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J.K.Rîwling >> Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (page 6)


“See you,” said Ron brightly to the Dursleys. He grinned broadly at Harry, then stepped into the fire, shouted “the Burrow!” and disappeared.

Now Harry and Mr. Weasley alone remained.

“Well... 'bye then,” Harry said to the Dursleys.

They didn't say anything at all. Harry moved toward the fire, but just as he reached the edge of the hearth, Mr. Weasley put out a hand and held him back. He was looking at the Dursleys in amazement.

“Harry said good-bye to you,” he said. “Didn't you hear him?”

“It doesn't matter,” Harry muttered to Mr. Weasley. “Honestly, I don't care.”

Mr. Weasley did not remove his hand from Harry's shoulder.

“You aren't going to see your nephew till next summer,” he said to Uncle Vernon in mild indignation. “Surely you're going to say good-bye?”

Uncle Vernon's face worked furiously. The idea of being taught consideration by a man who had just blasted away half his living room wall seemed to be causing him intense suffering. But Mr. Weasley's wand was still in his hand, and Uncle Vernon's tiny eyes darted to it once, before he said, very resentfully, “Good-bye, then.”

“See you,” said Harry, putting one foot forward into the green flames, which felt pleasantly like warm breath. At that moment, however, a horrible gagging sound erupted behind him, and Aunt Petunia started to scream.

Harry wheeled around. Dudley was no longer standing behind his parents. He was kneeling beside the coffee table, and he was gagging and sputtering on a foot-long, purple, slimy thing that was protruding from his mouth. One bewildered second later, Harry realized that the foot-long thing was Dudley's tongue—and that a brightly colored toffee wrapper lay on the floor before him.

Aunt Petunia hurled herself onto the ground beside Dudley, seized the end of his swollen tongue, and attempted to wrench it out of his mouth; unsurprisingly, Dudley yelled and sputtered worse than ever, trying to fight her off. Uncle Vernon was bellowing and waving his arms around, and Mr. Weasley had to shout to make himself heard.

“Not to worry, I can sort him out!” he yelled, advancing on Dudley with his wand outstretched, but Aunt Petunia screamed worse than ever and threw herself on top of Dudley, shielding him from Mr. Weasley.

“No, really!” said Mr. Weasley desperately. “It's a simple process it was the toffee—my son Fred—real practical joker—but it's only an Engorgement Charm—at least, I think it is—please, I can correct it—”

But far from being reassured, the Dursleys became more panicstricken; Aunt Petunia was sobbing hysterically, tugging Dudley's tongue as though determined to rip it out; Dudley appeared to be suffocating under the combined pressure of his mother and his tongue; and Uncle Vernon, who had lost control completely, seized a china figure from on top of the sideboard and threw it very hard at Mr. Weasley, who ducked, causing the ornament to shatter in the blasted fireplace.

“Now really!” said Mr. Weasley angrily, brandishing his wand. “I'm trying to help!”

Bellowing like a wounded hippo, Uncle Vernon snatched up another ornament.

“Harry, go! Just go!” Mr. Weasley shouted, his wand on Uncle Vernon. “I'll sort this out!”

Harry didn't want to miss the fun, but Uncle Vernon's second ornament narrowly missed his left ear, and on balance he thought it best to leave the situation to Mr. Weasley. He stepped into the fire, looking over his shoulder as he said “the Burrow!” His last fleeting glimpse of the living room was of Mr. Weasley blasting a third ornament out of Uncle Vernon's hand with his wand, Aunt Petunia screaming and lying on top of Dudley, and Dudley's tongue lolling around like a great slimy python. But next moment Harry had begun to spin very fast, and the Dursleys' living room was whipped out of sight in a rush of emerald-green flames.

CHAPTER FIVE

WEASLEYS' WIZARD WHEEZES

Harry spun faster and faster, elbows tucked tightly to his sides, blurred fireplaces flashing past him, until he started to feel sick and closed his eyes. Then, when at last he felt himself slowing down, he threw out his hands and came to a halt in time to prevent himself from falling face forward out of the Weasleys' kitchen fire.

“Did he eat it?” said Fred excitedly, holding out a hand to pull Harry to his fee

“Yeah,” said Harry, straightening up. “What was it?”

“Ton-Tongue Toffee,” said Fred brightly. “George and I invented them, and we've been looking for someone to test them on all summer...”

The tiny kitchen exploded with laughter; Harry looked around and saw that Ron and George were sitting at the scrubbed wooden table with two red-haired people Harry had never seen before, though he knew immediately who they must be: Bill and Charlie, the two eldest Weasley brothers.

“How're you doing, Harry?” said the nearer of the two, grinning at him and holding out a large hand, which Harry shook, feeling calluses and blisters under his fingers. This had to be Charlie, who worked with dragons in Romania. Charlie was built like the twins, shorter and stockier than Percy and Ron, who were both long and lanky. He had a broad, good-natured face, which was weather-beaten and so freckly that he looked almost tanned; his arms were muscular, and one of them had a large, shiny burn on it.

Bill got to his feet, smiling, and also shook Harry's hand. Bill came as something of a surprise. Harry knew that he worked for the wizarding bank, Gringotts, and that Bill had been Head Boy at Hogwarts; Harry had always imagined Bill to be an older version of Percy: fussy about rule-breaking and fond of bossing everyone around. However, Bill was—there was no other word for it—cool. He was tall, with long hair that he had tied back in a ponytail. He was wearing an earring with what looked like a fang dangling from it. Bill's clothes would not have looked out of place at a rock concert, except that Harry recognized his boots to be made, not of leather, but of dragon hide.

Before any of them could say anything else, there was a faint popping noise, and Mr. Weasley appeared out of thin air at George's shoulder. He was looking angrier than Harry had ever seen him.

“That wasn't funny Fred!” he shouted. “What on earth did you give that Muggle boy?”

“I didn't give him anything,” said Fred, with another evil grin. I just dropped it... It was his fault he went and ate it, I never told him to.”

“You dropped it on purpose!” roared Mr. Weasley. “You knew he'd eat it, you knew he was on a diet—”

“How big did his tongue get?” George asked eagerly.

“It was four feet long before his parents would let me shrink it!”

Harry and the Weasleys roared with laughter again.

“It isn't funny!” Mr. Weasley shouted. “That sort of behavior seriously undermines wizard-Muggle relations! I spend half my life campaigning against the mistreatment of Muggles, and my own sons

“We didn't give it to him because he's a Muggle!” said Fred indignantly.

“No, we gave it to him because he's a great bullying git,” said George. “Isn't he, Harry?”

“Yeah, he is, Mr. Weasley,” said Harry earnestly.

“That's not the point!” raged Mr. Weasley. “You wait until I tell your mother—”

“Tell me what?” said a voice behind them.

Mrs. Weasley had just entered the kitchen. She was a short, plump woman with a very kind face, though her eyes were presently narrowed with suspicion.

“Oh hello, Harry, dear,” she said, spotting him and smiling. Then her eyes snapped back to her husband. “Tell me what, Arthur?”

Mr. Weasley hesitated. Harry could tell that, however angry he was with Fred and George, he hadn't really intended to tell Mrs. Weasley what had happened. There was a silence, while Mr. Weasley eyed his wife nervously. Then two girls appeared in the kitchen doorway behind Mrs. Weasley. One, with very bushy brown hair and rather large front teeth, was Harry's and Ron's friend, Hermione Granger. The other, who was small and red-haired, was Ron's younger sister, Ginny. Both of them smiled at Harry, who grinned back, which made Ginny go scarlet—she had been very taken with Harry ever since his first visit to the Burrow.

“Tell me what, Arthur?” Mrs. Weasley repeated, in a dangerous sort of voice.

“It's nothing, Molly,” mumbled Mr. Weasley, “Fred and George just—but I've had words with them—”

“What have they done this time?” said Mrs. Weasley. “If it's got anything to do with Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes—”

“Why don't you show Harry where he's sleeping, Ron?” said Hermione from the doorway.

“He knows where he's sleeping,” said Ron, “in my room, he slept there last—”

“We can all go,” said Hermione pointedly.

“Oh,” said Ron, cottoning on. “Right.”

“Yeah, we'll come too,” said George.

“You stay where you are!” snarled Mrs. Weasley.

Harry and Ron edged out of the kitchen, and they, Hermione, and Ginny set off along the narrow hallway and up the rickety staircase that zigzagged through the house to the upper stories.

“What are Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes?” Harry asked as they climbed.

Ron and Ginny both laughed, although Hermione didn't.

“Mum found this stack of order forms when she was cleaning Fred and George's room,” said Ron quietly. “Great long price lists for stuff they've invented. Joke stuff, you know. Fake wands and trick sweets, loads of stuff. It was brilliant, I never knew they'd been inventing all that...”

“We've been hearing explosions out of their room for ages, but we never thought they were actually making things,” said Ginny. “We thought they just liked the noise.”

“Only, most of the stuff—well, all of it, really—was a bit dangerous,” said Ron, “and, you know, they were planning to sell it at Hogwarts to make some money, and Mum went mad at them. Told them they weren't allowed to make any more of it, and burned all the order forms... She's furious at them anyway. They didn't get as many O. W. L. s as she expected.”

O. W. L. s were Ordinary Wizarding Levels, the examinations Hogwarts students took at the age of fifteen.

“And then there was this big row,” Ginny said, “because Mum wants them to go into the Ministry of Magic like Dad, and they told her all they want to do is open a joke shop.”

Just then a door on the second landing opened, and a face poked out wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a very annoyed expression.

“Hi, Percy,” said Harry.

“Oh hello, Harry,” said Percy. “I was wondering who was making all the noise. I'm trying to work in here, you know I've got a report to finish for the office—and it's rather difficult to concentrate when people keep thundering up and down the stairs.”

“We're not thundering, “said Ron irritably. “We're walking. Sorry if we've disturbed the top-secret workings of the Ministry of Magic.”

“What are you working on?” said Harry.

“A report for the Department of International Magical Cooperation,” said Percy smugly. “We're trying to standardize cauldron thickness. Some of these foreign imports are just a shade too thin—leakages have been increasing at a rate of almost three percent a year—”

“That'll change the world, that report will,” said Ron. “Front page of the Daily Prophet, I expect, cauldron leaks.”

Percy went slightly pink.

“You might sneer, Ron,” he said heatedly, “but unless some sort of international law is imposed we might well find the market flooded with flimsy, shallow-bottomed products that seriously endanger—”

“Yeah, yeah, all right,” said Ron, and he started off upstairs again. Percy slammed his bedroom door shut. As Harry, Hermione, and Ginny followed Ron up three more flights of stairs, shouts from the kitchen below echoed up to them. It sounded as though Mr. Weasley had told Mrs. Weasley about the toffees.

The room at the top of the house where Ron slept looked much as it had the last time that Harry had come to stay: the same posters of Ron's favorite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons, were whirling and waving on the walls and sloping ceiling, and the fish tank on the windowsill, which had previously held frog spawn, now contained one extremely large frog. Ron's old rat, Scabbers, was here no more, but instead there was the tiny gray owl that had delivered Ron's letter to Harry in Privet Drive. It was hopping up and down in a small cage and twittering madly.

“Shut up, Pig,” said Ron, edging his way between two of the four beds that had been squeezed into the room. “Fred and George are in here with us, because Bill and Charlie are in their room,” he told Harry. “Percy gets to keep his room all to himself because he's got to work.”

“Er—why are you calling that owl Pig?” Harry asked Ron.

“Because he's being stupid,” said Ginny, “Its proper name is Pigwidgeon.”

“Yeah, and that's not a stupid name at all,” said Ron sarcastically. “Ginny named him,” he explained to Harry. “She reckons it's sweet. And I tried to change it, but it was too late, he won't answer to anything else. So now he's Pig. I've got to keep him up here because he annoys Errol and Hermes. He annoys me too, come to that.

Pigwidgeon zoomed happily around his cage, hooting shrilly. Harry knew Ron too well to take him seriously. He had moaned continually about his old rat, Scabbers, but had been most upset when Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, appeared to have eaten him.

“Where's Crookshanks?” Harry asked Hermione now.

“Out in the garden, I expect,” she said. “He likes chasing gnomes. He's never seen any before.”

“Percy's enjoying work, then?” said Harry, sitting down on one of the beds and watching the Chudley Cannons zooming in and out of the posters on the ceiling.

“Enjoying it?” said Ron darkly. “I don't reckon he'd come home if Dad didn't make him. He's obsessed. Just don't get him onto the subject of his boss. According to Mr. Crouch ...as I was saying to Mr. Crouch ...Mr. Crouch is of the opinion ...Mr. Crouch was telling me ...They'll be announcing their engagement any day now.”

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K.Rîwling
Viewed 136081 times

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