In Chapter 25, Harry figures out the golden egg’s clue and has a very close call on his way back to the common room. Let’s go!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: J.K. Rowling is a queen of misdirection. There is so much going on in this chapter, especially towards the end, that you really don’t know what to think. And it’s glorious.
We’ll get there in a minute though. I was very happy to see Harry put aside his pride and decide to use Cedric’s help. All the craziness going on is NOT Cedric’s fault. If anything, Cedric has been trying to help get some of the other students to stop giving Harry a hard time. Also, Cedric most likely had no idea that Harry had a crush on Cho. He probably knew Cho the same way Harry did: from playing Quidditch. She’s a pretty girl and very nice, so Cedric decided to ask her out and they hit it off. Nothing sinister there, although I can understand why Harry would feel like there was. Harry’s handling a lot of stuff at the moment.
But anyway, Harry sets off to the prefect’s bathroom and . . . I want this in my house. Is there any way I can build this in my bathroom?
It was softly lit by a splendid candle-filled chandelier, and everything was made of white marble, including what looked like an empty, rectangular swimming pool sunk into the middle of the floor. About a hundred golden taps stood all around the pool’s edges, each with a differently colored jewel set into its handle. There was also a diving board. Long white linen curtains hung at the windows; a large pile of fluffy what towels sat in a corner, and there was a single golden-framed painting on the wall. It featured a blonde mermaid who was fast asleep on a rock, her long hair over her face. It fluttered every time she snored.
Come to think of it, that actually sounds really difficult to clean, and I don’t have house-elves.
Harry has several moments of doubt, wondering if Cedric pulled a trick on him. He gets in the water (after swimming a few laps), but nothing happens. He opens the egg, but nothing happens (except the usual indecipherable wailing). He starts to think that maybe Cedric set him up to get in trouble after hours. Then, he gets a surprise visitor.
“I’d try putting it in the water, if I were you.”
Harry had swallowed a considerable amount of bubbles in shock. He stood up, sputtering, and saw the ghost of a very glum-looking girl sitting cross-legged on top of one of the taps. It was Moaning Myrtle, who was usually to be heard sobbing in the S-bend of a toilet three floors below.
What follows is one of the funniest scenes in this book, which was done hilariously in the movie version too. Moaning Myrtle tells Harry to open the egg underwater, which when he does, the wailing sounds like really words. It doesn’t take long for Harry to realize that there are merpeople in the lake, they have taken something, and he needs to get it back.
Also, Harry is worried about how he is going to breathe, but Myrtle gets upset because how dare he talk about breathing in front of her when she can’t breathe anymore!!! Myrtle also goes on about how one of her classmates used to make fun of her and how she haunted this classmate until the Ministry had to step in. Myrtle has issues.
Now we come to the most plot twisty part of the chapter, especially re-reading it with what we know now. Harry looks at the Marauders Map to see if the coast is clear and he sees someone in Snape’s office that isn’t Snape — it’s Mr. Crouch. He wonders why Mr. Crouch would be at Hogwarts in Snape’s office when the rumor is that he has been too ill to come to work and hasn’t been at the tournament events. It certainly looks suspicious.
It just didn’t seem in character, somehow, for correct, law-abiding Mr. Crouch to be sneaking around somebody else’s office this late at night . . .
You’re right, Harry. It is out of character, since that is not really the Mr. Crouch you know. It also does make me wonder if the map read out Bartemius Crouch Jr. or just Bartemius Crouch. In my mind, it should have had the “Jr.” on it because that is his legal name, but even if it did, Harry had no way of knowing about Mr. Crouch’s son at this point. It’s just something I’ve always kind of wondered about.
Because this is Harry we’re talking about, things can’t just go smoothly. He is not paying attention as he is going up the stairs and ends up getting stuck on the “trick step.” His foot sinks in and he can’t get it out. Here’s another question — why hasn’t anyone fixed this before? It’s such a hazard! Harry wobbles with his foot caught and ends up dropping the egg, causing it to burst open and shriek, and the map. The racket summons Filch, who immediately suspects Peeves the Poltergeist. He sees the egg and thinks that Peeves has stolen it from one of the champions. Which isn’t true, of course, but at least it distracts Filch from looking for Harry.
What could make this situation worse? Snape, of course! Snape had also heard all the noise, but when he came to investigate, he saw that his office had been opened and his things rifled through. He wants Filch to come with him to look for the intruder. Filch, on the other hand, really wants to go to Dumbledore about Peeves, thinking that maybe this time he can get the poltergeist kicked out. Snape doesn’t care about that — he just wants to find out who was in his office.
The situation gets even more complicated as they are joined by Mad-Eye Moody. Again, since we now know who Moody is, we know the reason he’s in this area of the castle — HE JUST CAME FROM SNAPE’S OFFICE! No one else knows that though, although Harry realizes something else.
Harry’s heart gave a horrible jolt. Moody could see through Invisibility Cloaks . . . he alone could see the full strangeness of the scene: Snape in his nightshirt, Filch clutching the egg, and he, Harry, trapped in the stairs behind them. Moody’s lopsided gash of a mouth opened in surprise. For a few seconds, he and Harry stared straight into each other’s eyes. Then Moody closed his mouth and turned his blue eye upon Snape again.
Moody starts to question Snape about the break in. Snape says that he assumes it was a student trying to steal illicit potion ingredients and he gets very affronted by Moody insinuating that something more sinister might have been in there. After all, Moody had already searched Snape’s office when he arrived, claiming “Auror’s privilege,” despite the fact that Dumbledore seems to trust Snape. Moody also says something odd to Snape about this.
“But me — I say there are spots that don’t come off, Snape. Spots that never come off, d’you know what I mean?”
Snape grabs his left arm, which we now know has a Dark Mark on it — the “spot” Moody was referring to. Basically, to Moody, once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater, even though we don’t know for sure where Snape’s loyalties are, before or now.
Moody tells Snape to leave, but also sees the map still sitting on the stairs. At first he thinks that Snape had dropped a piece of parchment, but when Harry starts mouthing “It’s mine!” to get his attention, Moody changes directions and says that he thinks that it’s his, that he must have dropped it when he was doing rounds. He isn’t fast enough though. Snape isn’t dumb. Golden egg + magic map = Potter. And he’s not wrong. Snape immediately knows that Harry must be nearby, hiding in his Invisibility Cloak. Again, he’s not wrong, and Harry feels sure that he will get caught.
“There’s nothing there, Snape!” barked Moody, “but I’ll be happy to tell the headmaster how quickly your mind jumped to Harry Potter!”
“Meaning what?” Snape turned again to look at Moody, his hands still outstretched, inches from Harry’s chest.
“Meaning that Dumbledore’s very interested to know who’s got it in for that boy!” said Moody, limping nearer still to the foot of the stairs. “And so am I, Snape . . . very interested . . .”
Moody plays this so well here! Snape knows that there is a lot of suspicion around Harry’s involvement in the tournament, including the possibility that someone entered Harry in order to put him in danger. Seeming to be obsessed with Harry and wrongdoing would make Snape seem like a potential suspect, or at least involved in someway. Which he isn’t, but how would he prove that? Snape tries to say that he’s only worried about Harry’s safety (which is bull, but whatever) and decides to let the matter go. Moody gets the golden egg away from Filch, who is disappointed, but still decides to talk to Dumbledore about Peeves.
After both Snape and Filch are gone, Harry thanks Moody for helping him. Moody is amazed at the Marauder’s Map and asks if he can borrow it for a bit. Realizing that he owes Moody for covering for him, Harry agrees. He tells Moody that he saw Mr. Crouch in Snape’s office. Moody looks at the map and says that he doesn’t see Crouch on it anymore. Harry asks why Crouch would be there in the first place.
“Put it this way, Potter,” Moody muttered finally, “they say old Mad-Eye’s obsessed with catching Dark wizards . . . but I’m nothing — nothing — compared to Barty Crouch.”
I have a feeling that this is probably true.
Harry talks to Moody about all the odd things that have been happening: the Dark Mark appearing at the World Cup, the Death Eaters appearing as well, the whole business with him in the tournament. It’s all very odd. Moody agrees that Crouch could be trying to investigate something like that. He also says something else.
“Oh if there’s one thing I hate,” he muttered, more to himself than to Harry, and his magical eye was fixed on the left-hand corner of the map, “it’s a Death Eater who walked free . . .”
Again, this is also true, for both Moody and the person currently masquerading as Moody. Different reasons, same emotion. Pure hatred. It’s also the first time we suspect that Snape was once a Death Eater.
As Harry walks with Moody through the castle, Moody asks him if he had ever thought of becoming an Auror. He thinks that Harry might have a knack for it. He bids Harry goodnight and Harry heads up to the dorms thinking about all the events of the evening.
See you next time for Chapter 26!