Chapter 17 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Four Champions
The first three Champions' announcements were received with applause, but Harry's name is met with stunned silence. To Professor Dumbledore's repeated summons, Harry joins the other champions, Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour, and Cedric Diggory in the other room. Ludo Bagman bursts in and introduces Harry as the fourth Triwizard champion. Krum is angry, while Cedric seems nonplussed. Fleur Delacour claims it must be a joke, he is too young, but Bagman replies that the age restriction was never in the previous rules and because his name was selected by the Goblet, he is required to compete.
Professor Dumbledore, Mr. Crouch, Madame Maxime, Professor Karkaroff, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Snape enter. Madame Maxime and Professor Karkaroff immediately tax Professor Dumbledore as to how this could have happened. Snape accuses Harry of cheating, saying he has been breaking school rules ever since he arrived at Hogwarts. Dumbledore asks Harry if he entered his own name or had an older student put it into the Goblet. Harry states he did not. Madame Maxime, convinced he is lying, suggests Dumbledore made a mistake with the age line, which McGonagall disputes. Karkaroff appeals to the impartial judges, Crouch and Bagman. Crouch says the rules are specific, anyone whose name comes from the Goblet is magically bound to compete. Karkaroff demands that they resubmit names into the Goblet until each school has two Champions, but Bagman points out that the Goblet is now extinguished, and it will not reignite until the next Tournament. Karkaroff is threatening to withdraw when Professor Moody enters and reminds Karkaroff that the same rules bind the Durmstrang Champion to compete. He suggests that someone used powerful magic to hoodwink the Goblet into believing Harry was the lone competitor from a fourth school, solely to kill him. Karkaroff accuses Moody of looking for plots where none exist.
Dumbledore interrupts the heated debate, saying their path is clear; all four Champions must compete. Madame Maxime protests, but when Dumbledore asks for alternatives, she has none. Looking rather wearied, Mr. Crouch tells the Champions that as the first task will test their daring, they will not be told what it is. It takes place the 24th of November, they are forbidden to ask for or accept help from their teachers, and can only use their wands. Champions are excused from end-of-year exams, as the Tasks are so difficult.
Concerned by Crouch's appearance, Dumbledore invites Mr. Crouch to spend the night at the castle, but he declines. Dumbledore also asks Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, but they are already departing with their respective Champions. Dumbledore suggests Harry and Cedric head to their Houses.
Harry considers Moody's words; someone entered him into the Tournament to kill him. The obvious candidate is Voldemort, and Harry remembers from his dream that Voldemort is apparently plotting his death. Harry enters the Common room amid a grand celebration, but his repeated denials that he did not enter the Tournament are ignored. He quickly retreats to his dormitory where he finds Ron. Ron wonders if he used the Invisibility Cloak to cross the age line, and is affronted that Harry refuses to tell him the "truth." Harry is then left facing Ron's closed bed curtains.
Harry is stunned, but also fearful, when his name is mysteriously selected by the Goblet of Fire, and he once again finds himself mired in unwanted attention and activities. The Goblet has determined that Harry must compete in the Tournament, disregarding his wishes and overriding the careful precautions and strict rules implemented by the Ministry of Magic, showing how little control they occasionally have over magical matters. Nearly everyone suspects Harry cheated to enter, although reactions are mixed. At this chapter's end, it seems Dumbledore is the only Tournament official who outwardly believes that someone other than Harry entered him, though Moody, who suspects there is a dark plot to murder Harry, and probably McGonagall, seem to share his opinion. Karkaroff and Madame Maxime, the foreign outsiders, are certain that Dumbledore and the Ministry rigged the Tournament in Hogwarts' favor, while Mr. Crouch only seems concerned about following the rules. Ludo Bagman apparently views the upheaval as vastly amusing. Harry may have other concerns; although he is a talented young wizard, he is several years younger than the other champions and lacks the experience and advanced training they have. He will have to work hard to master new spells they likely already know. Meanwhile, Ron, who continues to fawn over Viktor Krum, grows increasingly resentful over Harry's celebrity. Ron, perhaps bothered more by his own perceived inability to stand out in any significant way, is convinced that Harry somehow bypassed the age restriction line and, unconcerned whether or not Harry cheated, instead feels betrayed because he believes Harry never confided in him. Despite Harry's unfaltering friendship and confidence in him, Ron convinces himself that Harry is only concerned with seeking even more fame and attention, further straining their friendship.
Bartemius Crouch's odd behavior should be noted. He appears to be acting woodenly and unable to display even the minimal fluidity that he normally has. In particular:
- Mr. Crouch states that if someone's name is ejected from the Goblet, he is required to compete in the Tournament. The rule-book wording almost certainly states that any person entering his name into the Goblet must compete if he is selected. The previous evening, Professor Dumbledore had mentioned to the students that, "The placing of your name in the Goblet constitutes a binding magical contract"; however, Mr. Crouch neglects to mention this.
- Mr. Crouch avoids firelight, possibly to prevent people from seeing him acting differently than usual, and he says almost nothing; when he does step into the light, he looks old and tired, possibly ill, to the point where Dumbledore is concerned.
- Mr. Crouch declines a drink, making a thin excuse to leave Hogwarts.
- Professor Moody appears in the room very quickly, in theory to keep a closer eye on Karkaroff, but quite possibly to keep a better handle on the situation unfolding with Mr. Crouch.
It should also be mentioned that Karkaroff is, at least in Moody's eyes, a suspicious character. Though Harry has not yet had this confirmed, he is beginning to suspect that Karkaroff was, or still is, a Death Eater. In the previous chapter, Karkaroff was stunned to see Harry at Hogwarts; Moody seems to think that there might be buried hatred, or perhaps not buried so deeply.
- Why are some Tournament officials (Snape, Karkaroff, Madame Maxine, etc.) convinced Harry cheated or refuse to consider that he might be an innocent victim?
- Why does Ron believe that Harry really entered his own name in the Goblet? Has Harry ever lied to Ron before?
- Why aren't the Champions told what the first task will be?
- Professor Dumbledore is very careful in his questions: he asks if Harry put his own name into the Goblet, or had an older student do it for him. Why did he not ask him if a non-student did this?
- Why did Dumbledore not comment when Mr. Crouch gave a different interpretation of the rules than Dumbledore had the previous evening?
- Why is Mr. Crouch only concerned with following the rules, rather than investigating that the Tournament may have been tampered with or there could be a plot against Harry?
- Why does Ludo Bagman seem unconcerned about Harry being mysteriously entered into the Tournament?
The next chapter will show us that not only Dumbledore and Moody believe Harry was forced into this contest. Hagrid and Hermione also are convinced that he was railroaded into it. The reason for their conclusion: Harry's expression revealed utter shock when his name was called. Ron, watching Harry at the same time, failed to perceive what Hermione did; this is another indication, if one is needed, of Ron's jealousy and resentment adding to his already deficient emotional sensitivity and general immaturity. Moody believes Harry from the very beginning, with what will turn out to be a very good reason.
Ludo Bagman has no involvement in the plot to enter Harry into the Triwizard Tournament, but he immediately uses the upset as an opportunity to make money by betting heavily on Harry to win. It is probable that Ludo hopes to win enough to pay off his gambling debts from the Quidditch World Cup. And though Ludo will continually offer Harry advice to help win each challenge, Harry always refuses. Unknown to Harry, however, others are secretly working to ensure his victory, at any cost.
It is also interesting how easily "Moody" stays in character. Barty probably had little time to study the real Moody before overpowering him and assuming his identity; yet he always acts in an extremely convincing manner and knows things that only Moody would. Additionally, he is, to a certain extent, controlling the real Moody while in character. The reader may suspect that there is some Legilimency going on here; however, this does not seem to be borne out by events. Notably, at the book's conclusion, Barty is easily captured, and if he were a Legilimens, he would likely have been reading Harry's mind to discover the truth of what had happened in the cemetery, and seen what Harry saw in the foe-glass. It is much more likely that, whether he has the real Moody under the Imperius curse, or is using some other technique to keep him subdued, he is periodically dosing the real Moody with Veritaserum and quizzing him on what he knows.
Not only does Barty remain in character as Moody extremely well, he continually shows a rather twisted sense of humor while doing it. As Moody, he theorizes that there is a "dark plot" against Harry, while knowing that even though everything he says is the actual truth, everyone will either write him off as being over-reactive and paranoid, or unable to prove anything. A large clue is that it is Moody who suggests how the Goblet was hoodwinked, since, as it turns out, it was he who had charmed it. Knowing that, it is safe to assume that Moody's "guess" at what happened was very likely the actual technique used.
Bartemius Crouch's behaviour, noted above, is actually caused by his being under the Imperius curse. We will later discover that this is something of a literal reversal of fortune for Bartemius, who had kept his son Barty under the same curse for many years before the events in this book. We believe that Crouch's "woodenness" is due to his being controlled, his general poor appearance likely is due to his fighting that control, and his unwillingness to stay overnight or to be seen in the light is almost certainly due to his controller being unwilling to subject him to scrutiny and perhaps have the fact of the control discovered.
It should be noted that both the real Moody and Barty would suspect Karkaroff, Moody because Karkaroff is a former Death Eater, and Barty because, once captured, Karkaroff had named other Death Eaters to save his own skin. Thus Moody distrusting Karkaroff is an easy part for Barty to play.
While this chapter is rich with connections to events occurring later in this book, there is little here that connects to events in other books in the series.