Beauxbatons and Durmstrang

chapter fifteen of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

After Harry writes back to Sirius and then has a memorable class in which Moody puts the students under the Imperius Curse, they learn that the foreign students will soon be arriving. Then, as Hogwarts awaits, a massive flying carriage brings the students of Beauxbatons, and an underwater ship the students of Durmstrang – including Viktor Krum.

Harry Resists the Imperius Curse, by MartinTenbones

And then he heard Mad-Eye Moody’s voice, echoing in some distant chamber of his empty brain: Jump onto the desk… jump onto the desk…


The Arrival of Beauxbatons, by Rose

As the gigantic black shape skimmed over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest and the lights shining from the castle windows hit it, they saw a gigantic, powder-blue, horse-drawn carriage, the size of a large house, soaring toward them….

(by Rose)


Madame Maxime, by Laurence Peguy

“Dumbly-dorr,” said Madame Maxime in a deep voice. “I ‘ope I find you well?”


Foreign Visitors Arrive, by Helene Sirois

Slowly, magnificently, the ship rose out of the water.


Viktor Krum, by Patilda

He didn’t need the punch on the arm Ron gave him, or the hiss in his ear, to recognize that profile. “Harry – it’s Krum!

(by Patilda)


about the chapter


One of the things that always cracks me up about the wizarding world is the outlandish situations that are simply accepted as being perfectly normal. Where else would a student nonchalantly describe how his teacher told him to “shut up and get on with transfiguring my raccoon”?

The Power of Magic

I’ve always wondered what the journeys to Hogwarts were like for the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students. How long did it take for the carriage to fly that far (as brooms would have taken many, many hours)? And given that the Hogwarts lake doesn’t seem to be connected to any other bodies of water, how exactly did the Durmstrang ship get into the lake to begin with? It also seems clear that some sort of magical means must have been enacted to prevent students from knowing exactly where they were going, thereby protecting Hogwarts’s secure location. Too bad it wasn’t Harry traveling to another school, so we could get an idea. ;)

Life at Hogwarts

It would be interesting to know Dumbledore’s level of involvement in Moody’s classes – for instance, whose idea was it really to put all the students under the Imperius Curse, one by one? Either way, though, it seems almost certain that Dumbledore is aware of the exercise and at least implicitly approving of it. That’s a fairly astonishing thing, given that Moody could theoretically be sentenced to life in Azkaban for putting the curse on his students. But it seems Dumbledore knows that rough times are ahead for Hogwarts students and, like Moody, thinks they should be prepared. I wonder if Moody placed all of his classes under the curse, or just Harry’s?

The Final Word

(When asked, “Why couldn’t the Ministry of Magic have sent Sirius an owl, and then followed it, to find him?”)

“Just as wizards can make buildings unplottable, they can also make themselves untraceable. Voldemort would have been found long ago if it had been as simple as sending him an owl!”
–J.K. Rowling,

41 Responses to “Beauxbatons and Durmstrang”

  1. You know when drawing the Hogwarts’ kids in their school cloaks I’ve often wondered if the Houses they belong to are actually represented somehow, and my conclusion is that there is no indication in the books that such is the case.
    It’s one of those things that we take for granted for two things: one, the uniforms do have different colors for different Houses in the movies, and two, the students seem to know who is in which House. There is an exception to this in CoS when Harry and Ron have taken the Polyjuice Potion and are looking for the Slytherin Common Room; they think Penelope Clearwater is from Slytherin because they find her near the Slytherin entrance.
    But when in the list of things they have to buy in first year it says “Three pairs of plain work robes (black)”, and since they don’t know what House they will be sorted into, they can’t buy robes accordingly.
    Anyway, all this was just to say that even if the uniforms from Beaubâtons and Durmstrang are the same, that doesn’t mean they don’t have Houses or something similar.
    I’m not saying they do either, it’s just fun to imagine how they would work :)

  2. What Moody does in this class is very interesting. Did he put all other classes under the Imperio curse? Wouldn’t somebody like Malfoy tell their parents about it and get Moody and (possibly Dumbledore) sacked? Didn’t any of the Gryffindors complain to their parents? Any adult who heard it would be outraged and would believe the story considering Moody’s reputation.
    Maybe Voldemort wanted fake-Moody to try Harry’s strength, maybe fake-Moody was curious about Harry’s powers. In either case, he could have convinced Dumbledore that it was a neccesary exercise for Harry who may soon have to deal with Voldemort/DEs and should be prepared. There is no way Dumbledore didn’t know what was going on. (He may also be the one who proposed it)
    On second thought, all the students have the Trace on them, that suggests that the Ministry probably suspects what’s going on
    Even if they don’t constantly look over what’s going on at Hogwarts, a dozen or so Imperio curses would stand out around the same 10 students in a relatively short period of time, as there is no way they could all have been done(on animals) to show how the curse worked. The reason why they don’t do anything? Out of fear and respect for Dumbledore (I presume), as at the very end of this book Fudge says samething along the lines of “turning a blind eye to what Dumbledore does and teaches at Hogwarts”. So even if multiple parents reported the incident, the Ministry already knew and maybe nobody cared to report it because they knew the Ministry knew and wasn’t taking any actions.

    Regarding the uniforms, I agree with Lola. There is simply no proof that the houses have different uniforms. Judging by how quick Harry seems to recongnize members of each house, some might attach a pin or some other thing with their house colours/symbols/badges to their hats or robes.

  3. I don’t think the Trace works as well at Hogwarts (if at all). What’s the point in tracing underage magic at a magic school? And what about Hogwarts’ magical defenses?

  4. I wonder if the “different houses wearing different colors” thing is more about the movies altering how we visualize the books.

    In the movies everyone wears a uniform, including neckties, where the color of the tie corresponds with the house colors (which makes it easier to visually identify people), but in the books students wear whatever they want (if anything at all) underneath their robes. And the robes do all seem to be the same.

    I suppose to find out what house someone belongs to you have to ask them, hear it from someone else or take a guess.

  5. I’ve always found the clothes in the films to be “far too muggle” so I can also see why in our heads we might start to assume about house affiliated colours and such. I also cannot ever remember an explicit reference to them ever wearing ties, but I read too much fanfiction for me to remember accurately without a reread of the whole series.
    I’d love to know how big the other schools are and more about how modern or integrated with local muggle cultures foreign wizards are.

  6. At my old boarding school we wore ties in our house colours, so I can see them doing that at Hogwarts too.

  7. i definitely might be guilty of movie interference here in thinking that there was a defining characteristic of the houses on the robes. Can anybody think of a reference to this from the books, other than the “plain black” robes the first years are required to buy?

  8. I don’t remember (and I’ve had this discussion before) the books mentioning robes with house colours. I think Harry and Ron mistaking / not knowing which house people belong to would imply the robes are the same for everyone.

    Besides, at one point Harry hides in a crowd of Hufflepuffs going the other way, and that wouldn’t be easy with house colouring on the robes.

    I’ve always wondered what do they wear underneath the robes? Because while they pull robes over their Muggle clothing in the train, that can hardly be the norm (especially for Draco and other pureblood witches and wizards).

  9. Personally, I don’t think that Beauxbatons and Durmstrang necessarily have houses. The reason Hogwarts does is because the school was founded by four people who each had different ideas of ‘good’ wizards. Or at least the houses might be randomly assigned, instead of based on the students’ characteristics.
    I know this has nothing really to do with the chapter, but your mentioning of “transfiguring a raccoon” reminded me of something I have always wondered. When a wizard transfigures a living creature into an inanimate object, or vice versa, what happens to the animal’s consciousness?

  10. Regarding the colour of the robes at Hogwarts, wasn’t there something in the books about the scarlet and the blue of the visiting students making it look as though there were many, many more students because they stood out from the usual black of Hogwarts? I remember reading this somewhere.

  11. Another thought on why Moody teaches the Unforgivable Curses: Maybe he wants to make the afraid, so they’ll be terrified when Voldemort returns to power. Still doesn’t explain why he put Harry under the Imperius Curse though.

  12. Either way, it’s pretty amazing that Harry could cope with the Imperius Curse. I mean, you have to have a great will, and this is something he did by himself and because of his personality. He didn’t need Hermione nor Ron. Amazing.

  13. @Electa: You do remember correctly. The quote is in the next chapter:
    “The Great Hall seemed somehow much more crowded than usual, even though there were barely twenty additional students there; perhaps it was because their differently coloured uniforms stood out so clearly against the black of the Hogwarts robes.”
    So it seems quite clear from the books, that there are no house colours on the Hogwarts robes.

  14. Perhaps they are given an insignia or patch to put on their robes after being sorted. As they grow, and get new robes, they can get robes with their house crest already on them? You’d think students like Malfoy would since he likes to stand out and show off his wealth and breeding.

  15. I think the fact that the houses *don’t* have anything distinctive helps offset the potential cliquishness of having four houses. You don’t know upon first meeting someone what house they are in so you can’t prejudge them.

  16. I think that the robes are just black, but that students wear scarves/hats/pins to distinguish themselves, which brings up another point. Where do Hogwarts students get their scarves/hats/banners? Is there a school store or somthing?

  17. I don’t think the students wear scarves/pins etc. to distinguish themselves because when Ron and Harry drink the Polyjuice Potion and become Crabbe and Goyle in “Chamber of Secrets”, they ask a girl with curly hair “Excuse me, we’ve forgotten the way to our common room.” and the girl replies “Our common room? I’m a Ravenclaw.” So just plain black robes in my opinion….

  18. But there are times when students have pins on their robes, because the Slytherins make up the the “Potter stinks” badges and Hermione creates badges for SPEW. So it might be something that the students can elect to put on their robes in they wish.

    Also I have no idea what happens to the poor animals brains/souls/conscience that get transfigured into something else, but it does make me wonder if it is a death trap to any creature that does get transfigured. and if that is the case does the object they have been transfigured into die/disintegrate from the original animal’s lack of sustainability?

  19. Snowqueen, I believe Kirsten may have been referring to when there are Quidditch matches, or while attending Triwizard Tasks, rather than in everyday life. The robes were dsecribed as plain black in their letter, and in the way Harry must first know someone, or be told about someone, before he knows their house would suggest this continues right throughout their schooling. As people have said, they couldn’t distinguish Penelope Clearwater from a Slytherin because she was in the dungeons.

    It’s a very common thing in schools, to expect theis students to work as one organism, when beneath the surface they are broken up in to houses, and makes perfect sense in a Hogwarts setting. The changes for the films makes sense in themselves, though, in evoking a well-trodden boarding school look, while separating characters visually to remove the need for further explanation, which a book can afford.

  20. Ok, this is totally unrelated, but that Jo quote about tailing an owl to Voldemort to find him brought to mind the Swiss inviting Roman Polanski for an award and arresting him for rape.

    It cracked me up cause when I heard that I thought “that’s great! let’s invite Bin Laden for tea, next week!!” And here’s the same idea for Voldy!! =)

  21. RE Imperius Curse: I think this is definitely Jr.’s idea, whether or not Dumbledore agreed. Jr. has spent years under this curse’s influence, and he seems genuinely thrilled that Potter is able to fight it. I think this scene is a glimpse into Jr.’s character (in retrospect at least) rather than a part of the evil plot.

    RE Uniforms: In the polyjuice scene, Hermione grabs robes from the laundry because Harry and Ron’s robes wouldn’t fit Crabbe and Goyle. If they wore a different style of robe, a certain color necktie, a house pin, etc., it seems that it would have been organic to that scene to include that information. I don’t think the books mention any difference in attire between houses, excepting Quidditch robes and optional badges.

  22. One thing I didn’t understand considering Moody’s true identity, is why did he keep putting the Imperius Curse on Harry until he could completely throw it off? Wouldn’t it better for Voldemort if Harry could still be controlled?

  23. I’m commenting late on many of these posts, because I’ve just found this site a few days ago. I must say I’m really enjoying it, the art and discussions are very thought provoking and fun! Thanks!

    I must admit I’ve always found Barty Crouch Jr.’s characterization as Mad Eye to be a weakness in the writing. I mean that fake-Moody is SO similar to real-Moody that even when Harry finds out it wasn’t Moody all along, he never discounts the things he learned from Jr. and we never get *that* much of an indication that he’s had a period of getting to know the real Mad-Eye later on (it’s mentioned about once at the beginning of OotP). I’ve even never made the connection to Barty Crouch being kept under the curse for all those years –I always have a hard time keeping in mind that it’s not Moody teaching.
    But in this scene, I always assumed it was something Dumbledore would trust Moody to teach, and that Jr. is really imitating what the real Moody would do.

    I wonder if he spied on Moody before attacking him, to get an idea of what he’s like? I don’t think polyjuice would be as easy to pull off as many characters seem to manage, there’s a big acting side as well.

  24. Perhaps Crouch Jr was so determined to carry out Voldemort’s plan that he impersonated Moody as accurately as possible no matter what. It’s not as if Harry’s being able to fight the Imperius Curse made it significantly less likely that Voldemort would be able to kill him given the opportunity.

  25. It’s a shame really that Jr decided to go into the dark arts, he would have made a great actor. :D Seriously though, I think it’s slightly scary how good Jr was at impersonating Moody, and probably would have increased the students’ fear of Voldemort and the DEs later on. After all, one of the terrible things about the war was not knowing if you could trust even your loved ones, and the thought that DEs might be THAT good at impersonating them would be a terrifying thought, one that everyone taught by Moody would have at the backs of their minds.

  26. Personally, I just wonder why no-one asked Rowling about the uniforms – I know that when they did the ‘making Harry Pooter’ series, they mentioned that she said that there wasn’t any uniform under the clothes, but that’s all. And as for Clearwater – navy blue and dark green are pretty similar colours – wouldn’t it be easy to mistake them? And everyone always recognises houses to easily . . .

    My personal guess is that they all have the same robes, where any/nothing under them, depending on their preferances, and wear either a pin with their house if they so choose, or have ties or trimming on their robes, both being optional.

  27. I think the movies kind of throw people off on the uniforms. One detail I usually forget, and judging by fanart I think a lot of people do, is that they wear hats. “One plain pointed hat, black, for daywear.”

  28. Concerning the transfiguration of living creatures into inanimate objects, I seem to recall at one point that a student (possibly Ron or Neville) transfigured a hedgehog into a pincushion that tried to move away when approached by someone with a pin.

    An incomplte transfiguration, but it does suggest that the creatures sentience is still there.

  29. when it comes to the uniforms i always thought they wore plain black wizard robes (liek the ones you see mcgonagal or dumbledore in). They may decorate with school colors later on, but on the whole its just plain black. i also think the movies are just trying toshow fashion etc because there are other issues we find in the movies atarting wtih PA – the kids wearing muggle clothing when not in their school robes. is this common in UK schools? for kids to only have to wear their uniforms when attending classes and eating? i just dont understand if you have to wear your robe for meals and classes, why would you ever bother wearing anything else, unless you had to leave hogwarts (like a trip to hogsmeade)?

    i think its one thing that always puzzled me. that and where would all these kids GET muggle clothing when we see at the quidditch world cup that many wizards have no idea how to wear muggle clothing. i can understand from muggle friends, but then wouldn’t their parents also have learned a bit about muggle fashion? or even themselves have worn muggle clothes growing up? and wouldnt familieslike the malfoys shun it entirely unless 100% necessary? yet we see draco in muggle clothes constantly in the movies.

    i thinkt he fashion in the movies is purely marketing myself, but i can’t be 100% certain

  30. I’m late to this party, but I can’t help putting in my two cents!

    In the second movie, Tom Riddle’s memory was filmed in black & white–a cool effect that gave it the feel of something that took place a long time ago, like an old film. But, I think the filmmakers had another motive. If the scenes had been in color, the audience might have noticed the green striped tie, and realized too early that Riddle was not to be trusted.

    That is the main reason I think the houses are not supposed to be indicated by the regular uniforms. If students in the books wore accessories in their house colors, surely Harry would have recognized Tom as a Slytherin when he entered the memory and immediately been suspicious of him.

  31. @sara, that is a great point!!!
    re: wearing pointy hats, I just find it hard to imagine them wearing the same hat every day all the time, even though it says day wear it just does not seem likely people would wear them all the time, probably just for occasions and trips (like hogsmede)

  32. Sara, I think it quite likely that students do wear badges if they wish, but not all students wish it. Basically, they don’t wear any distinguishing mark if JKR doesn’t want them to (Tom Riddle, Penelope Clearwater), but they do if Harry needs to recognise the other student’s house in a hurry. It’s one of the few choices that a British school gives about apparel – whether or not you wear a discreet little badge.

    KW, I think the wearing of hats in lessons is mentioned in one of the books, and that students probably do have to do it. It just sounds so school-ish. In Muggle schools, students are always in trouble for not tying their ties properly. Fussing about correct uniform is what teachers love to do to impose “order” on student behaviour. The more useless and counter-cultural the garment (pointed hat, tie for girls, correct sock) the more likely the staff are to insist on correct appearance.

    I agree that the movie uniforms are not like those described in the book. They are more like Muggle school uniforms with an academic robe on top. And it completely escapes me why so many scenes are shot in Muggle costume. That really doesn’t make any sense at all.

    However, it does seem that wizards born after c1960 dress pretty Muggle at home, while older pure-bloods wear robes the whole time. We are not told why this custom changed.

  33. I think they change up the wardrobe with the muggle clothing in the films, mostly because of comfortability for the actors. I distinctly recall Emma Watson being so relieved she could finally wear jeans on set when they were filming PoA. Plus, I think early on in this book Harry thinks something about how it was easy for the kids to “don Muggle clothing for the holidays” but the older generations found it difficult. I think it’s a generational gap, more than anything else. At school they have to wear the prescribed uniforms, but when on off times, Muggle clothing is an option for them. But I’m sure, as it’s been said, those who are prejudiced against Muggles wouldn’t dare do this, like the Malfoys, no matter how old or young they are. I also can’t imagine them wearing *nothing* underneath their robes. They must be wearing *something* cause I always picture the robes as being open like they are in the movies. So they must be wearing dress clothes of some kind. As for the distinguishing colors, I agree that the robes are all plain black, but they wear badges if they so wish to discern between Houses. And Jo can make the characters wear them or not wear them, depending on her need for it or not. Also, I absolutely *hate* the idea of the pointed hats. It’s just so silly to me. I get it that it’s what’s in the books, but I imagine them without them anyway. Like, robes, wands, cauldrons, fine, but no hats, those are silly lol

    As for Moody cursing students, I for some reason always thought he was just lying to them when he said Dumbledore said it was what he wanted. It just seemed outlandish to me that Dumbledore would be okay with that. But now I guess it is kind of out there to think he *didn’t* know what was going on. I think he probably hired Moody cause he knew he wouldn’t have a problem with cursing them, and was reading the signs that they needed to be prepared for the worst. I think Dumbledore probably had a chat with the Minister over this and convinced him it was for the best somehow. I think it highly unlikely that some kid wouldn’t write home about it. Unless of course, Dumbledore only had Moody prepare Harry’s class, in which case he bet on the fact that none of them would say anything. It’s a big gamble, even for Dumbledore. Maybe that was part of the deal? He may have told Fudge that he would only have it done in Harry’s class. I feel like somewhere in the books Fudge goes on a tirade about things going on at Hogwarts that he didn’t fully approve of, such as this.

    And with the transfiguration of objects into animals and vice versa, I feel like the spell isn’t literally creating a biological animal, but creating something that looks and acts very much like the animal you’re transfiguring to and from an object. So it doesn’t really have a soul or consciousness, it’s just the spell doing its job in the creating of a sort of “copycat”. That at least keeps my mind at rest about destroying a creature’s soul or consciousness when doing transfiguration magic.

  34. I don’t like the hats either and I never picture them in my mind when I’m reading. I actually think it would make it that much harder to identify people because of hair being hidden, everyone looking alike from the back, etc. It would also make it harder to see through a crowd because of a mass of black cones obstructing the view.

    But JKR says the hats are there, so who am I to dislike them?

  35. I always wonder how wizard robes fit, because I initially thought that they would be open at the front like in the films. However, in OOTP, in Snape’s worst memory, when James uses Levicorpus on him, he isn’t wearing anything under his robes but faded/dirty? underpants. So they must fasten up completely if students don’t have to wear anything under them if they don’t want to.
    Also, I think they must have to wear their hats most of them time because I think there are quite a few references to them – doesn’t Harry have to put out a fire or mop something up with his during a lesson?

  36. maplegirl, there are several references that say the students where hats all the time, but then there’s other passages, such as in OotP, that Harry says he can see the bobbing heads of flaming red hair of the Weasleys move down a corridor. I think Jo just writes them in and out for literary purpose and uses creative license to explain it away.

  37. I’ve been reading this site for a while now, but only just decided to comment, and wow! This is amazing! All the artwork, summaries, creative ideas…! Ever since the last film I’ve been re-reading the books, and this truly is the best companion I could ask for to relive the magic of my childhood. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who wonders about random details. Thanks so much for this Josie!

    To contribute to the comments…I think that, as easy as it is to bewitch garments and badges and the like, students could wear their house-themed garb out of pride. But mostly Harry can tell what house most people are in simply by noticing what house table they sit at for meals. I mean, you’re bound to recognize some faces after absent-mindedly gazing over your porridge to the other tables for a couple years. The coloured ties and such are inventions of the films, I’m sure. And as for the hats, I’ve never liked them! But they’re part of the wizarding culture. I think maybe not everyone wears one all the time (which would be ridiculous), and maybe they’re worn mostly for fashion or to look more impressive. And younger students might feel more obliged to wear them as part of their uniform because they’re generally more likely to stick to rules, thus why we see Harry using his hat to put out a fire in class in one of the earlier books, but don’t read much about hats on youngsters later.
    I hope I didn’t ramble on too much…

  38. Three extra books in preparation for a lesson on Summoning Charms? Why are there that many books relating to a single charm?

  39. Seeing as how no one has commented about how Durmstrang students can travel I think that Durmstrang’s ship is a kind of submarine- like portkey and able to travel to different bodies of water

  40. About the uniforms: I always imagined them wearing simple black robes because that is what is on Harry’s list in Philosopher’s. And whenever they know which house somebody is in, it is because they know the person (Ernie), or know of the person (Cedric).

    I was always impressed by just how well Crouch jr impersonated Moody. And he didn’t have much time – escaping from his father at the quidditch world cup, and until school started. Or am I remembering it wrong?

  41. The cloaks aren’t marked. On the second book, when Harry and Ron are disguised as Crabbe and Goyle, they ask a Ravenclaw where their common room is, thinking that she is a Slytherin. If they had colour coded robes, this wouldn’t be possible

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