Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1999|
|Book 4 starts with murder. Tom Riddle, Sr. (Voldemort’s father) is dead. He was murdered, along with his father and mother, 50 years ago in town of Little Hangleton. The gardener, Frank Bryce, was suspected of being the murderer, although there was never any evidence to convict him.|
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Voldemort is hiding out in the old Riddle homestead along with his faithful servant Wormtail and his snake Nagini. He needs to drink Nagini’s venom on a regular basis to survive. Frank Bryce hears him talking to Wormtail about how and why he killed Bertha Jorkins. (p. 10) Frank is discovered by Nagini, and is then killed by Voldemort. (p. 15)
200 miles away, Harry is startled out of his sleep by visions of this scene. Our Harry has developed pretty strong powers of ESP. And his scar starts hurting—a sure sign that Voldemort is near, or up to no good.
We find out, by way of a letter to Sirius that this summer has been better for Harry at the Dursleys. They are “terrified [Sirius Black—Harry’s godfather, who is still presumed to be a dangerous murderer] might turn up and turn them all into bats if I ask you to.” (p. 25)
Harry is invited to go to the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys (Ron’s family). He uses Sirius’s reputation to get permission from Uncle Vernon to go (although Ron promises to come get him anyway, even if Uncle Vernon says no (p. 36)—another example of disregard for authority—especially Muggle authority).
The Weasleys arrive to pick him up using Floo powder (p. 43). They come in through the fireplace—much to the shock of the Dursleys—and leave the same way.
We learn that 100,000 wizards are expected to show up for the World Cup, and there has been “a massive organizational problem” in setting everything up: finding a place big enough, getting all the wizards there without the Muggles catching on! (p. 69)
Harry and the Weasleys will travel by way of Portkey: “They’re objects that are used to transport wizards from one spot to another at a prearranged time…. They can be anything…. Unobtrusive things, obviously, so Muggles don’t go picking them up and playing with them….” (p. 70) Other wizards will “apparate”—another form of astral travel.
Of course, if any Muggle does become suspicious or catch on, the wizards will deal with it using the Memory Charm:
- “Obliviate!” he said sharply, pointing his wand at Mr. Roberts. Instantly, Mr. Roberts’s eyes slid out of focus, his brows unknitted, and a look of dreamy unconcern fell over his face. Harry recognized the symptoms of one who had just had his memory modified. (pp. 77-78)
After the World Cup match is over (Ireland beats Bulgaria by a score of 170-160), some of the wizards celebrate by playing with a family of Muggles:
- A crowd of wizards, tightly packed and moving together with wands pointed straight upward, was marching slowly across the field…High above them, floating along in midair, four struggling figures were being contorted into grotesque shapes…. Two of the figures were very small….
- Harry recognized one of them: Mr. Roberts, the campsite manager. The other three looked as though they might be his wife and children. One of the marchers below flipped Mrs. Roberts upside down with his wand; her nightdress fell down to reveal voluminous drawers and she struggled to cover herself up as the crowd below her screeched and hooted with glee.
- “That’s sick,” Ron muttered, watching the smallest Muggle child, who had begun to spin like a top, sixty feet above the ground, his head flopping limply from side to side. “That is really sick….” (pp 119-120)
But no harm done, of course; “We caught the Robertses before they hit the ground, though. They’re having their memories modified right now.” (p. 142)
While that is going on, someone conjures up the Dark Mark, the sign of Voldemort:
For a split second, Harry thought it was another leprechaun formation. Then he realized that it was a colossal skull, comprised of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. (p. 128)
What’s worse, someone has used Harry’s wand (that he “usually kept… with him at all times in the wizarding world…” p. 124) to cast the spell.
Hermione and Mr. Weasley explain what the Dark Mark is: “it’s You-Know-Who’s symbol….” “You-Know-Who and his followers sent the Dark Mark into the air whenever they killed,… The terror it inspired…you have no idea…. Just picture coming home and finding the Dark Mark hovering over your house, and knowing what you’re about to find inside…. Everyone’s worst fear… the very worst….” (pp. 141-142)
- “Three days ago—it felt like much longer, but it had only been three days—he had awoken with his scar burning. And tonight, for the first time in thirteen years, Lord Voldemort’s mark had appeared in the sky. What did these things mean? (p. 144)
That transition takes us back to Hogwarts for Harry’s fourth year. This year, though, he’s not going to be playing Quidditch. Instead, for the first time in over a century Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament:
- …a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang…. It was generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities—until, that is, the death toll mounted so high that the tournament was discontinued. (p. 187)
Three players are chosen by the Goblet of Fire, one for each school. These three will compete in various challenges to determine the winner. Only this year something unusual happens; a fourth competitor is chosen by the Goblet—Harry Potter. Of course, we can’t go against the Goblet: “And as his name’s come out of the goblet… I mean, I don’t think there can be any ducking out at this state…. It’s down in the rules, you’re obliged… Harry will just have to do the best he—” (p. 275)
- “The first task is designed to test your daring,… so we are not going to be telling you what it is. Courage in the face of the unknown is an important quality in a wizard…very important….
- “The champions are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the tasks in the tournament.” (p. 281)
On the other hand, Professor Moody tells Harry, “Cheating’s a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and always has been.” (p. 343) So, obviously, it’s quite all right if Harry, since he’s the underdog, gets help from teachers. He finds out from Hagrid that he will be facing a dragon, and Moody gives him broad hints regarding the best spells to use to get what he needs.
He manages to complete the task—snatching a golden egg from a nest underneath a fire-breathing dragon. Now, he and the other players have to solve the riddle contained in the egg to find out what the next task will be. (p. 361)
Does Harry get help? Of course he does. The task is to rescue Ron, who has been taken into the lake and is being held there. Harry has to rescue him before time is up, or he will (presumably) drown there. Dobby, the ex-house elf, gives him some gillyweed. Harry eats it and, “quite suddenly, Harry felt as though an invisible pillow had been pressed over his mouth and nose. He tried to draw breath, but it made his head spin; his lungs were empty, and he suddenly felt a piercing pain on either side of his neck—… He had gills.” (p. 494)
Of course, he manages to rescue Ron—and also brings back another of the captives when one of the other competitors doesn’t get there in time. After all, he couldn’t leave her there to drown! Harry is such a hero!
The third task is a maze. Harry has figured out that whoever put his name in the Goblet intended for him to be killed during one of the tasks. He has survived the first two, so this is the last chance. He will need every bit of magical skill he possesses, every charm he has ever learned, to get through the maze unharmed. He and Cedric reach the middle of the maze at the same time. They decide to take hold of the Triwizard Cup together, and be declared co-champions. But, no. There is another surprise in store for Harry.
- He and Cedric both grasped the handle.
- Instantly, Harry felt a jerk somewhere behind his navel. His feet had left the ground. He could not unclench the hand holding the Triwizard Cup; it was pulling him onward in a howl of wind and swirling color, Cedric at his side. (p. 635)
The Triwizard Cup has been enchanted to make it a Portkey. It has transported Harry and Cedric to a graveyard.We want to caution parents that what follows is an extremely dark and disturbing ceremony.
Harry hears someone coming. It is Voldemort’s faithful servant, Wormtail. He is carrying something that looks like a baby wrapped in a bundle of robes.
- “From far away, above his head, he heard a high, cold voice say, “Kill the spare.” A swishing noise and a second voice, which screeched the words to the night: “Avada Kedavra!”…. Cedric was lying spread-eagled on the ground beside him. He was dead. (p. 638)
Harry is then bound to a headstone bearing the name Tom Riddle. The bundle of robes is nearby, and a gigantic snake slithers in the grass around Harry and the headstone. Wormtail positions a large stone cauldron, filled with what looks like water, at the foot of the grave. Then:
- Wormtail [Pettigrew] pulled open the robes on the ground, revealing what was inside them, and Harry let out a yell that was strangled in the wad of material blocking his mouth.
- It was as though Wormtail had flipped over a stone and revealed something ugly, slimy, and blind—but worse, a hundred times worse. The thing Wormtail had been carrying had the shape of a crouched human child, except that Harry had never seen anything less like a child. It was hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish black. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face—no child alive ever had a face like that—flat and snakelike, with gleaming red eyes. (p. 640)
Wormtail places this creature in the cauldron. Then he intones,“Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!”At that the grave Harry is sitting on—Voldemort’s father’s grave—cracks open, Wormtail removes a bit of bone and places it in the cauldron (p. 641).
Then Wormtail pulls out a dagger, says,“Flesh—of the servant—w-willingly given—you will—revive—your master.”Harry realizes what is about to happen, and closes his eyes as Wormtail cuts off his own right arm and places that in the cauldron (p. 641-642).
Wormtail next comes to where Harry is tied, uses the dagger to nick Harry’s arm and collects some of his blood, while saying,“B-blood of the enemy…forcibly taken…you will…resurrect your foe.”
- He staggered back to the cauldron with Harry’s blood. He poured it inside. The liquid within turned, instantly, a blinding white. Wormtail, his job done, dropped to his knees beside the cauldron, then slumped sideways and lay on the ground, cradling the bleeding stump of his arm, gasping and sobbing. (p. 642)
Harry watches as the cauldron simmers and emits sparks and steam.
- But then, through the mist in front of him, he saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from inside the cauldron….
- The thin man stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry…and Harry stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for three years. Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake’s with slits for nostrils…
- Lord Voldemort had risen again. (p. 643)
Now that Voldemort has regained his body, he begins to call his followers, called Death Eaters back to him. They arrive at the graveyard and form a circle around Voldemort and Harry.
The circle, by the way, is a very important part of Witchcraft/Wiccan ceremonies. Raven Grimassi’sEncyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraftsays this about the circle:
- Properly cast, it becomes a place between the physical and spiritual worlds. Wiccans/Witches often refer to the ritual/magickal circle as…sacred space….
- Traditionally, beings known as the Watchers are evoked to each of the four quarters of the circle to magicakally guard the sacred area against the intrusion of any forces not in harmony with the ritual itself.
- …the ritual circle serves to accumulate energy. The participants within its sphere are immersed in the energies being drawn to, or raised within, the sacred sphere. (pp. 74-75)
It is within this circle that Voldemort explains to Harry how he has survived all these years without a body:
- Only one power remained to me. I could possess the bodies of others. (p. 653)
- I sometimes inhabited animals—snakes, of course, being my preference—but I was little better off inside them than as pure spirit, for their bodies were ill adapted to perform magic…and my possession of them shortened their lives; none of them lasted long…. (p. 654)
- [Regarding Quirrell, the Dark Arts teacher he had possessed in Book 1] The servant died when I left his body, and I was left as weak as ever I had been…. Yes, that was perhaps my darkest hour…I could not hope that I would be sent another wizard to possess…. (p. 654)
Voldemort performs the Cruciatus curse on Harry, one that causes excruciating pain. (Interestingly,cruciatusis the Latin word for “to crucify.” Is Rowling deliberately mocking the crucifixion of Christ here?) Now he plans to kill Harry. But to make it a “fair” fight, he has Harry untied and gives him back his wand.
Just as Voldemort casts the killing curse,Avada Kedavra, Harry counters with theExpelliarmuscurse. The two curses “meet in the middle” and the wands and wizards are caught up in an intense struggle.
An odd thing happens, Voldemort’s wand is forced to regurgitate all the spells he has cast. All the people he has killed—including Harry’s mother and father—come squeezing out the tip of his wand. They surround the two wizards, and distract Voldemort and the circle of Death Eaters long enough for Harry to break free, grab Cedric’s body and the Triwizard Cup, and be astrally transported out of harms way.
Voldemort is back. He has a body, and he is out to get Harry. His Death Eaters have come back together. What even darker and more disturbing images can we expect from the next three books?
In this book we find Harry: practicing divination/sorcery (p. 583); interpreting omens (p. 577); engaging in witchcraft (p. 494); casting spells (p. 347), acting as a medium (pp. 15-16); and consulting the dead (p. 461). All of these are practices God has condemned. Please see our companion article,God’s Warning about Witchcraft: Definition of Terms from Deuteronomy 18.