The First Task

chapter twenty of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

As he gets increasingly nervous, Harry warns Cedric that the first task will be dragons – and when Moody overhears, he pulls Harry to his office and helps him work out how to get past the dragon. Finally, the first task arrives, and after an interminable wait, Harry performs very well, and makes up with Ron in the aftermath.

Morning of the First Task, by NicoPony

Harry got up on Sunday morning and dressed so inattentively that it was a while before he realized he was trying to pull his hat onto his foot instead of his sock.


Shocked Cedric, by Laura Freeman

Cedric stared at him. Harry saw some of the panic he’d been feeling since Saturday night flickering in Cedric’s gray eyes.


by Laurence Peguy

Moody closed the door behind them and turned to look at Harry, his magical eye fixed upon him as well as the normal one. “That was a very decent thing you just did, Potter,” Moody said quietly.


Accio Firebolt, by MartinTenbones

It was time to do what he had to do… to focus his mind, entirely and absolutely, upon the thing that was his only chance…. He raised his wand.
“Accio Firebolt!”


Shininess, by Alicey

“Okay,” Harry told himself, “diversionary tactics… let’s go….”

(by Alicey)


The First Task, by reallycorking

Before the dragon knew what he had done, or where he had disappeared to, he was speeding toward the ground as fast as he could go, toward the eggs now unprotected by her clawed front legs – he had taken his hands off his Firebolt –


Mate, by Wacca

But Harry didn’t care, he wouldn’t have cared if Karkaroff had given him zero; Ron’s indignation on his behalf was worth about a hundred points to him. He didn’t tell Ron this, of course, but his heart felt lighter than air as he turned to leave the enclosure.

(by Wacca)


about the chapter


Sirius pretty quickly dismissed Harry’s take that Karkaroff probably didn’t want him in the Triwizard Tournament, as he said that Karkaroff must have been a “good actor” to get out of Azkaban. But the more we see of the guy, the more Harry’s take seems spot on – he’s just an indignant jerk, and frankly doesn’t really seem capable of plotting something cunning and sinister like getting Harry’s name in the Goblet of Fire. My intuition is with Harry’s, here, to be sure; on the other hand, the questions this begs for him is: if Karkaroff wasn’t the one to put his name in the Goblet, then who the heck was?

Something You May Not Have Noticed

The weekend before the First Task, Harry comes down to breakfast and finds Hermione eating breakfast not with Ron (though we know she’s still hanging out with Ron when Harry isn’t around), but with Ginny. Harry hasn’t seen much of Ginny since the school year started, although three months ago she was still blushing when she saw Harry. So assuming she’s still attracted to him, Harry’s entry in the tournament must be a pretty scary event for her, too – and I can’t help but wonder if that’s what she and Hermione are discussing? Harry only seems vaguely aware of the concern that those around him (like McGonagall) have for him, but it’s clear the concern is definitely there.

The Wizarding World

So Viktor Krum’s dragon squashed half of its real eggs, huh? I know these dragons (and their eggs) come from the world’s largest dragon reservation, in Romania, but even there it’s hard to fathom that dragon eggs wouldn’t be immensely valuable. It makes sense that the eggs would need to travel with the mothers, but it still seems awfully risky to me to actually put the real things into the ring with the dragons and the champions. Perhaps the dragons wouldn’t have been as protective of the eggs if they weren’t the real things? Either way, if I were in charge of the dragon reservation, I wouldn’t be very happy with this result.

The Boy Who Lived

At the Quidditch World Cup it’s mentioned that Harry’s never seen anyone capable of flying like Viktor Krum, who “hardly looked as though he was using a broomstick at all.” However, once Ludo Bagman cries out for seeing Harry himself on a broom – “Great Scott, he can fly! Are you watching this, Mr. Krum?” – I have to wonder whether there might be someone at Hogwarts who can fly like that after all. Ludo Bagman was a world-class Quidditch player and is still a commentator for World Cup events. When you couple Ludo’s reaction with the fact that Harry was the youngest Hogwarts Seeker in a century and has clearly been the best in the school more or less since the day he started (how many times has he spotted the opposing Seeker about to win and come from behind to pull it off himself?)…. I have to wonder if Harry might not just be one of the best fliers in the world as well.

Something to Remember

This book, there begin to be so many things (like Hermione and Ginny having breakfast, for example) that are slipped in but allow a careful reader to “read between the lines.” One of them is the fact that Ludo Bagman is behaving very strangely towards Harry. He blatantly offers to help him with the First Task, he gives him a perfect score for what was clearly an imperfect run, and then he walks into the tent afterward “looking as pleased as though he personally had just got past a dragon.” What’s this guy up to?

18 Responses to “The First Task”

  1. I think Ludo Bagman is so… evil but in a good way. I mean, *SPOILER* he owes people tonnes of money, but he doesn’t go around trying to kill them… so I kind of like him. He’s always bouncing around like the happiest thing in the world.
    I do love how J K Rowling slips in things like that that add a nice touch, and some people, like me, usually don’t notice.
    Yeah, I guess Harry would be one of the greatest fliers in the world. Pity he didn’t end up flying as a job, it would have been so cool.

  2. Yeah, I always thought Harry should have been a Quidditch player when he left Hogwarts. Instead he was an Auror, I guess catching Dark wizards was more important to him!

  3. I don’t know about Harry being better than Krum… I mean, sure, he would give Krum a run for his money, but off course Ludo Bagman isn’t surprised that Krum flew well during the World Quidditch Cup, because it was the most important game of the year! You would expect great flyers!
    However, given the fact that Harry is a mere 13, and that Ludo is betting on him, it’s more logical that he points out that Harry can fly very well…

  4. Harry could justifiably use Lockhart’s boast about his own flying prowess – “I was a seeker too. I was asked to try for the national squad, but preferred to dedicate my life to the eradication the the Dark Forces.” Harry could easily have been an international quidditch player, but he preferred to become an auror.

  5. JKR mentions a book called “Men Who Love Dragons Too Much”, which made me chuckle as I remember there’s a real book called “Men Who Love Too Much”.

    How convenient that Harry uses his broomstick to get the egg and that the egg has the same color as a snitch.

    This made me wonder: How far away can an object be for it to still be summonable?

    JKR does a great job of describing the love Harry feels for Ron in this chapter!

  6. Sorry for a double post, I just found a piece of paper where I had written down some more things I noticed while listening to this chapter.

    What is Cedric carrying around “several” bottles of ink for?

    The first time I noticed “Flutterby Bushes” was in DH in the wedding chapter. I immediately liked them, but didn’t realize until now that they had been mentioned before.

  7. Ok I realise that I’m a fair few months late with a comment but there’s something I’ve wondered for a while about the Horntail.

    Is it related to snakes, however distantly?

    I don’t have the books with me, so I can’t quote exactly, but I’m pretty sure it is descirbed as ‘serpentine’ and also that Harry hisses at it to ‘get up’ (or something to that effect). Did parseltongue work on the Horntail because it did actually get up not long after Harry told it to?

    I’m not sure if I explained myself very well there but hopefully you get the jist of it.

  8. It’s a good theory nelroy. I know the dragon was described as lizard like, but I don’t remember it being described as serpentine. I could be wrong. Personally I think dragons are more likely related to dinosaurs. I think ‘hissed’ in that moment was just a descriptive word.

    Yey, Ron and Harry are friends again! Love their friendship. :)

  9. @Kim and Cedric’s ink – over a year late, but what the heck?

    Cedric is a Hufflepuff, and therefore not the all-time brightest but very diligent. Think of what a similar Muggle teenager facing important exams would make his study notes look like: lots of different colours! Highlighters, underlining, arrows in the margin … and instead of using felt-tipped pens, Cedric uses lots of ink, and presumably also lots of different pens as well.

  10. Something I’d always wondered about in this chapter: Harry wants the golden egg, so he uses a summoning charm to summon his broomstick. Why not just summon the egg itself? I know that there are objects that are enchanted so that you can’t summon them, but later on the golden egg is indeed summoned. Of course, people don’t always think of solutions that seem obvious to outsiders in high-stress situations, but it would have been so much easier…

  11. h3artvine, I’m fairly sure the eggs would have been under a Staying Charm (or whatever the anti-Summon is called) for the duration of the task. They might have been disenchanted later, as the champions would have needed to keep control of their own property.

  12. Am I missing something here? I don’t recall any of the books saying Harry became an Auror for a career. That’s what I hated about the Epilogue really, it didn’t say anything about careers, all it did was show how the relationships ended up. Was there an interview with Jo where she said that’s what happened to Harry? Cause I always wondered…

    kim, I’m fairly certain Harry is 14 at this point. But I think you’re correct in that he’s a little biased, and he’s also commenting on the fact that he’s such a great flier at such a young age. I’m also unsure of whether he’s better at this point as well. Maybe with more training in a career, but i’m certain he could at least give him some stiff competition!

    Kim, I think how far an object can be from you to summon it, I think it all depends on two things: power and concentration. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dumbledore or Voldemort could summon something from halfway across the globe (okay a little exaggeration, but you get the idea) cause of their power. And I’m sure if you concentrate hard enough, it can be a good distance away for any average wizard and they could summon something. A mile maybe?

    And Grace, the anti-Summoning Charm would probably be the Banishing Charm. Though I’m certain you’re correct in that the eggs are somehow charmed to stay where they are.

  13. Casey, there were a couple of interviews Rowling gave immediately after book seven was released, where she talked about the characters’ futures. That’s what folks are referencing, for the most part. The most informative one is a live chat she gave on Bloomsbury’s website, that unfortunately has since been taken down and I’m not aware of anyplace it’s posted online. I saved a copy so I may post it here one day soon. But there’s a summary of the information from it posted on this page:
    (Scroll down until you see “Bloomsbury Live Chat.”)

  14. Something I noticed about this chapter: When Harry is in Moody’s office after telling Cedric about the dragons, one of the items that is mentioned is a Sneakoscope. “Harry recognized it at once as a Sneakoscope because he owned one himself, though it was much smaller than Moody’s”
    In the last book it mentioned that Harry’s Sneakoscope was going off multiple times, which we find out is because of Scabbers (correct?) so, why is it not going off in this chapter? It does say that it is cracked, so perhaps it is broken. But you would think that this Sneakoscope, one used by an auror, would definitely be going off, given the situation, wouldn’t you?

  15. Silly me, I got my answer just a few seconds later, “I had to disable my Sneakoscope because it wouldn’t stop whistling.” Oops, sorry about that.

  16. Stepheedens, I have a related question: does this sequence of events imply that a Sneakoscope will go off even if the person practicing the deceit is its owner? Then again, the man who disabled it isn’t its owner, is he?

  17. I think Madame Maxime deserves some points here. She gives Harry (and, from what we can see, everyone else) completely fair points on all of the tasks. Moody talks about how she’ll do anything to win, but she certainly seems high above Karkaroff morally.

  18. When I read this chapter, I always say to myself that Dumbledore should have helped Harry with the tasks. I mean, everybody knows that Karkaroff and Maxime help their champions. Poor Harry is so young and didn´t want to enter and Dumbledore act like he´s not even interested.

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