Last modified on 22 May 2014, at 20:30

The Beginning

Chapter 37 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Beginning← Chapter 36 |

SynopsisEdit

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Harry's worst memory from the few days he spends in the Hospital Wing is of Cedric Diggory's parents. They never seemed angry, and instead thanked Harry for returning Cedric's body. They expressed relief that Cedric did not suffer, and died only after winning the Tournament. Harry offered them the Tournament winnings, saying Cedric would have reached the Cup first, but they had refused.

After Harry returns to Gryffindor Tower, Ron and Hermione tell him that Professor Dumbledore has instructed the school to avoid asking Harry any questions about the Tournament. Harry, Ron, and Hermione reach their own tacit agreement to avoid discussing it. Ron says his mother has invited Harry to stay at The Burrow for the summer, but Dumbledore told her Harry must first spend time at Privet Drive. Mrs. Weasley assumes Dumbledore has his reasons.

The only person Harry feels he can confide in is Hagrid, who is pleased to see him, Ron, and Hermione. When Harry notices a second bucket-sized teacup on the table, Hagrid admits Madame Maxime was there. Hagrid tells Harry he knew Voldemort would eventually return, and that Harry did as much as his father would have, and there is no higher praise than that. Harry smiles for the first time in days. Hagrid is unable to reveal anything about Dumbledore's mission, though Hagrid has nearly convinced Madame Maxime to join him. He jokingly invites the Trio to visit the last Skrewt.

The Leaving Feast is a sad affair; the Great Hall is draped in black. Professor Karkaroff is still missing, but the real Alastor Moody is there, looking jumpy, and Professor Snape has returned from his mission. Harry remembers from the Pensieve that Professor Dumbledore told the Wizengamot that Snape became a spy at great personal risk before Voldemort's fall, and wonders what Snape's mission could have been. Dumbledore rises to address the school, starting with a tribute to Cedric Diggory. Dumbledore believes students have the right to know that Lord Voldemort murdered Cedric, though the Ministry denies that. Dumbledore then toasts Harry, as do most in the Great Hall, though Draco and his cronies do not.

Finally, Dumbledore singles out the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students, saying that due to Voldemort's return, they are welcome at Hogwarts at any time. Discord is Voldemort's main weapon, and Dumbledore asks that when given a choice between what is right, and what is easy, that they remember Cedric, who died because he strayed across Voldemort's path.

As Harry, Ron, and Hermione prepare to leave Hogwarts the next day, Fleur runs up to bid Harry goodbye; when she says she is hoping to get a job in England to improve her English, Ron responds that it is very good already, causing Hermione to scowl. Ron wonders how the Durmstrang students can return without Karkaroff, but Krum, overhearing, explains that the students sail the ship. Krum asks Hermione for a private word before bidding everyone farewell.

On the Hogwarts Express, Harry finally shares what happened with Ron and Hermione. Hermione then shows them the Daily Prophet, saying the only Harry news in it is about him winning the Tournament. She thinks Fudge is putting pressure on them. Ron wonders about Rita Skeeter missing a story like that. Hermione admits she discovered how Rita was getting her stories, then produces a jar containing a large beetle—Rita Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus. Hermione spotted her in the Hospital Wing the night Cedric died and trapped her in the jar. Ron and Harry recall seeing a large beetle nearby during their private conversations. Hermione will release Rita after reaching London, but if she writes any stories for one year, Hermione will report her to the Ministry of Magic.

Draco suddenly barges in, telling Harry he has picked the wrong side; Voldemort is back, and Cedric is only the first to die. Wand-flashes suddenly fill the compartment, and Draco, Crabbe and Goyle are lying unconscious and disfigured on the floor. Harry, Ron, and Hermione each cast a different hex on them, in addition to ones fired by Fred and George. After dumping Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle in the corridor, Fred and George join the Trio.

Fred tells Harry that the discussions Harry had heard about "possible blackmail" were because he and George were trying to get money from Ludo Bagman. Ludo paid them their Quidditch World Cup winnings with vanishing Leprechaun gold. Apparently, he also cheated Lee Jordan's father. Ludo also wagered on the Quidditch World Cup, and lost, with the Goblins; they had been considerably harder to placate when some of their winnings vanished. Because of that, he was also betting with the Goblins on Harry to win the Triwizard Tournament, which is why he was always trying to help Harry. When Harry and Cedric touched the cup simultaneously, the Goblins claimed it was a draw, and Ludo, owing more than he owned, had run.

Reaching King's Cross Station, Harry privately tells an astonished George and Fred that he is giving them his Triwizard prize to finance their own joke shop. There is, however, one condition: they must buy Ron new dress robes, and without letting him know where the money came from. After bidding Hermione and Ron goodbye, and receiving Fred and George's fervent thanks, Harry leaves with Uncle Vernon, awaiting whatever may happen next.

AnalysisEdit

As the book ends, the final chapter's title ("The Beginning") indicates that Lord Voldemort's second rise to power has begun. Knowing that far worse times are fast approaching, Dumbledore realizes that Voldemort's evil plan will likely include conquering Wizarding realms outside Britain. During his tribute, Dumbledore appeals to all Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang students to not only remember Cedric Diggory, but to embrace the international ties they have built and to unite as allies against the Dark Lord, offering an open door to Hogwarts to anyone needing help. He warns that Voldemort uses discord to create divisions and disharmony, allowing him to build strength by gaining footholds within the many Wizarding realms and recruiting the discontented within to his side.

Harry's refusal to keep the Tournament prize money and instead offer it to the Diggorys (who also refuse) shows Harry's honesty and integrity. He will not accept anything unless he earned or won it fairly, which could be considered a Hufflepuff characteristic. Instead, he uses it to finance Fred and George's joke shop enterprise, believing in their magical abilities, trusting them to spend the money responsibly, and knowing they will honour his condition to buy new dress robes for Ron – Harry knows Ron would not accept dress robes that he knew Harry had bought. We don't immediately know why Harry had insisted on having the arrangement stay confidential; perhaps he is worried that it would get him in trouble with Mrs. Weasley if she learned that he had been instrumental in allowing the Twins to thwart her wishes.

The subplot which saw Fred and George writing potentially threatening letters to someone unknown, trying to corner Ludo Bagman and Ludo's avoidance of them, and Ludo's repeatedly attempting to assist Harry in the Tournament are all here explained. We also now understand why we had seen Ludo in conversation with gnomes earlier, why Ludo seemed more worried about his own affairs than the rioting at the Triwizard Tournament, and possibly why Harry noticed gnomes chuckling over their winnings in the forest at that same riot. Looking back on the story, we can see Ludo as an increasingly desperate failed gambler. The only really surprising thing about this episode is how gently the Twins were treating him in their attempt to get the Galleons he had swindled from them.

QuestionsEdit

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

ReviewEdit

  1. How did Hermione discover that Rita Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus? How did Harry unintentionally give her a hint?
  2. Why were Fred and George dunning Ludo Bagman, and what was the outcome?
  3. How and why does Harry help the Twins out of their situation, and why does he want it kept secret? Why does he place a condition on this help, and what is that condition?
  4. Why does Dumbledore tell the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students that they are now always welcome at Hogwarts?

Further StudyEdit

  1. What does Dumbledore mean when he says Voldemort uses discord as a weapon? Give examples of that.
  2. Why does Harry wait to tell Ron and Hermione what happened in the maze and immediately after?
  3. Why is Harry able to talk to Hagrid about what happened, but not to anyone else?
  4. Why did the Diggorys refuse the prize money, even though Cedric (technically) won the Tournament?
  5. Can Rita Skeeter be trusted to keep her word that she will not write any stories about Harry for one year, despite Hermione's threat? How might Skeeter overcome this?
  6. What does Dumbledore mean when he says it is only right to tell students how Cedric actually died?
  7. Why might Dumbledore insist that Harry spend time at the Dursleys before staying with the Weasleys for the summer?

Greater PictureEdit

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

Dumbledore's refusal to allow anyone to speak with Harry about the events in the graveyard, and the limited information he provides at the Leaving Feast, seems adequate to the reader, who witnessed the entire sequence. For Harry, and also Dumbledore, the information Dumbledore provides should be enough to continue with. For the student body, however, there is too little information available to be certain whether Harry or Dumbledore is telling the truth. The unanswered questions, and Harry's later reluctance to share details, will cause many students to doubt Harry's story. Harry will have to fight this disbelief, which will be supported by the Ministry's attack on his and Dumbledore's credibility, throughout the next book.

Dumbledore and Harry are not only battling Voldemort, but also the Ministry of Magic, who deny that Voldemort has returned, and will mount their own attack against Harry and Dumbledore, publicly renouncing their claims and undermining their credibility. We have already seen the start of this campaign, as Fudge, denying all evidence he is presented, says the Ministry will fight Dumbledore if he persists in claiming that Voldemort has returned. This is, presumably, why Dumbledore states here that the Ministry does not want him to tell the students that Voldemort has returned. In the next book, the Ministry carries this denial policy to nearly incredible lengths, abandoning it only when Fudge and other witnesses see Voldemort in the Ministry atrium.

Harry recalls from the Pensieve that when Dumbledore vouched for Snape's loyalty, saying he become a Ministry spy at "great personal risk," he did so while in Karkaroff's presence. Karkaroff, who has gone into hiding, is a weak and cowardly character, as shown when he divulged Death Eaters' names in exchange for his release from Azkaban. If a Death Eater finds him, he may again attempt to barter information for his life, and Snape turning informant is a huge bargaining chip. It will be revealed that Karkaroff is killed about a year after disappearing, his body found in a hut with the Dark Mark floating overhead. Assuming the Ministry had previously left his memory intact, could Karkaroff have revealed Snape's defection to his murderer? If so, and the Death Eater passed on this information, would an arrogant Voldemort believe it rather that his own Legilimency that Snape is loyal? As it turns out, Voldemort mentioned in the cemetery that he believed that Snape (who he did not name) had left his service. However, Voldemort's trust in Snape's loyalty is restored by the mission Snape has just completed, and is apparently never again in doubt, despite anything Karkaroff might have revealed, as by the beginning of the final book, Snape is Voldemort's right-hand man.

It will be mentioned in the next book that Harry's protection, which he received when his mother died to save him, will remain in force only as long as he has a place that he can call home, where his mother's blood (Aunt Petunia) remains. It is because of this that Dumbledore is taking pains to ensure that the house at Privet Drive will remain a home for Harry, despite Harry's patent dislike for the place, and his own dismay at the Dursleys' treatment of Harry.

ConnectionsEdit

  • As part of the plot arc, it will be necessary for the Ministry to revile Harry and Dumbledore, and place Hogwarts under tighter controls. In this chapter we see Dumbledore mentioning that the Ministry is opposed to the students knowing what is going on, which presumably is an early salvo in this battle. The battle will be truly joined in the next book.
  • Also as part of the plot arc, it will be necessary for Hermione to exert some sort of control over Rita Skeeter's writings. Her capture of Skeeter in her Animagus form, and the threat of exposure of the existence of that form, will give her that control. She will use that control in the next book.
  • Harry's giving the Twins the money they need to start their joke shop will result in their inventiveness getting freer reign than it would have otherwise. Products of the joke shop will prove useful to Harry throughout the sixth and seventh books.
  • Professor Karkaroff will be found dead at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It would seem that he had run in fear of retribution, as suggested, but not well enough.
  • Fleur Delacour will remain in England to "practice her English," as suggested here. She will end up marrying Bill Weasley, who she had met at the beginning of the Third Task, earlier in this book.