"Longbottom, kindly do not reveal that you can’t even perform a simple Switching Spell in front of anyone from Durmstrang!"
-- Professor McGonagall
Harry sends an owl to Sirius Black telling him everything is fine. In Defence Against the Dark Arts class, Professor Moody puts the Imperius Curse on everyone and only Harry can resist it, school work piles up, Hogwarts spruces up for the visitors, Hermione continues her elf rights campaign, a message via Hedwig announces that Sirius is back in the country, and the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students arrive by flying carriage and submerged ship respectively.
Calendar and Dates
The action of this chapter begins the morning after the first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson of term, and ends before supper on the night that the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students arrive (30 October 1994).
Interesting facts and notes
This chapter introduces the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, as well as the heads of the two schools.
Early next morning...
Since the previous chapter ended the evening after the first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson of term, this is now Friday morning, 6 September.
...Harry woke with a plan fully formed in his mind, as though his sleeping brain had been working on it all night.
One does not need to be a wizard to do this. The trick is to concentrate hard on the problem at hand before falling asleep. (At least, MLW's father swears by the technique.) Since Harry was worried about Sirius Black even before retiring for the night, it would be unsurprising if he were fretting over the problem after going to bed.
He then climbed out of the portrait hole, up through the silent castle (held up only briefly by Peeves, who tried to overturn a large vase on him halfway along the fourth-floor corridor)...
Harry's route is either very odd, or incomplete. The portrait hole entrance to Gryffindor Tower is on the seventh floor.
...finally arriving at the Owlery, which was situated at the top of West Tower.
The Owlery was a circular stone room, rather cold and draughty, because none of the windows had glass in them.
This is our first proper look at the Owlery. The unglazed windows, of course, allow the owls to come and go freely.
Hundreds upon hundreds of owls of every breed imaginable were nestled here on perches that rose right up to the top of the tower...
The breeds of owls named in this chapter are:
- Scops (Pigwidgeon)
- snowy (Hedwig)
He had been so sure that Sirius’ reply would alleviate his worries rather than increasing them.
Harry still looks to trusted adults to sort out problems. He is only 14 after all. Part of the arc of the books is to develop his confidence in his own judgment so that he will be able to help himself when the time comes that all his supports are gone.
"Brilliant!" said Harry. "It’s Potions last thing on Friday! Snape won’t have time to poison us all!"
With the two other schools competing in the Triwizard Tournament arriving, there is a lot of preparation and cleaning being done around Hogwarts Castle. But most students would find having a class curtailed the best thing to happen. Especially Potions.
"Well, the Heads of the participating schools are always on the panel," said Hermione, and everyone looked around at her, rather surprised, "because all three of them were injured during the Tournament of 1792, when a cockatrice the champions were supposed to be catching went on the rampage."
So already we know that some of the Triwizard Tournament judges will be biased in favour of their own students. Bring on the cockatrices.
"It's all in Hogwarts: A History. Though, of course, that book's not entirely reliable. "A Revised History of Hogwarts" would be a more accurate title. Or "A Highly Biased and Selective History of Hogwarts, Which Glosses Over the Nastier Aspects of the School"."
Yes, Hermione is still "on about" S.P.E.W. and her campaign for house-elf rights. But she doesn't give up, and won't in the future.
"Why d'you have to keep changing owls?" Ron asked in a low voice.
"Hedwig'll attract too much attention," said Hermione at once. "She stands out. A snowy owl that keeps returning to wherever he's hiding … I mean, they're not native birds, are they?"
Earlier in the chapter Harry had already taken out his frustration on Hedwig bringing an unsatisfactory message, but she is one of the things that belongs to him and he knows she won't be happy being passed over.
....maybe the foreign students were preparing a dramatic entrance … he remembered what Mr Weasley had said back on the campsite before the Quidditch World Cup – "Always the same, we can't resist showing off when we get together …"
Flying a giant carriage and magically sailing a ship through the Lake from their countries definitely count as showing off.
"My steeds require – er – forceful 'andling," said Madame Maxime, looking as though she doubted whether any Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts could be up to the job. "Zey are very strong …"
"I assure you that Hagrid will be well up to the job,’ said Dumbledore, smiling.
"Very well," said Madame Maxime, bowing slightly, "will you please inform zis 'Agrid zat ze 'orses drink only single-malt whisky?"
Hagrid will definitely be able to handle the whisky-drinking winged horses. They aren't as dangerous as the Blast-Ended Skrewts or a baby dragon....
Exceptional character moments
Harry being the only one in his class who could fight off the Imperius Curse.
Professor Moody performing illegal curses on students.
The outrage that the fourth years feel about their increased school workload when their O.W.L.s are not until the end of the fifth year, almost two years away.
Fred and George's continued secrecy about what they are doing.
Ron's confidence in his and Harry's ability to compete in the Triwizard Tournament as they have had previous experience doing "dangerous stuff".
Hermione's ongoing commitment to house-elf rights (and her schoolwork).
Karkaroff's concern over Viktor Krum being cold, contrasted with Madame Maxime's offhand introduction of her students.
"Talk about paranoid..." Ron glanced nervously over his shoulder to check that Moody was definitely out of earshot, and went on, "No wonder they were glad to get shot of him at the Ministry, did you hear him telling Seamus what he did to that witch who shouted "boo" behind him on April Fools' Day?"
"Wonder what the tasks are going to be?" said Ron thoughtfully. "You know, I bet we could do them, Harry, we've done dangerous stuff before …"
"House-elves!" said Hermione loudly and proving Harry right. "Not once, in over a thousand pages, does Hogwarts: A History mention that we are all colluding in the oppression of a hundred slaves!"
"You do realise that your sheets are changed, your fires lit, your classrooms cleaned and your food cooked by a group of magical creatures who are unpaid and enslaved?"
"....will you please inform zis 'Agrid zat ze 'orses drink only single-malt whisky?"
Words and phrases
From the Web
Writing by J K Rowling on WizardingWorld (Pottermore):
- House-Elves: A History by Abbii
- Beauxbatons Boys: Where the Movies Went Wrong
- Locations of Durmstrang and Azkaban Revealed!
Harry Potter Wiki:
WizardingWorld (Pottermore) features:
Tags: campaign classes commitments control excitement guests impressing international lies showy visitors welcome