InLibrary.org

HOME | SEARCH | TOP | SITEMAP      

 
 


 

J.K.Rîwling >> Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (page 29)


The decorations in the Great Hall had changed this morning. As it was Halloween, a cloud of live bats was fluttering around the enchanted ceiling, while hundreds of carved pumpkins leered from every corner. Harry led the way over to Dean and Seamus, who were discussing those Hogwarts students of seventeen or over who might be entering.

“There's a rumor going around that Warrington got up early and put his name in,” Dean told Harry. “That big bloke from Slytherin who looks like a sloth.”

Harry, who had played Quidditch against Warrington, shook his head in disgust.

“We can't have a Slytherin champion!”

“And all the Hufflepuffs are talking about Diggory,” said Seamus contemptuously. “But I wouldn't have thought he'd have wanted to risk his good looks.”

“Listen!” said Hermione suddenly.

People were cheering out in the entrance hall. They all swiveled around in their seats and saw Angelina Johnson coming into the Hall, grinning in an embarrassed sort of way. A tall black girl who played Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Angelina came over to them, sat down, and said, “Well, I've done it! Just put my name in!”

“You're kidding!” said Ron, looking impressed.

“Are you seventeen, then?” asked Harry.

“Course she is, can't see a beard, can you?” said Ron.

“I had my birthday last week,” said Angelina.

“Well, I'm glad someone from Gryffindor's entering,” said Hermione. “I really hope you get it, Angelina!”

“Thanks, Hermione,” said Angelina, smiling at her.

Yeah, better you than Pretty-Boy Diggory, said Seamus, causing several Hufflepuffs passing their table to scowl heavily at him.

“What're we going to do today, then?” Ron asked Harry and Hermione when they had finished breakfast and were leaving the Great Hall.

“We haven't been down to visit Hagrid yet,” said Harry.

“Okay,” said Ron, “just as long as he doesn't ask us to donate a few fingers to the skrewts.”

A look of great excitement suddenly dawned on Hermione's face.

“I've just realized—I haven't asked Hagrid to join S. P. E. W. yet!” she said brightly. “Wait for me, will you, while I nip upstairs and get the badges?”

“What is it with her?” said Ron, exasperated, as Hermione ran away up the marble staircase.

“Hey, Ron,” said Harry suddenly. “It's your friend...”

The students from Beauxbatons were coming through the front doors from the grounds, among them, the veela-girl. Those gathered around the Goblet of Fire stood back to let them pass, watching eagerly.

Madame Maxime entered the hall behind her students and organized them into a line. One by one, the Beauxbatons students stepped across the Age Line and dropped their slips of parchment into the blue-white flames. As each name entered the fire, it turned briefly red and emitted sparks.

“What d'you reckon'll happen to the ones who aren't chosen?” Ron muttered to Harry as the veela-girl dropped her parchment into the Goblet of Fire. “Reckon they'll go back to school, or hang around to watch the tournament?”

“Dunno,” said Harry. “Hang around, I suppose... Madame Maxime's staying to judge, isn't she?”

When all the Beauxbatons students had submitted their names, Madame Maxime led them back out of the hall and out onto the grounds again.

“Where are they sleeping, then?” said Ron, moving toward the front doors and staring after them.

A loud rattling noise behind them announced Hermione's reappearance with the box of S. P. E. W. badges.

“Oh good, hurry up,” said Ron, and he jumped down the stone steps, keeping his eyes on the back of the veela-girl, who was now halfway across the lawn with Madame Maxime.

As they neared Hagrid's cabin on the edge of the Forbidden Forest, the mystery of the Beauxbatons' sleeping quarters was solved. The gigantic powder-blue carriage in which they had arrived had been parked two hundred yards from Hagrid's front door, and the students were climbing back inside it. The elephantine flying horses that had pulled the carriage were now grazing in a makeshift paddock alongside it.

Harry knocked on Hagrid's door, and Fang's booming barks answered instantly.

“Bout time!” said Hagrid, when he'd flung open the door. “Thought you lot'd forgotten where I live!”

“We've been really busy, Hag—” Hermione started to say, but then she stopped dead, looking up at Hagrid, apparently lost for words.

Hagrid was wearing his best (and very horrible) hairy brown suit, plus a checked yellow-and-orange tie. This wasn't the worst of it, though; he had evidently tried to tame his hair, using large quantities of what appeared to be axle grease. It was now slicked down into two bunches—perhaps he had tried a ponytail like Bill's, but found he had too much hair. The look didn't really suit Hagrid at all. For a moment, Hermione goggled at him, then, obviously deciding not to comment, she said, “Erm—where are the skrewts.”

“Out by the pumpkin patch,” said Hagrid happily. “They're get-tin' massive, mus' be nearly three foot long now. On'y trouble is, they've started killin' each other.”

“Oh no, really?” said Hermione, shooting a repressive look at Ron, who, staring at Hagrid's odd hairstyle, had just opened his mouth to say something about it.

“Yeah,” said Hagrid sadly. “S' okay, though, I've got 'em in separate boxes now. Still got abou' twenty.”

“Well, that's lucky,” said Ron. Hagrid missed the sarcasm.

Hagrid's cabin comprised a single room, in one corner of which was a gigantic bed covered in a patchwork quilt. A similarly enormous wooden table and chairs stood in front of the fire beneath the quantity of cured hams and dead birds hanging from the ceiling. They sat down at the table while Hagrid started to make tea, and were soon immersed in yet more discussion of the Triwizard Tournament. Hagrid seemed quite as excited about it as they were.

“You wait,” he said, grinning. “You jus' wait. Yer going ter see some stuff yeh've never seen before. Firs' task... ah, but I'm not supposed ter say.”

“Go on, Hagrid!” Harry, Ron, and Hermione urged him, but he just shook his head, grinning.

“I don' want ter spoil it fer yeh,” said Hagrid. “But it's gonna be spectacular, I'll tell yeh that. Them champions're going ter have their work cut out. Never thought I'd live ter see the Triwizard Tournament played again!”

They ended up having lunch with Hagrid, though they didn't eat much—Hagrid had made what he said was a beef casserole, but after Hermione unearthed a large talon in hers, she, Harry, and Ron rather lost their appetites. However, they enjoyed themselves trying to make Hagrid tell them what the tasks in the tournament were going to be, speculating which of the entrants were likely to be selected as champions, and wondering whether Fred and George were beardless yet.

A light rain had started to fall by midafternoon; it was very cozy sitting by the fire, listening to the gentle patter of the drops on the window, watching Hagrid darning his socks and arguing with Hermione about house-elves—for he flatly refused to join S. P. E. W. when she showed him her badges.

“It'd be doin' 'em an unkindness, Hermione,” he said gravely, threading a massive bone needle with thick yellow yarn. “It's in their nature ter look after humans, that's what they like, see? Yeh'd be makin' 'em unhappy ter take away their work, an' insutin' 'em if yeh tried ter pay 'em.”

“But Harry set Dobby free, and he was over the moon about it!” said Hermione. “And we heard he's asking for wages now!”

“Yeah, well, yeh get weirdos in every breed. I'm not sayin' there isn't the odd elf who'd take freedom, but yeh'll never persuade most of 'em ter do it—no, nothin' doin', Hermione.”

Hermione looked very cross indeed and stuffed her box of badges back into her cloak pocket.

By half past five it was growing dark, and Ron, Harry, and Hermione decided it was time to get back up to the castle for the Halloween feast—and, more important, the announcement of the school champions.

“I'll come with yeh,” said Hagrid, putting away his darning. “Jus' give us a sec.”

Hagrid got up, went across to the chest of drawers beside his bed, and began searching for something inside it. They didn't pay too much attention until a truly horrible smell reached their nostrils. Coughing, Ron said, “Hagrid, what's that?”

“Eh?” said Hagrid, turning around with a large bottle in his hand. “Don' yeh like it?”

“Is that aftershave?” said Hermione in a slightly choked voice.

“Er—eau de cologne,” Hagrid muttered. He was blushing.

“Maybe it's a bit much,” he said gruffly. “I'll go take it off, hang on...”

He stumped out of the cabin, and they saw him washing himself vigorously in the water barrel outside the window.

“Eau de cologne?” said Hermione in amazement. “Hagrid?”

“And what's with the hair and the suit?” said Harry in an undertone.

“Look!” said Ron suddenly, pointing out of the window. Hagrid had just straightened up and turned 'round. If he had been blushing before, it was nothing to what he was doing now. Getting to their feet very cautiously, so that Hagrid wouldn't spot them, Harry, Ron, and Hermione peered through the window and saw that Madame Maxime and the Beauxbatons students had just emerged from their carriage, clearly about to set off for the feast too. They couldn't hear what Hagrid was saying, but he was talking to Madame Maxime with a rapt, misty-eyed expression Harry had only ever seen him wear once before—when he had been looking at the baby dragon, Norbert.

“He's going up to the castle with her!” said Hermione indignantly. “I thought he was waiting for us!”

Without so much as a backward glance at his cabin, Hagrid was trudging off up the grounds with Madame Maxime, the Beaux-batons students following in their wake, jogging to keep up with their enormous strides.

“He fancies her!” said Ron incredulously. “Well, if they end up having children, they'll be setting a world record—bet any baby of theirs would weigh about a ton.”

They let themselves out of the cabin and shut the door behind them. It was surprisingly dark outside. Drawing their cloaks more closely around themselves, they set off up the sloping lawns.

“Ooh it's them, look!” Hermione whispered.

The Durmstrang party was walking up toward the castle from the lake. Viktor Krum was walking side by side with Karkaroff, and the other Durmstrang students were straggling along behind them. Ron watched Krum excitedly, but Krum did not look around as he reached the front doors a little ahead of Hermione, Ron, and Harry and proceeded through them.

When they entered the candlelit Great Hall it was almost full. The Goblet of Fire had been moved; it was now standing in front of Dumbledore's empty chair at the teachers' table. Fred and George—clean-shaven again—seemed to have taken their disappointment fairly well.

“Hope it's Angelina,” said Fred as Harry, Ron, and Hermione sat down.

“So do I!” said Hermione breathlessly. “Well, we'll soon know!”

The Halloween feast seemed to take much longer than usual. Perhaps because it was their second feast in two days, Harry didn't seem to fancy the extravagantly prepared food as much as he would have normally. Like everyone else in the Hall, judging by the constantly craning necks, the impatient expressions on every face, the fidgeting, and the standing up to see whether Dumbledore had finished eating yet, Harry simply wanted the plates to clear, and to hear who had been selected as champions.

At long last, the golden plates returned to their original spotless state; there was a sharp upswing in the level of noise within the Hall, which died away almost instantly as Dumbledore got to his feet. On either side of him, Professor Karkaroff and Madame Maxime looked as tense and expectant as anyone. Ludo Bagman was beaming and winking at various students. Mr. Crouch, however, looked quite uninterested, almost bored.

“Well, the goblet is almost ready to make its decision,” said Dumbledore. “I estimate that it requires one more minute. Now, when the champions' names are called, I would ask them please to come up to the top of the Hall, walk along the staff table, and go through into the next chamber”—he indicated the door behind the staff table—”where they will be receiving their first instructions.”

He took out his wand and gave a great sweeping wave with it; at once, all the candles except those inside the carved pumpkins were extinguished, plunging them into a state of semidarkness. The Goblet of Fire now shone more brightly than anything in the whole Hall, the sparkling bright, bluey-whiteness of the flames almost painful on the eyes. Everyone watched, waiting... A few people kept checking their watches...

“Any second,” Lee Jordan whispered, two seats away from Harry.

The flames inside the goblet turned suddenly red again. Sparks began to fly from it. Next moment, a tongue of flame shot into the air, a charred piece of parchment fluttered out of it—the whole room gasped.

Dumbledore caught the piece of parchment and held it at arm's length, so that he could read it by the light of the flames, which had turned back to blue-white.

“The champion for Durmstrang,” he read, in a strong, clear voice, “will be Viktor Krum.”

“No surprises there!” yelled Ron as a storm of applause and cheering swept the Hall. Harry saw Viktor Krum rise from the Slytherin table and slouch up toward Dumbledore; he turned right, walked along the staff table, and disappeared through the door into the next chamber.

“Bravo, Viktor!” boomed Karkaroff, so loudly that everyone could hear him, even over all the applause. “Knew you had it in you!”

The clapping and chatting died down. Now everyone's attention was focused again on the goblet, which, seconds later, turned red once more. A second piece of parchment shot out of it, propelled by the flames.

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K.Rîwling
Viewed 138885 times

......
...910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940414243444546474849...


 
              
Page generation 0.001 seconds