The Scar & The Invitation

chapters two & three of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry wakes up with his scar hurting after a dream about Voldemort, and decides to write to Sirius about it. Then, after a skimpy breakfast, a letter arrives from Mrs. Weasley inviting him to the Quidditch World Cup, and Uncle Vernon begrudginly agrees to let him go.

First Pain of Trouble, by FrizzyHermione

He had awoken from a vivid dream with his hands pressed over his face.


Hermione, by Sanna Lorenzen

At once, Hermione Granger’s voice seemed to fill his head, shrill and panicky.
“Your scar hurt? Harry, that’s really serious…. Write to Professor Dumbledore! And I’ll go and check
Common Magical Ailments and Afflictions…. Maybe there’s something in there about curse scars….”


Ron, by Sanna Lorenzen

And so he tried to imagine his other best friend, Ron Weasley’s, reaction, and in a moment, Ron’s red hair and long-nosed, freckled face seemed to swim before Harry….
“Your scar hurt? But… but You-Know-Who can’t be near you now, can he? … I dunno, Harry, maybe curse scars always twinge a bit…. I’ll ask Dad….”


Over Stamped Letter, by Sheena Kristen Sy

He held out the envelope in which Mrs. Weasley’s letter had come, and Harry had to fight down a laugh.


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

The fact that the Dursleys receive such an unusual letter from the Weasleys makes me wonder – how does Harry communicate with the Dursleys during the school year? They always seem to know when to pick him up at the end of term, and he’s even received Christmas presents from them at school (granted, lousy ones). There’s absolutely no way either of them would ever send or receive anything via owl… yet they get it to him somehow. Any theories?

The Wizarding World

It’s also sort of funny that, when Vernon tells Harry he’s to have the Weasleys pick him up, neither of the two of them really thinks through to what this will entail. Surely Vernon wouldn’t want wizards coming up his front walkway? You’d think he’d want to arrange this a little bit better….


Harry’s dream is fascinating, in that he seems to have seen the scene at the Riddle House precisely but from a third-person perspective. It’s hard to imagine what magic is giving him this ability, and it’s notably different from the perspective of future dreams he’ll have about Voldemort. More than likely, this is simply something Rowling didn’t think through all the way until after this book was published, but it’s a bit puzzling (and fun to come up with theories as to why else this might be the case….).

The Final Word

Goblet of Fire was the last book in which Rowling devoted significant space (almost a full chapter, in fact) to recapping the previous stories. Here’s what she said when she was asked about it before Order of the Phoenix was published:
“It’s becoming more of a challenge to keep new readers up to speed with every new Harry book. In the case of “Chamber of Secrets” matters were relatively straightforward; I tried to introduce information about Harry and his first year at Hogwarts in as natural a way as possible. However, by the time I reach books 5 and 6, this is going to be much harder. It makes me think of “previously on ER…” when you have to watch 30 minutes of clips to understand that week’s episode. Maybe I’ll just write a preface “previously in Harry Potter…” and tell readers to go back and read books 1-4!”–J.K. Rowling, Fall 2000

41 Responses to “The Scar & The Invitation”

  1. Random assumption once again: I figured the school sent owls for Christmas gifts with the instructions to “peck until return post has been sent” or something. I can see Dumbledore having something to do with that. Then Vernon would have the same inside argument: send something via owl or have one tormenting his family. I’m totally open to more logical thoughts, though. :D

  2. wow…that was very similar to the idea I had… remember when Hedwig thought of going to Hermione and Ron to pick up Birthday presents on her own? perhaps she did the same at Christmas with them…i’m sure Mrs. Weasley thought of sending something after minimal hints from Ron that he wouldn’t be getting anything in 1st year. As for the Dursleys knowing when to pick him up….well Dumbledore did mention that he corresponded with Petunia

    what do you think?

  3. Mrs. Weasley is so kind-hearted I’m sure she just had to meet Harry and that took care of gifts/cards/celebrations for the rest of the time she knew him.

    I suppose there’s also regular mail. After all, the first Hogwarts letters arrived with the regular post . . .

  4. most of my idea’s were posted here above… I think Hedwig, or a school owl keeps bothering the Durseley’s until they send something for Christmas, and I think that they would either get a letter attached to an owl concerning the pick-up date or just like the first letters from Hogwarts in book 1, letters from no one..which were also brought by owl, but less annoyingly for the dursleys..

  5. Maybe Hogwarts has a service for Muggle relatives similar to a p.o. box: They send whatever they want to send to a place where it’s then picked up by owls. And the other way around.

  6. I think I like Kim’s idea best, it’s along the lines of what I was thinking. It’s just hard for me to imagine Vernon relenting if Hedwig pecked him to death (the way she did to Ron and Hermione in OP); I feel like he’d eventually just throw her in a cage and call animal services or something.

    Don’t forget Aunt Petunia wrote to Dumbledore asking to come to Hogwarts when she was little, too – would she even have known about owls, or been able to get access to one?

  7. I always assumed the Hedwig pecking the Dursleys theory. And that Uncle Vernon gave up and eventually pout in a toothpick, or a coin.
    I like the picture by FrizzyHermione; it looks as though the invisibility cloak is over the top of him.

  8. I think the end of term is always the same day, every year, just like the first day (Sept. 1).

  9. It seems that when Voldemort doesn’t have a body, Harry’s visions of him are from the outside so to speak. Like in chapter 29 when he has the vision Voldemort torturing Wormtail in Divination, he’s described to approach the scene riding an owl, definitely not from Voldemort’s PoV. So either JKR didn’t think about it enough, or it has something to do with the fact that Voldemort isn’t “back” yet I guess.

  10. Just dropping in to comment first time, love the site illustrations and all and very insightful commentary.

    From PS1 and what the rest of the books imply I always assumed that post between Muggle relatives and Hogwarts students is delivered by Muggle post up to a point and then taken by Ministry of Magic insiders to the owl post network, arriving to Hogwarts en masse.

    After all, Hedwig deliver post to Harry, though she most definately stays in the Owlery most of the time. Maybe the Muggle post to Hogwarts arrives some time in the morning and the owls in the Owlery deliver the post to the owners.

  11. I thought I read somewhere that there were wizards working undercover in Muggle post offices. Maybe JKR said this at some point, not sure. At any rate, I think that would make sense.

  12. Ben – in the Epilogue it did mention that Snape was amazed that Petunia had contacted Dumbledore and thought that there must be wizards working undercover in the muggle post. This is just Snape’s opinion at the time, but it seems to make sense, seeing how wizards seem to use muggle technology and systems in their own world (i.e. the MoM).

    Also, I think that I have found a spelling mistake, “begrudginly”! :)

  13. About the Oops section: Harry gets into Voldemort’s head after Voldemort gets his body back at the end of this book. Maybe Harry viewing Frank Bryce’s last moments in third person is because Voldemort does not have a proper body at this point.

  14. Jeremy (and others), this is certainly valid – after all, Harry starts seeing through Voldemort’s eyes after Voldemort has his body back. But I guess my question is, if Harry isn’t seeing through Voldemort’s eyes, and he isn’t seeing through Nagini’s, how is he seeing the scene at all? I can’t come up with a valid magical reason that he should be able to see anything from that perspective.

  15. Again a few comments after having listened to these chapters:

    This is the first time that we don’t spend his birthday with Harry.

    I love how JKR looks back on the past books in this chapter. It seems so tender. Or is that Jim Dale’s reading?

  16. It’s never specifically said what point of view Harry is seeing the dream through. While we might see it third person, Harry himself can barely remember the dream, so who’s to say he couldn’t have seen it from another point of view?

  17. Brittany, it’s certainly possible here, but later on Harry has another “dream” (when he falls asleep in Divination, chapter 29) where it’s pretty clear he’s seeing Voldemort from the external point of view. So either way the question exists somewhere.

  18. I always assumed that muggle post was involved for part of a letter/package’s journey. Maybe Hogwarts has a P. O. box somewhere.

    As for the point-of-view, I always considered it to be from a completely different point-of-view than Harry’s. Harry dreamed the events, but he didn’t necessarily see them the same way Frank did, and Harry’s perspective is pretty ambiguous.

  19. First time reader on this site, fun stuff! I always thought any mail from the Dursley’s would’ve been sent via muggle post and picked up by insiders (magical folk seem to have insiders everywhere else in gov’t, so why not?). Although, I admit, I enjoy thinking about Hedwig pestering them. I hadn’t thought of that before. My other thought was that Vernon never had any connection with the gifts and Petunia almost secretly sent them. Perhaps only out of an intense feeling of duty/guilt. Maybe I’m giving her too much credit.

  20. These are such funny ideas! I never thought Hedwig or any other owls delivered messages to the Dursleys. I assumed that the Hogwarts Express always returned on the same day, same time, as it leaves in September at the same place, same time. I also assumed, since the Dursleys are so concerned with appearances, that they sent their “presents” at Christmas time so no wizards would come knocking on their electric fireplace! But I also never thought much about HOW those presents actually got to Harry.

    Perhaps house elves leave Hogwarts to pick up presents from Muggle families? It wouldn’t take them very long, and they are the ones who have to deliver the presents once at Hogwarts anyway. I just can’t imagine the Dursleys being happy with ANY solution here! Owls, house elves, any magical creature would send them into a tail spin.

    I am going to have to agree with those who said the presents are sent Muggle Post and are secretly passed along to the Magical Post.

    Wouldn’t we love to get inside JKR’s head and see everything as she imagines it??

  21. I’m addicted to this website. This is fabulous …
    A thought on Harry’s point of view in the dream; maybe Harry saw the events at the Riddle house in third person only because of the fragment of Voldemort’s soul within him? As though it’s Voldemort’s presence through Harry’s eyes but because Harry’s conscience is dominant, he thinks that he saw it???
    (I don’t know if I’m making any sense here … any ideas?)

  22. Seeing as Voldemort is nebulous at this point (and he can conceivably flit in and out of his makeshift baby-like (ug) body, it makes some sense that Harry’s pov in those dreams is nebulous too. After all, Harry never had any visions of/through Voldemort while V. was in hiding in Albania, but as he gets a “rudimentary” body and starts gaining power it sort of makes sense that his disembodied bits of soul would start picking up on it. And the bit of soul in Harry would allow Harry to get these vague glimpses of Voldemort’s situation.

    It’s funny, after DH I’ve become so used to Harry’s ability to see from Voldemort’s pov (and even experience his feelings and his thoughts, as when he realizes where the last Horcrux is), that I’d forgotten he doesn’t experience that till Order of the Phoenix. It seems the more powerful Voldemort is, the closer Harry’s visions are to him.

  23. hazelwillow, I *think* I see what you’re saying… I guess it’s just that, in my mind, the only way Harry should have the option of seeing what Voldy is doing is from Voldemort’s perspective himself. In other words, Harry doesn’t have access to the room Voldemort is in except through Voldemort’s brain via the Horcrux connection – does that make sense? So it seems to me that if Voldemort is in the chair, body or no, Harry shouldn’t be able to see the room except from the perspective of sitting in the chair.

  24. I’ve also wondered about how much wizards are integrated into regular society. If they don’t receive muggle post, how do they pay taxes to the regular muggle govt? (or do they? do they pay both wizarding and muggle taxes?) Does the Muggle govt realize all these people are walking around employed “underground”? where do they think these folks work? do wizards have completely separate food stores, utility companies (unless their utilities are magical), do wizards/witches ever shop in regular muggle clothing stores and if so how do they pay? There’s this whole underground society that is sort of “semi-integrated”, some more than others, it’s very interesting to think about.

  25. Dear Josie: we don’t know precisely where Harry sees it all from. The Riddle House (chapter) is written largely from Frank Bryce’s perspective – is it completely impossible that Harry actually was watching from Voldemort’s perspective? This would explain why he can’t remember what V looked like – perhaps his impression of seeing V’s body was just gleaned from Frank Bryce’s horror? It’s not as if, as far as I remember, he recognises V’s body when he sees it in Flesh, Blood & Bone. Alternatively, could he have seen from the snake’s POV, like in The Eye of the Snake? They are SPOILER
    both Horcruxes, after all.

    Oh, I totally get what you’re saying about point of view, and it’s a good point, and on the whole I agree with you: it makes more sense when Harry experiences these visions through voldemort’s perspective. Goblet of Fire *is* an anomaly in that harry’s visions seem to be from a third person perspective.

    I’d suggest, though, that in making the dreams in Goblet of Fire different than the ones that happen later on in Order of the Phoneix and beyond, Rowling suggests to us that there’s a qualitative difference in the state of Voldemort’s existence before and after his regeneration at the end of Goblet of Fire. It would be odd if Harry could suddenly experience Voldemort’s thoughts just because Voldemort is back in England, or just because he has a “rudimentary body.” If that were the case, we’d be asking why Harry hadn’t experienced Voldemort’s world through Voldemort’s eyes while V. was hiding in a forest in Albania. Obviously Voldemort’s return to England and starting to re-regain some strenght ARE important and have an effect on his horcruxes (his fragments of soul seem to be able to sense each other’s presence, after all, like when the locket fuses to Harry’s chest in DH and (I assume) the bit of soul in the locket and the bit of soul in Harry are attracted to each other while Harry has his vision into Voldemort’s thoughts). But the events in Flesh, Blood and Bone are a bigger magical transition for Voldemort than the events of Wormtail helping him survive. And remember, having access to V.’ point of view is more than just his eyes: it’s also his emotions, his thoughts, the experience of him as a *person*. And technically at this point he isn’t a person yet.

    So, while I agree it makes sense that Harry should only be able to see Voldemort’s surroundings from V.’s perspective, from a less logical but more literary or symbolic point of view I can see why Rowling may not have decided to do it that way in this book. Having Harry only start to see things from V.’s perspective in OotP was a way for Rowling to show the change between Voldemort in his weak, half-alive form and a fully regenerated Voldemort, whose presence in Harry’s mind is now vivid. And though V. technically has some sort of body in this book, it is much less important than the body he will gain using Harry’s blood etc. Allowing Harry to share his mind and emotions (!) only AFTER that has happened emphasizes the radical difference that body has made to his strength. He’s literally *closer,* more in focus, to Harry after that point. [I also wonder whether his having gained entry into Lily’s protection, through using Harry’s blood, has anything to do with it?]

    And remember, it’s actually not Voldemort’s brain Harry has access to. It’s Voldemort’s soul –and in this case, that soul is still existing in a very precarious state. So these dreams Harry has (and they are more dreamlike than his later visions) are, like Voldemort’s own existence, still quite vague. They don’t allow us to access Voldemort’s thoughts or emotions directly, they don’t give us his point of view, they don’t even really let us SEE Voldemort himself. To build suspense it’s far more effective that it should be this way, but also, I think, it makes some sense from the magical side of things that the horcrux-soul can’t connect with that other bit of soul, the bit that is Voldemort, very well yet. Isn’t there something about a Horcrux being utterly reliant on having a receptacle? While I know it has one (Harry), maybe the weakness of the one on the other side is a problem for it. :-P

    So I guess the question, then, is How is Harry seeing Voldemort’s room without seeing it through Voldy’s own eyes? The dream seems like a more conventional vision someone might have about, say, a loved one, than the later excursions into Voldemort’s mind. JK Rowling did mention in an interview that when Harry’s scar hurts, it’s because the bit of soul in him is trying to escape the way it came in (through the cut on his forehead). Presumably it’s being attracted back to its true owner in these moments when its true owner is taking steps to regain his power (and, ahem, doing things of significance to the plot, of course :P). I envision it magically reaching out and searching for him, but being unable to quite connect with him yet.
    Or maybe Voldemort’s soul flits in and out of his new “body” and, when Harry’s perspective approaches the Riddle house on the back of the Eagle Owl, perhaps that is where Voldemort’s soul is too in that moment (though I doubt it). I guess all we can really say is, it’s magic. It would have been cool if Dumbledore has explained how these dreams worked, or if Rowling had made Harry’s point of view a little clearer in those instances.

    And that is the end of my Extremely Long essay! I hope I was a little clearer there. Thank you for making me think about these things!

  27. Later when Harry recounts what it is he’s seen in this dream, he only recalls seeing things from inside the room. I believe the first chapter is more like Spinner’s End in HBP than Harry’s fleeting glimpses into Voldemort’s mind. It’s a way of revealing certain things without revealing the whole ploy.

  28. Well, I think it’s important to remember Petunia’s letter to Dumbledore when she was just a girl. I cannot remember the exact wording, but it is suggested that there are witches or wizards working at the post to some extent because the letter sent via Muggle-means got to Dumbledore and was answered. Perhaps the Dursleys send theirs the same way.
    As to end of term, I have a feeling an owl probably just drops a letter at the door, or something of the sort. Or perhaps there’s another method used for parents of Muggle-born or under other circumstances (like Harry’s).

  29. For some reason I have always just immediately assumed that Hedwig bothered the Dursleys until they gave her sth to fly away with, haha (x

  30. i just assumed that harry gave it to hedwig and she would put it into their mailbox and they would send it back via the muggle post which as you know if you’ve read the 7th book turns up at the right place…Hogwarts

  31. “The fact that the Dursleys receive such an unusual letter from the Weasleys makes me wonder – how does Harry communicate with the Dursleys during the school year? They always seem to know when to pick him up at the end of term, and he’s even received Christmas presents from them at school (granted, lousy ones). There’s absolutely no way either of them would ever send or receive anything via owl… yet they get it to him somehow. Any theories?”

    CS p 212 specifically has hedwig beingign harry his present from the dursleys. its not conclusive but i think its simply more believable that the dursleys, so embarassed that an owl would show up for them, would hurriedly give her something to get her out of their house and away from all their neighbors. PA doesnt say what the dursleys gave him GoF says they gave hima tissue but not how it even got to him…. and after, when hes not at hogwarts, no mention is made of what he got in OtP from the dursleys either. which could lend credence to the idea of the muggle post getting picked up?? there’s really evidence for both i suppose.

  32. Petunia knows how to communicate with Hogwarts. She did it as a child after witnessing her sister Lily do it. She must have used muggle post. She never had an owl, nor access to any other magical method of communication, so she couldn’t have done it any other way.

    I’d guess that Petunia’s sense of decorum forces her to send Harry something for special occasions. I find it amusing that Harry never has even a twinge of reciprocal feeling in that sense.

  33. Here’s a theory I think fits most pieces together with the Riddle House perspective thing, though almost certainly isn’t the true explanation:

    The chapter as you’re reading it has nothing to do with how harry sees the events. How can Voldy’s mind/soul-fragment be down in the yard with Frank when he sees the light in the window and proceed to follow him through the house? It makes no sense. This chapter is just written completely apart from harry, like ‘Spinner’s End’ and ‘The Other Minister’ at the start of HBP.

    However we learn at the start of next chapter that harry has seen this same thing, but not necessarily from the same perspective. He maybe actually saw it simultaneously but from voldy’s view? That is, when Frank is making his way through the house and listening at the door, harry is ‘inside’ Voldy.

    Later, though it says explicitly he saw the chair swing around from another perspective.

    This is a bit far-fetched but maybe as the chair swung around, Voldy makes eye contact with Frank Bryce and performs legilemency to perhaps ensure the last image in Frank’s mind was Voldy’s horrific body…? Which essentially gives harry the view of the moment the chair swung around from Frank’s perspective but the conversation beforehand from Voldy’s.

    As I said, not a likely explanation :P but it sorta fits

  34. This is a good theory, and I agree, Harry’s consciousness probably didn’t experience the long explanation of Little Hangleton village at the beginning of the chapter and probably didn’t see Frank getting up to fill his kettle etc.

    But I think all clues point to Harry experiencing the scene in Voldemort’s room from a “third person” perspective, whether we like it or not. For one, it’s a NEW thing in OOTP when Harry starts seeing visions in which he “is” Voldemort (remember, he tells Ron and Ron spills water down his front? And Harry looks at his hands to make sure they aren’t long and white? Seeing from Voldy’s perspective is a new thing to him then. And it’s a big deal that he’s “seen” Mr Weasley’s attack from the perspective of the snake?)

    And what about when Harry falls asleep in Trelawney’s room during “the Dream” and his vision starts as he follows an eagle owl…? (If I am remembering right). That vision is definitely in “third person” not “first Person Voldemort”.

    And doesn’t he tell Dumbledore later in this book that all he saw of Voldemort was “the back of his chair”? That definitely makes me think in the GoF visions, Harry experiences this stuff like a ghost in the room: a third person perspective. He doesn’t feel his body, in the dream, to be small and baby-like, as he later experiences “having” Voldemort’s hands and tall height. I don’t think Voldy’s rudimentary body is “good enough” for Harry to see through yet, for some reason. I guess it’s not a true body. We don’t even know how well its eyes work. These are more like clairvoyant dreams than the waking visions that come later, and they don’t give access to Voldy’s mind and eyes yet. Only vaguely to his situation.

    It’s a writerly device, but it also mirrors Voldy’s not-yet-fully-returned state. That’s the best I can make of it. Our expectations that harry’s visions be from Voldy’s pov comes from post-Voldy’s rebirth, post-GOF, when he himself is fully functional and present.

  35. I always just assumed that the ministry of magic had someone on the inside dealing with the Post (a mail forwarder of sorts) to deal with muggle-born family’s or Harry’s aunt and uncle.

  36. I really like how this chapter involves so many characters, but completely takes place within Harry’s thoughts. It seems like Hermione and Ron are right there with him as he imagines what their responses would be to the news of his scar hurting.

    I’ve also always wondered where exactly Sirius was this summer when he was sending tropical birds to deliver letters to Harry. It’s kinda nice to imagine Sirius lazing on a beautiful island beach somewhere, sipping a drink with an umbrella, and enjoying himself for once!

  37. I’d just like to give my thought on why the Dursleys would even send Harry gifts in the first place. Honestly, I think they send him those crappy gifts as a way to tell him they still don’t care about him. Kind of a taunt and a way to say, “we still don’t want you here, and it would be great if you didn’t come back.” I think they believe if they keep up the hatred toward him, he’ll just decide to not come back. Of course, Petunia knows why he’s there in the summer, but she just kind of does whatever Vernon thinks is best, right? So she just kind of goes along with it, and keeps her mouth shut.

    And I agree completely with hazelwillow’s point of view on the subject of Harry’s “vision”. It makes the most sense to me, and was very well-thought out and described. Cheers!

  38. Cheers! :)

  39. I imagine that there is a Owl post to Muggle Post exchange depot in all the major cities and towns, where wizards use magic to intercept the mail, search it for any going from a Muggle address to a Wizarding address, and then pull stamps off of Muggle Post going to wizards, magically clean them off, and place them again on post going from Owl Post to Muggles. Owls taking Post to Muggles would have instructions to drop it off at the Depot, and the Depot would have a host of Owls ready to deliver the Muggle Post to wizards. It would be called Muggle to Owl Post Exchange Depot, or M.O.P.E.D.

  40. Isn’t it mentioned somewhere that there’s wizarding connections in the post office? They could be diverting muggle post to owls that are sent off to Hogwarts, possibly? I doubt the Dursleys are a unique case at Hogwarts, so there has to be some muggle-friendly version of the owl post.

  41. Regarding the issues of post and how mail is delivered, either by the owls or by the mailmen is probably be solved years ago. We know that 1. the Ministry is aquainted with Muggle ways because they need to know how to NOT expose themselves, so I am sure that sending letters to say, children or parents of children who are not pure or half bloods have to have way figured out to not look abnormal but still deliver their mail to the correct address… I am sure those who work in the offices are sorted to the right locations and are taken from there to the Owlries or what have you. It may have taken them a few tries to perfect that formula (like how to get the students to class, ultimately landing on the muggle-invented form of transportation by train) I am more than sure they have a well adapted way to handle post… like Santa Claus does ;)

    As for the first chapter in the story regarding the dream and the set up and details, etc., it doesn’t come apparent that it’s third person until when Frank dies. We know that Harry used context clues to pull from the dream…it did mention in the room was incredibly darkened and it was a “dim” memory of his dream, as he was trying to recall it, as he did wake up from a start. He only had a sliver of the interaction between Voldemort and Frank; and hearing Wormtail and Voldemort about planning yet another murder, including his own. It was just a very brief interaction was like a fly on the wall snippet of information. I see it as Voldemort’s strength is getting stronger, therefore, his signal is getting stronger. Kind of like cell towers — the further out in the country you are (and in this case, the weaker Voldemort is), the less the reception; however, the closer you are to a cell tower, the better the reception (in this case, with Voldemort was gaining strenth, but could make for a “spotty” call, again, like this dream was a snippet and not a full dream — as Harry was struggling to regain the details when he awoke) and the reason why Harry see things stronger later on in the series is because Voldemort is apparently stronger (just like being in the city and having a stronger reception by not only one tower but plenty of towers…). I hope this makes sense to people. That’s what I think of it, at least.

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