Chapter 13 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Mad-Eye Moody
At breakfast, we see Fred, George, and Lee Jordan plotting ways to bypass the Tournament age limit. Hermione decides to eat breakfast, saying there are better ways to promote Elf rights. Harry looks for, but does not receive, a message from Sirius Black in the morning post. In their first class, Herbology, with the Hufflepuffs, they are squeezing pus from Bubotubers. Their second class is Care of Magical Creatures, with the Slytherins. Hagrid is teaching them to care for Blast-Ended Skrewts. The Skrewts scare the entire class, and one burns Dean Thomas, while Lavender Brown discovers some have stingers.
Hermione bolts down her lunch, then heads for the library, while Harry and Ron proceed to Divination. Professor Trelawney, with her by-now familiar mystical air, predicts her usual doom for Harry and then announces they will be studying the stars. She says that Harry's appearance clearly indicates that he was born in midwinter, under the influence of Saturn; Harry replies that he was born in July. Professor Trelawney, somewhat disgruntled, assigns massive amounts of astrology homework.
While queuing for dinner, Draco Malfoy reads aloud from the Daily Prophet. Ron's father is mentioned in an extremely scurrilous article by Rita Skeeter. The article criticizes the Ministry and, in particular, Mr. Weasley, though Skeeter gets his name wrong. Insults are exchanged, and when Draco attempts to curse Harry behind his back, Professor Moody Transfigures Draco into a white ferret. Professor McGonagall sternly warns Moody that students are never transfigured as punishment, then transforms Draco back. Moody tells Draco to warn his father that he will be watching his son, and comments that he and Mr. Malfoy are "old acquaintances." He escorts Draco to Professor Snape, another "old friend." Fred, George, and Lee Jordan tell Ron and Harry that, even apart from the Malfoy episode, Moody is quite extraordinary, and his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes are incredible. Mad Eye has actually fought Dark wizards. Ron laments having to wait until Thursday for Moody's class.
Professor Moody is proving to be an eccentric and unconventional teacher, even more than others that students have seen at Hogwarts. His gruff, rebellious nature is a bit frightening, although he demonstrates a strong sense of fair play when he punishes Malfoy for attempting to curse Harry when his back was turned. Events in this chapter hint that his teaching methods may be controversial and exciting. The Twins' enthusiasm only increases Ron and Harry's eagerness to attend their first session.
It is unlikely that Hermione has abandoned her mission to liberate House-elves, despite deciding against boycotting Hogwarts' meals. Based on her behavior here, she probably realizes she needs a more practical approach for promoting her cause and has dashed off to the library to research a more effective way. For Hermione, an idea that was born in a fit of childish emotion is gradually giving way to a more logical, methodical, and mature reasoning process to achieve her goals. This may be why Hermione was sorted into Gryffindor House rather than Ravenclaw—she actively applies her great intellect to achieve specific goals, combining her intelligence with bravery, initiative, persistence, and occasional rule-breaking, even when others strongly disapprove, are indifferent, or mock her. This is unlike the cerebral Ravenclaws, who, though they are known for their high intelligence, appear, to us at least, to be more introspective and less proactive. If Hermione had been sorted into Ravenclaw, frequent conflicts with her housemates would likely have occurred.
We don't yet know, any more than the Twins do, how the age limit is going to be enforced. We expect, though, that as they seem to be setting themselves up against Professor Dumbledore, they are not likely to succeed.
- Why does Rita Skeeter particularly criticize Arthur Weasley in her articles about the World Cup riots?
- Why does Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class often feature animals that are mildly dangerous and that frighten (and occasionally injure) students?
- What does Moody mean when he refers to Snape and Lucius Malfoy as "old acquaintances"?
- Why does Hermione decide against boycotting meals prepared by House-elves? Is she giving up on her plan to liberate House-elves or might she be planning something else? If she is developing other plans, what might they be?
- Has Hermione given much thought to how House-elves would fare if they were freed? What obstacles would they face?
We again see Rita Skeeter's poisonous brand of writing in this chapter. As mentioned previously, Rita and her journalistic methods will play a role in this and future books in the series.
Hermione's concerns for the House-elves' well-being will shortly result in her creating an organization, the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, a relatively minor plot point in this book. Hermione's investigations into the House-elves's status at Hogwarts will lead her to Dobby and Winky, who are both working in the Hogwarts kitchens as Free Elves. While it will play a smaller role in future books, championing rights for the non-human magical races will always be among Hermione's concerns throughout the series.
Within this book: The author has stated in an interview that this was one of the more difficult chapters to write, and it had to be rewritten several times in order to properly hide the necessary clues. As the only mystery introduced so far would seem to be Moody, and as his name adorns the chapter, we believe the clues the author refers to are hidden in his actions. However, we find that he has a relatively small role in the chapter proper; we suspect the clues are actually in chapters 12, where Moody is introduced, or 14, where we attend his class.
- Eloise Midgeon is mentioned here in passing as being a student with apparently bad acne and poor judgement, as she charms her nose off while trying to cure her acne. Her facial blemishes will be mentioned again in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
- Professor Trelawney claims that Harry was born in midwinter. While this appears to be intended as an illustration of how poor her "fortune telling" abilities are, there is, all the same, a connection: She may be picking up on the fragment of Voldemort's soul that was unintentionally imparted on the night he tried to kill Harry, as Tom Riddle's birthday was on the 31st of December. We learn Voldemort's birth date in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and are told of this lost soul shard in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, though many readers will have suspected its existence earlier.