Goblet of Fire: ‘The Hungarian Horntail’ and ‘The First Task’ (Chapters 19 & 20)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapters 19-20

Mark True statements with a “T” and False statements with an “F.” Put those responses to the Discussion Points in the ComBoxes below!

1. _____ Fear of the first Tri-Wizard Tournament task and annoyance about the teasing he gets from the Rita Skeeter article in the Daily Prophet makes Harry a bit touchy. He yells at Cho Chang who was only pointing out he had dropped a quill.

2. _____ Harry is so keen not to be bothered by others (especially Ron) that he wears his invisibility cloak into The Three Broomsticks. Hagrid is able to see him beneath the cloak and invites him to his hut at midnight.

3. _____ Harry, Madame Maxime, Professor Karkaroff, and the Hufflepuff House ghost all see the dragons that are the first task for the Champions. Charlie Weasley says his mother is half-mad for fear Harry will be hurt – or worse.

4. _____ Sirius Black breaks into a wizard’s house to use the fireplace and speak with Harry. He warns Harry to beware of Professors Karkaroff and Snape.

5. _____ Ron comes into the Gryffindor Common Room unexpectedly and Sirius “pops” out. Harry is furious with Ron (whose pajamas don’t fit), throws a POTTER REALLY STINKS! badge at him, and tells him to wear it to the task.

6. _____ Harry tells Cedric about the dragons to be fair and “Mad-Eye” Moody sees him do it. Professor Moody advises him to “Play to your strengths” and “Get what you need.”

7. _____ Harry and Hermione are up way past midnight practicing Summoning Charms and Stunning Spells so Harry can “Accio Dragon’s Egg!” successfully.

8. _____ Ludo Bagman explains the task to the four champions (“Collect the Golden Egg”) and then asks Harry, outside the tent, if he needs any help. Harry declines the offer of help because he is confident of his plan, though really frightened.

9. _____ Cedric transfigures a stone, Fleur tries to entrance her dragon, Krum blasts his right in the eyes, and Harry gets the golden snitch, I mean “egg.” All the Champions survive; Harry and Krum tie for the lead in the judges’ scoring.

10. _____ Harry reconciles with Ron, Hermione goes “barking mad,” Ludo Bagman tells them their next task will be revealed if they can solve the clue inside the egg, and Ron, Harry, and Hermione are interviewed by Rita Skeeter.

Discussion Points: What is Ms. Rowling telling us about the people who try to help us through life’s little adversities (like confronting a Hungarian Horntail in public)? There’s narrative misdirection afoot here and a postmodern side-message, too, I think. Your thoughts, please!


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

    You can quibble about #8 if you want. I’m not sure Harry is really feeling “confidence” in his plan but it is why he tells Bagman he’s “fine.”

    Four people help or try to help Harry prepare for his task: Hermione, Hagrid, Moody, and Bagman. Hermione is in it for the love of her friend (and her fear for his life). Hagrid we learn a little later wants Harry to win “to show ’em,” that is, to prove to those who have excluded him from normal society that half-bloods, Muggle-borns, and their friends are as good as anyone. Moody is in it for the Dark Lord. Bagman, I suspect, has similar motivation but until that suspicion is confirmed or denied in the Potter-Silmarillion we have to accept he’s doing it to win his winner-take-all, double-or-nothing bet with the goblins.

    Harry thinks everyone but Bagman is acting out of friendship and sympathy for him. Because of the narrative misdirection consequent to how the story is told, we think the way he does — and, of course, are snookered into believing P!Moody is a good guy.

    The message here? As with all of Ms. Rowling’s narrative misdirection and surprise ending stunts, the message is not to trust those first impressions: don’t believe everything you think. Look twice, think thrice. But her postmodern message about our inability to trust empirical evidence has a second layer: remember that the motivations of others are never as simple or even at all like what they would have us believe.

    CONSTANT VIGILANCE! It’s not just the Rita Skeeters of the world who are not what they seem. If anything, the Skeeters are the honest ones for being so obviously self-important and self-serving.

  2. JohnABaptist says

    And would this be the right place to inquire into how much DADA “Defense Against the Dark Arts” is related to Dada the early 20th Century phenomenon which among other things, plowed the valley for the seeds of Post-Modernism?

    Dada: the thoughts and reactions of the legally enforced DoppelNamen Jean/Hans Arp and others to the agony of World War I. The group who seemed to feel that if the purpose of Art, Literature and Philosophy was to create a Better World, the the grinding horror of trench warfare meant that Art, Literature and Philosophy had failed. Not only failed, but failed to the point of producing the opposite of what they should yield.

    The Dadist answer was to throw out everything–baby, bathwater, bathtub, soap, cloth and the table they sat on and begin everything again, trusting nothing, questioning everything. They wished to create a sort of Philosophical Noahitic Flood that swept away all letting everything begin afresh.

    Is this a factor in Rowling’s thinking? Or just another Peacock sitting on the fence–something that happens to be there but is of no significance?

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