"Oh, you is a bad elf, Dobby!"
A surprise party is held for Harry, he opens the egg, and Hermione discovers how to get into the kitchens. In Care of Magical Creatures, the Blast-ended Skrewts rebel against hibernation, Rita arranges an interview with Hagrid, and HRH go to the kitchens where they find Dobby and Winky.
Calendar and Dates
This chapter begins on the evening after the first task. After the surprise party scene, the action moves into the month of December and "the next lesson" in Care of Magical Creatures. The very next lesson in that subject after the first task would actually have been in November and not December, so there is a bit of a discrepancy at this point. We have put Rita's visit on the first Care of Magical Creatures lesson in December, therefore, rather than the very next after the first task.
Interesting facts and notes
"Sounded like a banshee -"
As we saw during Professor Lupin's practical Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson on boggarts a little over a year before this (PA7), banshees are Seamus' worst fear; his interpretation of what the egg's sounds mean tells us more about him than about the egg.
"It was someone being tortured!"
And here again, Neville's interpretation of what the egg's sounds mean tells us more about him than about the egg.
Exceptional character moments
Each Gryffindor's guess as to what the horrible sounds from the golden egg mean.
The twins' frank admission that the house-elves are eager to be helpful in the matter of supplying food.
Dumbledore's willingness to hire a free elf and having attempted to give Dobby higher wages and more time off than Dobby felt comfortable with; also Dumbledore's relaxed attitude toward whether or not the house-elves respect his dignity.
The other house-elves' disapproval of Dobby's status as a free elf.
Winky's anger at Hermione's unthinking assumption that all Winky did for the Crouch family was housework, and that Crouch senior can easily dispense with her help. It says a lot about Winky that she manages to keep her silence in the face of this, particularly since she's been drinking.
Ron's observation that Percy has no sense of humour and wouldn't want to work for a boss who had one.
"Winky is a disgraced elf, but Winky is not yet getting paid!"
"Percy wouldn't recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea-cosy."