It was the girl from Beauxbatons who had laughed during Dumbledore's speech.
She had finally removed her muffler. A long sheet of silvery-blonde hair fell
almost to her waist. She had large, deep blue eyes, and very white, even teeth.
Ron went purple. He stared up at her, opened his mouth to reply, but nothing
came out except a faint gurgling noise.
“Yeah, have it,” said Harry, pushing the dish toward the girl.
“You 'ave finished wiz it?”
“Yeah,” Ron said breathlessly. “Yeah, it was excellent.”
The girl picked up the dish and carried it carefully off to the Ravenclaw
table. Ron was still goggling at the girl as though he had never seen one before.
Harry started to laugh. The sound seemed to jog Ron back to his senses.
“She's a veela!” he said hoarsely to Harry.
“Of course she isn't!” said Hermione tartly. “I don't see anyone else gaping
at her like an idiot!”
But she wasn't entirely right about that. As the girl crossed the Hall, many
boys' heads turned, and some of them seemed to have become temporarily speechless,
just like Ron.
“I'm telling you, that's not a normal girl!” said Ron, leaning sideways so
he could keep a clear view of her. “They don't make them like that at Hogwarts!”
“They make them okay at Hogwarts,” said Harry without thinking. Cho happened
to be sitting only a few places away from the girl with the silvery hair.
“When you've both put your eyes back in,” said Hermione briskly, “you'll
be able to see who's just arrived.”
She was pointing up at the staff table. The two remaining empty seats had
just been filled. Ludo Bagman was now sitting on Professor Karkaroff's other
side, while Mr. Crouch, Percy's boss, was next to Madame Maxime.
“What are they doing here?” said Harry in surprise.
“They organized the Triwizard Tournament, didn't they?” said Hermione. “I
suppose they wanted to be here to see it start.”
When the second course arrived they noticed a number of unfamiliar desserts
too. Ron examined an odd sort of pale blancmange closely, then moved it carefully
a few inches to his right, so that it would be clearly visible from the Ravenclaw
table. The girl who looked like a veela appeared to have eaten enough, however,
and did not come over to get it.
Once the golden plates had been wiped clean, Dumbledore stood up again. A
pleasant sort of tension seemed to fill the Hall now. Harry felt a slight thrill
of excitement, wondering what was coming. Several seats down from them, Fred
and George were leaning forward, staring at Dumbledore with great concentration.
“The moment has come,” said Dumbledore, smiling around at the sea of upturned
faces. “The Triwizard Tournament is about to start. I would like to say a few
words of explanation before we bring in the casket—”
“The what?” Harry muttered.
“just to clarify the procedure that we will be following this year. But first,
let me introduce, for those who do not know them, Mr. Bartemius Crouch, Head
of the Department of International Magical Cooperation”—there was a smattering
of polite applause—”and Mr. Ludo Bagman, Head of the Department of Magical Games
There was a much louder round of applause for Bagman than for Crouch, perhaps
because of his fame as a Beater, or simply because he looked so much more likable.
He acknowledged it with a jovial wave of his hand. Bartemius Crouch did not
smile or wave when his name was announced. Remembering him in his neat suit
at the Quidditch World Cup, Harry thought he looked strange in wizard's robes.
His toothbrush mustache and severe parting looked very odd next to Dumbledore's
long white hair and beard.
“Mr. Bagman and Mr. Crouch have worked tirelessly over the last few months
on the arrangements for the Triwizard Tournament,” Dumbledore continued, “and
they will be joining myself, Professor Karkaroff, and Madame Maxime on the panel
that will judge the champions' efforts.”
At the mention of the word “champions,” the attentiveness of the listening
students seemed to sharpen. Perhaps Dumbledore had noticed their sudden stillness,
for he smiled as he said, “The casket, then, if you please, Mr. Filch.”
Filch, who had been lurking unnoticed in a far corner of the Hall, now approached
Dumbledore carrying a great wooden chest encrusted with jewels. It looked extremely
old. A murmur of excited interest rose from the watching students; Dennis Creevey
actually stood on his chair to see it properly, but, being so tiny, his head
hardly rose above anyone else's.
“The instructions for the tasks the champions will face this year have already
been examined by Mr. Crouch and Mr. Bagman,” said Dumbledore as Filch placed
the chest carefully on the table before him, “and they have made the necessary
arrangements for each challenge. There will be three tasks, spaced throughout
the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways.. their
magical prowess—their daring—their powers of deduction—and, of course, their
ability to cope with danger.”
At this last word, the Hall was filled with a silence so absolute that nobody
seemed to be breathing.
“As you know, three champions compete in the tournament,” Dumbledore went
on calmly, “one from each of the participating schools. They will be marked
on how well they perform each of the Tournament tasks and the champion with
the highest total after task three will win the Triwizard Cup. The champions
will be chosen by an impartial selector: the Goblet of Fire.”
Dumbledore now took out his wand and tapped three times upon the top of the
casket. The lid creaked slowly open. Dumbledore reached inside it and pulled
out a large, roughly hewn wooden cup. It would have been entirely unremarkable
had it not been full to the brim with dancing blue-white flames.
Dumbledore closed the casket and placed the goblet carefully on top of it,
where it would be clearly visible to everyone in the Hall.
“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,” said Dumbledore.
“Aspiring champions have twenty-four hours in which to put their names forward.
Tomorrow night, Halloween, 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,” said Dumbledore,
“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
“Finally, 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. Now, I think it is time for bed. Good night
to you all.”
“An Age Line!” Fred Weasley said, his eyes glinting, as they all made their
way across the Hall to the doors into the entrance hall. “Well, that should
be fooled by an Aging Potion, shouldn't it? And once your name's in that goblet,
you're laughing—it can't tell whether you're seventeen or not!”
“But I don't think anyone under seventeen will stand a chance,” said Hermione,
“we just haven't learned enough...”
“Speak for yourself,” said George shortly. “You'll try and get in, won't
Harry thought briefly of Dumbledore's insistence that nobody under seventeen
should submit their name, but then the wonderful picture of himself winning
the Triwizard Tournament filled his mind again... He wondered how angry Dumbledore
would be if someone younger than seventeen did find a way to get over the Age
“Where is he?” said Ron, who wasn't listening to a word of this conversation,
but looking through the crowd to see what had become of Krum. “Dumbledore didn't
say where the Durmstrang people are sleeping, did he?”
But this query was answered almost instantly; they were level with the Slytherin
table now, and Karkaroff had just bustled up to his students.
“Back to the ship, then,” he was saying. “Viktor, how are you feeling? Did
you eat enough? Should I send for some mulled wine from the kitchens?”
Harry saw Krum shake his head as he pulled his furs back on. “Professor,
Ivood like some vine,” said one of the other Durmstrang boys hopefully.
“I wasn't offering it to you, Poliakoff,” snapped Karkaroff, his warmly paternal
air vanishing in an instant. “I notice you have dribbled food all down the front
of your robes again, disgusting boy—”
Karkaroff turned and led his students toward the doors, reaching them at
exactly the same moment as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Harry stopped to let him
walk through first.
“Thank you,” said Karkaroff carelessly, glancing at him. And then Karkaroff
froze. He turned his head back to Harry and stared at him as though he couldn't
believe his eyes. Behind their headmaster, the students from Durmstrang came
to a halt too. Karkaroff's eyes moved slowly up Harry's face and fixed upon
his scar. The Durmstrang students were staring curiously at Harry too. Out of
the corner of his eye, Harry saw comprehension dawn on a few of their faces.
The boy with food all down his front nudged the girl next to him and pointed
openly at Harry's forehead.
“Yeah, that's Harry Potter,” said a growling voice from behind them.
Professor Karkaroff spun around. Mad-Eye Moody was standing there, leaning
heavily on his staff, his magical eye glaring unblinkingly at the Durmstrang
The color drained from Karkaroff's face as Harry watched. A terrible look
of mingled fury and fear came over him.
“You!” he said, staring at Moody as though unsure he was really seeing him.
“Me,” said Moody grimly. “And unless you've got anything to say to Potter,
Karkaroff, you might want to move. You're blocking the doorway.”
It was true; half the students in the Hall were now waiting behind them,
looking over one another's shoulders to see what was causing the holdup.
Without another word, Professor Karkaroff swept his students away with him.
Moody watched him until he was out of sight, his magical eye fixed upon his
back, a look of intense dislike upon his mutilated face.
As the next day was Saturday, most students would normally have breakfasted
late. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, however, were not alone in rising much earlier
than they usually did on weekends. When they went down into the entrance hall,
they saw about twenty people milling around it, some of them eating toast, all
examining the Goblet of Fire. It had been placed in the center of the hall on
the stool that normally bore the Sorting Hat. A thin golden line had been traced
on the floor, forming a circle ten feet around it in every direction.
“Anyone put their name in yet?” Ron asked a third-year girl eagerly.
“All the Durmstrang lot,” she replied. “But I haven't seen anyone from Hogwarts
“Bet some of them put it in last night after we'd all gone to bed,” said
Harry. “I would've if it had been me... wouldn't have wanted everyone watching.
What if the goblet just gobbed you right back out again?”
Someone laughed behind Harry. Turning, he saw Fred, George, and Lee Jordan
hurrying down the staircase, all three of them looking extremely excited.
“Done it,” Fred said in a triumphant whisper to Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
“Just taken it.”
“What?” said Ron.
“The Aging Potion, dung brains,” said Fred.
“One drop each,” said George, rubbing his hands together with glee. “We only
need to be a few months older.”
“We're going to split the thousand Galleons between the three of us if one
of us wins,” said Lee, grinning broadly.
“I'm not sure this is going to work, you know,” said Hermione warningly.
“I'm sure Dumbledore will have thought of this.”
Fred, George, and Lee ignored her.
“Ready?” Fred said to the other two, quivering with excitement. “C'mon, then—I'll
Harry watched, fascinated, as Fred pulled a slip of parchment out of his
pocket bearing the words Fred Weasley—Hogwarts. Fred walked right up to the
edge of the line and stood there, rocking on his toes like a diver preparing
for a fifty-foot drop. Then, with the eyes of every person in the entrance hall
upon him, he took a great breath and stepped over the line.
For a split second Harry thought it had worked—George certainly thought so,
for he let out a yell of triumph and leapt after Fred—but next moment, there
was a loud sizzling sound, and both twins were hurled out of the golden circle
as though they had been thrown by an invisible shot-putter. They landed painfully,
ten feet away on the cold stone floor, and to add insult to injury, there was
a loud popping noise, and both of them sprouted identical long white beards.
The entrance hall rang with laughter. Even Fred and George joined in, once
they had gotten to their feet and taken a good look at each other's beards.
“I did warn you,” said a deep, amused voice, and everyone turned to see Professor
Dumbledore coming out of the Great Hall. He surveyed Fred and George, his eyes
twinkling. “I suggest you both go up to Madam Pomfrey. She is already tending
to Miss Fawcett, of Ravenclaw, and Mr. Summers, of Hufflepuff, both of whom
decided to age themselves up a little too. Though I must say, neither of their
beards is anything like as fine as yours.”
Fred and George set off for the hospital wing, accompanied by Lee, who was
howling with laughter, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione, also chortling, went in