students and also about the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff Houses?
- Why does Ron hope Durmstrang students will sit with Gryffindor? Why would he ignore the Beauxbatons students?
- Why does Ron feel it is permissible for him to be attracted to Fleur, but becomes upset when he suspects Hermione notices someone?
Initially it may seem that Harry and Krum, who are equally famous in the Wizarding world, would consider each other rivals. For Harry, though, having someone as well-known as himself at Hogwarts actually helps lessen the unwanted spotlight that constantly shines on him. And though Krum may relish fame while Harry shuns it, Krum is secure enough as a person, as well as being a gracious guest, that he never attempts to undermine Harry. Although Harry and Krum generally ignore one another, at least initially, there appears to be no animosity or resentment between them, and they will eventually establish a friendly relationship. It should be noted that Harry and Krum's celebrity is quite different and almost opposite from one another. Destiny forced fame upon Harry as an infant, and ever since, his life has been dictated by that fate rather than from his own deliberate actions or desires. He has, despite his desire to avoid the lime-light, learned to make choices from within that pre-determined scenario. In contrast, Krum, a gifted athlete, consciously chose his own path and made calculated decisions that led to his becoming a world-class Quidditch player. He also did so, presumably, from an age when he better understood the realities and consequences of achieving his goals. While it is a safe assumption that his intent was to play Quidditch to a world-class level, he was well aware of the adulation that this would bring; and indeed, in a later book, we see that he is not averse to using his fame to get things that he wants. It is perhaps these differences that allow Harry and Krum to become friendly competitors rather than bitter rivals.
As the story progresses, a plot against Harry gradually emerges. Karkaroff, a former Death Eater who some suspect remains loyal to Voldemort, will seem the likely culprit behind it. However, Karkaroff's genuine surprise upon seeing Harry at Hogwarts would indicate otherwise, and the elaborate preparation needed to orchestrate the deadly trap requires knowing beforehand that Harry is a student at Hogwarts. We will discover during the course of this book that Snape was also a Death Eater, and we cannot be sure that he is not involved. Of course, it will turn out that neither of them is part of the plot; with her usual skill, the author will present the true villain, out of her sleeve as it were, in the final chapters of this book, having held him under our noses for much of the story.
Also, students are struggling with romantic dilemmas, many for the first time, and their initial awkward attempts at romance are both amusing and painful. Harry, naive about girls in general, experiences his first crush when he is attracted to Cho Chang, who seems to reciprocate his interest but is currently dating someone else. Ginny Weasley, still harboring unrequited feelings for Harry, has apparently accepted that Harry will probably never be interested in her and is moving on. Much to Hermione's irritation, Ron is attracted to Fleur Delacour, who he suspects is part Veela and which may partially account for his interest in her. And though Ron apparently feels entitled to notice other girls, he becomes resentful and sullen when he suspects Hermione is interested in Cedric Diggory (as she briefly appears to be in this chapter) or any other boy (as will be seen later in this book), though he apparently is unable to interpret his feelings as jealousy.
We should note how Dumbledore worded his instructions when the Goblet is initially presented. While he says here that placing one's name in the Goblet constitutes a binding contract, in the next chapter, Crouch will claim that having one's name ejected from the Goblet constitutes a contract. Though Crouch is present at Dumbledore's speech, he does not contradict him. There will be additional commentary on this wording in the next chapter's analysis.
Ron's character is also illuminated a bit here. Though he usually lags behind Harry and Hermione in ability and maturity, and is generally content to follow their leads, he can oftentimes be the most observant among the three. He surmises, quite correctly, that the Beauxbatons girl is part Veela. Fleur Delacour, we will find out later, is one-quarter Veela; in the Weighing of the Wands ceremony, she will state that her wand's magical core, a Veela hair, came from her grandmother.
- Fleur Delacour will end up falling in love with Bill Weasley, and will marry him at the start of the seventh book. In the meanwhile, she will cause significant discomfort for Ron, who never becomes immune to her glamour.
- Viktor Krum, despite having virtually the entire female population of Hogwarts to choose from, will try to establish a romantic relationship with Hermione. While he does not stand a chance with her, neither he nor Ron recognizes this, and Ron will react with jealousy long before he realizes that he has romantic feelings for Hermione himself.
- The relationship between Hagrid and Madame Maxime will continue through the remainder of the series, to some extent.
Chapter 17: The Four Champions
The first three Champions' announcements were received with applause, but Harry's name is met with stunned silence. To Professor Dumbledore's repeated summons, Harry joins the other champions, Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour, and Cedric Diggory in the other room. Ludo Bagman bursts in and introduces Harry as the fourth Triwizard champion. Krum is angry, while Cedric seems nonplussed. Fleur Delacour claims it must be a joke, he is too young, but Bagman replies that the age restriction was never in the previous rules and because his name was selected by the Goblet, he is required to compete.
Professor Dumbledore, Mr. Crouch, Madame Maxime, Professor Karkaroff, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape enter. Madame Maxime and Professor Karkaroff immediately tax Professor Dumbledore as to how this could have happened. Snape accuses Harry of cheating, saying he has been breaking school rules ever since he arrived at Hogwarts. Dumbledore asks Harry if he entered his own name or had an older student put it into the Goblet. Harry states he did not. Madame Maxime, convinced he is lying, suggests Dumbledore made a mistake with the age line, which McGonagall disputes. Karkaroff appeals to the impartial judges, Crouch and Bagman. Crouch says the rules are specific, anyone whose name comes from the Goblet is magically bound to compete. Karkaroff demands that they resubmit names into the Goblet until each school has two Champions, but Bagman points out that the Goblet is now extinguished, and it will not reignite until the next Tournament. Karkaroff is threatening to withdraw when Professor Moody enters and reminds Karkaroff that the same rules bind the Durmstrang Champion to compete. He suggests that someone used powerful magic to hoodwink the Goblet into believing Harry was the lone competitor from a fourth school, solely to kill him. Karkaroff accuses Moody of looking for plots where none exist.
Dumbledore interrupts the heated debate, saying their path is clear; all four Champions must compete. Madame Maxime protests, but when Dumbledore asks for alternatives, she has none. Looking rather wearied, Mr. Crouch tells the Champions that as the first task will test their daring, they will not be told what it is. It takes place the 24th of November, they are forbidden to ask for or accept help from their teachers, and can only use their wands. Champions are excused from end-of-year exams, as the Tasks are so difficult.
Concerned by Crouch's appearance, Dumbledore invites Mr. Crouch to spend the night at the castle, but he declines. Dumbledore also asks Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, but they are already departing with their respective Champions. Dumbledore suggests Harry and Cedric head to their Houses.
Harry considers Moody's words; someone entered him into the Tournament to kill him. The obvious candidate is Voldemort, and Harry remembers from his dream that Voldemort is apparently plotting his death. Harry enters the Common room amid a grand celebration, but his repeated denials that he did not enter the Tournament are ignored. He quickly retreats to his dormitory where he finds Ron. Ron wonders if he used the Invisibility Cloak to cross the age line, and is affronted that Harry refuses to tell him the "truth." Harry is then left facing Ron's closed bed curtains.
Harry is stunned, but also fearful, when his name is mysteriously selected by the Goblet of Fire, and he once again finds himself mired in unwanted attention and activities. The Goblet has determined that Harry must compete in the Tournament, disregarding his wishes and overriding the careful precautions and strict rules implemented by the Ministry of Magic, showing how little control they occasionally have over magical matters. Nearly everyone suspects Harry cheated to enter, although reactions are mixed. At this chapter's end, it seems Dumbledore is the only Tournament official who outwardly believes that someone other than Harry entered him, though Moody, who suspects there is a dark plot to murder Harry, and probably McGonagall, seem to share his opinion. Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, the foreign outsiders, are certain that Dumbledore and the Ministry rigged the Tournament in Hogwarts' favor, while Mr. Crouch only seems concerned about following the rules. Ludo Bagman apparently views the upheaval as vastly amusing. Harry may have other concerns; although he is a talented young wizard, he is several years younger than the other champions and lacks the experience and advanced training they have. He will have to work hard to master new spells they likely already know. Meanwhile, Ron, who continues to fawn over Viktor Krum, grows increasingly resentful over Harry's celebrity. Ron, perhaps bothered more by his own perceived inability to stand out in any significant way, is convinced that Harry somehow bypassed the age restriction line and, unconcerned whether or not Harry cheated, instead feels betrayed because he believes Harry never confided in him. Despite Harry's unfaltering friendship and confidence in him, Ron convinces himself that Harry is only concerned with seeking even more fame and attention, further straining their friendship.
Bartemius Crouch's odd behavior should be noted. He appears to be acting woodenly and unable to display even the minimal fluidity that he normally has. In particular:
- Mr. Crouch states that if someone's name is ejected from the Goblet, he is required to compete in the Tournament. The rule-book wording almost certainly states that any person entering his name into the Goblet must compete if he is selected. The previous evening, Professor Dumbledore had mentioned to the students that, "The placing of your name in the Goblet constitutes a binding magical contract"; however, Mr. Crouch neglects to mention this.
- Mr. Crouch avoids firelight, possibly to prevent people from seeing him acting differently than usual, and he says almost nothing; when he does step into the light, he looks old and tired, possibly ill, to the point where Dumbledore is concerned.
- Mr. Crouch declines a drink, making a thin excuse to leave Hogwarts.
- Professor Moody appears in the room very quickly, in theory to keep a closer eye on Karkaroff, but quite possibly to keep a better handle on the situation unfolding with Mr. Crouch.
It should also be mentioned that Karkaroff is, at least in Moody's eyes, a suspicious character. Though Harry has not yet had this confirmed, he is beginning to suspect that Karkaroff was, or still is, a Death Eater. In the previous chapter, Karkaroff was stunned to see Harry at Hogwarts; Moody seems to think that there might be buried hatred, or perhaps not buried so deeply.
It may be worth noting that despite his apparent paranoia, Professor Moody is the only person there to suggest any way that the Goblet of Fire could have been made to add a fourth Champion to what is supposed to be a three-way competition. It may also be of interest that the technique he suggests is also certain to produce a single wizard, Harry, as that champion.
- Why are some Tournament officials (Snape, Karkaroff, Madame Maxine, etc.) convinced Harry cheated or refuse to consider that he might be an innocent victim?
- Why does Ron believe that Harry really entered his own name in the Goblet? Has Harry ever lied to Ron before?
- Why aren't the Champions told what the first task will be?
- Professor Dumbledore is very careful in his questions: he asks if Harry put his own name into the Goblet, or had an older student do it for him. Why did he not ask him if a non-student did this?
- Why did Dumbledore not comment when Mr. Crouch gave a different interpretation of the rules than Dumbledore had the previous evening?
- Why is Mr. Crouch only concerned with following the rules, rather than investigating that the Tournament may have been tampered with or there could be a plot against Harry?
- Why does Ludo Bagman seem unconcerned about Harry being mysteriously entered into the Tournament?
The next chapter will show us that not only Dumbledore and Moody believe Harry was forced into this contest. Hagrid and Hermione also are convinced that he was railroaded into it. The reason for their conclusion: Harry's expression revealed utter shock when his name was called. Ron, watching Harry at the same time, failed to perceive what Hermione did; this is another indication, if one is needed, of Ron's jealousy and resentment adding to his already deficient emotional sensitivity and general immaturity. Moody believes Harry from the very beginning, with what will turn out to be a very good reason.
Ludo Bagman has no involvement in the plot to enter Harry into the Triwizard Tournament, but he immediately uses the upset as an opportunity to make money by betting heavily on Harry to win. It is probable that Ludo hopes to win enough to pay off his gambling debts from the Quidditch World Cup. And though Ludo will continually offer Harry advice to help win each challenge, Harry always refuses. Unknown to Harry, however, others are secretly working to ensure his victory, at any cost.
It is also interesting how easily "Moody" stays in character. Barty probably had little time to study the real Moody before overpowering him and assuming his identity; yet he always acts in an extremely convincing manner and knows things that only Moody would. Additionally, he is, to a certain extent, controlling the real Moody while in character. The reader may suspect that there is some Legilimency going on here; however, this does not seem to be borne out by events. Notably, at the book's conclusion, Barty is easily captured, and if he were a Legilimens, he would likely have been reading Harry's mind to discover the truth of what had happened in the cemetery, and seen what Harry saw in the foe-glass. It is much more likely that, whether he has the real Moody under the Imperius curse, or is using some other technique to keep him subdued, he is periodically dosing the real Moody with Veritaserum and quizzing him on what he knows.
Not only does Barty remain in character as Moody extremely well, he continually shows a rather twisted sense of humor while doing it. As Moody, he theorizes that there is a "dark plot" against Harry, while knowing that even though everything he says is the actual truth, everyone will either write him off as being over-reactive and paranoid, or unable to prove anything. A large clue is that it is Moody who suggests how the Goblet was hoodwinked, since, as it turns out, it was he who had charmed it. Knowing that, it is safe to assume that Moody's "guess" at what happened was very likely the actual technique used.
Bartemius Crouch's behaviour, noted above, is actually caused by his being under the Imperius curse. We will later discover that this is something of a literal reversal of fortune for Bartemius, who had kept his son Barty under the same curse for many years before the events in this book. We believe that Crouch's "woodenness" is due to his being controlled, his general poor appearance likely is due to his fighting that control, and his unwillingness to stay overnight or to be seen in the light is almost certainly due to his controller being unwilling to subject him to scrutiny and perhaps have the fact of the control discovered.
It should be noted that both the real Moody and Barty would suspect Karkaroff, Moody because Karkaroff is a former Death Eater, and Barty because, once captured, Karkaroff had named other Death Eaters to save his own skin. Thus Moody distrusting Karkaroff is an easy part for Barty to play.
While this chapter is rich with connections to events occurring later in this book, there is little here that connects to events in other books in the series.
Chapter 18: The Weighing of the Wands
Harry wakes up feeling miserable and wanting to talk with Ron, who has already left the dormitory. Everyone in the Gryffindor Common room cheers when Harry enters, so, embarrassed, he heads off for breakfast. Hermione meets him at the portrait bearing toast, and asks him to take a walk. Dreading the crowd in the Great Hall, Harry accepts. As they stroll around the lake, Hermione tells Harry that she knew from his shocked expression when his name was announced that he did not enter himself into the Tournament. Ron's reaction is due to his being jealous over Harry's fame. Hermione suggests Harry write to tell Sirius what has happened. Harry thinks it is too dangerous, but Hermione says Sirius will learn about it anyway, and the Daily Prophet may have already reported his being a Champion.
Harry does write a note to Sirius, and takes it to the Owlery to send it off. Hedwig is too recognizable, so Harry instead uses a school owl. As the offended Hedwig turns her back and stalks away, Harry feels that all of his friends, except Hermione, have rejected him.
During lessons, Harry is unable to avoid other students, and Herbology with the Hufflepuffs is particularly tense. A rather pedestrian house when compared to the other three, Hufflepuff seldom receives any glory, and they feel Harry is stealing what little they had. In Care of Magical Creatures with the Slytherins, Draco Malfoy is his usual insulting self, but he is interrupted by Hagrid. The Skrewts need exercising, and each student is given one on a leash. The creatures are now so large that they drag the students. Hagrid takes Harry aside to ask if he knows who entered his name. Harry, relieved Hagrid believes him, admits he does not.
Draco's taunts are becoming extremely pointed, and his attacks peak when he starts distributing lapel buttons that alternately display slogans reading, "Support Cedric Diggory – the Real Hogwarts Champion" or "Potter Stinks". When a duel erupts between Harry and Draco, their spells collide in mid-air, hitting Hermione and Goyle. Ron is left aghast at Hermione's injury – her front teeth have enlarged to an incredible extent. Professor Snape appears, demanding to know what is going on. He sends Goyle to the Hospital Wing, but claims to see nothing wrong with Hermione, who runs off sobbing. Harry and Ron both shout at Snape over his indifferent treatment towards Hermione. When the echoes die away, Snape penalizes Gryffindor House fifty points, and Harry and Ron each receive a detention.
During Snape's Potions lecture about antidotes, Colin Creevey enters to escort Harry to where the Champions are having their pictures taken. Harry finds Ludo Bagman, a photographer, a witch Harry has never seen before, and the other Champions are waiting for the Wand Weighing ceremony. Mr. Ollivander will verify that their wands are in good working order. The witch is Rita Skeeter, a reporter for the Daily Prophet. Rita pulls Harry into a broom closet and, producing a Quick-Quotes Quill, starts interviewing him. Harry notices that the Quill is recording his comments inaccurately, but before he can do anything about it, Professor Dumbledore interrupts to announce that the wand weighing is about to start.
The five judges – Bagman, Mr. Crouch, Igor Karkaroff, Madame Maxime, Professor Dumbledore, and the four Champions are introduced to Mr. Ollivander. Ollivander examines the four Champions' wands. First up is Fleur, whose wand is rosewood and contains a Veela hair in its core, which Fleur says is her grandmother's. Ollivander goes on to test Cedric's wand (ash and Unicorn tail hair), Krum's (hornbeam and Dragon heartstring), and Harry's (holly and Phoenix feather). Ollivander declares all are in perfect working order.
When Harry returns to the dormitory after dinner, Ron informs him he has received an owl and that their detentions are set for the next night in Snape's dungeon. As Ron leaves, Harry wants to chase after him, but Sirius' letter is a greater lure. Sirius has more to say than is safe by owl post, and has set a time to meet Harry at the Gryffindor fireplace. Sirius believes Harry's participation in the Tournament is risky and someone probably intends to harm him, but Sirius thinks he should be safe as long as Dumbledore and Moody are there.
Harry has become a near outcast among many students, especially Hufflepuff, who seldom excel in anything and now feel that Harry has deliberately undermined their Champion, Cedric Diggory, thus lessening their House's chances for glory. About the only student who believes someone else entered him in the Tournament is Hermione. Harry feels alienated, just as he did during his second year when many believed he was the Heir of Slytherin and responsible for the attacks on Muggle-borns. At least Ron, as well as Hermione, was on his side then, but without Ron's support now, his peers' disdain is almost unbearable.
Ironically, even though most Gryffindor students believe Harry cheated to enter the Tournament, some are ecstatic to have a Champion represent their House, contentedly basking in Harry's reflected glory and unperturbed with how or why he was entered. They also seem unconcerned or oblivious that Harry could be in mortal danger. Even though Harry is uncomfortable at having more unwanted attention heaped on him and upset over being called a cheater, especially by Ron, he is nonetheless excited about competing in the Tournament; it is an opportunity to impress Cho Chang.
Like Hagrid and Hermione, Sirius believes Harry was railroaded into the Tournament, but his opinion that Harry should be safe seems overly optimistic, as someone has already penetrated Hogwarts' security by planting Harry's name into the Goblet. And though Sirius feels relatively assured that Dumbledore and Moody can protect Harry during the Tournament, Dumbledore's powers seem somewhat less than invincible to us.
While Hagrid and Sirius's belief in Harry's innocence stems from loyalty and trust, Hermione's reason is more analytical: she observed from Harry's shocked expression when his name was announced that it was an utter and unwelcome surprise. Ron, also watching Harry, failed to perceive what Hermione did; this is another indication, if one is needed, of Ron's immaturity and his lack of emotional sensitivity and awareness.
The widening rift with Ron actually brings Harry closer to Hermione, who he has always considered a close friend, but never quite the same as Ron. This is hardly surprising, as Harry would naturally feel more at ease among his own gender. Now, however, Hermione helps fill a void while assuming a new role, demonstrating her unwavering loyalty, trust, and support. Hermione has never doubted Harry's word, and despite her somewhat overbearing and bossy nature, she is always concerned with Harry and Ron's well-being, and she has always offered solid and logical, if overly cautious, advice. Harry and Ron have tended to be dismissive of her counsel in the past, especially if it interfered with their (sometimes prohibited) activities. Without Ron's presence, however, Harry is more receptive to her input. Hermione and Harry also have much in common: both were raised as Muggles, learning about their magical abilities late in childhood and having to adapt to a strange, new world. Also, each being an only-child creates a stronger bond between them, and they gradually, and perhaps unknowingly, become as brother and sister, whereas Ron, who has many siblings, mostly considers Harry his "best friend."
Harry experiences his first encounter with Rita Skeeter, a reporter he already knows by her less-than-stellar reputation. She immediately isolates Harry for an interview, rendering him virtually powerless as she pumps him for information and purposely misquotes him, despite his protests. Even before interviewing Harry, she has apparently prefabricated just how he will be portrayed in her embarrassingly inaccurate article. While she is supposedly interviewing all the Champions, we can already see that her article will be embarrassingly centered on Harry. Skeeter not only shows here how a single individual can abuse the truth, causing immense personal damage, but she also represents how easily a powerful entity like the news media can insidiously manipulate the general public's opinions and perceptions with calculated lies and manufactured misconceptions on a much grander scale.
The wand weighing ceremony should also be noted, and though it plays little significance to the plot, it is interesting for other reasons. As readers learned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the wand chooses the Wizard, though it is never explained why. Wands are made from nearly every tree type, and the author has chosen the wood for each character's wand based on its symbolic connotation. Harry's wand, for instance, is holly, which is believed to repel evil. Holly also represents protection, joy, happiness, masculinity, and overcoming anger. Christians also believe that the holy cross was made from holly. The word holly is derived from "holy". Krum's wand is hornbeam, a wood that represents strength, stubbornness, passion, moral fibre, ethics, and loyalty. It is also associated with a person who is considered the "salt of the earth" or a "common man". Rosewood, which is what Fleur's wand is made from, represents inner beauty, kindness, and gratitude, while Cedric's ash wand symbolizes adaptability, prudence, modesty, sacrifice, and sensitivity.
Wood alone is unable to empower a wand. Presumably, its core material magically fuses with the wood it is embedded into, activating the wand's power. It also seems to become somewhat sentient, allowing it to bond to a wizard who shares similar qualities. Magical creatures provide the core material; Mr. Ollivander's wands only contain Unicorn hair, Phoenix feather, or Dragon heartstring, though other wandmakers use additional substances. Harry's wand contains a Phoenix feather. A Phoenix is a mythical bird that continually dies by bursting into flames and is then reborn from its own ashes, an act symbolizing resurrection and purity. Krum's wand contains Dragon heartstring, and though a Dragon is often associated with evil and destruction, in many cultures it represents qualities such as strength, wisdom, purification, renewal, and power. The Unicorn hair in Cedric's wand represents purity, innocence, loyalty, and moral virtue. Unicorns are sometimes seen as guardians. Fleur's wand confirms Ron's suspicions that she is part Veela. The hair forming its core belonged to her Veela grandmother, making Fleur one-quarter Veela. This wand's core is apparently unusual and may reflect the Veelas' more temperamental and volatile natures. As seen earlier in this book, the Veelas' real appearance is far different than the images they can project. The Veela hair may also represent transformation, adaptability, and even deception and seduction. Being that the hair belongs to someone closely related to Fleur, it may also symbolize family power, generational legacy, unity, and loyalty.
There is additional information about magic wands and their characteristics, along with some other points of Wand lore, in the main article on Wands.
- Why does Hermione encourage Harry to write to his godfather, despite the risk to Sirius?
- Why is Hufflepuff House particularly angry that Harry is a Triwizard Champion?
- Why are the wands weighed and inspected?
- Why does Sirius think it is safe for Harry to compete in the Tournament, even though he believes someone wants to harm him? Is Harry actually safe?
- Why does Hermione believe Harry's story?
- Why are Gryffindor students so ecstatic that Harry is a Champion, even though they believe he cheated to enter the Tournament? Why do most other Hogwarts students treat him as an outcast?
- Considering her reputation, why is Rita Skeeter allowed to interview the Champions?
- Why does Snape send Goyle to the Hospital Wing, but not Hermione? Why is she so upset about it?
The author once again draws the reader's attention to Snape teaching about antidotes. Though Harry dislikes Potions, mostly because Snape makes it so miserable for him, his knowledge about this subject will prove crucial in the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
It should be noted that though a rift developed between Harry and Hermione following Harry's Firebolt being confiscated in Prisoner of Azkaban, it was entirely Harry's decision to avoid her; Hermione has stayed a true friend to Harry throughout, and will continue to do so until the series' end. Ron has allowed jealousy to create a rift between him and Harry, and it continues until Ron realizes Harry's life really is at risk. During their secret mission in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ron will desert Harry and Hermione, on what might be considered petty matters, keeping the Trio separated for some months. It is reasonable to assume that Ron's behavior is intended to reflect his character and immaturity relative to Harry and Hermione.
- We have already seen that Ron is susceptible to the charms of the Veela, and we now understand why Fleur has such an effect on him. Fleur will end up marrying Ron's brother Bill, but at least until that wedding, Fleur will continue to have the same effect on Ron. It is uncertain whether Bill is equally susceptible to Fleur's glamour.
- This chapter includes our first direct exposure to Rita Skeeter's style of journalism. Rita's sensationalistic brand of writing will torment Harry shortly, but will also be focused on Hermione and Hagrid in this book, and on Dumbledore posthumously.
Chapter 19: The Hungarian Horntail
After the shock of being a Champion wears off, Harry starts worrying about the first task. It is comforting that he can soon talk with Sirius; he and Hermione figure out ways to clear the common room before 1:00 a.m., the time Sirius has said he would talk to Harry a few days hence. But things become more difficult after Rita Skeeter's story about the Tournament is published. Unfortunately, it mostly contains embarrassing and false information about Harry, including that he and Hermione are in love. Harry hopes to reconcile with Ron during detention with Professor Snape, but the article comes out the same day, fueling Ron's belief that Harry is seeking more publicity. About the only high point is when Cho Chang stops by to wish him luck, though Harry is snappish because he mistakenly thinks she is teasing him.
Harry is still having difficulty mastering the Summoning charm, and he practices it with Hermione in the library. Curiously, and to Hermione's annoyance, Victor Krum is frequently there, along with a clutch of girls following him about, hoping for an autograph.
Hermione suggests going to the next Hogsmeade weekend. When pressed, she admits she is hoping to meet up with Ron in the Three Broomsticks. Harry vetoes that particular idea, and will only go under his Invisibility Cloak. Hermione protests but agrees, and once in Hogsmeade, Harry is delighted he can travel without people hurling snide remarks. Hermione thinks he can remove the cloak without being bothered, but Harry points out that Rita Skeeter and her photographer just left the Three Broomsticks. It appears she is staying in the village. Harry suggests she is there to watch the first task.
Hermione steers them into The Three Broomsticks, telling Harry he can avoid Ron, who is sitting with Fred, George and Lee Jordan. Hermione brings Harry a Butterbeer, then spreads her S.P.E.W. notes to avoid looking silly sitting by herself. Hagrid is talking to Professor Moody. Harry waves, then realizes Hagrid cannot see him. Moody pokes Hagrid, and they both come over. Moody, whose magical eye can apparently penetrate Invisibility Cloaks, mutters, "Nice cloak, Potter." Before leaving, Hagrid tells Harry to be at his hut at midnight with his Cloak. This is the night that Harry is meeting Sirius by the Gryffindor fireplace at 1:00 a.m., but he decides he can quickly visit Hagrid and be back in time.
At midnight, Harry, cloaked, slips down to Hagrid's. Hagrid leads Harry to the Beauxbatons carriage where Madame Maxime is waiting. Harry, confused, trails behind Hagrid and Madame Maxime around the Forbidden Forest's edge, finally arriving at a large corral containing four full-grown Dragons. Wizards have to Stun the Dragons to calm them. Charlie Weasley, Ron's older brother, comes over. He is concerned about Madame Maxime seeing the Dragons, but Hagrid says he just thought she would be interested. Harry heads back to the castle, bumping into Professor Karkaroff, who is checking out the tumult. Evidently, assuming Madame Maxime and Professor Karkaroff will inform their respective Champions, Cedric is the only competitor who knows nothing about the Dragons.
Returning to an empty common room, Harry finds Sirius' head floating in the fireplace flames. Harry relates everything to Sirius, who feels there are other concerns. Karkaroff, for one, was a Death Eater, but was released from Azkaban, possibly because he provided the Ministry with names. That could be why Moody is at Hogwarts; it was Moody who arrested Karkaroff. Sirius contradicts Skeeter's article about Moody, which had suggested that events had been overstated; Sirius suspects the attack at his house had happened, and was intended to scare him away from taking the job. And Bertha Jorkins, the Ministry official believed missing in Albania, which is where Voldemort was last thought to be, would have known about the Tournament and could have somehow tipped off Voldemort. Sirius tells Harry that Stunning spells are ineffective against Dragons, but before he can suggest what to use in their place, Harry hears someone coming and Sirius vanishes. Ron appears, and a quarrel erupts, causing Harry to storm off to bed.
In his conversation with Sirius, Harry learns that Karkaroff was a Death Eater who revealed other Death Eaters' names to avoid Azkaban. Moody apparently believes he never fully recanted, and abandoned Dark magic only because he feared severe punishment. According to Sirius, Moody suspects Karkaroff secretly remains devoted to the Dark Lord and would willingly rejoin Voldemort given the opportunity. When Moody first suggested that someone may have entered Harry into the Tournament solely to kill him, the ensuing silence was possibly because there is an unspoken accusation against Karkaroff. However, Karkaroff's being genuinely surprised that Harry was even a student at Hogwarts indicates that he is unlikely to be involved in a pre-planned plot.
It seems contradictory that Sirius tells Harry that dragons are unaffected by Stun spells, and yet the wizard dragon keepers use stun spells to control the beasts. However, a quick glance back at the dragon compound will reveal that each dragon is, in fact, taken down by three to five wizards firing synchronized Stunners. The dragon's tough hide will repel a single stun blast, so several must be simultaneously cast to have any effect; and Harry, being only a single wizard, would find his single stun bolt ineffective.
Cedric Diggory being the only Champion who is unaware that the first task involves dragons is in keeping with his character, and also with the traits of Hufflepuff House. This House, while seldom receiving much glory or producing many notable students, is known for valuing hard work, honesty, and fairness. It appears, however, that these virtues have put Diggory at a disadvantage here, as the other Champions, including Harry, have uncovered valuable information that make them more competitive. While Karkaroff seems to have gone seeking this information, we do not know whether Madame Maxime influenced Hagrid to that end, or whether she, like Harry, was shown this simply because Hagrid thought they would like to see the dragons. The author seems to be suggesting that Hagrid, being smitten with Madame Maxime, is perhaps being even a bit more impetuous than usual, and may be using this as a means to help win Madame Maxime's affection. This would make Hagrid susceptible to suggestions, of course, making it easier for Madame Maxime to convince Hagrid to show her what he knew of the First Task.
As Sirius mentions, the supposed attack on Moody at his home, which the Ministry and the Daily Prophet wrote off as a false alarm, actually did occur the night before his departure for Hogwarts and, knowing his paranoid nature, was probably meant to scare him away from there. As this has been brought up a few times now, we expect that it will be revisited in the story.
There is now a suggestion that Bertha Jorkins' disappearance could be tied to Voldemort, and that he could have somehow extracted information from her (either willingly or unwillingly on her part) about the Triwizard Tournament being held at Hogwarts. Ministry officials, meanwhile, have still not taken any action regarding "poor Bertha's" whereabouts, continuing to pass it off to her simply "forgetting" to return from her holiday. While these facts are presented, more or less baldly, by Sirius, there are no real conclusions drawn from them. Remembering Harry's dream from the first chapter of this book, however, we understand that Sirius' guesses are more accurate than Harry currently believes.
Looking at Bertha's absence and the attack on Moody in isolation this way, we can see that the Ministry is taking the easy course, not hunting for Bertha and dismissing the attack on Moody, rather than actively investigating these occurrences. The younger reader may see something sinister in the Ministry's apparent refusal to search out the facts behind these occurrences, but the adult reader likely will recognize the pattern of civil service behaviour, doing what is necessary to the job rather than what is right.
On a side note, we suggest that the reader should remember Hermione's comment that Viktor Krum seems to be spending a lot of time in the library, and that this annoys her. It may be worth remembering that Hermione is not annoyed by Viktor, but by the bevy of giggling girls that seems to be following him around.
- Why is Cedric Diggory the only Champion who is unaware that the first event involves dragons? What does this say about his character and also about Hufflepuff House in general?
- Why did Harry think Cho Chang was teasing him? Was she?
- Why does Viktor Krum spend so much time at the library? Who does it annoy and why?
- Why does the Ministry believe that the attack at Moody's home was only a "false alarm," while Sirius thinks it was not?
- Could there be a link between Bertha Jorkins' disappearance and Voldemort's last known whereabouts? Explain.
- Why does Sirius think Moody was hired as the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?
- Why is Harry having so much trouble learning an apparently simple spell like the Summoning Charm?
- Why, after such a long absence, does the Ministry continue to believe that Bertha Jorkins simply "forgot" to come back to work?
- Could Bertha Jorkins' disappearance be tied to Harry and the Triwizard Tournament, or are false clues misleading readers? Explain.
Although Sirius correctly speculates that the incident at Moody's house is somehow tied to Voldemort, he could not know that rather than it being an attempt to scare Moody away from Hogwarts, it was actually a kidnapping plot to replace the real Moody with the impostor, Barty Crouch, Jr. We have now learned that Karkaroff was a Death Eater, and see that Moody may still suspect him of having Dark proclivities. It actually turns out to be important to the story, in a small way, that Karkaroff betrayed other Death Eaters in order to save his own skin. If he had not done so, Barty likely would have been tempted to trust him with the secret of the impersonation in order to gain at least one ally at Hogwarts. Voldemort, however, does not forgive, and so Barty will not either. The suspicion Barty has of Karkaroff comes through his impersonation, but is explained away by Moody's distrust of anyone who was a Death Eater. Curiously, Barty never reveals his opinion about Snape, except for the single remark "Another old friend".
We have heard that the Triwizard Champions are supposed to perform all tasks without any outside assistance, and cheating is strictly prohibited, but despite these injunctions, there seems to be an unspoken tradition and expectation that some underhandedness occurs. Harry, despite being a talented wizard, is the youngest and least experienced contestant. He knows he needs help and freely uses what Hagrid shows him, listens to the (interrupted) advice from Sirius, uses Moody's hint in the next chapter, and will be coached by Hermione, all to help him develop a strategy, though it could be argued that, with the possible exception of Hagrid's invitation and Moody's rather pointed hint, this is not technically cheating. And though he accepts help from Sirius, Hagrid, Moody, and Hermione, he steadfastly refuses any assistance from Ludo Bagman, considering it unethical for a Tournament official to offer a Champion advice. Cedric, meanwhile, apparently does little or nothing to prepare while patiently awaiting the first event, completely clueless regarding what it entails. Even though Hufflepuff's traits are admirable, their integrity can also breed complacency and naivete, as well as shows a certain lack of ingenuity and initiative, thus allowing their more resourceful (and perhaps somewhat devious) opponents to seize the advantage. Cedric is certainly portrayed as being an admirable match for Hufflepuff's stated house characteristics.
As noted, Harry's being shown the Dragons was not his own scheme; he had no idea where Hagrid was taking him or why, any more than Madame Maxime seemed to. It is possible that showing Harry the dragons was an idea Moody planted into Hagrid's mind; it is less likely that Madame Maxime would have suggested this to Hagrid, as she apparently knew nothing about it, though we can safely assume that having seen the Dragons, she likely ignores the rules and freely shares this information with her student, Fleur Delacour.
We will discover that Moody has an ulterior motive, just as Bagman does, to ensure that Harry completes the third and final Challenge. Moody's assistance, however, is far better concealed than Bagman's, and Harry can reject Bagman's proffered help, but is unable to reject Moody's, as he fails to notice it is being given to him. Harry also inherently trusts Moody, a Hogwarts teacher, and to some extent Harry's mentor. Bagman is an outsider, and Harry has no reason to place any trust in him.
Moody's magical eye being able to see through Harry's invisibility cloak will prove important later in this book. Harry, on an expedition to determine the secret of the Egg for the Second Task, will end up trapped in a trick staircase; Moody will rescue him from Snape when the Egg, screeching as it does when it is opened, attracts them both.
Early on, Cedric Diggory, a decent and honest young wizard, seems to lack initiative and inventiveness, though this changes as he competes in the Triwizard Tournament. Harry, aware that Cedric alone has not benefited from early knowledge of the First Task, and wanting to be fair, tips off Cedric about the Dragons; but their situations are reversed before the second challenge when Harry needs another helpful push. A magical Egg, captured by each Champion during the first event, holds a vital clue to completing the next task. However, Harry, who often procrastinates until he is prodded, does little to decipher its hidden meaning, while Cedric quickly solves the riddle. In gratitude for Harry's previous help, Cedric gives him a valuable hint, though Harry will again procrastinate in utilizing this information, driven somewhat by his jealousy over Cedric's relationship with Cho Chang. In this case, Cedric's honesty and fairness are not a disadvantage and shows that Hufflepuff's attributes can be used effectively. It is likely that, given time, Cedric's talents would have far exceeded Hufflepuff's usual standards. Unfortunately, this opportunity will tragically be cut short.
We have commented, in the Analysis, about Viktor spending time in the library. We will find out at the Yule Ball that Viktor actually is trying for a romantic relationship with Hermione. This will upset Ron, who is jealous but doesn't yet recognize the fact. Viktor is quite persistent and will keep trying to get Hermione to be his girlfriend at least until early in the final book of the series. Hermione, who has silently set her sights on Ron, will prove resistant to his attempts, but will not send him away, feeling perhaps that having friends in other magical schools might prove useful.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Muggle Prime Minister recalls that the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had earlier reported that they were importing three dragons and a sphinx, who we see later in this book. Whether this was before or after Harry had become a Champion is never made clear, but we note that the fourth dragon is a Common Welsh Green, a domestic dragon, meaning that of the four dragons we see here, only three are imports.
- Viktor hanging about in the library is the first indication we have that he has set his romantic sights on Hermione. Hermione and Viktor will be seen together a few times in this book, and will communicate by Owl Post throughout the next two. Viktor will finally have his hopes dashed in the final book of the series, when Ron declares himself as Hermione's boyfriend.
- There is some development of the relationship between Hagrid and Olympe Maxime in this chapter. Hagrid was, as we recall, smitten with Madame Maxime as soon as he first saw her, just before Hallowe'en; this relationship will continue, in its uneven way, until at least Dumbledore's funeral.
Chapter 20: The First Task
The next morning, Harry drags Hermione off for another walk around the lake, during which he relates what he learned from Hagrid and what Sirius told him. Returning to the library, they search for a spell to defeat a Dragon, but find nothing. Krum's arrival in the library, heralding the arrival of his retinue of giggling girls, annoys Hermione, and she and Harry return to the Gryffindor common room.
Realizing that only Cedric is unaware that the First Task involves Dragons, Harry trails him through the halls between classes, and charms his bag to fall apart, spilling his books. Once Cedric is on his own, Harry runs up and tells him about the Dragons and that both Fleur and Krum know. Professor Moody, overhearing, sends Cedric on his way, then commends Harry for his fairness. Cheating, he says, is also a Tournament tradition. Moody tells Harry to play to his strengths. Harry believes he has none, apart from Quidditch; Moody comments that Harry is an excellent flyer and suggests using a simple spell to get what he needs. Harry understands, and he asks Hermione for help with the Summoning Charm before the First Task next afternoon. They practice through lunch and after dinner. Finally, at two in the morning, Harry seems to have the spell working properly.
Practicing the spell the day before had eased Harry's nerves, but they return full force before the First Task begins. Professor McGonagall escorts him to a tent where the other Champions are waiting, along with Ludo Bagman. Each Champion draws a token representing what they will face; their task is to retrieve a golden Egg. Fleur draws a Welsh Green Dragon, number 2; Krum, a Chinese Fireball, number 3; Cedric, a Swedish Short-snout, number 1; and Harry, the Hungarian Horntail that he had seen earlier, number 4. The other Champions' expressions reveal they had already known what they would be facing. Ludo takes Harry aside to ask if he is OK or if he can get him anything. Harry responds he is fine, he has a plan. The first whistle sounds for Cedric's Task, and Ludo bolts – he is supposed to be commentating.
Harry waits, listening to the roaring crowd, as all the other Champions precede him into the enclosure. The commentating tantalizes, but reveals little about what is happening. Finally, it is Harry's turn. In the enclosure is the Hungarian Horntail and the golden Egg. Harry casts the Summoning spell, and is surprised how well it works, bringing his broom. He flies over the Dragon's head, baiting it. When it lunges, he swoops down and grabs the Egg. Slightly injured by its spiked tail, Harry is waved into the first aid tent, where Hermione and Ron join him. Ron sees that there is a very real threat to Harry's life, and is finally convinced that Harry did not choose to enter the Tournament, and the two boys reconcile. The judges post Harry's scores: 8 (from Madame Maxime), 9 (from Crouch), 9 (from Dumbledore), 10 (from Ludo), and 4 (from Karkaroff), tying Harry for first place with Krum. Charlie Weasley runs in to congratulate Harry, then leaves to send Mrs. Weasley an owl about the outcome, and says Mr. Bagman wants the Champions back in the tent.
Ludo informs the Champions that the next task takes place the morning of February 24th; the golden Eggs they captured contain a clue. Harry and Ron head back to the castle, running into Rita Skeeter, who asks Harry for a few words. Harry refuses to comment.
Harry attempts to research ways to defeat a Dragon, but, in what will become a familiar pattern, he becomes so terrified that he briefly considers running back home to the Dursleys. He quickly abandons this idea, instead accepting help from others. We have seen that Harry has an over-developed sense of responsibility; we have seen that he takes things onto himself that perhaps don't properly belong to him. As early as the first book, where we hear Harry deciding that he must try to protect the Philosopher's Stone, there has been a tendency for Harry to determine that he alone must take on some task. As this has been such a large part of his make-up, we can expect it to continue throughout the series, and we can also expect other characters to play on it to some extent. In this chapter, we see Harry actively soliciting help from others, however, perhaps indicating that he is beginning to accept that the battle is not his alone.
While Harry and Hermione research ways to defeat Dragons, it never seems to occur to either that Harry could probably learn much just by secretly observing how Charlie Weasley and the other handlers keep the fiery beasts under control. Even if Harry felt it would be cheating to go back and watch, we note that when Hagrid first showed him the Dragons, Harry watched how the handlers used multiple Stunning spells to control the animals. Although Sirius tells Harry that single Stunning spells are ineffective, this still might have given Harry at least some ideas on how to subdue one or to better understand Dragon behavior. Of course, the time involved is quite short. Harry first sees the dragons Saturday night. Sunday is spent in the library and common room, researching. On Monday, Hermione insists that they should go to class, and it is during this time that Harry informs Cedric and is caught by Professor Moody. Monday afternoon and evening is used in learning the Summoning charm, and the actual task occurs Tuesday afternoon.
And while Harry wants to win the Tournament, he wants to do so without any inequitable advantages. Cedric's ignorance about the Dragons while the other Champions are using ill-gotten information to prepare their strategies represents an uneven playing field to Harry. It would never be a true victory if another Champion was at an unfair disadvantage. Moody commends Harry for his honesty and fairness, which Moody has already shown are traits he values in himself, as well as others. Cedric is also grateful, and and we suspect that this is something he himself would have done if their situations had been reversed.
A few additional noteworthy points:
First, Moody seems to be handing the first task to Harry. While it does take Harry some time to realize what Moody is hinting at, Moody has provided Harry a tool that will serve him better than it would any other Champion. It would seem logical that Moody might similarly guide Cedric Diggory, also a Hogwarts student, but he apparently does not. Whether Moody has any special reason for wanting Harry to win is unknown, though he could be motivated by his concern over how and why Harry was entered into the Tournament. Additionally, as Harry is the youngest and least trained among the Champions, Moody could be attempting to "level the playing field" by preferentially giving Harry assistance.
Second, Ludo makes a clumsy attempt to assist Harry with the challenge, then assigns him a perfect score, which Harry feels is unwarranted. It seems Bagman also wants him to win, but why is unclear.
Finally, Rita Skeeter continually appears from nowhere, though we are led to believe there is some sort of protection preventing unauthorized entrance to the school grounds; this may prove important.
It should be noted that the book's actions apparently take place in 1994 and 1995; but the first task's date, November 24th 1994, is not a Tuesday but a Thursday, which is consistent with the day of the week mentioned in Chapter 15. This does not affect the story in any way; the fact that there is this conflict is provided more as a curiosity than as something scholars need to concern themselves with.
- Why does Harry tell Cedric Diggory about the Dragons?
- Why does Moody give Harry advice about the first task? Is Moody breaking the rules?
- Why does Harry ignore Ludo Bagman's advice and feel that the high score Ludo gives him is unwarranted?
- Why does Ludo Bagman give Harry unsolicited advice and a perfect score?
- Harry usually masters basic spells quickly. Why then is the Summoning charm so difficult for him to learn?
- What clue might be hidden in the Golden Egg?
Of note, Harry apparently stops reading the Dragon book just before the passage containing the spell he needs. The passage he does read aloud from Men Who Love Dragons Too Much goes: "Dragons are extremely difficult to slay, owing to the ancient magic that imbues their thick hides, which none but the most powerful spells can penetrate." The next passage would probably discuss their one weak point, which Sirius later identifies as their eyes. In a later message from Sirius, we learn that if their conversation had not been interrupted, Sirius would have suggested using the Conjunctivitus curse to blind the Dragon. This is what Krum will do in the Task, but the blinded Dragon, flailing about, will break some of her own eggs, losing Krum points.
We will later learn that Ludo is trying to recoup his losses on the Quidditch World Cup by betting on Harry to win the Tournament. His clumsy offers to assist Harry, which will be uniformly rejected, are an unethical attempt to influence the Tournament's outcome, made worse because he is a Tournament judge. Moody also intends for Harry to win the Tournament; offering Harry a strategy to complete the First Task is his most overt attempt in his role as a trusted mentor to ensure Harry's victory. Moody's other assistance will be less obvious to Harry, revealed only when Moody explains it following the Third Task.
It is only Harry's inherent honesty and belief in fairness that prompts him to share information about the Dragons with Cedric, and also to reject Ludo's proffered assistance. In a future chapter, Cedric reciprocates Harry's fairness towards him: Cedric will solve the Egg's riddle before Harry does, and will pass on an important hint.
- It is mentioned that Viktor Krum once again appears in the Library while Hermione is there. This is part of the eventual revelation that he has set his romantic sights on Hermione. Hermione and Viktor will be seen together a few times in this book, and will communicate by Owl Post throughout the next two. Viktor will finally have his hopes dashed in the final book of the series, when Ron declares himself as Hermione's boyfriend.
- The unexpected appearance of Rita Skeeter will turn out to be a clue. This unexpected appearance, repeated in the next chapter, coupled with publication of events at which Skeeter was not present but where a large beetle was in evidence, will fuel Hermione's discovery that Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus. Hermione will be able to use this knowledge to force Skeeter to write an honest interview of Harry in the next book.
Chapter 21: The House-Elf Liberation Front
Harry, Ron, and Hermione head to the Owlery to send Sirius a letter reporting Harry's progress in the Tournament. On the way, Harry tells Ron what Sirius told him about Karkaroff. Ron, like Hermione, is surprised that Karkaroff was a Death Eater. They adjourn to the victory party in the Gryffindor Common room where Harry, prompted by the other Gryffindors, unlatches the Golden Egg. The inside is hollow, but it emits a loud screeching noise, which frightens Neville: he thinks it's the sound of someone being tortured. Hermione asks Fred if the party food came from the kitchens. He says it did, imitating a House-elf to demonstrate how easy it was to get it. Hermione asks for directions to the kitchen. Fred tells her, and George asks if she is going to lead a House-elves rebellion.
The weather is turning cold and miserable. The Beauxbatons horses, in their paddock near Hagrid's hut, are getting their preferred drink, single-malt whisky, but the fumes are making the Care of Magical Creatures class light-headed. They need their wits while tending to the Skrewts. Arriving at Hagrid's hut for class one day, the students find that Hagrid has prepared nesting boxes to see if the surviving Skrewts want to hibernate. They prefer to destroy the boxes and rampage around the pumpkin patch; most of the class retreats in disarray to Hagrid's hut. As Hagrid and the Trio round up the last one, Rita Skeeter appears and evinces great interest in the Skrewts; she arranges to interview Hagrid later.
Harry and Ron, now reconciled, quietly chortle their way through double Divination, annoying Professor Trelawney. As they return to the common room, Hermione runs up, excited about a discovery she has made. She drags Harry and Ron to a ground-floor corridor and into the kitchen where Dobby greets Harry. Dobby tells the Trio Dumbledore has hired him and Winky. Because House-elves have difficulty finding paid work, Dobby and Winky believed Hogwarts was likely their only option. Winky feels disgraced, however, and the other Hogwarts House-elves have distanced themselves from Dobby: they feel that it is demeaning for an Elf to accept payment.
And while Dobby is happy, Winky is miserable, sobbing that her master, Mr. Crouch, is a good wizard and worries over how he is getting along without her. She says Ludo Bagman is a bad wizard, but will not divulge why, claiming she always keeps her masters' secrets. Dobby reminding her she no longer has a master only sends her into fresh paroxysms of tears.
As they leave the kitchen, Hermione hopes that if the other Elves see how happy Dobby is as a free Elf, they may eventually adopt the idea. Harry thinks Winky might prove to be a counter-example, but Hermione is optimistic that she will cheer up as she adapts.
Harry's victory in the first task helps to lighten his mood considerably, despite his ongoing fears over his safety and Sirius' freedom. He thoroughly enjoys himself at the Gryffindor celebration, momentarily forgetting his worries while being swept up in his classmates' jubilation. But it is his and Ron's reconciliation that is most meaningful to him. Without Ron's friendship and support, facing the ongoing adversity and uncertainty in his life was nearly unbearable. Unfortunately, it took Harry nearly being killed in the first task for Ron to accept that Harry never had chosen to enter the Tournament; until then, Ron had apparently not understood the dangers involved. With his apparent emotional immaturity, we can guess Ron saw only the potential rewards, and failed to consider the risks, and had assumed Harry had the same level of understanding. As Ron wanted to enter the Tournament, he had supposed Harry would be equally eager, and did not understand Harry's reluctance when he found himself unexpectedly competing. This new acceptance of Harry's position may be a small turning point in Ron's maturation, indicating an ability to admit he was wrong, and accept that his abilities and strengths, if he strives to recognize and develop them, will always be different from Harry's.
Neville's terrified reaction to the screeching Egg (believing someone is being tortured) is similar to his response when Professor Moody demonstrated the Cruciatus curse in class; readers have learned that curse is an illegal spell used as a method of torture, and there may be a connection between these two incidents.
Rita Skeeter constantly appearing as if from nowhere is highly suspicious, not only considering Hogwarts' tight security during the Tournament, but also because it is impossible to Apparate in or out of the castle and its grounds. Upon seeing her, Ron wonders how she was able to enter despite having been banned from Hogwarts; readers should perhaps consider how several other characters have previously been able to access or exit secure areas undetected. However, preventing Skeeter from interviewing Hagrid quickly becomes a more pressing concern. This urgency prevents the reader from wondering about Rita's sudden appearance.
This is the first time Hogwarts' kitchen has been seen; like many places in the castle, it is hidden and is probably off limits to students, though the Trio are able to get in, and it is to the Twins' credit that they uncovered its location. Visiting the kitchen provides Hermione a reality check when she witnesses first-hand just how truly satisfied House-elves are with their indentured lives, at least those at Hogwarts. They are quite literally "happy slaves" who believe their only purpose in life is to willingly serve wizards, and they are resistant to change. The only exceptions are Dobby and Winky, who the other House-elves disdain for being paid workers. While Dobby is proud to be a free agent, Winky is ashamed and despondent that she no longer has a wizard family to call her own; as a result, she has become a sad, pathetic alcoholic, still pining for her former master, Mr. Crouch, who cruelly and unjustly dismissed her. Hermione should now be aware of how freedom created immense hardship for Dobby and Winky, and should know how few opportunities there are available for masterless House-elves. Dobby, by his own report, spent a year and a half seeking work; and while the clever Dobby is resourceful and adaptable, Winky likely would never have sought other employment on her own, and, without Dobby's help, probably would have suffered a miserable demise. Only Dumbledore's kindness has saved them both. Regardless, Hermione remains passionately, though rather naively, committed to liberating House-elves, though she gives little thought to just how they can successfully be integrated into the general Wizarding population.
- Why does Hermione want directions to the kitchen?
- Why did Dumbledore hire Dobby and Winky?
- Why do the other House-elves shun Dobby and Winky?
- Why would Rita Skeeter want to interview Hagrid about Skrewts?
- Why does Winky remain so loyal to the Crouch family, despite being wrongly fired by Mr. Crouch?
- Why would Neville think someone is being tortured when he hears the screeching Egg?
- How can an unintelligible screeching sound be a clue? What might it mean?
- Why would the kitchen's location be kept secret? How might the Twins have found it?
- Why might Winky believe that Ludo Bagman is a bad wizard?
Given Neville's extreme reaction during Moody's Cruciatus Curse demonstration in Defence Against the Dark Arts class, it is hardly surprising that he believes someone is being tortured when he hears the screeching Egg. In a later chapter of this book, Harry accidentally learns that when Neville was a small child, Death Eaters (including Barty Crouch, Jr.) tortured Neville's parents, Frank and Alice Longbottom, into insanity with the Cruciatus Curse. Their condition is irreversible, and they are permanently committed to St. Mungo's Hospital, where Neville regularly visits them. Neville has never revealed this to any other student, though Dumbledore is aware of it, and it is why he lives with his grandmother. Harry, when he learns about the Longbottoms, will keep Neville's secret to himself, and it will help create a stronger bond between the two boys. Neville's story is accidentally revealed to Ron, Hermione, and Ginny in the next book.
While Winky's role in the story is somewhat slim, when Barty Crouch Jr. reappears, she will be able to confirm his true identity. Though she does not actually corroborate his story regarding his actions, her presence and her reactions to his account lend truth to his revelations. However, Winky's main purpose here would seem to be to highlight Hermione's uphill battle in getting better treatment for House-elves.
Winky's belief that Bagman is a bad wizard will have come from her previous master, Mr. Crouch. Sirius will shortly tell us that Bagman was tried for passing information to Voldemort but was acquitted; Harry, later, will see Bagman's acquittal in Dumbledore's Pensieve. In Dumbledore's memory, Harry will note that Crouch seems disgruntled that Bagman goes unconvicted; he seems to think that Bagman's fame and charisma saves him from Azkaban. Likely he carried that opinion home with him, and Winky adopted it. It will have been reinforced at the Quidditch World Cup at the beginning of this book, where Crouch and Bagman will have been forced to work alongside each other. We can see, even in the limited exposure we have to both of them, that Crouch's and Bagman's work styles would inevitably clash, and Crouch no doubt will have brought his frustrations home and aired them to Winky, or in Winky's hearing, almost nightly.
Readers may have noticed that Rita Skeeter has somehow reappeared on the school grounds, despite being (as Ron reports) banned. Skeeter will be unmasked as an unregistered Animagus, and likely is entering Hogwarts in her beetle form. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black was also able to enter Hogwarts while transformed. This leaves open the question as to just how safe Hogwarts actually is, despite the many security charms surrounding the castle and its grounds. While there are only a few registered Animagi, it is unknown how many unregistered ones there may be; we know of three already, and will find Skeeter is a fourth. And though it may be a difficult spell to learn, it is certainly possible that at least some Death Eaters could become Animagi and use this as a means to get to Harry. Peter Pettigrew, for instance, is very likely able to enter Hogwarts in his rat form; however, we will learn later that Voldemort would never trust Pettigrew enough to detach him for such a mission. Curiously, while the Marauders' Map can always correctly identify a witch or wizard, whatever transformed state they are in, the magic spells surrounding the castle apparently cannot, thus allowing intruders in their Animagus form to bypass the protective barriers.
As an aside, we note that even if Voldemort had chosen to send Pettigrew on a mission to Hogwarts, Pettigrew would have likely managed to prevent it. Pettigrew at this point knows that Harry has the Marauder's Map and that it would reveal his presence, even in rat form. We will shortly learn that the Map's function is a surprise to Barty Crouch Jr. If Voldemort had known about it, he would have informed Crouch Jr., as it could be a way of breaking his disguise. If Voldemort had tried to send Pettigrew to Hogwarts, Pettigrew, a coward at heart, would have told Voldemort that the Map could detect him, in order to avoid the mission. Thus, Crouch's being unaware of the map argues strongly that Voldemort had not tried to send Pettigrew to infiltrate Hogwarts in his rat shape.
- The unexpected appearance of Rita Skeeter will turn out to be a clue to a subplot. This appearance, similar to the one seen in the previous chapter, coupled with publication of events at which Skeeter was not present but where a large beetle was in evidence, will fuel Hermione's discovery that Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus. Hermione will be able to use this knowledge to force Skeeter to write an honest interview of Harry in the next book.
- Neville's response to the screeching from the Egg in this chapter is consistent with his reaction to Moody's demonstration of the Cruciatus curse, his reactions to Draco's taunts about mentally ill people confined to St. Mungo's, and his response when Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny meet Neville's parents in the next book.
- Hermione's championing the cause of freedom for House-Elves, which started earlier in this book, will continue throughout this book, and will be continued in her interactions with Kreacher in the next book. Finally, Ron will express concern for the Hogwarts house-elves just before the battle at Hogwarts in the final book, which will result in an enthusiastic response from Hermione.
Chapter 22: The Unexpected Task
In Transfiguration class, Professor McGonagall announces that, as part of the Tournament, there will be a Yule Ball. Afterward, she takes Harry aside and says that the Champions and their partners traditionally open the first dance. Ignoring his protests, McGonagall sternly tells Harry that as a Champion he represents Hogwarts, and he is expected to find a date, learn to dance, and be prepared to lead the schools into the Ball on 25 December.
The Ball is now only one month away. Harry wants to invite Cho Chang, but is lacking the confidence to ask her. He is also unable to ever find her alone; he wonders why girls always travel in packs. Ron is also having difficulty finding a date, but is surprised that Harry is having trouble—he is a Champion after all. Soon, girls start inviting Harry to the ball, including a fifth-year who is significantly taller than him. Harry, hoping to find the strength to ask Cho, turns them all down, though he muses that he has been a bit abrupt with some of them, possibly out of surprise at being asked. Otherwise, life in general seems a bit easier; there are fewer Support Cedric Diggory buttons visible now and fewer people are laughing at Draco's repetitive slurs. Harry suspects Cedric told his supporters to lay off him.
Rita Skeeter's story about Hagrid has not yet appeared. During Care of Magical Creatures class, Hermione asks Hagrid how the interview with Skeeter went. Hagrid says that she mostly asked about Harry, wanting to know negative things about him. Ron speculates that she is looking for a new angle to her Harry stories. Ron asks if Hagrid is coming to the Ball, and he responds that he intends to drop by for at least a short while.
The week before the Yule Ball is rather tumultuous; many teachers, including Professor Flitwick, have stopped teaching classes, though Professor Binns continues to plough through the Goblin Rebellions, and Professor Snape schedules a test on antidotes for the last day of class. Hermione scolds Harry for neglecting the Egg riddle, but Harry lazily brushes her off, insisting there is still plenty of time. Hermione warns that it could take weeks to figure it out, and he will look foolish if he is the only Champion who has failed to solve it. The twins appear and ask Ron if they can borrow Pigwidgeon. Ron refuses (Pigwidgeon is still delivering a message to Sirius), then asks Fred who he is taking to the Ball. Fred responds he is going with Angelina Johnson, then remembers that he hasn't asked her and shouts an invitation across the Common Room. Fred and George then take off to get a school owl.
On the last day of term, Harry and Ron are still without Yule Ball dates. They decide to just grit their teeth and do it. Harry's concentration is shot, and he misses a crucial ingredient in his antidote potion – a bezoar – and receives bottom marks. Running off, he finds Cho coming from class and asks her for a private word. Nervous, awkward, and barely coherent, he invites her to the Ball. Embarrassed, she apologetically replies that she is going with Cedric Diggory.
Utterly defeated, Harry skips dinner and returns to the Gryffindor common room. There he finds Ron looking as bad as he feels. Ginny says that Ron had just asked Fleur Delacour, who did not even bother to respond. Harry tells Ron she was probably trying to get Cedric to invite her, but Cedric is going with Cho. Ron says that Neville asked Hermione and was turned down. Ron suggests that if he and Harry are unable to find any girls other than "trolls," then they can always ask Hermione and Ginny to go. Hermione angrily responds that she is unavailable and leaves and Ginny says she is going with Neville, though she looks miserable. Harry sees Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown come in. Harry, now somewhat desperate, invites Parvati. She accepts. He also asks Lavender if she will go with Ron, but she is already going with Seamus. Parvati says her sister, Padma, has not been asked yet, and might be willing. Harry feels that this whole Ball thing is far more work than it is worth.
The Twins are corresponding with someone again; one suspects that they are having little success. When they ask to borrow Pigwidgeon, he is unavailable, having not yet returned from delivering a letter to Sirius. Interestingly, Pigwidgeon takes three weeks for the round trip, even though Sirius is in England.
For Harry, not only is finding a Yule Ball date like "the fourth Triwizard Task," it is probably the most daunting. Like most adolescents entering their teen dating years, Hogwarts students are discovering that male-female social relationships are not only complicated, but filled with awkward and embarrassing moments, as well as painful rejections. Although many girls are vying to be Harry's Yule Ball date, his emotional immaturity, which causes him to be unable to adeptly navigate most social situations, leaves him either oblivious or disinterested, and he somewhat rudely rebuffs their attention. When he asks Lavender to go with Ron, she giggles—a trait Harry finds annoying and feels should be outlawed. Ron, who is even more socially immature than Harry, is content to let Harry find him a partner after his own miserable attempts failed. When Harry reveals Fleur's Veela ancestry to Ron, he shows little interest, probably because he is still distraught over humiliating himself with her. Ron also invoked Hermione's ire after insultingly suggesting that she and Ginny could go to the Ball as his and Harry's dates only so they can avoid going with "trolls." Ron is stunned to learn that someone has invited Hermione, and incensed at her refusal to reveal who had offered. The astute reader may sense more than simple friendship revealed by Ron's attitude, though it is clear that Ron doesn't see it.
We note in passing that Lavender seems to be amused at Harry's attempting to invite her as Ron's date. While it is too early for any inference to be made, this may foreshadow Ron and Lavender possibly being paired later.
A relationship may be blossoming between Harry and Cho Chang, and, despite his nervous and clumsy invitation, it appears that she was hoping he would ask her to the Ball. Cho genuinely seemed embarrassed and disappointed that she had already accepted Cedric Diggory's invitation. Harry, also disappointed, now feels some rivalry and resentment towards Cedric, emotions previously absent and that actually could help increase Harry's competitiveness.
Harry's faults are also on display here: although he is disappointed when Cho turns him down, his own reluctance and procrastination in asking her is almost certainly largely responsible, resulting in her accepting Cedric Diggory's invitation when she had not heard anything from Harry. Harry also shows laziness by ignoring the Egg riddle, continually telling others he nearly has it worked out when he has not even begun to work on solving it. When Hermione chastises him for avoiding it, he defends himself, saying there is still time, never considering that even if he solves it, there may be intervening preparations he must make.
Ginny, in this chapter, shows she has matured significantly from the shy, timid, quiet girl we knew in the second book. When Ron starts poking fun at Neville for asking Hermione to the Ball, and indirectly mocks Hermione, apparently to make himself feel a bit better, Ginny has the courage to tell him to stop. Later, when Hermione arrives, Ginny tells her out loud that Harry and Ron were unable to get dates for the Ball. This shows increasing confidence in herself, and significantly less fear of speaking in Harry's presence. Unlike Hermione, however, Ginny appears quite miserable at having to forgo Ron's suggestion that she be Harry's date, even if it is as a "last resort." She may feel that by having accepted Neville's invitation she has missed her chance to be more to Harry than just "Ron's kid sister." Regardless, a more mature, more forward Ginny is firmly established in this scene, and her increased popularity among the series' fans seems to have started here. This new-found assertiveness shows that she is a true Gryffindor.
Although it is a very brief interlude, we should mention Fred's inviting Angelina to the Yule Ball. We cannot speculate to any great extent about why the author chose to include this episode, except that it highlights Fred's (and presumably by extension, George's) confidence in dealing with the opposite sex. Many readers, aware that Fred and George are only two years older than Ron, may find this a bit surprising. It does, however, seem to fit with what we know of the Twins' characters. Additionally, Angelina has been playing Quidditch alongside the Twins for probably five years at this point, and it is safe to assume that they understand one another pretty well at this point. We will not speculate as to why the author chose not to provide George with a date.
Although the Trio seems unconcerned about Rita Skeeter's interview with Hagrid, they should perhaps have paid more attention to the "red flags" that are raised by her particular questions.
Also, a Bezoar stone has been seen before and will be mentioned again. Rowling could be focusing readers' attention on it for a reason, although it may not be significant in this book. Seemingly insignificant people or mundane objects that are spotlighted early on, often become important later in the series.
- Why is it so difficult for Harry to find a Yule Ball date despite so many girls wanting to go with him?
- Why did Harry wait so long to invite Cho Chang?
- Why does Harry finally decide to invite Parvati to the Ball?
- Why does Ron tease Neville for having invited Hermione to the Ball?
- Why does Ginny look miserable after saying she is going to the Ball with Neville?
- How might things have turned out differently if Ginny was not Neville's date?
- Why does Ginny stand up to Ron? What accounts for her new-found confidence?
- Why doesn't Hermione tell anyone who her date for the Ball is? Who might her date be?
- Why didn't Ron invite Hermione as his date early on? Did Ron expect anyone (other than Neville) to ask her? Would she have accepted Ron's invitation?
The Twin's correspondent is probably Ludo Bagman, who has apparently paid off at least some of his gambling debts in Leprechaun gold. At the end of the book, the Twins will write it off as a bad job when Ludo, having lost another bet to the Goblins, runs; but for the moment, they still hope to collect. We will see them attempt to corner Ludo at the Yule Ball, and will see Ludo avoid them.
Ginny's new-found confidence is partially due to Hermione's influence. Ginny had confided her feelings about Harry to Hermione, who encouraged Ginny to just be herself around him. Ginny is beginning to put Hermione's advice into action in this chapter, but it will take some time for her to overcome her shyness and the tension she feels around Harry. One part of Hermione's advice apparently was to stop waiting for Harry, and while we will learn that she can't completely take this advice, we do see her branching out a bit. At the Yule Ball, for instance, which she is attending with Neville, she will meet, and agree to date, Michael Corner. Her relationship with Michael allows her to set aside the hope that Harry will ever reciprocate her feelings. Only then does she feel relaxed enough to show her true self around him, allowing Harry to know the girl she really is. Paradoxically, then, it will be Ginny's surrendering the hope of winning Harry that will allow her, finally, to win him.
- The bezoar mentioned here, and its role as an antidote, was introduced in the first book in the series. It will be mentioned again in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where it will first earn Harry a quick accolade from Professor Slughorn, and shortly afterwards will save Ron's life.
- This chapter shows a bit of a turning point in the romantic entanglements that are developing in the lives of several characters in the story.
- For Harry, this is the first overt action of his that indicates an attachment to Cho Chang. This romantic relationship will continue through much of the next book.
- For Ginny, her letting go of her hopes of Harry noticing her will, in the sixth book, make it possible for Harry to finally notice her.
- Hermione, who may already have her sights set on Ron, is able to use the invitation she has received for the Yule Ball to incite some jealousy in him. This seems to be an unconscious attempt by Hermione to determine whether Ron has any feelings for her.
- Ron's jealousy is expressed here, possibly for the first time, though Ron himself does not seem to be aware of it. Ron will, after several missteps, form a relationship with Hermione and they will eventually marry.
Chapter 23: The Yule Ball
Although it is the end of term, hardly anyone has left the school, and despite the homework assigned for the break, Harry enjoys himself in the week between the term's end and Christmas. Ron is still trying to learn who Hermione's Yule Ball date is. Ron also notices that she looks different. Hermione explains that after Draco's misfired spell, she had Madam Pomfrey shrink her teeth to smaller than their original size. Pigwidgeon returns with Sirius' letter, congratulating Harry, and says he would have suggested a Conjunctivitus spell to blind the dragon. He warns Harry to watch himself around Karkaroff. Hermione suggests that Harry should work on deciphering the Egg's secret. Harry demurs, claiming the common room is always too noisy to hear any message in the screechy noises.
On Christmas day, Harry is awakened by Dobby bringing him presents: handmade socks, one red with broomsticks, and one green, with Snitches. To reciprocate, Harry gives Dobby the horrible mustard-colored socks that he had wrapped his Sneakoscope in. Dobby is ecstatic, socks are his favorite clothing. Ron also gives him some mauve socks and the sweater he received. Dobby, almost overwhelmed by Ron's generosity, returns to the kitchen where preparations for the Ball are underway.
At around 5:00 p.m. Hermione leaves to get ready for the Ball. Ron asks if she really needs three hours and again asks who she is going with, but she says nothing. Ron is highly embarrassed by his robes, which look more like a dress, though he has removed the tatty lace. Harry meets Parvati, dressed in bright pink robes, in the common room, and they and the other Gryffindors proceed to the Entry Hall. Clad in turquoise robes, Padma is rather aghast at Ron's appearance; Ron just wants to hide from Fleur Delacour, who is attending with Roger Davies.
The Slytherins arrive, and neither Crabbe nor Goyle has a date. The Durmstrang students enter from outside; Viktor Krum is accompanied by a pretty girl Harry does not initially recognize. Professor McGonagall summons the Champions, who will enter last, in procession. Looking at the other Champions, Harry suddenly recognizes Krum's date: it is Hermione. She has straightened her hair, and her posture is different. Others are also surprised by her changed appearance; Parvati is astonished, Ron walks past without looking at her, Krum's female fan club glare at her, and even Malfoy and his date, Pansy Parkinson, are rendered speechless.
In the Great Hall, small tables have replaced the long House tables. The four Champions and their dates are seated at the head table, along with Professor Dumbledore, Madame Maxime, Professor Karkaroff, Ludo Bagman, and – surprisingly – Percy Weasley, who is substituting for Mr. Crouch. Percy excitedly tells Harry he has been promoted to Mr. Crouch's personal assistant. The Tournament preparations have apparently left Mr. Crouch stressed and fatigued, especially after he dismissed his House-elf – "Blinky, or whatever her name is" – and now sends instructions by owl from home to the office.
Krum tells Hermione that Durmstrang castle is smaller and less comfortable than Hogwarts, having only four floors. Karkaroff warns him about sharing too much information and revealing Durmstrang's location, though Professor Dumbledore suggests there may be too much concern over secrecy. Karkaroff asks if Dumbledore is not happier he alone knows all Hogwarts' secrets. Dumbledore responds that he would never presume to knows all the school's secrets. Only recently he stumbled upon a room filled with chamber pots that he had never seen before and has been unable to find since.
After dinner, the tables are magically swept aside, and a stage with a band rises against one wall. As the music starts, Parvati drags Harry to his feet, saying that they are supposed to dance. Soon the floor fills with other couples, many worse dancers than Harry. Neville frequently steps on Ginny's feet. Professor Moody compliments Harry on his socks, causing Parvati to comment that his magical eye is rather creepy.
After the first song ends, Harry sits with Ron and Padma. Both Parvati and Padma are disgruntled that they do not get to dance again. Parvati finally leaves to dance with a Beauxbatons boy. An elated Hermione floats over, but Ron attacks her for "fraternizing with the enemy." Heated words are exchanged, and Hermione angrily disappears into the crowd. Padma also leaves, joining Parvati. Viktor appears looking for Hermione, and he is also dismissed by Ron. Percy comes over, talking about how the Tournament is meant to foster international co-operation, and it is great that Ron is making friends with Krum. Ludo Bagman is intercepted by the Weasley twins. He shakes them off, heading over to talk to Harry. He claims the Twins were asking about marketing assistance for their trick wands. Harry is certain Percy will report this to Mrs. Weasley. Harry and Ron escape as Percy talks shop with Ludo.
Outside in the rose garden, Karkaroff is talking with Professor Snape about something that is becoming more distinct. Snape suggests that Karkaroff can run for it if he is that worried. Harry and Ron wonder how these two got on a first-name basis. Harry and Ron overhear another conversation between Madame Maxime and Hagrid. Hagrid reveals he is half-giant and suggests that Madame Maxime is the same. She indignantly insists she is just big-boned and stalks off. Ron asks Harry if he knew Hagrid was half-giant. Harry says no, but so what? Ron mentions that wizards generally fear Giants because they are mindlessly vicious. This fear may carry over to Hagrid, at least among those who do not know him.
Back in the Hall, Harry and Ron continue discussing Giants. There are apparently none left in England. They were already dying out, but many were killed by Aurors. Those left are somewhere in the European mountains. Ron says he does not know who Madame Maxime thinks she is kidding; there is no way she could be just big-boned.
The Ball ends at midnight. Hermione heads to Gryffindor tower, shooting Ron a cold look as she passes. Cedric calls Harry aside. Because Harry helped him with the dragon, it is only fair that he should return the favor. He suggests Harry take a bath with his Egg and tells him how to get into the Prefect's bathroom. Harry, apart from his resentment over Cedric being Cho Chang's date, is uncertain how to react to this, so he says nothing.
Reaching the Gryffindor common room, Harry finds Ron and Hermione in a shouting match. Hermione tells Ron that if he does not like it then, "The next time there's a Ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!" She storms off to her dormitory. Ron, stunned, says Hermione is quite clearly missing the point. Harry privately thinks Hermione has a much clearer idea about what Ron is feeling than Ron does.
Although the Yule Ball is a disappointment for Harry and Ron, as well as for their hapless dates, their later stroll through the rose garden provides much character information. Karkaroff knows that he is in poor standing with surviving Death Eaters. As revealed earlier by Sirius, he named names to avoid Azkaban. Something could be causing Karkaroff to believe that the Dark Lord may be returning to power. This could be causing Karkaroff to consider disappearing to save himself, either from Death Eaters or Voldemort. Snape, however, seems unconcerned for his own safety, indicating that he may believe he retains, or can regain, the Dark Lord's favor.
Harry and Ron also learn that Hagrid is half-Giant, a fact he has apparently kept secret, though it has been rather obvious to most everyone else, including Hermione. An insulted Madame Maxime, however, vehemently denies any similar ancestry, though this seems futile: nobody could see her and believe she just "[h]as big bones". Harry also seems oblivious to the deep-seated fear and prejudice towards Giants that many wizards have, which explains why Hagrid and Madame Maxime would conceal their mutual heritage. In general, wizards' fear may be partially justified—giants are prone to unprovoked violence, though in this case, Hagrid and Madame Maxime are only part giant and both have gentle natures. Prejudice and discrimination are continual themes throughout the series, most notably through Hermione's efforts to liberate House-elves.
One noteworthy fact is the order of these revelations. Clearly, that both Karkaroff and Snape may be, or have been, Death Eaters, is worth additional examination. Why then do Harry and Ron fail to discuss this further, and perhaps reach the conclusion that Snape is or was a Death Eater, despite what Sirius previously told them? Because Hagrid's confession to Madame Maxime takes precedence, casting it from their minds. This bit of literary legerdemain allows the author to foreshadow revelations later in the book and in the series, while managing to mask that revelation's weight by having the characters effectively dismiss it.
And though Hermione's efforts to liberate House-elves are seemingly frustrated, she may be having a positive effect in another way as seen when Ron gives Dobby some cast-off clothing. This kind act is something he probably never would have considered if not for both Hermione's and Harry's influence—Harry treats Dobby as a friend, and Hermione believes House-elves deserve equal rights. This may be a small milestone in Ron's maturation, as for once, he is thoughtful about someone other than himself, his immediate family, or his close friends Harry and Hermione. Without this example, it is unlikely Ron would ever consider House-elves as anything more than subhuman servants, even liberated ones like Dobby.
While Hermione has perhaps unknowingly sown a seed in Ron's consciousness, this is only a very tiny step towards her plan to liberate the house-elves. If she is to accomplish her goal, she must change both House-elves and the general Wizarding community's thinking. While this may be possible, it is a daunting challenge. Many wizards will simply oppose liberating House-elves for any reason, but others may be resistant solely because once House-elves are freed, they would no longer be bound to protect their former masters' secrets.
The Yule Ball has yielded several other unexpected outcomes: Ron and Hermione's long simmering and deeply buried feelings for one another are brought closer to the surface, though they can only express themselves with mutual jealousy, anger, and immature bickering. In addition to his seeing Hermione with Krum, Hermione's blossoming beauty also seems to have had a strong effect on Ron, forcing him to see her differently, though exactly what that difference is seems unclear to him.
Harry, meanwhile, is no closer to solving the Egg riddle, and does little to figure it out, despite Hermione's constant prodding. In appreciation for Harry tipping him off about the Dragon task, Cedric helps Harry with the Egg. However, rather than outright telling Harry what he needs to know, as Harry did with the Dragons, Cedric instead only provides a hint so Harry can solve it himself. But Harry's stubbornness and resentment over Cedric dating Cho Chang may prevent his using this valuable information.
Also, Mr. Crouch's health is apparently deteriorating. In the meeting with the Champions at Hallowe'en, he seemed unwell enough that Dumbledore actually suggested that he might want to spend the night at Hogwarts. In what seems a logical progression, he is now so ill that he is unable to attend the Triwizard ceremonies and Percy has been deputed to fill in for him.
As a complete aside, we note Moody's comment on Harry's socks. Parvati says that she finds Moody's magical eye to be "creepy". Harry's reaction is somewhat muted, but we can't help but agree: if Moody can see Harry's socks, presumably through his formal robes and perhaps his trousers (if he's wearing trousers beneath his robes) and shoes, then all clothes must equally be optionally transparent to Moody. While it is clearly a good thing for an Auror to be able to perceive weapons concealed by voluminous garments, it can also be used for less savory purposes, and we note that the operator of this magical eye is a teacher in a school with hundreds of underage students of both sexes. Teachers are necessarily placed in a position of trust, acting in loco parentis over the students, and finding one with this magnitude of temptation perpetually in front of him is more than disquieting. We can only wonder whether the author had made this particular connection when she wrote this ability into Professor Moody's eye.
Attention should be paid to Professor Dumbledore mentioning the room with the chamber pots, as well as the beetle crawling on the stone reindeer during Hagrid's conversation with Madame Maxime.
- Why doesn't Harry recognize Krum's date? What is Ron's reaction?
- Why is Madame Maxime insulted when Hagrid suggests she is half-giant?
- Why is Harry conflicted about accepting Cedric's help with the Egg?
- What are Ron and Hermione arguing about? Who is right, if either? Explain.
- Why wouldn't Hermione reveal who her Yule Ball date is?
- Why would the long tables in the Great Hall be replaced by smaller ones?
- Why does Cedric only offer Harry a hint about the Egg, rather than telling him outright how to solve it?
- Is Harry just being irresponsible about the second task or is there an ulterior motive to his indifference? What might be the real reason that Harry rebuffs Hermione's suggestion that he work on solving the Egg's clue?
We will discover that Mr. Crouch's deteriorating health is subterfuge: Mr. Crouch is actually the Dark Lord's servant, being controlled by Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail). Wormtail's control over him has always been rather shaky; rather than risk his increasing eccentricity being discovered, Voldemort confines Mr. Crouch to his house, where he and Wormtail are hiding, and restricts communication to an easier-to-fake method. Percy will be reprimanded later by his superiors for failing to detect Mr. Crouch's odd behavior, although they may be using Percy as a scapegoat to deflect blame away from themselves.
At the Yule Ball, Karkaroff says that something is becoming more distinct. This is likely the "Dark Mark" on his forearm — the Death Eaters' sign. It becoming more visible is an indication that Voldemort is gaining strength, perhaps is close to returning. Having informed on Death Eaters, Karkaroff knows that he will likely be killed if Voldemort returns to power, and clearly is planning to bolt in that eventuality.
Later, we learn that the beetle, mentioned above, is actually Rita Skeeter, in her unregistered Animagus form. She will write a story about Hagrid's half-Giant ancestry which will prove devastating to him; this is where she learns of it, though she clearly does some research after hearing the bare fact from Hagrid.
The chamber-pot filled room Dumbledore mentions seems to be the Room of Requirement, which he apparently never knew existed, and will play a large role in each succeeding book. When Hermione is reluctant to use the room for their secret student meetings (in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Harry allays her fears by saying Dumbledore had told him about it. Readers will also learn that the room only appears when someone needs it, and it comes equipped with whatever is necessary to fulfill that need. It is curious, then, why Dumbledore (or anyone) would require a room filled with so many chamber pots.
Also, Cedric only gives Harry a hint about the Egg rather than telling him the solution, wanting Harry to solve it for himself. Harry will still need some additional help to figure it out, however, which he receives from Moaning Myrtle.
The final scene is crucial to Ron and Hermione's evolving relationship. In about a year's time, Hermione will comment that Ron has "the emotional depth of a teaspoon"; it is apparent to the reader now, and will still be the case then, that he is having serious feelings for Hermione though he is unable to understand just what they are or how to react to them.
Still unknown to us, a turning point in Snape's life occurs in this chapter. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, one of the memories that Snape passes on to Harry is of himself and Dumbledore watching students return to their common rooms after the Ball. Snape tells Dumbledore that his Dark Mark is growing more distinct, Karkaroff's also; we will also view that scene in Dumbledore's memories in the Pensieve later in this book. When Snape goes on to say that Karkaroff may run, Dumbledore asks if Snape would be following; Snape responds that his place is at Dumbledore's side, always. Following this remark, Dumbledore muses that perhaps students are Sorted too soon. Snape, who was Sorted into Slytherin House and away from his beloved Lily Evans, who was a Gryffindor, is stunned at the thought.
- Snape and Dumbledore's conversation as the students return to their dormitories will be revisited, briefly in this book, and again in the final book. Dumbledore, we will hear, hints that he believes Snape a better fit for a house other than Slytherin, shocking Snape.
- We see a step forward in the romantic relationship between Ron and Hermione in this chapter. Ron's jealousy of Hermione and Krum is extremely visible in this chapter, to everyone except Ron himself. Ron will not recognize his feelings for what they are until late in the sixth book.
- Dumbledore's mention of the "room filled with chamber pots" is the first mention of the Room of Requirement, which will be used extensively for Dumbledore's Army meetings in the next book, by Draco Malfoy for his mission in the following book, and as a hideout for Dumbledore's Army members in the final book.
Chapter 24: Rita Skeeter's Scoop
Hermione is hardly surprised to hear that Hagrid is a half-Giant; he is too large to be human, though Giants typically are twenty feet tall. And there must be decent Giants, just as there are decent Werewolves.
Now that the holidays are over, Harry is worried. February 24th is looming much closer from this side of Christmas, and he still must solve the Egg's riddle. Harry's unfriendly feelings towards Cedric prevent him using the hint Cedric gave him.
Classes resume and no one is looking forward to Care of Magical Creatures and renewed acquaintance with the Skrewts. Arriving at Hagrid's hut, however, they are met by Professor Grubbly-Plank. Ignoring Harry's questions about Hagrid, she leads them to where a Unicorn is tethered. The boys are waved back because unicorns interact better with girls. Malfoy japes that Hagrid is too ashamed to show his face and produces a copy of the Daily Prophet. Rita Skeeter's scurrilous story claims students have been injured in Hagrid's class. Crabbe is quoted as being bitten by a Flobberworm. Worse, the article reveals Hagrid's mixed Giant-human ancestry. Harry is incensed, but Malfoy sneers that parents will be too terrified to have Hagrid teach their children. Harry is so angry he is barely able to concentrate on the class. At the end, Parvati declares it was better than Hagrid's lessons and hopes Professor Grubbly-Plank stays a long time. Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to Hagrid's hut after Divination, but their repeated knocks go unanswered. Hagrid is absent the next week, while Professor Grubbly-Plank continues teaching. Hagrid is not even seen performing his grounds-keeping duties.
Harry intends to go to the next Hogsmeade weekend, much to Hermione's surprise and displeasure; she was expecting him to work on solving the Egg riddle. Harry lies and says he nearly has it figured out. There are still five weeks left, after all. Heading to Hogsmeade, they spot Viktor Krum diving into the lake, apparently unaffected by the cold. Ron says he almost hopes the giant squid will get him.
At the Three Broomsticks, they see Ludo Bagman deep in conversation with Goblins. Bagman notices Harry and charges over for a private word. He and the Goblins want to contact Barty Crouch, but nobody knows where he is. Percy claims he is still sick at home and sending instructions by owl post. If Rita Skeeter uncovers this, she will probably report him as missing, just as she had with Bertha Jorkins. Harry refuses Bagman's offer of help deciphering the Egg, and when Fred and George suddenly appear and offer to buy Bagman a drink, he declines and departs, the Goblins trailing after him. Rita Skeeter enters, telling her photographer that someone (probably Bagman) refused to speak to her. Harry accuses her of intentionally ruining other peoples' lives. She responds the public has the right to know the truth, and asks for Harry's version. As they leave, Hermione tells Skeeter that she is an evil woman. Looking back, Harry sees Skeeter's quill racing across parchment; Ron suspects Hermione may be next in line for Skeeter's axe.
The Trio return to Hagrid's hut, and Hermione pounds on the door. It is Professor Dumbledore who answers and invites them in. According to Dumbledore, many letters have arrived supporting Hagrid, many demanding that he remain at Hogwarts. Hagrid protests that he is half-Giant, but Harry points out his own relationship to the Dursleys, and Dumbledore mentions his brother Aberforth, who was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat. Dumbledore orders Hagrid to return to work on Monday, then leaves. Showing the Trio a picture of his late father, Hagrid says he would be disappointed by his son's behavior. Hagrid asks how Harry is doing with the Egg; Harry again lies that he nearly has it solved. Hagrid tells Harry how proud he is of him, causing Harry to feel ashamed. Harry privately concedes it is time to swallow his pride and use Cedric's hint.
That Hagrid immediately went into hiding after Rita Skeeter's article was published shows his rather child-like nature. Rather than confronting an issue and standing up for himself, he instead retreats into seclusion, to the extent that even his friends and supporters are unable to convince him to show himself. Hagrid symbolizes how innocent individuals are easily victimized by powerful entities like the media. Rita Skeeter represents that power and how it is interrelated with the bigotry that permeates the series, and how fear and suspicion can be deliberately manipulated to inflame peoples' hatred, perpetuating racial stereotypes. And while Skeeter's article is bias-driven, it may be less about her personal beliefs than deliberately skewing facts to incite readers' terror about Giants, possibly to sell more newspapers. Despite Hagrid's gentleness and devoted service to Hogwarts, Skeeter falsely casts him as a dangerous and irresponsible individual, though that description seems more applicable to her. Surprisingly, the backlash results in supporters rallying to Hagrid's defence rather than condemning him; many are probably former Hogwarts students who fondly remember Hagrid. And while Skeeter represents many characters' bigoted views and racial oppression, Dumbledore and Hermione become its antithesis, championing equal rights and opportunities for all magical denizens who may be at even greater risk as Voldemort's power continues to rise.
Of the many characters Harry has a close relationship with, it is clearly seen here that Hagrid is among the most important and influential, and whose good opinion Harry cultivates and values. Although Harry never means to disappoint others, his laziness results in him procrastinating and lying to everyone (and probably to himself) about solving the Egg riddle, and he seems impervious to Hermione's criticism. He is, however, completely shamed and humbled by Hagrid's total and unconditional faith in him, a faith Harry has failed to meet. Possibly only Sirius, Lupin, and Dumbledore could have close to the same effect that Hagrid has, though they, knowing Harry's nature, would likely have doubted his claims. Harry guiltily realizes his actions have hardly represented how a Triwizard Champion is expected to behave, letting down those who have supported and believed in him. Harry resolves to work hard on solving the Egg riddle.
Just how much Ron is lacking in emotional sensitivity is shown here as well. Immediately after Dumbledore orders Hagrid back to work, the room is still emotionally wrought, Ron asks if he can have a cake; however, he probably unintentionally helped break the tension somewhat.
February 24th, according to statements in the story, falls on a Tuesday, so the preceding Saturday ought to be the 21st. If Harry still has five weeks to solve the puzzle of the Egg, then the Hogsmeade weekend should be falling on the 17th of January. This suggests that Harry has been back at school for two weeks, with Hogwarts re-opening on the 5th; so Hagrid has been closeted for two weeks when Dumbledore visits him. It is extremely unlikely that a Hogsmeade weekend would be scheduled for the first weekend following the return to school. We note that the days of the week do not line up with the story's supposed years, 1994-5, but as usual we point out that this has no effect on the story.
- Why has Harry been so reluctant to work on solving the Egg's riddle, even despite Hermione's prodding and Cedric's hint?
- Why does Harry feel ashamed when he lies to Hagrid about the Egg, but not to others?
- Why does Harry finally decide to use Cedric's hint?
- Why has Hagrid gone into hiding? Why does he agree to come back?
- What motivated Rita Skeeter to write such a scathing story?
- Why does Ron think that Hermione will be Rita Skeeter's next "victim"? What does he mean by this? Is he right?
- Rita Skeeter's quill seems to be able to write when nobody is speaking, despite it supposedly being a "Quick-Quotes Quill". What is it actually writing? Given its sour green colour and apparently similar taste, so appropriate to the tone of the stories Skeeter turns in, could the stories actually be partly generated by the quill, autonomously?
Ludo Bagman's conversation with the Goblins in the Three Broomsticks appears to be going badly, and he seems to have lost much of his bounce. Bagman, we will find, is in trouble with the Goblins over his gambling debts, and this is yet another episode where he attempts to settle matters with them. His abrupt retreat indicates he was unsuccessful, although Fred and George's sudden arrival may also have scared him off; he is avoiding the Twins because he also has refused to pay their winnings.
In that encounter, we see another clumsy attempt by Bagman to help Harry with the Tournament. Almost certainly, the Goblins that Bagman was speaking to are the same group with which he is betting on Harry's victory. One might wonder why the Goblins allow him to blatantly talk to Harry, as Bagman has already demonstrated that he is not particularly trustworthy. The Goblins must suspect that Bagman would attempt to influence the tournament's outcome in his own favour, despite his being a judge.
Rita Skeeter's story about Hagrid points up the prejudice and discrimination that the Wizarding world retains towards the other magical races; we will see this brought out again, in the person of Dolores Umbridge, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Umbridge will exhibit this prejudice to an extreme, displaying an irrational hatred for "half-breeds" like Hagrid and, illogically, the entire Centaur race. Voldemort will use this prejudice to win himself allies among those races that have been subjected to discrimination, notably the few remaining Giants and the Dementors.
It is suggested that Skeeter's story is slanted towards the sensational in order to sell more papers. This will be reiterated in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In this chapter, Skeeter says that the public deserves to know the truth; in the next book, when Hermione throws that back at her, Skeeter will call her a "silly girl" and tell her that newspapers want stories that will sell more newspapers. Skeeter is clearly very good at writing these kinds of stories, though we have to wonder how much of it is her, and how much springs from the magic on her quill.
Readers have probably noticed that many characters are first introduced by name before they actually appear in the story. Here, Dumbledore mentions his somewhat wayward brother, Aberforth, who will play a significant role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We note that the more mature reader will likely jump to a conclusion on hearing what Aberforth was accused of. This conclusion will never be refuted. This thinly veiled innuendo, and other similar events, is part of what makes the series satisfying for all ages; adult readers will see things in it that children won't, and will be entertained by revelations that younger readers simply won't get.
- In this chapter we first hear of Aberforth Dumbledore. Mention of his having performed "inappropriate charms on a goat" turns out to be a very broad hint: one of the characteristics of the Hog's Head Inn, when we first visit, is "a strong odour of goat", which astute readers will correctly interpret as a clue that the bartender is, in fact, Aberforth. Aberforth will play a significant role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, where we will also discover that his Patronus is a goat.
Chapter 25: The Egg and the Eye
On Thursday night, Harry sneaks out of Gryffindor Tower with his Egg and heads for the Prefects' Bathroom, armed with his Invisibility Cloak and the Marauder's Map to avoid being caught again by Filch for breaking curfew. The bathroom is luxuriously decorated in white marble and contains stacks of fluffy towels and a pool-sized tub with hundreds of jeweled taps that spew, among other things, many-colored bubbles. On the wall is a painting of a beautiful mermaid, luckily (thinks Harry) asleep. Harry slips into the water and plays with the taps a bit before opening the Egg. It wails horribly. He slams it shut and is startled by Moaning Myrtle, who suddenly appears, sitting on the tub's edge. She suggests putting the Egg in the water. When the egg is submerged and opened, Harry hears faint singing. Dunking his head, Harry hears the Egg singing about something he will sorely miss that will be at the bottom of the lake. He will have only one hour to find it. Harry guesses, and Myrtle confirms, that there are Merpeople in the lake. She is upset when Harry ponders how he will be able to breathe underwater, saying that nobody remembers that she can't breathe any more.
Harry gathers the Egg and his other belongings and, covered by his Cloak, prepares to head back to Gryffindor tower. The Map shows no one is in the halls except Peeves. Someone is in Professor Snape's office: Bartemius Crouch. Harry wonders why Mr. Crouch is at Hogwarts so late, particularly as he is apparently ill and was unable to attend the Yule Ball. Harry decides to investigate, but as he is concentrating on the map, his foot becomes trapped in a trick step, causing him to drop the Egg and the Marauder's Map. The Egg rolls down the staircase and starts wailing, summoning Filch who in turn yells at Peeves, assuming the Poltergeist had stolen a Champion's Egg. Snape arrives and dismisses Filch's accusations about Peeves, and claims someone broke into his office. It had to be a wizard; Snape seals his office with a Charm to prevent Peeves from entering. Professor Moody appears and is concerned that someone was in Snape's office. Moody's magical eye spots Harry under his Cloak, but he says nothing and offers to help Snape investigate the break-in. Snape demurs, saying he believes it was a student stealing potion ingredients. Moody wonders if Snape could be hiding something else, to which Snape retorts that Moody has previously searched his office. Moody says that it is an Auror's privilege. Although Dumbledore may have faith in Snape's loyalty, Moody is less trusting. Moody dismisses Snape, causing Snape to bridle. Moody then spots the Marauder's Map on the floor; Snape immediately recognizes it. Harry, under his Invisibility Cloak, gesticulates madly to Moody that it is his, and Moody summons the map from Snape's fingers. Snape, furious, probes the air searching for Harry hiding under his cloak. Moody claims nobody is there, though he thinks it curious how quickly Snape's thoughts turned to Harry. Detecting a threat, Snape departs. Filch, protesting that the Egg is evidence, reluctantly hands it over to Moody and leaves.
The map fascinates Moody, who is seemingly unable to keep either eye off it. He helps Harry from the trap step and asks if the map showed who was in Snape's office. Harry replies it was Mr. Crouch. Moody is amazed, and explains that Crouch is obsessed with catching Dark wizards, far more than Moody himself. Moody asks to borrow the map. Harry, deeply relieved he does not have to explain where he got it (and thereby implicate Fred and George), agrees. As he goes into his office, Moody suggests that Harry consider becoming an Auror. When Moody asks if Harry was just taking his Egg for a stroll, Harry says he was working out the clue. Later, Harry thinks he would like to see how badly scarred other Aurors are before choosing that career path.
Several important things should be noted: one, Bartemius Crouch, who was too ill to attend the Yule Ball and sent Percy Weasley in his place, is apparently well enough to travel to Hogwarts and root through Snape's office. Another is the Egg and its song; solving the Egg's riddle only leads to yet another problem for Harry—how to breathe underwater for one hour. The Tournament is now only a few weeks away, and Harry's procrastination in solving the riddle has wasted much valuable time; he will need help and have to work especially hard if he is to solve this next crucial step in time.
Additionally, there is Professor Moody's odd behavior when he spots the Marauder's Map. He is intensely interested in it, staring fixedly at the parchment when he realizes what it is, and then borrowing it from Harry. Is this such advanced magic, then, that Moody, a powerful Auror, is unable to replicate it on his own? Or could there be some other reason for his interest? We note that the author carefully does not have Moody inquire where it came from; Harry's relief at not having to implicate Fred and George, possibly coupled with his gratitude at being rescued from Filch and Snape, seems to mute any concern he, and thus the reader, may have about why Moody is so interested in the map.
It may also be worth noting that, just as Professor Lupin had in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Moody prevents Snape from punishing Harry, with his timely intervention. Here Moody shows his unconventional personality, and, as he has previously demonstrated, that he is far less concerned about rule breaking than either Filch or Snape. This trait has helped make him a popular teacher, though his actions here may have as much to do with his ongoing enmity with Snape as it does with protecting Harry. Also like Lupin, Moody prevented Snape from confiscating the Marauder's Map, scooping it from his grasp with the Summoning spell. Some readers may wonder why Harry failed to do the same; he had his wand, attempting to blank the map with it when Filch appeared. It seems likely that Harry, with the Egg screaming and Filch rapidly approaching, may simply have panicked. One can imagine the words "Why didn't I remember that?" flashing across Harry's mind when Moody cast the Summoning charm. This particular charm had proved especially difficult for Harry to learn, however, and he may still be having some trouble using it, particularly under duress.
- Why does Moaning Myrtle help Harry with the Egg?
- Why is Myrtle upset about Harry's next Triwizard task? How will Harry overcome this obstacle?
- Why did Snape suspect that Harry was involved in the ruckus in the hallway? Even though Harry was there, were Snape's suspicions justified or was it his usual rush to judgment where Harry is concerned?
- Why would Mr. Crouch be in Snape's office so late at night?
- Why would Moody have previously searched Snape's office?
- Why does Moody hide Harry's presence from the others in the hall?
- Why does Moody want to borrow the Marauder's Map? Why does Harry agree to let him use it?
- Why does Moody suggest that Harry become an Auror? Explain why you agree or disagree. What is Harry's reaction?
The Marauder's Map's power once again strips away disguises; in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it correctly spotted Peter Pettigrew when, in his Animagus form, he was disguised as Scabbers. In this case, it showed "Bartemius Crouch" in Snape's office. Of course, it was the false Moody collecting ingredients to brew more Polyjuice Potion. While the Marauder's Map correctly gave his name, it is apparently unable to differentiate between Bartemius Crouch Sr., and Bartemius Crouch Jr., who is using the Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Moody. However, this is a clear indication that Polyjuice potion cannot fool the map, any more than it is deceived by Animagi.
This explains Moody's interest in the map, and why he is so keen to borrow it: apart from it being a useful tool that shows everyone's whereabouts at the school, it can also expose him as an impostor. It was imperative to get the map away from Harry to conceal his true identity. There may have been an even more immediate need for Moody getting the map into his possession: the map was revealing that it was Barty Crouch standing directly opposite Harry rather than the real Mad Eye Moody. Also, it does seem that if Harry were a little more observant, he might have noticed on the map that the real "Mad Eye" Moody never appears to leave the Defensive Arts instructor's living quarters (where he is being imprisoned) or that Barty Crouch is often in places and at times when only Mad Eye Moody should be there. Moody's suggestion that Harry become an Auror may have been intended as flattery to distract Harry's attention away from the map and also deflect questions as to exactly why Moody would want the map. Whether or not Moody's flattery was genuine, Harry is indeed well-suited to becoming an Auror, Defence Against the Dark Arts being his best subject; Barty may realize he needs to be cautious around Harry because of this.
Snape seems unusually aware of where Harry might be, heading directly for him despite the Invisibility Cloak. It is never certain how he decides where Harry might be hiding, but we note the existence of Legilimency, a magical skill described in a later book. Harry has mentioned as early as the first book having the uneasy feeling that Snape was reading his mind. While Snape will say that legilimency is not the same as reading someone's mind, it does seem, from our viewpoint, very similar. It is possible that Snape, believing Harry to be nearby, uses legilimency to see what Harry is seeing and thus determine where he is. If this is the case, it is unknown why Snape backs down and accepts Moody's assertion that there is nobody there. While Snape's using legilimency this way is a possibility, the link is tenuous enough that we do not choose to show it in the connections section.
In a later chapter, Sirius claims Snape was never accused of being a Death Eater; this is actually incorrect, Snape was accused, but Dumbledore vouched for him. It was, we believe, Moody who arrested Snape, and who is probably still suspicious that he is a Death Eater; the false Moody will display this same belief in order to be true to his model, and to avoid making Dumbledore suspicious. Karkaroff is a known Death Eater, Sirius mentioned that just before the First Task. If Snape was or still is a Death Eater, as Ron, Harry, and to a lesser extent Hermione suspect, that would explain why he and Karkaroff were on a first-name basis at the Yule Ball.
Finally, it is unknown whether Barty Crouch, Jr. actually knows if Snape was a Death Eater. It is learned at the end of this book that Snape bears the Dark Mark, which not only brands Death Eaters, but also acts as a summons from the Dark Lord. In the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we learn that Snape not only is a Death Eater, but had become part of Voldemort's inner council; given his knowledge of Voldemort's plans concerning the Potters, as revealed in the final book, it is likely that he had been in Voldemort's inner councils also in his previous rise to power. Considering how young Barty was when he was imprisoned, it is possible that he was never directly connected with Voldemort, but only associated with the Dark Lord's supporters after Voldemort himself was gone. If so, he might have learned that Snape was in Voldemort's inner council from Bellatrix Lestrange or her associates, or possibly, more recently, from the true Alastor Moody. Barty is likely unaware that Dumbledore vouched for Snape's allegiance, but he would immediately see that Dumbledore had complete trust in him despite his Dark history.
- Harry sees Bartemius Crouch in Snape's office. Shortly, Snape will almost accuse Harry of having stolen Boomslang skin, Bicorn horn, and Gillyweed from his office. Harry remembers Hermione had stolen Boomslang skin and Bicorn horn earlier. Harry's recollection of Hermione's theft will prevent us from wondering about whether it might have been Bartemius stealing the Boomslang skin, as we have here seen he was in Snape's office. Bartemius' involvement in the affair will be revealed in full later in this book.
Chapter 26: The Second Task
In Charms class, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are learning Banishing charms, the opposite of Summoning. Fortunately, the class noise and confusion muffles their private conversation. Harry reveals that for the second task, he must find a way to breathe underwater for one hour and recover whatever the Merpeople have taken from him. He also says Mr. Crouch was in Snape's office the previous night. Hermione is curious as to why Mr. Crouch would be there. Harry remembers Moody saying that Professor Dumbledore believes in second chances, and he wonders just what Snape did to warrant one.
As requested, Harry sends an owl letter to Sirius recapping everything that happened. Over the next several weeks, he, Hermione, and Ron scour the library searching for ways to breathe underwater, but to no avail. An owl letter from Sirius that arrives the day before the second task briefly cheers Harry, but it turns out that Sirius only wants to know when the Hogsmeade weekend is. Harry responds, and glumly goes to Care of Magical Creatures class.
Hagrid appears to have given up on the Blast-Ended Skrewts, as only two are left. In an apparent attempt to prove he can teach as well as Professor Grubbly-Plank, he continues the lesson about unicorns, and actually seems to know a great deal about them. Today, he has captured a pair of foals, and Parvati and Lavender are absolutely delighted. Taking Harry aside, Hagrid says he is sure Harry can beat the second challenge. Harry is too nervous to answer.
Later, Harry, Hermione, and Ron race through spell-books looking for ways to breathe underwater. Fred and George appear, telling Ron and Hermione to report to Professor McGonagall. When the library closes, Harry carries as many books as he can back to the Gryffindor common room. After Harry frantically searches all the books without finding anything, Ron and Hermione have still not returned. Putting on his Invisibility Cloak, Harry returns to the library where he finally falls asleep reading spell-books by wand light.
Dobby wakes him mere minutes before the second task. Harry thinks it is too late to compete, but Dobby says Harry must retrieve his "Wheezy". Harry finally understands that "Wheezy" is Ron. Dobby says he knows that Harry did not find the right spell, so he did: Gillyweed. Harry arrives at the lake just in time for the second task. Percy Weasley is upset when Ludo Bagman insists Harry be given a moment to catch his breath. Ludo privately asks Harry if he is okay and has a plan. Replying more confidently than he actually feels, Harry responds that he does.
At the off, Harry chews the Gillyweed. Suddenly, gills sprout on his neck and webs appear between his toes. Unable to breathe, he dives into the water and sets off. Grindylows attack and he jinxes them off. Moaning Myrtle appears and indicates which way Harry should travel. In the deepest part of the lake, Harry finds a sizable, if crude, Mermish village. Tied to a large statue in the "village square" are four figures: Ron, Hermione, Cho Chang, and a young girl who Harry guesses is Fleur's sister.
The Mermish guards do nothing to interfere, but they refuse Harry's attempt to borrow a spear to cut Ron free. Harry finds a sharp stone and uses it to free Ron. Worried that the other Champions have not appeared, he also tries to free Hermione, but is stopped by the Mermish guards. Harry is still arguing with them when Cedric arrives with a large air bubble around his head. He urges Harry to get going, Fleur and Krum are almost there. Cutting Cho free, he heads for the surface with her. Krum appears with his head transformed into a shark's head; he is unable to bite through Hermione's ropes, so Harry hands him his sharp rock, which Krum uses to cut her free. With Hermione, Krum then heads to the surface.
When Fleur does not appear, Harry attempts to free the last hostage but the mermen again stop him. Harry finally threatens them with his wand, and they retreat. Harry frees the girl, and with her and Ron in tow, he nervously heads to the surface, accompanied by the mermen. Harry's watch has stopped, and he worries that they might be pulled back down when the hour is up. As the surface appears, the Gillyweed wears off. Harry barely makes it to the top. Wild, green-haired faces surround him, but they are all smiling. Ron and the girl wake up and are looking around. A great cheer erupts from the stands, and Harry gets Ron to help with the girl. On the shore, Madam Pomfrey is treating Cedric, Cho, Krum, and Hermione. Fleur is restrained by Madame Maxime from throwing herself into the lake to get to her sister. Ludo Bagman and Dumbledore are beaming, and Percy, looking somehow younger, runs into the lake to help Ron.
Once everyone is ashore, Fleur runs to hug her sister, Gabrielle, saying she was stopped by the Grindylows. Madam Pomfrey wraps Harry tightly in a blanket and administers a pepper-up potion. Hermione compliments Harry on figuring out the task on his own, but seeing that Krum is listening, Harry decides to tell her later that Dobby helped him. Krum, possibly to regain Hermione's attention, points out that she has a water beetle in her hair which Hermione brushes away. Harry is now feeling rather silly and embarrassed. First Ron, and then Hermione pointed out that Dumbledore would never have allowed them to die, so his staying to make sure all the hostages were rescued was pointless.
Fleur approaches Harry, saying that he saved her sister when he did not have to, and kisses him twice on each cheek. Fleur swoops to kiss Ron as well, saying he also helped. Hermione, behind his back, looks furious.
Meanwhile, Dumbledore has been talking with the chieftainess of the mermen, and has conferred with the other judges. Now, Ludo announces the standings. Fleur, although using the Bubble-Head Charm, failed to rescue her hostage and only gets 25 points; Cedric Diggory, also using the Bubble-Head Charm, brought his hostage to the surface one minute outside the allotted hour, getting 47 points; Viktor Krum, using a partial Transfiguration, returned second with his hostage for 40 points. Harry Potter returned last, but according to the Merchieftainess' report, arrived at the hostages first, and was delayed by his determination to free all the hostages, not only his own. Most of the judges feel this shows moral fiber and deserves high marks despite finishing last. Harry is awarded 45 points, tying him for first place overall with Cedric.
The next task is scheduled for the 24th of June; the Champions will be briefed about its nature exactly one month prior. Harry is immensely relieved that the second task is over, and there is nothing to worry about until 24 June. He resolves that next Hogsmeade trip, he will buy Dobby a year's supply of socks.
This chapter is particularly revealing regarding Harry's personality, and his performance during the second task reflects how he behaves in most difficult situations. As the first Champion to reach the tethered hostages (with help from Moaning Myrtle), Harry then feels obligated to ensure that the other three "victims" are rescued. Though Harry behaved admirably during the first task by tipping off Cedric about the Dragons, here his reasoning is actually flawed. It never occurs to him that every possible precaution has been implemented to ensure the volunteers' safety. Harry also becomes so carried away that he believes the Merpeople are a threat, when they are merely acting as referees. And rather than heading for the surface with Ron, guaranteeing a win, Harry instead waits for the other Champions to arrive and retrieve their hostages, then insists on "rescuing" Gabrielle when Fleur fails to show. Only later does Harry realize how foolishly he behaved when Ron and Hermione insist they were always safe and that Dumbledore would never jeopardize any student's life. It actually would have been more logical for Harry to search for the missing Fleur, as the Triwizard Champions lack the same protection as the volunteers.
As Harry has been destined since birth as the "Chosen One," his ongoing conflict with Voldemort has skewed his overall thinking somewhat, and, in his mind, the battle has become his burden alone to carry, his mission to accomplish by himself. As a result, Harry feels compelled to rush in and be the hero whenever he feels others are threatened, even those able to fight their own battles; this will probably make him dangerously predictable to his enemies later on. While Harry feels he must face most obstacles alone, he is only able to compete in the Tournament because others such as Hermione, Moody, Dobby, Cedric, and Hagrid have guided him, and we expect will continue to do so. While Harry is gradually learning to rely on others, he is still generally reluctant to accept outside help, especially when it is offered by suspicious characters like Ludo Bagman, who Harry now suspects is using him for some ulterior motive.
Harry's misguided heroism is still rewarded after Dumbledore persuades the judges to assign Harry extra points for "moral fiber." And though Harry foolishly protected the hostages from a nonexistent danger, this act shines an important light on Harry's character, suggesting strongly that under real dangerous circumstances, he would never abandon others in peril, even to save himself.
Harry is also learning that things are sometimes other than what they initially appear to be. The Merpeople are first introduced to readers as beautiful ethereal creatures, as represented by the stylized painting in the Prefects' bathroom and Muggle mythology. As he was with the Veela, Harry is rather shocked to discover that the Merpeople's true appearance is far different. Once again, the author shows that beauty, or the lack of it, rarely accurately reflect any person's inner character, although our initial assumptions about someone or something are often based on superficial physical traits. And echoing Dumbledore's statement to Harry in the second book, while appearance may legitimately represent someone's character to a limited degree, it is mostly one's actions that determine who and what an individual or group truly are. While Merpeople have a rather hideous and scary appearance, they are benign beings loyal to Dumbledore and Hogwarts. Harry, forgetting this was only a competition, gets a little carried away with his "rescue mission" and rushes to judgment when faced with something unknown; he adopts a defensive and threatening posture against the Mermen, based more on appearances than actions, even though the more detached reader can see they are only acting as Tournament officials.
It is interesting to note the selection of hostages, who is seen as the most valuable hostage for each Champion. It is also interesting to note that no champion is at all confused about which hostage he is meant to rescue. Harry in particular could have defended rescuing either Hermione or Cho, the former because she is his friend as Ron is, the latter out of hopes for a "hero's reward". The author may have included Dobby's telling Harry that he had to "save his Wheezy" specifically to reinforce that it was Ron that Harry was to reclaim; otherwise, Harry might have had trouble deciding which of the captives he should concentrate on.
Curiously, Harry seems to pay little attention to Cho Chang immediately after the event. He notices Madame Pomfrey tending to her injuries, but following that, he focuses on Hermione, Ron, and the judges. This may indicate that his infatuation, if that is what it is, with Cho may be waning, or is less than he thought it was.
It is interesting that Hermione is apparently angry when Fleur kisses Ron, even though it is quite innocent and Viktor Krum is also attempting to attract Hermione's attention. Although Harry is in no state to notice Hermione's furious expression when she witnesses this, we are presumably meant to see it, as it hints that Hermione may have serious feelings for Ron.
The Grindylows are seen again, the first time being in Professor Lupin's office in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. At that time, it was noted that the Grindylow's fingers are extraordinarily long and relatively easy to break, but Harry does not use this information when he is attacked.
One must wonder why Fleur is portrayed as having so much trouble getting past the Grindylows. She must be among the best that Beauxbatons has to offer, or Madame Maxime would not have brought her to the Tournament, and yet her magic seems, comparatively, rather weak. We are not presented with any reason for this portrayal.
The "water-beetle" in Hermione's hair should be noted.
- Why does Harry stay and help the other Champions with the task, allowing them to reach the surface before he does?
- Was Gabrielle in any danger? What prompted Harry to rescue her?
- What do Ron and Hermione tell Harry after the second task, and why does that embarrass him?
- Were the judges justified in awarding Harry extra points for "moral fiber"? Just what did Harry do to earn that?
- The other Champions were prepared for the second task. Why were Harry, Ron, and Hermione unable to find a spell for breathing underwater?
- Why does Hermione look so furious just after the task? Why did Krum try to distract her?
- Why might Sirius want to know when the next Hogsmeade weekend is?
The "water-beetle" is Rita Skeeter, who is an unregistered Animagus. Overhearing the private conversation between Hermione and Viktor, she will use that as the basis of a scurrilous story that appears in Witch Weekly in the next chapter. That story creates a rift between Hermione and Mrs. Weasley that will remain unresolved until near the book's end.
Harry's need to be the "hero" will play a crucial, and ultimately tragic, role in book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Hermione later admonishes Harry for always wanting to rush to the rescue, even when there is no real danger, and cites the underwater "hostages" as an example. Despite her warning, when Harry receives a vision that Voldemort is torturing Sirius, his impulse is to immediately rush to save him without verifying first that it is a genuine vision or considering whether or not his predictable behavior is being manipulated to lure him into a trap.
It remains uncertain why the Trio were unable to find a charm that would allow Harry to remain underwater for an hour, when two of the competitors apparently knew of, and used, the bubble-head charm. We can only speculate that in his frantic rush to find anything that would help Harry, the Trio were scanning, and dismissing, spells and methods based only on their names. The name "Bubble-Head Charm" could, in the heat of the moment, be dismissed as being a prank charm that makes one's head blow up like a bubble, or that makes bubbles come out of one's head.
The groundwork for an alliance between Hogwarts (in the person of Hermione) and Durmstrang (represented by Krum) is seemingly being laid here. By the time this is actually useful, Krum will have graduated – as he did not grow a beard when crossing the Age Line, he must have been at least 17-years-old, making him either a sixth or seventh year student – but he may well have some influence in that part of the world. In fact, while Krum will reappear in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, his contribution will be more personal: the alliance will be with Hermione rather than with Hogwarts, and will simply allow Harry to remember a specific fact that will be useful in his quest.
- Grindylows were first seen in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Professor Lupin was teaching them to his Defence Against the Dark Arts class. Curiously, Harry does not make use of what Professor Lupin taught him about their weak points.
- This is the first time we see the Bubble-Head Charm. While the method of casting this spell is never mentioned, it is noted that, after the departure of the Twins in book 5, other students vying for the position of school troublemaker litter the halls with dungbombs. The Bubble-Head Charm is used to lessen the effect of the bombardment on individual students.
- The hostage that Viktor Krum is to recover is Hermione. Earlier, Hermione was Krum's date at the Yule Ball. Later in this book, Krum will ask Harry if Harry is Hermione's boyfriend. Clearly, Krum is developing a romantic interest in Hermione, an interest that will not be reciprocated, though it will irritate Ron, keep Krum writing to Hermione, and ensure his attendance at Bill and Fleur's wedding. As noted, Krum's attendance at that wedding will provide Harry with a vital piece of information, one much less likely to occur to him if Krum were not physically present.
Chapter 27: Padfoot Returns
After the Second Task, everyone wants to hear what happened in the lake, which makes Ron much in demand. His stories become more embellished with each retelling until Hermione acidly suggests that the only way he could have battled Merpeople would have been to snore at them. After that, Ron reverts to the original enchanted-sleep version.
The cold, windy March weather causes delays in the owl post. The Friday before the March Hogsmeade weekend, Harry receives an owl letter from Sirius, asking Harry to be at the stile beyond Dervish and Banges at two o'clock Saturday and to bring food. Harry wonders how Sirius dares to be in Hogsmeade, but Ron notes it is no longer swarming with Dementors.
In Potions class, a sniggering Pansy Parkinson tosses Hermione a copy of Witch Weekly. In it, Rita Skeeter's article, Harry Potter's Secret Heartache, insinuates Hermione is Harry's girlfriend, but is abandoning him for Viktor Krum. Hermione is unimpressed, even by Pansy Parkinson's quote hinting that Hermione might be using love potions. Hermione wonders how Skeeter knew that Krum had invited her for a summer visit while ignoring Ron's wanting to know her answer. Professor Snape penalizes Gryffindor ten points for Hermione's talking and ten more for having Witch Weekly in class. He then reads Rita Skeeter's article aloud, inciting the Slytherins' gales of laughter. Snape then separates the three, placing Harry at the table immediately facing his desk. In a soft undertone, Snape accuses Harry of stealing Boomslang skin and Gillyweed from his stores. Harry remembers Hermione stealing Boomslang skin during their second year to brew the Polyjuice potion and that Dobby swiped the Gillyweed, but he innocently claims he knows nothing about it. Snape produces a vial containing Veritaserum, threateningly telling Harry it would cause him to babble his innermost secrets.
Igor Karkaroff enters the dungeon wanting to speak to Snape, who says they can talk when class is over. To stay after, Harry knocks his cauldron over, and, crouched down to clean it up, sees Karkaroff show Snape his left forearm. Karkaroff says, "It has never been that clear, not since . . ." Snape orders him to put it away, they can discuss it later. Karkaroff leaves, and Harry decides it would be a good idea to do likewise.
On Saturday, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off for Hogsmeade village, taking food along for Sirius. They buy socks for Dobby, then head past Dervish and Banges, finding a stile and a familiar-looking black dog. The dog leads them to a cave in the surrounding mountainside. Inside, Buckbeak is tethered. The dog transforms into Sirius, and, famished from surviving mostly on rats, tears into the chicken. Harry's letters have made events sound increasingly suspicious, especially when combined with what is reported in the Daily Prophet. Sirius also remarks that Crouch being sick and taking days off is unusual. When Hermione comments he is getting his just desserts for firing his House-elf, Winky, Harry recounts the Quidditch World Cup and his wand being stolen. Sirius suggests someone could have lifted it while Harry was still in his box seat. Ron suspects Lucius Malfoy, but Hermione reminds them Ludo Bagman was also there. Sirius wonders why Bagman wants to help Harry win the Tournament. Sirius also mentions that it was Crouch, who then headed the Aurors, that sent him to Azkaban without a trial. Crouch championed using more forceful measures against suspected Death Eaters, achieving some results. He had been tapped as the next Minister for Magic until his son, Barty Crouch, Jr., was found with Death Eaters who were attempting to return Voldemort to power. Crouch presided over his own son's trial and sentenced him to Azkaban. Crouch and his wife made a deathbed visit to their son, and Sirius later saw Dementors burying him. Crouch lost his son, his wife (who died shortly after), and his shot at the Ministry, eventually getting shunted aside to the Department of International Magical Cooperation.
Sirius suspects Crouch wants to revive his career by capturing one last Dark wizard, though it seems unlikely he would make a special trip to Hogwarts just to search Snape's office. He had ample opportunity when he was there recently. Regarding Snape being a Death Eater, Sirius says Snape certainly associated with Slytherins who became Death Eaters: Rosier and Wilkes; Bellatrix Lestrange and her husband; and Avery. Snape, however, was never accused. Harry mentions Snape and Karkaroff knowing each other and how Karkaroff showed Snape something on his arm, though Sirius does not know what that could be. Sirius asks Ron to learn what he can from Percy about Mr. Crouch's illness and also about Bertha Jorkins' disappearance. Sirius disputes Bagman's assertion in a Daily Prophet article that Bertha had a poor memory. In school, she had an excellent one, at least for gossip. Sirius asks to be updated on any new information and reminds them to address letters to him as "Snuffles." He returns to his dog form, and they all head back to the village, where Sirius departs to scrounge for another newspaper. Ron wonders if Percy knew about Mr. Crouch, but concludes that he would probably approve Crouch refusing to bend the rules for his own son; Percy loves rules after all.
Although Hermione deflates Ron's exaggerated boasts about his participation in the second task, he nonetheless remains rather pleased with himself, basking in some unfamiliar but welcomed attention that is, for once, separate from Harry's celebrity. Meanwhile, Harry must defend himself for something he did not do—pilfering Snape's stores. Snape certainly has some legitimate reason to suspect Harry. During Harry's second year, as mentioned above, Hermione stole Boomslang skin and Bicorn horn from Snape's office to make Polyjuice Potion. No doubt Harry remembers this, and he clearly believes Snape is talking about that occasion. The Gillyweed most certainly is more recent than that; Harry knows that Dobby had stolen it, so that Harry could get his "Wheezy" back. Though Harry can rightfully protest that he was not involved in either theft, he does believe that he knows who was responsible in both cases.
Readers, along with the boys in the school, have watched Hermione blossom from a smart, but rather plain, girl into an intelligent, pretty young woman. Despite new-found male attention, she avoids developing an inflated ego as other girls might, or relying on manipulative feminine wiles to obtain what she wants. Instead, she remains grounded and unaffected as she matures in more significant ways, never feeling too intimidated to use her abilities and intellect. Unfazed by Pansy Parkinson's and Snape's feeble attempts to embarrass her in class, Hermione merely shrugs it off, and, ignoring Ron's inquiries about Krum, instead focuses her attention on uncovering how Rita Skeeter learned about Krum's invitation. Considering her usual determination, she likely will pursue this until she has found an answer. And though Hermione now apparently has a potential (if currently one-sided) romantic relationship with Viktor, her loyalty is only to Hogwarts and her friends, and she is committed to helping Harry succeed in each task, help for which she rarely seeks any credit.
Having returned to England, and now with his meeting Harry in Hogsmeade, Sirius shows his devotion and concern for his godson. There is a huge risk that he could be caught and, as a fugitive, there is actually little he can do to help Harry. Sirius thrives on risk taking, however, and his long confinement in Azkaban and being on the run may have impaired his judgment somewhat. Regardless, the Trio are delighted to see him, and Harry especially is revitalized by having his godfather close by, giving him the love and emotional security he sorely craves but rarely feels. Sirius also provides the Trio some valuable information, including much about Mr. Crouch, a man who was apparently so cold-heartedly dedicated to his job that he would convict and sentence his own son to life imprisonment in Azkaban for having been found with Death Eaters, though it was never proved if Barty was actually one himself. Whether or not Crouch Jr. deserved such a severe punishment, most fathers in that situation would have recused themselves to allow another judge to preside over the case. Crouch's motive appears to have been to protect or enhance his own reputation by showing he would unhesitatingly mete out justice to anyone, even to his own son. But the scandal forever tainted his career, and he was consequently demoted to a relatively menial position. Sirius is also particularly curious as to why Mr. Crouch's saved seat at the World Cup remained empty, questioning why someone so involved in the Tournament is apparently off doing something else.
Bagman stated for the Daily Prophet that Bertha Jorkins had a bad memory. While that claim was apparently untrue when Sirius knew her in school, the implication is that her memory had since deteriorated or been magically altered before she vanished.
Harry wonders why Ludo Bagman always wants to help him with the Tournament. While it is possible that Bagman is a Death Eater and may have been attempting to put Harry in harm's way, there may be other reasons. We have already seen that Bagman is a gambler, and while there is still too little evidence regarding this, he may be trying to influence the Tournament's outcome because he is wagering on Harry to win. Sirius seems to re-enforce Harry's suspicions when he also wonders what Bagman's motive might be in helping Harry.
- What does Karkaroff show Snape on his arm? Why does he accuse Snape of avoiding him? Is he right?
- How does Ron's version of his underwater experience compare to Hermione's? What accounts for this difference?
- Has Boomslang skin been seen before? If so, where, and what was it used for?
- Why is Sirius suspicious about Mr. Crouch's illness?
- Why doesn't Harry repair his water-damaged wristwatch with a Reparo spell?
- How did Rita Skeeter know that Viktor Krum invited Hermione to visit him? Why is Ron interested in knowing how Hermione responded?
- Why does Snape suspect that it was Harry who broke into his office? Are Snape's suspicions justified?
- Who might be stealing the Boomslang skin and why?
- Why would Mr. Crouch have presided over his own son's trial and sentence him to Azkaban prison rather than allow another judge to oversee the case?
- If Bertha Jorkins had an excellent a memory in school as Sirius claims, why would she recently have had problems with it?
- Why would Ludo Bagman want to help Harry win the Tournament?
- Why does Sirius think Mr. Crouch's seat remaining empty at the Quidditch World Cup is significant?
While Harry seems to believe that the Boomslang skin theft is from two years back, we will discover that it is a more recent occurrence. Shortly after Harry sees Bartemius Crouch in Snape's office on the Marauder's Map, Snape discovers Boomslang skin is again missing. It is reasonable to assume that Snape would connect the missing Boomslang skin to his office being broken into, which happened the same night. It is further reasonable that Snape, believing Harry to be out after hours when the Egg and the Marauder's Map are found, suspects that Harry may be involved in making some unauthorized potion. Harry, of course, has no idea that anyone is using Polyjuice Potion, so he can only make a connection to Hermione's earlier theft. Interestingly, Snape does not seem to suspect that Hermione may be involved, even though she is apparently far more adept at Potions than Harry, and it was she who brewed the Polyjuice Potion two years before. Of course, Snape does not actually know about the earlier episode as far as we can tell.
Although Harry has yet to figure this out, it was actually Barty Crouch, Jr. who was in Snape's office the night Harry was nearly caught by Snape and Filch. Barty Jr. is, as we later discover, using Polyjuice Potion to disguise himself as Moody; when Harry saw who he believed was Crouch Sr. on the Marauder's Map, it was actually Barty Jr. getting the necessary potion ingredients for his next batch.
Readers learn that Bartemius Crouch, Sr. sentenced Barty, Jr. to Azkaban, demonstrating how he mercilessly convicted any Death Eater, even his own son. However, it will be revealed later that it was Crouch Sr., along with his dying wife, who planned and executed the successful scheme to free Barty, Jr. from Azkaban. While Barty confesses that Bartemius had arranged Barty's escape at his mother's (Bartemius' wife's) request, Bartemius' actions were probably motivated by something more than a father rescuing his son from a miserable fate—a fate that he personally dealt him. Bartemius was an ambitious, dedicated, and rather ruthless Ministry official who was on track to become Minister for Magic. By convicting Barty, Bartemius may have been attempting to protect his own career by displaying no partiality. However, the embarrassing scandal and the ensuing fallout caused the Ministry of Magic to shunt Bartemius aside into a relatively unimportant and low-profile job, forever derailing his lofty goals. Freeing Barty may partly have been a vengeful act against the Ministry for their callous ill-treatment. Indeed, there appears to have been little love between father and son that would have compelled Bartemius to free him, and Bartemius had openly disowned his son. If Mrs. Crouch's plan was to save Barty from lifelong incarceration, leaving him locked up in the Crouch home was little improvement over his previous situation, and certainly not what she would have wished. Bartemius had little choice but to keep his son confined, however, rightly suspecting that Barty would bolt and attempt to return to Voldemort's service. The parent-child relationship is complicated, ever-changing, and has many facets, and though Bartemius may have sought retaliation against the Ministry, he may also have been unable to live with what he had doomed his son to, as well as wanting to honor his wife's dying wish.
Sirius says he has no idea if Barty, Jr. was a Death Eater, only that he was found in the company of known Death Eaters, including Bellatrix Lestrange, Sirius' cousin. It will be revealed that Barty is indeed a loyal Death Eater who participated in torturing into insanity the Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom to extract information about what had happened to Voldemort. Neville has never revealed to his classmates what happened to his parents, but Harry learns about this in a later chapter; at Dumbledore's request, Harry keeps Neville's secret to himself.
When speaking about Bartemius Crouch, Sirius tells Harry, "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." We will see later with Kreacher that Sirius, at least in this respect, does not treat his subordinate well. However, Kreacher is half-mad and fanatically loyal to the late Mrs. Black, who disowned her son, and he despises Sirius. This may partially account for Sirius' unkind treatment.
Sirius also mentions that Snape was never accused of being a Death Eater. This is not quite true: we find out later that he had been accused, but Dumbledore vouched for his having become a double agent before Voldemort fell.
By this book's end, we will learn the story behind Bertha Jorkins. Bertha, who has been missing and is eventually found to be dead, worked for Bartemius Crouch Sr. She happened to visit his home when Bartemius was gone and accidentally discovered that Barty, recently escaped from Azkaban, was alive and being hidden there. Either Bartemius or Winky, the Crouch's House-elf, used a memory charm on her to protect their secret. This charm, as it had to mask out large areas of recollection, apparently affected her overall memory. Soon after, she was transferred to Ludo Bagman's department. Ludo, who had never met her before the memory charm had been applied, only knew her when she was having spell-induced memory problems, prompting his comment to the Daily Prophet about her poor memory.
- While it is never actually proven, the memory problems ascribed to Bertha Jorkins seem similar to those that Neville is having. From Sirius' description, we now suspect that Bertha's are caused by a memory charm. It is possible that Neville's are caused by a memory charm cast by his grandmother in an attempt to help him forget the torture he may have witnessed his parents being subjected to. We note that the otherwise redoubtable Mrs. Longbottom is later revealed to have failed her Charms O.W.L. exam.
- Sirius says "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals." In the next book, we will see how Sirius treats his house-elf, Kreacher. The contrast with how Harry treats Kreacher in the final book actually tells us a great deal about Sirius and Harry.
- Veritaserum will appear later in this book when Barty is being questioned, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Harry believes Professor Umbridge is trying to get him to tell her where Dumbledore is, and finally in that same book when Umbridge demands Snape provide more to assist in her questioning of Harry after finding him in her fireplace.
Chapter 28: The Madness of Mr. Crouch
As Sirius had requested, Ron sends an owl to Percy for information about Mr. Crouch. Then he, Harry, and Hermione, visit the kitchens to give an ecstatic Dobby his socks. Harry remembers to ask for extra food to send to Sirius. Winky is sitting by the fire, filthy, and apparently drunk, still pining for her old master, Mr. Crouch. Harry asks if she knows anything about Mr. Crouch. Winky responds that Mr. Crouch needs her and he had entrusted her with his greatest secrets, then passes out. Hermione is unhappy that the House-elves do not try to cheer her up, but the head kitchen Elf says, "House-elves has no right to be unhappy when there is work to be done and Masters to be served." At this Hermione declares that the elves have as much right as wizards do. The elves, disturbed by this concept, quickly give the Trio the food they had asked for, and then push Ron, Harry, and Hermione from the kitchens. Ron is convinced the House-elves will ban them from the kitchens and is angered at Hermione for ruining any chance of getting information about Mr. Crouch from Winky. Hermione counters this by saying Ron only comes there for food. Harry, tired of their squabbling, leaves to send the food to Sirius.
The next day, Hermione receives numerous letters. It is hate mail in response to Rita Skeeter's Harry-Hermione-Viktor "love triangle" article. One letter contains raw Bubotuber pus, which sends Hermione to the hospital wing with boils on her hands.
In Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class, each student is given a Niffler, which dives in and out of the freshly turned dirt searching for buried gold coins. The student whose Niffler returns the most gold wins a prize. Hagrid explains that it is only Leprechaun gold, and it will quickly vanish. After class, Ron suddenly remembers he paid Harry for the omnioculars at the Quidditch World Cup that summer with Leprechaun gold, and becomes quite upset when Harry says he never noticed it had vanished. Harry clearly has far fewer concerns about money than Ron, who bemoans his family's poverty.
The hate mail continues. Hermione acts on advice from Hagrid and doesn't open any, but several are Howlers that explode at the table, screaming insults. Hermione again wonders how Skeeter knew about Viktor Krum's invitation, or that Hagrid had told Madame Maxime he was half-Giant. Hermione checks with Professor Moody, who says Skeeter is not using an Invisibility Cloak. Hermione rules out Harry's suggestion about electronic bugging, reminding him that Muggle devices are ineffective at Hogwarts.
Percy's response to Ron's inquiry about Mr. Crouch is uninformative, reiterating previous Daily Prophet reports. Easter eggs also arrive from Ron's mother, who has sent huge chocolate eggs for Ron and Harry, and only a tiny egg for Hermione. Ron confirms that his mother reads Witch Weekly.
In late May, the Champions are summoned to the Quidditch pitch, which has been transformed into a massive hedge maze for the third Triwizard task. Ludo Bagman explains that the Triwizard Cup will be at the center, and the Champions must overcome spells and creatures to reach it. The first Champion to touch the Cup receives full marks. Harry is a little concerned, knowing the creatures Hagrid will likely provide.
After exiting the maze, Viktor Krum privately asks Harry if Hermione is Harry's girlfriend. As Harry assures Viktor they are only friends, something in the forest behind them moves. Mr. Crouch, who has apparently gone insane, is talking to a tree he believes is Percy Weasley. Momentarily lucid, he demands to see Professor Dumbledore. Leaving Krum to guard Mr. Crouch, Harry runs to the castle for help. Professor Snape tries blocking him from entering Dumbledore's office, but is thwarted by the appearance of Dumbledore.
Harry and Dumbledore return to find Krum Stunned and Mr. Crouch gone. Dumbledore summons Hagrid, then revives Krum, who claims Crouch attacked him. Dumbledore instructs Hagrid to bring Karkaroff and Professor Moody, but Moody appears on his own. Karkaroff arrives, ranting that a Triwizard judge attacked his Champion. Dumbledore orders Harry to stay in Gryffindor Tower until morning. Any messages he wants to send can wait until then. As Hagrid escorts him back to the castle, Harry wonders how Dumbledore knew he was planning to write to Sirius.
Prior to this chapter, Dumbledore, accepting Moody's views to some extent, suspected that there could be a dark plot against Harry, while others simply believed he cheated to enter the Tournament. Now more sinister events are unfolding that seem to support Dumbledore's suspicions and that could be threatening Harry and the other Champions, although this may or may not sway the doubters' opinions. Mr. Crouch's behavior, though erratic, indicates he probably knows something so dire that he had to somehow get himself to Hogwarts to warn Dumbledore. His disappearance and the attack on Krum only fuels this speculation. However, it is unclear just who stunned Krum or why, or where Mr. Crouch has disappeared. Snape also seems to be acting suspiciously here. His attempt to block Harry from reaching Dumbledore's office may indicate he knows something about what has just happened and wants to prevent Dumbledore from immediately finding out, though this may just be his usual dismissiveness regarding anything to do with Harry.
Meanwhile, Hermione's mission to liberate House-elves is stymied again, this time by the Elves who continually resist change, insisting they are happy only when there is work to be done. Scorning Dobby, they believe freedom is shameful, and the pathetic Winky only proves how miserable their lives would become without masters to serve. It seems doubtful that Hermione can ever overcome this obstacle. Hermione is also experiencing the full brunt of Rita Skeeter's vicious story about her. Hermione had previously brushed it off, and she probably never anticipated the hateful backlash that so many strangers are now heaping on her. Skeeter represents how powerful the media is and the way it in which it can easily victimize someone by swaying readers' opinions, either with the truth, lies, or a carefully slanted mixture of both. Curiously, Skeeter's equally slanderous article about Hagrid being a dangerous Giant had the opposite effect, with readers rushing to his defense. While many may personally know Hagrid, prompting their support, it seems that Hermione is being unfairly judged by a different standard here, with the public reacting as if she is an "unfaithful hussy" who is two-timing Harry and Viktor, two well-known and admired young wizards. Surprisingly, even Mrs. Weasley believes Skeeter, becoming hostile towards Hermione, despite knowing both her and Harry so well.
Krum's asking Harry if there is anything between him and Hermione is a clear indication that Krum is romantically pursuing her. Krum, like many series fans, mistakenly believes Hermione and Harry are "an item," because Hermione often talks about Harry and (presumably) his exploits. Readers should notice Ron's jealousy over their developing relationship, through this book and the next, and how little the relationship seems to discomfit Harry. It is also interesting how little Ron understands his true feelings for Hermione, even explicitly disclaiming them after the Yule Ball.
Ron struggles with other issues, and the Nifflers episode is a mechanism for him to discover that the Leprechaun gold he paid Harry for the omnioculars had vanished. Harry claiming that he was unaware that it was gone only further upsets Ron, who feels Harry has so much money that he does not even notice when it disappears. The author has stated that this is meant to contrast Harry's relative wealth with the Weasleys' ongoing poverty, a situation that Ron abhors and is continually embarrassed about. It also causes him to occasionally resent Harry, although Ron fails to understand that his family's financial woes are unrelated to Harry, nor does Harry ever flaunt his affluence.
One thing to note here also is how Dumbledore summons Hagrid. Dumbledore actually casts and sends a Patronus with a message for Hagrid; this method of dispatching messages was apparently developed by Dumbledore.
- Why would Ludo Bagman want to speak to Harry?
- How does Hermione embarrass Dobby? Was it intentional? What is Dobby's reaction?
- Why is Harry worried about what creatures Hagrid may put in the maze? Is he right to be concerned?
- Why would Mrs. Weasley, who knows Hermione, be angry at her? Is it justified?
- Why would Karkaroff believe that a Triwizard judge and Dumbledore are involved in the attack on Krum? Is there any proof for that?
- Why does Percy Weasley send Ron so little information about Mr. Crouch?
- Why does Harry feel it is safe to meet privately with Krum? They are both Champions; eliminating Harry would improve Krum's chances significantly.
- Why was Viktor Krum Stunned? Is it really Crouch, as Krum claims?
- Why would Mr. Crouch suddenly appear at Hogwarts to see Dumbledore? What might be causing his strange behavior?
- Why would Snape want to prevent Harry from seeing Dumbledore, especially during an emergency?
- What secrets might Mr. Crouch have entrusted to Winky? If these secrets were vital, why would he have discharged her from his house?
- Why is public reaction to Skeeter's story about Hermione so different from what it was to her story on Hagrid? Is Hermione being held to a different standard than Hagrid? If so, explain why and what that standard might be.
- Why is Ron often upset with Harry for having money? Are Ron's feeling justified? What is Harry's reaction?
The many hidden events in this chapter are explained in Chapter 35. Barty Crouch was alerted to Mr. Crouch's escape by Voldemort, and using the Marauder's Map, saw Crouch enter the grounds. Concealed under an Invisibility Cloak, Barty Jr. tracked his father to where Harry and Krum encountered him. After Harry went for help, Barty stunned Krum, killed his father and hid his remains under the Cloak. He then returned as Moody to where he had stunned Krum, claiming Snape told him something was amiss; presumably, he had seen Snape and Harry's altercation on the Map. Later, he buried his father's remains in the same ground the Nifflers had been digging in.
The Imperius curse's effects, as shown in this chapter, are apparently inconsistent with what Harry experiences when Professor Moody casts it on him in class, though Moody may have applied a milder version for the in-class demonstration. In Chapter 35, Barty Crouch Jr. states that his father was controlled by Voldemort using the Imperius curse. Both Bartemius Crouch and Voldemort are powerful wizards, and Bartemius has been attempting to break the Imperius curse for the past several months. It is now late May, and Voldemort and Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew) attacked and placed Bartemius under this curse in late August, nine months previously. It is possible that resisting Voldemort for that long damaged Bartemius' mind to the point that he was able to escape Voldemort's control over him. This tallies with Bartemius' disorientation when Harry encounters him in the Forbidden Forest.
In the next chapter, we will see that Voldemort blames Wormtail for Crouch's escape, punishing him severely for his failure. This does not tally with the statement Barty makes later, that it was Voldemort who had put Crouch under the Imperius curse, but as both Voldemort and Pettigrew were involved in that effort, and as Voldemort is currently handicapped by the limitations of his physical body, it is likely that they shared control duty, and that Crouch escaped on Pettigrew's watch, so to speak. Crouch's escape will result in Voldemort and Pettigrew departing the relative comfort of Crouch's London home, retreating to Riddle Manor in Little Hangleton.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Tonks casts a Patronus and sends it off carrying a message, using the same technique Dumbledore employed to summon Hagrid in this chapter. The author has stated that Dumbledore invented this method, and has only revealed it to Order of the Phoenix members. This communication technique is seen again in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: once by Kingsley Shacklebolt announcing that the Ministry has fallen, and twice by Mr. Weasley, to announce the Minister for Magic's impending arrival at the Burrow, and to reassure the gone-to-ground Ron that the entire family safely survived the Burrow attack. Professor McGonagall also utilizes this method to simultaneously summon three other teachers, shortly before Voldemort arrives for battle at Hogwarts. And during Harry's Horcrux mission, a wizard sends a Patronus to search for Harry, guiding him to something important hidden in the Forest of Dean.
Also, Hermione becomes determined to learn how Rita Skeeter continually uncovers such confidential information about her and others. She will discover Skeeter's secret before the book's end, and uses that secret to help Harry in the next novel.
- In this chapter we see Dumbledore sending a Patronus to summon Hagrid. This communications technique, seen here for the first time, will be used again in subsequent books. The author has said that the technique was invented by Dumbledore and only members of the Order of the Phoenix are able to use it; it is true that we only ever see Order members communicating this way.
- Hermione's musing about how Skeeter gets her information will be resolved later in this book, at least partly by Harry's talk of "bugs". Hermione's detection of Skeeter's technique will give her a certain amount of control over Skeeter and her writings, control which Hermione will use to force Skeeter to write an interview with Harry for publication.
- Viktor Krum's romantic overtures to Hermione will continue throughout the next two books, ending only when a disguised Harry tells Krum that Hermione has a boyfriend, a big tough-looking guy, at Bill and Fleur's wedding.
Chapter 29: The Dream
Harry, Ron, and Hermione discuss the evening's events far into the night but are unable to determine who Stunned Krum or what happened to Mr. Crouch. The next morning, they head to the Owlery to send Sirius a message. Fred and George suddenly arrive, discussing whether what they are doing was blackmail, but fall silent upon seeing the Trio. After the Twin's departure, Ron says they are serious about starting a joke shop and are trying to raise the money. Protecting their venture might prevent them from saying anything they know about Mr. Crouch to Dumbledore.
Professor Moody tells the Trio he was unable to locate Mr. Crouch, even with Harry's map. Hermione disputes Ron's suggestion that he Disapparated because it is impossible on Hogwarts grounds. He could have departed through the Forest. Moody suggests she consider becoming an Auror; her mind works the right way.
Sirius' written response to Harry's letter arrives, sternly lecturing him about straying out-of-bounds with Viktor Krum, who would stand a better chance of winning the Tournament if Harry was unable to compete, and demanding that Harry stay put. Hermione agrees with Sirius and Moody: someone put Harry's name in the Goblet for a reason, and it is safer to stay indoors.
For the next few days, Harry remains inside practicing jinxes for the Third Task. After he masters the Stunning spell, Hermione suggests he practice the Impediment jinx. However, it is time for Professor Trelawney's Divination class. The room is hot and, lulled by a buzzing insect, Harry falls asleep. He dreams he is flying on an eagle owl that goes into an old house, landing on a large armchair. Harry sees Wormtail writhing in pain, as well as a large snake. A voice from the armchair says Wormtail is in luck; his blunder has not ruined everything, the man is dead and that Harry Potter may also soon be dead. The voice then says that Wormtail needs another reminder not to blunder again and curses him again.
Harry wakes up screaming on the classroom floor, his scar burning. Ignoring Professor Trelawney's demands that he tell what he was dreaming, he leaves and goes to see Dumbledore. Pausing outside Dumbledore's office, Harry hears a conversation: the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge is attempting to put a positive spin on Bertha Jorkins' disappearance, and also suggests that Crouch might have just wandered off; he implies that Madame Maxime could be involved, given her ancestry. Moody interrupts to say that Potter is listening outside.
As in Chapter 1, Harry once again "dreams" about Voldemort, although he is unaware that he may actually be viewing events as they are occurring. His burning scar implies that there could be a telepathic connection between Harry and Voldemort, one that neither apparently is aware exists. It is interesting that in the dream, an eagle owl carries the message to Voldemort. Only twice before have eagle owls been seen; one flew towards the school, looped the Owlery, and flew away while Harry was lying under a tree by the lake, and in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone we are told that Malfoy's eagle owl was always bringing him treats from home. Also, the house in the dream is described as being atop a hill, and the owl flies through a broken window. It is unclear if we are meant to draw a connection from these incidents, but the author may be dropping a subtle hint that the Malfoy family is tied to Voldemort, although there is no indication that they know Voldemort's whereabouts. The house could be the old Riddle manor near Little Hangleton, and it may be Voldemort's secret headquarters. Also, Wormtail's "blunder" that results in him being severely punished and the dead man Voldemort mentions are likely related to Mr. Crouch's mysterious disappearance, although just how and why remains unknown.
Despite Mr. Crouch's disappearance and the attack on Krum, Harry is a bit confused and annoyed with Sirius for ordering him to remain inside Hogwarts. Knowing that his godfather can often be daring and reckless himself, Harry feels Sirius is employing an unfair double standard here. But Sirius is being a responsible guardian who is acting in Harry's best interest, and he sternly orders Harry to stay put to prevent him from engaging in any unnecessary risky behavior. Sirius also believes there could be a plot against Harry's life, and knowing his godson as he does, he realizes Harry will likely be unconcerned about his own safety.
Readers may wonder about Sirius' and Hermione's adjurations to Harry to stay indoors. Clearly, both of them believe that Harry's being entered in the Tournament was done as part of some plot to injure Harry. Both of them seem to feel that Harry's best chance is to remain in the competition, and to actually compete in it, despite the competition being a clear danger for Harry. Why? Is it only the "magical contract" imposed by the Goblet, that might harm Harry in some way if he refused to compete? Sirius seems to be trusting Professor Dumbledore to protect Harry in the competition, though we have to wonder if that actually will make staying in the Tournament less dangerous than leaving it..
It is also a little curious that Harry hears an insect buzzing in the Divination classroom. Being that the room is located atop a tower, there should be fewer insects up there than there are closer to the ground. Granted, on at least one other occasion in this book, Harry found an insect in the Divination classroom; we note that he was practicing Summoning spells on it. Could there be any particular significance to Harry hearing an insect?
- Is Ron correct that if the Twins knew about Mr. Crouch's disappearance they would say nothing about it to Dumbledore? Why wouldn't they?
- Why is Harry so surprised by what Sirius says in his letter? Given what we know at this point, is Sirius right?
- Even though Moody has a magical eye, how does he know that Harry is listening outside Dumbledore's door?
- Just what might the Twins be doing that could be considered blackmail? Why do they refuse to explain what this is?
- Why would Harry see an eagle owl in his dream?
- How did an insect get so far up in the Tower?
- Where might Mr. Crouch be? Why was Moody unable to find him on Harry's Marauders' Map?
- Just how might Wormtail have blundered so badly that Voldemort punishes him for it? Could it be related to anything happening at Hogwarts? If so, what?
- Why does Fudge continue to claim that nothing bad has happened to Bertha Jorkins? Is he right, and what is he basing his opinion on?
The eagle owl is a slight misdirection; while the only eagle owl we know of that belongs to a Wizarding family is the Malfoys', Lucius does not yet have any awareness of Voldemort's return. The only Death Eaters who know that Voldemort is still alive at this point in the story are Barty Crouch and Wormtail, though Professor Karkaroff and Professor Snape apparently have their suspicions. This remains true until after Voldemort summons his Death Eaters, in about another month in our story. In his present state, Voldemort is relatively weak, and he wants to avoid revealing his presence by alerting the Death Eaters.
We will also learn later that Voldemort had been hiding in London, in Bartemius Crouch's house, while Mr. Crouch was under Wormtail's Imperius Curse. Once Crouch escaped, however, that house was no longer safe, because when Crouch was found, it would lead investigators back to the Crouch residence. At that point, Voldemort and Wormtail would have had to shift to new quarters, and Riddle Manor was likely the most opportune. With Frank Bryce gone, it is unlikely anyone would dare enter the grounds anyway; and if they did, Wormtail would easily be able to dissuade them. We do find out later that Voldemort and Wormtail have returned to Little Hangleton and the Riddle manor; the broken window that the eagle owl flies through likely is in that house. We think it unlikely that Voldemort would have chosen to live in the Gaunt shack, the other property available to him, for creature comfort reasons, though perhaps his having hidden a Horcrux there might also dissuade him from drawing attention to it.
In some possible foreshadowing, George, as he is sending off his owl, tells Ron that he is starting to sound like their older brother, Percy, and warns him that if he continues, he will be made prefect. Ron, to his and everyone's great surprise, is made a Gryffindor prefect in the next book.
It will develop that Harry's remaining in the Tournament will put him into Voldemort's power. Sirius' and Hermione's belief that Harry's safest course is to remain in the competition, nominally under Professor Dumbledore's protection, are completely undermined by one presently unknown fact: Voldemort has managed to get a spy into a position of trust within Hogwarts. Barty Crouch, disguised as Professor Moody, has arranged to have Harry selected as a Triwizard champion, is covertly assisting Harry against the other champions, and will create a trap for Harry in the final Task. This scheme would fail if Harry was to opt out of the Tournament, or even fall decisively out of the running, so Sirius' and Hermione's urgings that he remain in the competition, and actually compete, are playing directly into Voldemort's hand.
The insect buzzing around in the Divination classroom is Rita Skeeter in her unregistered Animagus form, spying on Harry. Considering that Harry had previously practiced spells on an insect in the Divination classroom, Skeeter is lucky that he did not do so again, though this could have proved particularly entertaining for the readers.
We will also learn that Bertha Jorkins is dead, murdered by Voldemort after he had retrieved information from her about Barty Crouch's continued existence and the Triwizard Tournament. There is no explanation as to why Fudge continues to believe she will turn up, unless perhaps he is simply echoing Ludo Bagman's belief. Ludo will never explain why he believes Bertha to still be alive. Given the characters of the two people, we have to assume that Ludo's belief is based on wishful thinking and avoidance of unpleasantness, and Fudge's is probably a result of political spin. We do rather wonder, though, why it seems nobody except her co-workers, and relatively few of them, seem to care about her whereabouts.
While this chapter presents a number of events that are connected to other events within this book, there seems to be very little that connects with other books in the series.
- As mentioned above, the eagle owl is rare enough that it could be considered a connection, except that it is apparently intended to mislead.
- George mentions that Ron is starting to sound like Percy, and if he's not careful he may end up as a Prefect. Ron does become a Prefect in the next book, surprising everyone.
Chapter 30: The Pensieve
Professor Moody opens the door and invites Harry into the Headmaster's office. Professor Dumbledore asks Harry to wait there while he, Cornelius Fudge, and Professor Moody survey where Mr. Crouch appeared and then disappeared.
Alone in Dumbledore's office, Harry notices a shimmering light. Inside a partially opened cupboard is a stone bowl filled with an odd, glittering, substance. Peering into it, he sees a torch-lit stone room, filled with tiny witches and wizards. He moves closer for a better view and is catapulted into the scene. Nobody in the room notices him, and Harry, seeing that apparently younger versions of Dumbledore and Moody are present, realizes he is inside a memory, and settles down to watch.
In a courtroom, a younger Bartemius Crouch is overseeing the proceedings. Chained to a chair, Igor Karkaroff bargains for his freedom, offering to identify Death Eaters. He names Antonin Dolohov, Evan Rosier, Travers, and Mulciber. All have already been captured or killed. Karkaroff then claims that Augustus Rookwood, who works in the Department of Mysteries, was passing information to Voldemort. This information is apparently new to the court, but Karkaroff is to be returned to Azkaban while the court deliberates. In desperation, Karkaroff names Severus Snape as a Death Eater. Dumbledore interjects, saying that while Severus had been a Death Eater, he had turned double agent before Voldemort's downfall and is no longer the Dark Lord's servant.
The memory fades and returns to the same room with a lighter atmosphere. A younger Ludo Bagman is seated in the same chair, but not chained, as he answers charges of aiding Death Eaters. Bagman claims he was unaware that Rookwood was working for Death Eaters and believed that he was collecting information for "our side." As the wizards vote, Harry realizes this is the Wizengamot. The judges vote to free Bagman, though Moody and Crouch seem annoyed by the verdict.
Again the memory fades and reappears, only now the room is grimmer. A witch and three wizards are chained before Mr. Crouch, accused of torturing the Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom to uncover Voldemort's whereabouts. The Wizengamot unanimously sentence them to life in Azkaban. The boy, Barty Crouch, Jr., pleads for his father to spare him; Crouch, stony-faced, disowns his son while Mrs. Crouch, weeping, watches as Barty is condemned.
A second Dumbledore suddenly appears and, grasping Harry's elbow, returns them to Hogwarts. The bowl, he says, is a Pensieve. When too many thoughts and memories cram Dumbledore's mind, he siphons some off and stores them there. Patterns can be seen inside the Pensieve that are not otherwise immediately apparent. Using his wand, Dumbledore extracts a thought and places it in the Pensieve. Harry sees his own face smoothly turning into Snape's who says, "It's coming back, Karkaroff's too . . ." It is a connection Dumbledore could have missed without help. Harry apologizes for snooping; Dumbledore responds that curiosity is not a sin, but it requires caution. A teenaged girl's image then rises from the Pensieve. It is Bertha Jorkins as she was at Hogwarts. She is complaining that a boy jinxed her because she reported him for kissing Florence behind the greenhouses. Dumbledore asks why she followed him behind the greenhouses in the first place.
Harry then recounts his dream, but is surprised that Dumbledore already knows about his scar hurting him that summer. Unknown to Harry, Dumbledore has been corresponding with Sirius. Dumbledore believes Harry's dream was hardly ordinary and that Harry's scar hurts whenever Voldemort is nearby or feeling strong emotions. In the dream, Harry never saw Voldemort, only an armchair from behind, but there would be nothing to see: Voldemort still lacks a body. Dumbledore says Voldemort is growing stronger, and his earlier accession to power was marked by unexplained disappearances; there are currently three missing people: Bertha Jorkins, Bartemius Crouch, Sr., and a Muggle, Frank Bryce. Dumbledore believes they are linked, though the Ministry does not.
Harry learns that Neville's parents, mentioned in the final memory, were tortured until they went insane, and now permanently reside in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. That is why Neville lives with his grandmother. Also, Ludo Bagman and Severus Snape have been uninvolved in anything Dark since the trials, and Dumbledore trusts Snape completely. Dumbledore requests that Harry say nothing about Neville's parents, not even to Ron or Hermione. That is Neville's story to tell. Finally, he wishes Harry luck in the third task.
Readers have watched the story unfold mostly through Harry's point-of-view or as told to him by other characters; gradually, the author has added additional mechanisms for Harry (and readers) to gain information about Voldemort and his Death Eaters. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry viewed Tom Riddle's memories that were stored in his diary. Now Dumbledore's Pensieve provides another means for Harry to observe historical events at first-hand. The Pensieve is also introducing new characters from the past that readers may see again in the present. It also sheds light on some current characters, such as Ludo Bagman, who was interrogated but never convicted as a Voldemort follower, though his actual involvement is apparently still suspect to Dumbledore and Moody. And though Harry has learned much from Tom Riddle's Diary and Dumbledore's Pensieve, these are still memories, and they may be imperfect and somewhat tinged with personal viewpoints and biases. We note that Tom Riddle's memories, accurate though they may have been, were purposely presented in such a way as to give Harry a false impression. We suspect that will not be the last time Harry will see a deliberately skewed memory.
Harry has also been occasionally watching events in real time through a mental connection existing between him and Voldemort. As these mostly play out when Harry is asleep, he still believes these are just bad dreams. Harry's mental connection to Voldemort may become his most valuable information avenue, as he is viewing things that are currently happening, though he has yet to completely utilize this, being previously unsure if what he saw was actually real; also, the information he does receive is sporadic and incomplete, making it difficult to analyze. There is also a danger that Voldemort can learn as much through Harry if he also discovers this link; it is probably only a matter of time before he does.
Also, Dumbledore has likely been depositing his abundant thoughts into the Pensieve for many decades, presumably many unrelated to Harry or Voldemort. How then does Harry happen to see only those memories directly related to current events and that are the most helpful to him? Is it possible that Dumbledore intended for Harry to view these particular recollections, leaving him alone in his office at an opportune time? The opened cupboard door almost seemed an invitation, beckoning Harry to peer inside. Dumbledore may be legally prevented from sharing such confidential information with a student, and by making his memories available in this way, he is able to pass this on to Harry without reprisal. Quite possibly, Dumbledore was merely reviewing those particular memories because they may be related to current events, and Harry happened upon them during an unguarded moment. All this is, of course, only speculation and unfortunately, it remains unanswered.
The Pensieve also reveals much about Neville Longbottom through what happened to his parents. The trauma Neville has suffered over his mother and father's sad fate may partially explain why his memory and magical abilities are impaired. For whatever reason, Neville has chosen to keep his parents' condition secret; Harry's knowledge about this will bring the two boys closer together, and Harry realizes that Neville has lost his parents to Voldemort, just as he has lost his.
To the uncritical reader, the appearance of Bertha Jorkins in the Pensieve might seen unrelated. We note, however, that it immediately follows Dumbledore's comments about curiosity not being a sin, but requiring care. The incident which Bertha is complaining about is a case where she was jinxed because of excessive curiosity. We also note that she is close to the surface of the Pensieve, being able to rise to visibility so easily. There must be many cases in Dumbledore's memory of students who let their curiosity send them into trouble; one of them is, in fact, standing in front of him at that instant. Bertha's appearance does indicate that she is, for whatever reason, right near the top of Dumbledore's current thoughts. Dumbledore's mention of multiple unexplained disappearances might well be the reason she is on his mind.
As a side note, it is interesting that even though the courtroom scenes are from Dumbledore's viewpoint, he is seen as a bystander. This matches what had happened in Tom Riddle's memories; though it was Tom's memories, Harry was always standing beside Tom, rather than seeing directly through Tom's eyes.
- Why has Neville never told anyone about what happened to his parents? How might this knowledge change Harry's relationship with Neville?
- Why is Harry so surprised that Dumbledore has been communicating with Sirius? Why has Sirius never mentioned this to Harry?
- Why did Harry wait so long to tell Dumbledore about his dreams?
- Why is Dumbledore convinced that Harry's visions are something other than dreams?
- Why does Dumbledore refuse to tell Harry the reason he trusts Snape? Is Dumbledore's trust warranted?
- Why does the Ministry maintain that Bertha Jorkins', Mr. Crouch's, and Frank Bryce's disappearances are unrelated? Are they? Explain.
- Did Dumbledore intend for Harry to view his memories in the Pensieve? What evidence is there for this? If he did intend for Harry to see them, why didn't he just tell Harry all this instead?
Knowing now that Harry has had at least two "dreams" which mirrored Voldemort's thoughts, Dumbledore is beginning to understand exactly what the link is between Harry's mind and Voldemort's. This causes Harry great concern in the next book, as Dumbledore takes great pains to conceal his and Harry's relationship from any potential eavesdropping by Voldemort through that link. Dumbledore believes, correctly, that if Voldemort knows that he and Harry have anything more than a student to headmaster relationship, he will use that as a weapon against Harry, Dumbledore, or both. To conceal his affection for Harry, Dumbledore will studiously avoid nearly all contact with him. As a result, Harry feels hurt and abandoned, and will, on several occasions, refuse to pass useful information to Dumbledore. Voldemort learns about the link near Christmas, when, through it, Harry "sees" Mr. Weasley being attacked. Shortly after that discovery, Voldemort will begin to use that link to manipulate Harry into stealing a Prophecy for him.
Harry will use the Pensieve again, to provide answers not only about Voldemort, but also his father and mother, Aunt Petunia, and also Snape. Perhaps interestingly, the Pensieve's primary purpose in the narrative is not to store and search for connections between existing memories, as is implied here. Its function is to replay memories placed in it. In the next book, it will show us an episode in Snape's life. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, we will examine memories belonging to individuals who knew Voldemort in his younger days, when he was still known as Tom Riddle. And in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, we will replay Snape's memories from both his youth and adult life, thereby learning more than a little about Harry's parents.
The Pensieve also, apparently, has the ability to store memories outside of the user; Snape's placing a memory in the Pensieve before Harry's Occlumency lesson is apparently intended to keep it away from Harry in the unlikely even that he is able to overpower Snape and read his memories. From this we conclude that the magic that allows memories to be extracted from the mind allows for either copying or moving: Snape seems to think he is safeguarding the memory by moving it to the Pensieve, which would imply that the memory is removed from his mind, while a later memory of Professor Slughorn is retrieved twice, which implies that the earlier, highly edited extraction was a copy of the original memory.
A little further comment is germane also to Bertha Jorkins' appearance in the Pensieve. Dumbledore seems to be implying that Bertha is the sort of person who would allow her curiosity to lead her into trouble. We learn, later in this book, that she had discovered that Barty Crouch was still alive, and had her memory massively altered as a result of that discovery. She had also strayed into Voldemort's clutches, and had been interrogated and killed as a result of that. As we see neither of these incidents directly, we cannot be certain, but we suspect from what we are told that both of these cases involved curiosity on Bertha's part.
- This is the first appearance of the Pensieve. Professor Snape will store memories in it as a precaution in the next book, starting with the first Occlumency lesson, and continuing until Harry experiences that memory by examining the Pensieve when Snape has left the room. Professor Dumbledore and Harry will use it repeatedly in the sixth book to examine memories that Dumbledore has retrieved, and Harry will use it in the final book to view Snape's autobiography.
- We have here the first confirmation that Snape was a Death Eater, and we hear of Dumbledore's trust in his conversion. This will be a recurring issue throughout the series, and will only be fully understood once Harry experiences Snape's memories in the final book.
- While it has not been identified specifically as yet, Snape's "it's coming back" refers to the Dark Mark, the combination identification and communication technique Voldemort forces upon his Death Eaters. Karkaroff mentioned it earlier, and Snape will show it to the Minister for Magic at the end of this book. Harry will spend a lot of effort trying to see if Draco is wearing the Dark Mark throughout the sixth book, and it will be used by Death Eaters for communication later in this book and in the final book of the series.
- We learn here why Neville is being reared by his grandmother. Neville will shortly be enraged by allusions Draco makes regarding mental patients confined to hospital, even though it is Harry who is then Draco's target, and Ron, Hermione, and Ginny will meet Neville's parents in the next book. Later in that book, Bellatrix Lestrange, who we also saw in this chapter, will taunt Neville with his parents' fate.
Chapter 31: The Third Task
Harry immediately shares with Ron and Hermione what transpired in Professor Dumbledore's office and in the Pensieve. He also sends Sirius a message by owl post. Though they knew Karkaroff was a Death Eater, this is the first confirmation that Professor Snape was one or that Ludo Bagman was involved. Hermione wonders if this is what Rita Skeeter meant by saying that Bagman had an evil past. Harry is unable to stop thinking about Neville's parents and Mr. Crouch's son, who died in Azkaban.
As Ron and Hermione coach Harry on jinxes for the third task, Ron spots Draco Malfoy outside. His cronies, Crabbe and Goyle are standing guard as Draco apparently talks to something in his hand. Harry suspects he is using a walkie-talkie, but Hermione reminds him that electronic devices do not work around Hogwarts.
Sirius, concerned about Harry finishing the Third Task, sends regular owls with tips and pointers, plus adjurations to ignore what is happening outside Hogwarts. Harry will be safe under Dumbledore's protection, and they can consider other problems once the Third Task is over.
In the latest the Daily Prophet, Rita Skeeter claims that Harry has mental problems, had collapsed, and has pain in his scar. According to Draco Malfoy, Harry is a Parselmouth. Harry takes the article lightly, but wonders how Skeeter knew that he fainted in Divination. There was an open window during class, but Hermione points out it is too far above ground level for anyone to eavesdrop. Something suddenly occurs to her, and she runs to the library.
The Champions and their families are congregating in the chamber off the Great Hall just before the Third Task. Not having any relatives present, Harry is about to leave the Great Hall when he is called to join the other champions. Inside, Harry is pleased to find that Mrs. Weasley and Bill are waiting. Amos Diggory appears upset that Rita Skeeter's first story only mentioned Harry as the Hogwarts Champion. Not even Mrs. Weasley reminding him that Rita delights in making mischief calms him down.
Harry, Mrs. Weasley, and Bill spend the morning touring the Hogwarts grounds. Mrs. Weasley mentions that the Ministry has become suspicious that Mr. Crouch's instructions may not be genuine, and Percy has been called in for questioning. Cornelius Fudge is replacing Percy as a judge. Returning to the castle, they meet Ron and Hermione. Mrs. Weasley is rather cold towards Hermione until Harry, remembering Skeeter's article in Witch Weekly, tells her that Hermione is not his girlfriend. Hermione, meanwhile, has something to tell Harry and Ron, but she has to wait until they are alone. Harry, Bill, and Mrs. Weasley return to the Great Hall for dinner. Harry notices that Madame Maxime's eyes seem red, and Hagrid keeps glancing at her.
As the sky darkens, Professor Dumbledore sends the Champions to the maze. After checking if Harry is feeling confident, Ludo Bagman announces that Professor McGonagall, Professor Moody, Professor Flitwick, and Hagrid will patrol the maze from outside. If a Champion runs into trouble, he can send up red wand sparks. Harry and Cedric, whose scores are tied, enter the maze together, separating at the first intersection. Krum goes next, then Fleur. Harry, navigating towards the maze's center, is already unnerved by its apparent emptiness. A noise behind him is Cedric, still smoking after a run-in with a Blast-Ended Skrewt. Shortly after, Harry successfully defends himself against a Boggart disguised as a Dementor. Harry hears Fleur screaming, but, unable to locate her, continues towards the center, running into a Skrewt. As Harry looks for another route, he hears Krum using the Cruciatus curse on Cedric. Burning a hole through a hedge, Harry Stuns Krum, and sends up red sparks. He and Cedric separate and again head for the center.
Nearing the center, Harry encounters a Sphinx and correctly answers its question. Seeing the Cup, he starts running for it, while Cedric appears from a side passage ahead. Harry spots a giant spider and warns Cedric, and together they defeat it, but Harry's leg is injured. Harry wants Cedric to take the Cup, but Cedric demurs, insisting Harry earned it. Because they have continually helped each other throughout the Tournament, Harry suggests they grasp it simultaneously. Cedric agrees, but as each grabs a handle, a great howling wind whirls them from the maze. The Cup is a Portkey.
While we can't be certain what criteria the Goblet uses in its selection, it seems that the Triwizard Champions were chosen because they are the best representatives of their respective schools. Cedric represents his House's finest traits, embodying Hufflepuff virtues of hard work, honesty, and fair play. Harry, whose name was selected through trickery, still represents much that is good in Gryffindor house: bravery, nobility, and resourcefulness. However, throughout the Tournament, each has demonstrated characteristics apart from those associated with their own House. Harry shows integrity and fairness, first by tipping off Cedric about the Dragons, and now by insisting that he equally share the victory. Cedric is certainly as noble as any Gryffindor, and he has demonstrated increasing cleverness and ingenuity by quickly solving the Egg riddle and developing a successful strategy for the Second Task; Cedric also shows great courage, both inside the maze and with the Dragon. The two boys have helped each other throughout the Tournament, and as they reach the Cup, both feel the other deserves to win; therefore, it is fitting that they agree to grab the Triwizard Cup together, though the outcome is unexpected.
Unlike Crouch, who was talking to a tree, it is unlikely that Draco is suffering from any mental malady when he is seen speaking to his hand. Rather, he is probably engaged in some activity he should not be. We will learn shortly what this is, but for now, it is sufficient to know that he is holding something in his palm, and there is a reason he is talking to it.
Sirius telling Harry not to worry about anything happening outside the school seems rather odd; that type of insularity in a school environment happens normally anyway. However, Sirius' belief ought to be right; Dumbledore should be able to protect Harry, though recent, and even past, events make this seem less than certain.
Also, while the maze makes for a difficult and interesting obstacle the Champions must maneuver, the author may also have chosen it for its mythic symbolism. In mythology, a labyrinth, or maze, represents a difficult challenge or quest that the hero must overcome by navigating a convoluted and dangerous path leading to its center where whatever is being sought awaits. Magic and battling strange, dangerous creatures often play a significant role in these epic myths, just as it does in our story. In this task, each Champion must enter the maze alone, away from the cheering crowd, and with almost no advance information regarding what they will encounter; this challenge is less about competing against one's opponents than it is about confronting and overcoming one's own personal frailties. That the Third Task begins at dusk adds an additional eerie twist, as what lies inside becomes even more intangible, less definable, and increasingly terrifying when cloaked in nightfall. And while darkness can represent evil and oppression, it also symbolizes fear and uncertainty, which often seem magnified at night and less daunting by day. It can also represent the unknown, transition, and also life – darkness preceding birth. The maze could also be interpreted as a metaphor for Harry's life. His late induction into the Wizarding world was much like entering the maze at twilight—he was faced with murky, unknown paths, difficult obstacles, and occasional dead ends, forcing him to retrace his steps and find alternate routes. Harry is navigating a tangled emotional labyrinth, searching for a center containing answers about his parents, Voldemort, and himself.
- What might Hermione know that she wants to tell Harry?
- Why are Madame Maxime's eyes red? Why does Hagrid keep looking at her?
- Why does Harry insist that he and Cedric grab the Triwizard Cup at the same time? What does Cedric think?
- Why is Draco talking to his hand? Is he going mad like Mr. Crouch?
- Why is Sirius confident that Harry is safe at Hogwarts, even though he suspects someone wants to kill him? Is Harry really safe? Give examples of whether he is or isn't.
- Mrs. Weasley tells Amos Diggory that Rita Skeeter likes to create trouble by printing lies about Harry. Why then does she continue to believe Skeeter's story about Hermione?
- Why would Krum attack Fleur and Cedric? Did he also intend to harm Harry?
- Why would the Triwizard Cup be a Portkey? Where might it be transporting Harry and Cedric to?
- Even though Harry and Cedric were sorted into different Houses, they both have many qualities that reflect the other's House. Compare and contrast these qualities.
- Why might the author have chosen to use a maze for the third task, and what could it represent?
Note that Mr. Crouch's son having died while imprisoned in Azkaban is mentioned here again. However, we will learn shortly that someone other than Barty actually died in Azkaban. This mistaken belief being reiterated here is almost certainly meant to heighten our surprise when it is discovered what Barty has been doing since his supposed death.
Sirius now admits that someone at the school may be trying to kill Harry; likely Dumbledore is thinking this also, but neither suspects it is Barty Crouch, believing he is dead and unaware that the real Alastor "Mad Eye" Moody has been kidnapped. Given this belief, though, it is odd that Sirius is ordering Harry to stay at the school and play out the Tournament. If someone entered Harry in the Tournament solely to get him killed, it would seem to be advantageous to Harry if he deliberately failed the three Tasks in such a way as to avoid any risk. Harry, however, seems unable to give any mission less than his full effort, regardless of any danger. Sirius' opinion here seems faulty, and it could be an early indication that his still-fragile mental state is deteriorating, affecting his judgment. This becomes more apparent in the next book. Sirius may also be considering that Harry is magically bound to compete, and it is unknown what might happen should he attempt to abandon the Tournament or otherwise alter his performance in it.
Harry thinks the Maze is easier to navigate than he expected. Barty Crouch confesses later that he deliberately eased Harry's path through it, while attempting to eliminate Harry's competition by controlling Krum. Barty, like Ludo, intended Harry to win the Tournament and be the first to reach and touch the Cup, a Portkey, to transport Harry to an as-yet unknown destination. It will turn out that Barty had been helping Harry throughout; it is possible that Harry would have ended up winning the Tournament even with last-place showings in the first two Tasks. Knowing the nature of the third and final Task, Barty likely believes that even without the advantage of an early entry into the maze, Harry can be assisted to a win. This actually seems to be the case, as Barty manages to eliminate two other competitors before Harry reaches the center of the maze.
We should mention that Ludo's motivation is gambling; most unethically for a Tournament judge, he actually is betting on Harry to win. Barty's motivation is more evil: his intent is to arrange to have Harry carried away from Dumbledore's protection.
Draco is talking to his hand because he is holding Rita Skeeter, who is in her beetle Animagus form. Draco has been passing information to her about Harry and others that she uses in her articles. She was also present, transformed, when Harry had his nightmare in the Divination tower, witnessing that event directly. Because the word "bugged" was frequently mentioned, it prompted Hermione to conclude that Skeeter may be an illegal Animagus, transforming into an insect. Hermione presumably goes to the library to research whether such a transformation is even possible. Though she has confirmed this by the time we see her at lunch, the author has arranged events so that Hermione is unable to share her discovery with Harry and Ron, and apparently chooses not to discuss her discovery with Ron alone.
This chapter is largely preparation for the Third Task, and the Third Task itself. Very little in this chapter has connections outside this book.
- Rita Skeeter, here being held in Draco's hand, has visited the Hogwarts grounds in her beetle form on several occasions. Hermione will trap her in this form at the end of this book, and will use her unregistered status as a lever to prevent her writing nasty things about Harry in the next book.
Chapter 32: Flesh, Blood and Bone
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 figure ascends then alights on the ground, demanding Wormtail robe it. Lord Voldemort has arisen.
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.
- Why was Cedric Diggory killed?
- Was Harry transported to this particular cemetery for a reason? If so, why?
- Why does Voldemort use Harry's blood in the ritual?
- Why would Wormtail sacrifice his hand? Could his flesh being used in the ritual change his relationship with either Harry or Voldemort? Explain.
- 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?
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.
- 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.
Chapter 33: The Death Eaters
Ignoring the weeping Wormtail, the newly-risen Lord Voldemort examines his new body closely. Producing his wand from a robe pocket, he orders Wormtail to extend his arm. Wormtail proffers his severed limb in relief, but Voldemort demands the one containing the Dark Mark. Peter utters a quiet "Master...", but at an order from The Dark Lord presents his remaining hand. Voldemort touches the Mark on Wormtail's forearm, turning it black, and Wormtail whimpers in pain. Voldemort tells Harry that he is standing on Riddle, Sr.'s grave, and the house on the hillside above them was his Muggle father's home. Tom Riddle, Sr. abandoned his pregnant mother, leaving Voldemort to be raised in an orphanage after his mother died. Voldemort vowed revenge on his father.
Hooded figures that Voldemort calls his "true" family begin appearing, forming a circle around the Dark Lord, Harry, and the sobbing Wormtail. Voldemort chastises them for believing him defeated and asks if they now owe their allegiance to Albus Dumbledore. When one Death Eater, Avery, pleads for forgiveness, Voldemort curses him. Voldemort never forgives, nor does he forget; he will want thirteen years repayment from all his Death Eaters. Wormtail has made some repayment and will be rewarded. Voldemort conjures a magical silver hand that attaches itself to Wormtail's wrist.
A Death Eater speaking with the smooth voice of Lucius Malfoy claims to have been loyal to Voldemort throughout his absence. Starting to walk around the circle of Death Eaters, Voldemort claims Malfoy ran from the Dark Mark at the Quidditch World Cup. Stopping at an empty space, Voldemort says the Lestranges, who were sentenced to Azkaban, will be rewarded when the prison is broken and the Dementors are recruited to the Dark side. Voldemort will also recall the banished Giants. Voldemort also addresses Macnair, Crabbe, Goyle, and Nott, then pauses at six empty spaces. Three dead in his service, one too cowardly to return, one may never return and needs to be killed. The sixth, his most faithful servant, has re-entered his service and is at Hogwarts. His efforts brought Harry Potter to Voldemort's rebirthing.
Voldemort explains that his return both starts and ends on the night he went to kill Harry Potter. Lily Potter's death while attempting to save her son gave Harry an unforeseen protection: Voldemort was unable to touch him. Voldemort touches Harry's face to prove this has been overcome. Lily's sacrifice caused Voldemort's killing curse to rebound, ripping his soul from his body. He was left alive, though less than a Ghost. He waited for his trusted Death Eaters to find him, and without a body or a wand, he could only possess other bodies, including animals. Four years ago, a young, gullible teacher at Hogwarts crossed his path. Voldemort possessed his body to steal the Philosopher's Stone, only to be thwarted by Harry Potter. When Voldemort fled, weak as before, he returned to the forest.
Wormtail came looking for Voldemort, aided by his ability to communicate with rats. He ran into Bertha Jorkins, a Ministry employee. Wormtail overpowered Bertha and brought her to Voldemort, who learned about the Triwizard Tournament and discovered that a faithful Death Eater was willing to help. When Bertha was no longer useful, Voldemort murdered her. Wormtail fashioned Voldemort a rudimentary body and kept him alive with Nagini's venom. Old Dark magic could restore Voldemort's body. One vital ingredient, the flesh of the servant, was readily available. The "bone of the father" meant the ritual had to be performed in Little Hangleton, where Tom Riddle was buried. The "blood of the foe" is Harry's blood. This would remove the Lily's protection so Voldemort could touch Harry without being harmed. To capture Harry, the Triwizard Cup was turned into a Portkey, and ensuring Harry's victory would remove him from Dumbledore's protection. Voldemort's faithful servant helped to accomplish this. To prove how defenceless Harry is, Voldemort casts the Cruciatus curse; Harry writhes in intense pain that stops as suddenly as it started. Voldemort offers Harry a chance to fight so the Death Eaters will see who is stronger.
By updating his Death Eaters about his exile, Voldemort confirms much that was surmised about him earlier in the series. He arrogantly considers himself superior to everyone, even believing that fate favors him more—he has overcome death itself. Voldemort also believes that Harry's repeated survival is nothing more than chance or luck, rather than any special talent. This belief in his own power, and the associated disregard of all others, would seem to be among Voldemort's greater flaws, and it is, we believe, one reason Harry has survived to this point.
Voldemort's maniacal personality is also on full display here as he lords over his cowering Death Eaters. Voldemort rules by fear and intimidation, punishing followers for any perceived mistake or disloyalty, often lashing out randomly in uncontrollable rage. And though Voldemort does reward loyalty, he does so sparingly and at a high cost; he also simultaneously punishes followers, as shown by his cruel indifference to Wormtail's suffering, even though Pettigrew was instrumental in bringing about Voldemort's resurrection. Voldemort replaces his severed hand only after a prolonged agonizing period, fully aware that Wormtail's servitude is only to protect himself, rather than out of loyalty to the Dark Lord. It will be a long time, if ever, before Wormtail's debt to Voldemort can be fully settled.
Voldemort also believes his supreme abilities will be proved beyond doubt by defeating Harry in a duel. It is questionable how Voldemort rationalizes to himself that defeating a young, unqualified wizard that Voldemort proclaims has no special talent will accomplish this. For the moment, Voldemort savors any opportunity to grandstand before his cowering Death Eater audience, and he intends to herald his return by slaying the famous Harry Potter, shocking the Wizarding world and undermining resistance to his takeover.
Just how Voldemort survived his first encounter with Harry thirteen years before is also hinted at here, though the full story is still unknown. Voldemort believes Harry survived the killing curse because old magic, powered by Lily Potter's maternal love and self-sacrifice, protected Harry. Readers have seen how new magic is constantly being invented (the Weasley twins are a prime example of this inventiveness), with many spells, charms, and hexes constantly falling in and out of fashion. Voldemort places great importance on it being ancient magic that protected Harry, indicating that it may grow stronger as it survives through the centuries, forgotten by many perhaps, but a powerful tool for those few wizards who know its existence. The ancient magic that saved Harry is also what ripped Voldemort's soul from his body when his Killing Curse rebounded off baby Harry. Harry is privy to this explanation only because Voldemort chooses to share it, perceiving Harry as being nearly powerless, and delighting in showing off his "superior" knowledge before killing him. If Harry can escape the cemetery, he will carry this valuable information back to Hogwarts and to Dumbledore.
Voldemort's "servant" who died after Voldemort failed to steal the Philosopher's Stone is obviously Professor Quirrell; this is our first complete confirmation that he died after Voldemort fled his body. We are also meant to surmise that the servant who is cowardly is Karkaroff, and the one at Hogwarts must be Snape.
- Which servant that died when Voldemort fled is he referring to?
- Why does Voldemort tell Harry what happened to him (Voldemort) after he was disembodied, why Harry survived the Avada Kedavra curse, how Lily's love protected her son, and so on?
- Voldemort had a body – an infantile one – when he is first seen. Where might it have come from?
- Why would Voldemort challenge Harry to a duel, rather than kill him outright?
- Why does Voldemort place such importance on it being "old magic" that protected Harry?
- Why does Voldemort consider the Death Eaters his "true family"? Are they? Explain.
- Voldemort says his Death Eaters knew he was still alive. How did he know this? Why wouldn't they have searched for him if they suspected he still lived?
- Why does Voldemort wait so long to replace Wormtail's hand and relieve his suffering? What does this say about how he treats his followers?
- Who might Voldemort's faithful servant at Hogwarts be? Snape, or someone else?
- Why does Voldemort call Harry "Harry", when most people other than his friends call him "Potter"?
As Voldemort struts around his Death Eaters, commenting on the gaps in the circle, he comes to the largest gap of all... "And here we have six missing Death Eaters ... three dead in my service. One, too cowardly to return ... he will pay. One, who I believe has left me forever ... he will be killed, of course ... and one, who remains my most faithful servant, and who has already re-entered my service. ... He is at Hogwarts, that faithful servant, and it was through his efforts that our young friend arrived tonight..." By withholding these Death Eaters' names, and by not completing the circle, the author leaves doubt as to who is being referred to here. We are led to believe, correctly, that it is Karkaroff who has run, but it is unclear whether he is the cowardly one, or the one who has left Voldemort's service forever. Being unaware of Barty Crouch at this point, we are misled into believing that the faithful servant who has already re-entered Voldemort's service is Severus Snape. And despite the revelation, two chapters ahead, of Barty's role in the events preceding this chapter, the casual reader may well retain this mistaken belief, and may see this particular scene as confirming Snape's continuing loyalty to the Dark Lord. In fact, the faithful servant is Barty, Karkaroff is the cowardly one, and it is Snape who Voldemort feels has left. Snape has been working at Dumbledore's side for the thirteen years since Voldemort vanished, he has not answered Voldemort's summons via the Dark Mark, and he assisted in preventing Voldemort from retrieving the Philosopher's Stone in the first book. After Snape appears to have rejoined Voldemort's service, his explanation to Bellatrix Lestrange regarding this last item will be that he was unaware that it was Voldemort seeking the Stone, believing instead that Quirrell wanted it for his own benefit alone. Voldemort, Snape says, accepted this explanation, and also his reason for not immediately responding to Voldemort's summons.
By having spared Wormtail's life (in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Harry can claim a "life debt" from him. Wormtail repays this debt in the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when he momentarily hesitates to kill Harry on Voldemort's command. Wormtail's actions result in his being fatally strangled by the silver hand Voldemort has just given him; Voldemort, who may have known that Wormtail owes Harry this debt, and certainly realizes how weak Wormtail's character is, apparently charmed the hand to kill Wormtail should he exhibit any disloyalty or fail to carry out any order. Note that after Voldemort gives Wormtail the silver hand, he says "May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail", which could be taken as a warning, and as an allusion both to Voldemort's perception that Wormtail has had disloyal thoughts in the past, and his suspicion that Wormtail may be disloyal to him in the future.
Voldemort here tells his gathered followers that he has "gone further than anybody along the path leading to immortality." Dumbledore has also theorized this about Voldemort, though he has yet to reveal his suspicions. Dumbledore has correctly concluded that Voldemort's "path leading to immortality" involves creating and concealing Horcruxes, soul shards that anchor a person's soul to the earth, and has recognized that Tom Riddle's Diary, seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is one such. In two years, he will tell Harry that he was worried, however, because ordinarily Horcruxes are considered extremely valuable and are carefully concealed; yet the Diary was crafted to be a weapon and was used as one. This is not how someone treats one's only shot at immortality. Thus, Dumbledore suspects that at least one more Horcrux exists, and this is largely confirmed by Voldemort's statement. Much of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince involves determining how many Horcruxes there are, and, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry will be tasked with finding and destroying the remainder.
- Though we never see their faces, Harry recognizes the voices of a few Death Eaters, and Voldemort names some as well – which would seem to make the hooded robes superfluous. This is confirmation that Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, and Nott, all fathers of students in Harry's year at Hogwarts, plus Avery and Macnair, are active Death Eaters. We already knew Pettigrew's allegiance, of course. Our, and Harry's, new certainty over the identity of Voldemort's minions, will help in understanding of their motives throughout the story arc.
- While it is not named, and the association with the Diary is not made here, this is the first mention of a technique for surviving death, and its side effects. We will learn that the mechanism involved is called a Horcrux, that the Diary was one, and that there remain five others. The hunt for the remaining Horcruxes will comprise a major part of the final two books.
- While Voldemort is correct when he says that his use of Harry's blood eliminates his inability to touch Harry without damage, he is incorrect in his further statement that it also eliminates Harry's invulnerability to Voldemort's curses. This will be touched on later in this book, and finally in the final book of the series. We will then learn that in fact it had renewed Harry's protection from Voldemort.
Chapter 34: Priori Incantatem
As ordered, Wormtail removes Harry's gag and cuts his bonds. Harry considers running, but his leg, injured by the giant spider in the maze, is too weak, and Death Eaters are closing in. Wormtail retrieves Harry's wand, as Voldemort explains dueling etiquette, forcing Harry to bow. Then Harry feels unbelievable pain as Voldemort casts the Cruciatus curse. Voldemort then casts the Imperius curse and is impressed when Harry resists it. As Voldemort raises his wand again, Harry ducks behind Tom Riddle's gravestone.
Voldemort asks if Harry wants to end it quickly. Harry, refusing to die while crouched subserviently, rises and casts the Disarmament jinx, as Voldemort hurls the killing curse. The wands' streams connect in mid-air, fusing into a single, golden beam. Harry and Voldemort are lifted into the air and set down some distance away. A dome of golden light surrounds them. Voldemort, taken aback by this, orders the Death Eaters to do nothing. Harry hears a familiar sound: a Phoenix song. It reminds Harry of Dumbledore and seems to say Don't break the connection. Beads of golden light appear on the wands' connection. As one approaches Harry, he feels his wand heat up and fears it will explode. Concentrating, he forces the bead away, moving it towards Voldemort. As a bead reaches Voldemort's wand, screams are heard, and a smoky replica of Wormtail's silvery hand appears. Another bead is forced into Voldemort's wand, and amid screams, Cedric's ghostly image emerges from Voldemort's wand.
Harry grips his wand tightly as, amidst more screams, Cedric is joined by an old man that Harry saw in a dream, and Bertha Jorkins. Harry's father and mother appear next; Voldemort grows fearful as his victims prowl around him. Lily Potter quietly tells Harry that when the wands' connection is broken their spirit echoes can only remain a few moments to protect him; he must use the time to escape to the Triwizard Cup Portkey. Cedric requests that his body be returned to his parents. At his father's command, Harry breaks the connection. The golden dome disappears as the spirits converge on Voldemort. Dodging curses, Harry sprints to Cedric's body and Summons the Triwizard Cup. As it touches his hand, he is pulled from the graveyard, hearing Voldemort's furious screams as he is whisked to Hogwarts.
Themes of life, death, and rebirth are seen throughout the series as Harry is confronted by, and struggles with, not only loss and grief, but a tantalizing hope that magic can restore dead loved ones to him, just as it has resurrected Voldemort. This hope to be reunited with his parents is reborn by Harry's encounter with their spirit echoes, released from Voldemort's wand. For the first time, Harry is able to communicate directly with James and Lily, and they, in turn, are able to protect their son. Even though their powers may be limited, the shades are unafraid – Voldemort can no longer harm them, though he apparently fears them. He also now fears Harry who, by force of will, forced the interlocking magical streams backwards into Voldemort's wand, a feat Voldemort never anticipated. The Potters and the other spirits disgorged from Voldemort's wand were, collectively, able to protect Harry long enough for him to escape as they perpetrated their retribution upon Voldemort for having stolen their lives.
Throughout the series, Ghosts have mostly been seen as benign but ineffectual spirits floating through Hogwarts, seemingly limited to observing the living world, occasionally providing important information, but unable to actively participate in human affairs. Here it is shown that spirits actually can play a more significant role by directly influencing events from beyond the grave. Harry may also have been aided by a living person – Dumbledore is mentioned in the Phoenix song. If Dumbledore is somehow communicating with Harry, then it is logical to conclude that it was Fawkes' song that Harry heard. Could Fawkes have detected Harry's danger, just as he did in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? This may be what occurred here, though there could be an additional reason why it was Fawkes' song that was heard, one that may be tied to something that both Harry and Voldemort possess.
It is unclear yet if these spirit echoes are actually Ghosts or something else. Also, the order in which Voldemort's victims appear from the wand is slightly wrong. Harry's father died first, and therefore should have emerged last from Voldemort's wand. The author has stated that she had originally written it that way, but her American editor, who was almost always right about such details, had questioned it at the end of a marathon editing session, and short on sleep, she had agreed to change it. Later editions correct this mistake, and the canon order is that James appears last.
This is the first time that Harry and Voldemort actually duel. Before this, the disembodied Voldemort had ordered others to fight for him. Also, Voldemort has, presumably, killed more people with his wand than is shown here. Dumbledore states later in the novel that more victims would have appeared had the connection between the wands been held for longer.
- Why does Voldemort fear the spirits? Does he also fear Harry? If so, why?
- Why are Harry and Voldemort's wands considered "brothers"?
- Why does Harry hear the Phoenix song? Why does it remind him of Dumbledore?
- What causes the streams from Harry and Voldemort's wands to interconnect? Who and what are the images that spill out from Voldemort's wand?
Why does Harry hear the Phoenix song? Recall what lies within his wand's core: one of only two tail feathers from a particular Phoenix. The other feather is within Voldemort's wand, making them "brothers." The Phoenix who gave the feathers, as will be revealed shortly, is Fawkes. We will also learn that the effect that Harry experienced, the so-called "priori incantatem" effect, is triggered by two wands, having the same origin for their cores and thus being "brothers," dueling. The effect is similar to that caused by the Prior Incantato charm.
The images seen during the Priori Incantatem are not actually Ghosts, but the "spirit echoes" or shades of victims killed with Voldemort's wand, though each person's essence is retained somewhat. A wand records the former spells that it has performed, and under certain circumstances, those spells can be shown in the reverse order they were cast. In this case, the wand's retrieved spell is the killing curse, which separates soul from body, so the spell's echo represents the separated soul.
Harry was able to force the beads of light back into Voldemort's wand because he is the stronger wizard. Much later, Dumbledore will tell Harry that Voldemort was weaker in that instance because he feared death, while Harry was prepared for it. He will also tell Harry that at this encounter, Harry's wand had taken some of the power inherent in Voldemort's wand. The exact effect that this would have, however, was unsure; it is the deepest sort of wand lore, something that was nearly impossible to study or predict.
Voldemort does not expect, and is clearly taken aback, by the Priori Incantatem effect. This is a very unusual event, as holders of "brother" wands seldom duel with each other, so his, and the Death Eaters', unfamiliarity with it is not surprising. To Voldemort, it is impossible that Harry could be the stronger wizard; nobody except Dumbledore could possibly be stronger than he is. So Harry's being able to force this effect must be due to something else; as Harry stands alone at this moment, it must be his wand. This idea will prey on Voldemort for two years. In the final book, after torturing the facts of the matter out of Mr. Ollivander, he will state that it is Harry's wand that is the source of Harry's power, and will devote himself to finding a wand that will work against it. Harry will, for most of the book, believe the same thing, and will be distraught when his wand is accidentally broken.
This is the first time Harry duels Voldemort directly, but it is not the last; while he has fought Voldemort before, once it was through the medium of another wizard, Professor Quirrell, and once it was the young Tom Riddle, via the Horcrux. He will duel Voldemort again in the next book, and once (though encountering him twice without actually dueling him) in the final book.
- This is the point where Voldemort begins to fear, not Harry, but his wand. Voldemort will continue to believe, apparently, that Harry is merely lucky; but starting with this occasion, Voldemort will come to believe that it is Harry's wand that he must somehow counter.
- The provenance of the core of Harry's wand, first alluded to in the first book, here plays a major role in the battle. The exact provenance will be mentioned two chapters ahead, and awareness of that linkage will inform much of Voldemort's actions in the final book.
Chapter 35: Veritaserum
Reappearing at the maze's edge, still clutching the Triwizard cup and Cedric's body, Harry finds himself overwhelmed by noise. Amidst the confusion and shouts that Diggory is dead, the Minister for Magic claims that Cedric is only injured, while Professor Dumbledore tells Harry to stay put. Harry, dazed, is lifted and guided by Professor Moody to his office. Once inside, Moody questions him about Voldemort's return. Harry remembers that he must tell Dumbledore that a Death Eater at Hogwarts, Karkaroff, put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire. Moody states that he placed Harry's name in the Goblet, stunning Harry. It was Moody who entered Harry's name, nudged Hagrid into showing Harry the dragons, and gave Harry the hint on how to beat them. Moody gave Neville the Herbology book containing information Harry needed for the Second Task, and when that failed, had made sure Dobby passed it on. It was Moody who Stunned Fleur Delacour in the maze and put Krum under the Imperius curse in an attempt to eliminate Cedric.
Three approaching figures appear in the Foe-Glass behind Moody. As Moody is about to fatally curse Harry, Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape burst in and Stun Moody. At Dumbledore's request, Snape leaves to fetch truth serum and Winky, while McGonagall is dispatched to take the large black dog in Hagrid's pumpkin patch to Dumbledore's office. Dumbledore opens Moody's trunk, revealing multiple compartments within. The true Alastor Moody is trapped inside the last one. Stunned and under the Imperius curse, he is weak but still alive. The impostor's hip flask contains Polyjuice Potion; as its power runs out, the false Moody transforms into his true identity—Barty Crouch Jr.
Snape arrives with the serum and Winky, who immediately confirms that the impostor is Barty. When McGonagall returns, Dumbledore administers the Veritaserum to Barty, then resuscitates him. Crouch confesses his part in the past year's events. It was Bartemius Crouch, Sr. and his wife who instigated Barty Jr.'s escape from Azkaban. Mrs. Crouch was terminally ill, and as her dying wish, asked Bartemius to free Barty from prison. While visiting their son in prison, she and Barty Jr. switched identities using Polyjuice potion. Mrs. Crouch died soon after (that is who Sirius saw the Dementors burying). Barty Jr. was confined to his father's home, concealed under an Invisibility Cloak and controlled by the Imperius curse to prevent him returning to Voldemort. Winky, the Crouch's House-elf, helped care for him. When Bertha Jorkins, who worked for Bartemius, unexpectedly visited the Crouch home while Bartemius was gone, she discovered Barty Jr. hidden there. Bartemius charmed Jorkins' memory, erasing what she knew. She was later transferred to Ludo Bagman's department, but the charm caused continuing memory problems.
Winky persuaded Bartemius Crouch Sr. to allow Barty to attend the Quidditch World Cup, hidden under an Invisibility Cloak. There, he escaped, stole a wand (Harry's), and cast the Dark Mark. Bartemius, as a result, dismissed Winky and recaptured Barty, returning him to the Crouch home and restraining him more forcefully. Bertha Jorkins, earlier, had run into Wormtail while vacationing, and was forcibly brought to Voldemort. Voldemort unlocked the memory charm and discovered that Barty Jr. was captive in his father's home. He also learned about the Triwizard Tournament and devised the plot to capture Harry. After murdering Jorkins, Wormtail and Voldemort traveled to London. They freed Barty Jr. and placed Bartemius under an Imperius spell, forcing him to continue working as normal. Barty Jr. and Wormtail then captured the real Mad-Eye Moody and placed him under the Imperius spell; Barty Jr. used Polyjuice Potion to assume Moody's identity, while Moody was kept alive to supply raw materials for more potion, and to provide Barty with information. Barty procured potion ingredients from Snape's office, claiming he (as Moody) was under orders to search it. When Voldemort judged it was no longer safe to allow people to see Bartemius Crouch, he imprisoned Crouch Sr. in his own home. The Ministry of Magic, meanwhile, believed Crouch Sr. was home sick and sending instructions by owl post to his assistant, Percy Weasley. When Crouch Sr. was able to break Wormtail's Imperius spell (because Wormtail "neglected his duty") and escape to Hogwarts to warn Dumbledore, Barty Jr. tracked his father using the Marauder's Map he had previously borrowed from Harry, murdered him, and hidden the body.
Finally, Barty admits that, while he was placing the Triwizard Cup inside the maze, he had charmed it into a Portkey that transported Harry to the Dark Lord; Voldemort will now honor him above all other wizards.
The Veritaserum, as Snape had promised when threatening Harry, has revealed many truths. And while this chapter solves many mysteries regarding Harry and Voldemort, it also reveals just how vulnerable Harry actually is. The comforting notion throughout the series that Harry is protected as long as he is within Hogwarts's secure walls has been forever dispelled by Barty Crouch's clever deception that allowed him direct access to Harry. From here on, Harry will have difficulty finding a completely safe haven. Now that Voldemort has fully regained his body, Harry expects he will execute another attack as soon as possible. Voldemort's power, we expect, will begin spreading as well, quietly and methodically seeping into nearly all Wizarding areas, taking hold in key institutions until he has gained total control.
Also, Harry's earlier wish to compete as a Triwizard Champion came to fruition, but the experience was far from what he could have imagined. Now Harry must cope with the tragic aftermath, forever haunted by knowing that rather than being the celebrated hero, he was instead duped and manipulated into a bogus victory that cost Cedric Diggory his life. Harry had also placed his trust and admiration in (the fake) Alastor Moody, but having been so horribly deceived, he may never again ever fully trust anyone to be who or what they seem. Harry's relationship with Dumbledore may also be affected. Dumbledore has always seemed invincible, but his failure to detect Barty Crouch and to fully protect Harry exposes a chink in his otherwise infallible power. As the newly reborn Voldemort gains strength, is Dumbledore growing weaker with age? It is unclear if that is what is happening here, but Dumbledore failing to anticipate someone being able to breach Hogwarts' tight security is surprising, especially considering how both Sirius Black (on multiple occasions in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and, more recently, Rita Skeeter, both so easily slipped into the castle undetected. In fact, Harry has never truly been completely safe at Hogwarts, only safer than outside its walls.
Cornelius Fudge, meanwhile, ineptly attempts to implement damage control, claiming Cedric is not dead, merely injured. While he may be attempting to shield the Diggorys, feeling it would be inappropriate to inform them their son has been killed when such a large audience is present, he is also protecting his and the Ministry's public image. This attempt to either spin or minimize bad news is classic behaviour for a politician, and we can expect more of it in upcoming chapters.
It is also interesting that Barty Jr., as Professor Moody, taught students how to repel an Imperius curse, which he presumably mastered while detained in his father's house. As reprehensible and evil as Crouch Jr. was, he was apparently a good Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, though almost certainly some of his Defence information was forced from the real Alastor Moody, who was kept captive in his office.
Some readers have been troubled that Voldemort's plan seems extremely convoluted, with multiple points of failure, to achieve one objective: Harry Potter's solo arrival in the Little Hangleton cemetery at a specific time. Having won Dumbledore's trust, the bogus Moody could have, at any time, given Harry a Portkey. Clearly, this would have caused some problem for the author, as the series quite plainly is designed to cover the seven years of Harry's education, with a climax happening at or near the end of each school year. The author must have determined a logical reason why Voldemort would have chosen so involved a plan for such a simple outcome in order to make her story timing work while also entertaining readers with a more sophisticated and exciting plot. While her reasons are never revealed, we can speculate. Voldemort seems to be a particularly vindictive sort; we have seen him torturing his followers for many real or imagined slights. It seems entirely plausible that Voldemort would be amused by bringing Harry to defeat and death immediately after he won a major competition, particularly if Harry was informed that his "victory" had been engineered, rather than achieved by his own efforts. In this light, what is perhaps most surprising is that it was not Voldemort who told Harry this, but Moody/Barty. However, considering this may be Voldemort's only opportunity to resurrect his body using Harry's blood, that reasoning seems risky and self-indulgent. Of course, we also know that Voldemort believes himself infallible; it is possible that he simply cannot comprehend that there is a possibility of failure, unless some underling fails him. We will also note that potion preparation can take significant time, as we saw with the Polyjuice Potion in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; the delay in getting Harry to Little Hangleton may well have been specifically to allow time for Wormtail to finish the preparation for the potion that restores Voldemort to his body.
The student of writing should pay attention to Professor Snape through the course of this episode, and particularly the techniques used by the author to draw attention away from his behaviour.
- Why did Crouch, Sr. keep Barty Jr. hidden and forcibly restrained in his home? How was the situation later reversed?
- Why does Moody immediately take Harry to his office?
- Is Barty Crouch's confession truthful? Explain.
- Why was Sirius (in his Animagus dog form) in Hagrid's pumpkin patch?
- What prompts Fudge to claim that Cedric Diggory is only injured and not, in fact, dead?
- How did Professor Dumbledore know that Moody was an impostor and that Harry was in danger?
- Why did Bartemius Crouch, Sr., a powerful and trustworthy Ministry official who disowned his son, Barty, Jr. for being a Death Eater and sentenced him to life in Azkaban, later help him escape from prison? Who else was involved and why?
- Why did Winky want Mr. Crouch to take Barty Jr. to the Quidditch World Cup? Why would he have agreed to such a risky venture?
- How did Dumbledore know to send for Winky before the impostor Moody turned back into Barty Jr?
As a side note, it is interesting that Jorkins' memory problems seem somewhat similar to Neville Longbottom's. Is it possible that he could have been likewise charmed as a small child? If he was, why or by whom is unknown. One possibility is that his grandmother Augusta could have charmed him to prevent what happened to his parents from haunting him. If that is the case, it is also worth noting that Professor McGonagall later mentions that Augusta failed her Charms O.W.L. exam. Considering Neville's increasingly important role in the later books, it seems possible he may unknowingly hold important information someone wants to remain concealed, though this is only speculation. It may be that his memory and magical abilities were affected by the extreme trauma in his life, resulting in his development in these areas being stunted. Regardless, Neville constantly struggles to break through an ever-present fog that clouds his memory and affects his magical powers. If his memory has been tampered with, it may be nearly impossible to break the charm without causing permanent damage, as was the case with Bertha Jorkins.
Neville's memory problems will plague him throughout the series, though, with Harry's help, he gradually surmounts this handicap, as well as his magical impairment, to develop into a capable wizard. However, the source of his memory problems is never actually explained, and whether it was from early childhood trauma, a dark spell, his family's overly applied attempts to erase traumatic memories, or some other cause remains unknown, nor does it play a significant role in the story's eventual outcome.
In considering Fudge's motives for minimizing Cedric's condition, it should be remembered that Fudge is the consummate politician, interested in retaining power for power's sake only. It is only natural that he would "spin" any situation into something less negative to protect his chances for retaining his office. When Harry first returns with Cedric's body, Fudge maintains that Cedric was only injured, not only to protect Cedric's parents, but partly to prevent mass panic, and mostly to protect his own interests. Fudge desperately wants to avoid the Triwizard Tournament, which he was instrumental in reviving, being remembered as resulting in a student's death.
Adding further insult both to Cedric's memory and Harry's heroism, the Ministry will later claim that Diggory's death was nothing more than a tragic accident. We will see shortly that Fudge has basically turned the Ministry into a mouthpiece for himself, and directly or otherwise is now the source of almost all of the Ministry's statements. Like many politicians, Fudge has lost the long view, forgetting that no matter what he says here, Cedric's death will be always be remembered. Fudge will also dispute Harry's claims that Voldemort has returned. Again, Fudge is unable to face being known as the Minister who was in power when Voldemort returned, so he must deny, first, that Voldemort has returned, second, that Voldemort killed Cedric, and finally, that Voldemort was involved in Mr. Crouch's mysterious illness. This refusal to believe, and then to act, will prove important in the next book, resulting in repercussions against Harry, Professor Dumbledore, and Hogwarts. The Ministry's continued inactivity, combined with Voldemort's determination to remain hidden, will also make it easier for the Dark Lord to regroup his Death Eaters' core members.
The reader should note that Dumbledore has chosen McGonagall and Snape to assist him against the false Moody. We also note that Snape is quite clearly on Dumbledore's side, rather than Barty's. The revelations in the cemetery two chapters before, and the ongoing drama of this chapter's sudden revelations, will either prevent the casual reader seeing this, or will allow him to dismiss it as Snape dissimulating because he is under Dumbledore's eye. This is another instance of this author's skill at misdirection.
There is surprisingly little in this chapter that will tie in to other books in the series. The drama of this chapter largely stands on its own, referring back as it does only to events in this book.
- Veritaserum, first mentioned earlier in this book, will appear in the next book; at that time, it will be implied that an attempt had been made to use it on Harry somewhat earlier.
Chapter 36: The Parting of the Ways
At Professor Dumbledore's orders, Professor McGonagall is left to guard the bound Barty Crouch, while Professor Snape arranges for the real Alastor Moody to be sent to the Hospital wing, and then will fetch Cornelius Fudge to interrogate Barty. Professor Dumbledore and Harry head to the Headmaster's office where, over Sirius Black's protest that Harry is exhausted, Dumbledore requires that Harry recount what happened in the cemetery. Fawkes' Phoenix song gives Harry strength.
Dumbledore and Sirius seem shocked that Wormtail used Harry's blood for the charm, giving Voldemort the ability to touch Harry. Surprisingly, we see a brief triumphant gleam in Dumbledore's eyes when he hears this, but he only comments that Voldemort has overcome that particular barrier.
Dumbledore explains that Harry's and Voldemort's wands connecting was the Priori Incantatem effect. Harry's and Voldemort's wands both contain Fawkes' tail feathers, and when wands sharing a common magical core are forced to duel, one wand will disgorge its most recent spells. Harry confirms that Cedric appeared, as well as an old man, Bertha Jorkins, and his father and mother. These figures, says Dumbledore, are not Ghosts, but only the spirit echoes or shadows that were created by Voldemort's victims when Voldemort's wand killed them.
When Harry is unable to continue, Fawkes flutters to the floor next to him, shedding healing tears onto the wound in Harry's leg. Dumbledore praises Harry for showing exceptional bravery against Voldemort. Sirius then transforms into a dog and accompanies Harry and Dumbledore to the infirmary. There, Mrs. Weasley, Bill Weasley, Ron, and Hermione are waiting. Moody is resting in a bed. Insisting Harry needs sleep, Dumbledore says all questions can wait until morning. He informs Madam Pomfrey that the dog will stay with Harry. Harry is given a purple potion and falls asleep even before he can finish it.
Loud voices awaken Harry as Cornelius Fudge, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape burst in. McGonagall is berating Fudge as he demands to speak to Dumbledore. Dumbledore enters, surprised that McGonagall left Barty Crouch Jr. unguarded. McGonagall shouts that the Dementor Fudge brought sensed Barty and has sucked out his soul. Fudge claims Crouch was no loss, though Dumbledore points out Barty is now unable to testify or verify that Voldemort has returned. Fudge denies that the Dark Lord has been resurrected, claiming Harry is a less than reliable witness and suffers from hallucinations. Fudge also discounts that Harry can identify Death Eaters, claiming the names are public record. Announcing that Voldemort has returned would only undermine everything the Ministry has been working towards the past thirteen years.
Dumbledore avers that if Fudge accepts that truth and acts now, they may be able to salvage the situation. First, the Dementors must be removed from Azkaban. Next, envoys have to be sent to the Giants. Fudge refuses Dumbledore's suggestions, as he would be voted out immediately. Dumbledore believes Fudge is blind to reality, and says if they have reached an impasse, then they must part ways.
Fudge claims Dumbledore is working against him, but Dumbledore replies he is only fighting Voldemort. Even Snape showing Fudge the now black Dark Mark on his arm and saying that this is why Karkaroff bolted does nothing to change Fudge's mind. Fudge places Harry's Tournament winnings on the table and leaves.
After Fudge departs, Dumbledore begins assigning missions, starting by asking Mrs. Weasley if he can depend on her and Mr. Weasley. At her confirmation, Bill Weasley volunteers to tell his father and leaves. Dumbledore dispatches Professor McGonagall to fetch Hagrid and Madame Maxime to his office. He sends Madam Pomfrey to tend to Winky, who is still with Crouch. Dumbledore tells Sirius to return to his human shape, then requires that he and Snape put aside their dislike for each other and cooperate. Dumbledore sends Sirius to alert the "old crowd": Mundungus Fletcher, Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg, and to then lay low at Lupin's. Dumbledore then sends Snape on a mission they previously discussed.
After Dumbledore leaves, Harry frets about the Tournament prize, blaming himself for Cedric's death and wanting to give the Diggorys half. Mrs. Weasley tells him not to worry about it, but she is interrupted by a loud slamming. Next to the window, Hermione apologizes for the noise. Harry takes the remaining sleeping potion and finally falls asleep.
As many questions are answered, new ones arise, and the characters must now deal with the dire aftermath that Voldemort's return has created. To prepare for the impending war he knows is coming and cannot be stopped, Dumbledore's only recourse, given the Ministry's total lack of cooperation, is to quickly regroup his former allies. Reiterating the book's theme that evil can only be defeated through mutual cooperation, Dumbledore requests that Snape and Sirius set aside their hatred and work together to fight Voldemort. They grudgingly agree, but whether they can maintain a truce seems much less certain to the reader than to Dumbledore. The handshake he forces from them is, at least to the reader, a declaration of an armed truce rather than any actual cessation of hostilities. We also have no concrete evidence yet that Snape truly is loyal to Dumbledore, though Dumbledore's faith in him never seems to waver. Dumbledore's unawareness of the continuing hostility between Snape and Sirius, in fact, seems to suggest that Snape could easily mislead him as to his actual allegiance.
As mentioned, Dumbledore's efforts to defeat Voldemort are stymied by the complete lack of cooperation from Cornelius Fudge and the Ministry of Magic. We can see that Fudge is preparing to vehemently deny publicly that the Dark Lord has returned, an action that will only aid Voldemort's rise to power. Fudge allowing (or perhaps ordering) the Dementor to administer the Kiss to Barty Crouch is not only shocking and likely illegal, but it suggests he could be a Voldemort accomplice or that he is in such extreme denial about unfolding events that he will use any means to protect himself and the Ministry, including using a Dementor to suck out Crouch's soul so he is unable to corroborate Harry's claims, as well as hurling accusations that Harry hallucinated everything. Even if Harry is administered Veritaserum, the Ministry might then argue that Harry actually believes his hallucinations are the truth. Fudge's action, we can already see, will result in an acrimonious and irreparable split between him and Dumbledore, and also between Dumbledore and the Ministry of Magic.
Though it is not explicitly called out in the text, it seems that it is during Fudge's argument with Dumbledore about the truth of Harry's accusations that Harry's perspective of the Ministry of Magic first starts to change from belief in its benevolence to distrust of its motivation. Despite Hagrid's comments about Ministry bungling in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry seems to retain a belief in the Ministry having the good of wizards as its primary motive up to this point. In Fudge's struggles to keep power in the face of danger, Harry now perceives that it is politics that rules the Ministry, and that their supposed concern for the Wizarding world is, at best, a veneer. We can expect that this mature distrust of the Ministry and its motives will increase through the next few books.
Dumbledore's comments about the Dementors and Giants may, on initial reading, seem to be guesses. However, a re-reading of the earlier chapter where Voldemort was telling the Death Eaters his plans will show that in fact Voldemort explicitly mentioned them in front of Harry. We don't hear them mentioned in Dumbledore's office, but the author skips over Harry's recounting of the events that took place in the cemetery, as they happened so recently. This is actually a strength in the writing; why tell your readers what they already know? The reader who is studying the books will note that the author has done this before; one of her strengths is in picking out, and explicitly telling us, what we need to know while eliding the unnecessary.
The "gleam of triumph" in Dumbledore's eyes when he learns that Harry's blood was used in Voldemort's reanimation has been endlessly discussed by fans. Of course, this blood tie creates yet an additional connection between Harry and Voldemort, and it can be assumed from Dumbledore's reaction that it may actually somehow weaken the Dark Lord. However, this is still speculation, and it is yet unknown just how it will affect the story's outcome. All that is known is Voldemort claiming that his greatest enemy's blood will make him stronger; it is debatable, however, as to just who his greatest enemy actually is: Harry or Dumbledore.
Fawkes is relatively central to the scene in Dumbledore's office. We learn that this is the Phoenix who donated the tail feathers that lie within Harry and Voldemort's wands; additionally, it is Fawkes who gives Harry the strength to retell his story, and provides the tears to heal his injured leg.
It is unknown just what Hermione was doing by the hospital window at this chapter's conclusion, but it will prove to be meaningful later.
Also, while Harry feels guilty and responsible for Cedric's death, it is probable that he would have been doomed anyway. Cedric would have reached the Triwizard Cup first, but, grateful for Harry's help, wanted Harry to take it. Harry instead insisted they grab it together because they helped each other equally throughout the Tournament. If Cedric alone had grasped it, he would have been transported to the cemetery rather than Harry, and, being useless to Voldemort's rebirth, likely would have been instantly murdered on Voldemort's command, rather than returned to the maze or allowed to live. Harry had no way to know that touching the trophy was intended to be fatal, but we can clearly see that it was Voldemort's intent to murder Harry, and that Voldemort would have ordered Pettigrew to kill anyone who happened to either replace Harry or accompany him.
- Why would Fudge allow a Dementor to administer the Kiss to Barty Crouch? Were his actions legal?
- What is the significance of the mark on Snape's forearm?
- Why does Harry feel he is responsible for Cedric's death? Is he justified in believing so?
- Cedric would have reached the Triwizard Cup first. What would have happened if he alone had grabbed it?
- Why does Fawkes only sing a single note to Harry when he is in Dumbledore's office? How does it affect Harry? What else does Fawkes do that helps Harry?
- Why is Harry given a potion for "dreamless" sleep?
- Who and what might the "old crowd" be that Dumbledore is referring to?
- Harry shows no reaction when Dumbledore mentions someone named Arabella Figg. Should he?
- What missions might Dumbledore assign to Hagrid and Olympe Maxime? What sort of mission will Snape be sent on?
- Why might Hermione be making such a commotion next to the hospital window? Why does she say nothing about it?
- Snape and Sirius loathe each other. Is it possible that they can suppress their mutual hatred and work together as Dumbledore has requested?
- Why does Dumbledore have a "gleam of triumph" in his eyes after Harry tells him Voldemort used some of Harry's blood for his reanimation?
It is mentioned above that this would seem to be the point where Harry starts to distrust the motivation of the Ministry. This distrust will be brought to a head by the actions of the Ministry in the opening chapters of the next book, actions culminating in a hearing at the Ministry which seems to have aspects of a show trial. At the opening of the sixth book, it will become apparent that a change of helm at the Ministry has, theoretically, aligned them more closely with Harry's world-view, but he will remain skeptical. It will eventually culminate in Harry refusing a request from the Ministry to be seen to endorse the current hard-line policy, a policy that Harry feels has resulted in imprisonment of innocents.
After Fudge's departure, Dumbledore begins dispatching various people on separate missions. The missions, only hinted at here, are fully explained in later books. Bill Weasley updates his father, Arthur Weasley, as to what has happened. Mr. Weasley, along with Mrs. Weasley, will be working within the Ministry of Magic. Hagrid and Olympe Maxime will seek out and parley with the Giants in an attempt to persuade them to join Dumbledore, or at least remain neutral. During Voldemort's previous reign, Dumbledore headed the Order of the Phoenix, a group outside the Ministry who opposed Voldemort; Sirius has been sent to alert former Order of the Phoenix members, including Remus Lupin, Mundungus Fletcher, and Arabella Figg to reactivate that group. Lupin later infiltrates and spies on a Werewolf pack headed by the particularly vicious Fenrir Greyback, who has formed an alliance with Voldemort. And Snape is apparently sent to re-establish contact with Voldemort, though this is unknown to us until two books later.
It is hardly surprising that Harry fails to recognize Arabella Figg's name; neither he, nor most readers, have yet to connect her with batty, old Mrs. Figg with all her cats back in Privet Drive. She is later revealed to be a Squib, and she has been guarding Harry since he first arrived at the Dursleys.
Hermione has just discovered how Rita Skeeter is able to "bug" so many private conversations; she is, in fact, an unregistered Animagus, transforming into a beetle – almost a literal fly on the wall, an enviable ability for any journalist. The commotion Hermione was making next to the infirmary window was her trapping Skeeter in a jar. Hermione will use this knowledge to effectively blackmail Skeeter out of writing scurrilous pieces about Harry in the next book, and will also use it to compel Skeeter to write an honest interview with Harry about Harry's experience in the Cemetery in February of that year.
It is learned in the final book that the "triumphant gleam" in Dumbledore's eyes is when he realizes that Harry's blood that now flows within Voldemort's body will actually protect Harry from Voldemort, a fact unknown to the Dark Lord when he reanimated himself. Dumbledore explains that when Voldemort used Harry's blood, he also transferred the protection that had been conferred on Harry by Lily's sacrifice; thus, Harry now cannot die, at least not at Voldemort's wand, as long as this embodiment of Voldemort is alive. We believe that this is the point where Dumbledore gave Snape the job of reinforcing, in Voldemort's mind, the idea that Voldemort had to kill Harry himself. We will see Snape reiterate this belief to other Death Eaters a number of times; clearly, in this book, it had not yet become gospel, or Barty Crouch Jr. would not have believed that his murdering Harry would have made him Voldemort's most trusted lieutenant.
At the same time, Dumbledore revisits the duel in the cemetery and the Priori Incantatem effect. While it is never stated here, and the implication is masked by the ongoing revelations, Dumbledore later indicates that the stronger wizard can force the weaker wizard's wand to disgorge its most recent spells. This leads us to believe that Harry is, in fact, a stronger wizard than Voldemort, a belief the reader may have already arrived at in seeing the Priori Incantatem effect in the earlier chapter. Dumbledore will confirm this, saying that Harry was the stronger because he was prepared for death, while Voldemort feared it. It cannot be mentioned in this chapter, however, that Harry is the stronger, because Harry is not prepared to believe it. If Harry did believe himself to be the stronger wizard, it is uncertain how he would continue, though we expect that overconfidence would likely doom him. It could certainly make him a less sympathetic hero, and so would badly weaken the book.
- Harry providing the blood for Voldemort's reanimation spell, which occurred earlier in this book, will provide Harry with ongoing protection against spells cast by Voldemort. While Dumbledore recognizes this immediately on hearing of it, it will remain unknown to Harry and Voldemort, only being revealed near the end of the final book.
- This is the first time that any connection between the Wizarding World and old Mrs. Figg is hinted at. While she is first mentioned early in the first book, her connection to the Wizarding world will only be made explicit at the start of the next book.
- It is here that Hermione traps the Transformed Rita Skeeter. Her knowledge of Skeeter's status as an unregistered Animagus will allow her to reign in Skeeter's scurrilous writing about Harry, and also will allow her to force an honest, unslanted interview out of Skeeter at one point.
Chapter 37: The Beginning
Harry's worst memory from the few days he spends in the Hospital Wing is of Cedric Diggory's parents. They never seemed angry, and instead thanked Harry for returning Cedric's body. They expressed relief that Cedric did not suffer, and died only after winning the Tournament. Harry offered them the Tournament winnings, saying Cedric would have reached the Cup first, but they had refused.
After Harry returns to Gryffindor Tower, Ron and Hermione tell him that Professor Dumbledore has instructed the school to avoid asking Harry any questions about the Tournament. Harry, Ron, and Hermione reach their own tacit agreement to avoid discussing it. Ron says his mother has invited Harry to stay at The Burrow for the summer, but Dumbledore told her Harry must first spend time at Privet Drive. Mrs. Weasley assumes Dumbledore has his reasons.
The only person Harry feels he can confide in is Hagrid, who is pleased to see him, Ron, and Hermione. When Harry notices a second bucket-sized teacup on the table, Hagrid admits Madame Maxime was there. Hagrid tells Harry he knew Voldemort would eventually return, and that Harry did as much as his father would have, and there is no higher praise than that. Harry smiles for the first time in days. Hagrid is unable to reveal anything about Dumbledore's mission, though Hagrid has nearly convinced Madame Maxime to join him. He jokingly invites the Trio to visit the last Skrewt.
The Leaving Feast is a sad affair; the Great Hall is draped in black. Professor Karkaroff is still missing, but the real Alastor Moody is there, looking jumpy, and Professor Snape has returned from his mission. Harry remembers from the Pensieve that Professor Dumbledore told the Wizengamot that Snape became a spy at great personal risk before Voldemort's fall, and wonders what Snape's mission could have been. Dumbledore rises to address the school, starting with a tribute to Cedric Diggory. Dumbledore believes students have the right to know that Lord Voldemort murdered Cedric, though the Ministry denies that. Dumbledore then toasts Harry, as do most in the Great Hall, though Draco and his cronies do not.
Finally, Dumbledore singles out the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students, saying that due to Voldemort's return, they are welcome at Hogwarts at any time. Discord is Voldemort's main weapon, and Dumbledore asks that when given a choice between what is right, and what is easy, that they remember Cedric, who died because he strayed across Voldemort's path.
As Harry, Ron, and Hermione prepare to leave Hogwarts the next day, Fleur runs up to bid Harry goodbye; when she says she is hoping to get a job in England to improve her English, Ron responds that it is very good already, causing Hermione to scowl. Ron wonders how the Durmstrang students can return without Karkaroff, but Krum, overhearing, explains that the students sail the ship. Krum asks Hermione for a private word before bidding everyone farewell.
On the Hogwarts Express, Harry finally shares what happened with Ron and Hermione. Hermione then shows them the Daily Prophet, saying the only Harry news in it is about him winning the Tournament. She thinks Fudge is putting pressure on them. Ron wonders about Rita Skeeter missing a story like that. Hermione admits she discovered how Rita was getting her stories, then produces a jar containing a large beetle—Rita Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus. Hermione spotted her in the Hospital Wing the night Cedric died and trapped her in the jar. Ron and Harry recall seeing a large beetle nearby during their private conversations. Hermione will release Rita after reaching London, but if she writes any stories for one year, Hermione will report her to the Ministry of Magic.
Draco suddenly barges in, telling Harry he has picked the wrong side; Voldemort is back, and Cedric is only the first to die. Wand-flashes suddenly fill the compartment, and Draco, Crabbe and Goyle are lying unconscious and disfigured on the floor. Harry, Ron, and Hermione each cast a different hex on them, in addition to ones fired by Fred and George. After dumping Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle in the corridor, Fred and George join the Trio.
Fred tells Harry that the discussions Harry had heard about "possible blackmail" were because he and George were trying to get money from Ludo Bagman. Ludo paid them their Quidditch World Cup winnings with vanishing Leprechaun gold. Apparently, he also cheated Lee Jordan's father. Ludo also wagered on the Quidditch World Cup, and lost, with the Goblins; they had been considerably harder to placate when some of their winnings vanished. Because of that, he was also betting with the Goblins on Harry to win the Triwizard Tournament, which is why he was always trying to help Harry. When Harry and Cedric touched the cup simultaneously, the Goblins claimed it was a draw, and Ludo, owing more than he owned, had run.
Reaching King's Cross Station, Harry privately tells an astonished George and Fred that he is giving them his Triwizard prize to finance their own joke shop. There is, however, one condition: they must buy Ron new dress robes, and without letting him know where the money came from. After bidding Hermione and Ron goodbye, and receiving Fred and George's fervent thanks, Harry leaves with Uncle Vernon, awaiting whatever may happen next.
As the book ends, the final chapter's title ("The Beginning") indicates that Lord Voldemort's second rise to power has begun. Knowing that far worse times are fast approaching, Dumbledore realizes that Voldemort's evil plan will likely include conquering Wizarding realms outside Britain. During his tribute, Dumbledore appeals to all Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang students to not only remember Cedric Diggory, but to embrace the international ties they have built and to unite as allies against the Dark Lord, offering an open door to Hogwarts to anyone needing help. He warns that Voldemort uses discord to create divisions and disharmony, allowing him to build strength by gaining footholds within the many Wizarding realms and recruiting the discontented within to his side.
Harry's refusal to keep the Tournament prize money and instead offer it to the Diggorys (who also refuse) shows Harry's honesty and integrity. He will not accept anything unless he earned or won it fairly, which could be considered a Hufflepuff characteristic. Instead, he uses it to finance Fred and George's joke shop enterprise, believing in their magical abilities, trusting them to spend the money responsibly, and knowing they will honour his condition to buy new dress robes for Ron – Harry knows Ron would not accept dress robes that he knew Harry had bought. We don't immediately know why Harry had insisted on having the arrangement stay confidential; perhaps he is worried that it would get him in trouble with Mrs. Weasley if she learned that he had been instrumental in allowing the Twins to thwart her wishes.
The subplot which saw Fred and George writing potentially threatening letters to someone unknown, trying to corner Ludo Bagman and Ludo's avoidance of them, and Ludo's repeatedly attempting to assist Harry in the Tournament are all here explained. We also now understand why we had seen Ludo in conversation with goblins earlier, why Ludo seemed more worried about his own affairs than the rioting at the Triwizard Tournament, and possibly why Harry noticed goblins chuckling over their winnings in the forest at that same riot. Looking back on the story, we can see Ludo as an increasingly desperate failed gambler. The only really surprising thing about this episode is how gently the Twins were treating him in their attempt to get the Galleons he had swindled from them.
- How did Hermione discover that Rita Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus? How did Harry unintentionally give her a hint?
- Why were Fred and George dunning Ludo Bagman, and what was the outcome?
- How and why does Harry help the Twins out of their situation, and why does he want it kept secret? Why does he place a condition on this help, and what is that condition?
- Why does Dumbledore tell the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students that they are now always welcome at Hogwarts?
- What does Dumbledore mean when he says Voldemort uses discord as a weapon? Give examples of that.
- Why does Harry wait to tell Ron and Hermione what happened in the maze and immediately after?
- Why is Harry able to talk to Hagrid about what happened, but not to anyone else?
- Why did the Diggorys refuse the prize money, even though Cedric (technically) won the Tournament?
- Can Rita Skeeter be trusted to keep her word that she will not write any stories about Harry for one year, despite Hermione's threat? How might Skeeter overcome this?
- What does Dumbledore mean when he says it is only right to tell students how Cedric actually died?
- Why might Dumbledore insist that Harry spend time at the Dursleys before staying with the Weasleys for the summer?
Dumbledore's refusal to allow anyone to speak with Harry about the events in the graveyard, and the limited information he provides at the Leaving Feast, seems adequate to the reader, who witnessed the entire sequence. For Harry, and also Dumbledore, the information Dumbledore provides should be enough to continue with. For the student body, however, there is too little information available to be certain whether Harry or Dumbledore is telling the truth. The unanswered questions, and Harry's later reluctance to share details, will cause many students to doubt Harry's story. Harry will have to fight this disbelief, which will be supported by the Ministry's attack on his and Dumbledore's credibility, throughout the next book.
Dumbledore and Harry are not only battling Voldemort, but also the Ministry of Magic, who deny that Voldemort has returned, and will mount their own attack against Harry and Dumbledore, publicly renouncing their claims and undermining their credibility. We have already seen the start of this campaign, as Fudge, denying all evidence he is presented, says the Ministry will fight Dumbledore if he persists in claiming that Voldemort has returned. This is, presumably, why Dumbledore states here that the Ministry does not want him to tell the students that Voldemort has returned. In the next book, the Ministry carries this denial policy to nearly incredible lengths, abandoning it only when Fudge and other witnesses see Voldemort in the Ministry atrium.
Harry recalls from the Pensieve that when Dumbledore vouched for Snape's loyalty, saying he become a Ministry spy at "great personal risk," he did so while in Karkaroff's presence. Karkaroff, who has gone into hiding, is a weak and cowardly character, as shown when he divulged Death Eaters' names in exchange for his release from Azkaban. If a Death Eater finds him, he may again attempt to barter information for his life, and Snape turning informant is a huge bargaining chip. It will be revealed that Karkaroff is killed about a year after disappearing, his body found in a hut with the Dark Mark floating overhead. Assuming the Ministry had previously left his memory intact, could Karkaroff have revealed Snape's defection to his murderer? If so, and the Death Eater passed on this information, would an arrogant Voldemort believe it rather that his own Legilimency that Snape is loyal? As it turns out, Voldemort mentioned in the cemetery that he believed that Snape (who he did not name) had left his service. However, Voldemort's trust in Snape's loyalty is restored by the mission Snape has just completed, and is apparently never again in doubt, despite anything Karkaroff might have revealed, as by the beginning of the final book, Snape is Voldemort's right-hand man.
It will be mentioned in the next book that Harry's protection, which he received when his mother died to save him, will remain in force only as long as he has a place that he can call home, where his mother's blood (Aunt Petunia) remains. It is because of this that Dumbledore is taking pains to ensure that the house at Privet Drive will remain a home for Harry, despite Harry's patent dislike for the place, and his own dismay at the Dursleys' treatment of Harry.
- As part of the plot arc, it will be necessary for the Ministry to revile Harry and Dumbledore, and place Hogwarts under tighter controls. In this chapter we see Dumbledore mentioning that the Ministry is opposed to the students knowing what is going on, which presumably is an early salvo in this battle. The battle will be truly joined in the next book.
- Also as part of the plot arc, it will be necessary for Hermione to exert some sort of control over Rita Skeeter's writings. Her capture of Skeeter in her Animagus form, and the threat of exposure of the existence of that form, will give her that control. She will use that control in the next book.
- Harry's giving the Twins the money they need to start their joke shop will result in their inventiveness getting freer reign than it would have otherwise. Products of the joke shop will prove useful to Harry throughout the sixth and seventh books.
- Professor Karkaroff will be found dead at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It would seem that he had run in fear of retribution, as suggested, but not well enough.
- Fleur Delacour will remain in England to "practice her English," as suggested here. She will end up marrying Bill Weasley, who she had met at the beginning of the Third Task, earlier in this book.