In Chapter 20, we see how Harry fares in the dreaded First Task. Let’s go!
Harry is not doing well at all. He tells Hermione all about the dragons and what Sirius had said about Karkaroff. I agree with Hermione here — the dragons are the biggest problem at the moment. They need to make sure they know how to handle one. Where does Hermione go when she needs answers? Why, the library of course! But the library doesn’t really help. They find books about dragons mostly telling them how to take care of one and how powerful they are. Nothing about a simple spell that can be used in this situation.
They also see Viktor Krum in the library, who has been there before, but always annoys Hermione because he’s surrounded by a bunch of fangirls.
Harry barely slept that night. When he awoke on Monday morning, he seriously considered for the first time ever just running away from Hogwarts. But as he looked around the Great Hall at breakfast time, and thought about what leaving the castle would mean, he knew he couldn’t do it. It was the only place he had ever been happy . . .
Could you imagine the reactions of the entire wizarding world if Harry suddenly went missing? They would lose their minds.
During breakfast, Harry sees Cedric getting ready to leave and realizes that Cedric is the only champion who will be going into the first task completely blind. He follows Cedric out and casts a spell to make his book bag split open so that he will stop and Harry can have a private word. As soon as Cedric’s friends leave, Harry runs up and tells him about the dragons. Cedric looks as freaked out as Harry was, but asks Harry why he bothered to tell him.
Harry looked at him in disbelief. He was sure Cedric wouldn’t have asked that if he had seen the dragons himself. Harry wouldn’t have let his worst enemy face those monsters unprepared — well, perhaps Malfoy or Snape . . .
“It’s just . . . fair, isn’t it?” he said to Cedric. “We all know now . . . we’re on an even footing, aren’t we?”
And there we have it. There’s the reason why Harry is such a good character. He’s just so damn honorable! He could have kept this information from Cedric easily, and had every reason to resent Cedric since he was getting so much flack for being the second champion. But instead, he makes sure that it’s all fair. They all know now and can all be prepared.
The thing is though, Moody overhears this and takes Harry to his office. Harry thinks he’s in trouble for finding out about the dragons, which could technically be called cheating, even though Harry really didn’t have anything to do with it. Instead, Moody tells Harry that he did “a very decent thing.” Harry is surprised, but takes the opportunity to look around Moody’s office, which looks very different from the last two D.A.D.A. professors.
On his desk stood what looked like a large, cracked, glass spinning top; Harry recognized it at once as a Sneakoscope, because he owned one himself, though it was much smaller than Moody’s. In the corner on a small table stood an object that looked something like an extra-squiggly, golden television aerial. It was humming slightly. What appeared to be a mirror hung opposite Harry on the wall, but it was not reflecting the room. Shadowy figures were moving around inside it, none of them clearly in focus.
Moody tells Harry that these are his Dark Detectors, although they don’t work as well at school. One of these is supposed to detect lies or concealments, but since so many students lie all the time, it won’t stop humming. It couldn’t be because Moody himself is not what he seems to be, now could it. Hmmmm?
Moody questions Harry about finding out about the dragons, which Harry tries to explain without mentioning Hagrid. Moody says that cheating has always been part of the Triwizard Tournament, and while Dumbledore might be trying to play fair, that doesn’t mean the other schools are.
“I’ve been telling Dumbledore from the start, he can be as high-minded as he likes, but you can bet old Karkaroff and Maxime won’t be. They’ll have told their champions everything they can. They want to win. They want to beat Dumbledore. They’d like to prove he’s only human.”
This makes me wonder if Maxime was really interested in going on a date with Hagrid, or if she was just using him to find out more about the tournament. That’s sad. No one had better hurt Hagrid!
Moody also asks Harry if he has any ideas how to get past a dragon, which he doesn’t. Moody gives him some advice: “play to your strengths” and use a simple spell to “get you what you need.” Harry is slow to put it together, but he admits that he’s pretty good at Quidditch, but for that he would need his broom. And to get his broom, he needs Hermione to help him work on his Summoning Charm. Which she does, although she refuses to skip class. Harry gets stuck in Divination, where Professor Trelawney is still predicting his death.
He therefore had to endure over an hour of Professor Trelawney, who spent half the lesson telling everyone that the position of Mars with relation to Saturn at that moment meant that people born in July were in great danger of sudden, violent deaths.
“Well, that’s good,” Harry said loudly, his temper getting the better of him, “just as long as it’s not drawn-out. I don’t want to suffer.”
Sassy Harry is my favorite Harry. Although it’s sad because this was something that he and Ron would have normally laughed at together, and even though Ron looks like he wants to laugh here, there is still such a divide between them. WILL YOU GUYS JUST HUG IT OUT!!! More practice time with Hermione that evening gives Harry a good grip on the Summoning Spell, thankfully, so he’s as ready as he will ever get for the next day.
When Harry is brought down the next day to the tent where the champions are getting ready, he sees that the others don’t look as confident as they did before. Fleur looks really scared and Krum is even surlier. Cedric keeps pacing. Bagman, who is just as upbeat as ever, tells them that they will be drawing something from a bag which will show them what they will be facing and that their task is to get the golden egg. When they choose, they get a small model of a dragon. When Harry draws, he gets the Hungarian Horntail, the one that was the most vicious out in the forest. He’s also going last.
Up first, though, is Cedric. They can’t see how things are going from inside their tent, but they can hear the crowd’s reactions and Bagman’s commentary. Eventually, Cedric gets the golden egg. He is followed by Fleur, who also gets hers, and Krum, who does as well. Then it’s Harry’s turn.
He walks out, terrified, and tries to shut out the noise of the crowd and focus only on summoning his Firebolt. And it works! Once on the broom, Harry is now in control.
As he soared upward, as the wind rushed through his hair, as the crowd’s faces became mere flesh-colored pinpricks below, and the Horntail shrank to the size of a dog, he realized that he had left not only the ground behind, but also his fear . . . He was back where he belonged . . .
This was just another Quidditch match, that was all . . . just another Quidditch match, and that Horntail was just another ugly opposing team . . .
Go Harry Go!!!!! He flies around and around, dodging the dragon’s fire breath. He does get hit with the spiky tail, but not badly enough to stop him. He keeps annoying the Horntail until it finally tries to fly up and away from its eggs, giving Harry the chance to dive for the golden one, which he gets! Yay Harry! He’s also the fastest one to get his egg! Professor McGonagall makes sure that Harry gets his shoulder patched up my Madam Pomfrey, who is NOT thrilled about having dragons in her school.
The first task also has another happy outcome: it convinces Ron that he’s been acting like an idiot this whole time.
“Harry,” he said, very seriously, “whoever put your name in that goblet — I — I reckon they’re trying to do you in!”
Yeah, Ron. Way to finally get there. But at least he did, that’s the most important thing. Ron knows Harry well enough that he wouldn’t have willingly put himself in danger like this. Harry also knows that Ron really means it and doesn’t really need an apology anymore. Hermione is so relieved that they are friends again that she bursts into tears.
“You two are so stupid!” she shouted, stamping her food on the ground, tears splashing down her front. Then, before either of them could stop her, she had given both of them a hug and dashed away, now positively howling.
Harry and Ron head outside to get his scores, with Ron providing commentary about how the other champions did. He clearly thinks that Harry was the best. The judges, for the most part, agree. In scores from 1 to 10, Maxime gives Harry an 8, Croch gives a 9, Dumbledore also gives a 9, Bagman gives a 10 . . . and Karkaroff gives a 4. Ron is particularly ticked about this, since Karkaroff had given Krum a 10 even though the spell he had used made the dragon squash some of its real eggs. Harry doesn’t even care about the scores — he’s just glad to have Ron on his side again, as well as seeing the rest of the school cheer for him. It also means that Harry is tied with Krum for first place.
Back in the tent, Bagman tells them that the next task will be in February and that the golden egg has the clue they will need to prepare. Before they can get two far, Rita Skeeter pops out and asks Harry if she can have a word with him.
“Yeah, you can have a word,” said Harry savagely. “Good-bye.”
And he set off back to the castle with Ron.
Hahahaha! Sassy Harry strikes again!
See you next time for Chapter 21!