Chapter 27 – Padfoot Returns
- Snape reading Rita Skeeter’s love triangle article out loud in class – “pausing at the end of every sentence to allow the Slytherins a hearty laugh” – it’s mean and hilarious at the same time.
- Interesting how Sirius’s dog form, which was described as monstrous and intimidating in the last book, has become positively welcoming now that Harry knows Sirius is a good guy.
- I do like this chapter a lot: as well as seeing Sirius properly again, we get new information added to the central mystery, while going over what we already know from a different perspective. There’s a mention of Crouch paying his son a deathbed visit in Azkaban; it’s only with hindsight that you realise there’s no reason to mention this unless it serves the mystery, as you’re likely to barely notice it the first time.
- Sirius provides the kind of quotable wisdom we normally hear from Dumbledore: “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
- So it would appear Sirius didn’t know Snape was a Death Eater?
- Ron displays some impressive accidental insight here. He tells Hermione, “I know Dumbledore’s brilliant and everything, but that doesn’t mean a really clever Dark wizard couldn’t fool him”, referring to Snape while unaware that Crouch Jr is successfully fooling Dumbledore at that moment. And his thoughts about whether Percy would put his family before his ambition if it came down to it prove correct in the next book.
Chapter 28 – The Madness of Mr Crouch
- The story in Goblet of Fire seems to be a series of pivotal moments with times of relative peace inbetween. The sudden appearance – and then disappearance – of Mr Crouch is certainly one such pivotal moment.
- The problems with Hermione’s initial approach to house-elf liberation become painfully evident here: she hasn’t thought enough about the elves’ perspective and just throws what she thinks straight at them – of course they’re not going to react positively.
- Somehow, Mrs Weasley sending Hermione a tiny egg says more than sending her no egg at all would. Ouch.
- The way Crouch talks about his son’s OWLs during his mad rambling does back up what Sirius suggested in the previous chapter: he didn’t have much genuine affection for his son and was talking about his achievements in a dispassionate way that would reflect well on himself.
- Dumbledore asking Harry if anyone else saw Crouch seems to suggest he was almost expecting something like this to happen.
Chapter 29 – The Dream
- I find it ridiculously easy to imagine Snape turning into a bat. Especially with maniacal laughter and thunderclaps in the background.
- Interesting how when George tells Ron, “Carry on like this and you’ll be made a Prefect,” Ron replies, “No I won’t!” – considering that Ron imagined himself as Head Boy in the Mirror of Erised back in the first book. It’s likely that Ron’s visualisation of success has changed since then, or perhaps he just didn’t like George comparing him to Percy.
- Naturally, people have to tell Harry straight out that there’s nothing he can do about Crouch, otherwise he’s just going to pursue it himself like he always does.
- It’s established later on that Harry sees things through Voldemort’s eyes – so how does he imagine himself riding on the owl in the dream?
Chapter 30 – The Pensieve
- The Pensieve is definitely one of my favourite magical inventions. I love the idea of being able to play around in a full representation of my own or somebody else’s memory – it’s like a time machine, but without having to worry about changing anything. And if it helps the feeling of having too many thoughts in your head, so much the better.
- Watching these trials from just after the first fall of Voldemort is fascinating – it gives insight into the state of the world at that point.
- So we get confirmation that Snape was a Death Eater, and another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is this enigmatic character falls into place.
- Given how good an actor, and how loyal to Voldemort, he is eventually revealed to be, it’s hard to judge how much of Crouch Jr’s terror and begging in the trial is genuine. Sirius’s earlier statement – “He was screaming for his mother by nightfall” – would suggest that it is. It could be that, as devoted as he is, he’s still a young man and he’s not as prepared to endure Azkaban as the Lestranges are.
- There’s a real sense of foreboding as Dumbledore talks about Voldemort in this chapter. All the evidence suggests that he is getting stronger, and while he remains in the shadows and his plans remain unknown, there is nothing that can be done to stop him. No wonder Dumbledore is described as looking particularly old in this chapter.
Chapter 31 – The Third Task
- The pace is really starting to pick up as we approach the climax. We’re building up to Voldemort showing his hand, as the trio discuss Dumbledore’s ideas and Harry reflects on his hatred of Voldemort. Sirius is now sending Harry messages every day. And there already seems to be a negative atmosphere around before the third task begins, with Cornelius Fudge looking stern and Madame Maxime looking upset. Something bad is definitely coming.
- It is heartwarming that Mrs Weasley and Bill choose to come and be Harry’s substitute family members before the task. But Mrs Weasley does appear hypocritical with regards to Rita Skeeter: she tells Amos Diggory, “Rita Skeeter goes out of her way to cause trouble, Amos!” yet took her stories about Harry’s relationship with Hermione, and Harry crying about his parents, at face value. Perhaps these were things she was inclined to believe anyway – did she think Harry and Hermione would make a nice couple?
- Since Mrs Weasley couldn’t have been at Hogwarts before Hagrid was expelled, presumably Ogg was the primary gamekeeper and Hagrid started out as his assistant.
- And again, there can’t be any way for the audience to watch what’s going on inside the maze, otherwise somebody would notice everything that Moody gets up to at this point. Once again though, it is an imaginative experience from Harry’s point of view.
Chapter 32 – Flesh, Blood and Bone
- So we finally get the big death of the book, and it turns out to be Cedric. I admit that when I first read it, it was almost a relief that it wasn’t someone that I felt closer to. But it was certainly still an unpleasant shock – two pages into the chapter, we don’t know what’s going on, and then suddenly this extremely decent young man is dead.
- It’s especially effective how Harry looks at the robes concealing Voldemort and thinks “he didn’t want to see what was in those robes…he didn’t want that bundle opened…” – and then how utterly wrong and twisted Voldemort does look when he is revealed.
- The spell that returns Voldemort to his body seems incredibly specialised – who exactly invented it?
- And the chapter ends on the five terrible words that will dictate how the series progresses from now on: “Lord Voldemort had risen again.”