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The Hungarian Horntail

- Chapter 19

"Isn' it beautiful?"
-- Rubeus Hagrid

GF19: The Hungarian Horntail

An article by Rita Skeeter fuels the taunts of the students against Harry and Hermione. Hermione tries and fails to reunite Harry and Ron. Harry hides under his Invisibility Cloak to accompany Hermione to Hogsmeade, but Professor Moody sees him anyway. Hagrid asks to meet Harry at midnight, when he reveals the dragons of the first task. Back in the Gryffindor common room, Sirius Black issues some warnings through the fire.

Calendar and Dates

Since the chapter begins after the preceding chapter, which ended on the night of Friday the thirteenth, it begins on Saturday 14 November 1994. Sirius Black's note places the end of the chapter sometime after one o'clock in the morning on Sunday 22 November.

Interesting facts and notes

The chapter title is a little "previous", since it calls our attention particularly to the Horntail among the dragons of the first task before Harry draws the Horntail by lot.

The prospect of talking face to face with Sirius was all that sustained Harry over the next fortnight....

This is not consistent with the Weighing of the Wands having taken place on the second Friday since Harry's selection as champion. The passage of a fortnight (14 days) would place Sirius Black's conversation with Harry after rather than on 22 November.

The article had appeared ten days ago....

This is also inconsistent with the Weighing of the Wands date. Even if the article came out the same night as Rita's interview (Friday 13 November), the passage of ten days would place Sirius' conversation with Harry after rather than on 22 November.

Later, Harry and Hermione see Rita wandering around Hogsmeade with Bozo her photographer. She is likely to be scrounging around for more sensational material for her Daily Prophet articles.

On the Saturday before the first task....

We learn later that Sirius is to contact Harry through the fire in Gryffindor's common room after one o'clock in the morning, and since we already have a specific date for that conversation, that gives the day of the week of Sirius' fire-call as Sunday.

The Creevey brothers had managed to get hold of a stack of Support CEDRIC DIGGORY badges, and were trying to bewitch them to make them say Support HARRY POTTER instead. So far, however, all they had managed to do was get the badges stuck on POTTER STINKS.

Those awful badges again. Besides having to see them around the school, Ernie MacMillan, Hannah Abbott and other students in Hogsmeade are wearing them.

In the end, all that the two Creeveys - Colin (only a third-year) and Dennis (only a first-year) - are able to manage magically is to make them appear even worse. The badges they are trying to fix now read "POTTER REALLY STINKS". It is one of these that Harry throws at Ron in a temper.

....or Hagrid had managed to buy another giant three-headed dog off a stranger in a pub.

Yes, we do remember Fluffy (PS11).

"Bong-sewer," said Hagrid....

Hagrid is trying to say "Good evening" (Bonsoir) in French.

He was caught, he was in Azkaban with me, but he got released.

Since Sirius was thrown into Azkaban only after the murders of the Potters, it means the Death Eater (turned Durmstang Headmaster) Karkaroff was in Azkaban sometime after Hallowe'en of 1981.

Moody caught Karkaroff, put him into Azkaban in the first place.

This would be the real Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, as we shall for ourselves see later (GF30).

You need about half-a-dozen wizards at a time to overcome a dragon -

The Number Twelve shows up yet again.

And if it takes twelve wizards to overcome a Hungarian Horntail, how is this a suitable task for the only-just-of-age (and one underage) still-in-school Triwizard champions?

Exceptional character moments

Bertha Jorkins, who according to Sirius was "very nosy, but no brains, none at all".

Hagrid looking longingly at the dragon eggs - and Charlie Weasley saying that he is keeping a count of them (just in case Hagrid gets ideas, again).

Molly Weasley, who according to Charlie unquestioningly accepted Rita's account of Harry's supposed fits of crying over his parents, even though she herself knows Harry far better than Rita does. We're being shown that Molly has an unfortunate tendency to trust what she reads in the paper even when she knows that the writer is untrustworthy. This will be relevant later on when Hermione is the target of one of Rita's attacks.

Harry realising as soon as he saw Karkaroff heading towards the enclosures that Cedric was going to be the only Champion who would not know that dragons were going to be the first task.

Memorable lines

Harry was finding it hard to think about the future at all, he felt as if his whole life had been leading up to, and would finish with, the first task …

"Stunningly pretty? Her?" Pansy Parkinson had shrieked, the first time she had come face to face with Hermione after Rita’s article had appeared. "What was she judging against – a chipmunk?"

Quite apart from liking to get Quidditch terms correct, it caused him another pang to imagine Ron's expression if he could have heard Hermione talking about Wonky Faints.

"Really romantic date, Hagrid," said Charlie, shaking his head. [Hagrid bringing Madame Maxime to see the dragons]

It is a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.

Words and phrases

GF 19 — The Hungarian Horntail
Author
Publication
Abbreviation GF19: The Hungarian Horntail
Canonicity Primary Canon

Commentary

Note that references to the Triwizard tasks are not capitalized in the UK editions, although they are capitalized in the US editions. Except where we refer to the chapter titles themselves, we are following the UK convention of not capitalizing "first task", "second task", and "third task".

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