Everyone around the table except Harry winced.
“Er—splinched?” said Harry.
“They left half of themselves behind,” said Mr. Weasley, now spooning large
amounts of treacle onto his porridge. “So, of course, they were stuck. Couldn't
move either way. Had to wait for the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad to sort
them out. Meant a fair old bit of paperwork, I can tell you, what with the Muggles
who spotted the body parts they'd left behind....”
Harry had a sudden vision of a pair of legs and an eyeball lying abandoned
on the pavement of Privet Drive.
“Were they okay?” he asked, startled.
“Oh yes,” said Mr. Weasley matter-of-factly. “But they got a heavy fine,
and I don't think they'll be trying it again in a hurry. You don't mess around
with Apparition. There are plenty of adult wizards who don't bother with it.
Prefer brooms—slower, but safer.”
“But Bill and Charlie and Percy can all do it?”
“Charlie had to take the test twice,” said Fred, grinning. “He failed the
first time. Apparated five miles south of where he meant to, right on top of
some poor old dear doing her shopping, remember?”
“Yes, well, he passed the second time,” said Mrs. Weasley, marching back
into the kitchen amid hearty sniggers.
“Percy only passed two weeks ago,” said George. “He's been Apparating downstairs
every morning since, just to prove he can.”
There were footsteps down the passageway and Hermione and Ginny came into
the kitchen, both looking pale and drowsy.
“Why do we have to be up so early?” Ginny said, rubbing her eyes and sitting
down at the table.
“We've got a bit of a walk,” said Mr. Weasley.
“Walk?” said Harry. “What, are we walking to the World Cup?”
“No, no, that's miles away,” said Mr. Weasley, smiling. “We only need to
walk a short way. It's just that it's very difficult for a large number of wizards
to congregate without attracting Muggle attention. We have to be very careful
about how we travel at the best of times, and on a huge occasion like the Quidditch
“George!” said Mrs. Weasley sharply, and they all jumped.
“What?” said George, in an innocent tone that deceived nobody.
“What is that in your pocket?”
“Don't you lie to me!”
Mrs. Weasley pointed her wand at George's pocket and said, “Accio!”
Several small, brightly colored objects zoomed out of George's pocket; he
made a grab for them but missed, and they sped right into Mrs. Weasley's outstretched
“We told you to destroy them!” said Mrs. Weasley furiously, holding up what
were unmistakably more Ton-Tongue Toffees. “We told you to get rid of the lot!
Empty your pockets, go on, both of you!”
It was an unpleasant scene; the twins had evidently been trying to smuggle
as many toffees out of the house as possible, and it was only by using her Summoning
Charm that Mrs. Weasley managed to find them all.
“Accio! Accio! Accio!” she shouted, and toffees zoomed from all sorts of
unlikely places, including the lining of George's jacket and the turn-ups of
“We spent six months developing those!” Fred shouted at his mother as she
threw the toffees away.
“Oh a fine way to spend six months!” she shrieked. “No wonder you didn't
get more O. W. L. s!”
All in all, the atmosphere was not very friendly as they took their departure.
Mrs. Weasley was still glowering as she kissed Mr. Weasley on the cheek, though
not nearly as much as the twins, who had each hoisted their rucksacks onto their
backs and walked out without a word to her.
“Well, have a lovely time,” said Mrs. Weasley, “and behave yourselves,” she
called after the twins' retreating backs, but they did not look back or answer.
“I'll send Bill, Charlie, and Percy along around midday,” Mrs. Weasley said
to Mr. Weasley, as he, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny set off across the dark
yard after Fred and George.
It was chilly and the moon was still out. Only a dull, greenish tinge along
the horizon to their right showed that daybreak was drawing closer. Harry, having
been thinking about thousands of wizards speeding toward the Quidditch World
Cup, sped up to walk with Mr. Weasley.
“So how does everyone get there without all the Muggles noticing?” he asked.
“It's been a massive organizational problem,” sighed Mr. Weasley. “The trouble
is, about a hundred thousand wizards turn up at the World Cup, and of course,
we just haven't got a magical site big enough to accommodate them all. There
are places Muggles can't penetrate, but imagine trying to pack a hundred thousand
wizards into Diagon Alley or platform nine and three-quarters. So we had to
find a nice deserted moor, and set up as many anti-Muggle precautions as possible.
The whole Ministry's been working on it for months. First, of course, we have
to stagger the arrivals. People with cheaper tickets have to arrive two weeks
beforehand. A limited number use Muggle transport, but we can't have too many
clogging up their buses and trains—remember, wizards are coming from all over
the world. Some Apparate, of course, but we have to set up safe points for them
to appear, well away from Muggles. I believe there's a handy wood they're using
as the Apparition point. For those who don't want to Apparate, or can't, we
use Portkeys. They're objects that are used to transport wizards from one spot
to another at a prearranged time. You can do large groups at a time if you need
to. There have been two hundred Portkeys placed at strategic points around Britain,
and the nearest one to us is up at the top of Stoatshead Hill, so that's where
Mr. Weasley pointed ahead of them, where a large black mass rose beyond the
village of Ottery St. Catchpole.
“What sort of objects are Portkeys?” said Harry curiously.
“Well, they can be anything,” said Mr. Weasley. “Unobtrusive things, obviously,
so Muggles don't go picking them up and playing with them ...stuff they'll just
think is litter...”
They trudged down the dark, dank lane toward the village, the silence broken
only by their footsteps. The sky lightened very slowly as they made their way
through the village, its inky blackness diluting to deepest blue. Harry's hands
and feet were freezing. Mr. Weasley kept checking his watch.
They didn't have breath to spare for talking as they began to climb Stoatshead
Hill, stumbling occasionally in hidden rabbit holes, slipping on thick black
tuffets of grass. Each breath Harry took was sharp in his chest and his legs
were starting to seize up when, at last, his feet found level ground.
“Whew,” panted Mr. Weasley, taking off his glasses and wiping them on his
sweater. “Well, we've made good time—we've got ten minutes.”
Hermione came over the crest of the hill last, clutching a stitch in her
“Now we just need the Portkey,” said Mr. Weasley, replacing his glasses and
squinting around at the ground. “It won't be big... Come on...”
They spread out, searching. They had only been at it for a couple of minutes,
however, when a shout rent the still air.
“Over here, Arthur! Over here, son, we've got it.”
Two tall figures were silhouetted against the starry sky on the other side
of the hilltop.
“Amos!” said Mr. Weasley, smiling as he strode over to the man who had shouted.
The rest of them followed.
Mr. Weasley was shaking hands with a ruddy-faced wizard with a scrubby brown
beard, who was holding a moldy-looking old boot in his other hand.
“This is Amos Diggory, everyone,” said Mr. Weasley. “He works for the Department
for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. And I think you know his
Cedric Diggory was an extremely handsome boy of around seventeen. He was
Captain and Seeker of the Hufflepuff House Quidditch team at Hogwarts.
“Hi,” said Cedric, looking around at them all.
Everybody said hi back except Fred and George, who merely nodded. They had
never quite forgiven Cedric for beating their team, Gryffindor, in the first
Quidditch match of the previous year.
“Long walk, Arthur?” Cedric's father asked. “Not too bad,” said Mr. Weasley.
“We live just on the other side of the village there. You?”
“Had to get up at two, didn't we, Ced? I tell you, I'll be glad when he's
got his Apparition test. Still ...not complaining ...Quidditch World Cup, wouldn't
miss it for a sackful of Galleons—and the tickets cost about that. Mind you,
looks like I got off easy...” Amos Diggory peered good-naturedly around at the
three Weasley boys, Harry, Hermione, and Ginny. “All these yours, Arthur?”
“Oh no, only the redheads,” said Mr. Weasley, pointing out his children.
“This is Hermione, friend of Ron's—and Harry, another friend—”
“Merlin's beard,” said Amos Diggory, his eyes widening. “Harry? Harry Potter?”
“Er—yeah,” said Harry.
Harry was used to people looking curiously at him when they met him, used
to the way their eyes moved at once to the lightning scar on his forehead, but
it always made him feel uncomfortable.
“Ced's talked about you, of course,” said Amos Diggory. “Told us all about
playing against you last year... I said to him, I said—Ced, that'll be something
to tell your grandchildren, that will... You beat Harry Potter!”
Harry couldn't think of any reply to this, so he remained silent. Fred and
George were both scowling again. Cedric looked slightly embarrassed.
“Harry fell off his broom, Dad,” he muttered. I told you ...it was an accident...”
“Yes, but you didn't fall off, did you?” roared Amos genially, slapping his
son on his back. “Always modest, our Ced, always the gentleman ...but the best
man won, I'm sure Harry'd say the same, wouldn't you, eh? One falls off his
broom, one stays on, you don't need to be a genius to tell which one's the better
“Must be nearly time,” said Mr. Weasley quickly, pulling out his watch again.
“Do you know whether we're waiting for any more, Amos?”
“No, the Lovegoods have been there for a week already and the Fawcetts couldn't
get tickets,” said Mr. Diggory. “There aren't any more of us in this area, are
“Not that I know of,” said Mr. Weasley. “Yes, it's a minute off ...We'd better
He looked around at Harry and Hermione.
“You just need to touch the Portkey, that's all, a finger will do—”
With difficulty, owing to their bulky backpacks, the nine of them crowded
around the old boot held out by Amos Diggory.
They all stood there, in a tight circle, as a chill breeze swept over the
hilltop. Nobody spoke. It suddenly occurred to Harry how odd this would look
if a Muggle were to walk up here now ...nine people, two of them grown men,
clutching this manky old boot in the semidarkness, waiting...
“Three...” muttered Mr. Weasley, one eye still on his watch, two... one...”
It happened immediately: Harry felt as though a hook just behind his navel
had been suddenly jerked irresistibly forward. His feet left the ground; he
could feel Ron and Hermione on either side of him, their shoulders banging into
his; they were all speeding forward in a howl of wind and swirling color; his
forefinger was stuck to the boot as though it was pulling him magnetically onward
His feet slammed into the ground; Ron staggered into him and he fell over;
the Portkey hit the ground near his head with a heavy thud.
Harry looked up. Mr. Weasley, Mr. Diggory, and Cedric were still standing,
though looking very windswept; everybody else was on the ground.
“Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill,” said a voice.
BAGMAN AND CROUCH
Harry disentangled himself from Ron and got to his feet. They had arrived
on what appeared to be a deserted stretch of misty moor. In front of them was
a pair of tired and grumpy-looking wizards, one of whom was holding a large
gold watch, the other a thick roll of parchment and a quill. Both were dressed
as Muggles, though very inexpertly: The man with the watch wore a tweed suit
with thigh-length galoshes; his colleague, a kilt and a poncho.
“Morning, Basil,” said Mr. Weasley, picking up the boot and handing it to
the kilted wizard, who threw it into a large box of used Portkeys beside him;
Harry could see an old newspaper, an empty drinks can, and a punctured football.
“Hello there, Arthur,” said Basil wearily. “Not on duty, eh? It's all right
for some... We've been here all night... You'd better get out of the way, we've
got a big party coming in from the Black Forest at five fifteen. Hang on, I'll
find your campsite... Weasley ...Weasley...” He consulted his parchment list.
“About a quarter of a mile's walk over there, first field you come to. Site
manager's called Mr. Roberts. Diggory ...second field ...ask for Mr. Payne.”
“Thanks, Basil,” said Mr. Weasley, and he beckoned everyone to follow him.
They set off across the deserted moor, unable to make out much through the
mist. After about twenty minutes, a small stone cottage next to a gate swam
into view. Beyond it, Harry could just make out the ghostly shapes of hundreds
and hundreds of tents, rising up the gentle slope of a large field toward a
dark wood on the horizon. They said good-bye to the Diggorys and approached
the cottage door.
A man was standing in the doorway, looking out at the tents. Harry knew at
a glance that this was the only real Muggle for several acres. When he heard
their footsteps, he turned his head to look at them.
“Morning!” said Mr. Weasley brightly.
“Morning,” said the Muggle.
“Would you be Mr. Roberts?”
“Aye, I would,” said Mr. Roberts. “And who're you?”
“Weasley—two tents, booked a couple of days ago?”
“Aye,” said Mr. Roberts, consulting a list tacked to the door. “You've got
a space up by the wood there. Just the one night?”
“That's it,” said Mr. Weasley.
“You'll be paying now, then?” said Mr. Roberts.