Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Major Events/Triwizard Tournament

Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Major Event
Triwizard Tournament
Location Hogwarts
Time Period October to June, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Important Characters Harry Potter, Cedric Diggory, Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour

OverviewEdit

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

The Triwizard Tournament is a recently revived competition pitting three major European wizarding schools against one other, although it is also meant to foster magical cooperation. The schools, listed below, share the responsibility of hosting the tournament, and the heads of the schools sit on the judging panel.

From Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, pg. 187 (US Edition), pg. 165 (UK edition) the exact description of this tournament was:

'A very exciting event, an event that has not been held for over a century ... was first established some seven hundred years ago as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. A champion was selected to represent each school, and the three champions competed in three magical tasks. The schools took it in turn to host the Tournament once every five years, and 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.'

Event DetailsEdit

The tournament was introduced some 700 years ago. After being banned for many years due to the increasingly dangerous tasks, the Triwizard Tournament has been revived.

As mentioned in the overview, there are three schools participating:

Judges grade the champions' performance on each task. The Heads of the three participating schools are customarily judges; Hermione reads this in a history book about the Tournament, and that all three school Headmasters were injured in a Tournament task mishap involving a Cockatrice. In the book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the judges were:

The selection of the champions from each participating school is done through a magical object called the Goblet of Fire. The Goblet is a large, roughly hewn wooden cup, brimming with dancing blue flames. The selection process is described by Dumbledore:

"Anybody wishing to submit themselves as champion must write their name and school clearly upon a slip of parchment and drop it into the goblet. Aspiring champions have twenty-four hours in which to put their names forward. Tomorrow night, Hallowe'en, the goblet will return the names of the three it has judged most worthy to represent their schools. The goblet will be placed in the entrance hall tonight, where it will be freely accessible to all those wishing to compete. To ensure that no underage student yields to temptation, I will be drawing an Age Line around the Goblet of Fire once it has been placed in the entrance hall. Nobody under the age of seventeen will be able to cross this line... I wish to impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not to be entered into lightly. Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the goblet constitutes a binding, magical contract. There can be no change of heart once you have become a champion. Please be very sure, therefore, that you are wholeheartedly prepared to play before you drop your name into the goblet."

The term champion does not mean the winner of the tournament. It instead refers to a contestant; this is an ancient usage, dating back to the days of chivalry. An army, or a king, could choose a champion who would fight for them; that champion would then meet an opposing champion, and the contest would be decided by single combat between the two. In this context, then, the Goblet is selecting the champion who will do battle to protect the school's good name.

Traditionally, there are three champions, as the tournament's name implied. Somehow, a fourth Champion was chosen.

It is unknown initially how Harry's name was entered into the Goblet, or how he was selected; Dumbledore asks whether he had put his own name into the Goblet or had an older student do it for him, and Harry stated that he had not. Professor Moody suggests that Harry's name could have been submitted as the sole contender for a non-existent fourth school, but it would take a powerful wizard who could hoodwink the Goblet into believing that there were, in fact, four schools.

Before the tournament begins, the Weighing of the Wands takes place to examine each Champion's wand to ensure that it is in proper working order. The Champions will, of course, be depending on their wands as their sole tool in the Tasks, and so it is necessary to ensure that each is in perfect working order. The Wands Weighing was performed by Mr. Ollivander, expert wand-maker and owner of Ollivander's Fine Wands in Diagon Alley.

  • Cedric Diggory - 12 1/4 inches, ash, pleasantly springy, containing a single hair from the tail of a male unicorn
  • Fleur Delacour - 9 1/2 inches, inflexible, rosewood, containing a hair from the head of a veela (her grandmother)
  • Harry Potter - 11 inches, holly, containing a feather from the tail of a phoenix
  • Viktor Krum - Gregorovitch creation. 10 1/4 inches, hornbeam and dragon heartstring, quite rigid

The Tournament has three Tasks. The First Task takes place on 24 November. The Second Task is on 24 February, and the Third Task on 24 June. Additionally, the Triwizard Champions are expected to lead off the Yule Ball, which Harry, who had never danced before, considered a fourth and unexpected task.

Notable ConsequencesEdit

It is uncertain exactly why this happens, but having been forced into the Tournament, Harry determines that he must not only compete, but attempt to win, against wizards significantly his senior. Harry's attempt to win the Tournament becomes the driving force for almost all of the book.

Harry's being entered into the Tournament is part of the reason that Sirius returns to England. This also proves a concern for Harry, as he believes himself responsible for Sirius' decision, and his putting himself at risk. This does not stop Harry periodically asking Sirius for help with the Tasks, help which Sirius is largely unable to provide.

Harry becoming a Champion is totally unexpected; initially at least, nobody is sure how this is done. Harry's championship leads to a certain amount of friction between the Heads of the three schools involved; Madame Maxime and Igor Karkaroff both seem to believe that it was done deliberately, and that Albus Dumbledore had some hand in it. At the very least, they suspect him of having failed to draw the Age Line correctly, as that should have prevented Harry, who was then underage, from putting his name in. Moody is the only one who seems to have recognized that the Goblet would have had to be bewitched to issue a fourth name.

Initially, only two people, possibly four, at Hogwarts believe that Harry did not put his own name into the Goblet. Hermione, the morning following the selection of the Champions, brings Harry toast and offers to walk around the lake with him, understanding that he does not want to brave either the Great Hall or the Common Room. While they are walking around the lake, Hermione says that she could tell by the look on Harry's face when his name was announced that he had not put his own name in the Goblet. Hagrid also says that the look on Harry's face showed that it was a total surprise to him that he was picked. Professor Dumbledore may believe that Harry had no intention of entering; his questions as to whether Harry had someone else put his name into the Goblet seem "pro forma", more to satisfy any question the other Judges might have. And Professor Moody seems to accept Harry's story immediately, but the others there present discount Moody because of his well-known paranoia. Professor McGonagall seems to be reserving judgement. Among those who don't believe Harry's innocence are Professor Snape and, most troubling to Harry, Ron. Harry is discouraged by the discovery that Ron can believe Harry is lying to him. This, coupled with a campaign of disparagement headed by Draco Malfoy, will make Harry's life miserable for a large part of the book.

The attention outside Hogwarts caused by his selection as Champion is also unwelcome to Harry. Not only does he have to deal with members of Hufflepuff house who feel he is acting to steal some of their glory, and with those in other houses and amongst the teachers who feel that he is trying to seek out yet more fame for himself, he has attracted the attention of Rita Skeeter, who seems to delight in writing scurrilous pieces about anyone who will sit still for her, and many who won't. Over the course of the story, Rita will write a horrible story about Harry, another about Hagrid, and a third about Hermione. All three stories, appearing either in the Daily Prophet or Witch Weekly, will have serious ill-effects on their subjects and their relationship with others.

AnalysisEdit

An interesting note is that cheating, while not officially condoned, is widely considered a traditional part of the tournament.

The reader should pay particular attention to Bartemius Crouch in the first meeting with the four Champions. We note that by the interpretation of the rules that Mr. Crouch provides, anyone could be entered into the Tournament against their will. It will be instructive to compare Mr. Crouch's interpretation with Dumbledore's speech of the night before.

We should note that the Wand Weighing Ceremony does not actually involve determining how much each wand weighs. The term likely was chosen for its assonance, coupled with a more arcane use of the word. A dictionary definition of the word "weigh" includes the definition: "to evaluate in the mind; consider carefully in order to reach an opinion, decision, or choice: to weigh the facts; to weigh a proposal."[1]

Although the Tournament is a competition, it was also revived to help foster international magical cooperation. The three schools, Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang, are culturally and academically unique, and they have little interaction with one another in the usual course of affairs. Whether the tentative bonds that have been established are a strong enough alliance to unite them in the fight against Voldemort remains to be seen, although individual friendships, and a few romances, have been formed.

As mentioned, Harry does accept that he must compete in the Tournament. We note that it is never explained why Harry decides that, more than simply entering the Tournament, he must try to win against wizards senior to him. It is well worth studying how the author limns the personalities of the three other Champions, and has their characters play off Harry's to build the determination in him to show them what he is made of. This is particularly of interest because it is never mentioned, but is simply absorbed by the reader, until by the time of the First Task, the reader simply accepts that Harry is going to do his level best to win, because he has no other choice.

QuestionsEdit

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

  1. Why was the Triwizard Tournament revived after so many years? Why was it discontinued in the first place?
  2. What is the Tournament's purpose?
  3. Why was Harry chosen as a Champion, even though he was ineligible to enter? How was this accomplished?

NotesEdit

  1. http://www.dictionary.com, 3 June 2007, definition 5

Greater PictureEdit

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

The Weighing of Wands, which seems to be a minor event in the Triwizard Tournament, actually gives Harry a clue in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: he has a vision of Voldemort searching for something, and he has been uttering Gregorovitch's name. At Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour's wedding he is reminded by Viktor Krum, another wedding guest, that Gregorovitch is a wand maker, a fact that had come out at the Weighing. From this he deduces, incorrectly as it turns out, that Voldemort might wish to have another wand commissioned. His later determination that Voldemort wants a specific wand that Gregorovitch knew about is, however, accurate.

As mentioned, Harry's being selected as a Champion causes an estrangement between Harry and Ron. This will continue until the end of the First Task, when Ron will discover the magnitude of the tasks that Harry is facing, and will conclude that Harry did not want to enter the Tournament and risk his life. At the same time, the campaign of belittlement that Draco had started will taper off, though we will never be sure whether it is because of the exceptionally fine showing by Harry in the First Task, or whether Cedric Diggory has requested that his followers stop harassing Harry.

Bill and Fleur's wedding is another consequence of the Tournament: they meet when Bill and his mother visit Harry before the Third Task, and that leads to a romance that ends in the wedding.

Another notable consequence is that Cedric Diggory is murdered during the third task. Voldemort is brought back to full life; it becomes apparent that the course of the Tournament has been subverted to bring Harry to Little Hangleton so that his blood can be used in the potion that restored Voldemort. Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, believing that releasing this news will result in his own downfall, dismisses this news. This becomes the official Ministry platform, and we are told later that the Ministry has stated that Cedric accidentally died due to carelessness. This in turn will set up a large part of the next book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as the Ministry paints Harry and Dumbledore as untrustworthy, in order to devalue any information they might release.

Interestingly, perhaps, it is through the Ministry that the Tournament has been subverted. We will learn that Bartemius Crouch had been placed under the Imperius Curse and was acting in Voldemort's interests in the early part of the year. This explains his unwell appearance in the Hallowe'en meeting with the Champions, and explains also his interpretation of the rule book that seems designed to force Harry to enter the Tournament against his will. Barty Crouch, Jr. had been brought into Hogwarts to monitor the situation, quite possibly was the agent who hoodwinked the Goblet, and ends up murdering his own father and concealing the body.

While this does not come out until the end of the book, Harry's becoming a Champion will be seen as a godsend by Ludo Bagman. Ludo, being on the wrong end of a number of bets he had made on the Quidditch World Cup match, will bet on Harry to win the tournament with his creditors, mostly Goblins. We will see Ludo clumsily offering to help Harry with the Tasks, help which Harry will refuse, and we will see that Ludo consistently gives Harry full points at the completion of a Task. However, as Harry and Cedric touch the Cup at the same instant, the Goblins will claim that Harry and Cedric tied for the win, and Ludo will decamp as he does not have funds to pay his new debts either.

Harry will be deemed to have won the Tournament, in the end, but as it resulted in the death of Cedric, Harry will not want the prize money. He will instead give it to the Twins, who will use it to fund their magical joke shop. Products of the joke shop will be useful to Harry in the fifth, sixth, and seventh books.

Last modified on 11 April 2012, at 22:45