Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Year Four)

Image result for harry potter and the goblet of fire book cover

The locals of Little Hangleton have continued to refer to a particular home as “the Riddle House”, even though the family hadn’t resided there in years. With time, the house was showing its age, the older locals still sharing stories about an odd and terrible occurrence, the facts being lost with so many retelling’s, but a couple certainties remaining: it happened fifty years ago in the summer, the maid discovering the three Riddles having perished. The maid hastily goes to town and tells as many people as possible, the constabulary eventually are notified, the town curious more than empathetic, the Riddles not being well-liked. Everyone was mostly wondering whom had killed them, the townsfolk congregating to the local pub to share their thoughts, the Riddles chef coming in to update them of a Frank Bryce, the Riddle’s gardener, being brought into custody, no one believing he could have been the culprit, but the chef explaining how Frank had the means to enter the house, and the townspeople convincing themselves he could’ve done the deed.

By the next morning, in Great Hangleton, Frank was denying guilt and speaking of seeing a teenage boy the night of the deaths, the police not buying it, but after the bodies had been examined, the report stating of nothing in the norm having killed them, all three in peak health, and no evidence of Frank’s involvement, he’s released and continues living in the cottage on the grounds, staying beyond the two families who’d moved in and out fairly quickly, neither feeling comfortable staying. The most recent owner didn’t live in the house or repaired it, speculation being it was kept for “tax reasons”. Frank was still paid to tend the garden, he dealing with hoodlums vandalizing the house. One night, Frank notices lights inside the house and suspects a fire had been kindled, he going off to investigate, noting no signs of a break in, and unlocking the fairly hidden back door. Even whilst not having been inside the house for quite awhile, he still knew the layout well, he listening for movement as he climbed the stairs.

Once on the second level, he could clearly see where the light was coming from, the door slightly open, he realizing the fire had been lit in the fireplace, and a man inside was speaking of more liquid still within a bottle if the other man was still craving sustenance, the second man declining, his voice unnerving to Frank, whom then hears the first man being referred to as Wormtail, he placing a chair close to the fire. The second man asks after Nagini, Wormtail informing she’d gone exploring, the second man commanding she be milked, for the second man’s hunger to come later in the night. Wormtail inquires to the length of their stay, it being a week or more, they not moving until the Quidditch World Cup was done. Frank didn’t recognize the reference to Quidditch or the other magical world words, as the second man explained why moving would bring possible attention. Frank now figures the men he was eavesdropping on could be spies or criminals, Wormtail then offering the possibility of their plan working without Harry Potter, it getting done more efficiently, the second man seeming to consider, until relating how his health would fail without constant care, he sensing Wormtail’s reluctance to aid him other than for necessity.

Voldemort then refers to himself in the third person, and explains why Harry Potter would be waited upon, Wormtail then urgently relating his issues of having to kill someone else, but Voldemort mentioning how he wouldn’t have commanded it if he were stronger, he sharing how he was waiting on his loyal servant to arrive, Wormtail taking offense. Voldemort expands on this other person’s value out-ranking Wormtail at least in two ways, but when Wormtail reminds him of the valuable asset of the woman he’d brought to him, the latter agrees and decides to honor his deed with a task most of his worshipers would clamor for, Voldemort not revealing what it was, only of it being near the conclusion of their plan.

Meanwhile, Frank was realizing the seriousness of whom and what he was listening to, he deducing Harry Potter being in trouble if this psychopath was after him, but he staying to listen rather than follow his instinct to phone the police. He overhears not as useful information as Voldemort suspects hearing Nagini returning, Frank frozen upon seeing the large snake and being trapped by either moving into the occupied room or being murdered by the reptile. Fortunately, the snake passes him without acknowledging his presence, he sensing Voldemort was speaking to the snake, and afterward informing Wormtail of the elderly Muggle standing outside the door, Wormtail opening the door wide, and Voldemort inviting him in. Frank gains courage upon learning what Voldemort had called him, attempting to have him believe he told someone his whereabouts, but Voldemort not taken in. Frank demands Voldemort face him, which Voldemort acquiesces, Wormtail turning his chair, and Frank horrified by the sight, Voldemort killing him. Two hundred miles away elsewhere, Harry awoke, startled.

Harry calms after his clear dream, his scar feeling hot, puts his glasses on and notes his scar still hurt him, he checking in the mirror and seeing no change, only pain. Then he attempts recalling the realistic dream, remembering seeing Wormtail and Voldemort, the view of the latter waking him, or possibly by the stinging of his scar. He vaguely recollects their discussion of murdering someone and he being next. He then peers out his window, and when returning to sit on his bed, is troubled by the thought of his scar hurting him when Voldemort was nearby, he not certain whether to believe this was an option. He’s momentarily startled by a snore from Dudley, talking himself out of his unreasonable suspicion.

Harry also thought about how pointless it would be confessing to the Dursleys of his stresses, he instead focusing on he being able to begin school in two weeks, and considering how Hermione would respond if he’d shared of his scar bothering him, he also musing on the idea of Dumbledore going somewhere sandy and sunny for the summer, as well as how he’d describe his situation, then wondering about Ron’s reaction, this scenario not panning out either. Which then led to thinking of when they’d invite him over and not wanting to taint it possibly unnecessarily with worry over his scar. Once realizing whom he truly should contact being Sirius, he started his letter whilst being pained with the knowledge of how close he’d come to being rid of the Dursleys. Harry had been sent two letters from Sirius thus far, his tone sounding positive and the birds sent, brightly plumaged, so once completing his reply, which included information about Dudley and his treatment from the Dursleys, he had to await Hedwig’s return from her grub-getting, he readying to go down to breakfast.

Harry enters with all 3 Dursleys already seated, he being ignored as he joins them, Petunia giving Dudley slices of grapefruit, the tension being believed to have come from Dudley’s shit report card, and the issue which was bothering them not being by his grades or bullying, but from the school nurse informing them Dudley had reached the limit of fitting into the school uniform, so now the family ate the same diet as he was assigned, Harry’s portions smaller to make Dudley feel better, but Harry having called the aid of his buddies to provide tummy fillers, Mrs. Weasley’s contributions the most ample, plus the getting of four birthday cakes didn’t hurt the cause. Vernon then goes off to answer the door, they able to hear paper tearing as he returned to command Harry follow him to the living room, he reading the letter having been sent to them about Harry staying with the Weasleys for the rest of the summer and attend the World Cup, the request coming from Molly Weasley, and Vernon not amused by how much enjoyment the postman had gotten during the delivery, the envelope fully covered in stamps with a small spot open for the Dursleys address, Harry remaining quiet for a space before asking if he could accept their invitation.

Vernon struggles visibly with giving his okay to release Harry, considering whether two extra weeks without him was worth more than Harry staying miserable. When Vernon became too close to exploding as their discussion continues, Harry waves the white flag of accepting not going, and needed to complete his letter to his dangerous godfather, Vernon’s expression changes drastically since Harry had put him snugly in a corner, he then giving permission. When Harry returns to his room ecstatically, he notes Hedwig had returned, and irritated about the mini owl zooming around them, a letter from Ron on the floor. Ron had written of a warning to Harry about his mother’s letter and how they’d been planning on retrieving him regardless of the Dursleys answer and would be coming on Sunday. He then mentions Hermione already being there and warning Harry not to say the word “Abroad” in front of Percy since he’d begun working at the Department of International Magical Cooperation. Harry writes his short reply and sends the little owl off, he then completing his letter to Sirius and Hedwig acting more calmly as if to show the mini owl’s manner was unprofessional. Harry then has a piece of cake and was content with soon leaving, his scar not bothering him anymore, Voldemort not seeming enough to get distressed over.

Harry was ready to go by noon, the Dursleys quite stressed by the knowledge of wizards coming, which annoyed them. Vernon states how the wizards better know to dress “normally”, Harry not worried too much about the Weasley kids, but Mr. and Mrs. Weasley tending to don robes, which made him concerned for them in having to listen to Vernon’s uncivility. Vernon dressed formally in order to make him seem powerful and foreboding, Dudley however, was abuzz with nerves what with his last face-to-face with a wizard had brought a piggy tail, so he tended to walk with his back to the wall. They had an untalkative lunch, Petunia seeming to hold back telling Harry off, Vernon then defensively asking whether the Weasleys planned on driving him, Harry uncertain since they hadn’t replaced their old car, he spending most of his afternoon in his room, returning downstairs when the time was closer, but the Weasleys didn’t show at five, Vernon stating of their lateness with heat, Harry even getting edgy when it was nearing half an hour past, Vernon on a tirade of wizards not able to keep appointments well or they most likely having a crap car, Harry in the hall listening whilst the family was in the living room, but then Vernon screams, Dudley rushes to the kitchen, and Harry goes in to hear some Weasleys behind the boarded up fireplace, he relating to Mr. Weasley, Fred, George, and Ron of the Dursleys having blocked the fireplace, Mr. Weasley temporarily distracted by the mention of an “eclectic” fireplace, then deciding he’d have to blast them out, Vernon being naive and ignoring Mr. Weasley’s warning to move away, he only doing so after being covered in soot and the Weasleys emerging, Mr. Weasley attempting politeness by offering to shake Vernon’s hand after identifying he and Petunia as Harry’s relatives, then apologizing for the mess and explaining how he’d gotten a contact to temporarily connect the Dursleys fireplace to the Floo network, and once getting the boys back, would repair the damage and Disapparate.

None of this makes sense to Petunia or Vernon, and as Fred and George retrieve Harry’s trunk from upstairs, Mr. Weasley compliments the Dursleys’ home, Vernon’s face coloring and Petunia biting her tongue again, neither speaking still. When Dudley enters the room once hearing the noise of the trunk coming downstairs, Dudley’s manner made Mr. Weasley think he was mentally ill, again attempting pleasant and polite conversation and still not getting a response, Harry and Ron resisting looking at the other too much for wanting to crack up. When Fred and George reenter, Mr. Weasley sets up the fireplace with a roaring fire, Fred then dropping sweets and picking them up before being first back into the fireplace, George next with Harry’s trunk, then Ron, Harry giving his parting goodbye, not getting a reply and Mr. Weasley stopping him when no one had returned his farewell, Vernon begrudgingly doing so with the threat of Mr. Weasley’s wand convincing him, and as Harry readies to go, he hears Dudley choking, his tongue one foot long, the toffee wrapper on the floor, Petunia trying to pull Dudley’s purple tongue out of his head, which she met with Dudley’s resistance, Mr. Weasley then stating of fixing him, but Petunia getting protective when Mr. Weasley raised his wand, he attempting to explain what was happening to Dudley, but even Vernon losing it and chucking a glass figure at Mr. Weasley, this being the last straw for him and then instructs Harry to leave as Vernon readied to throw another, Mr. Weasley stating he’d deal with them. Harry obeying, but also wanting to witness the madness, he viewing Mr. Weasley exploding the third item aimed at him as Petunia shrieked and Dudley lay underneath her, Harry next seeing the green flames about him.

Harry’s ride is speedy, and when he arrives at the Weasleys kitchen, Fred immediately inquires hopefully about Dudley’s eating the candy, Harry confirms this and the room erupts with laughs, Harry seeing Ron seated with two people he didn’t recognize, but sensed were Bill and Charlie, the eldest Weasleys, the two each greeting Harry with a handshake. When Mr. Weasley popped back, he’s incensed with Fred, whom denies doing anything, Mr. Weasley threatening to out his troublesome prank to Mrs. Weasley, but when she enters, Hermione and Ginny soon to follow, he keeps the prank to himself. Mrs. Weasley not letting it go, so Hermione giving Harry and Ron an out by suggesting they head to Ron’s room, Harry then asking about Weasley’ Wizard Wheezes after hearing Mrs. Weasley mention it, Ron explaining their mother had found purchase forms in George and Fred’s room, he not having known they’d come up with a list of product. Their mother was furious due to this and their O.W.L.s scores being low, Percy then makes an appearance to quiet them, Harry asking after his work and learning his report had to do with regulating cauldron thickness.

After Ron ticks him off, they hear renewed shouting from the kitchen, and when entering Ron’s room, Harry inquires why Ron’s owl was called Pig, learning Ginny had named him Pigwidgeon and Ron couldn’t change it now, so he shortened it, the little bird annoying Ron with his behavior, but Harry knowing Ron’s ways of complaining of his pets which he did truly care for. Then, to cover an unfinished question about Sirius, due to Ginny still present, Hermione notes the loud arguing had dissipated and they should return down to help Mrs. Weasley. When they see she’s alone and angry, she designates tasks to the group to prepare eating in the garden (eleven inside, beyond their capacity). After, Ron and Harry hear Mrs. Weasley rant about the trouble Fred and George would make for themselves if they weren’t careful. She then becomes more irritated when she learns she’d been cooking with one of their fake wands, Ron urging Harry outside to stay out of her warpath. They then see Crookshanks chasing a gnome in the yard, whilst Charlie and Bill were table-fighting each other, Ginny, Fred, George, Ron, and Harry getting entertained, whilst Hermione struggled between enjoyment and worry.

Percy gets them down to business when complaining of noise, and as everyone sits to eat after the loads of food was served, Harry is satisfied with filling his tummy than indulging in conversation, instead listening, Percy discussing his assignment with his father, and his thoughts of the missing Bertha Jorkins, whom was known to get herself lost, but usually resurfaced, Percy giving the Department Head a hard time for not staying on top of it, and Mr. Weasley speaking forgivingly about the situation. Percy gives a fishing line about a highly classified piece of information which no one bites, Ron informing Harry of this song and dance occurring a few times already, as Mrs. Weasley hassles Bill about his new earring and long hair, whilst Fred, George, and Charlie chatted about the World Cup. Harry asking after the current events of what he’d missed over summer. As the early evening sun set, Harry reveled in his full stomach, candle light, and Crookshanks running after hysterically laughing gnomes. Ron then takes this moment of abuzzed concealment to inquire of Sirius once more, Hermione listening intently, and Harry updating them of a possible return message whilst he was there. He then considering sharing the reason for his correspondence, but wanted to maintain the feel-goods of the evening. Then, Mrs. Weasley reminds everyone of the hour and has Harry give his school list to her so she could prepare his items along with the others, the possibility of the World Cup running over almost a week, something to consider.

Harry doesn’t feel like he’d slept much at all before being woken by Mrs. Weasley, the other boys getting ready dazedly, and when meeting Mr. Weasley downstairs, they hear of how Bill, Charlie, and Percy were sleeping in due to apparating to meet them, and when Ginny and Hermione come in, they learn they had a short ways to walk, this having to do with being inconspicuous to Muggles, Mrs. Weasley then catching George attempting to hide mischievous contraband, she uncovering the twins’ attempt at getting their Ton-Tongue Toffees out of the house after their mother had ordered them to dispose of them. The group then starts their trek, Harry learning where and why they were footing to a certain destination. When they get there and begin looking for the Portkey, Mr. Weasley hears someone he knew locate it, they being properly introduced to Cedric from Hufflepuff, Seeker and Captain for their team and his father, Harry getting a bit more attention from Cedric’s dad which was heading in an unpleasantly awkward direction, until the moment came to touch the old boot, as they all did so, Harry feeling a tug, and along with the everyone else, was transported to the place where the match would be held.

Harry’s first to stand, he viewing the moor, two annoyed-looking wizards dressed without fashion sense, like Muggles, Arthur greets one of them as he returned the Portkey, the wizard locating their camp and giving the name of the site manager, and when arriving, noting the man was the only Muggle for  quite a distance. Once they verify the tents they’d reserved, Mr. Weasley has Harry help him decipher the correct amount to pay. The man inquires about whether Arthur was from another country since there’d been others who hadn’t known the proper amount to give, he seeming fixated on the strangeness of people and outfits, a wizard appearing and casting a memory spell on him, the man releasing Arthur’s change and a map. The wizard escorts them away, letting Arthur know how inquisitive this particular Muggle had been needing a charm renewal multiple times per day, the wizard moving along to other duties. As they continued on toward their camp tent, Harry realizes why the Muggle had been suspicious, there being quite a few with unnatural additives to the outer detail of their tents.

Arthur is happy to see the location of their camp being perfectly placed on the other side of the forest where the game would be, Hermione and Harry designated to help put together the tents, Arthur getting a bit too hyperactive with the mallet, but once finished, they noting how tight the tents would be for all ten of them. When Arthur invites them in for a look, Harry is shocked the inside had expanded nicely, Arthur then giving the duty for the trio to get water, Harry experiencing the youngster wizard generation for the first time, the families with quite young children rising earlier, he also becoming aware how widespread the wizard population was. As they walked through the sea of tents, they’re called to by Seamus, whom was with his mother, and buddy, Dean, he relaying how the Ministry was upset by their shamrock decorating of the tent, the trio investigates what the Bulgarians had put on their tents after being informed by Seamus’ mother, it being pictures of Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker, whom Ron states of being a prodigy.

They reach the line to the water after this, overhearing a conversation between two wizards which gives Hermione uncontrollable snickering to the point of retreating until the wizard had gone. When they’d collected their bucketfuls, they meet a few more of their classmates and then upon reaching their own camp, they learn from Fred how Arthur was enjoying his lack of ability in lighting a match, Hermione stepping in to show him how it worked. Then, as the fire heated up enough for the water and other cooking, Arthur chatted to Harry and Hermione about all the Ministry personnel who passed their tent. When they’d begun making food, Percy, Bill, and Charlie turn up, and as they ate, Arthur greets Ludo Bagman, former Quidditch player and Percy’s boss, whom was there to see if anyone wanted to make a bet on the game, Arthur contributing a small amount, and Fred and George going all out, Percy looking on with distaste when Ludo was pleased by the fake wand and it’s quality.

After their business, Arthur asks about Jorkins’ disappearance, Bagman unbothered and claiming to not have the resources to send a search party, they then joined by Crouch, whom Percy was obviously in awe by, he acting so reverently, Fred and George strangling themselves on their tea with enjoyment. Meanwhile, Crouch spoke with Arthur about another business associate whom wanted to export carpets, Bagman getting cut off by Crouch before revealing some fact involving Hogwarts, even Arthur keeping the details to himself after Fred had asked him about it when Crouch and Bagman had left. As the sky became darker once more, magic overpowered the Ministry’s ability to stop it, Apparating being common for souvenir sellers. The trio went around collecting little trinkets, Harry getting the three of them omnioculars, then returning to camp to see Arthur had gotten himself an Irish flag, and Ginny, Charlie, and Bill had green rosettes (Harry could’ve gotten the twins some omnioculars, as well to make up for the Marauder’s Map, but maybe he’ll return the favor in some other way, hopefully), then Arthur ushers them to the field when hearing a loud gong.

The group, along with the other spectators, walk through the woods which takes twenty minutes, everyone talking excitedly, and when Harry sees the outside of the forum, knows it’s a vast space, Arthur supplying the 100,000 guests it could accommodate, he then getting the instructions to locate their box, at the top and midway from either side of the goal posts. Harry is entranced by the slowly filling-up stadium, noticing a blackboard with advertisements being written by an invisible hand, he seeing a creature seated in the row behind them after, thinking at first it was Dobby, but it turning out to be some other, female house elf, called Winky, she sharing how she knew Dobby and updating Harry with how he now insisted on being paid for his work, which she attempts to convince Harry of this being a negative quality to his freedom, putting this and other uncommon ideas into Dobby’s head. As for Winky, she’d been sent to save her master a seat, the area agitating her fear of heights, Hermione then sharing how there would be a pre-game show, of sorts with the teams mascots.

Meanwhile, as their box filled with important wizards, Percy gets up so often out of respect, it looked like his seat was hot, he looking enviously at Harry when Fudge greets him warmly. Then, unrelated master to Winky, the Malfoys walk in, Draco’s mother, Narcissa first being met. Lucius coldly asks how Arthur had gotten his seats when Fudge goes through introducing some of those present, he not hearing Lucius’ veiled insulting inquiry, but Fudge stating how Lucius’ donated contribution to a hospital had gotten he and his family in as Fudge’s guests. When they sit, Bagman bursts in to inquire if the Minister was set to begin, he then magically amplifying his voice so all could hear him, he welcoming the crowd and presenting the Bulgarian teams mascots, the veela, Harry soon understanding Arthur’s pleasured response as they filed out and danced. The creatures put them in a trance which left the boys turning on their team, Ron starting to shred his hat, but Arthur stopping him. Then Ireland’s side shoots out a shamrock whipping around and showering the place with gold coins, leprechauns within. After, the Bulgarian team is listed, each player flying out, then the Irish side, and when the referee comes out, the game starts promptly, Harry using his omnioculars to test the play-by-play feature and having the moves listed (see, Quidditch Through the Ages), but Harry misses the first goal for Ireland because of his slow motion viewing, and so is sure to watch the game through real-time, instead.

Then, with Ireland ahead thirty points and Bulgaria at ten, Krum fakes out Lynch with pretending to see the Snitch, and Lynch hits the ground, but is revived and the game goes on. Ireland pulls ahead at 130-10 under half an hour, the Bulgarians getting more nasty and soon being fouled, the veela responding to the leprechauns by dancing, and affecting the referee, whom when brought to his senses, wants to send away the veela. Two of the Bulgarian players argue with him, giving Ireland another penalty in their favor, the veela become more hostile when the leprechauns goad them, everyone distracted, including the referee when the veela set his broom tail aflame which is also when Krum gets knocked in the face with a Bludger and Lynch spots the Snitch. Krum is on his tail though, he catching it, and Ireland at first not noticing the scoreboard, they winning by ten points. Ron doesn’t get why Krum had ended the game before getting ahead, Harry supposing he must have known the Irish Chasers were better than them, the Quidditch Cup then brought to their box. The Bulgarian team then enters and shakes the Ministers hands, the Irish team being given the Cup and taking a second victory lap, Bagman then having the twins to deal, due to they wanting to settle their bet.

Arthur starts by discouraging any mention of gambling to Molly, Fred and George quite willing for their own plans for the cash. When they return to their camp, they speak of the match until Ginny passes out, Arthur having everyone turn in, he relieved he wasn’t on duty to handle the Irish’s late celebrating, and Harry fantasizing incorporating the moves he’d seen. Later, Harry’s rudely awakened by Arthur shouting for him to grab a jacket and leave the tent, yells being heard outside along with running, Harry sees a marching crowd approaching and destroying tents as they walked. When they get closer, Harry recognizes the site manager and, who he presumed was his family immobilized in mid-air above the marchers, Arthur ordering them into the woods until he came for them, he off to aid the Ministry. Ron trips whilst they hurry off, and Malfoy of course turns up to comment, he then stating how they may want to move along before Hermione was noticed, the boys having a back-and-forth of insults before Hermione finally encourages the two to move along, but Fred, George, and Ginny are nowhere in sight, along with Harry’s wand, which he realizes is missing when he checks his pockets as Ron and Hermione took their out for light.

The two then begin suggesting the possibilities of where it could be or what had happened, Harry feeling exposed without it. Winky then appears, running awkwardly, Hermione feeling badly for house-elves living conditions, Ron taking a “lazy” viewpoint until more loud noises get them going again, eventually seeing young men wizards around a trio of veela, Harry and Hermione having to lead Ron away, they walking to a more secluded part of the wood, they running into Bagman, whom hadn’t known about the mob and Disapparated. Hermione is first to notice someone approaching, the three then hearing what seemed to be a spell accompanied by a green light which turned out being the sign of Voldemort, which Hermione explains, they attempting to leave, but wizards Disapparating around them. Harry has them all duck as they’re shot at with a stupefying spell from all, Arthur shouting a halt when seeing Ron, Mr. Crouch coming at them with accusations of one of them having to be responsible for the sign, but Hermione confessing where the voice they’d heard had come, Cedric’s father going out for a look, and returning with Winky, Crouch disbelieving she could’ve been the culprit and looking around, they noting how she’d gotten a hold of a wand, Bagman returning and wondering what had gone on.

Soon, they’re inquiring Winky of her part, Harry then realizing she had his wand, and when they’d tested to see what the last spell had been used with it, they see a replication of the green skull. Diggory accuses the elf again, Arthur bringing the logic of how unrealistic the claim was, Crouch then requesting Diggory allow him to handle Winky’s punishment, she terrified through all of this, and then inconsolable when learning Crouch was planning on freeing her, Arthur then getting them out of there, he planning on expanding on all which had occurred. They run into some wizards back at camp wanting an update for what was found, but Arthur had no information to share, they getting back to the tent and finding everyone else present, they discussing Winky and the Dark Mark not having been viewed for thirteen years. The Death Eaters, supporters of Voldemort, having gotten away when the Mark had risen, Arthur ending their conversation after thoroughly discussing the possible reasons someone would want to magic the Mark, he having them try to rest before getting a Portkey back. Harry doesn’t get to sleep easily this time, wondering about the events and relation to his burning scar.

Arthur had them pack up after a nap amount of time, the group seeing the site manager on their way out, he looking stuporous and vacantly wishing them a happy Christmas. Arthur attempts to reassure the group he’d be fine, this reaction from the large forgetting they had to place on him. When they reach the Portkey area, other witches and wizards are already there to leave, as well, Arthur lucky to double up with Basil, and the gang being met by Molly when they reached the Burrow, she having read the news in the paper, relieved everyone was alright, and squeezing Fred and George in a hug for how their last meeting had ended, Arthur then leading her back to the house, and after spiking her tea, reads the half fabricated article, he feeling partially responsible, since he’d been the one heard not giving information when he’d emerged from the woods, deciding he should make an appearance at the office, Percy excited to accompany to turn in his report on cauldrons. Harry asks Molly if Hedwig had come with mail, which piqued Ron and Hermione’s interest, they excusing themselves to Ron’s room, Harry finally confessing to the two about his scar, and then explaining why he’d asked about the post, the news relieving Ron, whom offered they play Quidditch to take their minds off of everything, Harry agreeing.

Over the next week, Percy and Arthur are kept busy at the office with late hours, Percy sharing of all the Howlers they’d been getting, and after some idle chat, Arthur returning to inform how the article writer had discovered Bertha missing and this being covered in tomorrow’s paper. When Arthur mentions how lucky it was the writer hadn’t learned of Winky, Percy puts his two cents in about Winky being feckless, but innocent, Hermione speaking up about how it should be Crouch’s conduct toward elves which should be in question, Percy again defending his position, Molly finally having all go check to see if they were packed. As Ron and Harry organize there suitcases, Molly comes in with their clean robes, Harry having found all his new textbooks and allowance Molly had gotten for him, Ron asking why she’d left a lacy dress, she telling this was his dress robe, another requirement for this year, Harry’s not looking so frilly. He thinks how he would gladly give half of his savings to the family, but was certain they’d refuse, Ron currently stubborn about ever wearing his and be more willing to wear nothing, Molly giving up and asking Harry to take a picture so she could have a laugh, and after leaving, Pig choking on an owl treat, giving Ron reason to complain of all his belongings being junk.

The morning they were returning to school had a somberness in the air, Molly calling up to Arthur as Harry was coming downstairs after she’d received an important message from the Ministry to do with Muggles, and Harry unable to believe his eyes when seeing the message by Amos Diggory’s head in flames, Arthur being ordered to deal with the issue before the news reporter heard of it, someone called Mad-Eye causing some trash cans to spew refuse everywhere and jinxing other areas, fortunately, since no one had been effected, the job could be fairly easy for Arthur to aid Mad-Eye’s trouble, he hurrying off to attend to the matter, and Molly sending Diggory off with a bit of buttered toast. Arthur says his farewells, makes sure Molly would be okay taking everyone to the train, then disappears. Harry learns whom Mad-Eye Moody was, he a wizard whom used to work for the Ministry as an Auror, capturing Dark wizards and now plagued with the thought of being tracked by his enemies.

After this, Molly called a few taxis for them, Bill and Charlie coming along to see them off, the Muggle drivers having quite a time with the luggage, the trio glad to make it to the station, since Crookshanks was rattled by the fireworks in Fred’s trunk going off, Charlie hinting seeing them soon and unable to disclose more due to Percy and its classified Ministry status. Bill also mentions how he may drop by because of what was in store for the bunch, Molly hinting some rule having been amended and the kids confused by their statements, the train then leaving. As they settle in their booth and Ron wonders aloud what everyone was referring, Hermione quiets him for hearing Malfoy next door speaking of another school called Durmstrang, she sharing how wizarding schools tended to keep their location secret, but she thinking the school was in the North due to the uniforms including fur. As they travel and chat, other buddies of the three come by to greet them and talk of the World Cup, Malfoy of course dripping in, noticing the dress robe Ron had draped over Pig’s cage, and he also mentioning the secret at Hogwarts, but once discovering they didn’t know, stops speaking of it so he could make fun of how they were in the dark. Ron’s bad mood over this stuck with him through the rest of their ride, Harry greeting Hagrid once they’d arrived at the station, and the trio, with Neville board a carriage to the castle.

As they were driven closer to the door, the storm became worse, everyone rushed for the door when the carriages stopped and were glad to get out of the windy rain, but Ron was first marked with a water balloon, Peeves aiming and reloading at others. McGonagall was first to take notice and attempt to end the balloon raid, but Peeves lets loose the last of them before flying off giggling like a loon. McGonagall urges the now more soaked students to continue forward to the Great Hall where Harry was interested in finally seeing the Sorting, but also hoping it was quick for being famished, he then greeted by his most persistent fan, Colin. After learning Colin’s brother would be Sorted today, he consulted Hermione and Ron on the likelihood he could end up in Gryffindor with his big brother, Hermione informing it wasn’t a guarantee. They then realize some professors were missing from the table, including whomever would take over Defense Against the Dark Arts, whilst Ron also hoped the ceremony would be brief for hunger.

McGonagall leads the first years in, and Colin’s brother, Dennis is drenched and wrapped in Hagrid’s coat, he mouthing to Colin of having fallen in the lake, but looking positively giddy. After this, the hat is brought out and set on a stool going straight into a song of how it had come to be, Gryffindor himself being its origination. When the hat finishes, Harry notices how the song had changed, Ron supplying it was new each year and thought the hat used its twelve months to hatch up the new one. When Dennis gets in to Gryffindor, he immediately tells Colin of what happened on the lake, Colin thinking the giant squid must have pushed him out, the two quite abuzz over this, then Colin getting Dennis to notice Harry, whom attempts to ignore them and watch the rest of the Sorting. Finally, once it ended, Dumbledore gives the go ahead to begin the feast, whilst Nearly Headless Nick tells of how Peeves had almost ruined the feast due to being banned from coming tonight. When Nick mentions the use of house-elves at Hogwarts, Hermione stops eating with shock, Nick informing the house had the largest number in use in Britain, Hermione ending her meal in the middle of the first course.

After meals were through, Dumbledore makes his speech, which included the canceling of Quidditch for something he couldn’t mention for being interrupted by a heavily-scarred man, his one blue eye moving independently from the other, Dumbledore speaking to the man quietly, then introducing him as he sat and begun to eat, this being Professor Moody, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the usual applauding response only taken up by Hagrid and he, everyone else distracted by Moody’s manner. Harry then mentions to Ron of recognizing the name since Arthur had gone to help him earlier, he also noting Moody’s wooden leg. Dumbledore then gets back on track by announcing the school hosting the Triwizard Tournament which consisted of the best wizards from Durmstrang, Beauxbatons, and Hogwarts to test their skills with magical competitions, but had been stopped due to the death toll during the tourneys in the past, two departments deciding to revive it with rules to keep students safe, he then sharing the glory and prize money bestowed upon the victor. As the students mulled this over eagerly, Dumbledore dashes some of their hopes with the age restriction excluding all under seventeen, he also relating how the other school champs would be joining them for much of the semester, and to be hospitable to their foreign guests, then sending them all to bed. Fred and George debate how to get through since their birthday wasn’t until six months after the tourney was over, asking Harry if he’d want to join if they figured a way around the age cap, Neville even considering, what with his gran making him feel like a failure to his family. Ron mentions of possibly going in on it as well, before they went to sleep, Harry imagining getting in and winning Cho’s favor.

The next morning the storm had passed, the trio studying their new schedules as Fred, George, and their buddy Lee thought of ways to accomplish looking older. As Harry dreaded his double dose of Divinations today, the owls come in for deliveries, he worrying about Hedwig when she wasn’t among them, his distraction only broken with Sprout’s class and showing them what they’d be doing with a plant’s pus, afterward Gryffindor off to Hagrid’s where he would have them raise weird-looking creatures resembling lobsters without shells, Hagrid expecting the students to test out what the creature would eat as their behinds exploded periodically. When they got back to the castle for lunch, Hermione double-timed eating so she could hit the library, afterward Ron and Harry going to their Transfiguration class, Harry getting another reading of the danger he expected coming true when Trelawney comes in.

Harry debates whether her premonition was bullshit and had completely been in his own head when Ron had him come to with everyone staring, Trelawney annoyed, and Ron’s next comment having Harry sense Trelawney had given the class extra homework due to overhearing him. When they’d gotten to the doors of the Great Hall, Malfoy calls Ron out to gloat of Arthur being in the news, making fun of his parents’ picture, Harry coming to Ron’s defense by talking smack of Malfoy’s mother in return, Malfoy firing his wand at Harry, but only barely touching him, and before he could retaliate, Moody transforms Malfoy into a ferret, he then bouncing him on the floor when he attempted to flee, McGonagall finally noticing and putting a stop to it, informing him of the proper course of action for penalizing students. Malfoy was speaking under his breath of his father, and Moody responded with knowing Lucius and giving him a message for him, and also wanting to speak with Snape since he’d known him for a long time, as well, he leading Malfoy away. When they sit, Hermione again double-times her meal to get to the library as Ron ‘framed’ the special memory of ferret Malfoy. Fred, George, and Lee sit next to them and praise Moody on his class, Ron let down in learning they had to wait until Thursday.

The couple days to follow were fairly uneventful, other than Neville liquefying six cauldrons in Potions, Snape developing his retaliation options, Neville assigned a detention involving horny toads posteriors. Ron and Hermione discuss Snape’s moodiness stemming from Moody, Snape’s conduct when in range of the man being to keep his eyes off him. Harry believed Snape was intimidated, whilst Ron became glossy over the re-imagining of Malfoy’s situation as a ferret, but with Snape as a different creature. Harry and classmates were so ready for their first lesson, they had begun waiting before the bell had run for classes, Hermione not showing until right before the class began, Harry sensing her reason involving the library, the three securing seats at the front of class. When Moody arrives, he declares the books weren’t necessary, roll call an unnerving experience as his magic eye located each student as they replied.

Moody starts by sharing of their focus this year being on curses, he confessing he, like the other professors, would only remain for a year, having signed up for the benefit of Dumbledore. He then gets straight into explaining how Dumbledore had given permission for Moody to demonstrate Dark curses, despite the norm being for the earliest year allowed grade 6, and when asking for names of the more frowned upon, Ron answers with the Imperious Curse, Moody showing on a spider he kept in a jar in his desk, it acting like it was in a circus act, the class enjoying it until he reminded them of he able to make the spider do anything he chose. Moody then inquires for another suggestion, Neville giving the answer which was the Cruciatus Curse, Neville uncomfortable for speaking out, Moody starting the curse, another spider he at first makes bigger for easier viewing, this spider contorting with obvious pain, making Hermione yell out for Moody to end it, watching Neville’s scared reaction, Moody shrinking the spider and adding it back to the jar, asking for more call outs. Hermione gets her chance, and reluctantly names “the Killing Curse”, Avada Kedavra, the last spider showing the results, and Harry unnerved, this obviously the one which had been attempted on him.

Moody goes on to explain the three curses shown were considered Unforgivable Curses and would be a one way trip for anyone caught, the rest of the lesson filled with note-taking on the three curses, and when class was done, Hermione leading the two to meet Neville in the hall, he looking traumatized, Moody approaching them all, and kindly offering Neville tea where he’d also be giving him some books to borrow, the trio watching on as Neville seemed to want them to speak on his behalf or join them, but he gets led off alone. The trio were baffled by all this, Ron then chatting about the Avada Kedavra curse until seeing the look Harry had on his face, not speaking anymore until at the Great Hall, changing the subject to beginning their predictions what with how long they’d need to finish. Hermione again rushes off after quickly eating, and as Ron and Harry return to the common room, Harry wonders whether the Ministry would reprimand Dumbledore and Moody for showing the curses to the class, Ron considering how the two usually did as they pleased regardless of rules, so if they were hassled it wouldn’t bother them.

As the boys retrieve their Divination homework, they discover Neville perusing a book Moody had lent him, it on his best subject, plants. When the two return to the common area to start, after an hour, they still hadn’t made a dent, Ron finally changing tactics to making them up, knowing they fared pretty well with this choice before. When most of Gryffindor had left for the dorms, Harry noticed Fred and George quietly working on a parchment, he thinking it could be in regards to the Triwizard Tourney, then hearing George state under his breath, but not enough, which made it seem they would be attempting to talk someone into something, George becoming aware of Harry noticing and the two withdrawing soon after. Hermione comes in a few minutes later sharing how she’d finished her project and wanted them to join her cause called, S.P.E.W., she designating them secretary and treasurer, no one saying a word, what with the baffling news she’d made a club to campaign for the well being of elves. The topic is waylaid by Hedwig’s returning with a reply, but Harry reacting badly since Sirius was on the move, presumably to be near enough to aid him, Harry feeling angry guilt, he going to bed and thinking about how he’d messed up.

 Harry was conscious, early in the morning, of having organized a complete plan overnight, he implementing the first step by writing to Sirius of he having made up his scar bothering him, so he could cancel his trip to Hogwarts, he then going to the owlery and coaxing Hedwig to deliver it, Hermione stating her disapproval over breakfast, Ron convincing her to leave it alone, Harry’s mind already preoccupied and his nerves not any less eased. The usual outlet for Harry’s issues, Quidditch, not being available, was partially replaced by the intensity of classes, Defense Against the Dark Arts taking a turn, what with Moody planning on putting each student under the Imperious Curse, Dumbledore having agreed the students should know how it felt, Hermione speaking up about it being against the law, and Moody excusing her, but she embarrassedly back-pedaling. Harry eventually got his turn, and was almost able to resist, Moody impressed with his strength, planning a second demonstration with him, and not stopping until Harry had been able to throw the curse off.

When class ended and Transfiguration had added to their already bulky amount of assignments, McGonagall reveals it was because their O.W.L.s, whilst not this year, would be coming soon enough, and they needed much more practice if they planned on passing. Harry and Ron had gotten exemplary grades for their homework, but now would have to rack their brains for more, their new task being to list a month’s worth. Their other professor’s assigned similarly cumbersome assignments. After Hagrid’s class let out, Malfoy getting put in his place when Hagrid had told them they’d be coming to see their pet projects on assigned nights, the trio pleased with how Hagrid had handled the brat, Ron and crew noticed a sign regarding the Triwizard Tourney and their classes ending early with the new students’ arrival. This happening in a week kept it a hot topic of conversation, everyone, including teachers on edge over their guests impending visit.

The morning of the new students being expected, the Great Hall was thoroughly decorated (now elves entering my mind whenever menial tasks are mentioned), the trio invading Fred and George’s quiet chat to talk of the Triwizard Tourney, Hermione offering some insight into who would be on the panel of judges due to reading about the history, Ron first to throw her off by having her rant about house-elves, she staying vigilant to her cause, harassing fellow Gryffindors in the common room for donations and memberships. As Ron and Fred ignored her, George reveals how he and Fred had been to the kitchens, and the elves were massively content, Hermione pushing this off of they not being aware of their basic rights, Harry noticing Hedwig had returned, Sirius not having bought his lie, he now hiding in the country and to keep him updated by using different owls. The trio get ready to meet the other students along with the rest of the school, after Potions class, they debating how they’d travel there, Dumbledore first to spot the Beauxbatons flying in first on a giant winged-horse drawn carriage, a large lady the size of Hagrid stepping down, Dumbledore leading the students with applause, her students following, quite cold due to only wearing silk robes, their headmistress leading them indoors. Minutes later the headmaster of Durmstrang had arrived by ship, popping out of the lake, again Dumbledore is greeted kindly, Ron then stating the obvious when Krum steps forward.

Ron is still in awe of Krum being at Hogwarts, having forgotten he was still a student, but he not being the only starstruck kid, girls scrambling for anything to write with for an autograph. The trio get to their table, watching as Beauxbatons sat with Hufflepuffs and still acting chilled which exasperated Hermione, whilst Krum along with fellow Durmstrang students sat at Slytherins table, Malfoy chatting Krum up and agitating Ron. Meanwhile, four seats at the Professors table were being added, Harry wondering who else was expected. When the rest of the students and teachers had entered, Dumbledore made a speech, welcoming them and announcing the tourney opening upon the feast’s end.

When the meal appears, the options are more plentiful, some obviously to the comfort of their guests. Ron is rendered temporarily incomprehensible when a Beauxbatons girl came to inquire if they wanted their French dish, he certain she was a veela, and whilst they ogled, Hermione states the two extra seats at the Professors table had been taken, Crouch and Bagman now present, and when dessert was served, again with a few extra choices, and finished, Dumbledore makes a second speech, introducing the two as judges and organizers, he then calling forward for the bejeweled box, he explaining how Crouch and Bagman had already picked out the students’ tasks which would be implemented throughout the year, the choice for champions being chosen by the Goblet of Fire, which was inside the box. He then describes the time-frame and where it could be located for students to apply, and those not within age range, wouldn’t be able to approach for a spell, after this dismissing the students for curfew.

Fred and George discuss it being possible to hack, and as Harry debates whether he’d join them in attempting to age himself, the trio leaves at the same time as the headmaster of Durmstrang was walking for the Hall exit, Harry allowing the headmaster to pass first, he not at first recognizing him, but has a double-take, having the same reaction as usual. Moody gets him to move along after the headmaster places him as well, with intimidation and distaste, he having blocked the doorway and moving along when Moody brings this to his attention. The next morning, the three wake early, seeing the crowd around the Goblet, Fred, George, and Lee soon turning up to confide having taken their aging potion and about to test it, Fred going first, and when seeing nothing happen, George rushing in after him, but the two then being flung out, their beards sprouting upon landing, everyone including them cracking up. Dumbledore makes himself known and states of they not being the first to attempt this, complimenting their beards and sending them to the Infirmary. When the three get to the Great Hall, they join Seamus and Dean who were discussing possible entrants from Hogwarts, not impressed with the choices, until a Gryffindor girl whom played Quidditch announces to then she’d entered.

After breakfast, Harry suggests they visit Hagrid, Hermione excitedly remembering she hadn’t offered him a S.P.E.W. membership yet, having the boys wait whilst she retrieved her badge box, and after getting to his hut, they see him sporting quite an unaccustomed style, he making tea for them all. Hagrid was also looking forward to the games, he almost revealing the first task, then only stating it’d be fantastic. They spend lunch with him as well, discussing different possibilities for what the tasks could be and which students would be chosen as champions. Hermione didn’t have luck getting Hagrid to join her cause, he explaining the nature of elves and how it wouldn’t help them. When evening set, they readied to join the Halloween feast and hear the choosing of champions, Hagrid tagging along, but when the trio smell his cologne, he quickly washing off, the headmistress of the Beauxbatons along with students, heading to the castle, Hagrid intercepting and then walking with her, leaving them behind, they now understanding why he’d gussied up so oddly. When the feast had started, no one seemed as interested, many anxious to have the drawing begin, and when the time finally came, Dumbledore gives instruction to those who were chosen having to go to another room when their name was called. The first name on parchment was then blown out of the Goblet, Krum first, then the veela-looking girl, Fleur Delacour, lastly Cedric is called, and as he joins the others, Dumbledore is speaking of supporting their champions when another parchment flies out, he calling Harry’s name.

Harry is dumbstruck, unmoving, and disbelieving what he’d heard, no one reacting happily, voices sounding mad gathering in volume. McGonagall speaks with Dumbledore quickly in undertone, Harry finally stating to his shocked table of not having put his name in, but Dumbledore again calls him up, directing him to go through to the next room, none of the adults looking pleased, either. When he’d joined the other champions, he found them standing near a fireplace with witches and wizard portraits surrounding the room, soon all the teachers following Bagman inside, he breaking the news of Harry competing. Soon the professors are discussing how Hogwarts now had two champions being unfair, Dumbledore asking Harry if he’d entered or had gotten an older student to do so for him, Harry denying he’d applied, most everyone not taking his word, and after getting Bagman and Crouch’s opinion, they following the rule book, Harry was meant to compete with the others.

When Karkaroff insists the other school and he were owed one extra champion, Bagman explains the Goblet wouldn’t reignite again until the next tourney. Moody finally makes himself known when Karkaroff threatens to leave, reminding him the magic contract made his suggestion impossible to carry out, then supposing whomever had entered Harry’s name, may have been betting on he not surviving, the two visiting schools not convinced by Moody’s theory of someone most likely having entered Harry’s name under a different school so he’d be chosen regardless, along with a powerful charm to make certain it would work. Once they were out of arguments though, and no one had any acceptable other choices to offer, Crouch, whom looked sick, came closer to deliver their first task, it being about gauging their courage, he stating the date it would happen, and the champions being excused from their tests concluding the year.

Dumbledore then invites Crouch for a drink before he insists on going back to the Ministry, Dumbledore nor Bagman successful in convincing him to stay. The two heads of houses leave with their students first, Harry and Cedric being told to rejoin their houses, Cedric also not believing when Harry insisted he hadn’t entered, granted more lightheartedly than Harry had been experiencing thus far, and when they separate, Harry considers if whomever had added his name was truly attempting to get him killed, how Voldemort could’ve done this whilst being in hiding and waning strength. When Harry gets to the common room, everyone is celebrating and excited, Fred and George first to give props and jealous Harry had succeeded, Ron and Hermione nowhere to be seen in the room, and no one allowing him to retreat upstairs until he insisted after half an hour. When he locates Ron in their room on his bed, Harry realizes he was holding a grudge against him not confiding of entering, making him mad his best friend didn’t even believe him.

Harry had a sense of foreboding upon waking, forgetting temporarily why this could be, then realizing he’d wanted to convince Ron of his innocence, but having missed him, already at breakfast, Harry still getting applause from those in the common area when he came down, and since not wanting the scene he’d get in the Great Hall, but choosing to go there over dealing with the Creevey brothers, heads out, and Hermione waiting right outside the portrait hole. She got them both some toast and offers some whilst they chat, Harry agreeing, the two going outside and Hermione letting him know she had deduced he hadn’t entered, she explaining why Ron was taking this so hard, Harry needing to speak with him, but also having to write Sirius, she convincing him it was best. When Hedwig comes after Harry finishes writing, he having done so in the owlery, he has to tell her he can’t use her, she reacting angrily and Harry affected once more by how those close to him didn’t understand his side. Classes with th other Houses proved difficult, everyone certain Harry had gotten himself in, Hufflepuff ignoring him, and Malfoy having his usual fun, up until Hagrid busied them all with walking the skrewts by leash. Harry then gets called over as everyone else reluctantly goes through with their task, Hagrid stating who he also believed Harry had been set up, this somewhat of a comfort.

The next days to come topped Harry’s second worst during his second year when he was accused of being behind the assaults on other kids, but he at least having Ron’s support back then. Harry resigns himself to Ron taking the situation out on him, but it definitely being isolating. Double Potions wasn’t making life any easier, especially after getting extra homework in Charms, Slytherin youth showing off their pins in support of Cedric and the hidden message of Harry sucking, an hour and a half of this not a happy prospect, and when Malfoy insults Hermione in the process, Harry loses it, grabs his want, and the two set off spells at the same time, Malfoy’s hitting Hermione and Harry’s hitting Goyle, and when Snape shows up, he sends Goyle to the Infirmary and states of seeing no change in Hermione, her teeth having gotten larger, she leaving quickly, even more upset. Snape then takes fifty points from Gryffindor and gives Harry and Ron detention. Harry sits and Ron joins Seamus and Dean, Colin saving Harry when informing Snape he was sent for by Bagman, all champions being called, Snape not at all pleased, but dismissing him.

When he’d arrived at the room, there was a camera, but Bagman relays of this being the wand weighing ceremony, Rita Skeeter, the journalist for the Daily Prophet also in attendance, she taking a moment with Harry alone in a broom cupboard, she setting up her magic quill to embellish anything spoken, she firing off questions and ignoring his response of not entering, Harry looking at the quill as it wrote of him crying when she’d asked about his parents, he raising his voice in protest, Dumbledore then opening the door to have Harry return to the others for the ceremony being ready to begin. Ollivander is present to test the wands, Fleur first, Harry learning she was part veela, and wanting to inform Ron of being correct, but remembering he wasn’t on speaking terms with him, then Cedric is up, Ollivander having made his wand, Krum after, Ollivander not particularly commending the wand-maker’s work, but passing it, and then Harry’s turn arrives. He hopes Ollivander doesn’t mention the relation to Voldemort’s wand (Rowling providing a semi –no pun intended– joke of the quill exploding “with excitement”), Ollivander not saying a word of this, but lingering longest with the wand, then pictures being taken, Harry going to the Great Hall afterward to eat alone, Hermione not present. When returning to the dorms, Ron informs him of an owl having come and when their detention was, quickly exiting. Harry wants to stop him, but instead reads the letter, Sirius wanting to meet on November 22, and to give reply quickly, otherwise trusting Dumbledore and Moody to help with Harry’s situation.

Harry held on by his nails during the next two weeks before the time he’d see Sirius, this the only way he’d been able to cope the hellish days. The first task’s possible magnitude also filled him with nerves due to the waiting, even Quidditch matches hadn’t affected him this way, he feeling the task could be the end of him. He wasn’t relying on Sirius to rid him of anxiety, but the support would help. Harry sends his reply of where he’d wait for him, he and Hermione making certain the spot would be empty for the night planned, even having a back-up idea which would get them in trouble with Filch, but would leave Harry isolated. What was worse came in the form of Rita Skeeter’s piece, she focusing on Harry, the other champions, except Cedric, barely getting mention, and their names not even spelled correctly. Harry was incapable of thinking about the article without being physically ill, Skeeter even stating Harry and Hermione were an item due to speaking with Colin. Harry wasn’t spared after everyone had read the paper, his patience run into the ground for all the heckling he suffered. Harry also had wrongly thought his and Ron’s detention together would bond them back, but it was the same day the article had been printed, so the idea went bust. Hermione attempted to get both boys speaking to each other, but they wouldn’t agree.

On Saturday, three days before the first task, the third years were allowed to go to Hogsmeade, Hermione suggesting they go, but Harry declining to accompany her without his Invisible Cloak when she mentions meeting Ron. Upon getting to town, Hermione tries to convince him to de-cloak, he pointing out, verbally, Rita Skeeter plus photographer were walking away from the Three Broomsticks, Hermione deciding they should go in, Harry grabbing a table and seeing Ron with the twins and Lee. When Hermione returns with drinks and reading material involving S.P.E.W. and whether she wanted to see if villagers would be interested in joining, Harry considers how his life would be so much more tolerable if he wasn’t a champion. Hermione then spots Hagrid with Moody, the two speaking and the latter drinking from his own flask, too paranoid of wizards poisoning his drink to use public mugs. When the two were on their way out, Harry forgets he’s invisible for a moment and waves at Hagrid, Moody stopping their progress, saying something, and they then bee-lining for his and Hermione’s table, Hagrid greeting Hermione at shouting level, Moody leaning over the table and commending Harry on his cloak, his wandering magic eye able to see through it, Hagrid also leaning over to inform Harry to meet him at 12 A.M., then bidding Hermione farewell, both leaving.

Harry and Hermione discuss what Hagrid could want to meet so late for, she debating whether Harry shouldn’t send a note of declining since his going could affect his set time with Sirius, but Harry was too curious, planning to see them both. Harry gets ready by wearing his cloak at 11:30 P.M., Hermione and he setting it up so he could get out as she opens the portrait hole for herself, Harry meeting Hagrid, whom was dressed up a bit and shares he’d planned on showing Harry something outside, Harry attempting to relay his tight schedule, and Hagrid too excited to notice, he stopping them at Madame Maxime’s door, she also wondering what the surprise was. Hagrid has her vow to tell no one, since she wasn’t supposed to be aware, he leading them out of view of the castle, Harry then hearing shouts, and a terrible roar, seeing dragons in a pen, the wizards struggling to control them. When they stupefy them, Hagrid walks them closer, Harry seeing Charlie, whom approaches and chats with Hagrid about the breeds and which one was most dangerous, but when it turns to Molly’s reaction to the article on Harry, he moves off, not wanting to hear about it, running and slamming straight into Karkaroff, he moving toward the dragons were when seeing nothing of what had hit him.

Harry reaches the castle thinking of how Cedric was now the only champion in the dark about the first task, he getting to the common area in time to see Sirius’ head pop out from the fireplace, Harry hardly recognizing him, since he’d cleaned himself up and gained some weight. Harry asks after him, but Sirius turns the question on him (Sirius serious, tsk Rowling for going with such a typical phrase), Harry letting out all his troubles. Sirius then confides he was using a fireplace without the permission of the owner, warning Harry of Karkaroff having been a Death Eater, had been in Azkaban, released for tattling on others, and had probably put Harry’s name in the Goblet, which was why Moody had been called for and threatened before starting at Hogwarts. Sirius then mentions the missing witch Bertha Jorkins having been in Albania last, the same perceived area Voldemort was hiding. Sirius reveals he’d been attending Hogwarts the same time as Bertha, she a moron and easily led into harms way. Besides this though, Sirius believed Harry being in the tourney would make his death seem more accidental, he then about to advise how to handle the dragons when Harry heard footsteps and had Sirius disappear, annoyed to see it was Ron, asking who he was speaking with, and then leaving when Harry asks him why he was up, but Harry’s comment of Ron not helping his wanting to butt in eliciting a response which Harry seethed over, and then throws one of the “Potter Really Sucks” badges at his head and states of if he was fortunate he’d get a scar, like his, Ron not coming back upstairs whilst Harry was aware.

On Sunday, Harry is quite distracted, discovering Hermione in the Great Hall with Ginny, he waiting until she’d finished breakfast before taking a walk and confiding all he’d learned the night before. Hermione has them focus on the dragon issue before Karkaroff, and when thinking of a proper spell to use, the two going to the library for ideas. They still didn’t uncover the right sort of information, though and Harry didn’t sleep well. What ends up helping his nerves is knowing he’d still prefer Hogwarts despite facing a dragon over staying with Dudley. Harry then decides to speak with Cedric as the bell was about to ring, he charming his bag so he could chat with him on his own, he interrupting Cedric as he spoke of his new torn bag and confiding what their first task was, Cedric suspicious of his motives, but they then being joined by Moody, whom has Harry come to his office, regardless of his current class in Herbology having begun. Harry notes the differences of the office from each previous professor, Moody’s including objects from what Harry believed was from his Auror days, all about the office, Moody explaining a few before getting to how he commended Harry on revealing the task to Cedric and not following the rules being a tradition of the tourney.

Moody then gives Harry advice, the first of which being to rely on his talents, the second being a spell to retrieve any item he may require, Harry then getting to class where he asks Hermione to teach him a Summoning Charm, they dedicating their lunch time to it, Harry not happy to stop for his Divination class, Ron almost laughing at an outburst from Harry in regard to another of Trelawney’s hints to Harry’s death, he practicing the charm in class. After a short dinner, they continue his practice until Peeves turns up at midnight, the two returning to an empty common area. By two a.m., Harry had started to improve, he worrying about the distance he’d be summoning from, but Hermione certain it wouldn’t matter as long as he maintained concentration. His nerves abated temporarily until morning came, classes ending early so they could attend the task, the day having a clipped affect as Harry dazedly attended classes until McGonagall informed him it was time to go prepare for the task. She wishes him luck and leaves him at the tent which had been erected, Bagman greeting him and instructing them all of how they would choose the type of task they’d face, they attempting to retrieve a gold egg, Bagman then having Fleur draw first, Harry last and getting the doubly dangerous one, Cedric being first to carry out the task and succeeding.

Bagman’s commentary doesn’t ease Harry’s nerves, and when Krum has his turn and seems to succeed the quickest, Harry goes out when hearing the whistle, and hoping his charm worked which fortunately, it does, Harry’s fear subsiding with the ground, he dodging the dragon and getting grazed by its tail, but securing the egg with the quickest time. McGonagall, Moody, and Hagrid waving him over happily, giving him their approval, he then sent to Pomfrey for medical aid, Hermione and Ron coming in as Harry was exiting, Ron finally allowing Harry’d been set up, Harry stopping him before he apologized, and Hermione getting weepy, hugging the two and running off. They walk out to see his score, Ron detailing how the other’s had passed, Harry mostly getting good marks, but for Karkaroff’s low score, Charlie then informing Harry he was off to relay the news to his mother and Bagman requesting Harry meet him in the tent. Bagman informs them of the eggs eluding to what their next task would be which would occur February 24th, Ron and Harry chatting as they returned to the castle, Harry responding to Rita Skeeter when she accosted them by only bidding her farewell.

The trio go to locate Pig so Harry could update Sirius on his first task being a success, Harry taking the time to fill Ron in on Karkaroff and his past, Ron surprised at first and then relating how much sense it made, what with Malfoy’s statements regarding his father and Karkaroff’s friendship, then helping Harry attach the letter to a constantly moving Pig. Ron continues by believing the other tasks must be a breeze compared to the first, Harry’s chances of winning quite possible, Harry thinking Ron was attempting to show extra support for the time he’d been pissed at him, but happy with his words, Hermione not seeming pleased with his overt positivity. Ron then confides of the twins having put together a surprise party and should’ve had time by now to get everything set up, the three being greeted by thunderous, happy shouts, butterbeer and cake on every table, banners on the ceiling. Lee Jordan picks up the egg clue and he, along with the others began urging Harry to see what the clue was, and upon acquiescing, everyone hears a loud, terrible screeching. When Harry does as Fred requests and closes it, a few of them give their idea of what it could be, the latter then suggesting a tart to Hermione, whom nonchalantly asks how to locate the kitchens, he describing how, then wondering why she wanted to know. Hermione giving no reason. George takes a guess which elicits a laugh from most in the room, Hermione not replying, Neville then taking the attention when transforming into a bird momentarily after eating one of the twins’ appetizers, Fred sharing of the price they charged for them. After, Harry had been getting ready to sleep, he considering how Hagrid was correct in his opinion of the dragons.

The last moment of the year brought hard weather, the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang’s living quarters visibly showing how possible it was for the terrible cold to be an effect to their comfort. Hagrid kept Madame Maxime’s horses well liquored, but the students finding the stench affecting their ability to stay intent on the skrewts. Hagrid suggests in the next class, they attempt to learn if the skrewts slept through the winter, offering crates to the creatures. Ten skrewts remained, and their blood lust in taking each other out hadn’t lessened as they grew longer, the appearance of them not getting better with time, they soon learning the skrewts didn’t bed down for the winter, Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle taking refuge in Hagrid’s home whilst the others were able to capture nine out of ten with much difficulty. Harry and Ron attempt to capture the tenth with Hagrid’s supportive advice, Rita Skeeter turning up, Hagrid taking over restraining the skrewt and then inquiring whom she was.

When learning, Hagrid asks about her being told to stay off the grounds by Dumbledore, she ignoring this inquiry to speak of how interesting the skrewts were, Hagrid sharing what they were called, she replying how she hadn’t been aware of them, and what their origin was, Hermione distracting her with how fascinating they found the species, prompting Harry’s opinion, Rita noting how the kids had sustained minor injuries and many were cowering within Hagrid’s hut. Rita then spices up the deal of an interview with Hagrid about his class by mentioning a column dedicated to animals, Hagrid then all for it. Harry refrains from warning him of going through with his upcoming interview, since he didn’t have an opportunity to do so privately, the end of class then arriving. The three discuss the worst and best case scenario which could come from Hagrid speaking with Rita, and if it meant no longer dealing with the skrewts and Hagrid staying teacher, all the better.

Harry and Ron then had a much better time with double Divination, since they were good again, Trelawney the only one to suffer. So, as she’s professing the ever-lingering footsteps of death, Ron and Harry make light of it whilst her best students, Parvati and Lavender take it dreadfully seriously. Harry considers how many times he’d have lost his life according to Trelawney’s predictions. Ron and Harry then notice Hermione’s absence from her usual haunts at lunch, Ron put off from his getting an autograph from Krum in the library when noticing a bunch of girls deliberating the same. As they’d returned to Gryffindor tower’s common area, Hermione overtaking them, she insisting Harry follow her, and when Ron showed interest, Harry agrees, the Fat Lady annoyed they’d bothered her for nothing. As Hermione led them past a particular painting, Harry figured out what she was so pleased about, pointing out the painting to Ron, he thinking Hermione was on to “spew” affairs again, she insisting otherwise and desperate to get Harry to come see for himself. When Hermione had managed to strong arm him through the passageway, it wasn’t long before an elf tackled his middle with a hug. Harry recognizes Dobby with surprise, the elf overjoyed and Harry noting the odd assortment of clothing he wore, including his sock which had set him free, among his new outfit.

Harry learns Dobby and Winky had both been hired, the former leading Harry past each table of food was sent up. Dobby leads them to Winky, whom becomes quite distraught when Harry greets her, Hermione pleading with her to calm down, Dobby so happy he offers Harry tea, and upon accepting, six elves brought tea accompanying biscuits, hastily, Ron stating his being pleased with their quickness. Dobby then explains how long he’d been there and the hardship of being an unemployed elf, Winky getting louder with anguish. Dobby continues about how no wizard was willing to employ an elf wanting payment, Winky crying harder as Hermione announced her support, Dobby continuing his story over her ever-increasing wails, getting to how the two could secure work at Hogwarts. Dobby then proudly states how he was getting paid and even got time off, Hermione not happy with the terms he’d accepted, but Dobby revealing of having turned down higher pay and more time off.

Hermione then asks if Winky had gotten paid, the elf ceasing her terrible cries to state how she hadn’t gotten quite so desperate, Hermione attempting to note the brighter side of Winky being correct with how she’d been acting with Crouch, Winky unwilling to accept her negative words and insisting he’d been fine and she was terrible. Dobby confesses Winky’s issues with getting used to their new environment, and how Dumbledore was lenient on how they wished to speak of him, but Dobby assuring he thought he was wonderful, Harry then asking whether Dobby could speak of the Malfoy’s comfortably, he hesitatingly confiding they were horrible “dark wizards”. Dobby not quite used to this freedom, punishes himself with a good banging to the head until Harry stops him, Dobby grateful and sticking up for himself when Winky announces he should be feeling guilty. Winky then returns to how terribly she’d shamed the generations of her family before her to have worked for the Crouches.

Hermione then confesses how she believed he was doing fairly well, since being seen at Hogwarts, Winky surprised and then getting mad when learning Bagman was there, as well, she stating how Crouch didn’t like him at all and how shit he was, but she not revealing Crouch’s “secrets”. After this, Winky is incomprehensible, so as they drank tea, Dobby speaks of his goals, a sweater on his list of to-dos. Ron offers the one he expected from his mother, Dobby quite pleased. When the trio readied to leave, the elves offered going-away snacks, Harry and Ron taking advantage but Hermione looking uncomfortable with their subservient behavior, Harry giving permission to Dobby to visit him sometime, and as they return to the dorms, Hermione confessing how Dobby’s presence had potential as a good influence on the others, they all then moving on to how they still viewed Bagman as a better sort than Crouch, and Ron stating how Percy wouldn’t prefer the lighter spirit over seriousness if it did a jig in front of him in the buff.

McGonagall is shouting at Harry and Ron to stay focused, the class almost over, they having finished their assignments and written down their homework, but were sword fighting with two of Fred and George’s fake wands, they instantly stopping, and McGonagall making an announcement about the Yule Ball coming up and fourth years and up were allowed to go. The required uniforms are mentioned, she then detailing how the party was to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere, but making sure they were aware, she’d be looking out for improper conduct. When the bell sounded, McGonagall calls to Harry and informs him of requiring a dance partner, since the tradition had champions starting off the Ball, Harry is dumbfounded and resistant, but McGonagall makes certain he knew he didn’t have a choice. Harry despaired over whom he’d need to ask to be his partner, despairingly inquiring of Ron how he would ever be able to choose and invite a girl when none ever seemed to travel alone, the answer he received not helpful, Ron wondering if he knew someone he’d want to invite, Harry thinking of Cho, and Ron then trying to ease his mind by stating how most girls would definitely be interested, no truer words having been spoken, since the proof occurred by the next day, girls approaching Harry and asking him, fortunately most not hassling him anymore about being a champion or the news article, Hagrid also lucky not to have been covered in the paper.

Hagrid mentions how Rita hadn’t focused her questioning on the magical creatures, their last class having them in safe distance from the skrewts, now. The four discuss how Rita had been after dirt on Harry, and wasn’t satisfied with Hagrid’s praise of him, he then asking if Harry had found a date, but doesn’t push the subject when told he was still on the search. As the last week of school progressed, rumors of what was in store for the party escalated, a well-known group supposedly being hired, Dumbledore buying hundreds of mead barrels, some teachers even allowing free time during class. Others, like their ghostly history teacher, McGonagall, Moody, and Snape, keeping them well busy. Snape gave them a test to study for, Ron and Harry entertaining themselves in other interests when returning to the common area, Hermione giving them shit for it, she thinking Harry should at least be attempting to figure out the puzzle of the egg. Ron defends him though, knowing how much he deserved a rest from everything, George and Fred then walk up and ask if Ron could let them borrow Pig for a letter, but when learning he was already loose, turn to the topic of dates, Fred even showing how it was done by asking a girl whilst she was on the other side of the room, Ron realizing they should probably get to it, themselves. Hermione’s feathers get ruffled when Ron speaks of girls’ looks insensitively, leaving them early.

The Hogwarts employees go to great lengths to bedeck the place with the most fancy decorations for their foreign guests, Peeves even getting a kick out of empty armor partially singing carols and filling in with his own insulting words. Harry and Ron were feeling more pressure by still being dateless, Ron deciding Friday night would find them both with dates upon returning to the common area, Harry stressing about seeing Cho always amongst her buddies. He makes a rush job of it though, and gets her away from her entourage for a moment, learning she was already going with Cedric. When returning, he sees Ron being consoled by Ginny, he looking haunted, and confessing he’d asked Fleur, Harry making him feel a little better when informing him of her roots with the veela, Ron then sharing of Neville having asked Hermione, but she already going with someone, Ron thinking it was an excuse, but then Hermione coming in, Ginny updating her, and she ribbing Ron for his previous statements. Ron then decides to announce Hermione should go with one of them, she stating of already gotten a date, Ron refusing to believe her, pissing her off, and Ginny refusing to confide in them whom it was, so Harry does the last desperate move, and asks Parvati, Harry having her inquire if her sister, Padma would go with Ron.

Regardless of the workload given over the holidays, Harry gave this a backseat and had a blast with his classmates, the twins’ Canary Creams a popular pastime for the Gryffindors for awhile, Harry attempting to be wary of any food offered by them from then on. Hogwarts is soon chilled to freezing levels, Ron still attempting to get out of Hermione the boy whom had invited her, this time being overheard by Malfoy, snotty insult ensuing. Hermione takes care of this one by pretending Moody was behind him, Ron then bringing up how her teeth looked different, Hermione confiding when she’d gotten them shrunken by Pomfrey, she’d let her take a bit more size, then she sees Pig return. They go to the common room and Harry reads them the letter, Hermione still thinking Harry should be trying to solve the second task clue, when Sirius had mentioned he should keep on his toes, but because of the noise in the place, relented, watching he and Ron play wizard’s chess, and the next morning Harry is startled awake by Dobby, he so shocked, he’d wakened everyone else in the room, but they opting to open presents than sleep more, Dobby giving Harry a pair of different colored socks he’d made, Harry returning the sentiment with a pair of socks for Dobby, and Ron giving Dobby not only a pair of socks, but the sweater he’d promised, the elf completely overwhelmed with joy. Harry’s other presents were much more exciting to him, the bunch then going to a exquisite lunch, and the boys having a snowball fight, after which they found the Fat Lady with a buddy buzzed on liqueurs. The boys ready for the Ball, Harry meeting Parvati in the common room, she informing Ron where Padma would meet him, soon McGonagall gathering the champions together.

Harry notices Hermione with Krum after surveying the other champions dates, completely blow away by her different look. When they enter the Great Hall and go toward the professors table, Percy is where Crouch should be, he informing Harry he was now Crouch’s personal assistant, when he’d indicated to Harry to sit next to him. Percy blathers on fairly arrogantly ignorant about how he’d perceived Crouch’s troubles since the World Cup, he proud to be his support. Besides this, Harry watches how Dumbledore orders his food from the menu, he seeing Krum animatedly chatting with Hermione about the Durmstrang castle, Karkaroff cutting him off with feigned lightheartedness due to the specifications he overheard. Dumbledore relates with an amusing story about a mystery room with chamber pots everywhere, Fleur meanwhile dazzling her date, whilst Hermione corrected Krum’s pronunciation of her name. Soon after, the feast ends, tables are magicked away, the Weird Sisters come out, and Harry had to be reminded by Parvati of they needing to get ready to dance.

It goes by without too much trouble and Harry immediately locates Ron and sits, Parvati off with another boy to dance after she realizes Harry wasn’t going to dance with her anymore, Hermione joins them later and Ron gives her a hard time for coming with Krum, he piling on different possibilities why Krum would ask her, she eventually huffing off, Krum returning and asking where she was, and Ron playing dumb, Percy strolling up and giving him props for making friends with the international students, this being good tactics and strengthening relationships between countries. Percy sits with them and then notices the twins bothering Bagman for a moment, until the man spots Harry and comes over. Percy takes the opportunity to inquire whether his brothers had been annoying him, Bagman denying this and sharing how they’d been discussing marketing plans with his assistance, Percy not pleased, and when Bagman was readying to speak with Harry, Percy continues about the status of the tourney after the hiccup regarding Harry, he trapping Bagman with talk of his varying duties, Ron suggesting they escape on the pretense of drinks, they going outside to walk the rosebush paths, overhearing Snape and Karkaroff as the latter speaks of receiving troubling signs and Snape declaring he should leave then and he’d supply an excuse for him when asked, the two walking in the boys direction.

Snape uncovers students in the bushes as he passed, then demanding to know why the two were standing around, the men leaving in serious spirits after getting the general reply of walking, Ron first to voice curiosity, they then hearing a snippet of conversation from Hagrid, they having no interest busting up, Harry pointing toward Fleur, whom was also busy, but Ron deciding cover by rock reindeer a better choice, they overhearing Hagrid speak of his mother and how she’d left him after he had only been a few years old, not knowing if she was still alive. He then sharing a story about his father and how helpful Dumbledore had been after he’d died, then inquiring about her lineage, she taking offense when he presumed she was part giant (ahh! Why, Rowling? Stop hoping against hope, already!), she walking off in a rage, Hagrid moving back toward his hut. Ron is stymied by this new fact about Hagrid, he stating he’d elaborate once having returned indoors, he informing Harry giants were usually a blood-thirsty sort, most now out of Britain, Harry happy when the dance ended at midnight. Cedric calls to him before he’d gotten upstairs, he advising him how to get the egg’s secret out, he even giving him the password to the prefects bathroom, Harry suspicious and thinking up some highly unlikely reasons he’d set him up, and when getting back to the common area, Ron and Hermione were seen having an extreme shouting match, she making clear if Ron wanted to ask her to a dance, he’d better think of her first next time if it was so important to him, she exiting and Ron perplexed and still in denial, Harry not helping him, since he didn’t want to irritate him more.

The kids were having a kickback day, Hermione and Ron acting oddly nice to each other, Harry and Ron updating her on Hagrid’s genetic background, she taking it indifferently what with considering how giants were most likely in the same boat as werewolves in this case, not all of them could be terrible. Since Christmas week had passed, they now had to consider the homework they’d all put off, Harry picking up the nerves which had left him briefly. He was still stressing over the golden egg, he now periodically listening to it, and actively ignoring Cedric’s advice due to jealousy, so started classes with apprehension, their Care of Magical Creatures teacher surprising the trio, due to it being an old witch whom refused to share her reasons she’d replaced Hagrid, but Malfoy soon helping by supplying the news article as the professor and girls approached a tethered unicorn.

The article, written of course by Rita Skeeter, details Hagrid’s shortcomings as a professor, how he’d gotten the job somehow, with so many more qualified people available, and Malfoy even supplying a quote. She goes on to describe how Hagrid had been going against policy and breeding animals, as well, she then outing him as part giant, and after giving some history on giants to end with, Ron wonders aloud how Rita could have learned of this, Harry focusing on Malfoy’s quote, the urchin of course acknowledging how helpful it would be in getting Hagrid permanently replaced, and when the class ended, how Parvati was even warming to the new teacher. Hermione was about to state similarly when Harry shows her the article, he then deciding they’d go speak with him after class to make sure he knew they wanted him to return, but Hagrid didn’t see them, nor for the rest of the week, Malfoy continually rubbing it in. Then the Hogsmeade visit was coming up, Harry straight up saying to Hermione he’d figured out the egg more or less, he wanting to see if he’d locate Hagrid in town.

As the three set off, they see Krum dive into the lake, Ron surprised due to the frigid chill and commenting rather brightly about the huge squid which lived there, Hermione noting how he’d said it and speaking on Krum’s behalf of he being a good person. When Harry determines Hagrid wasn’t in any shops and also sees he hadn’t been to the Three Broomsticks, he’s disappointed he’d come at all. Hermione then detects Bagman, whom was speaking with intimidating looking goblins, she wondering if the man ever made appearances at work. When Bagman sees Harry, his countenance changes to happiness and comes over to ask after him, the requesting a moment alone, he first complimenting Harry on his success with the first task as the goblins watched them in silence at their table, Bagman then confiding how they were searching for Crouch, whom had gone missing for about two weeks, Harry then inquiring after Bertha Jorkins, which Bagman informs how little they knew of where she’d ended up after getting to her destination, he then arriving at his point which was to make sure Harry was doing okay with the hint, he giving the idea he’d help him if needed, since he knew it hadn’t been Harry’s fault he’d gotten picked.

Harry was a little suspicious and didn’t like the idea of asking, so politely declines, Bagman looking insulted, but Fred and George then turning up and offering Bagman a drink, he declining to Fred and George’s obvious let down, Bagman mirroring their look at Harry as he left the bar with the goblins tailing him. Harry goes to sit with Hermione and Ron, he stating why Bagman had spoken with him when Ron asks, Hermione surprised, and he then sharing what he’d said about the goblins and Crouch, Rita Skeeter then walking in and getting a table near them as she spoke of Bagman, Harry questioning her motives so many around could hear. Hermione backs him up, but then furiously suggests they leave, she fuming as Ron warned her to be careful when it came to Rita, but Hermione now on an angry roll, deciding to boost Hagrid to not be effected by a troll like Skeeter.

Hermione is shouting for Hagrid to open up, and when the door opens, is surprised to be confronted with a smiling Dumbledore, whom offers the group to join them, Hagrid quite a mess, and after Dumbledore supplies the tea, he puts a point on how the trio obviously still loved him, adding how he still received mail from parents who supported Hagrid fully. After Harry and Dumbledore both relate to how family members acted absurdly or like barbarians after Hagrid can’t get over how he’d be perceived because of his blood, Hermione states how they all wished he’d return, Dumbledore stating he wouldn’t accept Hagrid quitting and expected him on the start of the week, then leaving. Hagrid, still upset, attempts to turn his spirits around, sharing how his father wouldn’t have appreciated how Hagrid had been acting, then showing them a photo of an eleven-year-old Hagrid with his pop sitting atop his shoulder, he announcing how he also wouldn’t be thinking of “her” anymore with the nonsense of “big bones”. Hagrid then relates to how he and Harry had the loss of parents in common and he truly hoped Harry would be victorious, Harry lying about his progress with the hint, but the look of pure joy finally putting Harry on the idea to attempt Cedric’s advice.

Harry waited to try Cedric’s advice, Ron letting him out as he came in due to being cloaked, and when he reached the bathroom, was impressed by how nice it was. When he’d readied the enormous tub and opened the egg, the same result occurred, Moaning Myrtle startling him when suggesting he dunk the egg. He was embarrassed and annoyed, regardless of the dense bubbles, Moaning Myrtle mentions how he hadn’t been around her toilet lately, Harry realizing he hadn’t needed the privacy. She accepts his reason when mentioning having gotten an earful last time he’d been seen coming out, he then getting the egg and dunking it, memorizing the poem, he struggling to figure out the riddle as Moaning Myrtle watched, happily. When Harry finally realized what the task meant, he worried about going into the huge lake to locate merpeople especially when he wasn’t the strongest swimmer. When he worried aloud though, Moaning Myrtle becomes a bit upset, since she couldn’t breathe at all, Harry apologizing, but annoyed since he couldn’t understand her sensitivity compared with other ghosts.

She goes on to pout about how no one thought of her, even the girl whom had discovered her body, the reason she was still living at the school explained, but Harry not listening due to attempting to learn what would be taken from him. He then readies to go and half agrees he’d visit her sometime, he at least thanking her. On his way back, he notices on the Marauder’s Map, Crouch was in Snape’s office. Harry decides to snoop on him, heading for the office, but the shortcut he takes having a trick step which Harry wasn’t thinking of, slipping and dropping the egg, which falls open down the stairs, the map not going quite as far, but Harry covering himself again before Filch turns up. When the man discovers the egg, he thinks Pus had stolen it, he coming up the stairs, and Snap answering him, he distracted by someone having been in his office, and he wanting Filch to accompany him, Filch reluctant, but the two then interrupted by Moody, he seeing what was happening much more fully.

He turns his attention to Snape, inquiring about his breaking and entering, Snape blowing it off as more than likely another student being the culprit. Moody then hints whether it’d be due to improper items Snape would have hidden, he not taking kindly to the suggestion and stating how Moody would already know for having already searched, Moody revealing Dumbledore had given the OK. Snape denies how Dumbledore would do so for trusting him, Moody going on to not only agree, but mentioning how some choices don’t get forgotten, Snape clenching his own arm, and Moody offering he return to his quarters, Snape again taking offense. Then, as they had a little face off, Moody mentions the Marauder’s Map he believed at first Snape dropped, but Harry signing to him it was his, Moody working fast and magicking it into his own hands, but Snape could see through the suspicious circumstances which Harry could deduce.

Snape declares his thought being Harry related and starts up the stairs, Moody again mentioning how he’d let Dumbledore know Snape’s immediate reaction, which stops him. Snape reluctantly back-pedals and decides to return to bed and when Moody requests the egg from, Filch, the man resisting at first, wanting the evidence to prove Peeves’ guilt, but gives it up when Moody insists it was first property to a champion. When they’re alone, Moody marvels at the map, then helps Harry out of the step, Harry then revealing whom he’d seen in the office, Moody surprised. After, Harry inquires what he supposed Crouch was searching for, Crouch eventually choosing to reply in regard to how dedicated he was on hunting dark wizards. Moody ends their meeting by borrowing the Marauder’s Map and mentioning how Harry had potential as an Auror. Harry didn’t know if he liked the idea depending on the scar-amount of other Aurors (smart).

Hermione is assuming Harry is about to share with them the egg riddle, the 3 in Charms class, Neville magicking Flitwick across the room instead of a designated cushion. Harry is clarifying what his news concerned being about Moody and Snape. For a half hour Harry was able to quietly relate his story, since this class was action-filled and fun. Ron then suggests perhaps Moody thought Snape had put Harry’s name in the Goblet, Hermione not convinced, but Ron wondering why dark wizards would raid Snape’s office, otherwise. Harry next writes to Sirius of this weirdness, also worrying about the water task. Hermione and Ron are helping him come up with ideas, Hermione thinking a charm was the way to go. Harry already acting like a dunce in his belief he’d come to his cap of tolerance to library time, goes to research applicable charms.

No one could come up with anything and now his mind and eyes keep getting drawn to the lake and what could lay waiting. Two days before the task, Harry gets a letter back form Sirius requesting the next date to Hogsmeade. Harry spends the night at the library still attempting to find information which could help, Dobby waking him ten minutes before the task and Harry scrambling. Fortunately for non-thankful Harry, Dobby had learned whom had been taken for Harry to rescue and the magical food he’d need to consume to breathe underwater, he biffing off and Dobby wishing him luck, since he was late to be in the kitchens, Harry barrels past a couple students in his haste to being just in the nick, he seeing Percy sitting in for Crouch. The champs are placed along the lake and would have an hour to recover what had been stolen. Harry eats the gillyweed and wades in waiting for a change, he hearing Slytherin cat-calling and laughing from the stands. Then, pain when he tries to breathe, which upon feeling both sides of his neck, there were gills. Once submerging, he also saw his webbed hands and toes, the water not feeling as frigid, either. As he swims farther and deeper, he doesn’t come across anyone, but grindylows being the 1st to grab at him. Harry fights them off with boiling water jets from his wand and swims quickly away.

When he stops again, Moaning Myrtle scares him by asking for updates, she giggles as he makes bubbles when attempting to say her name minus the “Moaning”, she also giving him a hint in which direction he should go, he responding with a grateful-seeming thumbs up, he soon hearing a mersong, seeing a painting with the people chasing the giant squid. What he saw of the merpeople, wasn’t the usual vision of merpeople: dark green hair, grey skin, and jagged teeth. Harry was unharassed, but stared at, he swimming past their homes. Everyone stares, Harry reaching a spot like a “village square”. Harry reaches to an area where merpeople were beckoning to the champs, four people tied up to the statue with a tail. The four people were asleep with constant bubbles streaming from their mouths. Harry attempts to ask for one of the fishmen’s spears, but he is told they wouldn’t help him, Harry then attempting to forcefully take it, but only being met with resistance and a laugh. Harry, getting smart, locates a sharp rock and hacks at Ron’s bindings, they soon coming apart, he only finding resistance when he tries to save the others, merpeople explaining he could only rescue his own.

They then motion to where Cedric, with a bubble around his head, was swimming toward them. As he passes he tells Harry to leave, the other 2 coming soon, first Krum, looking like a shark-head with man legs, but as he waits for Fleur, the merpeople start collecting Ron and Fleur’s sister, but Harry has them back off by brandishing his wand. He tells them they had until, “1,2,3”, he grabbing Fleur’s sister while he could, but as he moves, he gets tired with the 2 dead weights. As he goes, he feels the change of going back to normal, fortunately also near the surface, and upon breaking out to air, Ron and Fleur’s little sister wake. They help the little girl to shore, the merpeople swimming with them and singing. Fleur is frantically looking for her sister from shore. Everyone is reunited and wrapped tightly in thick blankets, hot potions being ingested. Harry feels truly stupid for thinking any of the hostages would’ve come to harm, he seeing Dumbledore speaking with a female chief merperson. Fleur confirms how Harry and Ron had both helped in the saving of her sister, giving each a Euro-kiss, Hermione looking bent about Ron’s reaction. Then, the announcement for the point system and scores, Harry surprising both Ron and Hermione when he gets 45/50 points, tying with Cedric. They also learn the next test was June 24th and the champs would learn more a month before. Harry also decides, as he and the group of hostages and champs walked back, he was going to buy Dobby 365 pairs of socks.

Ron was madly capitalizing off of  his status as hostage, first stating the truth and then turning it into a beat down of him by many merpeople, but Hermione poked a sensitive hole in his story, so he stuck with the real one after. Harry receives a letter from Sirius by March, he specifying where they’d meet and to bring tons of food, if possible. The trio is a bit surprised Sirius would make the trip, but they also didn’t have dementors running all over. Harry’s spirits were bolstered with the news, he and the bunch going to Potions and being waylaid by Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson, she holding Witch Weekly, throwing it to Hermione, then everyone being ushered in. Hermione locates the small article titled: Harry Potter’s Heartaches. Ron gives her an, I told you so with having pissed the moronic journalist off, but also provides a good laugh for Hermione when he labels her a, “scarlet woman”, she then giving an indifferent smile at Pansy.

Unfortunately, as Hermione is wondering aloud how Rita had learnt some of her accurate information, Ron gets angry, Snape catches them, and takes 20 points from them, reading the article to the class. On top of it, upon finishing, he separates the 3, seating Harry in front of his desk. Snape speaks to him under his breath, accusing he had taken the gillyweed from his office, Harry denies it and Snape states Harry would regret it next time. Snape warns him with having a truth potion he being able to “accidentally” use it on him, so he should watch himself. Karkaroff interrupts this exchange, wanting to speak with Snape, since he’d been dodging him. He waits until class ends, Harry snooping by hiding behind his cauldron, Karkaroff showing Snape his forearm, and he breaking off the conversation to call Harry out, Karkaroff leaving and Harry quickly following, straight to tell his buddies what he’d seen. The day of Hogsmeade was a pleasant one, not as cold, and Harry had been able to scrounge a dozen chicken legs, bread, and pumpkin juice. The 3 first hit a clothing store for some socks for Dobby, they then heading for the exit to the town. Harry greets Sirius in dog form, he leading them toward the foot of the mountain, and once getting there, sees an opening and goes into a cave with Buckbeak standing around.

When Sirius changes back and begins eating the chicken, Harry questions him about his safety, Sirius motioning to some papers with strange happenings to people around Harry and he feeling he needed to stay closer. Soon, Sirius is asking about Crouch’s house elf and when Harry had lost his wand at the tourney, they also speaking of Bagman, but Sirius focused on Crouch, he revealing he’d been responsible for sending him to Azkaban without a trial. Sirius is ready to leave out the convoluted details why Crouch wasn’t a Dark Arts supporter, until Ron has him at least give them a chance, Sirius starting with how fear was felt from magical and Muggle sides, Crouch being ruthless back then, but so effective people wanted him to become the Minister of Magic, then his son gets in trouble, he a Voldemort supporter, and Crouch sends him to Azkaban. Sirius begins to get a far off look recalling when they’d brought the young man in, he ending like everyone there. Screams his first night, silent after, unless screaming whilst unconscious.

Sirius admits the boy had died a year later, his mother following. Crouch never comes to collect his son’s body, the dementors burying him outside. The public doesn’t look kindly upon this, Fudge receiving the position and Crouch going into the Department of International Magical Cooperation. Harry states how Moody mentioned Crouch’s obsession in catching Dark wizards, Sirius confirming it was manic for him. He also supports both Hermione and Ron’s opinions of Snape due to his history when they were young, he also noting if Dumbledore trusts Snape, he’d be pretty clean from having worked for Voldemort. Sirius thinks about Crouch’s possible intentions and whether he was truly ill, Ron willing to see if Percy had heard from Crouch lately, as well as news on Bertha still missing or progress. As Sirius ends their visit, he allows only written communication from them and would be happy when this tournament ended. The three get back to Hogwarts and endless hot food, wondering if Percy would be as ruthless to family as Crouch had been, Ron uncertain.

The 3 send Hedwig to deliver a letter to Percy, they then off to gift the socks to Dobby. Ron requesting some more eclairs, Hermione being pointed to where Winky was sitting and she being drunk and sad, hoping Crouch would return for her. Harry attempts to get her to spill on whether she knew anything she’d be willing to share about Crouch, she not having it and Dobby getting defensive when she declared Harry was being nosy. She passes out soon after and Hermione is defending Winky’s unhappy feelings, she roping Dobby in, but he wanting to remain out of it, the elves quickly giving them food and ushering them out, Ron fully placing blame on Hermione for making them all uncomfy with her feminist and race rights for the elves. Harry ditches the 2 with their continued tiffs through the day, he sending more of the food by owl.

The next day at breakies, Hermione receives multiple letters, she soon realizing it was hate mail regarding Harry, she getting boils from one, and Ron reading another threatening to do the same. After Hermione misses 2 classes for being tended to, Ron getting sad about being skint all the time, Hermione and Harry not sure how to lift his spirits. Hermione is having trouble moving her hands, she vengeful toward Skeeter for it. After a Defense Against the Dark Arts class, Hermione speaks with Moody, whom helps her deduce Skeeter wasn’t getting her information by Invisibility cloak, she sharing with the boys, but not expecting them to help after Ron responds whinily about they having to now wage war upon Skeeter. Harry made sure to send food to Sirius regularly and updates with no updates, yet. When Easter arrives is when the letter comes with prezzies.

Percy relates he hadn’t seen Crouch, but received handwritten letters with his instructions from him. Finally, Harry is told by McGonagall where and when to meet Bagman for their next task details When Harry and Cedric walk to the Quidditch field, they see hedges were planted all over, Bagman relating how the Cup would be in the middle and they’d use magic to break spells, the two highest pointed champs being first to enter. After, Krum speaks with Harry, leading him close to the forest so as not to get eavesdropped on, he wanting Harry to explain the type of friendship he and Hermione had, Harry surprised it wasn’t more serious. Krum requires a little convincing, but after believing him, compliments Harry on his flying skills, Harry flattered, then hearing movement in the forest, which is revealed to be Crouch, whom was acting and looking like a crazed hobo. When Harry attempts to get his attention, he sees Crouch talking at a tree, calling it “Weatherby”, then Crouch grabs at Harry’s robe desperately wanting to speak to Dumbledore.

After, Harry is let go again as Crouch continues speaking to a tree about a time when his wife and son were alive. When Harry tries to leave, Crouch catches him again, talking brokenly of Voldemort’s power becoming greater. Harry gets loose, Krum stays with Crouch and Harry runs to locate Dumbledore, he being stopped by Snape, whom wasted his time until Dumbledore appears, Harry leading him back to Crouch, but he no longer waiting and Krum unconscious. Dumbledore wands him awake, Hagrid and Moody soon joining them. Karkaroff is brought and was pissed and accuses Dumbledore of cheating, so Hagrid calms him by placing him against a tree. Dumbledore distracting him with the task of returning Harry to his tower, and Hagrid talking mad smack about “foreigners”. Harry lets him go with this, instead glad to now be sharing with Hermione and Ron what he’d been through.

Hermione deduces Crouch and Krum could’ve both been attacked or Crouch was responsible, Ron and Harry try to see if Krum not doing it made sense, it not so they going to the owlery to send a letter to Sirius. When Ron asks for another recap on the details, Harry could remember about Crouch, he gets annoyed by Snape being a time wasting nuisance. Hermione reminding them they should speak with Moody to see if he’d used the Marauder’s Map, but then Fred and George are arguing loudly on their way up to them, about whether the note they were sending was blackmail and if they felt guilty enough, this not lasting long when Ron calls them out on it, George setting an owl off with the letter in the end.

When the twins leave, the 3 discuss how serious they could be with this unknown plan, Ron confiding how his brothers were focused on quickly making cash for their joke ship business. They leave it alone until they can speak with Moody at break, upon doing so, learning the Marauder’s Map hadn’t shown where Crouch had gone, Moody focusing them on Harry training for the 3rd task with his buddies help, since Dumbledore had notified the Ministry about Crouch. The next day, they get a letter from Sirius having him swear not to stray outside after hours and to have his buddies with him, since someone was after Harry. He took it like a brat, so Hermione attempts to set him straight, he resistant to the very end, but Hermione attempting to keep him focused. Harry follows instructions accordingly for the next few days, training with his friends. Ron has gotten to his limit of being stunned by Harry, since he’d started getting an ache everywhere.

Hermione testily advises Ron to fall back onto the cushions and it wouldn’t be so bad, Ron spouting about this not being an option when stunned, he offering she try it. Hermione quickly turns the subject to Harry having gotten the hang of it enough, and they should practice a hex next time, they ending for today. In Divination, Harry falls asleep and dreams of Voldemort, he excusing himself to the hospital wing to Trelawney’s disappointment. Harry goes to find Dumbledore instead, Sirius having instructed him to do this. He guesses the password to Dumbledore’s office, Cockroach Cluster, and hears a conversation as he gets closer. Fudge, Moody, and Dumbledore discussing Bertha’s disappearance and whether Crouch not being found was due to the same reason. Moody is first to notice and mention Harry waiting to talk with Dumbledore.

Fudge attempts to push Harry back out by advising he return to class, but Harry reiterates his need to speak with Dumbledore, whom has him wait there until he returns from their grounds look-see. After a short time waiting in a chair, Harry sees a slightly open cabinet with something shining, he taking a look. What he discovers is a liquid substance in a bowl, poking it with his wand and looking inside to see a room from above. Harry gets too nosy and falls in when his nose touches the liquid and he finds himself seated on a bench next to Dumbledore, he deducing he must be in a memory. Soon, dementors enter with Karkaroff, whom looks much younger. He’d been brought to reveal information about Voldemort’s supporters, Moody, pre-magic eye, voiced his insulting opinion of Karkaroff. Crouch has him go through the names he had, only one being useful. Harry is then transported to a different memory with Rita Skeeter and Bagman, he quite fit and being charged for passing information to Voldemort supporters, Crouch getting negative feedback from those present when readying to send him to Azkaban.

This day, Bagman is let go on his popularity, a new memory beginning. Dumbledore sits with Crouch and a crying woman, four prisoners brought in, one being his son. The boy was scared out of his mind, pleading with his parents, his mother of course, unable to do anything and Crouch shouting over him, this time receiving the votes for life in Azkaban. Crouch denounces being related to the boy any longer, Dumbledore rousing Harry from this scene. Harry tries to explain and apologizes reluctantly, Dumbledore being quite understanding. Harry then relates his dream, Dumbledore confessing he’d told Sirius about the cave. Harry inquires Dumbledore’s opinion on why his scar kept bothering him, he considering it was fueled by Voldemort’s surge of anger and or proximity to Harry. He asks after Bagman’s innocence, and why he believed Snape was clean, Dumbledore dodging by saying it would stay between himself and Snape. They end with Dumbledore wishing him luck and not to mention what he’d learned of Neville’s parents.

Harry sends another letter and thoroughly discusses most of what he’d seen, Ron not convinced of Snape’s innocence and Hermione thinking of Rita Skeeter’s egotistical talk of  what she knew about Bagman, they calling it a night, since they’d have to buckle down and help Harry practice the next day. As they reach June, Harry is much more at ease with this task what with his history thus far with similar experiences. Hermione attempts to focus them back on practice when Ron sees Malfoy acting oddly outside below their window. Meanwhile, his now daily letters from Sirius supports Hermione in Harry focusing on the third task before bothering with anything else. The morning of the task brings more fluff news on Harry being crazy, Malfoy even being quoted in the article, and Hermione then coming up with a possibility which she’s off to research in the library straightaway.

McGonagall then informs Harry the champs would be meeting after breakies. She clarifies it’s so the families of the champions could be greeted, he bewildered. Cedric announces to Harry of his guests waiting, he surprised to see Bill and Mrs. Weasley. As he escorts them about the place, Mrs. Weasley mentions how Percy was being questioned about Crouch’s letters and Fudge being judge in his place. During the latter of evening meal, Dumbledore announces the start o f the task approaching, having the champs head for the Quidditch field. When everyone is seated, it’s noted they’d have patrollers along the outside of the maze for assistance when red sparks were sent into the sky, Harry and Cedric being first to enter. Not long in, the 2 separate, Harry hearing the whistle for Krum’s start, and further on Fleur’s, Harry doesn’t run into any obstacles, oddly. After turning a few times without any issue, Cedric meets up with him again, his robes scorched by a skrewt, hurrying off, Harry then confronting a boggart-dementor, and after this goes through suspicious mist.

Rightly, since it made up, down, but he only having to lift his foot to fix it. After 10 minutes, he confronts the skrewt and successfully stuns it. A little further on, Harry hears Cedric being attacked by Krum, he making a hole in the hedge and stunning Krum, they sending sparks up for him to receive aid, the 2 splitting up again and Harry coming across a sphinx next. Harry’s guess of a spider does the trick and he gets directly to the Cup without trouble. He then sees Cedric belting toward it, Harry knowing he didn’t have a chance with his longer stride, but he did warn him of a huge ass spider coming up on his side, he barely dodging. Cedric loses his wand and Harry tries a spell, it failing, as well as the next few, they getting the spider’s attention and he getting a bitten leg, until getting to a spell which works.

After, Cedric tries to give the Cup to Harry, after he’d told him to grab it already. Harry continues to be agitated by Cedric’s decision, the 2 listing how the other had helped him at different times. Harry gets down on himself when Cedric mentions trying to save all the hostages, dumbly in Harry’s opinion, the poem not meant to be take so seriously. Cedric has made up his mind, though standing by Harry, whom takes a minute to fantasize the win, but getting his moment to say, selflessly, for them both to get it together, and have it be a Hogwarts victory! Cedric acts like he couldn’t believe his luck Harry’d want to, the two walking together and grasping the Cup at the same time, being whisked somewhere. When they look about, they are nowhere near Hogwarts, Cedric not realizing the Cup was a Portkey. They be-wand themselves, the graveyard silently spooky.

Then, they notice a small man carrying a bundle in robes, and upon getting about “6” (feet under) from them, Harry’s scar killing him with pain, losing sight, a voice commanding to kill the other, and when his scar pain lightens, sees Cedric killed. Harry’s then dragged to Tom Riddle’s grave and tied to it full body so he couldn’t move his head, he recognizing Wormtail. He left him for a moment, he  seeing the bundle moving at the grave, Cedric’s body nearby and Harry’s scar piercing him as he hoped he didn’t get a look of whatever was in those robes. Wormtail comes back with a man-fitting cauldron filled with water, a snake around Harry and the gravestone for a mo.

The cauldron is lit and the bundle demands he hurry up, upon being prepared, Harry seeing a flat-faced snake-looking red baby, he being chucked into the cauldron, Wormtail fearfully cutting off a limb for this renewal ceremony, then getting to Harry, some blood drawn and it going in with the arm. A mist develops and Harry is terrified to see a skeletal man emerge, Wormtail robing him and Harry seeing Voldemort up close for the first time in years. and Voldemort was reveling in his renewed body, throwing Wormtail against the grave, laughing, Wormtail reluctantly gets the stamp on his arm turned from red to black. Harry’s mark flares a searing pain, Voldemort wondering who would come first when they felt ‘the call’ and who would be dumb enough to stay away. Voldemort then confides to Harry, the grave was his father’s and both he and Harry’s mother had their uses in the scheme.

After a short wait, wizards, the Death Eaters, were apparating to the graveyard. Voldemort goes into a speech of how he felt those present had betrayed him by not coming to his aid before and how they’d denied being a supporter to the community, instead. He tortures one Death Eater who grovels on behalf of himself and the others. After, Voldemort gives Wormtail a sparkly fake hand which worked magically. Lucius has to explain why he’d run from the call the last time, Voldemort letting him go with a warning. Crabbe and Goyle are also called out, he going through the Death Eater’s who were missing whether it be due to imprisonment, cowardess, or death. Lucius is first to ask how Voldemort had obtained his new form, he calling out Harry as the start and finish of the tale. This new form allowing him to lay hands on Harry, he getting blinding pain from barely a finger touch.

Voldemort speaks of how he’d waited uselessly for one of his Death Eaters to come find him, instead getting lucky when a Hogwarts professor happened upon his side of the forest in Albania, but Voldemort’s plan to immortalize himself through the sorcerer’s stone thwarted by this meddling kid, Harry. So, his next reprieve comes in the form of Wormtail. He tells how Wormtail had run into Bertha at an inn, he getting her to Voldemort so he could obtain facts, he breaking her beyond repair, so gets rid of her. He goes on to state this night, Harry would die, he first putting him through the “worst pain” Harry’s ever felt, then having Wormtail release him so they could fight square before Voldemort took Harry down. Wormtail quickly manages to set Harry loose what with his pretty hand, and flippantly gives Harry’s wand back, collected next to Cedric’s body, f.y.i…

Voldemort asks Harry if he’s experience with dueling, his quite brief, and mostly useless lesson those years ago. Voldemort forces Harry to bow magically, per tradition, they then starting, Voldemort cursing him again. When Voldemort’s ready to give the death blow, Harry does the disarming spell, their wands creating a gold connection and encircling the 2 after taking them to a different part of the graveyard, inexplicably. Then, phoenix song is heard, Harry keeps the connection between them open, Harry forcing liquid balls which formed along the gold strand to go back to Voldemort’s wand, once it had, all the magic he’d recently done, seemed to be getting released, like Cedric and Wormtail’s hand. All the other’s who’d died recently voice support similar to Cedric’s, Harry’s mother and father soon emerging, as well. His father instructs him what’d happen and he needing to get the Portkey. Per request, Harry takes Cedric with him as he runs for the Portkey, Death Eaters firing curses and missing, Voldemort also not getting to him in time, even though he’d gained by a single grave away.

They’re transported to the entrance to the maze, a crowd coming with Dumbledore and Harry escorted away by Moody. Harry answers Moody’s questions about what had happened Moody then confessing he’d put Harry’s name in the Goblet and also had to orchestrate many angles, as well, since Harry was too prideful in certain ways. Harry was dumbfounded by this revelation, Moody readying to kill him, but Dumbledore, Snape, and McGonagall having witnessed the last few minutes of this and saving Harry. Dumbledore then reveals, this Moody was an impostor, the 2 waiting to see if the knocked out fella would turn. He turns into Crouch’s son, Dumbledore reviving him after giving him a truth potion.

Boy Crouch confesses how his mother had, in the end saved him. She’d had Crouch help and his mother and he took poly-juice potions to have it succeed. Crouch had kept his son hidden with Invisibility cloak, Winky helping him. Bertha had gotten in the way, so Crouch had put too powerful memory charm on her and she didn’t recover. Bertha had been the one to convince Crouch to let his son go to the Quidditch Cup, the reason for the empty seat. After, Crouch had fired Winky, Voldemort having found Crouch’s son back at his home. Voldemort curses Crouch and sets up the plan with his son to be Moody’s double. When Harry meets Krum, Crouch’s son watches from the forest and underneath his invisibility cloak, stunning Krum and popping his pop, then burying the body in front of Hagrid’s hut.

Dumbledore makes sure Crouch’s son can’t escape, then has McGonagall take Harry upstairs, Dumbledore telling him Sirius was waiting for them in his office. When Sirius sees the state of Harry, he demands to be told what’d happened, Dumbledore taking the reins, Harry becoming a perch for Fawkes, then Dumbledore asking him to tell them what he’d seen, explaining it’d be easier to get it over with than wait. Dumbledore also reveals, Fawkes was the donor of he phoenix feather in his wand. From here, Dumbledore guesses the reversal which occurs because the wands weren’t performing against each other. He asks what the apparitions did upon getting out, after which he has Harry spend the night in hospital wing, Sirius welcome to stay with him. They see the Weasley’s with Hermione prompting Pomfrey for answers, Dumbledore having everyone calm down, also stating how Harry would have the dog stay with him awhile. Pomfrey sets him up with pj’s and sleep potion, he passing out promptly.

Next, Harry is woken by talk from Mrs. Weasley and how McGonagall was arguing with Fudge. When they enter the room loudly, Dumbledore soon follows, they learning Fudge had brought a dementor with him and Crouch got the fatal kiss, so he wouldn’t be tried or be able to testify why he’d done all of this. Fudge stays immovable on his skeptical opinion of what Dumbledore had learned from Harry and Crouch’s son, and the dementors being ousted from Azkaban on the chance they’d help Voldemort only making him livid. Dumbledore goes on to advise he’d also do well to make peace with the giants or Voldemort would sway them, as well. A last ditch effort to at least persuade Fudge to believe Voldemort had been reborn came from Snape when he shows his Dark mark and this being why Karkaroff biffed off. Dumbledore then readies to get Mr. Weasley’s help from those who were still on the side of reason, before Fudge had left Harry receiving the thousand galleon winnings for the Cup. Next, Dumbledore asks Sirius to transform, he having Snape and he make temporary peace, he sending both on missions, Harry being told to finish his sleeping drought, right before taking it, wanting anyone or Cedric to have gotten the prize money when Mrs. Weasley mentions it, he breaking down, Hermione then coming in with the sleeping potion.

After a moment, Harry recalls little of what occurred after, a harsh one being when he met Cedric’s parents. He offers them the prize money, but it’s declined with a daze due to mourning. No one at school bothered him about his ordeal, also since Skeeter’s article made Harry sound nuts, he was able to kick back with his buddies. Ron also relates how he’d found out from his mother from Dumbledore of Harry first starting his summer at the Dursleys, then would go to Ron’s. They visit Hagrid and he confesses of  knowing Voldemort had been priming to come back for years (yeah, ya think?) and as long as Dumbledore was there to fight, he felt safer. They learn he also would be on a mission for Dumbledore possibly with Madame Maxime and maybe in relation to Voldemort, since he refused to give detail.

At the Leaving Feast, Dumbledore decides to reveal some of the details of Cedric’s murder and then recognizes Harry’s bravery for confronting and escaping Voldemort. Some Slytherin students refused to partake in honoring Harry, though; After which, Dumbledore goes on to support everyone sticking together against Voldemort. When everyone’s going home, Fleur makes sure to bid farewell to Harry, Krum doing the same, having a private chat with Hermione whilst Ron tries to keep track of them, in the end asking for Krum’s autograph. When they’re on the train back, Hermione mentions at lunch, how Rita hadn’t been writing anything since the end of the last task due to what she’d had on her. They then learn Hermione had Rita still in beetle form in a jar, she an unregistered Animagus. Hermione lists her terms to beetley Rita and would set her free in London. Fred and George help them hex Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy when they come to bother the trio, Harry then offering the twins his winnings, since they wouldn’t be getting paid out by Bagman, whom was in a shit ton of debt. His only request being for them to buy Ron some dress robes and take the credit. They end with Harry resigned to his summer with the Dursleys and preparing for whatever was ahead.

A decent end, and I’ll be happy to continue to the brickiest looking Year 5 of the bunch.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Year Two)

 

Harry’s Uncle is woken from sleep by hooting sounds from Harry’s room, his Uncle complaining in the morning and Harry explaining Hedwig wouldn’t do so if he could let her out at night, Vernon knowing what it would mean if he allowed this. Dudley states his indifference to the subject, as well as hunger through belch form, he then requesting bacon by demanding Harry to pass the frying pan and Harry responding for Dudley to say the magic word, everyone reacting with surprise, fear, and anger, Vernon having been treating him like a ticking time bomb whom could activate at any time. Harry missed Hogwarts with an aching passion, Vernon having locked up all of Harry’s magic-related belongings, being unable to practice Quidditch or do his homework. We are then recapped of Harry’s past and physical descriptions of he and the Dursley’s, we also learn of Voldemort mysteriously losing his powers after being unable to kill Harry. Vernon then mentions again of the dinner party to come which was supposed to help him land a deal for his business in drills, Harry realizing no one seemed to remember it was his twelfth birthday. Vernon proceeds to run through the plans for the night, Harry’s job being to stay in his room and pretend to not exist. After, Vernon goes to pick up his and Dudley’s dinner-wear and Harry goes outside, missing his buddies.

We then recap Harry’s last year at Hogwarts and his run-in with Voldemort, Harry realizing he was zoning out and looking at a bush which was staring back, Dudley then appears and taunts Harry with the knowledge of he knowing it was his birthday and asking why he was gazing at a bush, which prompts Harry to make up the reason being to decide what spell was best to set it aflame, startling Dudley to trip back and after egging Harry with the start of another unkind comment, is scared when Harry makes up magic words, his Aunt setting him chores after chucking the half clean frying pan at his head with the extra threat of not being fed until his tasks were complete. Exhausted after finishing, it takes him until early evening, Harry getting a disappointing dinner and is commanded to go upstairs. After one more unfinished threat by Vernon, Harry silently enters his room to fall on his bed, but sees it being occupied by a guest.

Harry is almost startled enough to shout out, but resists, he knowing this was the creature he’d seen in the bushes. The creature formally bows, Harry noting the pillow-case he wore, he greeting the creature, and the elf in return speaking in normal-squeaky pitch, Harry sure it would be heard below, the creature stating it had been wanting to meet him. Harry tries to convey of the inconvenient timing for the visit, he being glad to meet Dobby, but attempting him to cut to the chase for his visit, Dobby unsure where to start and Harry offering Dobby a seat, which brings the elf to a loudly bawling state, Harry attempting to calm Dobby, he making light of how wizards must not have been kind to him often, Dobby almost agreeing and so having to punish himself with a few head butts into the window, Harry grabbing him and setting Dobby back on his bed, the abrupt reaction waking Hedwig, whom screeches. Upon further inquiry, Harry discovers Dobby has come without informing the wizard family he serves and would be punishing himself severely later for this transgression. Harry attempts to offer his assistance in escape for Dobby, but it’s useless, Dobby relating of his visit to Harry being to warn him not to return to Hogwarts, this after gushing over Harry’s kindness in wanting to help him. Harry attempts to learn more about the dangers Dobby hints of, but Dobby obviously has rules to which he can’t overcome in regards to the details.

Dobby hints at whom it could be, but begins beating himself again which brings Vernon to the room with more threats, and afterward Dobby confessing to having stolen Harry’s letters and would only give them back upon his word of not going back to Hogwarts. Harry refuses, so Dobby apologizes regretfully for what he was about to do, he running out of the room, Harry following quietly. Dobby releases the cream pudding in the kitchen, (unlike the movie where it lands atop the guests), Harry getting caught and made to mop up immediately. What gets the guests out of the house is a barn owl delivering a letter to the female guest’s lap, she deathly afraid of birds and fleeing out, the husband not amused. Vernon enters the kitchen with the letter, it being about the non-use of magic by minors and in front of Muggles. Vernon then goes about sequestering Harry in his room, only allowing bathroom breaks twice a day, food to be given through a door flap, and his windows barred. Harry descends into a troubled sleep, awakened by rattling bars, he seeing Ron outside his window.

Harry opens the window, unable to communicate his confusion of how Ron was there and what was happening. Ron takes over with questions of why Harry hadn’t answered his letters and then relating how his father had heard about Harry’s warning letter since he works for the Ministry of Magic, Harry attempts to convey the complexity of his situation when Ron interrupts with how easily they were going to liberate him, Harry having digressed of Ron giving a message to Hogwarts about his incarceration for him. George and Fred then help Harry get his gear, stored under the stairs, with lock picks to aid them after they wrench the bars off the window with the car, the Dursleys undisturbed by the noise, so far. Whilst Harry passed the belongings he needed within his room, Fred and George retrieved his Hogwarts trunks downstairs, all going accordingly, until Hedwig screeches for being left behind and waking Vernon whom crashes through the door and seizes Harry’s ankle, the brothers pull Harry into the car, they shooting off into the night as the Dursleys watched, Harry finally able to release Hedwig so she could fly with them, then Harry explains what he had gone through during the summer break. The boys considered Dobby’s message and honesty, Harry and Ron instantly thinking of their main enemy, Draco when provided with the idea of who could have it out for Harry. George and Fred then speak of their father having brought up Draco’s father, Lucius and his involvement with Voldemort. The twins then profiling the kinds of families who own house-elves, they being rich, and usually manor-owning.

After seeing the likelihood of Malfoy being behind Dobby’s visit, Harry questioned whether he should’ve believed Dobby. Ron then explains his concern and the lengths he’d gone to when Harry didn’t answer his letters, they then discussing Percy’s strange behavior lately and how they’d successfully swiped the car, now hoping they could return it before their mother noticed. Harry also inquired of the Department their father worked, it involving the “misuse of Muggle artifacts”. The twins share of how fascinated their father was of Muggle items, the illegality of his hoarding of non-magical items driving their mother up the wall, they almost home by this time, and it nearing dawn. Harry then lays eyes on Ron’s family home for the first time, it looking like it was held together with magic due to the angle of its standing. Ron was excusing the state of the house, but Harry returned with how great it was, the boys then discussing how they’d explain Harry’s presence when they’d sneak him in and up to the second floor, so they could go down for breakfast when the Weasley boys’ mother is seen marching right at them, she not happy for her worry, the boys not having a chance to explain, since she was still in the process of sharing what she’d witnessed of their being gone, and all which could’ve gone wrong, the threat of she bringing all this to their father’s attention when he returned from work, she then greeting Harry and inviting him in for breakfast, he nervous, but reassured by Ron, he experiencing his first wizard home. As Mrs. Weasley cooked breakfast she still muttered her disbelief and displeasure of the boys’ actions, but lost steam when George mentioned the Dursleys weren’t feeding Harry regularly, Ginny then stepping downstairs and retreating quickly when seeing Harry, Ron introducing her and how she’d been talking about him a lot during break.

After they ate, Fred attempts nonchalance of going to sleep, their mother nixing the wishful plan with chores, she offering Harry welcome to sleep, but he quite awake and curious of Ron’s de-gnoming chore. As the boys walked to the garden, Ron shows Harry a real gnome, the little fella sounding adorable with his demands to “gerroff” him. Ron then shows the simple process of de-gnoming involving a lasso motion as the boys chucked them out of the yard, making them dizzy so they wouldn’t know how to return. When they hear their father enter the house, they return, Mr. Weasley looking worn out. He begins to share what his night had consisted of when his wife accuses him with the enchanted car, he acting guilty. Mrs. Weasley gains momentum especially when he halfheartedly shows disappointment of the boys taking the car, Ron having Harry retreat with him to his room, they passing Ginny’s room on the way, she quickly shutting her door, and Ron remarking how odd her quiet, withdrawing behavior was, they reaching Ron’s room, Harry surveying his belongings and posters of Quidditch players plastered all over his walls, Ron shy about Harry’s opinion being unimpressed, but Harry blurting of his room, and his home being the best he’s experienced, Ron going flush.

We then share the other oddities Harry experiences at the Weasley house, from ghost in the attic to periodic explosions in Fred and George’s room, all of these happenings normal for the household. The main strange occurrence being how everyone treated him well: Ron’s mother overfeeding him, his father wanting him to sit by him so he could relate all kinds of Muggle appliances and government jobs: post workers, specifically. Ginny still had trouble keeping it cool when Harry was around, he kindly ignoring her clumsiness due to her severe embarrassment. One morning the boys receive letters from Hogwarts detailing the place and time they’d be going back, Harry also having the list of required textbooks, most by Gilderoy Lockhart. Harry then learns Ginny will be starting Hogwarts this year, and the group talk about how expensive Lockhart’s books were, Ron then getting a letter from Hermione about meeting up at Diagon Alley. The boys then practiced Quidditch later, Percy still keeping to himself which had Fred wondering what was going on with him. On a Wednesday they get up early, Mrs. Weasley waking them for their shopping day in Diagon Alley. Harry was offered to use the Floo powder first, but didn’t know how to go about it, Mr. Weasley becoming sidetracked upon knowing Harry’s route last year, but interrupted by Mrs. Weasley, and Fred showing him how it’s done.

When Harry does get his turn after tips from Mrs. Weasley and Ron, he still ends up in the wrong place, a strange shop, the view outside not Diagon Alley, and as Harry attempts an exit, he sees Malfoy walking in with his father, he hiding in a cabinet and viewing the two waiting for the clerk. As they stand there, Draco finds a way of complaining about Harry which his father was apparently used to, advising Draco should keep his dislike in check due to Potter’s celebrity. Then the shopkeeper appears, assuming Lucius was there to purchase, he setting him straight about his visiting to attempt to sell due to some possessions he didn’t want to be caught with if the Ministry raided his home. When Draco chimes in about a possible gift for himself, it leads to a conversation about Hermione being the reason he didn’t get good grades: teacher’s pet. As Lucius and the shop owner haggle, Draco gets unnervingly close to opening Harry’s hiding spot, but being called back, Lucius ready to leave. When they do, Harry times his moment to exit, and views his surroundings, all the shops Dark Arts related, he “hoping against hope” he’d make his way to Diagon Alley (I’m disappointed in Rowling for joining the ranks of Dan Brown to make one of her characters hope against hope).

Harry is surprised by an old witch talking to him which he’s glad to be interrupted by Hagrid, and the two easily getting to Diagon Alley whilst Harry related how he’d gotten lost and why he hadn’t responded to Hagrid’s letter, they then being spotted by Hermione. Soon the Weasleys had found him, the boys jealous of Harry having gone to Knockturn Alley, and Hagrid bowing out, having business elsewhere. Harry spills on who he’d seen whilst there, Mr. Weasley wishing to catch Malfoy with contraband and Mrs. Weasley warning him to watch himself, the group going into Gringotts where Hermione’s parents were exchanging some money for the proper currency for Hogwarts, Mr. Weasley delighted with meeting some Muggles and seeing their ten pound notes. As Hermione stayed with her parents, the Weasleys and Harry are taken to their vaults, Mrs. Weasley taking everything inside theirs and Harry embarrassed and attempting to hide the amount inside his own. Percy goes off by himself upon the group leaving the bank, Fred and George off to greet a buddy, Mrs. Weasley taking Ginny to get a secondhand robe, and Mr. Weasley inviting the Grangers for a drink at the Leaky Cauldron. Harry, Hermione, and Ron go off window shopping, Harry buying them all ice cream, seeing Percy with his nose in a book, then going to the bookshop to discover Lockhart would be signing his autobiography, Hermione squealing with excitement.

The line out the door consisted of women Mrs. Weasley’s age, she also further up near the front of the line, Harry, Hermione, and Ron meeting her there. Harry is then spotted by Lockhart, whom saw the celebrity photo-op and jumped at the chance of getting front page coverage, plastering a smile on his face and suggesting Harry do the same, not letting him return to the Weasleys though, upon he attempting this, instead being steered by Lockhart to stay with him as he made a speech to his fans of how he was presenting his autobiography to Harry, as a gift and announcing his post as teacher of Defense of the Dark Arts. Harry then gets all of Lockhart’s collection of books, he walking off and giving them to Ginny, Malfoy then piping up how Harry must’ve enjoyed the attention, Ginny sticking up for Harry and Malfoy embarrassing her by stating how Harry had what looked like a girlfriend, Ron walking up and getting a bit of talk-back from Malfoy, as well, he ready to throw down, but Hermione and Harry stopping him. Mr. Weasley walks up and suggests the group go outside due to the crowd, before being able to, caught by Lucius whom couldn’t resist but take a dig on Weasley’s obvious struggle with financing his children’s school books and the company he kept, the Grangers also present. Mr. Weasley doesn’t take his words lightly, body-checking Lucius and knocking books on top of them both, Hagrid breaking their fight up, they leaving for the street, the Grangers heading for the pub to get to Muggle territory, the Weasleys and Harry off using the Floo powder, Harry knowing now it wasn’t his preferred traveling choice.

Summer ended in a flash to Harry, whom was having the most idyllic vacation, but he had conflicting feelings since he also loved Hogwarts, only tainting this with the thoughts of how the Dursleys would welcome him when the next vacation began. Mrs. Weasley made the children’s final evening home a memorable one with a wonderful dinner menu, the evening topped with indoor fireworks and hot cocoa before sleepy-time. Next morning the family rushed about at dawn, getting ready for the trip to the station. Mr. Weasley having magic-suped the small car to fit all luggage and comfortably seat the clan, Mrs. Weasley none the wiser. The group didn’t make it to the station quickly, since three of the siblings had to run in the house for last minute forgotten items, everyone’s frustration rising. Mr. Weasley attempted to convince his wife to allow him to fly the car with invisibility, but she refused, they making it to the station with five minutes to spare to get to their platform. Harry and Ron were last to go, and didn’t make it, the carts crashing into the wall. They get attention from many Muggles due to the resounding ruckus, but discuss their options, having missed the train. Harry didn’t have any “normal” cash, Ron wondering how his parents would return from the platform. Since the barrier remained closed, Harry suggested they wait at the car for Ron’s parents to return due to still getting stares, Ron now excited since they could use the car to follow the train to Hogwarts, his parents able to teleport themselves home.

Harry now more eager by the idea, they return to the car, shoving luggage and Hedwig quickly in, Ron starting the invisibility device and have them in the air when the cloaking fails, Ron gunning the car into the clouds. He dips them below cloud level to locate the train, Harry detecting its whereabouts and Ron noting the direction as they follow above the clouds. The longer the ride though, coupled with the heat and thirst, begins to wear down the fun, the car even whining which added to their nerves, but when darkness comes, Harry spots Hogwarts, the car crapping out whilst they were over the water, Ron maneuvering the car as well as possible, until letting go of the wheel to attempt using his wand, Harry taking after George of the Jungle when the car was aimed at a tree. Harry grabs the wheel to steer them clear, but they hit hard, Ron’s wand suffering damage along with Harry’s head, the abuse not quite over when blows to the car begin. Ron suggests fleeing, but the tree opposed this, the car starting up, allowing Ron to back the car away from the tree, the car then ejecting them and luggage out on to the lawn, before driving off, Ron shouting after it for its return, knowing his father would be angry with him, but the two walking off with their luggage to the front door, Ron noticing by peering through a window the Sorting Hat was placing new students.

Harry then notices Snape was missing from his seat, the two considering aloud whether he resigned, Snape speaking up of he being curious as to why they hadn’t been on the train. Snape then leads them indoors to his office where he shows them a newspaper stating of the car having been seen in flight. He then declaring he would be summoning those who were responsible for deciding the boys expulsion. First McGonagall arrives, Ron and Harry getting the chance to explain, Dumbledore entering after. Harry explaining to him his side, the boys safe from being expelled for now, but they needing to be aware of how serious they were of receiving it with any other troubles which could arise, both of their families being sent letter of their bad deed. Snape attempts to impress Dumbledore with the fact of the rules being broken which would support expulsion, but Dumbledore reminds Snape of the boys being in McGonagall’s house, making the decision hers, he then relaying of returning to the feast, Snape in tow, whilst McGonagall looked at the boys sternly. In the end, they each receive a detention, and wouldn’t be joining the feast, McGonagall magicking sandwiches and iced pumpkin juice to be dined upon there, before going straight to their dorm. They discuss the good fortune they had, but also needing to be careful what with the odd closing of the barrier at the station. When they arrive at the portrait for their dorm, they realize they hadn’t gotten the new term’s password, but Hermione arrives just in time.

Hermione launched into questioning where they had been and the talk of what had happened, surprised to learn they having flown to Hogwarts not being a rumor, she ending with a tone similar to McGonagall’s, so Ron cuts her off so they could learn the password, but she wouldn’t have been able to continue her questioning anyways, since as soon as the portrait had let them pass, it seemed all of Gryffindor house was waiting in the common room for them, cheering and giving kudos to Harry and Ron, only Percy looking annoyed. Ron was made aware of this by Harry, so they begin to make their way to the dorm rooms, marveling at the greetings they had received, and happy when their other roomies, Neville, Seamus, and Dean came in, still showing disbelief by their one of a kind arrival. The next morning, the boys met Hermione in the Great Hall, she still a little cold due to their bad behavior, Neville showing up to wait for owl deliveries of items he’d forgotten at home, Ron properly dreading opening the letter he’d gotten upon realizing it was a Howler, Neville urging him to get it over with since it’d be worse if he waited, Harry wanting to know what it was, but Ron instead working up courage to open it rather than answer, Harry understanding by witnessing it. After it was over, Ron was quite embarrassed, and Harry ashamed he’d helped in Mr. Weasley now having an inquiry from work for his magicking Muggle items.

Meanwhile Professor McGonagall was passing out schedules, Harry seeing their first class was Herbology, and when the trio had gone out to the Greenhouse to be met by Professor Sprout, she was accompanied by Lockhart, she seeming unusually annoyed as she instructed the students to Greenhouse three, they not having been inside the more interesting and dangerous greenhouse. As the three begin to walk with the rest of the class, Lockhart blocks Harry from joining and gives him a lecture on how he understood why he had flown the car being caused by his front page picture in the paper, Harry was shocked by how off he was, but joined his friends as Sprout spoke of the class preparing to re-pot Mandrakes, Hermione getting Gryffindor ten points for answering what they were for, as well as the next question, they then getting a demonstration of what they’d be doing, Harry surprised to see a green baby attached to the fronds of the plant, the three friends making up a third of their group, being joined by a Hufflepuff boy, Justin, as he shook their hands and offered individual knowledge of each one of them, he then speaking of Lockhart being quite impressive. The class had quite a time attempting to re-earth the little suckers, but Harry wasn’t exactly at ease in his Transfiguration class either, his previous year’s knowledge having seeped out over summer.

Harry didn’t do well, but Ron was worse off with his damaged wand, after class his mood not improving despite it being lunch, since their next class after was Defense Against the Dark Arts. When they’d finished eating and walked to the courtyard, Hermione read whilst Harry and Ron talked Quidditch until being stared down by a small boy, Colin whom finally got the nerve to ask for a signed picture when Malfoy walks up behind him to scoff. He again insults Ron to the point of getting him to draw his broken wand, but Lockhart interrupts with the nose for someone asking for signed pictures. Lockhart offers to jump in with Harry and sign it as well, Malfoy withdrawing, and everyone going off to classes. Harry is leached upon by Lockhart giving more unwelcome and off the mark advice since they were both heading for his class, Harry choosing a seat in the back before Lockhart gave out his lengthy personalized quiz, ridiculous questions relating to himself and spanning three sides of paper. Hermione was the only one to ace the quiz, she also scoring another ten points for her house. Lockhart then reveals the Cornish pixies as their study subjects, he letting them loose and they immediately having Neville in the air by his ears (memorable scene in the movie), other pixies throwing out books through the back window, and everyone taking cover, Lockhart playing it cool by instructing the class to capture them and showing them how, his spell doing nothing, so takes cover like the rest until the bell for next class rings and everyone hastily leaves, Lockhart commanding the three to handle capturing the rest before shooting out the door, himself. Ron was enraged by his ineptitude, Hermione trying to stick up for him, but Ron declaring the great deeds Lockhart spoke of in his books seemed to only be stories.

Harry now spent much time avoiding Lockhart, he not so readily able to do the same about Colin. He was pleased to make it to the weekend, the trio planning on a visit with Hagrid, but Harry was unexpectedly awakened by Oliver, the Gryffindor Captain. He found out they had practice, Oliver explaining this was a new training plan since no other team would be training this early in the season. He writes a note to Ron, then Colin runs after him with a picture he’d taken of Lockhart whom was talking about Harry, this time when asked, is bluntly rebuffed to autograph it. After Harry attempts to leave him, Colin puppy-dog’s his way after Harry, since not having seen a Quidditch game before, and only left him alone from his incessant questioning to locate a good seat whilst Harry changed. Oliver launched into a tactical speech when all were present, but few, if any were truly absorbing his words for sleepiness, George asking a smart-ass question which Oliver responds to by informing how terrible their defeat was last year, Harry feeling responsible for having been unconscious and unable to help their team to victory. The team finally gets to the field, Harry spotting Hermione and Ron in the stands, he informing them of practice only having now gotten started. Fred was first to hear a loud clicking which was coming from Colin’s constant picture-taking. Harry denies knowing him, but admits the boy is in Gryffindor when Oliver gets suspicious of what House he’s from. George then shares how Slytherin didn’t need spies since some were currently walking on to the field, Oliver going off to meet them to learn why they were there, the opposing team captain deciding there was enough space for both. The boy then hands a note written by Snape for the Slytherin team to be allowed to practice so they could train their new seeker, Draco. The team also shows the latest model of Nimbus they’d received as gifts by Draco’s father. Tensions heighten when Ron and Hermione join them and Malfoy calls her a Mudblood, everyone responding with rage, and Ron hitting himself with a wand blast when aiming at Malfoy.

Hermione and Harry decide to guide him to Hagrid’s, for being the closest, Colin getting in the way once more when attempting to get a shot of Ron belching up slugs. They had almost arrived when Lockhart was seen exiting Hagrid’s, Harry deciding to hide until he was gone. When they get inside, Ron is given a bowl since it was about waiting for the slugs to stop being regurgitated, Harry and Hermione learning how terrible a name Malfoy had used, Hagrid also taking it seriously. They discuss Lockhart, as well, his reason for visiting Hagrid being to instruct him on how to remove kelpies from a well, Hagrid then showing them what he’d been growing: humongous pumpkins for Halloween. Hagrid had obviously been helping the growth of his pumpkins illegally, since he’d been expelled from Hogwarts for unknown reasons and wasn’t supposed to use magic. After the trio return inside for lunch, McGonagall approaches Harry and Ron to give them their detention tasks, Ron polishing silverware and Harry getting stuck with Lockhart to answer his fan mail. Lunch is tainted by their news, and soon enough it’s time to do their time, Harry goes to Lockhart’s office, immediately being put to write the addresses for envelopes. Later in the night, as Harry is still writing addresses, he hears an odd voice speaking death threats, Lockhart not hearing, but surprised four hours having passed, dismissing Harry. A half hour after, Ron is back and Harry describes what he heard, Ron confused as to how it could’ve been overlooked by Lockhart.

In October, certain students and teachers visited Madame Pomfrey, the nurse for her immediate remedy for colds which left smoking ears for awhile after, Ginny among them. It would rain days at a time, but practice wasn’t postponed in these instances, so Harry was covered in mud and water, it seeming pointless due to the effortless speed the upgraded Nimbus gave to their opponents. During his walk back, Harry speaks with Nearly Headless Nick, whom was dealing with his own injustices for being denied entry into the Headless Hunt, since his head hadn’t been completely detached. Harry was in the middle of explaining his reason for being down, upon request, when Mrs. Norris makes an appearance, Harry not having time to retreat before Filch saw the mud he’d tracked through the hall, he leading Harry back the way he’d come to Filch’s office where Harry saw Fred and George’s file cabinet of mischief along with other cabinets of various students. As Harry awaited Filch to write his punishment on the official form, Filch is distracted by a loud bang from above them which gets him out of the room before finishing, he believing the poltergeist Peeves was making the ruckus, Harry not fond of the ghost, but relieved by his good timing. Harry does the honest thing though, and waits for Filch to return, he noticing a letter on his desk which seemed to be a beginner’s guide to charms. Harry quickly returns the letter to envelope when he hears Filch returning, but forgets to put it back close enough to where he found it, Filch noticing and putting the letter in his desk, Harry denies having read it, but Filch shows his anger and embarrassment, letting Harry go without reprimand, Harry taking the opportunity and dashing out. Nearly Headless Nick stops him to learn if his plan had worked, he having convinced Peeves to drop the cabinet they’d heard, Harry thanking him and wanting to assist with Nearly Headless Nick’s problem with the Headless Hunt, Nick realizing Harry could by attending his 500th death-day party and relate to the man in charge of the Hunt Admissions, Sir Patrick, of Nick’s scary magnificence, Harry agreeing even though the day coincided with Halloween.

Harry then mentions the trio’s invite, Hermione intrigued with the prospect, Ron not as impressed since he was overloaded with homework and had other unfavorable tasks to deal with. Harry then plans on sharing the letter in Filch’s office, but is distracted by Fred and George’s experiment with a fire lizard and some fireworks. When Halloween arrives, Harry is second-guessing his hasty decision to attend Nick’s death-day after seeing and hearing the festivities for the school feast, but Hermione insists on they keeping their word, walking past the Great Hall, to the dungeons. The path was lined with black candles with blue flame, Nick greeting them at the entrance and the group hearing strange music and then seeing through guests dancing and chatting. Hermione spots Moaning Myrtle, relating to the boys the trouble she’s been making in one of the girls bathrooms, it now being out of order, they instead checking out the buffet, which consisted of rotten or charred food. When they were turning to walk away, Peeves gets in their way, having overheard what Hermione had said about Myrtle, calling her over, and Hermione making nice, but Peeves egging on a disaster, Myrtle not taking Hermione’s hopeful compliment well, especially when the boys halfheartedly agree, Myrtle crying her way out as Peeves antagonizes her. Nick approaches after, the group having to lie about having a good time and he preparing for his speech, when Sir Patrick makes his lively entrance, Harry doing as Nick asked and being called out by Sir Patrick, Nick then attempting to give his speech, but being overshadowed by Patrick’s flash game of Head Hockey, the trio taking this moment to ditch, but as they return upstairs, Harry hearing the death-threatening words again and has Hermione and Ron following him up to the Great Hall, and then to the first floor, where Hermione is first to notice a message written on the wall, and Ron spotting a stiff and unmoving Mrs. Norris, Harry tentatively suggesting they should help, but unable to retreat like Ron wishes when the feast had obviously ended, students heading their way and noticing the message, Malfoy spouting of Mudbloods being next and looking exhilarated by the scene.

Filch is next to view Mrs. Norris, he horrified, and spotting Harry, believes he’d caused her death, spouting threats, but being cut off by Dumbledore, whom has Filch, Harry, Hermione, and Ron come with him to Lockhart’s office. Dumbledore starts studying Mrs. Norris along with McGonagall, and Snape, Lockhart not helping with his idle chatter of his ability to help if having been there sooner to apply the counter-curse, Harry hoping Dumbledore didn’t believe Filch’s accusation for knowing his education at Hogwarts would be over. Dumbledore though, seemed to be testing different spells on Mrs. Norris, and interrupts Lockhart sharing another story of his bright, helpful ideas when they learn Mrs. Norris wasn’t dead, only Petrified. Filch was still convinced Harry caused her fate, Harry having to defend himself even after Dumbledore shares it was far too advanced for a student. Snape piping up with asking why he hadn’t attended the Halloween feast and after not at least going in to eat, Harry struggling with a good excuse since he had led Hermione and Ron upstairs because of a voice only he heard not sounding applicable, he deciding to answer with they being sleepy, but Snape seeming dubious to they going to bed without supper. Snape then offers a punishment to Harry which would make him be forthcoming with the truth (I grew up with people of similar model), but Dumbledore, even if believing Harry wasn’t confessing all, wouldn’t punish him unless he were proven the culprit, Snape quite displeased. When Filch was ready to melt down again, Dumbledore reminds him Professor Sprout could get the ingredients necessary to make a potion to revive her, Lockhart offering to make it, but Snape stepping in with he being the Potions master, Dumbledore then allowing Harry and friends to be dismissed, they hurrying out, Harry asking if he should have been truthful and discussing what the message on the wall could mean, Ron supporting Harry’s decision and the message about a chamber sounding familiar, but the group ending it there once Ron explained what a squib was in reference to Filch, they not wanting to run into Snape in the hall, and going off to bed.

The next few days, students were still gossiping about it, Filch not helping by standing vigil at the scene of the Petrifying, the message not succumbing to cleaning. Hermione was acting oddly by reading constantly and not being receptive to conversation anymore, Harry learning why the next week when Justin, from Hufflepuff acts strangely by walking back the way he’d come rather than greeting Harry, the latter going into the library and asking Ron if he’d seen Hermione, she making herself known and seeming ready to speak with them, albeit not looking pleased at the moment. She begins by stating her frustration over the book Hogwarts: A History being unavailable and she having to leave her copy at home because of all the Lockhart books, she needing it for the bit on the Chamber of Secrets. Ron changes the subject when asking Hermione for a look at her homework, the two squabbling over it as the trio walk to their only ghost taught class. Everyone who attended was consistently bored stupid, but Hermione came up with a decent idea by asking their history lecturer about the Chamber. Professor Binns skirts the answering by replying he only entertaining (except not to the students, ha-ha) definite truths, but Hermione again interrupting with how the “legend” could be based on truth, Binns finally giving in once he saw how much interest the class was showing for once. Binns goes over the general history of Hogwarts beginnings before sharing how the legend began with Slytherin supposedly adding a hidden chamber none of the other founders knew about. After the telling, Binns reiterates its nonsense, Hermione asking of the sort of “horror within” mentioned inside the Chamber, Binns responding of it supposedly being a monster only the heir to Slytherin can control and would be the cause of expelling all unworthy students from Hogwarts. Once Binns had enough of the theories on how Slytherin could have hidden the Chamber though, he continues his mind-numbing lecture.

Harry sensed a rumor must be going around of he possibly being the Slytherin heir. When they reach the corridor where Mrs. Norris was found, Harry decides a quick looky-loo couldn’t hurt, he spotting some scorch marks, Hermione noticing a clutter of spiders fighting their way through a crack in the wall, Ron relating a story of why he hated spiders, Harry then remembering the water on the floor before, and the group then entering Moaning Myrtle’s territory after Hermione reminds them of no one likely being inside for the Out-of-Order sign, once within, noting its somber atmosphere. Hermione goes to speak with Myrtle whom doesn’t take the boys’ presence sitting down. Ha,ha. She gets more upset when she thinks they’re talking behind her back when Harry was mouthing for Hermione to ask about if Myrtle knew anything about the Chamber, etc. When Hermione does finally get the question out, Myrtle hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary the other night due to being upset over Peeves, she again getting worked up over being reminded she was dead, leaving the three wet with toilet water from her exit. The three are heading out when they’re found by Percy, he not amused at all and taking on his mother’s tone. Ron and Percy argue over how upset all this is making Ginny and they should be currently at dinner, when Percy ends the fight by taking five points from them, thinking it would be a good incentive for not getting a P.I. state of mind. When they were back in the common area, Ron was annoyed over his homework igniting by his wand, and Hermione frustrated over whom could be causing all of the trouble. Ron passive-aggressively mentions Malfoy, Harry supporting the possibility. Hermione then shares an idea which would give them the proof, it being to charm themselves into looking like Slytherin students and get Malfoy to confess without knowing. Hermione then admits getting the recipe could be difficult since the book was most likely in the Restricted Section of the library. The three then discuss how they’d manage obtaining permission, it not ending in agreement.

Lockhart stuck to reading aloud and acting out the more “exciting” scenes since live examples didn’t work out so well for him, Harry normally getting dragged in to play the minor roles. The latest call up would’ve been met with firm refusal if Harry didn’t have an ulterior motive this time, so he played along and when the bell rang to end class, Hermione, Ron, and Harry wait for everyone to leave before approaching Lockhart, Hermione asking for him to consent permission for she to be allowed access to the restricted book, Lockhart readily agreeing when she mentioned it regarding one of his books. Lockhart then offers Harry his vast knowledge on Quidditch if he so chose, essentially making it seem Harry was inept at the game, Harry not responding other than a vague growl. The three spoke of how lucky they were Lockhart hadn’t noticed the book they were after, Ron bad-mouthing Lockhart, and Hermione vehemently defending him again. They head straight to the library, Hermione having trouble letting go of the celebrity professor’s note when the librarian reaches for it, but Ron has her let it go, knowing another autograph would be a dime a dozen for Lockhart. The librarian retrieves the book for them, and they head out, trying to look nonchalant. They set up in Myrtle’s bathroom, knowing no one would bother them, the book’s illustrations and spells immediately made clear why it was only upon request. Hermione discovers the page they needed, Harry attempting optimism the artist was exaggerating the looks of pain during transformation. Hermione began listing off the items they needed, some easy to acquire, others not so much. Harry voiced his doubts on the amount of ingredients needing to be nicked, Hermione stating her views on not ever wanting to break rules, but believing uncovering the culprit threatening the Muggle-born an important issue, and if they wanted to back out she’d return the book. Ron was surprised Hermione was basically giving permission to be bad for once, and would go through with the acquisition as long as the part of the people they took wasn’t toenail related. Hermione, pleased with Ron’s decision, then calculates how long it would take to ready the elixir, it being a month, Ron complaining how terrible acts could occur in such a span, but supports the plan when Hermione gives him a scathing look, he then suggesting Harry could make this easier if he could set up a fall for Malfoy during their game the next day.

On the morning of the match,Harry thought about how Oliver would take another loss which made Harry uneasy, as well as the prospect of facing off with a team on speedster brooms. He gets up and goes to an early breakfast, seeing the other members of his team already there, everyone quiet. the student body and staff beginning to take seats on the field, Harry receiving wishes of luck from Ron and Hermione as he entered the locker room, and everyone getting ready, Oliver making his speech, talking up their team’s talent and relentless practicing, he then ordering Harry to stay on top of getting the Snitch “or die trying”. They go onto the field and the game begins, Harry quickly getting higher than the others, Malfoy mouthing off and humming-birding around on his broom. Harry then quickly maneuvering around a Bludger which barely misses him, and when George whacks it at a Slytherin, it again re-aims at Harry, this continuing to recur, Harry flying off in another direction where Fred gives it a whack, but it still going after Harry. The Slytherins were in the lead now, Fred and George sticking to Harry to swat at the Bludger. The twins finally get Oliver’s attention to call a Time-Out, they sharing why they weren’t able to back up another team mate, they believing someone had tampered with the Bludger, but Oliver knowing the Bludgers had been in a professor’s office locked up, and nothing was amiss with them before. Harry insists Oliver command George and Fred to let him deal with the Bludger himself since he didn’t have a chance getting the Snitch with them hanging about him, Oliver eventually agreeing and the game continuing. Harry shoots off, dodging the Bludger and presumably looking ridiculous whilst doing so, after awhile of this, Malfoy makes a smart remark and laughs so hard he doesn’t notice the Snitch by his ear, but Harry had, he not moving in time to dodge the Bludger, and feeling his arm break, but then lunges at Malfoy, fighting the pain, Malfoy looking scared for the quick confrontation, swerving out of the way, Harry feeling his grasp on the Snitch as he balanced on his broom, no hands, and heading for the earth, close to unconsciousness, but realizing Gryffindor had won before passing out, awaking on the ground with Lockhart above him, he moaning and protesting loudly, Lockhart conveying his conviction on fixing Harry’s arm, Harry firmly stating his not wanting this, and shouting at Colin of not needing “photographic memories”Eduardoof this moment, but after Lockhart did his worst, Harry didn’t feel his arm anymore, and Colin was on a picture-taking rampage. When Harry looks, he slowly understands his bones weren’t there anymore, Lockhart playing it off like this sometimes occurred, Ron and Hermione taking him to Madam Pomfrey’s hospital wing, she enraged by they not having come to her as soon as it happened, the growing back of bones taking more time, and painful, he having to stay the night, and Hermione still sticking up for Lockhart’s mistake. When Pomfrey leaves, Ron brings up the look on Malfoy’s face when Harry had caught the Snitch, Harry saying they’d have to remember to ask him how he set up the Bludger in response to Hermione wondering this out loud. Then the Gryffindor team busted in with refreshments and good times to drown out Harry’s upcoming pain when Pomfrey kicks everyone out so Harry can go through his pain alone. Harry awakens in the night, startled by what he thought was the splintering pain in his arm, until he realized Dobby was sponging his forehead and looking upset. Dobby then not only admits his disappointment in Harry getting to school, but also being the cause for the train station barrier locking them out, Dobby surprised Harry had still been able to get to Hogwarts. Harry angrily threatens Dobby with physical violence unless he left, but Dobby made clear this was a usual occurrence in his day, Harry losing some steam for Dobby’s unfortunate appearance. Harry then asks why he wore a pillowcase, Dobby explaining the terms of his enslavement, and then revealing he being the culprit of the Bludger, Harry’s anger renewed. Dobby attempts to explain the reason for he trying to get Harry sent home being due to the hope Harry brought to Dobby’s kind, but then lets loose with mention of the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby immediately reprimanding himself. Harry attempts to coax Dobby into divulging who had opened the Chamber, Dobby unable to, and only repeating Harry should leave for the extreme danger. Dobby is interrupted by noises outside, Dumbledore and McGonagall carrying a statue to a bed, McGonagall fetches Pomfrey whom was surprised and asking what had happened, Dumbledore announcing it was a second attack, the boy presumably attempting to sneak up to see Harry, and Harry getting a glimpse of Colin, McGonagall having various questions of what could be happening, and whether Colin had captured his attacker with a snapshot, but when Dumbledore checks, the film is destroyed, Dumbledore relating of this being a sign the Chamber was open again and how this could be.

Sunday morning, Harry’s awakened by bright sunlight, his arm not flexible, but all bones accounted for, he noticing Colin’s bed was blocked by curtains, Pomfrey bringing his breakfast and testing his arm’s mobility. He was allowed to leave when he was finished eating, Harry going off to Gryffindor Tower, but his buddies unfound, disappointed they didn’t seem to care about how he was, but also wanting to share what he’d learned about Colin and Dobby. Harry runs into Percy coming out of the library seeming to have a lighter step than recently apprised. Percy mentions the points Harry had gotten for his win, the latter then inquiring if he’d seen the duo, Percy responding to the negative and hoping they weren’t hanging about anymore girls restrooms, Harry making light of this and going straight to Myrtle’s spot, immediately hearing his friends chattering in a stall, and upon announcing himself, still surprising them, and once entering the stall, viewing they had a cauldron set over the toilet, a waterproof fire inside, Hermione’s forté, he also finally able to answer about his arm being in working order. Hermione shares how they’d heard their hiding spot was being uncovered so figured they’d better get a move on with the potion, Harry also sharing his story about Dobby, the group now even more curious about the Chamber and Malfoy’s possible relation to its opening.

By Monday the school had heard of Colin’s state, people more cautious, Ginny shaken since she sat by him in one of her classes, and Neville buying charms to ward away danger. After, during the second week of December, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were signing the sheet to stay at school for the holidays, seeing and suspicious of Malfoy also being on the list, they thinking it’d be an apt time to implement the potion and also swipe the remaining ingredients from Snape’s office, Harry not looking forward to the adventure. Hermione first to suggest a plan where they would supply a diversion so one of them could get into Snape’s office, Harry and Ron looking apprehensive, since Hermione then adds she needed to be the one to pillage since the boys already were so close to severe punishment, Harry thinking about the difficulty this raised when it came to intentional acts of havoc in Snape’s presence, but when the day arrived, Harry awaited Hermione’s signal nervously, when it comes, readying a firework to drop inside Malfoy’s lackey, Goyle’s cauldron, making his target, and the potion covering most of the class, Hermione in and out with no problem, Snape addressing all who had been hit, then vowing to expel the trouble-maker if ever discovered. Harry certain Snape knew he was guilty, Ron attempting to ease his mind with the thought of Snape unable to prove it, and they watched Hermione complete their potion when class let out, it now going to be two weeks before they could test it.

A week goes by when a flyer for a Dueling Club was posted, many students excited to check it out, the trio deciding to go, as well. Hermione wondered whom the instructor would be, they getting double the fun when Lockhart and Snape step forward. Lockhart begins with how Snape would assist him before class began, he allowing Snape knowing “a tiny little bit” about dueling, the demonstration starting. Lockhart gave a play by play until Snape’s first spell left his mouth, leaving Lockhart in a heap at the wall. Lockhart recovers and explains how transparent Snape’s choice had been and allowed him to go through with it so the students would see what it could do (It’s so sad I have family this bumpkin-like *sigh*), Snape not taking kindly to this, so Lockhart and he begin setting up couples of students to practice, Snape reaching Ron, Harry, and Hermione first and pairing Harry, of course with Malfoy, whilst the other two got forgettable students. When everyone began, Lockhart had unleashed mayhem by having all the students start at once, everyone taking down the other, Harry and Malfoy among them, Lockhart stopping all vocally, but Snape allowing this by disarming everyone’s spells, Hermione last since her partner had taken to physical combat, Harry struggling to help Hermione get out of a headlock with a Slytherin girl. Lockhart had picked two students to demonstrate how to block hostile fire, but Snape vetoes by offering the better choice of Malfoy and Harry, Snape instructing Malfoy, but Harry having the moron show him what to do, he gesturing with his wand seemingly in a meaningless way, so when Malfoy fired, Harry did nothing, but watch as a snake exploded from the tip of the wand, Snape offering to get rid of it, but Lockhart stepping in, he only angering it, and it turning to another student, Harry then yelling for it to leave the boy, Justin alone, he upset about it, and storming out. Ron urges Harry to get down and leads him out as students whispered and Snape looked intrigued, Hermione and Ron sharing what the name of a snake-talker was, and Harry sharing his first experience doing it, thinking others must have the gift, as well, Ron explaining the rarity of it, and this being bad news. Once Ron mentions how Harry seemed to be urging the snake to do its worst, Harry explains what he had said and didn’t even know he was speaking Parseltongue, Hermione divulging how it seemed Harry was somehow related to Slytherin and it would be difficult to prove otherwise.

Harry was having difficulty sleeping because of how little he knew of his father’s family. He then decides he’d explain to Justin when he saw him in class the next day, but class was canceled due to a blizzard, and Hermione urged him to go locate him if it was vital, so Harry goes, checking the library, he seeing some Hufflepuffs from the canceled class and was ready to ask them where Justin was when he began overhearing parts of their conversation and stayed out of sight in the Invisibility Section (ha-ha, Rowling), he learning the boy speaking, Ernie had advised Justin to stay in their dormitory if Harry was after him, Ernie hard-pressed to believe Harry was a good snake-talking wizard. Harry heard all he could take after Ernie began supposing what had happened with his run-in with Voldemort, and made his presence known, pretty mad, but asking after Justin, he sort of explaining what happened in the Dueling Club, but getting more angered the longer Ernie made excuses in support of Harry being a dark wizard, Harry leaving and running into Hagrid, whom was on business to ask permission to charm the hen coop so no more chickens could be attacked by an unknown creature, Harry then playing off why he was upset and instead going off to retrieve his books for his next class, a darkened corridor robbed of light because of a windowpane and wind getting through, a torch going out, Harry tripping over Justin, and seeing Nearly Headless Nick with the same shocked, expression, also immobile, Harry now debating whether to get someone to help or flee, knowing what people would think. Peeves then turns up and plays with Harry until he notices the bodies, belting out a wallop of an alarm, classes emptying, McGonagall restoring order, and Ernie again, literally this time, pointing the finger at Harry, McGonagall putting a stop to it, as well as Peeves’ wonderful little song about the trouble, Ernie fanning Nick presumably to the hospital wing and McGonagall escorting Harry to a hidden passage where he soon guesses Dumbledore stays.

When they reach the top, McGonagall knocks at the door, the two entering, then McGonagall advising Harry stay where he was, he viewing the place as quite interesting (Q.I. shout out! Harry…Daniel Radcliffe is a fan, too), and would’ve been happy to take a closer look if he didn’t believe he was about to be kicked out of school. Harry caught sight of the Sorting Hat and learns a bit more of the Hat’s insight on the choice of Gryffindor over Slytherin, he taking it off before he hears anymore due to not wanting to discover the reasons why he would’ve excelled in Slytherin, the puss, but then he hears a noise and discovers a sick looking bird, what startles him is when it goes up in flames. Dumbledore details the bird’s breed, Fawkes rising from the ashes, Harry temporarily side-tracked by this before being brought back to reality by the steady gaze of Dumbledore, before either can proceed though, Hagrid bursts in with his dead rooster, and immediately speaks on Harry’s behalf about the boy found having no connection to Harry since he’d been speaking with him so recently beforehand, he not allowing Dumbledore a word until he rose his voice to state they having the same opinion, Hagrid feeling foolish and returning to wait outside the room. Dumbledore inquires whether Harry had anything to admit, he going over all the troubling thoughts he’d had since the start of school, and declining anything was pressing. Next is the reactions to everyone to Nearly Headless Nick’s condition, most people leaving for the holiday, Harry content with this since being a pariah. Fred and George had fun clearing hallways on Harry’s behalf which didn’t amuse Percy or Ginny, she not liking the dark humor. Ron mentions how Malfoy not being pleased with Fred and George’s jokes was due to his jealousy for Harry getting the credit, which Hermione then changes the subject to the Polyjuice being almost ready for use.

The Weasley’s, Harry, and Hermione were able to mess about with a game called Exploding Snap, only Percy above joining in. Then on Christmas morning, Hermione wakes the boys with presents and the good news of the potion being done, they trying it out when evening came. Harry then gets a visit from Hedwig with a package consisting of a toothpick and note inquiring if he could stay through Summer, as well, by, guess who? Harry also receives fudge from Hagrid, a Quidditch book from Ron, an eagle feather quill from Hermione, and a hand-knit sweater and plum cake from Mrs. Weasley, her card bringing back guilt about the car, which hadn’t returned from the woods. Fortunately, Christmas dinner eased any anxiety they would’ve had in relation to using the Polyjuice. Dumbledore starting the group in singing carols, Percy’s badge being changed to read “Pinhead”, and Harry not bothered by Malfoy attempting to put down his sweater, since boy, did they have plans for him. Hermione started the planning after third-dessert, what with needing Crabbe and Goyle items, plus a way to keep them preoccupied, she seeming to have set them up what with already having sleep potion-laden chocolate cakes ready for the Neanderthal team to discover, she planning on using hair left by the Slytherin girl during her close proximity in Dueling Club. Ron was unsure how much this plan had a chance for success, but first part of acquiring hair had gone well, Harry and Ron booking it to Myrtle’s, Hermione nervously going over the instructions, they each taking their potions to separate stalls for size-changing reasons, then all drinking at the same time.

Harry’s transformation definitely wasn’t a sleigh ride, he and Ron ready to go, but Hermione insisting she couldn’t join, the boys going off and having difficulty locating the Slytherin common room. They go down some dungeon steps, eventually running into Percy, Ron speaking to him familiarly, and Percy responding by demanding they get to their common room, Harry glad to see Malfoy approach them, he also asking why Percy was down there, Percy taking offense, again, the three walking around the corner, and Malfoy gossiping about how Percy had been snooping around a lot, Malfoy thinking he was trying to catch the Slytherin heir by himself, he then saying the password to the Slytherin common room where he motioned for Harry and Ron to sit whilst he got the item his father had sent which he thought was hilarious, he coming back with an article about Ron’s father and how he’d been fined for bewitching the car, and Lucius having asked for Mr. Weasley to resign. After Malfoy gives his own opinion about the Weasley’s, he moves on to Dumbledore and how he’d have to catch the cause of the trouble soon or he’d get fired, he making fun of Colin at his expense, and then leaving no doubt he didn’t know whom was doing these deeds or opened the Chamber, only knowing how long ago it had last been opened, and hoping for a Muggle death like last time, he happily mentioning Hermione being victim. He then also reveals where his father had hid all their Dark Arts memorabilia, Ron making a noise of surprise and Harry noticing how he was changing, the two dashing out with Ron giving the excuse of an upset stomach, they returning to Myrtle’s. Ron was planning on sending word to his father about the one piece of good news, he then rapping on Hermione’s stall to share the details, but she didn’t want to come out, Myrtle sounding way too gleeful, and when she does finally show her furry face, the boys urge her to go to the hospital wing.

Hermione is sequestered in the hospital wing for some weeks, when students return to realize she’s missing, they think she’d been another victim, Pomfrey soon having to put a curtain around her bed since she didn’t need to be embarrassed by her fuzz face every time someone decided to rubberneck, during these days Ron and Harry come to visit each night to drop off homework, she asking if any progress had been made, no reports available, Ron spotting a book under her pillow, and reading the inscription by Lockhart, to Ron’s distaste, Pomfrey then interrupting with medicine, and the boys leave, hearing a loud angry voice sounding like Filch, the boys wait to hear more, and when he’d gone, they view a flood at Myrtle’s bathroom, they investigating, Myrtle sounding more upset than usual, she explaining of a book having been thrown at her, she directing them where it was in the bathroom, Harry ready to retrieve it when Ron discourages him for all the horror stories he’d heard from his father of worst case scenarios. Harry feigns he wouldn’t, but grabs it, learning it was T.M. Riddle’s diary from fifty years ago, Ron recognizing the name for the student having been honored for good deeds, and when looking inside, was disappointed when discovering no entries, but still keeping it. Hermione was released in February, Harry showing her the journal and sharing the same speculation of timing between the Chamber being opened and the age of the journal, Hermione then attempts a spell and using a Revealer as her last resort, neither working. Harry meanwhile, couldn’t place why he felt a connection to Riddle, the three looking at his awards in the trophy room the next break, only learning he’d been a Head boy, Prefect, and had a Magical Merit medal. As the weather became brighter, no more attacks had happened and the Mandrakes would soon be ready for stewing, but Harry was still getting accusing looks from Ernie, and Lockhart explains to McGonagall his imagined role in stopping the attacks as class let out. He also hints of a “moral-booster” to be revealed later, and on the 14th of Feb., as Harry was making his way quickly to breakfast a bit late for not sleeping well due to a late Quidditch practice, was met by the confusing sight of big, pink flowers, and confetti-shaped hearts, Ron looking nauseous and Hermione amused.

Lockhart greets the room with a “Happy Valentine’s”, and promises more surprises, McGonagall and Snape not looking overjoyed by the decorations. The other “gift” Lockhart had planned, walked in with harps and wings, he introducing his Valentine card-giving dwarves making deliveries for the rest of the day, Harry getting trapped by one whilst walking to his next class, to his shame, and as Harry attempts to escape when the dwarf grabs his bag to make him stay, it rips, all of his school items falling out. The dwarf then sang the telegram, Malfoy one of those to hear it, Percy attempting to help get the group of students to keep moving to class, Malfoy spotting Riddle’s diary and believing it was Harry’s, but before he could take a look, Harry disengages the book from Malfoy’s grasp with a spell, Percy now having to report it. When Harry and Ron had gotten to their Charms class, Harry detects how everything but the diary had been ink-soaked, Ron too preoccupied with his wand oozing big, purple bubbles. When evening came, Harry retires early to examine the diary, as well as escape hearing the Valentine tune sung at him by Fred and George. Harry then tests the diary with an inkblot, it getting sucked into it and disappearing, he then writing a greeting with his name, it also being sucked in, and a reply coming from Tom Riddle, asking how he’d gotten his diary.

As Harry continued with this chat, Riddle revealed how his diary held dark memories about Hogwarts, Harry learning more about the first time the Chamber was opened and why Riddle had received his medal, Harry then informing of the Chamber’s reopening and when asking whom had opened it the first time, Riddle offers to show Harry the memory, the book flipping to June 13th, and as a picture formed like watching a movie, Harry is thrust into the scene of Dumbledore’s office, Harry apologizing to the man sitting at the desk for bursting in, but he taking no notice, allowing a knocker at the door to enter, Riddle coming in and sitting, Dippet regarding Riddle’s letter he’d written in hopes of staying at Hogwarts over Summer, since he lived in a children’s home, he sharing some of his origin. Dippet states it may have been possible if not for the attacks, they still not knowing who is causing it. After Riddle was dismissed, Harry follows, he sensing Riddle had made a decision, rushing off, and running into Dumbledore whom advised him to get to his dorm, Riddle continuing on to the dungeons, and going to the room Harry had his Potions class, Riddle waiting for what seemed an hour to Harry, then hearing someone in the corridor. Riddle following quietly, then going around the corner where Harry struggles to identify Hagrid attempting to coax, what they soon learn, is a large spider into a box, Riddle informing Hagrid he’d have to report it, then trying to kill it with a spell, but Hagrid overpowering him, Harry then returned to his room, Ron coming in, asking what was wrong when he saw Harry’s face, and he confiding whom he believed had opened the Chamber the first time.

Due to the three knowing Hagrid’s penchant for unusual and dangerous pets, they didn’t put it past him wanting to reign in the ginormous spider, but Harry also was aware Hagrid wouldn’t want to cause any innocent’s death. After sharing the story of what he’d seen repetitively, he became tired of having the same conversations about it, Hermione attempting to reason of Riddle potentially getting the facts confused, but Harry reminding them they knew Hagrid had been kicked out for some reason. Hermione being the one to suggest they go to Hagrid to see if he corroborates the story. They decide to wait the awkward exchange until another attack was made, but four months down the road, all was quiet, the song Peeves had made up getting old, even Ernie becoming cordial, and in March, Sprout happy some of the Mandrakes were quite close to maturity. Then, during Easter holiday, the second years were given the list of choices for classes during their third year, Hermione checking off everything, Harry getting advice from Percy to choose according to his strengths, but Harry not feeling certain about anything other than Quidditch, so follows Ron’s lead, taking the same classes. Quidditch practice resumed nightly, but Harry was confident with their ability to win against Hufflepuff. As he goes toward the dorms, Neville looks frantic about showing Harry what had happened to his belongings, everything strewn about, Ron noting someone was searching for something, and Harry realizing Riddle’s diary was taken, and when they share the news with Hermione in the common room, they contemplate whom among the Gryffindor’s would want it.

The next morning, Harry sat with his Quidditch team wondering if he was in the room with the thief, he not wanting to report the theft like Hermione suggested due to the delicate details involved. As Harry returned from breakfast to gather his Quidditch equipment with Ron and Hermione, he yelled when hearing the voice speaking death threats again, Hermione coming to a realization and dashing to the library, Ron reminding him of the time, and Harry retrieving his gear, getting ready for the match as everyone was taking seats and warming up on the field, McGonagall with a megaphone, then announces of they cancelling the match, amid boos, and everyone returning to their common rooms where the Heads of Houses would dictate further instructions. McGonagall then had Harry follow her, she not turning Ron away when he tagged along, they being led to the hospital wing to discover Hermione and a Ravenclaw girl, the next victims, a mirror found with them, the boys confessing nothing, and McGonagall escorting them back with plans on speaking with the rest of the Gryffindors. She lists the new rules and earlier hours to be spent in common rooms, hoping anyone with information will come forward, otherwise the school would be closed, she visibly upset. When she exits, everyone was disgruntled by the news, Harry announcing to Ron it was time to go to Hagrid. Harry determines his Invisibility Cloak would need to be utilized, they having to navigate through corridors busier with staff and prefects patrolling in pairs, Harry and Ron making it to Hagrid’s door undetected.

When the door opened with Hagrid aiming a crossbow at them, Harry inquires about it, he dodging an answer and setting up tea, but becoming visibly to be parting at the seams when serving them boiling water with no teabags, a knock interrupting them, Harry and Ron moving to a corner of the room, back under the cloak, Dumbledore entering with Ron’s father’s boss, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, Hagrid collapsing in a chair, and Dumbledore backing Hagrid up on his innocence, but Fudge insisting Hagrid had to be detained, if found innocent, released, regardless Fudge needing to show some action being done, Hagrid worriedly asking if he’d be taken to Azkaban, but an answer not given for another knock at the door, Lucius Malfoy entering, Fang and Hagrid bristling at his presence, but Lucius there with a suspension for Dumbledore, Fudge protesting due to the timing, Hagrid making the oath Dumbledore would be the only one capable to stop whatever the monster is if it began taking lives, but Dumbledore acquiescing to the suspension without a fight, only noting those who favored him would make it seem like he hadn’t left, and Dumbledore saying something else which seemed aimed at Harry and Ron, Hagrid doing the same with his advice to follow the spiders, everyone exiting, Hagrid also loudly stating someone would need to feed Fang, Ron mentioning how their dark days would soon be darker without Dumbledore.

Even though Summer was settling in, the school was thrust into a feeling of unease, Ron and Harry now no longer able to visit Hermione since it was banned for the thought of the attacker returning for them. Dumbledore’s presence, as well as Hagrid’s were severely missed, Malfoy again using his fat mouth to talk loudly about his thoughts of Dumbledore and Hermione in Potions. When they’d gone to Herbology, Harry received an apology from Ernie, Ron and Harry noticing the spiders again, the gaggle heading for the Forbidden Forest, the two discussing it on their way to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Ron had reservations, but Harry gave him the positive sides of the forest being the centaurs and unicorns, Lockhart rushing in like he was providing sunshine and rainbows, the usual attitude of the teachers being subdued. Lockhart then states how the grim looks were unnecessary since believing Hagrid was guilty, this annoying the two, Ron consenting to go for Hermione after sitting through his nonsense. The boys had to wait well past midnight before the common room emptied, they retrieving Fang, leaving the cloak at Hagrid’s since it was dark enough in the forest, and Harry soon spotting two spiders leading them into the forest and eventually off the path.

They walk for at least a half hour as the denseness of their trek thickens, until Fang barks, scaring the boys, but something big ahead of them. After a little time passes, lights turn on at them, startling them again until Ron realizes it’s his father’s car gone native. After Ron approaches it, and sees what the car was illuminating behind Harry, his unbridled fear was plain on his face, Harry, Ron, and Fang all picked up and carried deeper into the forest. When they enter a clearing, Harry sees an army of gigantic spiders, they dropping them to await Aragog, and Harry recovering his voice to share they knew Hagrid, as Aragog commands their deaths when learning it wasn’t Hagrid, himself. Aragog thought the trouble with the Chamber had resolved years ago, once Harry related Hagrid’s trouble, Harry also learning how Hagrid had gotten and cared for Aragog. When Harry suggests he and Ron would leave them alone now, since Aragog refused to confide what the monster was, Aragog denies the idea, but the boys saved by the car, it leaving them at the edge of the forest, retreating back to whence it came. Ron is sick, and Fang’s under his doggy covers when Harry gets his cloak, one upside to their trip was in knowing now Hagrid wasn’t responsible for the Chamber opening. Later, Harry realizes whom the girl which had been killed all those years ago could be.

Whilst Harry and Ron waited for the right time to go see Myrtle, a shock of exams still coming up leaves their whole Transfiguration class in irritated grumbles. Good news was coming though, when McGonagall shares of the Mandrakes ready for plucking, so they may soon know more on the monster and or the one who opened the Chamber. Then an encounter with Ginny, whom was searching for the courage to share something which seemed to have frightened her, gets scared off by Percy, asking for her seat, he waving off the news she could’ve been about to share as something he’d hoped she’d keep to herself (the boys alluding to Percy wanking). Then Harry and Ron get their moment to see Myrtle when convincing Lockhart they were fine to walk the rest of the way to their next class, they home free until McGonagall runs into them, Harry making a quick excuse of they wanting to see Hermione, McGonagall surprisingly receptive. So instead of going to Myrtle, they go see Hermione, Harry noticing she was gripping a piece of paper in her hand, when reading it, he understanding why he’d been hearing the voice, also learning what defeated the creature. The two lay out all the missing pieces, they going to the teachers lounge with plans to confess what they’d found, but when hearing a message from McGonagall informing the students to return to their dorms, and teachers to the break room, Harry decides they’d hide in the closet, hear what was going on, and then share their news.

When the teachers arrive, they learn the monster took a student, a new message left, and the one taken, Ginny. Lockhart pops in, missing all this, but Snape mentions how it was his moment to shine, all the teachers having something to say about his boastful and arrogant comments, Lockhart off to his office to ‘ready’ himself, then McGonagall noting the Head of Houses should instruct the students on preparations to go home the next day, in the afternoon. Everyone was silent and solemn, the Weasleys the most, Ron suggesting they go to Lockhart in the evening and share with him what they knew. They catch Lockhart mid-flurry of packing up, the two getting more angry when he finally admits to stealing the credit of all the true stories he wrote about. When he was ready to leave and planning on using a Memory Charm on the boys, Harry disarms him and commands him to join them in their next move. They go to Myrtle’s, she gladly sharing her death story, and where she saw the eyes. Upon closer inspection, Harry sees a snake symbol, he able to speak Parceltongue for the moment necessary to open it, Lockhart unsuccessfully excusing himself, the two allowing him to go first, they all landing deep below the school. As they walked further, Harry sees what ends up being a giant snake skin, Lockhart then lunging at Ron, taking his wand to attempt his memory spell, it backfiring so hard the ceiling collapses and separates Ron and Lockhart from Harry. Ron decides to move rocks whilst Harry attempted to locate Ginny. He gets to another daunting blocked passage with two snakes with emerald eyes adorning it, Harry speaking snake once more to get it open, he nervously entering.

More serpent carvings within the room, plus the dimness of the place made it difficult to see the “monster” or Ginny, the place not giving off any defining sounds other than his footsteps, when he got further into the space, he sees Ginny at the feet of a statue depicting a wizard. When Harry shakes her to see if she’ll wake, it doesn’t work, and Riddle voices the reality, Harry seeing a fuzzy-around-the-edges body. Tom then points to the diary as the reason he was there, Harry upon lifting Ginny talks of they needing to leave before the basilisk came, Riddle replying it wouldn’t until summoned, Harry then looking for his wand, noticing Riddle had it, but still not putting together why Tom wouldn’t hand it to him. Riddle having been waiting to speak with Harry for some time, he sharing of how tolerant he’d been in biding his time with Ginny, how he’d set up Hagrid, Dumbledore not trusting him from the beginning, and wanting to know how Harry defeated Voldemort, Riddle finally revealing his connection. Then once Harry denies Tom being greatest wizard in relation to Dumbledore’s talent, Fawkes appears with the Sorting Hat, Harry’s courage bolstered, whilst Riddle was amused by the seemingly unthreatening additions, he instead allowing Harry to confess how he could have defeated Voldemort. Harry shares what he’d learned the year before about the part his mother played in his survival, as well as the state of Voldemort, Riddle then deciding to see what Harry could do to defend himself only with Fawkes and the Hat, Tom calling for the basilisk. Harry shuts his eyes and attempts to run, but realizes after hearing the snake, but not being harmed by it, Fawkes had distracted it, plucking it’s eyes so Harry had a chance to survive. Riddle commands the snake to focus on Harry, the basilisk swinging the Hat with its tail as it turned for him, Harry puts it on, gets conked on the head with a sword inside the hat, and on the snake’s second thrust forward, Harry stabs it good, but also gets punctured. Riddle is certain Harry will die, but doesn’t “remember” what tears of a phoenix can do, he watching as Fawkes heals Harry, then deciding this way was better. Fawkes drops the diary right into his lap, Harry using the tooth to pierce the book, successfully having Tom disappear, he retrieving the sword, Ginny coming-to soon after, confessing her part and worrying about expulsion, he guiding her out. Ron had made a large enough space for the two to get through, they postponing explanations for when they fully exited the Chamber, Fawkes being their way back up the tunnel. The bird then leading them to McGonagall’s office.

Inside, the four viewed Mr. and Mrs. Weasley with Dumbledore and McGonagall, Mrs. Weasley overcome with emotion and asking how they’d saved Ginny. Harry begins with the voices he’d heard, he attempting to avoid any mention of Ginny’s manipulated part of the Chamber, to spare her any repercussions, but Dumbledore saves him from implicating her, by announcing his knowledge of she being taken over, but not uncovering how until Harry supplies with whom the diary belonged, Ginny admitting how she’d found it in one of her school books. Dumbledore then sends Ginny to the hospital wing, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley accompanying her, he then sending McGonagall to alert the kitchen staff for a feast in celebration of the danger being over, he dealing with the boys on all their rule-breaking, he giving the impression of the severity of the issue, and instead awarding their house points as well as awards for assisting the school, and once learning Lockhart had charmed himself, he has Ron show Lockhart to the infirmary so he could speak with Harry. Dumbledore states his idea of why Harry had similarities with Tom Riddle, but also the reason why he belonged in the House he chose, the sword he’d pulled from the Sorting Hat not appearing if he didn’t belong to Gryffindor House. Harry was on his way out, having been advised to go to the feast when Lucius Malfoy burst in with a bandaged Dobby following. Lucius demanded to know why Dumbledore was back, he being made aware of the members of the board having confessed of being threatened to put Dumbledore out, Dobby meanwhile, was signalling Harry, which he finally understands, and asks Lucius about when he’d slipped the diary to Ginny in the bookshop, they not able to prove it, but Dumbledore warning what would happen if Mr. Weasley discovered one of his family with a Riddle possession again, and being able to connect it to Lucius, the man leaving with Dobby, and Harry figuring a way to help the elf (it being slightly different from the film), he taking his sock off and stuffing the diary into it, and when Lucius disgustedly throws the sock down and commands Dobby to follow, Dobby states of his freedom in disbelief, since catching the sock he’d thrown away, he then protecting Harry when Lucius goes after him, Harry making Dobby promise to not save him again. At the early morning (three am-ish) feast, Hagrid shows up, McGonagall announces the cancellation of exams, to Hermione’s newly awakened horror, and of Lockhart leaving to regain his memory. When the school year ends and Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny are on the Hogwarts express, Harry remembers the secret Percy had made Ginny not speak of, she confiding he’d been snogging with the Hufflepuff girl whom had been Petrified with Hermione, Fred and George promising they wouldn’t make fun of big bro (yeah, yeah, sure, sure) Harry giving Ron and Hermione his phone number, they going through the barrier to begin their vacations once more.

I notice how many offices of professors the boys were taken to in this one, it not being a necessarily interesting fact, only something I noticed upon review of my notes. Definitely read through quickly enough what with cycling four other books in the process, as well as my lengthy blawg entries, still enjoying the story, though so I’ll immediately begin the third!