The Goblet of Fire
Chapter 16 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 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, Dumbledore 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 become 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.