Food and Drink Muggles Quidditch

The Invitation

- Chapter 3

P.S. I do hope we've put enough stamps on.
-- Mrs. Weasley

GF3: The Invitation

Dudley and the rest of the Dursleys are on a diet, and the Dursleys receive a letter from Mrs. Weasley inviting Harry to stay with her family and attend the Quidditch World Cup final.

Calendar and Dates

The entire action of this chapter takes place on the same morning as that of the previous chapter, beginning at breakfast and ending with Harry's reply to Ron's owl post after breakfast.

Interesting facts and notes

The chapter title refers to the Weasleys' invitation to Harry to attend the Quidditch World Cup with them.

Now that Harry has outside support to rely on, in the form of his godfather, he's beginning to be able to stand up for himself to the Dursleys. (It doesn't hurt that he's grown to adolescence, and that if anybody is a subject for adolescent rebellion against rules, it's Harry's so-called family.)

...Aunt Petunia's eyes, so sharp when it came to spotting fingerprints on her gleaming walls...

Part of Petunia's cultivation of a respectable image is her devotion to keeping a spotlessly clean house. However, instead of a cozy, neat atmosphere, the net result is sterile. It's as though the house has been wiped clean of fingerprints, all right, in an attempt to remove any evidence of real life. Petunia doesn't seem to have any hobbies, for instance, apart from spying on the neighbours, helping Vernon with the social-climbing aspects of his work, and fussing over Dudley.

Dudley and Harry eating frozen treats.

...far from needing extra nourishment, Dudley had reached roughly the size and weight of a young killer whale.

Food is often a factor in setting the emotional tone of scenes in the Harry Potter books, as various essayists have remarked over the years. Petunia's different attitudes toward her adored son Dudley and her much-resented nephew Harry are reflected, for instance, in her attitudes toward feeding them. Dudley has always been overindulged with food and affection at home until now, while Harry has been underfed. As Harry thought privately during his first welcoming feast at Hogwarts, although the Dursleys never exactly starved him, he never got as much food as he wanted, and Dudley grabbed everything Harry really fancied, even if it made him sick (PS6).

The net result of this has been that Dudley is so used to having his own way that he's become an obnoxious bully without the self-discipline to perform well in school, while Harry has been on his own emotionally for far too much of his life.

The moment he had got wind of the fact that he was expected to survive the summer on carrot sticks, Harry had sent Hedwig to his friends with pleas for help, and they had risen to the occasion magnificently.

Harry, as he has sometimes observed himself as far back as his first year, is well aware that he has no proper family, but the friendships he's built take the place of the family feeling he's been deprived of in the Dursley household. His friends supply a kind of emotional nourishment to him, reflected here by the physical nourishment they proceed to send in response to his S.O.S.

And then on Harry's birthday (which the Dursleys had completely ignored) he had received four superb birthday cakes, one each from Ron, Hermione, Hagrid and Sirius.

Compare this to the fuss the Dursleys make over Dudley's birthday (PS2). (One assumes that Hagrid had sense enough to ask the house-elves for a bit of a favour in this instance, since his contribution to the cakes is described as superb.)

Britain hasn't hosted the cup for thirty years...

In other words, Britain last hosted the Quidditch World Cup in 1964 [Y-16], about five years before the first war against Voldemort began.

...the Muggle postman has never delivered to our house, and I am not sure he even knows where it is.

Apparently, then, the Burrow is not protected by Muggle-Repelling Charms or anything of that kind, or Molly would know that the postman didn't know anything about it.

The fact that the Muggle world is so completely disconnected from the hidden wizarding world that the Weasleys don't even receive junk mail or notices from Muggle tax authorities is interesting.

...Harry had lived with the Dursleys too long not to know how touchy they were about anything even slightly out of the ordinary. 

In this instance, the emphasis seems to be not so much that the Dursleys are afraid of Harry's magic as such - as something in their environment that they can't control, not even so far as understanding how it works - but that they're concerned with what other people will think of them.

Harry - DAD GOT THE TICKETS - Ireland versus Bulgaria, Monday night.

This helps us pin down the date of the chapter's action more closely; the events of this chapter occur two days before the Quidditch World Cup.

Exceptional character moments

Petunia, going to the opposite extreme of underfeeding the family while Dudley is on a diet, but even then making sure to single Harry out for particularly shabby treatment in the matter of food.

Harry's friends, who not only supply him with food but with birthday cakes.

Harry, maneuvering Vernon into letting him spend the rest of the summer with the Weasleys without openly gloating about it.

Pigwidgeon's hyperactive joy at having made a successful delivery. If he were human, he might be a lot like the Creevey brothers.

Hedwig's annoyance at the overexcitable Pigwidgeon. She appears to consider him guilty of conduct unbecoming a post owl.

Memorable lines

The moment he had got wind of the fact that he was expected to survive the summer on carrot sticks, Harry had sent Hedwig to his friends with pleas for help, and they had risen to the occasion magnificently.

"So," he said, marching over to the fireplace and turning to face Harry as though he was about to pronounce him under arrest. "So."
Harry would have dearly loved to have said "So what?", but he didn't feel Uncle Vernon's temper should be tested this early in the morning, especially when it was already under severe strain from lack of food.

He stopped there to enjoy the effect of these words. He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon's thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry from writing to Sirius, Sirius would think Harry was being mistreated. If he told Harry he couldn't go to the Quidditch World Cup, Harry would write and tell Sirius, who would know he was being mistreated.

"Don't mention anything about abroad while you're here unless you want the pants bored off you."

Words and phrases


Related Images:

Pigwidgeon, Ron Weasley's first owl. 

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The Harry Potter Canon