Chapter 11 – Aboard the Hogwarts Express
- This book introduces a lot of wizarding terminology, like Death Eaters and Aurors, which you’d think might have come up in previous years.
- We’re still taking time to set up everything that’s going to be relevant later, like Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons two chapters ago. Meanwhile, the whole chapter begins with the incident at Mad-Eye Moody’s house that seems like just another occurrence but will once again be very significant later on.
- Two questions about Hogwarts being disguised as a ruined castle to Muggle eyes. Firstly, surely some idiots would still try to go in? (Admittedly, Hogwarts is in an isolated area anyway, and there are probably other defences.) Secondly, what happens if Muggle parents or whatever need to come to the school?
Chapter 12 – The Triwizard Tournament
- It’s a pleasure to see the Sorting again after missing it for two books.
- I was as surprised as Hermione to learn that there are house elves at Hogwarts. It’s another explanation for things I didn’t necessarily think needed explaining: it’s not until later that the books confirm magic can’t produce food out of thin air.
- I really like the description of Mad-Eye Moody’s face: “It looked as though it had been carved out of weathered wood by someone who had only the vaguest idea of what human faces were supposed to look like, and was none too skilled with a chisel.”
- Most students are not concerned about the fact that people have died in previous Triwizard Tournaments, which could suggest that wizards in general have a more casual attitude to danger than Muggles. It would certainly explain the rather lax safety standards at Hogwarts.
- Yeah, you know in spite of everything, Harry’s going to be involved in this tournament somehow, even if the cover didn’t give it away.
Chapter 13 – Mad-Eye Moody
- Harry insulting Malfoy’s mother certainly seems to touch a nerve with Malfoy: maybe he’s close to his mother, or maybe he’s just prepared to dish out insults about family but not take them. It’s so very pleasing to watch him get the ferret treatment from Moody.
Chapter 14 – The Unforgivable Curses
- I like how we’re told up front that this Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher is only staying for a year, so we don’t need to dwell on whether the cycle will continue: presumably this is Dumbledore being savvy.
- Mad-Eye Moody is such a fascinating and striking character that it’s a shame knowing he’s not the real guy. With hindsight, we see Barty Crouch Jr setting up his plan very early on by giving Neville a relevant book on plants. His motives seem innocuous and even positive – but in fact, this is one of the very people who robbed Neville of his parents, using one of the very spells he demonstrated in class.
- Though why does Moody/Crouch seem intent on Harry using Gillyweed for the second task, rather than the Bubble Head Charm or some other method? Perhaps it’s because there’s no certainty Harry would be able to learn the charm, whereas with Gillyweed, there’s no skill involved – you just stick it in your mouth and go.
- We’ve known for some time that the curse Voldemort used on Harry involved green light – but now it’s a specific spell with a label.
- Just for fun, let’s look at Harry and Ron’s made-up predictions and see how accurate they are. Ron developing a cough – I don’t think that happens. Harry being in danger of burns – well, he faces a dragon in the first task. Ron losing a treasured possession – sounds like the second task, but that’s Harry. Harry getting stabbed in the back by somebody he thought was a friend – Moody definitely does so, and maybe Ron if you’re feeling harsh. Ron coming off worst in a fight – again, more Harry. Harry losing a bet – that’s Bagman.
- While Hermione’s intentions are certainly admirable, which becomes more apparent in later books, her efforts with S.P.E.W. do seem quite comical and inappropriate at first. Bear in mind, Hermione has never even had a proper conversation with one of the creatures she’s trying to liberate.
- I was very pleased to learn that Sirius was coming back, even if Harry wasn’t at first.
Chapter 15 – Beauxbatons and Durmstrang
- I think this is the first time the books have actually shown us the Owlery (Harry doesn’t send that many letters from Hogwarts).
- Despite Sirius being a grown wizard, Harry clearly feels responsible for him: not only because that’s the kind of person he is, but because Sirius is the closest thing Harry has to a parent right now.
- Is Dumbledore getting Moody to teach the students about curses directly because he already suspects that Voldemort is getting stronger and wants to prepare them?
- It’s clever that the Imperius curse creates a feeling of bliss – after all, sometimes people enjoy just accepting orders and not having to think.
- The reactions to Hermione’s campaign – how “a few seemed mildly interested” and “many regarded the whole thing as a joke” – seem realistic given the established culture.
- I love how Sirius immediately sees through Harry’s attempt to keep him safe: “Nice try, Harry.”
- The Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students get some great dramatic entrances – and the unexpected appearance of another giant person gives a clue that we’ll be learning more about Hagrid’s nature later on, if another such person exists. The little detail that Beauxbatons students wear silk uniforms gives a clue both to the climate and atmosphere of their school.
Chapter 16 – The Goblet of Fire
- The reactions of the foreign students as they arrive at Hogwarts – the ones from Durmstrang looking impressed, and the ones from Beauxbatons much less so – also gives an idea of what their own schools are like without yet revealing actual details about them.
- Why do the rejected Triwizard candidates stay at Hogwarts instead of returning to their own schools? Do Maxime and Karkaroff tutor them in the meantime?
- Moody looks at Karkaroff with “intense dislike upon his mutilated face” – is Crouch Jr still playing the role there, or showing his true feelings towards a free, disloyal Death Eater?
- Already there are indications of more romantic elements being stepped up in this book: as well as Harry’s already established feelings for Cho Chang, we see Ron being attracted to Fleur Delacour, and Hagrid to Madame Maxime. Too bad none of it is going to run smoothly.
- So good to see Hufflepuff getting proper recognition at last. Especially since my mum and sister are both Hufflepuffs according to the Pottermore Sorting.