"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire": A Chapter by Chapter Guide
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is a long book, not only in pages. A reading guide may be useful, although if you have not yet read it it may also act as a spoiler. We recommend that you read the book first (it is also a delightful experience). If not, be warned that almost everything is disclosed here: if you want to save at least the whodunit problem (who is the villain playing double agent for the Dark Forces at Hogwarts) do not read the guide to Chapter 35.
Scene: the village of Little Hampleton, The Riddle House. This is where many years ago one Tom Riddle and his parents were found dead. Frank Bryce, the gardener, was suspected of being the murderer, but since the Riddles simply dropped dead with no evidence of foul play he was released. Bryce still tends the empty Riddle House. Empty? Not entirely. Ridlle overhears a conversation between the Potter series archvillain, Lord Voldemort (partially disembodied), his adept Wormtail and the serpent Nagini. They have killed one Bertha Jorkins and plan to kill Harry Potter as well. Nagini detects Bryces presence, and Voldemort kills him. At this stage, the reader may think that Tom Riddle is unimportant, and that Voldemorts selection of an abandoned home as his base has been merely casual. Only in chapter 33 we will discover that Riddle is, in fact, very important (this is some 600 pages ahead, and many readers will have by that time forgotten that he is the same Riddle mentioned in chapter 1).
Although nobody is supposed to know what happened at Riddle House, Harry Potter, as we all remember, is magically connected to his archenemy Voldemort through his scar. He feels the scar and sees the whole scene while he is staying with his dull muggle (i.e. non-wizard) relatives, the Dursleys. He decides to write to his fugitive (but innocent) godfather, Sirius (whose story is told in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"), in order to report the incident.
The World Cup of Qudditch (a sport all Harry Potter fans are familiar with) is the big summer event for wizards. The Wesleys (parents of Harrys best friend, Ron) have tickets for the final, Ireland vs. Bulgaria, and invite Harry (as well as Hermione, who is Harry and Rons gifted but muggle-born classmate). The Dursleys reluctantly accept to let him go.
The Wesleys arrive at the Dursleys to pick up Harry. They try to be polite, but the Dursleys behave so badly that they are punished by Fred and George, Rons terrible twin brothers who are into magical jokes. They induce Dudley (the Dursleys bully son) to eat a toffee which causes his tongue to grow.
Harry arrives at the Wesleys home. Their son Percy, having graduated from Hogwarts, now works with Mr. Crouch, a senior officer at the Ministry of Magic and is more pompous than ever. Fred and George dream to open a shop of magic jokes when they will leave Hogwarts after their last year there.
Wizards travel by portkeys, innocent-looking devices which teletransport them to remote places, to the World Cup. Harry meets the father of Cedric Diggory, who is very proud of his son who once beated Harry Potter in a quidditch match (because Harry fell from his broom, but this is not important for Mr. Diggory).
All the wizards are excited waiting for the World Cup final. Harry and his friends meet Mr. Crouch and Ludo Bagman, a jovial Ministry of Magic officer who is in charge of magical sports. He induces Fred and George to bet on the final; they bet all their savings on an Irish victory coupled with the fact that Viktor Krum, Bulgarias young star player, will get the snitch (this will not be enough for Bulgaria to win if Ireland has already scored too many points).
The World Cup final: Harry and friends are in the VIP box where Mr. Crouch does not show up (but they meet his female elf servant, Winky, later to be revealed as another important character). Just as Fred and George predicted, Krum gets the snitch but Ireland wins, and they receive a lot of money from Mr. Bagman.
In the aftermath of the World Cup, masked wizards hassle muggles, which is against all rules and reminiscent of the anti-muggle attitudes of the Death Eaters, the adepts of Lord Voldemort. As if to confirm the worst fears, Lord Voldemorts dark mark appears in the sky. The culprit is not discovered, but the elf Winky is found wandering with Harrys magical wand (he has lost it during the game) and suspected of some wrongdoing. She is dismissed from Mr. Crouchs service.
The incidents at the World Cup are covered by the wizard daily "Daily Prophet". The reporter in charge is Rita Skeeter, who has a taste for scandals and tries to make trouble at the Ministry of Magic.
As they do every year, Harry and friends board the Hogwarts Expres to go to school. They meet the usual bad guys (Draco Malfoy and his friends) who hint at a big event to be held at Hogwarts. They also discuss "Mad-Eye" Moody, the new professor of Defense Against the Black Arts, apparently obsessed with Death Eaters conspiracies.
At the opening of the school year, Principal Dumbledore announces that there will be no quidditch tournament. Instead, the Triwizard Tournament will be held, a venerable competition between the three main magical high schools (Hogwards, Beauxbaton and Durmstrang), which has not taken place in the last 700 years, For this dangerous tournament, a Goblet of Fire will select a champion for each school, but only those over 17 may enter their names into the Goblet. Hogwarts underage students (not including Harry, who does not want to compete) devise various methods to fool the Goblet but fail.
Draco Malfoy makes a nuisance of himself as usual and hassles Hermione because she is muggle-born. Mad-Eye Moody, the new professor, immediately takes a dislike to him and transforms Malfoy into a ferret. He is told that Hogwarts professors are supposed to resort to less extreme forms of punishments, and Malfoy is restored to his normal self. Rita Skeeter keeps looking for scandals on behalf of the "Daily Prophet".
Moody teaches his class about the three forbidden Unforgivable Curses: the Imperius Curse, used to control another persons will and making him or her a virtual puppet; the Cruciatus Curse, inflicting extreme pain; and the Avada Kedavra, which instantly kills. Using these spells against a human being means jail at Azkaban for life, but Moody insists that the students should know them in order to defend themselves if attacked. In the meantime, Hermione is increasingly concerned with the fate of house elves, who are not paid and have no vacations, and starts a movement for their rights (the elves are not very interested, however).
Students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang made their magical appearance at Hogwarts. Beauxbatons principal is the huge Madame Maxime, and she has with her a magically beautiful girl, Fleur Delacour. Durmstrangs name carries an unpleasant association with the Dark Forces and his principal, Mr Karkaroff, appears sinister. One of his students, however, is none else that Bulgarian quidditch star Viktor Krum, of World Cup fame.
The Goblet of Fire picks up the champions. Durmstrangs champion, as everybody had easily predicted, is Viktor Krum. Beauxbatons champion is Fleur Delacour. Hogwarts champion is the good-looking Cedric Diggory. Many are disappointed, but the Goblet extracts a fourth name: Harry Potter. Despite protests that Harry is under age and that Hogwarts cannot have two champions, it is ruled that Harry will compete.
Harry is very unhappy about being a champion and is persuaded that some enemy, powerful enough to fool the Goblet about his age (a very difficult task), has included his name, hoping that he will be killed in the dangerous tournament. Nobody believes him, however, and most Hogwarts students think that he has managed to fool the Goblet. Ron, who badly wanted to compete himself, decides to end his friendship with Harry, much to the latters desperation.
The champions wands are weighed in preparation of the first of the three tasks of the tournament. Draco Malfoy starts a campaign against Harry with signs "Potter Stinks". Harry is interviewed by the formidable Rita Skeeter.
Skeeters piece appears, and, much to the surprise of Harry (who didnt touch the subject at all), focuses on Harrys supposed romance with Hermione. Hagrid, the keeper of magical animals and a friend of Harry, gives him an information about the first task: it will involve dangerous dragons. Sirius appears, warns Harry against Durmstrangs principal, Karkaroff (a former associate of Lord Voldemort), and is about to offer a suggestion about dragons when Ron (still not on speaking terms with Harry) appears and Sirius has to hide.
The first task: Harry shares his information with Cedric Diggory, who is very grateful. The task is about taking an egg from a very protective dragon. All champions defeat their dragons but Harry and Viktor Krum complete the task in the quickest way and are tied in the first place. Harrys spell is simple: he decides to do what he does best -- summons the Firebolt broom he uses for quidditch, tells himself this is just another quidditch game, attracts the dragon in the sky and catches the egg as if it is was the quidditchs snitch. Harrys house, Griffyndor, hosts a big celebration, where Harry and Ron are reconciled.
Rita Skeeter tries to interview the unsuspecting Hagrid. Hermione reaches for the kitchen in order to agitate the house elves and discovers that the only paid elves are Dobby (liberated by Harry in a previous novel) and Winky (who found employment at Hogwarts after the World Cup incident), but they are despised by the other elves for this and quite miserable.
Harry discovers that he has an unexpected task: as champion, he should open the dances at the Yule Ball. This means that he should first find a partner. It takes time for him to find the courage to ask his crush Cho Chan, but she answers she will go to the ball with Cedric Diggory. Ron is also late in asking Hermione who says she is already engaged with somebody else. Harry settles for Parvati Patil (a good-looking girl Harry couldnt care less about), and Ron will take her sister.
This is a long chapter about the Yule Ball, where Viktor Krum shows up with an unexpected partner: Hermione, who has spent three hours in preparing herself, has changed her usual bookworm look and looks beautiful. Much to Rons chagrin (we understand Ron to have evolved beyond mere friendship for Hermione), Krum and Hermione seem to get together quite well. So do Cedric Diggory and Cho Chan, making Harry as unhappy as Ron. The huge Hagrid is courting Beauxbatons principal, Madame Maxime, but makes the mistake of confessing he is half-giant and declaring that he thinks she is, too. Since many are persuaded that giants are dangerous, Maxime is outraged and replies (falsely) that she has merely big bones, and the possible romance is broken. Cedric Diggory returns the favor to Harry (who tipped him about the first task), and suggests that he opens the egg every champion has received for the second task while taking a bath.
Rita Skeeter writes a vicious article on Hagrid, playing on the general prejudice about giants and attacking Dumbledore for keeping a dangerous giant at Hogwarts. Hagrid is desperate and wants to quit, but Dumbledore and the Harry gang persuades him to stay. Hermione insults Skeeter, who promises revenge.
Harry, who has tried to understand what the egg means without using Cedrics tip, finally tries to open it in hot water and hear from the egg that he should recover under water, fighting merpeople, what he treasures most. He is very concerned since he cannot swim. While he wanders at night, Professor Snape (who dislikes him intensely) accuses him of having searched his office. Moody defends Harry and confronts Snape, exposing him as a former Death Eater (Snape contends he is reformed and Dumbledore trusts him, which happens to be true).
The second task. The champions should recover under water what they most cherish. Harry discovers that for him this means Ron (for Viktor, its Hermione, and for Cedric its Cho Chan -- things have evolved rather quickly, and now its love: for Fleur, its her little sister). Harry is desperate but the elf Dolby comes out with the solution by offering him gillyweed, that enables to breath under water. Harry passes the merpeople and reaches the hostages first. He frees Ron and may win the task, but he is concerned for Fleurs sister since Fleur is late. So, he decides to free Fleurs sister as well, and finishes third after Cedric and Krum who in turn have freed Cho Chan and Hermione. The jury awards him extra points for his moral fiber, under Karkaroffs opposition, and he is tied with Cedric at the first place. Fleur is grateful for Harrys saving of her sister and starts been much kinder to him (Harry doesnt seem interested).
Rita Skeeter publishes her most vicious article to date about Hermione using magical means to manipulate both her supposed boyfriend Harry Potter and Viktor Krum. The article appears in the female magazine "Weekly Witch", and Hermione receives angry letters from both Potter and Krum fans (even Rons mother is impressed). Hermione bravely resists, but wonders how Skeeter discovered that Krum has invited her to his house for the summer (which appears to be true, adding to Rons concern). Harry meets Sirius, who warns him against Mr. Crouch, who has disappeared from his office and is supposedly ill. Crouch, Sirius expalains, was so cruel in fighting the Dark Forces that he came to share the same methods (he sent to Azkaban his own son, who claimed to be innocent and apparently died there).
Viktor Krum suggests that he and Harry have a private word in the wood, and asks Harry whether Hermione ever was his girlfriend. Harry assures him that this was not the case. While they talk, an ostensibly demented Mr. Crouch appears and talk incoherently about the homicide of his missing employee Bertha Jorkins, his own stupidity, and impending doom. Harry runs to get Dumbledore but when they return Viktor lays unconscious and Crouch has disappeared. Karkaroff accuses Hogwarts and Dumbledore to plot against his champion.
Harry enters into a dream state during a lesson, and sees Wormtail reporting to Lord Voldemort that he had killed somebody (obviously Crouch). The two hint that plans to kill Harry are now quite advanced.
Harry goes to Dumbledores office to report about the dream. While he waits for Dumbledore, he sees in a magical water basin called the Pensieve (where Dumbledore stores his thoughts) old trials against Death Eaters, including Karkaroffs (who escapes life imprisonment by naming names) and Crouchs sons. Rita Skeeter was already covering the trials as a reporter.
While the champions prepare for the third task (a maze, with several of Hagrids beasts to be subdued before going for the Triwizard Cup itself), Harry is distracted by a new vicious article by Skeeter calling him "disturbed and dangerous" for falling in a trance state during classes (again, he doesnt understand how she may know it) and persecuting "good" students such as Malfoy. The third task is a handicap, and the champions leading the tournament (Cedric and Harry) start first. Harry meets a Sphinx, solves a riddle, and advances. So does Cedric. They hear a cry from Fleur, and Harry sees Viktor Krum trying the illegal Cruciatus Curse on Cedric. Harry saves Cedric, who would be first in taking the Cup. Cedric, however, refuse saying that Harry deserves it. They argue and decide to touch the Cup together, going for a tie. They do not know that the Cup is a portkey, and it takes them to a faraway place.
Cedric and Harry land in the graveyard of Little Hangleton (go back to Chapter 1 for explanations). They found there Wormtail, who kills Cedric with Voldemorts wand through the Avada Kedavra spell. He collects a piece of his own flesh, the bones of Tom Riddle (again, see Chapter 1), and a vial of Harrys blood and use them to make Lord Voldemort rise again.
Voldemort is in a talkative mood, and explains that he was the son of a muggle father and a witch. The father, who abandoned the mother, was Tom Riddle, and Voldemort eventually killed Riddle and his parents. After his problems with Harry (see the previous novels), in order to rise again he needed the flesh of an adept willingly given (Wormtail), the bones of the father (Tom Riddle), and the blood of the enemy (Harry Potter). He may have picked up another enemy (something he is not short of), but by taking Harrys blood he believes he has absorbed Harrys powers and is now invincible. The Death Eaters return to support Voldemort; they include Draco Malfoys father and other usual suspects. Voldemort hints that his most useful ally is at Hogwarts as a double agent.
Voldemort challenges Harry to a magical duel. Harry is sure he will die, but when Harrys and Voldemorts wands connect, the ghost of the Dark Lords victims come out from the latter: Cedric, Bertha Jorkins, Frank Bryce (the gardener of Riddle House killed in Chapter 1) and Harrys own parents. They help Harry to escape taking Cedrics body with him.
Harry is back to Hogwarts with Cedrics dead body. He is interviewed by Professor Moody who reveals to be Voldemorts secret ally who has included Harry in the Tournament in order to send it to Voldemort. He has also helped Harry to win, inter alia by putting Viktor Krum under an Imperius Curse (so, Viktor is not really guilty for having tried the Cruciatus Curse on Cedric). Dumbledore saves the day and it is revealed that Moody is not Moody. The real Moody has been imprisoned by Barty Crouch, Mr. Crouchs son. Far from being innocent, he was as guilty as hell. He managed to escape Azkaban and was kept in hiding by his father (who finally accused his own stupidity before dying). He lived in hiding in his fathers home, but the faithful elf Winky was authorized to take him to the Quidditch World Cup disguised under an Invisibility Cloak. There, Winky lost control of Barty, who subdued Moody, replaced him, and set up the trap for Harry. The latter escaped since his and Voldemorts wand are twin wands, and when they met the former recreated the ghosts of his most recent victims. It is also revealed that Karkaroff had nothing to do with Harrys problems; he was too afraid of Dumbledore to return to his old loyalties as a Death Eater. As for Professor Snape, Dumbledore still believes his reform to be genuine.
The Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, refuses to believe Dumbledore. He does not believe that Voldemort has risen again: he thinks that Barty Crouch was deluded into thinking that he was acting for the Dark Lord, and that Harry Potter is prone to hallucinating just as Rita Skeeter wrote. In fact, Fudge refuses to see his routine compromised by the return of the Dark Lord, and prefers to believe that all is in order (Barty Crouch, in the meantime, has received the Death Kiss by one of the Dementors, the terrible guardians of the Azkaban jail, and is out of the picture). Dumbledore advises Fudge that a terrible battle is starting, and that he should dismiss the Dementors from Azkaban (they are not to be trusted and will betray the Ministry to Voldemort) and send messages to the giants apologizing for past discrimination, least they side with Voldemort. Fudge would have none of it, and Dumbledore, facing dismissal as principal of Hogwarts, say that their ways should part.
Contrary to Fudges instructions, Dumbledore closes the school year by announcing to the students that Lord Voldemort has risen again and terrible times are coming. He honors Cedrics memory (Cho Chan cries but is now free for a possible future romance with Harry, although so far she is not a very definite character), and Harrys bravery. Dumbledore sends messages to all his potential allies (including Madame Maxime, now reconciled with Hagrid) in order to prepare for the battle. He advises Harry to lie low in the summer (this means, unfortunately, with the Dursleys), and the students board the train to return home. Whilst Harry wonders why Rita Skeeter has not covered the dramatic end of the Tournament, Hermione reveals that she discovered Ritas secret (she transformed herself into a bug in order to spy at Hogwarts), caught her in her insect form, blocked her transformation and is keeping her in a bottle until summer. Harry has received the huge money prize for the Tournament (Cedrics family does not want it). He does not want the money either, and finally gives it to Fred and George to open their joke shop. They revealed that Ludo Bagman paid them on their World Cups bet with self-vanishing leprechaun money. Bagman is a gambler and has ruined himself; he bet on Harry for the Tournament with the goblins, but was not paid since Harry didnt win alone but was tied with Cedric. Bagman is now escaping pursued by creditors. Harry has more pressing concerns: not only Voldemort is out for him, but the Dursleys are at the station for another dreadful summer among the muggles. Unlike in other books, Lord Voldemort has not been defeated (Harry merely escaped), and the last chapter is called "The Beginning" (definitely not "The End"). Stay tuned for more.