Can I just tell you guys? This is THE most perfect morning for Harry Potter. It’s cool, dark, and overcast, I’m sipping on tea. It smells of rain and procrastination. Can I use the excuse that I knew that I’d wake up to this as an excuse that my post isn’t written? There is nothing better than mornings like this, and while I can see how repeated weather like this can make people depressed, it’s exactly what this Arizonan loves. It transports me to a different place, perhaps Hogwarts, where it’s a bit greener and there are actual seasons. Many of you are likely freezing your asses off, but Ashley and I have gotten 80 degree weather up until a few days ago. Trust me, it is possible to get tired of 80 degree weather around the holidays.
Anyway, the stage has been set, so here goes another recap.
CHAPTER 15: BEAUXBATON AND DURMSTRANG
The chapter begins with Harry writing Sirius in an attempt to prevent him from doing anything stupid. Really, it’s no big deal, scar didn’t really hurt that badly, don’t worry about me, nothing to see here. It’s exactly what I love about Harry- he’s far more concerned about the safety of others than his own. Even if Sirius is an adult and can take care of himself, Harry hates it when others so willingly risk their lives for him. It’s what people have been doing his entire life and many have died for him. It’s a trend that probably won’t stop any time soon. But, don’t worry Harry, you’ll have your chance to thank them all.
He sends Hedwig out before heading to another DADA class. Professor Moody begins class by announcing that they will all be put under the Imperius Curse, despite it being, you know, ILLEGAL and completely inappropriate. Side note: I’ve always wondered how people could get away with the unforgivable curses throughout the series. Does the Ministry monitor these kinds of things, or is it like murder and stealing in the Muggle world, where people are only punished if they get caught? And like, how does Moody get away with doing this to a class full of children. Nevertheless, it makes for an interesting, while horrifying scene. I actually don’t doubt that this is what the real Mad Eye would have done. Moody continues to Imperio the kids, when finally he gets to Harry. Like flying and choosing friends, resisting the Imperius Curse is something at which Harry is particularly good. I love what Rowling picks as Harry’s talents. Interestingly, while good at resisting the curse, he’s not so fabulous at occlumency.
The three of them get on with their classes which no longer resembles the classes of their former years. The OWLs are approaching and all the teachers, even Hagrid, have upped the workload. Seriously, standardized tests all while dealing with impending doom and danger? It’s just cruelty! Thankfully, they are offered a distraction- the students from the Triwizard Tournament’s competing schools, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, will be arriving that Friday.
And then we wait:
Ron accuses Hermione of liking Cedric because he’s handsome, but really he’s just a good student and nice guy. Can you imagine them as a couple? He is far too boring for Hermione. Yes, I called Cedric boring. Being boring is part of Cedric’s appeal in GoF, right? At least he doesn’t sparkle.
- Hogwarts gets cleaner and decorated.
- Gred and Forge are up to something, involving someone who won’t talk to them. But they are also up to trying to enter themselves into the Tournament, despite being under age.
- Hermione continues to get all pissy about house elves.
- Harry gets a note from Sirius, who can see all the way through Harry’s shit. He was at his parents’ deaths after all, and knows all about Harry’s complex.
Finally, after a very long week, everyone makes their way to Gryffindor Tower to watch the schools arrive. First is the blue Beauxbatons carriage, being pulled by an enormous, winged palominos who only drink single-malt whiskey. From out of the carriage comes an incredibly large woman, and even though Rowling may mention Hagrid’s size in her description, we instantly suspect that he may have a love interest.
They expect Durstrang to appear out of the sky, but instead they emerge from the lake all Pirates of the Caribbean style. Dumbledore shakes hands with Karkaroff, our red herring, and welcomes them to Hogwarts. And then, holy crap, it’s VIKTOR KRUM and Ron’s head explodes.
CHAPTER 16: THE GOBLET OF FIRE
Sometimes, especially that I’m now ten years removed from my teens, I forget how old the characters are when I read this series. And then, Rowling goes and reminds me. The beginning of this chapter is such a good reminder that these kids are still just fourteen years old. Ron pees his pants over seeing Krum, but Hermione is not impressed. She is not the type of girl that goes wild over jocks, nor is she an open book about boys. Hermione is in the minority. Swooning girls and star-struck boys are left in Krum’s wake.
Hermione is instantly defensive when the Beauxbaton girls look gloomy and cold. Rivalry is so relatable, we can’t help but be defensive of our home. I do this all the time: it’s not that hot in Tucson. It rains sometimes. We have seasons! Really hot summer, hot summer, and spring! It snowed once. U of A might suck at football, but at least we’ve got basketball. Hermione has always been loyal to her friends, and Hogwarts is no different.
Meanwhile, Ron is man-crushing all over Krum:
Bet he gets people fawning over him all the time.
And then he contemplates offering up his bed. I think Ron is more impressed by Krum’s celebrity than he is of his Quidditch skills.
The three schools gather in the hall and eat a multi-cultural meal. Ron spots his future sister-in-law, who he believes is a veela (not completely wrong), and Hermione’s jealousy shows briefly. And then, Ludo Bagman and Barty Crouch show up. They introduce the Goblet of Fire and announce that during the next twenty-four hours, students seventeen years or older can submit their name to the goblet. Of course, Fred and George begin to scheme. At the end of the evening, Moody and Karkaroff have a nasty run-in. I love that on re-read, this scene takes on a much different meaning.
And then, while attempting to put their names in the goblet, Fred and George age rapidly, growing some pretty awesome beards. While Fred and George might be the masters of jokes and pranks, Dumbledore seemed to beat them on this one.
Finally, it’s Halloween night and it’s time to see who gets to compete. Because who doesn’t like a good, dangerous competition during which people could die? Hagrid, who has had a makeover and taken a bath in eau de cologne, flirts a bit with Madame Maxime- a scene I have always found to be both uncomfortable and hilarious. The teenagers who have been biting their nails for twenty four hours over the decision gather in the hall and gossip more about who they hope is chosen. The first is Krum, obviously, and everyone goes nuts. The second is Fleur, the veela-like girl and Krum’s drool-worthy competition in Ron’s eyes. The rest of the Beauxbatons look pissed and cry. The third, is definitely Cedric Diggory. And while we kind of expected Cedric and we know Harry is underage, we are still confused that is wasn’t Harry.
But then the Goblet of Fire spits out his name and uh oh.