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Triwizard Tournament

"(The Tournament) was generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities -- until, that is, the death toll mounted so high that the tournament was discontinued."
-- Albus Dumbledore (GF12)

"Cheating's a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and always has been."
-- Barty Crouch Jr. as Alastor Moody (GF20)

Triwizard Tournament

The Triwizard Tournament is a famous contest between three schools: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Durmstrang Institute, and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic.


It originated some 700 years ago as a friendly competition between the three schools. Each school took turns hosting the Tournament, which took place every five years (GF12). The judges for the Tournament included the heads of the three schools (GF15).

The Triwizard Tournament consists of a series of tasks designed to test the champions in many different ways: their magical prowess, their daring, their powers of deduction, and their ability to cope with danger (GF12). Cheating was also considered a normal, traditional part of the Tournament (GF20).

CockatriceThe contests were extremely dangerous. In 1792, “a cockatrice the champions were supposed to be catching went on the rampage” and all three school heads were injured (GF15). As the death toll mounted, the Tournament was discontinued. Most witches and wizards have grown up only hearing stories of these great magical contests of years gone by. The Tournament was gone, but its legacy remained and all Wizard children are familiar with it. No one expected it ever to return (GF12).

The 1994-95 Triwizard Tournament

Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore saw the Tournament as an excellent opportunity to reach out in friendship to the other schools. The contest was reinstated during the 1994-1995 school year and held at Hogwarts (GF12).

The Champions from each school were selected by the Goblet of Fire. They were Cedric Diggory from Hogwarts, Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons, Viktor Krum from Durmstrang, and Harry Potter, also from Hogwarts (GF17).

Arrival At Hogwarts

Delegations from the three competing schools arrived at Hogwarts on October 30, 1994. Just after dusk, a huge carriage pulled by a team of flying horses, landed on the Hogwarts lawn, carrying the group from Beauxbatons. A few moments later, a ghostly sailing ship carrying the group from Durmstrang rose from the depths of the Lake and glided to the shore. A feast followed which included foods from the countries represented. At this feast, Dumbledore presented the Goblet of Fire and announced the arrangements for entering the contest (GF15).

The Goblet of Fire

In order to make the selection of champions completely fair, the decision is left up to a very powerful magic artifact, the Goblet of Fire. The Goblet is contained in a ancient wooden chest which is encrusted with jewels. When the casket it tapped three times with a wand, it opens. The Goblet is then removed and set on top of the chest (GF16).

The Goblet of Fire is a large, roughly hewn cup, filled to the brim with dancing blue flames. Dumbledore described the selection process in this way:

Goblet“Anybody wishing to submit themselves as champion must write their name and school clearly upon a slip of parchment and drop it into the goblet. Aspiring champions have twenty-four hours in which to put their names forward. Tomorrow night, Halloween, the goblet will return the names of the three it has judged most worthy to represent their schools. The goblet will be placed in the entrance hall tonight, where it will be freely accessible to all those wishing to compete. To ensure that no underage student yields to temptation, I will be drawing an Age Line around the Goblet of Fire once it has been placed in the entrance hall. Nobody under the age of seventeen will be able to cross this line…I wish to impress upon any of you wishing to compete that this tournament is not to be entered into lightly. Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the goblet constitutes a binding, magical contract. There can be no change of heart once you have become a champion. Please be very sure, therefore, that you are wholeheartedly prepared to play before you drop your name into the goblet.” (GF16)

The next evening, the Goblet was taken into the Great Hall after the Hallowe’en Feast. On cue, it disgorged a slip of paper for each chosen champion. To everyone’s shock, the Goblet chose FOUR champions. Barty Crouch Jr., in disguise as Alastor Moody, had used a Confundus Charm on the Goblet to trick it into accepting a name from another school. Once the names had been chosen, the Goblet’s flames died out and would not reignite until the next Tournament (GF17).

Weighing of the Wands

Before the champions could compete, their wands had to be checked by Mr. Ollivander in a short ceremony. He examined each wand and then cast a simple spell. The opportunity of having all four champions together was used by Rita Skeeter and Bozo, her photographer, to get pictures and interviews (GF18).

First Task – Dragons

In the first task, which was designed to test courage and daring, the Champions each had to try to steal a golden egg from a nesting mother dragon. The first task took place on November 24, 1994 (GF20). The golden egg was the clue for the second task. The champions entered a small tent where Bagman gave them each a chance to pull a model of the dragon they were to face out of a purple bag. Each model dragon (which moved, naturally) had a number around its neck. The number referred to the order in which the task would proceed. Cedric Diggory led things off, drawing the Swedish Short-Snout. He Transfigured a boulder into a Labrador, which diverted the attention of the dragon long enough to let him steal the egg. He was burned in the process. Fleur Delacour attempted to charm her Welsh Green into something of a trance. The dragon wasn’t completely subdued, however, and blasted Fleur with fire, setting her robes alight. Viktor Krum used a Conjunctivitis Curse on his Chinese Fireball, but the beast went into convulsions and damaged her other eggs as Krum was retrieving the golden one and this caused him to lose points. Harry used a Summoning Charm to call his Firebolt to him. Then he flew around the Hungarian Horntail, finally enticing her to take to the air after him. When that happened, he dove for the ground and scooped up the golden egg. Harry’s marks were quite high. Ludo Bagman gave him a 10, Dumbledore and Barty Crouch Sr. a 9, Madame Maxime an 8, and Igor Karkaroff a 4, in an obvious bit of favoritism toward his own champion (GF20).

The Golden Egg

The Golden Egg

When the golden egg was opened, it emitted a screeching, wailing sound. The egg contained nothing at all. The sound was a song in Mermish, the language of the merpeople. The Champions were required to figure out what the song meant, then find a way to survive underwater in the lake for an hour. Harry took advice from Cedric and “took a bath” with his egg. When he listened to the sound underwater, he could understand the words (GF25).

The Second Task – The Lake

The Second TaskThe second task, which lasted for one hour starting at 9:30 am, February 24, 1995, required the Champions to rescue people who were dear to them from the settlement of the merpeople in the lake. For Harry, this was Ron Weasley. For Viktor, it was Hermione Granger and for Cedric it was Cho Chang. Fleur had to rescue her younger sister, Gabrielle, but failed to get to her, so Harry rescued the little girl instead. Along the way, the champions encountered Grindylows that tried to ambush them from the weeds. Harry was helped along by Moaning Myrtle, who traveled down to the lake by way of the plumbing from the castle to see how he was doing. She pointed him along the way to the Merfolk village (GF26).

There were stands set up along the lake for the second task, but it is unclear just what the spectators would have been able to see. From everything we can tell, they just stared at the surface of the lake for an hour or so. Perhaps there was some kind of play by play provided by magical observers. The exact details of what happened under the lake were not known to those on the surface, however, since Murcus had to explain to Dumbledore what Harry had done (GF26).

The Third Task – The Maze

In the third task, which took place on June 24, 1995, the Champions had to enter a maze of hedges which was filled with dangerous obstacles. Some of the dangers in the maze included a Blast-Ended Skrewt, a giant spider, and anti-gravity mist. The Triwizard Cup was located in the center of the maze, protected by a sphinx which posed a riddle. The first Champion to touch the Cup would receive full marks for the task. The order in which the Champions were sent into the maze depended on their relative standings in the Tournament, with the highest-scoring Champions entering first (GF31).

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Related images

Triwizard Tournament "hostages" tied to merpeople statue. Harry about to take dragon egg.

A bit dangerous for teenagers perhaps? Even if they are wizards....

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