Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Characters/Barty Crouch Jr.

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Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Character
Bartemius Crouch Junior
Gender Male
Hair color Straw colored
Eye color Brown
Related Family Father Bartemius Crouch Sr., Mother Mrs. Crouch
Loyalty Lord Voldemort

Overview[edit]

Bartemius (Barty) Crouch Jr. is the son of Ministry of Magic employee Bartemius Crouch Sr., and one of a group of four convicted for the torture of Frank and Alice Longbottom.

Role In The Books[edit]

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

Goblet of Fire[edit]

Note: Events in this subsection appear in a different order than they appear in the book. Much of what is mentioned here actually is only revealed in the closing chapters of the book, and some events actually occur well before the beginning of the book, but are revealed during the course of this year.

Shortly after Lord Voldemort's disappearance, Bartemius Crouch Jr. and three other young Death Eaters (Bellatrix Lestrange, and brothers Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange) captured and tortured Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom, using the Cruciatus Curse on them until the two lost most of their mental faculties. It is believed that their intent was to find out what the Aurors had done with Lord Voldemort so that they could bring him back.

Harry Potter first hears about Barty Crouch's sentencing and removal to Azkaban at Bartemius Crouch Sr.'s orders, from Sirius Black, and later observes that trial and sentencing in Albus Dumbledore's Pensieve.

Barty Crouch's escape from Azkaban was engineered by his father, Bartemius Crouch Sr., presumably acting at the request of his wife. Barty's escape remained undiscovered because Bartemius' wife took his place, very quickly dying in Azkaban from a pre-existing condition, and being buried there. Though Bartemius had freed his son from Azkaban at his wife's request, he clearly did not trust Barty, and kept his son controlled by means of the Imperius curse, and the actions of the Crouch house-elf, Winky. During this stretch of in-home incarceration, we learn later, Bertha Jorkins had dropped in unannounced, and had learned that Barty was alive and in Bartemius' house; Bartemius had been forced to alter her memory, an action which apparently had deep-seated and permanent effects on her mental abilities.

Over the years, Bartemius' control over his son slackened, to the point that at the Quidditch World Cup he was able to escape control completely, albeit briefly. He conjured the Dark Mark during the riot following the Cup, and then had been Stunned by Ministry wizards investigating its appearance. While the Ministry wizards did not find him, as he was concealed under his own Invisibility Cloak, they did find Winky; from this, his father knew Barty was there and was able to locate him. Bartemius returned him to the family home and placed him under the Imperius curse again. Lord Voldemort, meanwhile, had apparently learned of Barty's continuing existence and relative freedom through his questioning of Bertha Jorkins. Voldemort and Wormtail then attacked Bartemius and placed him under the Imperius curse; with Wormtail's help, Barty stunned and then impersonated Alastor Moody throughout Harry's fourth school year.

Because of the impersonation, Crouch was basically living a double life through his time at Hogwarts. The public face of his career during that year, as it mimics the real Alastor Moody well enough to fool even Albus Dumbledore, is largely covered under the topic Alastor Moody. However, his private actions are covered here: the following events, that were not initially attributed to Moody, were actually caused by Barty Crouch.

  • Barty apparently Charmed the Goblet of Fire such that it acted as though there were four schools competing in the Triwizard Tournament, rather than three; he then placed Harry's name in the Goblet as the sole competitor in this fourth school, thus forcing the Goblet to select Harry as a Champion. We note that Barty, as Moody, did suggest this chain of occurrences, probably knowing that his theory would be discounted because of Moody's well-known paranoia.
  • During this time, Voldemort had Bartemius Crouch Sr. controlled by the Imperius Curse. With Barty's assistance and advice, Bartemius interpreted the Triwizard Tournament rulebook in such a way as to make it seem that Harry was required to compete in the Tournament.
    • Bartemius Crouch Sr. did manage to break free much later in the year, and made his way to Hogwarts; but was there discovered and killed by Barty Crouch Jr., and his body hidden.
  • To replenish his stocks of Polyjuice Potion, Barty broke into Severus Snape's office to steal potion ingredients. He was observed by Harry using the Marauder's Map, but due to the similarity of names, Harry thought that the intruder was Bartemius.
  • Barty, acting as Professor Moody, provided assistance to Harry in the various quests:
    • directly suggesting summoning a broom to fly past the dragon in the First Task;
    • suggesting to Cedric Diggory that he should open his Golden Egg underwater, knowing that Cedric's sense of justice would result in Cedric passing this information to Harry;
    • loaning Neville Longbottom a book that described Gillyweed in the expectation that Harry would mention to Neville that he needed to figure out a way to survive underwater;
    • when that failed, mentioning Gillyweed in front of Dobby so that Dobby would provide a method for Harry to win the Second Task;
    • using the Imperius curse again to control and eliminate Harry's opponents in the Third Task.

Finally, captured by Dumbledore, he reverts to his actual shape when his dose of Polyjuice potion wears off. Having been dosed with Veritaserum, he then reveals all that he had done. Dumbledore summons Cornelius Fudge in order that a Ministry representative may hear this confession. Fudge brings a Dementor with him "for protection," and the Dementor immediately performs the Kiss, effectively killing Barty, before he can repeat his confession to Fudge.

Strengths[edit]

Barty is apparently an accomplished wizard. He was able to subdue Alastor Moody and impersonate him for several months. He was also capable of creating a Confundus Charm powerful enough to fool the Goblet of Fire. Bartemius Crouch does say at one point that Barty received an impressive twelve O.W.L.s at Hogwarts; at the time, though, Bartemius is largely out of his mind and is speaking to a tree, so it's uncertain how much weight we should give this revelation.

As mentioned, Barty advises Cedric Diggory to open his Golden Egg underwater, knowing that he will in turn tell Harry in order to pay him back for tipping him off about the dragons. When telling Harry about this, Barty says that "decent people are so easy to manipulate." This would seem to indicate that, unlike Voldemort who is unable to understand love and so discounts it completely, Crouch is aware of it, and of gratitude, and is able to pervert its force to steer events towards his own ends. Barty's manipulation of his father, and of Winky, is clearly based on abuse of familial love.

Weaknesses[edit]

Barty is shown to believe that his faithfulness and service will make him and Voldemort emotionally close, like a father and son. Thus, Barty views Voldemort as a replacement father figure, either not knowing or refusing to accept that Voldemort will always see him as just another disposable follower. In the sixth book, Dumbledore states that "You will hear many of his Death Eaters claiming that they are in his confidence, that they alone are close to him, even understand him. They are deluded. Lord Voldemort has never had a friend, nor do I believe that he has ever wanted one."

In the trial Harry witnesses, Barty is seen desperately proclaiming his innocence while Bellatrix Lestrange openly admits to being a Death Eater. Later on, however, Barty boasts that he is Voldemort's only faithful follower and claims that the Death Eaters who refused to brave Azkaban for their master should be severely punished. This might indicate that Barty is a hypocrite, condemning other Death Eaters for what he tried to do himself and disregarding Bellatrix's higher degree of faithfulness. As we don't know at this point about his participation in the Longbottom tortures, it is possible to assume he was innocent at this point, and then warped to the dark side. It is also possible that, during the trial, Barty was just doing whatever he could, for instance using his parents' trust, to remain free and continue his search for Voldemort, in contrast to other Death Eaters, who were just trying to evade Azkaban.

Relationships With Other Characters[edit]

All relationships we hear about are either adversarial or manipulative. For instance, he imprisoned 'Mad Eye' Moody for an entire school year while taking his identity. During this time, he would interrogate Moody repeatedly to improve his own mimicry. We also hear of his imprisonment by his father and Winky, and learn of his odd relationship with Winky as part of that imprisonment. He seems to be treating Harry, Hermione, and Neville, in particular, with something like compassion, however we find out at the end of his story arc that he was using them as a means of getting Harry into Voldemort's power. We hear very little of his worshipful relationship with Voldemort, only enough to know of its existence and nature.

Analysis[edit]

Questions[edit]

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

Greater Picture[edit]

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

Shortly after his return, Voldemort summons his Death Eaters to his side. As Voldemort goes around the circle of 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 for ever ... 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 not naming these Death Eaters, and by not completing the circle, the author is able to leave it in doubt as to who exactly is being referred to here. We are led to believe, correctly, that it is Karkaroff who has run, but it is unclear whether that is the cowardly one, or the one who has left Voldemort's service forever. At this point, we are unaware of the existence of Barty Crouch, and so we are misled into believing that the faithful servant who has already re-entered Voldemort's service is Severus Snape. And despite the revelation of Barty's role in the events of the book, the casual reader may well retain this mistaken belief even after that revelation, and may see this particular scene as confirmation of Snape's continuing loyalty to the Dark Lord. In fact, though, the faithful servant is Barty, Karkaroff is the cowardly one, and it is Snape who Voldemort feels has left. We will find out in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Voldemort had his doubts about Snape, but that Voldemort had accepted Snape's explanation, both for his apparent desertion of Voldemort in the intervening years, and for his failure to appear instantly at Voldemort's summons on this occasion.

This mention of Barty's place in the circle of Death Eaters does indicate that Barty had been a full Death Eater before Voldemort's first downfall, despite his youth at the time.