The Madness of Mr. Crouch

chapter twenty-eight of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Hermione has a rough day as she insults the house-elves in the kitchen, receives hate mail, and then misses Hagrid’s class on nifflers. Later, though, Harry learns the third task will be a maze, and after finding a deranged Mr. Crouch, grabs Dumbledore as Crouch disappears.

Harry in the Owlery, by prettyannamoon

Harry leaned on the windowsill, looking out at the grounds, at the dark, rustling treetops of the Forbidden Forest….


Hermione Receives Hate Mail from Readers of Rita Skeeter's Article, by Drew Graham

[Hermione] had opened the last envelope, and yellowish-green liquid smelling strongly of petrol gushed over her hands, which began to erupt in large yellow boils.


Harry, Ron, and Two Nifflers by NicoPony

[Harry] found himself looking at a number of fluffy black creatures with long snouts. Their front paws were curiously flat, like spades, and they were blinking up at the class, looking politely puzzled at all the attention.


The Madness of Mr. Crouch, by glockgal

Suddenly a man staggered out from behind a tall oak. For a moment, Harry didn’t recognize him… then he realized it was Mr. Crouch.


by Laura Freeman

“I’ve done… stupid… thing…” Mr. Crouch breathed….. “Must… tell… Dumbledore….”


about the chapter


Something You May Not Have Noticed

It’s always seemed funny to me that Ludo Bagman introduces the champions to the maze – while standing in the middle of the growing maze. There’s plenty of time until the third task and the hedges are still low enough to step over; how hard would it be for one of them to come out, late at night, and map the thing out before the hedges grow too high? After all, these are people who weren’t above sneaking out in the middle of the night to find the dragons back before the first task. Perhaps the maze is designed in such a way that it wouldn’t be obvious where the beginning or end is, thus negating the help somewhat? It still seems like a bright seventh-year could easily create a Marauder’s Map of sorts and either sneak it in or Summon it….

The Boy Who Lived

One thing that’s interesting about all of Hermione’s hate mail is that it’s really less about her than it is about Harry – people defending Harry Potter’s honor. To be sure, this is probably partly because of the “tragic hero” angle that Rita Skeeter has taken thus far in portraying him. But Harry doesn’t really seem to notice how much all these folks are on his side. Or, perhaps he notices, but takes it for granted – which would be a mistake, because this won’t always be the case.

Something to Remember

Even though Harry can’t figure out what’s up with Mr. Crouch in the moment, he has the tools already to recognize what’s going on with him – and, when you put it together with the things he says about Bertha Jorkins and the other things we know about him, it’s a major clue regarding what’s going on in the wizarding world right now.

The Final Words

(Discussing Hermione’s encouraging the house-elves to demand wages)
“She thinks it’s so easy. It’s part of… the growing process, of realizing you don’t have quite as much power as you think you might have and having to accept that. Then you learn that it’s hard work to change things and that it doesn’t happen overnight. Hermione thinks she’s going to lead them to glorious rebellion in one afternoon and then finds out the reality is very different.”–J.K. Rowling, July 2000

(Question: “Why did you make the Leprechaun gold disappear in “Goblet of Fire” and Harry not notice?”)
I smiled rather ruefully to myself when I did this. Harry doesn’t worry about money, because he’s got enough of it. Ron, on the other hand, is poor, and he cannot imagine how it must be not to notice a pocketful of gold disappearing. I think I was just remembering how it felt to be like Ron; certainly, for that moment, I felt more sympathy for Ron than Harry – my past self more than my present, if you like…. I wanted to show, through Ron, how hard it is sometimes not to have any money when other people do.”–J.K. Rowling,

23 Responses to “The Madness of Mr. Crouch”

  1. I bet the maze changes as it grows.

  2. I wanted to write the same comment as Hayley. Besides, isn’t Harry’s biggest problem in the maze the creatures and spells that he encounters?
    I love this chapter… it has so much humor and side-plots, as well as very importat clues… though I remember that when I read it for the first time, I was very confused and absolutely didn’t understand anything about the plot…

  3. If Crouch Junior was masterminding that maze, then it was very likely to be sentient within narrow limits. Harry had to win; so the maze could be trusted to ensure that the other contestants lost. But it reckoned without Harry’s unselfish loyalty and friendliness, no doubt because Crouch wouldn’t have factored in qualities he conspicuously lacked himself. So there are two winners; and one permanent loser. And Harry from being the Boy Who Lived becomes the Boy Who Killed.This is a matter for a later chapter of course, but it does perhaps indicate why forensic botany by an ambitious would-be champion would be guaranteed useless! Another sad illustration of how the dark side seem to be better at magic than the light … not in the long run of course, but they do cause a lot of casualties before the end comes.

  4. the triwizard torniment mus have been realy boring to watch.the only task that the other students could see is the 1st.

  5. I think this is the first time we see how the members of the Order of the Phoenix communicate with one another via Patronus.

  6. I always figured protective spells were placed around the Quidditch pitch until the third task to keep anyone from going in.

  7. Something I wondered when re-reading this a couple days ago: Did Crouch have an assistant called Weatherby a dozen years ago? After all, when he’s more subjected to the Imperius Curse and thinking he’s back in the past with his wife and Crouch Jr., talking about O.W.L. scores and such, why would his mind meld that with something 12 years later? Maybe that’s the reason he had such a hard time remembering Percy’s name. :)

  8. Typo under NicoPony’s picture with the nifflers. Says “off,” but should say “of.”

  9. Thanks, Ragmar Dorkins – fixed now :)

  10. I always imagined the nifflers to be smaller than in NicoPony’s picture. Small enough to sit in the palm of your hand, and round and fuzzy.

  11. I love the pictures with the Nifflers. In the books,Harry never seems to find anything “cute”. I mean, he’s a boy and that’s copletely understandable. But I loved how he was cuddling the Niffler and smiling. That was adorable.

  12. Didn’t the maze even change while the challengers were in it? I assume it is a dynamic thing much like the staircases in the castle.

  13. I have always wondered why, in Book 7, why knew that Dumbledore’s Patronus is a pheonix, he finds out in this chapter. It’s also the first appearance of the talking Patronus.

  14. How did Crouch come from the forest? Wouldn’t he have come from the village? Speaking of, what’s beyond the forest? Plains?

    Natalia, Ive always wondered that too! Also, what does he mean when he says, “you’re not…his?”. It doesn’t really make sense, unless I’m just missing something.

  15. Ari, I think he means “you’re not with Durmstrang?” because then he asks, “Dumbledore’s?” he’s trying to make certain the person he’s talking to is on the “good side,” at least in his eyes, since Karkaroff was a Death Eater.

    I also always pictured the nifflers as being able to fit in the palm of the hand. I picture them much like the little soot creatures in Spirited Away, if anyone has seen that film.

    It took me a couple read-throughs of this book to understand the meaning of this chapter. I guess when I was young, finer plot points went right over my head. I was always so confused over this chapter!

  16. When Crouch says “you’re not…his?” I always assumed Crouch said “his,” meaning “Voldemort’s.” SPOILER: At this point, Crouch knows his son and/or Moody are Voldemort’s, so he’s trying to figure out if he’s talking to one of Voldemort’s men or Dumbledore’s men. And of course, as Harry himself will say later, he is very much Dumbledore’s man.

  17. I’d like to point out that, aside from Harry, neither Hermione nor Ron himself noticed the gold disappeared.

  18. I never figured out the central mystery in this book, but I kick myself because I also didn’t figure out a much less tangled mystery: what Fred and George were up to and who they were blackmailing. With this chapter, the reader now has all the clues needed to figure out that particular subplot . . .

  19. @Lesharo – I assumed that Ron only gave all the gold he grabbed to Harry to pay him back for the omnioculars, and Hermione never grabbed any. So they wouldn’t have any to notice it was missing… But I’m pretty sure the book never explicitly says this.

  20. Something else for the “Something to remember” section: the eagle owl Harry notices while looking out of the Owlery which soars to the castle, around the Owlery (!) and out of sight. Later in the book we learn exactly for which purpose this owl was used at this particular flight.

  21. What was with Snape’s actions when he encountered Harry outside of Dumbldore’s office?

  22. I also just re-read GoF and Snape’s behavior is in my opinion really off when he tries to block Harry from entering Dumbledore’s office. We are used to seeing him be horrible to Harry, but Snape is aware of the entire situation and knows something very big is afoot because his Dark Mark is getting more pronounced. Also as a confidant of Dumbledore he would certainly have been discussing with Dumbledore the danger Harry’s obviously in from being in the Tournament at all. So when Harry comes running to see the headmaster all agitated, why would he try to stop him. It doesn’t read right in hindsight.

  23. I think that harry didn’t really register that hermione’s trolls (I love puns) were defending him because he was too angry about the way they were treating his friend – harry values his friends above all else because they’re the closest thing he’ll ever have to a true family (the dursleys don’t count cos they’re gits) Something that harry sadly does not realise about fame is that people often feel that they ‘know’ celebrities, and they are deserving of a say in how a celebrity’s life should go about. Some of the responses from twilight fans to Kristen stuwart’s affairs are unbelievable, and it’s the same here. Harry can’t really see the perpetrators’ points of view.
    Also, as for snape’s behaviour to harry in front of dumbledore’s office, I say again, testiness from the dark mark on his arm darkening, not helped by Karkaroff’s whinging. So he takes it out on his least favorite gryffindors. Also, whilst harry is agitated, he is clearly safe. And finally, Snape being a dick to harry really helps his cover story to voldemort, and he would not want the chief death eater to discover anything incriminating in harry’s mind.

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