Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 28

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In Chapter 28, we finally see a reappearance of Mr. Crouch, and it’s not pretty. Let’s go!

This chapter starts off with a somewhat funny scene and then ends up really, really dark. I like it!

The three start off by sending a note to Percy asking about Mr. Crouch and then going down to the kitchens to get some food to send to Sirius. Dobby is very happy to see them, but Winky . . . eh, Winky’s not doing well. She’s still sitting by the fireplace, but she is filthy dirty and, apparently, completely drunk on butterbeer. Turns out that stuff is really strong for house-elves, and Winky is drinking a LOT of it. According to Dobby, Winky can’t get over the fact that Mr. Crouch is not her master anymore.

“Master is needing his — hic — Winky!” whimpered the elf. “Master cannon — hic — manage — hic — all by himself . . .”

“Other people manage to do their own housework, you know, Winky,” Hermione said severely.

“Winky — hic — is not only — hic — doing housework for Mr. Crouch!” Winky squeaked indignantly, swaying worse than ever and slopping butterbeer down her already heavily stained blouse. “Master is — hic — trusting Winky with — hic — the most important — hic — the most secret –“

Winky won’t tell them what this secret stuff is though, and when pressed, she gets angry and eventually passes out. The other elves just cover her up neatly with a tablecloth and leave her be. Hermione takes great offense to this and asks them why they aren’t actually helping her. I do think it’s funny that Hermione tries to use Dobby as an example and Dobby wants to be kept out of it. He knows that he is an anomaly among house-elves, that most of them don’t want what he does, and doesn’t want to make waves anymore than he already is. Ron is worried that Hermione is making the other elves angry and won’t give them food anymore. That’s Ron, thinking with his stomach!

They send the food to Sirius while Ron and Hermione keep arguing. The next day, they have stopped for the most part, especially once Hermione starts getting a lot of mail. Specifically, hate mail from people who have read the Witch Weekly article and want Hermione to leave Harry alone. One of them has undiluted bubotuber pus in it which makes her hands swell up with painful boils. Throughout the week, they don’t get better, although Hermione decides to burn them instead of opening any. That doesn’t stop the Howlers though.

In Care of Magical Creatures class, Hagrid introduces them to nifflers, little fluffy creatures who like to look for treasure. I love that these have become more well known through the Fantastic Beasts movies – they’re so cute! Hagrid set up a treasure hunt for them with buried gold coins, but tells them that it’s only leprechaun gold, so it will disappear in a few hours. Ron realizes that the money he gave Harry at the World Cup actually disappeared and Harry didn’t notice it.

“Must be nice,” Ron said abruptly . . . “To have so much money you don’t notice if a pocketful of Galleons goes missing . . .

“I hate being poor.”

I feel really bad for Ron here. This is something that he’s already insecure about and this has made him feel even worse.

Hagrid also tells Hermione not to worry about all the negative attention. He had received some angry mail after his Rita Skeeter article came out, so he knows the feeling. Hermione just wants to know how Rita Skeeter is doing it – she’s not supposed to be on school grounds, and yet she is somehow overhearing private conversations. Hermione vows to “get her back,” and I wouldn’t want to get on Hermione’s bad side!

The final task of the tournament is approaching and they finally get to see what their task will be: a maze. They have turned the Quidditch pitch into a large hedge maze, much to Harry and Cedric’s dismay. They liked their Quidditch pitch the way it was, thank you! But at least this seems like a straightforward situation. Get through a maze. Nothing else to figure out beforehand. Harry and Cedric will get a head start, since they are currently tied for first place, then Krum, and then Fleur.

As they leave, Krum asks Harry if he can speak to him and leads him towards the forest. This seems really creepy at first, but then Krum asks if there is anything between Harry and Hermione. I think this is so sweet! Krum comes off as being really gruff and tough, but he’s just a boy with a crush and it’s adorable. Harry assures him that he and Hermione are just friends and they both talk about flying and Quidditch. I really think that, under different circumstances, these two would have been friends. They don’t talk for long though before someone staggers out of the forest towards them: Mr. Crouch!

He looked as though he had been traveling for days. The knees of his robes were ripped and bloody, his face scratched; he was unshaven and gray with exhaustion. His neat hair and mustache were both in need of a wash and a trim. His strange appearance, however, was nothing to the way he was behaving. Muttering and gesticulating, Mr. Crouch appeared to be talking to someone that he alone could see.

Crouch keeps going back and forth between thinking he’s talking to Percy at work, talking as if his son is still alive, and then panicked requests to see Dumbledore and that he has escaped from something. Harry tells Krum to stay with him and runs up to the castle to find Dumbledore. He runs into Snape while trying to get into the headmaster’s office, Snape being as unhelpful and snarky as ever, but Dumbledore soon comes down and goes with Harry. They arrive to find Krum stunned and Crouch gone.

Dumbledore wakes Krum up, who says that Crouch attacked him. They are soon joined by Hagrid, but Dumbledore sends him off to go get Karkaroff. Moody also appears, saying that Snape had said something about Crouch, and then goes off to search for him. Again, such excellent misdirection here! Our attention is taken up so much by Karkaroff, who is extremely upset that his champion has been attacked by someone from the opposing country’s Ministry, and a judge to boot.

“Treachery!” he bellowed, pointing at Dumbledore. “It’s a plot! You and your Ministry of Magic have lured me here under false pretenses, Dumbledore! This is not an equal competition! First you sneak Potter into the tournament, though he is underage! Now one of your Ministry friends attempts to put my champion out of action! I smell double-dealing and corruption in this whole affair, and you, Dumbledore, you, with your talk of closer international Wizarding links, of rebuilding old ties, of forgetting old differences — here’s what I think of you!”

He spits at Dumbledore’s feet, which is not a good thing to do in front of Hagrid, who immediately slams Karkaroff into a tree. The thing is though, if we weren’t already suspicious of Karkaroff, it’s easy to see how this looks really bad. If you’re just looking at the tournament, Hogwarts had a huge advantage with two competitors, both of which who are currently tied for first place. And now the Durmstrang champion is attacked. It does look fishy.

Dumbledore tells Hagrid to put Karkaroff down and walk Harry back up to the castle. On the way, Hagrid tells off Harry for going off with Krum in the first place. He’s from Durmstrang and might be dangerous. Harry tries to tell Hagrid that Krum seemed fine, that their talk was completely innocent, but Hagrid is in no place to listen. So Harry waits until he can get back up to the common room and tell Ron and Hermione everything that happened.

See you next time for Chapter 29!





Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 27

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In Chapter 27, we see Snape and Karkaroff acting strangely, the return of Sirius, and new information on Barty Crouch. Let’s go!

Ron opens up this chapter by being kind of adorable. He’s really enjoying his time in the spotlight with his involvement with the second task. Maybe a little too much. There weren’t any savage battles between you and the merfolk, Ron. None at all. He eventually calms down, mostly because Hermione gets really irritated. Students have been teasing her for being Krum’s “thing most missed.”

Harry also gets a note from Sirius with a place to meet in Hogsmeade on their next weekend out.

Be at stile at end of road out of Hogsmeade (past Dervish and Banges) at two o’clock on Saturday afternoon. Bring as much food as you can.

Harry is very worried about Sirius getting caught, but at least, as Ron points out, the dementors aren’t patrolling anymore.

Remember a couple chapters back how Ron warned Hermione about antagonizing Rita Skeeter? That comes back to haunt her when an article is published in the magazine Witch Weekly, painting Hermione as Harry’s girlfriend who is cheating on him with Viktor Krum. To her credit, Hermione isn’t too worried about it and finds the whole situation amusing. What’s not amusing is the fact that they were looking at the magazine in Potions class and Snape saw them doing it. He proceeds to give a dramatic reading of the article, with his own commentary, and oh how I wish I could see Alan Rickman doing this!

Snape separates them and puts Harry at a table near the front of the room beside his desk. He then proceeds to accuse Harry of breaking into his office. I can understand why he thinks this: he suspects Harry of sneaking around at night (which he was), the same night that Snape’s office was ransacked. That was also where the gillyweed came from, although Harry wasn’t the one who stole it. So Snape’s anger and suspicion towards Harry is actually pretty justified this time, but then he pulls out a small bottle of clear liquid.

“It is Veritaserum — a Truth Potion so powerful that three drops would have you spilling your innermost secrets for this entire class to hear,” said Snape viciously. “Now, the use of this potion is controlled by very strict Ministry guidelines. But unless you watch your step, you might just find that my hand slips” — he shook the crystal bottle slightly — “right over your evening pumpkin juice. And then, Potter . . . then we’ll find out whether you’ve been in my office or not.”

There are many ways this could backfire. First off, this would prove to Snape that Harry has never broken into his office and stolen from him, which Harry could use against Snape for administering this highly controlled substance. But Harry could also accidentally reveal something embarrassing (like his crush on Cho) or dangerous (like Sirius’s whereabouts).

They are interrupted by Karkaroff, who is determined to speak to Snape and stays for the rest of class to make sure he can do so. Harry stays behind and listens as Karkaroff shows Snape his left arm and says that “it” has never been clearer. When they notice Harry still there, pretending to clean up a spill, Karkaroff bolts.

The next day is their Hogsmeade trip to meet up with Sirius. Sirius is in his Animagus form and greets them happily, leading them to his hiding place. Poor Sirius hasn’t been doing well. He’s had to resort to eating rats, and it shows. Harry is worried about him being found out, but Sirius points out that only the three of them and Dumbledore know about him being an Animagus, so the folks in Hogsmeade just think he’s a stray.

They talk a lot about Crouch, mostly at first how odd it is that he’s disappeared after working so hard to get both the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament organized. He’s missed most of both so far. And then there’s the weird way he acted with his house-elf when Winky was found with a wand after the Dark Mark appeared in the sky. Ron wants Hermione to stop talking about house-elves, but Sirius disagrees.

“She’s got the measure of Crouch better than you have, Ron. If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

This is so, so true.

Sirius goes on to talk about Crouch and we get a lot of information on the man here. He was a ruthless prosecutor for the Ministry, convicting Death Eaters without a trial in most cases. He was even a favorite to become the next Minister of Magic. He put away many Death Eaters (including Sirius), until the unthinkable happened: his son was arrested. He gave his son a trial, mostly to show how much he hated him, and then sent him to Azkaban.

Sirius doesn’t know Crouch’s son, but saw him when he arrived. The boy didn’t last long and died in prison. Crouch and his wife got to visit him on his deathbed, and then the wife also died soon after her son did.

Crouch never really recovered from any of this.

“So old Crouch lost it all, just when he thought he had it made,” he continued, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. “One moment, a hero, poised to become Minister of Magic . . . next, his son dead, his wife dead, the family name dishonored, and, so I’ve heard since I escaped, a big drop in popularity. Once the boy had died, people started feeling a bit more sympathetic toward the son and started asking how a nice young lad from a good family had gone so badly astray. The conclusion was that his father never cared much for him. So Cornelius Fudge got the top job, and Crouch was shunted sideways into the Department of International Magical Cooperation.”

So Crouch wants to save his reputation by catching one more Death Eater. Was that why he was in Snape’s office? Dumbledore still trusts Snape, but could he have been fooled? Sirius certainly doesn’t like Snape at all, for more reasons than one, and Snapes acquaintance with Karkaroff isn’t doing him any favors either.

There’s a lot to think about as they head back up to the castle . . .

See you next time for Chapter 28!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 26

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In Chapter 26, Harry makes it through the second task. Let’s go!

Boy, does Harry have a lot to tell Ron and Hermione! He gets his chance during Charms class, explaining how Moody seems awfully suspicious of Snape. Did Snape put Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire? Why is everyone, from Moody (when he first arrived) to Crouch (in the middle of the night) searching Snape’s office? Dumbledore is known as being very forgiving and willing to give people second chances, but what is making everyone else so suspicious?

“I just want to know what Snape did with his first chance, if he’s on his second one,” said Harry grimly . . .

A valid question.

Harry sends a note to Sirius letting him know about all the strange goings on and then tries to prepare for the second task. He knows what to do, just not how to do it. He’ll have to breathe underwater and probably swim a fairly long distance. Speaking of that, when did Harry learn how to swim? I can’t imagine the Dursleys paying for swimming lessons or taking him on trips to the beach or the pool in the summer. In any case, both Ron and Hermione help Harry try to find something to help, but come up with nothing.

Sirius also sends a message back to Harry asking when their next Hogsmeade weekend is. Harry is now also worried that Sirius is back in town and could possibly get caught trying to help him.

The night before the second task, Harry is feeling awful. They still haven’t figured out what to do.

“There must be something,” Hermione muttered, moving a candle closer to her. Her eyes were so tired she was poring over the tiny print of Olde and Forgotten Bewitchments and Charmes with her nose about an inch from the page. “They’d never have set a task that was undoable.”

“They have,” said Ron. “Harry, just go down to the lake tomorrow, right, stick your head in, yell at the merpeople to give back whatever they’ve nicked, and see if they chuck it out. Best you can do, mate.”

Yeah, Ron, I don’t think that will work, but it was a funny idea. I also think it’s funny how Hermione is upset that the library is failing her in this endeavor. She’s almost taking as a personal affront! Harry just wishes he had learned how to be an Animagus so he could have turned into a fish or a frog, but it’s a little late for that now. As they continue searching and searching through books, Fred and George turn up. Professor McGonagall sent them for Ron and Hermione. They are to meet up with her at her office. Harry heads back to the dorms with as many books as he can and flips through them all, still trying to find an answer, before falling asleep.

After a very bizarre dream where the mermaid in the stained glass window of the prefects bathroom had stolen his broom, Harry wakes up to find Dobby telling him that the task starts in 10 minutes. Dobby is terrified and knows that Harry hadn’t found the right book to help him, but he has to go now because the merpeople have taken “his Wheezy.”

“What’s a Wheezy?”

“Your Wheezy, sir, your Wheezy — Wheezy who is giving Dobby his sweater!”

I know this is supposed to be terrifying, because according to the golden egg’s song, whatever the merpeople took is going to turn black and never come back, but it’s so cute that Dobby refers to Ron as Harry’s “Wheezy.” Dobby’s more than cute, though — he’s a lifesaver. He hears things as he’s going around the castle and was able to find something that will help Harry through the task: gillyweed. It’s green, it’s slimy, it tastes terrible, but it will help Harry breathe underwater.

Harry runs down to the lake just in time, stuffs the gillyweed into his mouth, and heads out into the water. The gillyweed gives him gills and webbed hands and feet. As he swims through the murky water, he is attacked by a grindylow, a “small, horned water demon,” but gets rid of it easily. He also sees Moaning Myrtle, who points him in the direction of the merpeople, and soon enough, he hears their singing.

“. . . your time’s half gone, so tarry not Lest what you seek stays here to rot . . .”

That’s not creepy at all.

Harry finally arrives at a sort of merpeople village and finds four people tied up to a large statue: Ron, Hermione, Cho and a little girl who looks very similar to Fleur. The merpeople will not help him free them, so Harry finds a sharp rock to try and cut at the ropes. He gets Ron free and starts to cut the ropes off the others, but the merpeople stop him, saying that he is only allowed to free his hostage. He tries to explain that Hermione is also his friend, and he doesn’t want the others to die either, but they won’t listen. Finally Cedric arrives and rescues Cho, telling Harry that Krum and Fleur are on their way. Krum arrives a short time later, partially transformed into a shark, and rescues Hermione.

Harry waits for Fleur, but she doesn’t turn up. He goes to cut the ropes off the little girl and, when the merpeople try to stop him again, he draws his wand at them, making them scatter. As he swims back to the surface with them both, he feels the gillyweed start to wear off and makes it to the top just in time. Ron and the little girl both wake up as soon as they hit the air and Ron immediately berates Harry for taking the time to bring her.

“Fleur didn’t turn up, I couldn’t leave her,” Harry panted.

“Harry, you prat,” said Ron, “you didn’t take that song thing seriously, did you? Dumbledore wouldn’t have let any of us drown.”

Okay, Ron. First, be happy that you mean so much to Harry that you were chosen as his hostage and that Harry was willing to rescue you. Of course it makes sense that Dumbledore wouldn’t have let them drown, but it was also really super scary down there and you slept through the whole thing. It makes sense that Harry wanted to make sure everyone was safe, you prat.

Fleur is also panicking since she couldn’t get to the little girl, her sister Gabrielle, and she was afraid that Gabrielle had died down there because of it. These kids are going to be traumatized by this stupid tournament, aren’t they. She is very, very grateful to Harry and Ron for helping her. Hermione is just proud that Harry figured out a way to complete the task, although Harry doesn’t tell her about Dobby’s help.

They announce the scores for the champions, marks out of 50 possible points. Fleur used a Bubble-Head Charm, but couldn’t get past the grindylows and didn’t get her hostage, so she only gets 25 points (she is pleased, since she thought she deserved zero). Cedric was the first one back; he also used the Bubble-Head Charm and was given 47 points. Krum was the second one back, using his weird partial-shark transformation, and gets 40 points.

Now we get to Harry:

“Harry Potter used gillyweed to great effect,” Bagman continued. “He returned last, and well outside the time limit of an hour. However, the Merchieftainess informs us that Mr. Potter was first to reach the hostages, and that the delay in his return was due to his determination to return all hostages to safety, not merely his own . . .

“Most of the judges,” and here, Bagman gave Karkaroff a very nast look, “feel that this shows moral fiber and merits full marks. However . . . Mr. Potter’s score is forty-five points.”

There you have it! Harry is rewarded for his willingness to rescue everyone, as he should be. Ron teases him, but is very happy for Harry, who is now tied for second place in the tournament with Cedric. The final task isn’t until June, which gives Harry more time to recover from this ordeal, and to buy Dobby all the socks he could ever want as a thank you.

See you next time for Chapter 27!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 25

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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!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 24

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In Chapter 24, we learn just how really terrible Rita Skeeter is and we want to give Hagrid all the hugs. Let’s go!

Ah, the aftermath of the Yule Ball. The good news is that Ron and Hermione have decided to pretty much decided to pretend that their big blow up that night never happened. They had just put their friendships all back together and no one seems to really want to tear everyone apart again. I also love that Hermione tells them how she made her hair so perfect (using “Sleekeasy’s Hair Potion, something that I wish existed in real life!), but that it was way too much to do everyday. I love that girl! Also, once they tell her what they overheard, Hermione doesn’t seem too upset by the revelation that Hagrid is a half-giant.

“Well, I thought he must be,” she said, shrugging. “I knew he couldn’t be pure giant because they’re about twenty feet tall. But honestly, all this hysteria about giants. They can’t all be horrible . . . It’s the same sort of prejudice that people have toward werewolves . . . It’s just bigotry, isn’t it?”

She may have a point, but I don’t know if I’d be ready to go visit the giants anytime soon. They still sound a bit dangerous.

Harry is also starting to get a bit worried about the whole golden egg situation. He still has no idea what to do with it, and he is now realizing that time is slowly but surely running out. He remembers the hint that Cedric gave him, but he also doesn’t really want to give Cedric credit for anything now that Cedric and Cho are dating. A bit of jealousy going on there, I think, which is ridiculous because Cedric’s hint could literally end up saving Harry’s life. I know it’s hard to see your crush with another beau, but let’s take a look at priorities here.

Something else is going to happen that will distract Harry even further: Hagrid is gone. Or at least, not teaching classes. They have a substitute, Professor Grubbly-Plank, who seems very competent in her field and is actually a very good teacher. Harry, Ron and Hermione wonder if Hagrid is sick, but Malfoy laughs in their face and shows them an article that ran in the Daily Prophet, written, of course, by Rita Skeeter. In the article, she reveals the secret of Hagrid’s parentage, quotes Slytherin students talking about injuries they’ve received in his class, questions Dumbledore’s judgment for bringing Hagrid on as a professor, and questioning Harry’s friendship with a half-giant with apparent violent tendencies.

Oh, and the blast-ended skrewts are actually cross breeds of manticores and fire-crabs. So that’s terrifying. Also, as a side note, did anyone ever play the Goblet of Fire video game? The skrewts in that were so annoying!

Harry, Ron and Hermione wonder how Rita Skeeter could have known about Hagrid, since they themselves didn’t know until recently. Who could have told her? Hagrid wouldn’t have, that’s for sure. Harry and Ron didn’t see her in the garden that night, but maybe she had an Invisibility Cloak? The three of them go to Hagrid’s Hut to try and talk to him, but he won’t answer. They don’t see him all week. Malfoy, of course, has to be nasty about it, because that’s just how he rolls.

“Missing your half-breed pal?” he kept whispering to Harry whenever there was a teacher around, so that he was safe from Harry’s retaliation. “Missing the elephant-man?”

Yeah, Malfoy is nasty, but he’s also a coward.

Time marches on. Harry tells Hermione that he is pretty sure he knows what he’s doing with the egg, just to get her off his case about it, even though it is an out-and-out lie. They also see Viktor Krum taking a swim in the lake. In January. Way too cold for me! Hermione tells them that it’s much colder where he’s from, so this is nothing, and also, Krum really likes it better at Hogwarts.

During a visit to Hogsmeade, they run into Ludo Bagman, who was in the Three Broomsticks meeting with a group of goblins. He takes Harry aside and offers to help him with the tournament. Harry asks if he’s also offered to help Cedric, which Bagman hasn’t – he has “taken a liking” to Harry. He also tells Harry that the goblins are looking for Mr. Crouch, who has stopped coming to work, instead sending instructions to Percy by owl. Percy has been telling people that Mr. Crouch is just ill, but Bagman is worried that, with Rita Skeeter trying to dig up dirt, that this could get blown out of proportion, that the rumor could get started that Mr. Crouch has gone missing just like Bertha Jorkins did.

No news on that front, by the way. They know she arrived in Albania and met up with a cousin, but disappeared after she left. Weird.

Fred and George come up and try to buy Mr. Bagman a drink, but he dodges away from them and leaves. Harry, Ron and Hermione discuss what all just happened, and are pretty aghast that Bagman would try to convince Harry to cheat. In the midst of this, who should walk in, but Rita Skeeter. Harry confronts her, accusing her of trying to ruin Hagrid’s life. Rita tries to turn this all around.

“How about giving me an interview about the Hagrid you know, Harry? The man behind the muscles? Your unlikely friendship and the reasons behind it. Would you call him a father substitute?”

Ugh! She’s so awful! And Hermione tells her that to her face, not worried about Rita Skeeter coming after her in any way. She’s not going to hide, and she doesn’t think Hagrid should either. They run back to Hagrid’s, where Hermione bangs on the door and demands that he let them in. She is greeted by, not Hagrid, but Dumbledore, who has been trying to convince Hagrid to come back to work. Dumbledore has received lots of letters from parents who know Hagrid and do not want him sacked.

Hagrid points out that there were also a lot of complaints, letters telling Dumbledore to get rid of Hagrid. Dumbledore tells him not to worry about that, as the school is always receiving complaints with things that the Headmaster does that they don’t agree with. When Hagrid brings up his giant parentage, Harry points out that he is also related to horrible people, the Dursleys, but that clearly doesn’t reflect on Harry himself.

“An excellent point,” said Professor Dumbledore. “My own brother, Aberforth, was prosecuted for practicing inappropriate charms on a goat. It was all over the papers, but did Aberforth hide? No, he did not! He held his head high and went about his business as usual! Of course, I’m not entirely sure he can read, so that may not have been bravery . . .”

There are little things that you catch re-reading these books knowing the ending. We know Aberforth a bit now. Dumbledore is painting him as a bit of a bumpkin, but we know that’s not entirely true. He’s not as smart as Albus, but he’s not an idiot. So while this is very funny, in hindsight I really don’t like how Dumbledore is talking about his brother here.

Dumbledore refuses to accept Hagrid’s resignation and tells him to get himself back together and get back to teaching. Hagrid is a bit overcome with emotion and can’t stop saying how wonderful Dumbledore is to him. He also shows the kids a picture of him with his dad, which is sweet. His dad looks tiny in comparison! Hagrid tells Harry that he felt a bit of a connection with Harry when he first met him — all alone, with no parents, feeling like an outsider. And now Harry is a school champion with a real shot at winning the tournament! The benefit of all Hagrid’s praise is that it made Harry swallow his pride a bit. If he doesn’t want to let people down, he’s going to have to figure out the golden egg, and that means taking Cedric’s advice.

See you next time for Chapter 25!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 23

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In Chapter 23, it’s Yule Ball shenanigans! Let’s go!

Hogwarts is crazy in the weeks leading up to Christmas break. Fred and George are hard at work — just not school work. They have perfected their “Canary Cream” treats that make people burst into feathers, and George tells Harry that they are working on something else. It’s also nice and snowy. I love the idea of Hogwarts in the snow. What better way to spend the holidays?

Ron is so obsessed with finding out who Hermione is going to the ball with, it’s not even funny. He keeps bringing up the question, over and over, trying to trick her into saying who it is. Hermione is too smart for that though, of course, but she has something else going for her that has boosted her confidence a bit. When Malfoy makes a crack about how shocked he is that someone had asked “the long-molared Mudblood” to the ball, Hermione plays quite the trick on him.

Harry and Ron both whipped around, but Hermione said loudly, waving to somebody over Malfoy’s shoulder, “Hello, Professor Moody!”

Malfoy went pale and jumped backward, looking wildly around for Moody, but he was still up at the staff table, finishing his stew.

“Twitchy little ferret, aren’t you, Malfoy?” said Hermione scathingly, and she, Harry, and Ron went up the marble staircase laughing heartily.

Hermione is the best. The absolute best.

Here’s the thing, too — her big teeth, that she had been self-conscious about forever are no longer quite so big. When she got hit with the spell, Madam Pomfrey helped her shrink her teeth back to normal size, and Hermione let her “carry on a bit.” So now she has a “very different smile,” which makes her very happy indeed.

They are interrupted by the arrival of Ron’s little owl, Pig, with another letter from Sirius. He is very proud of how Harry handled the dragon, but wants him to continue to look out for himself and to write again if anything unusual happens. Hermione really wants Harry to take a look at the egg, but Harry is enjoying not worrying about that a little too much. He’s just not ready to think about it yet.

Christmas Day arrives with a visit from Dobby, who has brought Harry a present. Harry gives Dobby a pair of old socks that Uncle Vernon had given him, and Dobby is delighted, although he thinks that the store made a mistake, selling two socks that were the same. Dobby sure likes his mismatched socks! Ron gives him a pair of socks along with the sweater that Mrs. Weasley had knitted.

“Sir is very kind! he squeaked, his eyes brimming with tears again, bowing deeply to Ron. “Dobby knew sir must be a great wizard, for he is Harry Potter’s greatest friend, but Dobby did not know that he was also as generous of spirit, as noble, as selfless –“

Dobby really hasn’t had much experience with normal people at Christmas.

Also, Dobby’s present to Harry: socks! Quidditch socks, with pictures of broomsticks and Snitches. Dobby makes them himself, and from the sound of it, is pretty good at it! Yay Dobby!

They spend the day enjoying Christmas breakfast, more time with presents, Christmas lunch, and then a snowball fight on the grounds. Then Hermione leaves to get ready for the ball, although Ron doesn’t understand why Hermione needs three hours to do so. Clearly Ron has been raised in a house full of boys. Finally, it’s time for the boys to get ready, which they do nervously. Ron tries to use magic to remove the lace from his old dress robes, which mostly works.

Downstairs, Parvati is waiting for them and says that her sister, Padma, is going to meet them in the entrance hall. Ron greets her, but can’t stop scanning the crowd trying to find Hermione. Dude! You should have figured out by now that you like Hermione! If you had just admitted that in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this situation, now would we! Finally, the champions are called forward. Cedric and Cho are there, along with Fleur and her date (a Ravenclaw boy), and Krum and . . . Hermione! But a very, very different Hermione than what Harry is used to seeing.

But she didn’t look like Hermione at all. She had done something with her hair; it was no longer bushy but sleek and shiny, and twisted up into an elegant knot at the back of her head. She was wearing robes made of a floaty, periwinkle-blue material, and she was holding herself differently, somehow — or maybe it was merely the absence of the twenty or so books she usually had slung over her back. She was also smiling — rather nervously, it was true — but the reduction in the size of her front teeth was more noticeable than ever; Harry couldn’t understand how he hadn’t spotted it before.

Hermione greets them happily and Parvati is absolutely stunned by her transformation, as is everyone else. Except Ron, who walks right past her (I wonder if he even recognized her, since she looks so different) and Karkaroff (who glares at her as she walks up with Krum). Harry notices that Mr. Crouch isn’t there, but instead Percy Weasley has come in his place, as Mr. Crouch’s assistant.

During the feast, Harry overhears Krum telling Hermione a bit about Durmstrang, interrupted by Karkaroff who “jokes” about Krum revealing all their secrets Overall, Krum seems quite impressed with Hogwarts, although Fleur is not. She is telling everyone around her how amazing Beauxbatons is at Christmas. There is also a very cute moment where Hermione is trying to teach Krum how to pronounce her name properly. Which I’m sure was added to help all the readers learn how to pronounce her name properly. I was lucky enough to read the books after the movies had come out, so I had heard it beforehand, but I don’t know if I would have pronounced it right just reading it on the page. Probably not.

After the feast, it’s the dreaded dance, with the champions opening everything. Harry ignores Dean and Seamus laughing and tries to focus on dancing (“Parvati was steering” haha). As more couples join them on the dance floor, Harry takes the opportunity to leave, although Parvati was having a good time. They go over to where Ron and Padma are sitting at a table to see how they are going. Not well. Ron is not paying attention to Padma at all and she is clearly irritated. Parvati wanted to keep dancing, so when a boy from Beauxbatons asks her to dance, she ditches Harry and goes off with the other boy.

While Harry is watching Cho and Cedric, Hermione turns up. Ron is very angry with her, although Hermione doesn’t understand why. Ron claims that Krum is only after Hermione to find out information about Harry and that she is “fraternizing with the enemy.” Hermione is understandably angered by this, since Ron was the one who was such a Krum fanboy when school started, and besides, Krum hasn’t asked any questions about Harry at all. He had been hanging around the library trying to talk to Hermione the whole time.

Hermione also says that she would never even think of helping Krum with the egg riddle since she definitely wants Harry to win. Harry admits that he really doesn’t have a problem with Hermione coming to the ball with Krum, but Ron is too far gone at this point. After Hermione storms off, Padma asks Ron if he will ever dance with her (he won’t) and goes off to join her sister and the boys of Beauxbatons.

“Vare is Herm-own-ninny?” said a voice.

Krum had just arrived at their table clutching two butterbeers.

“No idea,” said Run mulishly, looking up at him. “Lost her, have you?”

Ron, you would have been thrilled at the idea of Krum coming up to talk to you a few months ago. Now you’re just being a jerk. To make matters worse, Percy shows up and praises Ron for making friends with Krum, since this event is all about “international magical cooperation.” So not the right thing to say right now, Percy. After watching Mr. Bagman get interrupted by the twins, and Percy apologizing for their behavior, Harry and Ron decide to leave the hall to get some air, heading out into the garden.

While in the garden, they overhear a very interesting conversation between Karkaroff and Snape. Karkaroff is very worried about something happening, about something becoming “clearer and clearer,” but Snape just tells him to run if he’s scared. Snape will stay at Hogwarts, where at the moment, he is scaring couples out of their hiding places in the bushes. Once Snape sees them, he tells them to move along.

Which they do, but then they come across Hagrid with Madame Maxime. It seems like a, uh, very private moment. Hagrid asks her a weird question.

“I jus’ knew . . . knew you were like me . . . Was it yer mother or yer father?”

“I — I don’t know what you mean, ‘Agrid . . .”

Hagrid goes on to say that he gets “it” from his mother’s side, but that she left him and his father early. Madame Maxime doesn’t want to discuss this, but Hagrid has to know, because he’s never met another half-giant. Maxime takes great offense to this, saying that she is definitely NOT a half-giant, and storms off. As Ron and Harry head back inside, Ron explains to Harry that this is really bad. They knew Hagrid was big, but the fact that he has giant blood could be used against him. Giants are known to be fierce and vicious and bloodthirsty. Hagrid isn’t any of those things, of course, but that might not matter to certain people if they found out.

Back in the entrance hall, Cedric stops Harry and asks for a word. He gives Harry a clue about the golden egg, that he should take a bath, “mull things over in hot water.” He even gives him the password to the prefect’s bathroom so he can have privacy to do so. Harry wonders at this really weird advice and can’t help but wonder if this is a way to make him look like an idiot in front of Cho. Once he gets back up to the common room, though, Harry has something else to worry about: Ron and Hermione.

“Well, if you don’t like it, you know what the solution is, don’t you?” yelled Hermione; her hair was coming down out of its elegant bun now, and her face was screwed up in anger.

“Oh yeah?” Ron yelled back. “What’s that?”

“Next time there’s a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!”

Ron . . . doesn’t really have much to say to that. And that’s probably for the best. Harry doesn’t want to mess up his newly re-formed friendship with Ron, but he is pretty sure that Hermione is in the right here.

See you next time for Chapter 24!


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Chapter 22

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In Chapter 22, Harry realizes the First Task is nothing compared to trying to get a date for the school dance. Let’s go!

It’s amazing how much pressure is off of Harry now that the First Task is over and he and Ron are friends again. They are enjoying goofing off during Transfiguration class when Professor McGonagall makes an announcement.

“The Yule Ball is approaching — a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and an opportunity for us to socialize with our foreign guests. Now, the ball will be open only to fourth years and above — although you may invite a younger student if you wish —

“Dress robes will be worn,” Professor McGonagall continued, “and the ball will start at eight o’clock on Christmas Day, finishing at midnight in the Great Hall.”

This causes Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil to dissolve into giggles and look towards Harry. Professor McGonagall continues to say that she expects all of the Hogwarts students to be on their best behavior. After class is over, she takes Harry aside and tells him that the champions (and their dance partners) are expected to start the ball. Harry is terrified because he absolutely cannot dance, but McGonagall is adamant. He will dance. It is his duty as a champion of the school.

This causes Harry to spend the day watching girls walk by, moving “in packs,” so he can’t get someone alone to ask them.  Deep down he really wants to ask Cho Chang, but she’s always surrounded by friends as well. There are a few girls who straight up ask him to the dance, but he’s too flustered to do anything about it. Harry also remembers Hermione saying that the girls only liked Krum because he was famous, and has a feeling that this is the only reason anyone is asking him out.

On the plus side, there aren’t as many unpleasantries in the hallways now. Harry thinks that Cedric told the Hufflepuffs to lay off since Harry had given him the hint about the dragons. The only thing he’s worried about now is the prospect of Rita Skeeter publishing a horrible article about Hagrid, but nothing has come out yet. According to Hagrid, Rita Skeeter didn’t even really mention the skrewts — she only wanted to talk about Harry.

Meanwhile, everyone is talking about the upcoming Yule Ball.

Rumors about the Yule Ball were flying everywhere, though Harry didn’t believe half of them — for instance, that Dumbledore had bought eight hundred barrels of mulled mead from Madam Rosmerta. It seemed to be fact, however, that he had booked the Weird Sisters. Exactly who or what the Weird Sisters were Harry didn’t know, never having had access to a wizard’s wireless, but he deduced from the wild excitement of those who had grown up listening to the WWN (Wizarding Wireless Network) that they were a very famous musical group.

It’s gonna be some party, from the sound of it!

Some of the teachers are trying to keep the students on task, others have given up. Hermione keeps trying to get Harry to look into the mystery of the golden egg, but Harry is not worried about it. It’s Christmas, after all! He deserves a break! And he has until February to figure the thing out. He’ll be fine.

What’s not fine: Harry and Ron still don’t have dates to the Yule Ball. Fred shows them how easy it is by asking Angelina to go with him, but that doesn’t really inspire any confidence. Ron doesn’t want them to end up with “a pair of trolls.” Hermione takes great offense at this.

“Oh I see,” Hermione said, bristling. “So basically, you’re going to take the best-looking girl who’ll have you, even if she’s completely horrible?”

“Er — yeah, that sounds about right,” said Ron.

Ron, you are so clueless, it almost hurts. Wow.

By the next day, it’s getting down to crunch time. Harry points out to Ron that at least Ron has the option of going stag if he wants to. Harry has to find a partner. They make a deal: by the end of the day, they will have dates. Harry decides to suck it up and just ask Cho if he can speak to her. Which goes fine, even if her friends start giggling. Cho seems like a nice girl and I think she genuinely likes Harry at this point in the story, if not the same way he likes her. Harry finally spits out the words, but Cho says that she is already going with someone else: Cedric Diggory. She does seem really sorry about it though. Like I said, she’s a nice girl. I’m sure she didn’t want to hurt Harry’s feelings.

His experience was much better than Ron’s though. Ron tried to ask Fleur Delacour to the ball.

“She looked at me like I was a sea slug or something. Didn’t even answer. And then — I dunno — I just sort of came to my senses and ran for it.”

Aw, poor Ron.

They have a laugh about how Neville had asked Hermione to the ball, but Hermione had told him that she was going with someone else. They suspect that Hermione just told him that because she didn’t want to go with someone like Neville, but they are shut down by Ginny. She tells Hermione, who just arrived, that the boys have both been turned down big time by their intended dates. This leads to Ron really sticking his foot in his mouth.

“Hermione, Neville’s right — you are a girl . . .”

Ron, this is not a good way to start this.

“Oh well spotted,” she said acidly.

“Well — you can come with one of us!”

“No, I can’t,” snapped Hermione.

“Oh come on,” he said impatiently, “we need partners, we’re going to look really stupid if we haven’t got any, everyone else has . . .”

Ron, Ron, Ron, you really need to shut up now.

“Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!”

Hermione shuts him down but good. And he deserves it. He was taking it completely for granted that Hermione was as much of a loser as he was. Ron still tries to say that she’s lying, but Ginny sets him straight. Hermione is not lying. She has a date to the ball, and no, Ginny is NOT going to tell him who she’s going with, because that’s Hermione’s business, so there. I like Ginny.

Ron suggests that Ginny go with Harry, which would have made her very happy a few years ago, but Ginny tells them that Neville asked her and she said yes, because as a third year, she wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. So now Neville has a date and you don’t, Ron. How do you feel about that?

Harry sees Lavender and Parvati in the common room and decides that enough is enough. He walks up and asks Parvati to go with him. She giggles, but says yes. He asks if Lavender will go with Ron, but she’s already going with Seamus. Parvati suggests Hermione, and is surprised when she hears that Hermione already has a date. Instead, Parvati suggests that Ron take her sister Padma, who’s in Ravenclaw. Glad to be done with the whole thing, Harry agrees.

See you next time for Chapter 23!