Goblet of Fire: ‘The Four Champions’ and ‘The Weighing of the Wands’ (Chapters 17 & 18)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapters 17-18

Mark True statements with a “T” and False statements with an “F.” Write out your thoughts on the Discussion Points in the Com Boxes below the Quiz.

1. _____ When Harry’s name comes out of the Goblet of Fire, Gryffindor explodes with cheers but every other house and the faculty are stunned and silent.

2. _____ Madame Maxime and Professor Karkaroff are outraged that Hogwarts gets two champions, “two bites at zee apple,” and the Head of Durmstrang demands that the Goblet of Fire be forced to choose another champion for the other schools.

3. _____ “Mad-Eye” Moody and Severus Snape think that Harry has been chosen by the Goblet of Fire because unknown persons want Harry killed. Professor Moody suggests the magical object was confused by a Confundus Charm.

4. _____ A distracted Barty Crouch of the Ministry of Magic decides that “we must follow the rules” and, as the rules state that “those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire must compete,” Harry must compete.

5. _____ Gryffindor House celebrates Harry’s selection but Harry has a hard time enjoying the party in the Common Room because everyone believes he put his name in the Goblet. Only Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid believe his story.

6. _____ Hermione takes Harry on a walk for breakfast the next day and explains why Ron is so turned off by Harry’s selection: jealousy. Harry tells her,”Maybe he’ll believe I’m not enjoying myself once I’ve got my neck broken.”

7. _____ Before Double-Potions with Slytherin, Harry and Malfoy trade curses but the spells hit each other and hit Crabbe and Hermione in the face. Crabbe gets ugly boils, Hermione gets buck teeth, and Harry and Draco get detention.

8. _____ Rita Skeeter interviews Harry in a broom closet – her Quick-Quotes Quill magical pen writing the article in green ink – until Professor Dumbledore finds them and rescues Harry from the nasty Daily Prophet reporter.

9. _____ Mr. Ollivander weighs and inspects the Champions’ wands. Fleur’s has a Veela core, Krum dragon-heart string, Diggory a unicorn, and Harry a Phoenix feather. Each wand gets a test: only Fleur receives chocolates to share.

10. _____ Harry writes to Sirius and receives a reply in the same chapter. He makes a date to speak with Harry in the Gryffindor fire-place at 1 am on 22 November.

Discussion Points: What is going on with Ron? What clues have we had so far this year, before the selection of Tournament Champions, that Harry’s best friend is going to have a hard year? Is this problem similar to Hermione’s S.P.E.W. crusade? How is it like her problem and how is it different? How does each affect Harry? This seems like foreshadowing for Ron’s defection in Deathly Hallows; what are the important differences and similarities?


  1. 1.F 2.T 3. F 4.T 5.F
    6.T 7.F 8.F 9.F 10.T

    I couldn’t find any reference to green ink in the Quick Quotes Quill; if you can, #8 is true and the pattern T/F/T is unbroken.

    I think we have our first instance of Legilimency in the books in Chapter 17 when Dumbledore and Harry exchange deep looks into each other’s eyes while Harry is asked if he entered the Tournament. Severus’ unpleasantness, given he knows the Headmaster’s ability to discern truth and lie telling, is especially revealing (hence Professor McGonagall’s reproof).

    Chapter 18’s ‘Weighing of the Wands’ is an interesting vignette for several reasons. As we’ve explored elsewhere on this site, the Ollivander wand cores are especially meaningful — all are pointers to Christ. All three are on display here and Ollivander’s choice of the magic to do to yest each wand is revealing. Fleur’s veela hair-cored wand produces flowers, Cedric’s handsome unicorn tail hair wand produces a “silver stream of smoke rings,” Viktor’s Gregorovitch dragon heart-string wand a small flock of birds, and Harry’s a “fountain of wine.”

    The first three, of course, are “tricks” that stage magicians and Club reading room bores perform. Harry’s wand, with it’s resurrection bird core, produces wine magically. Only one “Magician” ever pulled that off; Olivander has made his suspicions about the destiny of the Boy Who Lived plain to all.

    To the discussion points, Hermione first became sensitive to house-elf slavery and their mistreatment by Witches and Wizards in the chapter that she was threatened by Draco Malfoy; “they’ll be coming for you next, Mudblood.” Her own situation as a minority among magical creatures and one who needs to fear not only discrimination and prejudice but even for her life because she is not a Pureblood Witch makes her take up the cause of house-elf liberation with the fervor she does. That none of her friends can even understand her passion springs from the unique source of it within her.

    We see something similar in Ron’s agony. His insecurity seems to be coming from his external poverty (“Why is everything I own rubbish?”) but, as Hermione sees, he responds to this lack of money differently than his brothers and sister because he has an internal poverty. Call it “Attention Deficit Disorder,” albeit an “attention deficit” only in the sense of “never getting enough attention.” Harry’s becoming a Hogwarts Champion destroys his weak attempts at putting a good face on his feelings of deprivation, especially relative to his best friend and perhaps because of his fears of how he measures up compared to Harry in Hermione’s eyes. Harry’s rushed and secret “wand cleaning” before Fleur sees his smaller stick won’t merit the praise that Ollivander gave Cedric’s (whose core came from a giant unicorn, remember that almost gored the wand-maker with his horn…) reflects, I think, the fears and self-doubts that Ron has, too.

    That comes out in the open in Deathly Hallows, in which book Ron as the desiring soul faculty in the Karamazov soul trytich of the trio leaves the quest and then returns after being illumined by his Dumbledore inheritance and baptized and spiritually cleansed, even exorcised by his trial to destroy the Locket Horcrux.

    Your comments and corrections, please.

  2. JohnABaptist says

    Re: “His insecurity seems to be coming from his external poverty ”

    Let us weigh the purses as well as the wands. Ron and indeed the entire Weasley clan are, in fact, in the canon, not poor. They are portrayed as distinctly middle class.

    To wit:

    1) They own their own home. The poor rent.

    2) When Percy become prefect he gets new robes. The poor may wish to do such things, but can not.

    3) When Ron comes of age, he gets a range of presents. The poor give good wishes and love on such occasions, not goods.

    4) I do not recall Mrs. Weasley ever saying to Ron “It getting to be supper time, your little friends will have to go home now.” The poor can not always feed their own children let alone guests.

    5) Indeed, I do not recall Mr. or Mrs. Weasley ever saying to the children, “Go ahead and eat now, your father and I will eat later.” The parents of poor families do not always eat three meals a day, the Weasley’s however, never seem to run out of food.

    6) I do not recall any of the Weasley children walking around in the fall weather in shirt-sleeves saying “its not cold yet” because their parents couldn’t afford to buy both a fall jacket and a winter coat. The poor don’t always have all they need, much less all they want.

    7)True, the Weasley’s “hand things down”, but they always have something to hand. They may buy second-hand when they don’t have time to budget in advance for new, c.f. Ron’s dress robes, but they do buy something, they don’t send notes saying, “Please excuse Ron from the Ball, you did not give us enough time to prepare for this expense.” The poor become accomplished at writing such notes.

    8) I don’t recall anything in their house, fireplace, stove, wireless, that didn’t work, even the hobby car of Arthur’s was in working order until it met the Whomping Willow. The poor often lack at least one of heating stove, cooking stove, entertainment device, transportation, etc.

    Let us see what is before our faces…the Weasley’s are not poor. In fact, they have plenty to eat, their children always have all their school supplies every year, not once among all of the many fears and worries that beset Arthur and Molly throughout the saga do they mention a single fear rooted in economics. But the poor? They have predominately economic fears and worries to the extent that most other fears lose importance by comparison.

    No the Weasley’s are middle class. They only seem poor if you compare them to the Malfoys or the Blacks. Just as incidentally, the Royal House of England looks rather poor if you compare it to the vast fortunes of the Kings of France or the Tsars of Russia.

    Ron and his siblings are, however, “poor in spirit”. They do not feel rich or entitled.

    This stands out especially when you compare Ron to his counterpart Sirius from the “previous four horsemen of Gryffindor”. Sirius as a teenager is the very image of the spoiled, rich scion of an immeasurable fortune each time we meet him; yet, in fact, he has been disowned, cut off without a penny, and exists solely on the charity of James’ parents. He is truly “poor in purse”, but “rich in spirit.”

    There is a specific lesson here drawn from the Beatitudes that we will miss if we continue to think of the Weasley’s as poor in purse, rather that in spirit.

  3. JohnABaptist says


    Is there perhaps a word or two missing in the following phrase, it seems to change focus in midstream?

    “Harry’s rushed and secret “wand cleaning” before Fleur sees his smaller stick won’t merit the praise that Ollivander gave Cedric’s…”

    And by the way, don’t forget that Harry’s “stick” is 3/4″ longer than Krumm’s yet Viktor seems to have no masculinity issues whatsoever.

    Harry’s concern was not with length, but with degree of care, the fact that Cedric’s was freshly cleaned and polished, and Harry’s was quite covered in fingerprints and smears.

  4. The source of Ron’s insecurity is not his family’s economic status but his own birth order. He was caught between two troublesome twins and the first baby girl in the family. He also had the misfortune to be born just as the first war against Voldemort was reaching its climax. Baby Ron would have had to compete for attention in a way that none of his siblings did.

  5. Hermione’s campaign for the house elves is an important stage in her personal development but it also highlights her limitations. She begins to move beyond unquestioning respect for books and rules and starts to think for herself. However, once she takes this step she seems a bit lost. Her comments on the house elves — do they get vacations etc. — reflect attitudes she must have learned from her parents. She never tries to get to know any actual house elves or to understand how they see themselves. As a result, her campaign is ineffective and serves only as comic relief. However, her efforts are not entirely futile. In Book 7 she finally gets her message through to Harry and Ron and they in turn are able to make a real connection with Kreacher and the other house elves.

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