In Chapter 30, Harry gets lost in Dumbledore’s thoughts. Let’s go!
Oh, I meant to do so much more reading and blogging this past weekend, including several chapters of Goblet of Fire. Oops. Oh well. Moving on!
We get more of Sassy Harry in the beginning of this chapter, and I love that! He just arrived at Dumbledore’s office door and overheard some fairly stupid ideas from Cornelius Fudge (like Hagrid or Maxime could be responsible for Crouch’s disappearance because half-giant=dangerous). Fudge starts up with his normal fake cheerfulness that he has around Harry, asking him about the Crouch situation, since Harry was the one who found him.
“Yes,” said Harry. Then, feeling it was pointless to pretend that he hadn’t overheard what they had been saying, he added, “I didn’t see Madame Maxime anywhere, though, and she’d have a job hiding, wouldn’t she?”
I love when Harry gets like this. It’s a breath of fresh air.
He tells Dumbledore that he needs to speak to him, but Dumbledore is escorting the Minister on a walk around the grounds. He tells Harry to wait for him in his office and they all leave Harry alone there. Well, not alone. Fawkes is there, though he doesn’t do much. Harry looks around the room and sees a weird silvery light coming from a cabinet. And, being Harry, he has to investigate. What he finds is a shallow stone bowl covered in runes and symbols with a strange, white-silver substance in it. At first he wants to touch the stuff, which is a stupid idea, Harry. You’ve lived in the wizarding world for almost four years now, and you don’t realize that randomly touching a substance that you don’t recognize could make bad things happen?
Instead he pokes at it with his wand, which makes the stuff start moving around and creates what looks like a window in the basin, looking down into a room that Harry doesn’t recognize. He leans closer and accidentally touches the silvery stuff with his nose, which pitches him into the basin, falling into the strange room.
“The room was dimly lit; he thought it might even be underground, for there were no windows, merely torches in brackets such as the ones that illuminated the walls of Hogwarts . . . Harry saw that rows and rows of witches and wizards were seated around every wall on what seemed to be benches rising in levels. An empty chair stood in the very center of the room. There was something about the chair that gave Harry an ominous feeling. Chains encircled the arms of it, as though its occupants were usually tied to it.
Harry ends up sitting on one of those benches, although none of the witches or wizards seem to notice his sudden appearance. He looks over and sees that he is sitting right next to Dumbledore, but when Harry tries to explain and apologize, Dumbledore doesn’t seem to see or hear him. It reminds Harry of when he fell into Tom Riddle’s diary and landed in Riddle’s memory.
As Harry ponders all of this, a door opens and a man is led into the room by two dementors. They sit him in the chair, which chains his arms to it, and Harry realizes that it’s a much younger looking Karkaroff. He looks terrible. A man starts to speak in the room and Harry seems that it’s a younger Mr. Crouch. He says that Karkaroff was brought from Azkaban to give them information. Which Karkaroff does. He has names of Death Eaters and wants to give them to the Ministry as proof that he has renounced his old ways.
Harry sees Moody sitting behind Dumbledore. Moody is not happy that they are planning to let Karkaroff go, after he went to all the trouble to apprehend him. Karkaroff starts giving names, but one by one, they are deemed useless: Dolohov (captured soon after Karkaroff was), Rosier (dead), Travers and Mulciber (already on the Ministry’s list). Karkaroff is getting desperate and finally tells them the name Rookwood, a Ministry member who works in the Department of Ministries. Crouch takes the information and goes to dismiss Karkaroff back to the dementors, but Karkaroff has one more name to give.
“Snape!” he shouted. “Severus Snape!”
“Snape has been cleared by this council,” said Crouch disdainfully. “He has been vouched for by Albus Dumbledore.”
“No!” shouted Karkaroff, straining at the chains that bound him to the chair. “I assure you! Severus Snape is a Death Eater!”
Dumbledore had gotten to his feet.
“I have given evidence already on this matter,” he said calmly. “Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort’s downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am.”
An interesting exchange, to be sure. Karkaroff is led away and the scene changes. Now the same courtroom is more relaxed, and the person in the hot seat is Ludo Bagman. The chair doesn’t chain him up though. I guess it didn’t think he was all that dangerous. Crouch is still presenting questions and accuses Bagman of passing information to Voldemort’s supporters. Turns out, that supporter was Rookwood, so I guess Karkaroff’s information was sound. According to Bagman, he had no idea Rookwood was in league with Voldemort. Rookwood was a friend of his dad’s who had promised to help him get a job in the Ministry once Bagman retired from playing professional Quidditch. The jury is sympathetic and vote to let Bagman go. Crouch is not pleased, but there isn’t much he can do.
The scene changes again and it is a very different atmosphere this time. It’s nearly silent, except for a witch sitting next to Crouch sobbing. Six dementors lead four people in: two men, one woman, and a teenage boy. Crouch begins the trial.
“You have been brought here before the Council of Magical Law,” he said clearly, “so that we may pass judgment on you, for a crime so heinous –”
“Father,” said the boy with the straw-colored hair. “Father . . . please . . .”
“– that we have rarely heard the like of it within this court,” said Crouch, speaking more loudly, drowning out his son’s voice. “We have heard the evidence against you. The four of you stand accused of capturing an Auror — Frank Longbottom — and subjecting him to the Cruciatus Curse, believing him to have knowledge of the present whereabouts of your exiled master, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named –“
The boy gets more and more hysterical, saying over and over that he didn’t do it and begging his father to believe him. Crouch continues, stating that not only did they torture Frank Longbottom, but also his wife. The jury unanimously votes that they are guilty. As they are led away, the woman unrepentant, the boy screaming his innocence, Harry is pulled out of the memory by the present-day Dumbledore, who has just returned. Harry immediately apologizes for snooping, but Dumbledore understands. He tells Harry that the bowl is called a Pensieve and is used to store thoughts and memories. He even shows Harry how to extract a memory and add it to the bowl. Harry sees a few more memories: Snape telling Dumbledore that something is “coming back . . .stronger and clearer than ever,” a younger Bertha Jorkins talking to Dumbledore about something that happened in school.
Dumbledore asks Harry what he came to see him for. Harry explains his vision in Divination and tells him about when his scar hurt over the summer, which Dumbledore already knew about. Turns out Sirius has been writing to Dumbledore too. Harry asks why his scar is hurting and Dumbledore says it’s because they are “connected by the curse that failed.” It is very probable that the visions Harry is having are true. Dumbledore has a lot of ideas of what might be happening, due to seeing connections to what had happened during Voldemort’s rise to power last time. Three disappearances (the muggle Frank Bryce, Bertha Jorkins, and now Crouch). The Ministry doesn’t believe that these incidents are connected at all.
Harry asks if the Longbottoms mentioned in the trial are Neville’s parents. Dumbledore asks if Harry ever wondered why Neville was raised by his grandmother, which Harry realizes he never asked about.
“Yes, they were talking about Neville’s parents,” said Dumbledore. “His father, Frank, was an Auror just like Professor Moody. He and his wife were tortured for information about Voldemort’s whereabouts after he lost his powers, as you heard.”
“So they’re dead?” said Harry quietly.
“No,” said Dumbledore, his voice full of a bitterness Harry had never heard there before. “They are insane. They are both in St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him.”
This is by far one of the most heartbreaking parts of this series, the fate of the Longbottoms. And Neville! Poor, sweet Neville! The first time I read this, I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes. Harry is just as horrified, not just by what happened, but also because he had known Neville for four years and had never bothered to ask what had happened to his parents. He asks if Dumbledore knows if Mr. Crouch’s son was really involved, but Dumbledore doesn’t know. Dumbledore also confirms that Bagman has never been accused of Dark activity since, and neither has Snape. When Harry asks how Dumbledore can really believe that Snape stopped supporting Voldemort, Dumbledore says that it is a private matter between him and Snape.
He also asks Harry to not speak of what he learned about the Longbottoms, but let Neville reveal that information when he feels it’s right. I honestly don’t believe Harry would have told anyone, but it’s probably for the best that Dumbledore says this. Even Ron and Hermione don’t need to know that part. Dumbledore dismisses Harry by wishing him luck on the third task.
See you next time for Chapter 31!